Cape Town & wine country in July? Help...


Oct 22nd, 2017, 12:16 PM
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Cape Town & wine country in July? Help...

My hubby and I are planning a trip to celebrate both our 50th bdays next summer. We are limited to July /Aug time frame b/c of kids schedule (they will be in camp so it will be adult only). Ideally we are thinking mid-July for 2 weeks.
I have avoided CapeTown in the past this time of year due to rainy season. I know they have experienced a severe drought (along with fires) and the weather is very unpredictable but wondering if anyone can give an opinion on going this time of year given this and any other reasons? If we do go, what wine region is most recommended?
We are thinking of spending 5 nights in Cape Town & Wine region and then heading to a safari or reversing the order depending on travel availability.
Also not sure yet where we will go on Safari. About 15 yrs ago I did a safari landing in Joburg and then going to safari's in South Africa, Botswana & Zimbabwe. Absolutely loved it in every way but would like to do something different if anyone can make a recommendation on a really good option that also has somewhat easy access from Cape Town so we're not traveling the whole time.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 02:00 PM
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There’s no easy access safaris near Cape Town but there are direct flights to Kruger.

Maybe a Phinda/Ngala Tented or Kirkmans combo. Easy and very different ecosystems. I prefer Tembe Elephant Park in the area near Phinda because it’s community owned and staffed making for a more interesting stay. There’s so much to do in KwaZulu Natal, we rent a car and do everything we can fit in. The public and private game reserves, St Lucia for the fun activities, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Sodwana Bay, San Art and beauty in Giants Castle, the beaches and mountains....You can fly direct from a CPT to Durban too.

Or Mashatu/Mala Mala. Excellent combo with a charter flight between them. Two excellent reserves, great wildlife viewing. Add Pafuri Camp or The Outpost in northern Kruger in the middle with private transfers for an almost perfect 10 night safari.

Weather doesn’t prevent me from going anywhere, except extreme heat. Cape Town is a wonderful city. Especially for the penguins.
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 03:43 PM
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I spent a summer in Cape Town many years ago. The weather was not bad and as you say it can be unpredictable. It is such a lovely city though that I would not let it put you off. Last year we went to Franschhoek and had 2 nights there and loved it.
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Oct 23rd, 2017, 08:11 AM
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Thank you tjhome, that is encouraging! Franschhoek looks breathtaking. Did you go to any other areas for comparison or is that what you most recommend?
Thanks so much Christabir, I will look into these safaris and will definitely plan to see the penguins!! Is there an area of the city you recommend staying?
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Oct 23rd, 2017, 09:18 AM
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As you stated the weather is near impossible to predict, of course we are desperate for a very rainy winter but who knows. Normally our winters can still be sunny but chilly but that is no guarantee.
Franschhoek is a great region for a wines and it has fabulous restaurants.
For areas to stay in Cape Town, are you comfortable driving yourselves or will you be using other transport. It could be easier to stay near the waterfront or Gardens.
Safari options really depend on budget and as Christabir says there are not many options near Cape Town. An expensive but quite easy option is Tswalu as its a direct flight to the lodge but it's not cheap.

Sandy - owner - Love Africa Travel
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Oct 24th, 2017, 04:44 AM
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Thanks for your input Sandy, we are usually comfortable driving anywhere as long as the car isn't more of a hassle with parking etc. That's a great reco for Tswalu - being a direct flight. I wasn't thinking about Cape Town being winter which means early sunsets as well...I'm wondering if we should think about a different area and save CT for when we can go during a better season. I may take a look further North for July.
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Oct 31st, 2017, 10:42 AM
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You could also fly to Port Elizabeth and do a safari at one of the private game reserves between there and Grahamstown, which is what we did, though we drove there along the Garden Route and then flew home via Jo'burg.

We really enjoyed our two nights at Shamwari and the one rather different night we had at the Schotia reserve but I have no way of comparing them with the Kruger experience of course. Also near by is Addo which is great for elephants.

with our Shamwari booking we got three free nights at the Raddison on the water front in CT so it's worth seeing if there are deals like that going if you fancy something high end.

Good luck!
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Nov 28th, 2017, 06:44 AM
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That's fantastic advice Annhig, we will look into this!
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Nov 28th, 2017, 11:45 AM
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July/August really is ideal for the northern parks like Kruger or Phinda, since it's the dry season, there's less foliage to block views, no bugs, and sunny and warm days and cool evenings. You could also look at Madikwe, on the Botswana border near Gaborone, which is a considerably shorter drive from Joburg than Kruger NP or the various private reserves in the area.

That said, flights to Port Elizabeth from either Joburg or Cape Town are quite inexpensive, and you won't pay a premium on a one-way car rental between PLZ and Cape Town. Addo Elephant National Park is terrific, and the drive down the coast along the Garden Route is spectacular.

If it was me (and I've done this precise trip) I'd fly into Joburg, get a car and drive out to Madikwe for a few nights (maybe 3-4 tops) then back to JNB and fly to Port Elizabeth. Get a new car and tour Addo (self-driving) then west to the Winelands and Cape Town. The driving is quite easy and very scenic, and giving the Addo - Winelands part 2 or 3 days would give you plenty of time to sightsee along the way. You could stop, for example, at Jeffreys Bay, a major surfing destination, or divert to Cape Agulhas and/or Hermanus before hitting Franschhoek and/or Stellenbosch. Here's a possible map -

I'd do the trip as late into your window as possible; the weather can improve markedly between mid-July and mid-August, getting better the farther south you go.
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