First Time to SA

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Jan 2nd, 2004, 12:43 PM
  #1
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First Time to SA

We are planning our first trip to South Africa in early March, 2004. With 10 days of travel time, we plan to go to Kruger or Sabi Sands for 3 days: does anyone have a preference? Are the upper end lodges really worth the splurge?

For the Cape Town leg, we want to rent a car: any advice on that? Any recommendations for good hotels in Cape Town and off the beaten path 'must sees' in the Cape Town area would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Jan 2nd, 2004, 03:16 PM
  #2
 
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We are also going to SA for the 1st time the 1st week of March. There is a really good deal 3 nites CT,1 nite wineland and 3 nites Safari Lodge-all top of the line prop.tours see heritagetoursonline.com click on the 25%off. see what you think!!
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Jan 2nd, 2004, 03:34 PM
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For $2,575 USD per person, that doesn't sound like a very great deal to me. It consists of three nights at the City Lodge, one night at Cellars-Hohenhort in Constantia and three nights at Serondella.

For $5,150 USD total, I think that a couple could spend three nights at a more exclusive Cape Town hotel such as the Twelve Apostles or Cape Grace, one night at a more exclusive place in the Winelands such as the Lanzerac Manor and three nights at a place equal or better than Serondella, even with a possible 25% discount.

Prepackaged tours are usually only good for those that don't have the time or interest to do some homework in putting together their own individualized package.
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Jan 5th, 2004, 10:54 PM
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We just got back in Nov. from our first SA trip and agonized over the same questions. Spent a lot of time sifting through this board - thanks all. I am by no means a SA expert, but here's my two cents.

Anyway, we tried to do the low to mid of the high-end. So more like $250-350 pppn, and booked it mainly ourselves, but also w/ the help of a local agency -- and we couldn't have been happier w/ our choice. We just didn't see the need to spend a fortune for 5 star over-the-top luxury. Maybe when we are older and richer We wanted to feel like we were in the bush so we chose Umlani, which made us a little nervous, because it was sometimes described as rustic, but it was great -intimate, quite luxurious-enough, w/ a great young couple running the place, and it's a private reserve (Timbavati) w/ open borders w/ Krueger, so we felt like we saw a lot of game -- though we have no basis for comparison to Sabi.

I hear that Sabi is kind of "the place" to go but we couldn't find a place in our price range for the days we required. We also got the impression that some of the high-end virtually guarantee you the big 5 -- (how do they do this? do they trot them out of a pen or something?) which can be a plus or a minus, depending on your agenda and the type of experience you want. We also gotthe impression that the more famous places and huge lodges w/ multiple camps are more crowded and less-imtimate? This is just the sense we got - not based on experience. I guess if we'd stayed in Sabi, I'd be raving about that.

We also stayed in the tented camps of Mkuze which we enjoyed very much, too. It also was plenty luxurious for our tastes, and had another cool young couple running the camp.

We did the torture-drive from J-burg up North on our first day. We were 30hours w/o sleep, so staying a night on the Panorama route made sense so we wouldn't be zombies on our first game drive. But then we also had 3 weeks, so we were less time constrained.

Finally, we stayed in the Waterkaant Village (Village&Life) in a hip little house with amazing views of the water ant the Table Mountain. Due to a slight screwup, they upgraded us to a luxury unit, and it was amazing. The area is supposed to be the gay area of the city, but its really a fun area with lots of good night life and shopping, and well situated. If you are adventurous and fit, climb table mountain instead of riding up. And the wine country is driving distance into Capetown if you want to spend a night out there, or daytrip it.

It was one of the best trips we ever took - have fun!
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Jan 12th, 2004, 02:47 PM
  #5
 
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2 nights Sabi Sands
2 nights Swaziland (feels good to save money after the splurge)
2 nights KwaZulu-Natal
Fly Durban to Cape Town
3 nights Cape Town and Winelands
Easy distances, time to absorb surroundings. Very diverse.

Worked for us.
Strawbs
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Jan 16th, 2004, 12:00 PM
  #6
d43
 
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I would definately make sure you stay at the Cape Heritage Hotel in the Center of Cape Town. You don't need to have a car in Cape Town...but you will need to take a lot of taxis if you don't have one...It is not a walking city.
The Cape Heritage is one of my favorite hotels that I have ever been to never mind just the ones in SA. Check it out online...you'll see.
If you like wine...you really should take a private tour...well worth the extra money. I am more than happy to reccomend my guide/teacher to you if your interested.

Enjoy your trip!
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Jan 16th, 2004, 12:21 PM
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If this is your first trip to sabisands i dont think the upper end lodges are really worth the splurge.DO however visit the sabisands-consider 1]nottens bush camp,elephant plains,nkhoro,chitwa-chitwa safari lodge.I lived in Nelspruit [close to kruger]for 20years and every safari in the sabisands was special.Didnt have similar experience in timbavati, manyeleti , klasserie or thornybush
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