HELP! 20+ days in Africa - First time ever trip


Jul 29th, 2016, 08:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2016
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HELP! 20+ days in Africa - First time ever trip


My parents and I are planning to visit Africa for the first time this December. We are from Central America and the reason for our trip is that I'll be moving to Swaziland on January; hence, my parents want to drop me off. As it is so far away, we would like to stay about three weeks to a month and we NEED to keep it LOW BUDGET... which I know can be pretty hard.

I have done plenty of research on where to go and what to do and know we want to decide whether to do a South Africa-only trip, or visit nearby places. There are so many places and safari tours that I don't know where to begin. We are probably flying through Argentina so I believe it would be more logical to start the trip in Cape Town and finish in Jo'burg due to its proximity with Swaziland. Do you recommend that we pay for several-day tours/travel agency or that we customize our own trip and book for individual tours as we like? Maybe staying at Airbnb houses when we are in the big cities to save more? Uber and flights or Car Rental for a self-driven trip? Or both?

Our interests:
- Kruger (3-4 days)
- Jo'burg: Soweto, Apartheid museum...
- Panoramic Route
- Cape Town: diving with sharks, Cape Peninsula, Table Mountain, Winelands, Waterfront, Robben Island
- Hot air balloon ride (where ever is best during that time of the year!)
- Addo Elephant National Park
- Golden Gate Highlands National Park?
- Blyde River Canyon Nature
- Cango Caves? (not so sure about these)
- Zulu nation
- Kalahari/Namib Desert
- Victoria Falls
- Botswana?
- Mapungubwe National Park for Baobab sight seeing

Please feel free to comment in any way you like! It would be lovely to cover all of our interests during those days, but we can understand if it is complicated or too out of our budget. Our interests are mainly based on research, but any local/expert opinion is widely needed!! What other places are worth visiting? Which aren't?

If you do believe we should contact a travel agency to either plan our trip or just a part of it, which one would it be? - if afraid this can be too expensive!
Any tips for keeping it low budget??
If you can suggest any itinerary it would be awesome!

Additional info: Although I will be staying in Swazi, my parents will go back to America after this, and I have no idea when they'll be back. I want my trip to be as great and enjoyable as it could be - as it will be my first trip ever with only the two of them and I am their "baby" whose moving out for the first time, so this is a huge step for us. Also, my dad ADORES animals and safaris and I love photography.
mvalerin is offline  
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Aug 8th, 2016, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 321
If you need to keep it low budget I'd ditch Victoria Falls and Botswana. We have 3 weeks in South Africa in October and we ditched both of them as they just added hugely to our costs. We're doing Kruger, Johannesburg and Cape Town all of which are very affordable, Kruger surprisingly so. We're hiring cars and getting the ordinary tourist train from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
tjhome1 is offline  
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Aug 9th, 2016, 10:33 AM
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tjhome1 Thanks for the tip! Did you contact any travel or tour agency on particular?
mvalerin is offline  
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Aug 17th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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You may find this forum more efficient for your research if you click on the link at the top and choose South Africa so that you see all recent posts about SA. DO look at the trip reports as you can get recs for tour operators that people have used. You'll also be more likely to see discussions others have had in planning similar trips to yours. There are lots of wonderful people here who post great information. I've used Fodor's forums for many years in planning trips all over the world. Even met up with many "Fodorites" and made some lasting personal friendships because of similar traveling likes. Planning is thought by many to be one of the best things about traveling! Good luck You are going to have a terrific trip.
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