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shelleyk Mar 8th, 2008 07:26 AM

Cric of South Africa itinerary and some questions
I am considering a 14 day trip to South Africa which includes the following:
3 days in Capetown-stay at Protea President Hotel
Fly to Durban
Drive to Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve-Stay at Hluhluwe Hotel and Safaris for 2 nights.(do safaris)
Drive to Swaziland- Stay at Piggs Peak Hotel for one night
Drive to Kruger NP-
stay at Protea Kruger Gate Lodge for 2 nights (do safaris)
Drive to Sandton and stay at Balalaika Sandton Hotel for one night.
Any comments on the hotels or itinerary would be appreciated. Also, do you think the areas visited are safe for tourists? (I know the caveats re Sandton, but what about the other areas?). This is my first trip to this region and I would like to know if this is a good trip for a first timer or should I keep searching. I am interested in scenery, photography and wildlife viewing. I also want to feel fairly safe. We would be going in Jan. or Feb. 2009. Thanks in advance for your help.

shelleyk Mar 8th, 2008 07:48 AM

Sorry. The title should be Critic of South Africa itinerary and some questions.

rhkkmk Mar 9th, 2008 10:22 AM

what month are you thinking about shelly??

what airline?

i'm looking at a/a with brit air

shelleyk Mar 9th, 2008 01:58 PM

Hi Bob, I want to go in Jan. or Feb.
I just started thinking about this trip (it took me til yesterday to get over my jet lag from the India trip) so I haven't even thought about an air line. I just wanted to try to map out an itinerary and decide if I wanted to travel independently or go on a tour. I sure did like having our luggage, etc. taken care of on our India trip. I hope some one answers my post so I have some fodorite's feedback on this itinerary. I am also thinking about including a few days on the Garden Route in addition to this itinerary.

Doogle Mar 10th, 2008 11:39 PM

Did you book this itinerary on the Protea website?

Having had a look it is all big and impersonal properties, which I am just not a fan of, you will see by the end of the trip you will feel like you are back in the first hotel as they all look and feel the same.

With a multitude of guesthouses at the same or cheaper rate than a Protea Hotel, I would far rather use them, you get a wamr welcome, great food and comfort and a totally different feeling at each hotel.

The routing that you have chosen is great and you will have a great trip, but honestly I would relook the acocmmodation.

cary999 Mar 11th, 2008 12:25 AM

Instead of staying outside of Kruger, why not stay inside at one of the many camps? (Not really "camps", nice bungalow/huts. Or real camping if you prefer). Or much much better, drive to Sabi Sand Reserve which borders Kruger and stay 2-3 nights at one of the private camps, e.g. MalaMala, Sabi Sabi, Elephant Plains, Leopard Hills, etc.

regards - tom

shelleyk Mar 11th, 2008 05:03 AM

Thanks for your replies Tom and Doogle. Doogle or others, I have checked the weather for Jan. and Feb. and it seems wet in some of the areas on our route. Do you think it is ok to do this itinerary during Jan. or Feb. and if so, which month would be better. Our dates are very flexible, but I would prefer to go during our New England winter.

Doogle Mar 11th, 2008 05:13 AM

Hi there

They are both great months to travel, February is always busier thab January, so perhaps Mid January is the best time.

debincapetown Mar 11th, 2008 06:40 AM

Hi shelleyk
I live in Cape Town, and hope to be able to help you a bit. Firstly - January is incredibly hot and it seems like you will be doing an enormous amount of driving.Also, during the rainy summer seasons in Natal and Kruger, the game is difficult to spot as the grass gets long - a lion could be right next to the road and you'd miss it!In my opinion South Africa (the most beautiful country in the world but a bit dangerous!! Animal and human!))is at its best in the Autumn, Winter and Spring months - the weather is still good and warm but more comfortable, you get better vision of game and also don't have to contend with too many tourists. So April to September or October are the best months. As far as accommodation goes,these hotels are fine but you can get much more exciting options - fabulous game lodges and smaller more character-filled hotels or B&B's - you will score well on the exchange rate! If you are interested I will get you some web-sites to explore. As far as safety is concerned, that is never guarantee-able unfortunately, but if you follow the general rules of discretion with your valuables and not going into remote areas unescorted etc I would say you'd be as safe here as anywhere. You will love this country; it obviously has its problems, amongst which is ahuge number of refugees from the rest of Africa vying for the few available jobs - hence large squatter settlements etc -but it has got such beauty and such heart, and the people are warm and friendly and have a lovely sense of humour. If there is anything specific you'd like to know, I'll try to help.Good luck!

shelleyk Mar 12th, 2008 06:04 AM

Hi debincapetown-Could you please tell me what you consider incredabley hot. I thought the afternoon high for Jan and Feb would be around 80 degrees. Is this correct? I am also concerned about how much rain you get during the wet season. I know Jan. and Feb. is not ideal, but do you think weather wise we would have a decent trip, or should we definitely opt for April, which is the latest I would want to go. We live in New England where the weather starts to ge nice in May and stays that way for about 5 months, so I like to stick close to home from May to Oct. and plan my trips for Nov.-April.

debincapetown Mar 13th, 2008 06:17 AM

Hi Shelleyk
Oh! We were in New England about a year ago - what a really gorgeous place!We loved it!
Temperatures in Kruger Park reach 104F (40C) in mid summer but it is also very humid as they have summer rains up there...pretty sweltering. But of course you.d have air-con in your car and hopefully in your accommodation, so you could survive it. The later you leave it though the more comfortable it will be.Cape town's weather is different all around the city every day as we are built around Table Mountain and have 2 different oceans on either side, but summer is great here - no humidity. Durban has the worst humidity of all - that goes for all of Natal, so that would also be better later on.

shelleyk Mar 13th, 2008 09:15 AM

Debincapetown- I take it from what you have said that if we want to go in Jan. or Feb. we should stick to Capetown, wine country and the garden route, but if we wanted to also include Kruger we should wait until April. I had no idea that it would be so hot in Kruger in Jan. and Feb. Over 90 degrees is too uncomfortable for me to think of site seeing. I wilt. And a/c doesn't help my situation because I really want to be outdoors as much as possible when I am on vacation. New England is beautiful, but it is very cold in the winter so we look to leave for a month or so. However, in view of what you said about the temperature in Kruger, I do not think we will be there in Jan. or Feb. Thanks for the info.

Doogle Mar 14th, 2008 02:56 AM

Hi Shelley

In January the average high temprature is 26C or 79F in Cape Town and the Rainfall is about 15mm with february and March much the same. April is Autumn and it start to cool down.

For Skukuza in January, february and March the average daily minimum is 33C or 91F, depending on where you stay Game drives are done in the cool of the morning and the evening as during the day everyone is to full and lazy to do anything other than laze at the pool. You could easily combine the two areas, in February/March. Airconditioners and pools are all over and it will be a good time to travel.

eezam Mar 14th, 2008 03:47 AM

shelleyk - we did the same itinerary in Oct. 2007 with and had a wonderful time. Even at that time of year it rained in Kruger but we managed to see lions, rhinos, leopards, etc. Go and enjoy!

CampingCaryn Mar 14th, 2008 10:49 AM

Am I understanding correctly? The best time to visit south Africa is our summer when it's winter there?

nancy1652 Mar 14th, 2008 06:16 PM

We're about to finalize a two-week trip to South Africa in January, with lots of help from people on this thread. Given this discussion, I've now become a little worried that it might be too hot in January. We're going to Pafuri, Mala Mala, Phinda, and then snorkling for a few days in Richard's Bay. Doogle seems to think January will be ok; others feel it's way too hot in that area. Is there anyone else who has been in Kruger and/or around Phinda in January who can give an opinion? Many thanks!

Selwyn_Davidowitz Mar 14th, 2008 10:16 PM


I think your info to shelleyk is absolutely fantastic but oops! :) :)

"Cape town's weather is different all around the city every day as we are built around Table Mountain and have 2 different oceans on either side"

Dont fall into the above very common tourist trap of believeing that we have 2 oceans sourrounding Cape Town. We only have one ocean that surrounds our city and that is the Atlantic Ocean. The Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic at Cape Agulhas and I dont think you can see this village when you open your window in Cape Town. :) No matter what I agree with you when you say that our weather is great, especially with the low humidity factor.

Shelleyk, I think you have a great itinerary. Hope you enjoy it immensely when you visit us.

Very proudly part of the wonderful ((r))nation of South Africa

debincapetown Mar 15th, 2008 12:53 AM

Hi Shelleyk - please don.t leave out the game parks when you come to South Africa - they are just the very best we have to offer! I'm sorry to have caused such a rucus with the weather; it is hot up there in January, no matter what anyone says! But that is all part of it, and there are swimming pools in some of the camps, and as Selwyn points out, the game drives are early morning and later in the evenings, and during the day you can sit by the rivers and watch the game come to you - you won't be stuck in doors.
If Jan/Feb is when you want to come, you will manage - it will still be worth it! When we went to see the Fall in New England, you were experiencing a heat wave, so we didn't get to experience the magnificent foliage we had hoped to see, but our trip was still fabulous!
So - come!
P.S. to Selwyn; thanks for correcting me on the oceans - it is just that on the CampsBay side the sea is so freezing and on the Muizenburg side it is warm, so one tends to think it is 2 different oceans! Stoopid me.

shelleyk Mar 15th, 2008 04:42 AM

Thanks to everyone who responded to this post. We definately are going to South Africa to do the itinerary I proposed (plus maybe more). Now it is just a question of deciding on which month. If we don't do South Africa as our winter trip then it will be next April. But in any event-we are going. Thanks again for your in put. I am sure I will be back with other questions.

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