Garden Route or Victoria Falls?

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Apr 20th, 2005, 11:46 AM
  #1
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Garden Route or Victoria Falls?

Hi everyone!

My wife and I are going to South Africa for the first time this August. We couldn't pass up the $900 r/t fares on SAA flying out of Dulles! We have 14 nights to spend traveling around, and we've already booked 4 nights at Londolozi (Bateleur) at the end of our trip, and will probably spend 4 nights in Cape Town (see the city/visit winelands) at the start of the trip. We'll probably stay 2 nights in Johannesburg at some point as well. My question is what to do with our remaining four nights.

My original thought was to spend those nights on the Garden Route (1 night in Swellendam, 1 night in Oudtshoorn, 2 nights in Knysna), but lately I'm wondering if we'll regret not seeing Victoria Falls after coming so far, especially since Iíve been reading that the weather on the Garden Route can be nasty in August. We could spend a couple of nights up at VF, but then what do we do with our other two nights? Stick around the Cape Town area (Hermanus and/or Gansbaai)? Okavango Delta for a couple of nights? What would you do?
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Apr 20th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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In my humble opinion (and I have visited both) , the Victoria Falls are great and very pretty, but only for 1 night unless you book the rest of your nights at Matetsi Water Lodge or another safari lodge. We stayed at Matetsi in July 2002 and had a great time, especially elephant and hippo were abundant.
The Okavango Delta is also very beautiful, but totally different. From the air (you'll get there in 8 seater plains) the Okavango is truly a wonder.

A 3rd suggestion I may add is to visit The Namib desert in NAmibia, it is so different from South Africa , but the scenery is undescribable.

it all depends on what you want to do and see in Southern Africa.

Really don't know if I have helped you out here, or maybe confused you even more..
 
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Apr 21st, 2005, 05:05 AM
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Not having been yet, I may not be the best person to answer this question, but I will tell you that we are doing 2 nights in Victoria Falls and then spending a few days in the Okavanga Delta. If you are not going to be getting back to Africa again, I would definitely put the falls in my itinerary. They are listed on alsmost any list of wonders of the world, top ten things to see and do, etc. Also, after reading the National Geographic article on the delta in the December or January edition this year, I couldn't pass that up. A very unique system. And you are correct about the weather. It'll be cool and probably rainy along the Garden Route from what I can find, but Victoria Falls and Botswana should be in the upper 70's to low 80's according to the guide books I have.

Have fun! What a great airfare!!
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Apr 21st, 2005, 09:46 AM
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africa_lover -- your suggestion regarding the Namib Desert has intrigued me. It looks like a spectacular area, a bit low on wildlife but high on the natural beauty scale. Whereas if we went to the Okavango Delta I'm sure we would love it, but it would at least be somewhat similar to the experience we'll have in Kruger a few days later, right?

Assuming there's room, we could stay at the Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge for three nights, and then connect through Maun to Vic Falls for 2 nights (at S&L or Matetsi - I would love to see a hippo or two in addition to the falls). Our trip would then look like this:

Capetown (12 Apostles) -- 4 nights
Namib Desert (Sossusvlei) -- 3 nights
Vic Falls (SL or Matetsi) -- 2 nights
Johannesburg (Westcliff) -- 1 night
Sabi Sands (Londolozi) -- 4 nights

How does that look?
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Apr 21st, 2005, 10:14 AM
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Another option for a different experience and environment than you will get in the rest of your trip is Tswalu reserve in the Kalahari desert, which I hear is supposed to be increadible from a friend who was there.
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Apr 21st, 2005, 11:22 AM
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safaribride -- thanks for your suggestion. I've noticed from reading your other posts that you have a strong desire to visit Tswalu, even after getting responses from others saying that they would probably skip that area if they were you. What is it that has sold you on Tswalu?
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Apr 21st, 2005, 12:36 PM
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Hey, Sossusvlei Mountain lodge is a real nice, luxuruous, everything you want and need lodge. When you're lying in your bed, there is a glass roof top above you, and you can count stars as much as you want to. We also went on a quad ride in the dunes nearby. That was a real experience, as well for us, the parents and also for the kids (who needed a chauffeur because at that time, they were under 16).
It is low on wildlife, but the scenery is really so magnificent!
If people ask me what there is to see in the Namib, I tell them nothing, but that nothing is so spectacular and so beautiful!!!
And if you first visit the Sossusvlei and then the Vic Falls (that is what we did), you will be so surprised about the extreme difference, the drought of the desert and the abundance of water at the falls, ...just go for it!
 
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Apr 21st, 2005, 12:55 PM
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I am not 100% intent on going to Tswalu, but the reason I included it in the original draft of our itinerary is that we know 2 other couples who we are friends with visited there while on their honeymoon and raved about what a magical experience and place it was, and very different from everything else the had experienced. I am giving it more thought after hearing other people's advice, but it is hard to balance these completely opposited opinions - just getting myself more confused and stressed
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