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Getting Around in South Africa Cape Town, Johanasburg and Kruger Park

Getting Around in South Africa Cape Town, Johanasburg and Kruger Park

Dec 23rd, 2009, 05:55 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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Getting Around in South Africa Cape Town, Johanasburg and Kruger Park

My sister and I are planning a trip to Africa in March or April. We love adventure travel and staying active on vacation. We love to hike, walk, snorkel, see the sights, and experience the culture of Africa. I would rather spend my money on traveling several times a year than pricey vacations and luxury hotels. I do not mind staying in hostels and rustic accomodations. Although safety is important. I have been told that South Africa would be good fro what we are loking for.

Through reading the blogs and advice on this site I have a few places that I think we would like to see, but I am not sure how to get around while in South Africa. Do we rent a car, fly go on tours? I prefer to not be with large groups of people on a tour and really prefer to do what we please when we please. I understand that there are some areas that we might not be safe in though (from what I hear, but I do not know the truth). I would like to see Cape Town, and Kruger Park. Here are the locations we have read about and would like to see:

Kruger Park
Drakensburg Mountains
Tsitskamna
Knysna

Cape Town
Robber Island
Table Mountain ( I want to hike up this on trails)
Cape of Good Hope
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Kistenback Gardens
Simons Town
Hout Bay
Addo Elephant

Suggestions and comments would be welcomed and much appreciated. How might you arrange this trip? How should we get to each place? I don't mind driving or public transportation. Am I missing a must see? If I am going to have to fly to these places whould we fly to another part of Africa and see other sights?

Again, your help and advice is appreciated. It seems that the web sites I visited were so biased and promoting their tours that I could not find real advice. This forum has been so helpful.

Many thanks!
carebear83695 is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2009, 06:21 PM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 5,286
Cape Town is awesome and you're plenty safe - just use your noodle. Everyplace is dangerous if you put yourself in unsafe situations. I haven't driven in S Africa, but most here do - they all came home safe and sound.

We used a private driver for Cape of Good Hope, Simons Town (penguins at Boulder Beach) and Hout Bay, but many here drive themselves. S Africa drives on the left so if you're not comfy - get a driver. Must go to Robben Island - my best tip is to go when the return trip will bring you back to Cape Town during the sunset - it's absolutely beautiful with the sun setting over Table Mt. Go to Table Mt as soon as you can see it - the fog layer is there a lot. We stayed near V&A - fun and good nights! Don't miss the gardens if you're into that. It is huge and just stunning. We used the hop-on, hop-off bus n Capetown and it got us just about everywhere. Cabs for night and the garden. All doable in 3-4 days.

Kruger and/or the private game reserves around it? If the National Park (Kruger) then drive there through the Garden Route and Knyshna and Addo or pick up a car at the airport. If the private reserves - get a ride from a driver. You'll get better advice from others as to driving. If you really like to snorkel, how about St Lucia (the S Africa one not the Caribbean) on the east coast. It sounds amazing, but I've never been (some day!). Kruger camps fill up - make those decisions soon and try to get space and work everything around that.

Didn't see a length of trip. You could (probably) do something great in about 2 weeks (longer is always better). Flying into CT out of JNB?

Anything you decide - you'll love it!!
christabir is offline  
Dec 24th, 2009, 05:52 AM
  #3  
 
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You haven’t mentioned how long you will have and time is critical given the distance between the places you wish to visit (i.e., Kruger Park, Drakensburg Mountains, Tsitsikamma and Knysna). South Africa is a very large country and getting around, especially from the southwest (Cape Town) to the northeast (Kruger National Park) will take a fair amount of time by car. I would suggest somewhere around 2.5 to 3 weeks to hit all the places you list or about 2 weeks if you do CT to Port Elizabeth by car then fly to Kruger (pick up a car at the Kruger airport and self-drive KNP) and skip DM.

SA has good infrastructure and driving, in general, is safe---roads are excellent and I've found other drivers there to be courteous---and a great way to see the country. Places to avoid, among others, are townships and downtown Jo'burg after dark; you can also ask your hotels for any other precautions.

You could start your trip in Cape Town, spending several days visiting the sights you have listed (i.e., Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Kirstenbosch Gardens, Simons Town, Hout Bay). From CT you can head east, visiting Knysna, Tsitsikamma and Addo. After this you can start your way to Kruger, with a stop at the DM. Keep in mind that you will be covering a couple thousand kms or so by driving and you will lose 2-3 days in the car.

A last point is that malaria does exist in the Kruger region. You can find discussions at this forum concerning opinions on prevention; although the need for prophylaxis is often hotly debated, most agree the risk is very low. Nevertheless, I suggest you consult with your doctor or a well-recommended travel medicine specialist before your trip.

Good luck, Steve
sdb2 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 05:53 AM
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South Africa's scenic long-distance passenger trains are one of SA's best-kept travel secrets and a real bargain!

We all know about the famous and luxurious but very expensive 'Blue Train' (around $1000 from Cape Town to Pretoria), but you can travel the same route (Cape Town-Johannesburg) for more like $150 on the deluxe twice-weekly 'Premier Classe' train, which gets great reports, shows you exactly the same scenery as the Blue Train for a tenth of the price. It's a poor man's Blue Train, with great service and meals included in the fare. Another (new) Premier Classe route links Jo'burg with the Kruger Park, and there's a Jo'burg-Durban service too. See www.seat61.com/SouthAfrica.htm and www.premierclasse.co.za.

Also, there's the Cape Town-Johannesburg 'Shosholoza Meyl' tourist class sleeper train, this runs 4 times a week, with 2-berth & 4-berth sleepers plus restaurant car, fares from just $60, amazing. Similar Shosholoza Meyl tourist class trains link Jo'burg with Durban, weekly Cape Town to Durban.

See www.seat61.com/SouthAfrica.htm for a route map, photos, fares and how to buy tickets direct from Shosholoza Meyl.

Both Premier Classe and Shosholoza Meyl trains are safe and comfortable, more people should know about them. Far more rewarding than a flight, they may save a hotel bill too!
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2010, 02:26 PM
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We self-drove around SA for two weeks and thought it was a great way to see the country. I don't recommend driving at night, though, there are practically no road lights and driving is a bit fast and furious. Rental car also gives you a lot of flexibility of stopping in some of the adorable towns along the way. If you go this route, make sure to visit wine country between Knysna and Cape Town. So gorgeous, and delicious!

Info and pics from our trip at http://patrinadoestheglobe.blogspot.com/
katrinab is offline  
Jan 8th, 2010, 04:38 PM
  #6  
cwn
 
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Hi,

All the above ideas are good! We were South Africa for about 10 days in late March early Arril '09. Our transportation was a round trip flight Johannesburg to Cape Town with a rental car for 5 days in Cape Town for exploring the region and then a rental car round trip from Johannesburg for a visit to a Sabi Sands camp and a self drive in Kruger National Park which was the best part of the trip and the least expensive too! I highly recomend going to Kruger for a self drive it meets you requirements for bang for the buck.


Check out our trip report with pictures...

www.aroundtheworldin132days.blogspot.com

on the right click on April scroll to March 28 and read through to April 7.

I wish I had known about the Premier Classe' Train ...sounds good. The flight is only two hours to CT with many daily flights, but we love trains...may next time we will have more time!
cwn is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 06:19 AM
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We have done all destinations you mention except Tsitsikama)
but in different trips - all self drive (on the wrong side of the road ;-) ) which is fairly easy! Particularly when you are 2 people - one scout working the map and one driving and some assistance with the junctions and roundabouts - in order to stay in the left track!

For what you have listed I would calculate a 3-weeks selfdrive - unless you are intending to do a lengthy hiking part in the Drakensberg Mountains.

You could start in Cape Town doing all the sights (driving down to Cape Point via Simonstówn, Hout Bay (very nice restaurant: The Mariner's Wharf) and drive along the Gardenroute via Addo and Drakensberge thru Swaziland towards Krüger. Spend time on safari and drive back/fly out of Johannesburg.
In CPT I would do Table M ountain, Kirstenbosch Garden by taxi - too much fuss with parking. Waterfront also by Taxi.
In order to cut costs: You can hire a car from day 3 or 4 onwards only for the longer distances Cape Point + Simonstown + Hout Bay can be done in one day. If the weather is fine you could also go one evening to Signal Hill and watch the sunset - take a bottle of wine and some bites with you and spend some time there. Very nice atmosphere. Here you need a rental car as there are no taxis up there. Hiking would be too risky!

Generally speaking:
- Make sure with your host where to go and when! Get advise!
- Leave always with you host info about your plans for the day!
- Dribe not after dark!
- If you get lost, don't stop and ask for direction unless it's a petrol station or police station. Don't get out of the car and unfold the map on top of the roof! That's calling for trouble!
- Get the car fixed with a GPS!
- Go up to Table mountain as soon as it's clear! Don't postpone!
- Robben Island shoud be booked in advance and might interfere with the table mountain



Kruger Park
Drakensburg Mountains
Tsitskamna
Knysna

Cape Town
Robber Island
Table Mountain ( I want to hike up this on trails)
Cape of Good Hope
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Kistenback Gardens
Simons Town
Hout Bay
Addo Elephant
spassvogel is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 06:21 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
oops - somehow hit the send button.....

- Robben island shoud be booked in advance. But might interfere with Table Mountain depending on whether TM is clear or not on the other days. I would rather skip RI than TM - depending on your interests and whether you think it's a "once in a lifetime trip".
- Cape Point: Be aware of the Baboons! on't feed them! Seriously! These guys can become nasty!


Happy Planing!

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 07:23 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 33
Why not go to Kirstenbosch Gardens, it is probably nicer than Kistenback!
surkamp is offline  
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