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3 weeks: Cape Town (Peninsula Hotel?); wine country and/or Safari (S Africa or elsewhere?)

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Nov 27th, 2005, 04:04 PM
  #1
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3 weeks: Cape Town (Peninsula Hotel?); wine country and/or Safari (S Africa or elsewhere?)

Hi,

I'm in the early stages of planning a trip to South Afirca (and elsewhere in Africa if safari is better elsewhere and logisitcs from S Africa are manageable). Thought I'd seek some early input. Plan is roughly as follows (though welcome to suggested changes in durations). Also, we need to go after April due to work obligations. Is May a decent time to go to Cape Town and/or on a safari (this would work best schedule-wise for the year)? Or, would you recommend other times (US fall/winter would probably be other option)?

Specific questions:

1) One week in Cape Town (Peninsula All-Suites Hotel?). I've seen a few earlier postings that said perhaps 5 days is sufficeint. But, we'll likely use a timeshare trade for the Peninsula. That hotel seems to get very good reviews: any first-hand comments/experience welcome. Is a car needed? Any recommendations on dining appreciated.

2) I understand that South Africa's wine country is outside of Cape Town. Have any of you traveled this by car? Any thoughts on duration, routing, lodging and/or dining appreciated?

3) Since we are traveling that far, definitely would like to do a Safari. Is it worth doing one in South Africa? (Any first-hand recommendations/experiences welcome) Or, is it better to go to Kenya or Botswana or elsewhere? Any middle- to upper-end (price-wise) safari recommendations welcome.

Thanks so much for any and all input.

John H.
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Nov 27th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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John,

I think May would be your best bet, as after that Cape Town will get too cool and too wet from rain. Also, May will qualify you for some nice discounts on your safari whether you visit South Africa, Botswana or Zambia.

I think 5 nights at the Peninsula All-Suites Hotel would be sufficient.

From there, I think 2 or 3 nights in the Cape Winelands would be sufficient.

Now, for your safari, you have many options. You could decide to stay in South Africa for your safari, visiting the Sabi Sands or you could go up to Botswana or you could go up to Zambia.

I think a combination of Botswana and Zambia would be great. Something like this:

Kwando Lagoon (2)
Kwando Lebala (2)
Kwando Kwara (3)
Royal Livingstone, Victoria Falls (2)
Chiawa Camp, Lower Zambezi (4)

Here are the websites:

www.kwando.com
www.chiawa.com

Another option, instead of Kwando, would be to visit South Luangwa in Zambia, and this also combines nicely with Lower Zambezi.

Luangwa River Lodge (4)
Puku Ridge (2)
Chiawa (5) (nice discount for a 5 night stay)
Royal Livingstone (2)

I would recommend Botswana or Zambia over South Africa, especially if you plan on having a minimum of a 10 night safari.

If you conclude your Zambian safari by May 31st, you would be entitled to all low season pricing. Likewise, any Botswana safari concluded by June 30th would entitle you to shoulder season pricing, unless you were to stay at a place like Mombo which will charge you $1,200 pppns no matter the time of year.

As a general rule, Zambia will be the most inexpensive of all safari destinations but if you take a look at the websites provided you will see that there is still a very high level of luxury.

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Nov 27th, 2005, 05:13 PM
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How long a safari do you want to do? And how much more of South Africa do you want to see?
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Dec 3rd, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Hi,

Thanks for your responses to date.

In total, we'd have to limit our trip to 17-23 days total (including air time) due to work constraints. We would use a one-week timeshare in Cape Town. If it is possible to do a couple of single day trips to wine country (as opposed to having a totally separate wine country part of our trip), that would work for us (thoguh we would certainly be open to doing an additional driving trip of 2-4 days in wine country or beyond.

So, all in, we would spend:
- 7 nights based in Cape Town (time share)
- up to a 4-night drive outside of Cape Town
- a 7-10 day safari, be it in South Africa or another African country (hopefully something relatively close to South Africa, like Botswana, though if Kenya is best, we'd certainly consider flying there)

Hope this helps. Again, thanks for input.

John H.
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Dec 3rd, 2005, 03:57 PM
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If you have seven to ten days for safari then Botswana is a great choice if the budget allows. If the $ wont stretch to Botswana then Zambia and also Zimbabwe are alternatives. I would recommend looking at eyesonafrica.net as a starting point to see many options in those countries and SA.
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Dec 4th, 2005, 05:18 AM
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Look at the amount of time it takes to get to Botswana or Zambia. It took us a full day of travel to and from Zambia. You fly Cape Town to Johannesburg. Johannesburg to Lusaka and then on to the safari destination. Botswana may take as long-- I am not sure.

Just becaus you havethe Peninsula Suites for a whole week does not mean you have to stay there all the nights -- you could do an overnight in the Wine Lands and leave almost all your stuff in the hotel in Cape Town. Would allow you to see more of the Wine Lands then coming back to Cape Town every day would.

If you can get Selwyn as a guide during some of your time in Cape Town -- it would be great. He often posts here and you will find many people traveled with him and thoroughly enjoyed it -- you never get lost -- no stress of driving in an unfamiliar place on the wrong side of the road so you get to relax and enjoy the whole time, you don't waste time going to places that are not worth seeing, you never stop eating and trying something new and local; you get preferred parking and up the mountain quicker with a guide, he knows all the wineries, you get to see Kayamundi and South Africa through a native's eyes --

Just remember -- you will not go wrong with any of your choices. All these places are great.
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Dec 4th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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If you have the timeshare and prefer not to add hotel accommodations when visiting the Winelands, you can definitely do day-trips. Either renting your own vehicle or arrange with Selwyn (if he's available). You can find him through his website at:

www.ilovecapetown.com

As Selwyn's schedule allows, you can use his services, if not, he will definitely provide the best options available to you - with him, on your own or other.

Kenya and/or Tanzania are still in their "wet" season April/May where a number of accommodations are actually closed. Thereafter, into June - is booked. So it's best to stay in/around South Africa.

The easiest place to get to for safari would be in South Africa. There is a daily flight from CPT to Kruger National Park. Depending on your budget there is a wide range of accommodations, but if you are considering high-end, even that can run from $600+ to $1,200+ person/per night.

At Kruger there is game viewing inside Kruger proper, though many prefer the private reserves - Sabi Sands is the most visited, but so too you can consider Manyaletti. With so much time, you can split your time with at minimum 3-days each Sabi Sands and Manyaletti (4-days is also good, if the budget can do this). Another Reserve with excellent reviews is Phinda, where the Phina Lodges provide outstanding accommodations with camps at different sizes and prices.

You also have sufficient time to visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (a 2-hr flight from JNB). You can visit the Falls staying either on the Zimbabwe or Zambia side. There are a number of activities available here besides just viewing the Falls, so 2-3 days, especially on the Zam side is an options if you want to participate.

And since you'd be here (Zambia) safari here is an excellent choice. Rocco provided a number of links to lodgings here, so do consider this and contact him for further details... I'm sure he won't mind telling you about his favorite destination in southern Africa.

Also, if already in Vic Falls, you can consider Botswana, by road to Chobe or by air to the Delta, though prices in the Delta area tend to be high.

If you choose safari in other than South Africa, the other destinations require additional travel time and connections, but are all doable, so don't discount these possibilities.

There are lots of choices, and with more time than many of us. Lucky you!
 
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Dec 15th, 2005, 11:09 PM
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Thanks so much for your additional replies. I hope to do more planning over the holidays.

Happy travels.

John H.
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