Countries to Add to South Africa Trip?

Oct 30th, 2019, 09:32 AM
  #1  
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Countries to Add to South Africa Trip?

My husband (30M) and I (31F) are planning a month-long trip to South Africa for November 2020. We will visit Johannesburg (3 days), Kruger (4 days), Cape Town (7-10 days), and Durban (3 days). We're booking with points on United, and I would like to take advantage of their Excursionist Perk (where you get a one-way flight in the same region for free in the middle of your trip).

Here are the countries that we can fly to for free: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote D'lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion Island, Rwanda, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

We are interested in great beaches, awesome food, and local culture. We're not too interested in outdoorsy/active itineraries (e.g. hiking, trekking, diving, etc.). I also wouldn't mind spending some time at a relaxing beach town at the end of the trip.

My question is does anyone recommend adding any of the countries above to our itinerary? Or should we just stick to exploring South Africa?
missminimama85 is offline  
Oct 30th, 2019, 10:50 AM
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Honestly if I had a month in South Africa I'd spend the whole time there. Cities are hardly a highlight of South Africa, there isn't much to see and the they're quite dangerous. The surroundings of Kapstad are stunning, but why on earth would you spend 3 days in Jo'burg and Durban?

There are so many stunning places in South Africa.

It would be very tempting to add places like Zimbabwe(Vic Falls, Great Zimbabwe ruins) Botswana(Okavango Delta and Kalahari) Namibia or Lesotho.

Adding the island of Saint Helena(direct flight from JohannesburgI) would be an intriguing(if pricey) option(but no beaches).

"I also wouldn't mind spending some time at a relaxing beach town at the end of the trip.'

South Africa has amazing beaches, but if you really want to fly somewhere else Seychelles is the best for beaches, but it is very expensive.

Ethiopia is hard to beat in Africa for culture, but you need weeks to explore it. You'd better leave it for a separate trip if you're interested and not deterred by the constant hassle and stone throwing kids.

Awesome food: You're on the wrong continent for that I'm afraid, although South Africa has quite good food and excellent wines.
BDKR is online now  
Oct 30th, 2019, 11:09 AM
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Thanks for the reply! The 3 days in Jo'burg are split between the beginning (2 days to settle and beat jet lag - I also want to see the Nelson Mandela museum), and 1 day for the night before our flight home. We're flying from California so it's easier to fly in and out of Jo'burg. I'm interested in Durban, but I'm open to changing that visit depending on what else I find. Can you elaborate on what's dangerous about Durban? I've heard that about Jo'burg, but not Durban.

I'll look into the beaches in South Africa - I appreciate the tip!
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Oct 30th, 2019, 11:13 AM
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I'm no expert on Africa but first, I'll disgree about the awesome food remark as far as South Africa is concerned. Have a look at rhkkmk's recent trip report.

Second, I'd also reduce the days in J'burg to a minimum, add any extra days to Kruger. There are also public rest camps with enclosed lodging if you are limiting days due to costs. I really likes the camps up in the north part of Kruger (such as Punda Maria).

You could look into the Garden Route in addition to or instead of Durban and switch to flying into Port Elizabeth.

Cape Town and the West Cape are worth a full week. Water is cold off of Cape Town, but it's got tons of scenic beaches. The one at Seaforth is open to the public for selfies with penguins. There is warmer water around Durban and Port Elizabeth.

November might be too hot to add in the Kahlahari. Maybe Vic Falls and Chobe.

Or just spend the whole month in South Africa. crellston should be posting about his trip soon.

BTW do post or browse on Tripadvisor, there is a wider range of experience and locals also.
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Oct 30th, 2019, 11:14 AM
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Kenya has fabulous beaches north and south of Mombasa. Check out Diani Beach, for instance.
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Oct 30th, 2019, 11:28 AM
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BTW I liked this Airbnb in Seaforth which would be nice for you guys, for a few days around Cape Town, if it isn't booked. It's private unit and you can walk in to Simon's Town or to the penguins.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16853490
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Oct 30th, 2019, 08:49 PM
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mlgb Thanks! Btw, I did a little research on Port Elizabeth, and it doesn't seem like there is much to do there. What does it have compared to Durban?
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Oct 30th, 2019, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by missminimama85 View Post
mlgb Thanks! Btw, I did a little research on Port Elizabeth, and it doesn't seem like there is much to do there. What does it have compared to Durban?
Starting point for Garden Route
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Oct 31st, 2019, 01:36 AM
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We're not too interested in outdoorsy/active itineraries (e.g. hiking, trekking, diving, etc.).
That doesn’t leave you a lot do do in South Africa, which is a very outdoorsy country. I will be going to Cape Town for a couple of weeks over Christmas and New Year, and as far as I’m concerned is the only city in South Africa worth a special trip. That will be my fourth time there, and always find lots to do. Cape Town has world class cuisine, and the winelands is only about an hour away. You could go to Stellenbosch or Franschhoek for wine tastings and lunch one day.

For the other cities you should be asking what is there to do nearby, not what to do in the city. For instance, from Joburg you can visit the Cradle of Humankind, about 90 minutes away.
https://www.thecradleofhumankind.net

You could also visit the museum at Liliesleaf Farm, which was a safe house for Nelson Mandela and where the ANC did much of its planning.
Heimdall is offline  
Oct 31st, 2019, 03:46 AM
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"That doesn’t leave you a lot do do in South Africa, which is a very outdoorsy country."

Yeah, but they could simply drive to many amazing places.
BDKR is online now  
Oct 31st, 2019, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BDKR View Post
"That doesn’t leave you a lot do do in South Africa, which is a very outdoorsy country."

Yeah, but they could simply drive to many amazing places.
Sani Pass, Blyde River Canyon, Garden Route, Cape of Good Hope, Cape Agulhas, Augrabies Falls, etc.
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Oct 31st, 2019, 06:14 AM
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That’s what I meant by asking what there is to do nearby, rather than looking for things in the cities. BDKR, I’m happy that you agree!
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Oct 31st, 2019, 06:17 AM
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In Cape Town you can take the walking tours such as BoKaap or the city center one. The main square and Companys Gardens. There is a cooking class in BoKaap. Robben Island.

Not sure if culture includes museums. CT has lots.

Check the Botanic Gardens for concerts.

Even no outdoorsy people should like Ellie's and pengies

In JBerg was a bit underwhelmed by Mandela's house but the Apartheid Museum is excellent.

Best drive in Capetown is Chapman's Peak do it northbound.




Last edited by mlgb; Oct 31st, 2019 at 06:28 AM.
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Oct 31st, 2019, 07:46 AM
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Good ideas from mlgb! Also in Cape Town in the District 6 Museum, telling the story of the area cleared during the apartheid era. A short walk from there is the Castle of Good Hope, built by the Dutch in the 17th century. The free tour (included in the entrance fee) is interesting. Of course everyone wants to go to the top of Table Mountain. Plan for that early during your stay, and you can pick a day with good weather. Sometimes the cableway is closed when it is windy, and when the "tablecloth" covers the mountain you won't see anything from the top. Online tickets are good for 7 days from the chosen date: https://www.tablemountain.net

I love Camps Bay, which has a long, white sandy beach and beautiful sunsets, but very cold water. There are lots of restaurants on Victoria Road, which runs along the beach. Just outside Camps Bay is the 12 Apostles Hotel where my daughter and SIL had their wedding reception, and you can have drinks or dinner there overlooking the ocean. Hout Bay, further along the road toward Chapman's Peak Drive, is a working harbour that has a market on weekends. You might see seals swimming around the bay.
https://www.bayharbour.co.za
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Oct 31st, 2019, 07:52 AM
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Thanks for all the responses! I have my activities planned for South Africa, and I'm looking for information about if it's worth adding another country to the itinerary based on logistics, things to see, etc. I would like to take advantage of the free flight on United, but I'm wondering if people recommend just sticking to South Africa, or if it's worth it to fit in another country.
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Oct 31st, 2019, 08:44 AM
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Some people add a few nights in Victoria Falls, staying either on the Zimbabwe or Zambia side of the river. From there it's easy to take a short trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana. I saw literally hundreds of elephants from a boat on the Chobe River, and more in an afternoon game drive. November isn't the best time to see the falls, but it was impressive even when I was there that time of the year.
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Oct 31st, 2019, 11:34 AM
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Considering it's a free flight you should make a list of places where you'd go, check the airfares, and go where airfares are normally the most expensive. If you're looking for a beach holiday look no further than the Seychelles(if you can afford it and not deterred by the long flight).
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Oct 31st, 2019, 12:15 PM
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Well if it was me I'd stick to SA and probably spend some time along the Garden Route including Addo Elephant National Park and then on to the winelands and ultimately to the Atlantic coast and West Coast National Park before ending up in Cape Town. Google the places on this map - https://goo.gl/maps/2yc5394FA7khY25A6 . You'd have fab wildlife, beaches, wine and food, and the Atlantic coast is beautiful and historic, overlooked by many overseas visitors.

If it has to be another country, I'd probably pick Mauritius, for its great beaches and cultural diversity (and food.)

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Oct 31st, 2019, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by missminimama85 View Post
I'm interested in Durban, but I'm open to changing that visit depending on what else I find. Can you elaborate on what's dangerous about Durban? I've heard that about Jo'burg, but not Durban.
We just left Durban a couple of days ago. Whilst there are certain no go areas, I wouldn’t describe it as dangerous, at least not more so than many European or American cities. I can’t say we left wanting to return but it made a good base for the start of our road trip.

We are spending seven weeks in the country and, like you, thought long and hard about including another country. In the end we decided against it, but came close to including on of the bordering countries, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique. Mozambique came closest as we are keen divers but it also has some amazing beaches.

Even with seven weeks, we struggled to narrow down what we wanted to see and do in SA itself, let alone add another destination. What we did decide upon is detailed in my TR here Durban to Cape Town Road Trip

and in our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/2019/10...ica-road-trip/

One of the above posts suggests ( I think BDKR)identifying specific sights that interest you Vic Falls , Okavango Etc. Which I think is a great idea. That way you could maybe do a long weekend to see one of Africa’s great sight or perhaps a safari.

BTW, the food and wine here is excellent. I am not sure what qualifies as "awesome" but the fish and seafood and meat is excellent, the service better than most places and the prices exceptionally keen.

Last edited by crellston; Oct 31st, 2019 at 09:54 PM.
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Nov 1st, 2019, 08:32 AM
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One of the regulars on Flyertalk just posted a trip report on a 5-day visit to Mauritius. Aside from an unfortunate encounter with a purse-snatcher, they had a pretty good time. https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip...mauritius.html
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