Good itinerary in SA for August


Jul 23rd, 2000, 05:17 AM
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Good itinerary in SA for August

I am planning 2 weeks in South Africa, what would be a good itinerary for the month of August. We would be arriving and leaving at/from Jo'burg
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Jul 24th, 2000, 01:00 AM
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Two weeks is quite a short time period given the distances to travel within SA. It depends on your interests. August is the end of winter, going into spring - although our winter started quite late this year so who knows when it is going to warm up! Some general suggestions:
Although I live there Jo'burg is not that interesting from a tourist viewpoint - but the shopping with foreign currency is great! If you have a day or two you may be interested in a trip to a gold mine museum and down a mineshaft for a change. I think that Gold Reef City still offers this attraction.
You must, however, go to a game reserve - one of the private ones if you can afford it. There are a number which are absolutely lovely and within a very wide price range. One of my favourites is Madikwe - it's about 2-3 hours drive out of Jhb towards Botswana. Lots of game viewing and at a very good price. Another favourite is Entabeni - about 2-3hours north of Jhb. Also excellent game viewing, wonderful facilities and staff.
Another big attraction is Cape Town. It will still be very cold - Cape Town has cold and wet winters so bundle up. If you go to Hermanus just outside Cape Town you might catch sight of some whales. I've spent an afternoon one August in Gordon's Bay watching a whale and her calf - we were very lucky. In Cape Town itself you can go up Table Mountain, visit Robben Island (the prison has been converted into a museum), tour the castle from the colonial days and take a drive to Cape Point (where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet). The one good thing about August is that it will not be high season so the city will not be that crowded. One thing you have to do is take a day (or two) and drive the wine route. Better still - have someone drive you around the wine route because all the tastings at the various estates can leave you quite drunk! But it will be worth the trip - I believe that SA wines are the best in the world. Unfortunately I think you will be too early for the Namaqualand flowers - carpets of colour in the middle of a desert! If you have the time the scenery along the Garden Route (from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth) is beautiful.
My favourite area in SA is the Natal North Coast. The colonial influence has mixed well with local cultures. This is the Zululand area where Shaka reigned. In addition to the gorgeous unspoilt coastline the sugar cane plantations are a sight to behold. Further inland the Drakensberg mountain range is breathtaking. There are few things nicer than curling up in front of a fire with a warm drink and the mountains towering outside your window.
I hope this has given you some ideas - as I said it depends on what your interests are.
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Jul 24th, 2000, 10:59 AM
Roger Vineall
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Can't add much to the very compact but thorough reply above, except to say that the weather in Durban is quite pleasant at this time of the year. Make sure you get your distances right when planning the trip - Cape Town is about 1500 km from Johannesburg so beware if you're driving.

If you're in Cape Town and feeling noble, you may want to volunteer an afternoon to help clean the penguins who got covered in oil when a bulk carrier sunk a month ago. Hard work, but will give you that warm feeling of self-satisfaction!
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Jul 24th, 2000, 10:11 PM
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I was in South Africa for two weeks last year and my base was Jo'burg. I felt there was quite a bit to do from a tourist standpoint. If you really want to experience the culture, I'd stay away from places like Sun City (think Vegas in Africa). I would take a Soweto tour with Jimmy's Face to Face tours. It is the best. I'd also consider taking their Johannesburg city tour. If you take the city tour you should schedule lunch at Kapitan's, an excellent Indian restaurant. I also visited the Ndebele people (the tribe that wears the colorful clothes and jewelry) and thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a fabulous flea market in Rosebank on Sundays. The mall isn't bad either. Rosebank is a great place to hang out. I agree that you must go to a game reserve. I went to Pilanesburg, which is smaller than Kruger but was very exciting. I also stayed at a beautiful hotel outside of Jo'burg, the Michelangelo.

Cape Town is simply breathtaking and you shouldn't miss it while you're there. Two weeks in South Africa is plenty of time. If you do it right, you'll leave feeling the same way I did -- that it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth and you can't wait to go back!
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