Family trip to South Africa

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Mar 11th, 2003, 04:43 AM
  #1
Arlene
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Family trip to South Africa

I'm trying to put together a family trip to South Africa for this June. We were planning on flying into either Johannesburg or Cape Town and renting a car for the five of us. We were looking for B&B's, or places that were not too expensive. Cape Town to Port Elizabeth area looks like we could find places of interest and places to stay. But- I feel like we would be missing out by not seeing an area like Kruger. The prices for game reserves are very high for a family, and most places won't even allow kids. The extra in country flights would add to the cost too. We could fly into one city and ot of the other. I know it is far, but is Cape Town to Johannesburg driveable? Thanks in advance for your help. I'm getting discouraged.
 
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Mar 11th, 2003, 05:38 AM
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Hi Arlene
In short - Cape Town (or even Port Elizabeth) to Johannesburg is definitely driveable. I recommend that you break your stay with a stopovernight. It will be an experience. Driving will give you the sights so many people miss out when flying - the Karoo can be quite beautiful. The key is to make sure that everyone is comfortable and you have amusement for the children (depending on their age) on board.
In SA "low-flying" terms the drive is about 13 hours straight through on very good roads.
The Kruger National Park can be very reasonable. Don't be put off by the costs of the private game reserves - these are the ones that might exclude children. I don't have the address, but if your troll throught this forum I remember seeing the address for the National Parks Board (who manage the public parks). Kruger itself (and not just the reserves in the area) is government owned and so appropriately priced. The only drawback is that guided game drives are not aplenty.
As a point of interest - the reason why a number of the private lodges do not accept children under a certain age are:
1. safety - these are still wild animals and must be treated as such
2. I've had the unfortunate experience of being on a drive with children, and it is a bit much to expect them to be quiet and calm for a few hours, especially with all the animals around!
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Mar 11th, 2003, 12:29 PM
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Arlene
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Would you suggest flying into Cape Town and driving to Johannesburg or vice versa? I was figuring on taking several days and see things along the way, we would like to see some of the coast too. As far as driving with kids, youngest is ten, so as long as we have books and CD's and stop often enough for food, they are ok.
 
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Mar 11th, 2003, 10:10 PM
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I would personally recommend going Johannesburg to Cape Town as you will be heading from the business heartland towards a holiday destination. Check with the AA (www.aatravel.co.za) for maps and recommended routes. Excellent idea to take a few days and step off the beaten track. This route will take you through the heartland of SA, and you can expect to see some wonderful non-tourist sights through the most amazing "blink and you miss them" towns. The characters to be found in the Karoo are also just amazing. Expect very warm hospitality. You have two basic route options: either via Bloemfontein or Kimberly. Personally I recommend Kimberly as the diamond museum and big hole are fascinating - especially for kids - and the golfers can hit a hole-in-one. Also try to build in a stop at the observatory in Sutherland. Please remember that you will be driving for a large part of the way through a desert, so while the days are hot (even in winter) the nights can be bitterly cold, but you will see more stars than you ever imagined possible.
BTW that address for National Parks is: www.parks-sa.co.za
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Mar 12th, 2003, 07:55 AM
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Try this site for B&Bs - www.portfoliocollection.com which has lists and images of several B&B throughout South Africa.

I am not sure how many days you have but I suggest 3 to 4 nights in Kruger area, 2 in Swaziland (just down the road from Kruger), then to Durban (could explore the Drakensberg area and Hluhluwe wildlife reserve for 2/3 nights), cut across to Bloemfontein or Kimberley(visit to Lesotho possible en-route), then down to Beaufort West and Oudtshoorn (the ostrch capital), followed by the winelands and finally Cape Town. I wouldn't bother with Sun City near Johannesburg as it is hideous, however, it has many activities for children. Johannesburg is not interesting and I would only use it as a stopover.
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Mar 13th, 2003, 01:01 AM
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We stayed in a cabin in Addo Elephant Park (National Parks). It was very cheap, simple, and child-friendly. You can do your own cooking or have dinner in their restaurant. Be sure to book the Addo tours of your choice well in advance. You can always self-drive, but it's nice to do a game drive where you don't have to do the driving yourself. At 7am we drove to the game area entrance and met our first elephant right away. It was perfect and we thought, "Wish we had the kids with us!!!"
www.parks-sa.co.za/parks/addo
If you want more game, you can do the Tooth & Claw safari at Scotia which is expensive, but not nearly as much as the overnight there (sleep at Addo!)
The portfolio collection has lots of lodging listings but many are not cheap. Try
www.mtbeds.co.za/index.xml
http://travel.iafrica.com/accommodation/

I can heartily recommend the area around Oudtshoorn for things to do with kids. We stayed at the Oue Werf
[email protected]
on a working ostrich farm, and there was a pond with a cable in a treehouse that you could ride out over the water and then splash down...might be too cold in June, but definitely kid-friendly! You can walk from there to the Cango Ostrich Farm for a tour and ostrich riding.
Yes, I'm envious. Enjoy!
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Mar 13th, 2003, 01:14 AM
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Arlene - i am currently living in jo'burg with my wife and 15-month old (we're from the states). we're planning a possible overland trip from jo'burg to cape town in april, and we'll definitely be taking our time because audrey's car tolerance is about 2 hours at a stretch. if it works out, i'll post our route and recommendations here.
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Mar 13th, 2003, 05:11 PM
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Arlene
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Are we trying to take on too much? Should we stay around the Cape Town-Port Elizabeth-Oudtshoorn area? I read somewhere that Kruger to Cape Town was a 22hour drive. Even taking a week that is alot of driving, especially after such a long plane trip.
 
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Mar 13th, 2003, 11:10 PM
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The distance from mid-Kruger Park to Cape Town is about 1900km. Even if you stick to the speed limit of 120km per hour (few South Africans do!) that's a total driving time - not including stops etc - of just under 16 hours. To take 22 hours for the trip you will be at an everage speed of just over 80kph, which translates neatly into 53 miles per hour. I think that whoever quoted 22 hours was using US driving conditions and not SA!
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Mar 14th, 2003, 06:00 AM
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We drove from Cape Town to Durban in 7 days and it was a LOT of driving. Granted, there were some small Wild Coast roads included, but don't underestimate the amount of time you will have to spend in the car! However, every kilometer of SA was fascinating, so don't limit yourself too much.
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Mar 16th, 2003, 04:42 PM
  #11
Arlene
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Thanks everyone for your helpful suggestions. Now it looks like we may be able to fly on to Port Elizabeth using Johannesburg for a stopover. Any other suggestions on interesting places to stay for a family, and within our budget? Jenviolin - your suggestions on places look good, I will check into them. It looks like we will rent a car in Johannesburg, not sure if we'll be up for a five hour drive to Kruger after a long flight. Any suggestions for places to stay on the way?
 
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Mar 25th, 2003, 06:55 AM
  #12
 
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Arlene, I just remembered that we stopped at Jeffrey's Bay for coffee and to see if we could watch some surfers. We salked along the beach and found THE BEST shells! Maybe your kids would like that, too. There's not much to do in town but it might make a good stop.

We stayed at The Gardens in Johannesburg - a B&B that felt like a piece of paradise in the metropolis. If you want to head a bit east right after you arrive, there are lots of cheaper lodging options not too far from the airport.
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Mar 27th, 2003, 03:26 AM
  #13
Arlene
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We're thinking about staying in Kruger for 2 or 3 nights, then maybe Swaziland and/or Hluhluwe for a few nights, or should we head the other direction and go to Pilanesberg for a few nights. Any suggestions for where to stay in Kruger? I was looking at Olifants. Any suggestions about where to stay and what to do appreciated. Looking at about one week in Johannesburg/Kruger/Hluhluwe or other area and about 5 days Port Elizabeth to Cape Town area. (This is assuming we fly Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth).
 
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