Best time to go to South Africa?

Reply

Dec 24th, 2013, 11:01 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,481
I will have to start looking into logistics.

The thing about South Africa is that it's an embarrassment of riches. From Kruger and the northern game reserves to the KZN coast, the Winelands to the Garden Route to the Drakensberg mountains, Namaqualand, The Karoo, Addo... sometimes it's the go-between areas that offer the greatest surprises and rewards.

I don't know how many thousands of kilometers we've put on various rental cars in our trips to SA, and frankly I don't regret a single one of them. The country is a kaleidoscope of landscapes, cultures, ecologies; "rainbow nation" doesn't even come close. And the thing is, they're all accessible.

Let me illustrate with photos taken on (I think) four consecutive days, just 4.

Morning day 1 - Balule Game Reserve (Kruger) - http://gardyloo.us/africa7J%2001515k.JPG

Evening day 1 - Panoramic Route - http://gardyloo.us/africa10J%20027a.JPG

Evening day 2 - a Zulu village near Cathedral Peak in the Drakensberg mountains - http://gardyloo.us/africa11J%20026d.JPG

Evening day 3 - in the Great Karoo - http://gardyloo.us/africa12J%20007a.jpg

Afternoon day 4 - Addo Elephant Park - http://gardyloo.us/africa13J%20026a.JPG

So encouragement and warning - the place is addictive, seriously so. Scratching the surface is the best you can hope for in one visit.
Gardyloo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 24th, 2013, 03:59 PM
  #22
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,886
<>

This is what I'm afraid of
In all places/counties we've been before, it was reasonably easy to narrow down the areas that we wanted to see. One big exception is Italy...SA seems to be another one, for totally different reasons. I want to see so many places and environments...so hard to decide.

Gardyloo, love morning of day 1 and afternoon of day 4. Seeing animals in the fields of wildflowers is on top of my list. The other pictures just stress one more time the diversity, and make my decisions harder. Wish we lived closer...
xyz99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 25th, 2013, 12:17 PM
  #23
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 634
It's difficult to decide on where to go and what to do. I found this website (whether or not you use them) very helpful. It will give you a good feel for what lodge or camp you want to use.
http://www.africatravelresource.com/

Don't get you hopes set on seeing a particular view and you won't be disappointed. A lot depends on the animals themselves. You will have a fabulous experience no matter what you decide to do. You would have to try pretty hard not to.
sdtravels is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 26th, 2013, 04:02 PM
  #24
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,886
sdtravels,
Nice resource web site - I browsed it a little, and I like the way they organized the info. Thanks
xyz99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2014, 05:13 AM
  #25
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
Whale season in the Cape is between late June to September, be careful with August as it can rain heavily non-stop.
braaiseason is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2014, 07:24 AM
  #26
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,406
If I can jump in with a similar question please: how is the northern hemisphere winter / early spring, say Jan-April, for visiting South Africa? That is the time we most want to leave our area for warmer weather. I didn't see any mention of these months in this thread.

Our goals would be similar to the OP: animals, birds, penguins would be great (whales less important as we have had amazing sightings of these elsewhere), botanical gardens.

Thanks much.
Nelson is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2014, 03:01 AM
  #27
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
In Cape Town Dec-March usually very hot, hardly any rain, nice breeze, April is nice but can rain & nights are colder. The cape winds can be very strong, research the 'Cape Doctor', the berg wind is in Feb. If you go inland Garden Route/Klein Karoo it gets hotter.
braaiseason is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2014, 09:07 AM
  #28
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,406
Thanks for the info. Wind is a negative, but "Cape Doctor" is a good name for a wind. I just checked the Wikipedia page on it.

I'll admit I posted my question above without having done any other research. Will do that next and start a new thread here if/when we have any further questions.

This is dream trip for down the road.
Nelson is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2014, 04:41 PM
  #29
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,886
>> be careful with August as it can rain heavily non-stop.

I guess we'll have to take our chances on that...like Nelson, whales would be nice, but we saw them in other places so not a huge priority. With the other things to see/do around the Cape, we'll hope for dry weather. But August/Sept is when the wildflowers bloom, so that's when we're going
xyz99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2014, 10:17 PM
  #30
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 5
I think some of the posters in this thread should come and work for our various tourism departments. I'm in the touring business and quite frankly it's been ages since I read such wonderful and original praise for our country - thanks a bunch!

To OP: enjoy your trip, you've been given some fabulous ideas. The West Coast national park is indeed a gem and you should definitely plan on seeing every corner of it. During the flowering months there is a section of it called Postberg which, normally closed as it is private, is open to the public. Make sure you get down to that part.
ToursduCap is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 17th, 2014, 05:29 PM
  #31
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,886
ToursduCap,
I don't know if we'll have time for "every corner of it", but we'll definitely try to do the best we can in the short time we can spend there. The problem is, the more I read, the more I want to see. Maybe a second trip someday?

I just googled images of Postberg, WOW! I will not miss it. Thanks for recommending it.
xyz99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2014, 09:31 AM
  #32
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
I find this chart very useful as to when the best game viewing is in each area and average weather conditions:
http://www.africa-adventure.com/best_time_to_go
LeslieC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 25th, 2014, 10:41 AM
  #33
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,406
Wow, that is a great link LeslieC.

I just saved that page off as a file right now in case it ever disappears.

Thanks!
Nelson is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 27th, 2014, 11:22 AM
  #34
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,447
Yes, great link! Thank you!

Question if I may: For Sabi Sands, what would the downside be for a visit in April-mid-May?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2014, 06:24 PM
  #35
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,886
Great link Leslie, thanks.
xyz99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 6th, 2014, 02:07 AM
  #36
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 4
I am from South Africa in Cape Town and I would say the best time visit is from October through to March the next year.

The weather is much better and around October it tends to be a bit quieter without much tourists around. In this way you will get to visit the main tourist sites without having to wait in long queues that could have you waiting for hours on end.

Good luck with the planning
Keshnee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 2nd, 2015, 04:00 AM
  #37
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,494
xyz - What was your final itinerary? And how was your trip? I'm thinking of a 2017 trip to SA and was interested in your planning, as it seems to parallel my thoughts about a trip. We will have about 2 weeks as well.
progol is online now  
Reply With Quote
Dec 8th, 2015, 05:03 PM
  #38
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,886
progol,
We had a wonderful trip!

We went for almost 3 weeks, late Aug to mid Sept. We spent 5 nights in Cape Town, 2 nights in Paternoster, 3 nights in Hermanus, 3 nights in Timbavati, 3 nights in Sabi Sands, 3 nights in Zambia for the falls.

Loved every place, but the falls were suffering from extreme drought. Still glad we went, but they would be much better at a different time of the year.

What time of the year are you going? If early Sept, don't miss Postberg.
Do 2 different safari camps - I was afraid that Timbavati and Sabi Sands are close to each other (the drive was only a few hours), but they were so different...more variety of animals, more bush in Timbavati, more leopards and less bush in Sabi Sands. I did not have time for a TR, but I'll answer any questions you might have.

ekscrunchy, thanks for recommending Southern Destinations, they were amazing.

We are ready for a 2nd trip
xyz99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 10th, 2015, 08:55 PM
  #39
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 8
I would recommend spring time.
TavernTravel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 11th, 2015, 05:47 PM
  #40
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,494
Thanks, xyz! Sounds like a fabulous trip! It's really too early for me to plan seriously but I'm reading trip reports and gathering information.

Many thanks for the offer of help -- I'm sure I'll be asking questions when I really start planning!
progol is online now  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:55 AM.