First Trip to Africa. Suggestions?

Old Oct 24th, 2012, 10:14 AM
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First Trip to Africa. Suggestions?

My girlfriend and I have recently begun looking for our next vacation destination. Africa seems to be the ultimate destination for adventurists like ourselves, but we want to see it all, and unfortunately don't have unlimited time or resources. We are considering spending time in South Africa and maybe Kenya or Tanzania. Our "to do" list currently consists of mostly "adrenaline junkie" stuff like bungee jumping, cage diving near seal island, free diving with whale sharks, and of course some type of safari. We would absolutely love to see the Great Migration, but aren't sure if it is really feasible or worth the extra expense/time. Anyone have any suggestions when it comes to seeing the Great Migration? Also, although we tend to be geared more towards the "get your blood flowing" type of activities, we enjoy learning about the history and culture wherever we go. Any other activities, adrenaline rush or not, that people suggest?
Thanks for taking the time to read this and help us out.
RyanSuth is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Just got back from a trip that included Vic Falls, two safari locations in Zimbabwe, then Cape Town and the Garden Route (both along the coast and inland to Addo Elephant National Park and Prince Albert, through Meiringspoort Pas and Swartberg Pass.) To keep to a budget I would suggest you investigate Cape Town and the Garden Route. You need to commit to driving on the "wrong side" of the road, but the roads are good and you get used to it fairly quickly. There are plenty of adrenaline activities (shark diving, bungee jumping, soaring off cliffs in para kites, the drives through the mountains to Prince Albert and back are incredible (they also conduct bike trips, off-roading tours in the Swartberg...which could be amazing).

Hermanus is a good first stop from Cape Town. (Whale watching and shark diving). Our favorite place is now Wilderness. We had dreadful weather which kept us from doing much but eating in their excellent restaurants, and oohing and ahhing at the stunning views of estuaries and beaches. December - Feb would be good times to go, for the best in weather. But you could stay for at least 3 nights in Wilderness and find plenty to do.

Further down the N2, is the wonderous Tstitsikamma Park. There is the highest bungee jump in Africa, canopy tours, etc.

Stay in the safari tents at Addo Elephant National Park, for a budget friendly safari experience. You can "self-cater" (braai aka BBQ your own meals) or eat at the parks surprisingly decent restaurant. You can do your own game drives, or you can sigh up for a couple conducted by the parks' rangers in safari vehicles that provide maximum viewing.

We chose to make a LONG drive to Prince Albert, using good roads -- but not superhighway like the N2) through South Africa's citrus country. Be sure to start out with a full tank of gas, as service stations are few and far between. We forced the Navi system in our car to go the way we wanted by giving it a couple "way points" to De Rust, then took the beautiful (and easy driving) Meiringspoort Pas into Prince Albert Valley. Prince Albert is a terrific town, in the "Karoo." The people are wonderful, and again, that is where you can book excursions through the Swartberg Pass and into the Karoo that will feed your adrenaline. My husband was bound and determined to drive through the Swartberg Pass to Oudtshoorn although the morning was drizzly and cloudy. The one-lane gravel road through the pass is easily driveable, and fortunately we met only one car escorting a motorcycle group of six. Unfortunately the OTHER side, going down into Oudtshoorn, was totally fogged in, and on hard-packed dirt. Not a fun drive for driver or passenger. Had a well-deserved double shot of Jack Daniels before lunch, having done that!.

Drive back to Franschoek or Stellenbosch in wine country for your final night or two, and stay someplace comfy. You can get to the airport in an hour (or 30min if you pick Stellenbosch) the next day to turn in your rental car and fly home from Cape Town.

We had started our trip with a 10 night safari in Zimbabwe, but you don't need to do that, as it would inflate your budget by $8000-10,000; and your expressed desires appear to me that they would be met easily by a Cape Town and Garden Route itinerary.
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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I meant to say that AFTER Hermanus, you would want to stop in WIlderness Knysna is another option, but it is bigger and more touristy (although it is a great place to stop and shop).

And of course, you will want to spend about 3-4 nights in Cape Town to start your trip off. You don't need a car for that.
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Old Oct 26th, 2012, 08:25 AM
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My best advice...get use to the idea that this trip to Africa will NOT be your only trip to Africa. It is an addicting continent!You will definetely want to return.
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 01:44 AM
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Africa is definitely addictive. Twenty years of travel there and we're still looking forward to a return! Here are our Africa travel pages to take a peek at an perhaps get some ideas...

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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 04:55 AM
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You can do game walks on a lot of Kruger National park safaris, vehicles can get closer to the animals but there's nothing like a rhino pawing the ground and snorting at you when your on foot 20m away to get the adrenaline flowing. are who I booked with.
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