Help on planning on SA itenerary

Reply

Jul 1st, 2004, 06:10 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Help on planning on SA itenerary

I will be in SA, specificly Capetown, in the beginning of Sept. for work, and I'm interested in what I should see during my time there.

In the weekend between workshops in Capetown, I thought about renting a vehicle and driving around the winelands and to the Cape of Good Hope. Any suggestions or feedback?

Additionally, my boss was interested in a safari at Kruger, but I don't want to spend a ton of money. Is there a convenient safari that is not $2k per person?

While I'm working on a Monday, my husband is interested in playing golf in Capetown. Suggestions?

We will be staying at a guest house near the Natl. Botanical Gardens, where we will be working. I know that Table Mountation is right there, so we'll be sure to see that.

Any help would be fabulous. Husband and I are thinking of extending our trip beyond the 3-day safari with my boss. Any ideas for another weekend?
jen79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 1st, 2004, 11:07 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 251

Do a search for "Selwyn", in Cape Town he is da man! There is a lot to do, and his postings will give you an idea of where to start. Hiring a car for the weekend is a good. Make sure that you include a trip to Robben Island. The closest golf course I can think of to where you are staying is Rondebosch - excellent course - but it's a private club. Ask the guest house where you are staying for help in setting this up.
In terms of Kruger, anyone spending $2k per person for 3 days is being ripped off. If I offend any tour operators out there then too bad, that is it plain and simple. You could do a wonderful trip to Kruger in comfort for well within that provided that you are prepared to do some research and the bookings yourself. Again, many people on this board have lots of advice of where to start. If you do decide to stay for another weekend some time on the Garden Route would be lovely, but a weekend is too short to do this properly. There is more than enough to do in Cape Town for 2, 3 or even 4 weekends!
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 2nd, 2004, 06:58 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Thanks for the information and tip!
I checked out the ilovecapetown.com website and that seems perfect.

Based on another post, I don't wish to waste any precious time flying to Kruger if I can visit other parks along the Garden Route which provide the same experience.

How quickly do I need to book these things such as Selwyn's tour services? We're still trying to arrange logistics for our time working in Capetown.

I'm sure our staff at the Kirstenbosch Gardens can assist me, but I'm still would prefer to do a professionally organized tour.
jen79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 2nd, 2004, 04:27 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
Hi jen79,

You and your hubby are going to have a wonderful time in SA.
Selwyn and/or the other generous contributors to this forum are going to flood you with suggestions on how to get the most out of your time there.

How do I know this? Recent first hand experience!
We are just back from our first visit to SA and can't wait to get back. We had just a few days to plan the trip and at my wits end I posted a cry for help here and was truely overwhelmed by the response.

SA is such a stunningly beautiful and interesting country that one needn't worry about an itenerary but here is my two pence half penny worth:

Re the Cape of Good Hope
We made a leisurely clockwise tour of the Cape and took our lunchbreak at Kalk Bay.
(If you like casual Kalkies by the harbour is the place for really good simply cooked seafood at give away prices.
A number of boats were bringing in their catch while we were there and the fisherfolks were incredibly friendly in a totally non "touristy" way.
One of the crabfishers, for example, gave us a long list of grievances about his employer which told us a lot about him if not necessarily about his employer.
A casual remark to a fishmonger landed me behind his counter practising my not inconsiderable filleting skills on his customers orders!
Don't worry. I'll try to get back to the iteneray thing.
(If you are pressed for time- unless you are particulary interested - give the penguins at the Boulders a miss.)

Simon's Town was our next stop. A very "pretty" place with a really interesting history - like all of the places we visited.


Jona is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 3rd, 2004, 04:46 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
Hi jen79,

You and your hubby are going to have a wonderful time in SA and I'm sure that
Selwyn and/or the other generous contributors to this forum are going to flood you with suggestions on how to get the most out of your time there.

We are just back from our first visit to SA and can't wait to get back. We had just a few days to plan the trip and at my wits end I posted a cry for help here and was truely overwhelmed by the response.

SA is such a stunningly beautiful and interesting country that one needn't really worry about an itenerary but here are some of our highlights:

A leisurely clockwise tour of the Cape with a lunchbreak at Kalk Bay.
( Kalkies by the harbour had really good simply cooked seafood at give away prices.)

Simon's Town proved to be a very pleasant town with a really interesting history - like all of the places we visited.

The public conveniences at Cape Point are a must!

kommetjie (on the west coast) is a real gem. Every bend of the road is a wow experience.

The Chapman's Peak drive is unforgettable and so are the Silvermine mountains.

The Constantia Uitsig winery was for us the perfect place for a pre-dinner wine tasting on the way back from the Cape.

Our drive through the winelands included a not to be missed visit to a township near Stellenbosch (with Mzwake, a friend of Selwyn's); a wonderful meal at the Volkskommetjie (in Stellenbosch); the breathtaking view from the terrace at the Rust and Vreden homestead; a fabulous lunch and an unforgettable winetasting at the Cabriere Estate in Franschhoek and the beautiful scenery along the Robertson/Worcester route.

We had a week to spend on the "Garden Route" and it wasn't nearly enough but it might be an idea to fly to Port Elizabeth and do a bit of sightseeing from there.

(Sorry - hit the wrong button or something! Good luck!)



Jona is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 4th, 2004, 10:32 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 251

Hi there

I know of no parks along the Garden Route that come close to Kruger. The nearest is Shamwari which is between George and Port Elizabeth - a very long way from Cape Town and also very expensive by anyone's standards. Alternatively Addo is also good and strongly focussed on elephants, but it is situated even further from Cape Town past Port Elizabeth on the way to Grahamstown. The direct flight from Cape Town to Kruger would be at most 2.5 hours, which is less than you would spend driving along the Garden Route. There are some smaller reserves in the Western Cape, I recall Selwyn mentioning one in particular, but they are not nearly the same experience as anything in Mpumalanga. I think you are going to have to make a choice between the Garden Route and Kruger. In terms of timing, the sooner you start speaking dates to people the better.
traci
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 5th, 2004, 03:42 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097
Hi Jen79,

Relative to your last mail I must report that I doubt if I will be able to help you with tour guiding as I am pretty heavily booked for the September period already. With that said please send me your exact Cape Town dates and if I cant help you then I will suggest another guide who also tours in a very high quality style in the Western Cape region. Overall I would prefer to try and keep my suggestions that I make to you on the Fodors Africa forum page as opposed to private mail as that will mean that many Fodorites can benefit from the advice too.

With regard to what you want to do in cape Town I have to agree with Traci with her excellent advice and tell you to simply forget about travelling down the Garden Route over a weekend from Cape Town as your departure base. It just cannot be done physically in a qualitative manner.

In terms of Kruger I am not the expert and cant advise on this one however what I can tell you is that if you can break away for 6 days from Cape Town (inclusive of a weekend) you CAN travel down the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth and amongst others go on safari at Addo (http://www.addoelephantpark.co.za/), Schotia Game Park (http://www.schotia.com/) as well as Botlierskop (http://www.botlierskop.co.za/. When doing this you will see all that you will see in Kruger other than leopard. The big advantage of this ride is that you see and enjoy the Garden Route, experience three totally different game parks and drives and most important see all in a malaria free zone. You will also not be spending on airfare to Kruger however you probably would be spending the equivalent on guiding fees as well as transport. I say this because I would not suggest that you try and do this all on your own in 7 days in that time is truly going to be tight in terms of all that there is to see. To do the following the following would be a tour itinerary that I would suggest you follow

Thursday - Leave Cape Town for the Mossel Bay area. 400km drive. Overnight in a guesthouse.

Friday - Visit Botlierskop and do their morning game drive. After lunch on the game farm move on to Knysna.
Overnight in Knysna for 2 nights

Saturday - Knysna (Explore the town of Knysna and visit some of the very interesting places such as the Sedgefield Saturday morning farmers market, Belvedere, Brenton on Sea and many other places.

Sunday - Travel down to Port Elizabeth taking in Plettenberg Bay, Natures valley, The Bloukrans Pass, Stormsriver inclusive of the Treetop safari at the Stormsriver Village. http://www.treetoptour.com Overnight in Port Elizabeth in a guesthouse

Monday - Visit Addo and Schotia game parks - Overnight in Port Elizabeth

Tuesday. Make your way to Oudtshoorn via the BaviaansKloof. Overnight in an Oudtshoorn guesthouse.

Wednesday. Travel back to Cape Town via Route 62.

Jen 79 if you need further help with regard to all of the above please respond either via this forum page or otherwise in private capacity to me per email and I will gladly help and advise you as best I possibly can.

When it comes to playing golf in Cape Town your husband will feel like a golfer who has arrived in golf heaven. Simply go to http://golf.capetourism.org/golf/capetown.jsp and you will see what I mean. If your husband cannot find a suitable golf course from this webpage then something is wrong. )

OK Jen79 that should open proceedings for you to comment on and if you do this in private capacity I will certainly respond however if you do this via this Forum board so many others will also benefit and rest assured there will be other Fodorites who will also add their great experiences into the debate so as to help you make your Cape Town stay a very memorable one.

Hope all of the above helps

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 5th, 2004, 06:02 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 119
Hello Jen79
We were in SA in May and did Capetown and the Garden Route before we went up to the game reserves near Kruger.
I would agree with other posters, there is SO MUCH to do in and around Capetown. The only problem is that you will never have enough time to do it all. We didn't, so we will be returning at some point to satisfy our need to see more.
As for the Garden Route, Selwn is absolutely correct (of course). We did it in 10 days so you will be a little squeezed for time.
Do see Knysna. Wonderful place. There is a small craft market on the main road just outside of town. It is the best place for African crafts. They have some lovely and rather different items along with the usual stuff. The prices are excellent as well.
Do make sure you do the Treetop Canopy Tour at the Stormsriver Village. http://www.treetoptour.com It was one of the highlights of our trip.
As for Addo, we realy enjoyed the park. We stayed in one of the cottages right in the park. This allowed us to do some touring the day we arrived and then get up very early the next morning for a morning drive. They are self catering so you can save some money by cooking your own food. Buy food in Knysna before you leave the area. The store in Addo doesn't stock a lot. There is also a small restaurant there. Hire a Hop On guide if you can. They are enthusiastic and well worth the R100 plus tip. They will show you more about the park and the environment than you can ever find out on your own. Our guide spent an extra hour with us to ensure we saw everything. We doubled her tip because she was so nice.
Follow Selwyn's advice about the route to Port Elizabeth/Addo. You will see some remarkale scenery. We toured with Selwyn one day and followed his advice for the rest of trip. We were delighted with the results.
Enjoy your trip. I am so jealous. I really want to go back NOW!!
Alisonv is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 04:55 AM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Thanks for all the great responses- it's really overwhelming!

We will arrive in Capetown on August 28, but will be tied up that week with work.
We will have the weekend free, but need to be back at Kirstenbosch on Monday.
So from Tuesday, Sept. 7 through Tuesday, Sept. 14, we will have the opportunity to do what we would like.

I haven't book our return flight because I wanted to be open to as many opportunities as possible, but I think a week is all I can probably extend in South Africa.

So in conclusion, my free time is:
Sept. 4-5 and Sept. 7-14.

Thanks!
jen79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 05:20 AM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
My boss was interested in this:
http://www.bigsixsafari.co.za/

He plans to add only 3-4 days to our stay in SA for a safari.

Does anyone have experience with this company? The prices sound reasonable, but I would prefer an expert opinion!
Thanks!
jen79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 05:53 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Alright, so I just priced the flight from CPT to Kruger and it's another $900 US Dollars per person. I don't believe that my husband and I can spend that much more money on this trip.

If that's the going rate to get to Kruger, then I don't think that we'll be able to afford it.

Any more helpful hints for budget-minded tourists?
jen79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 06:18 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 72
Jen,

The Cape Town - Kruger flights are convenient but super-expensive due to it being a low-volume route. One way flights Cape Town to Jo'burg on www.kulula.com is about $77 per person. Then you'd need a rental car for the approx 4-5 hours drive on good freeways to the Kruger Park. I mention that just for information as it's not looking like your budget is going to allow you to get to Kruger.

Take a look at www.parks-sa.co.za to see the different national parks to see whether there are any on your intended route. These are the "government parks" and the website obviously does not include the various private ownership game reserves. I believe the Natal parks are also not part of this website.
Province is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 06:22 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,177
Hello Jen!

Also just returned from SA and had the most wonderful time there.

Met the wonderful and generous Selwyn, whose advice is well worth adhering to, and also met AlisonV and another poster here, KimWhits.

I was in two minds about Addo since we have already had wonderful experiences in expensive private safari camps and were also booked to visit other SA parks such as Kruger, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, Ithala etc.

But we had a great time. Whilst we didn't see the cats (we did hear one of the 6 lions in the park at night time) we saw a great deal of animal and bird life at close quarters and found a unique delight in spotting and identifying things ourselves, slowly but surely.

We stayed in the self catering chalets there and I think they are absolutely superb. I'd strongly recommend staying in the park even for just one night - the accommodation and conservation fee admits you into the park both on the day of arrival and departure. As has been said, buy your groceries before entering the park.

We also booked an Eyethu hop in guide for Addo, but were surprised when Headman drew up a bill for only 50 Rand. I queried it with him and said that I had been advised that the price was 100 Rand and he mumbled something about quiet season and insisted it was 50. I tipped another 50 Rand at the end but still felt a little unhappy about paying so little for such an excellent service.

Would also recommend the day drive down and up the Cape of Good Hope - wonderful views from the tip and a fabulous market selling very very large stone carvings a short distance outside the entrance to the reserve.

Kirstenbosch Gardens are a pleasure - take a picnic as the locals do and enjoy a day at leisure.

You also have some wonderful beaches in the resorts near CT.

Another park I'd recommend is Tsitsikamma - whilst we didn't stay overnight inside the park the accommodation in Storms River looked excellent and another stunning location. This park is best for hiking and views rather than animals though birds and some animals are abundant. We stayed overnight in Storms River Village, handy for the excellent Tree Tops Canopy Tour.

Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 06:27 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 72
Correction, that $77 should rather be something like $84. I haven't been watching the exchange rate lately.
Province is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 12:18 PM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Kavey,
I'm slightly confused by your post- could you clear something up for me?

You said that you didn't stay overnight inside the park, but the accomodations in Storms River looked great.
But you did stay in Storm River Village.

I'm interested in overnighting there, but want to make sure that I understand your recommendation, based on the websites for:
http://www.stormsriver.com/ and
http://www.treetoptour.com

Thanks!

jen79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 12:31 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,177
Yes that's right. Storms River Village is the small collection of hotels, guest houses and stores outside of the park. It's where the offices for Stormsriver Adventures (who run the tree top canopy tours) are based.

Inside the park, at the actual mouth of Storms River itself, is official park accommodation, self-catering chalets. We did go inside the park and enjoyed a drink in the restaurant so could see the chalets. We didn't go inside one but were able to get a good look from the outside. I am sure the interiors would be similar to the national parks accommodation we stayed in at Addo, Kruger etc.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 12:33 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,177
We stayed at a guesthouse in Storms River Village (outside the park), we were very pleased with it - a very large room, very comfortable and well thought out, very reasonable price, couple of minutes walk from the tree top tours place.

I'll dig out the name of it for you.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 6th, 2004, 10:16 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 251

Hi jen

I know it looks like you've decided to give Kruger a miss - and it makes sense given your time restraints - but I nearly fell off my chair when I saw that quote for $900 pp for the return air between Cape Town and Nelspruit!

I don't know where you got that quote from but they are ripping you off! I have just checked the SAA website, listing my country of origin as USA so I would see the same rates you would. The quoted fare right now for Cape Town/Nelspruit return on 7 Sept/10 Sept this year is $643.55 including all taxes. At a rate of 6.17 to 1 this converts to R3970.70, which compares not too badly to the rate quoted to SA citizens for the same route and dates of R3515.00. Making some allowance for international banking transactions, and the airline compensating for exchange rate fluctuations means that the R400 difference is not too bad.

Long and short of it - I strongly question the rate you were quoted, and a word of warning, if whoever quoted you that fare is making other arrangemens for you (especially land arrangements) be aware!

traci
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 7th, 2004, 05:07 AM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Traci,
Thanks for the heads-up. I used the SAA website, but I must have entered something in wrong.

We are heavily leaning towards Selwyn's schedule for us, but maybe modifying it a bit to avoid feeling so rushed. I think we would just want to self-drive along the Garden Route.

A colleague at Kirstenbosch recommended the Garden Route Game Lodge.
Any opinions on this place?
Based on the aforementioned schedule, it seems that we could easily reach this location (instead of Mossel Bay) in one day.
jen79 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 7th, 2004, 05:14 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097
Jen79,,

Firstly my apologies for not being more voiceferous in this thread up to now. I certainly would have been however I have been having huge problems in getting my "post a reply" box at Fodors to work. Today I eventually discovered where the problem was and my local internet provider sorted all out on their side. So with that said I am back in the world of Fodors.

I hate to disagree with ILoveAfrica when I blatantly say "dont go to Kruger". The flights to Nelspruit would be cheaper if you go via Johannesbug using airlines like Kulula and the SA Airlink as opposed to direct Cape Town to Nelspruit flights however the subtle difference in flying to Johannesburg/Nelspruit to see game and travelling down the Garden Route to see animals would be the views along the way. They are incomparable and needless to say also much cheaper when you go the Garden Route way. Furthermore the game farms that you will
see on the Garden Route at various gamefarms will be just as good as going to Kruger. Thus my advice is stick to the Garden Route plan which will also result in a cheaper journey for you.

Now I also have to put a huge spoke in the wheel as far as The Garden Route Game Lodge is concerned. This is a lodge to give a very wide berth. It is an absolute waste of time. When I visited the lodge as a professional tour operator I asked the highly inexperienced game rangers whether this was a game lodge or Noah's ark in that when it came to seeing the big species of animals we only found 2 of each, that is if we found them at all because we never saw the elephant, leopard or the buffalo that the management claimed they had on the farm. The lions were fenced into a lion camp. Yuch! Not only did I find the rangers to be inexperienced I also found them to be gung ho with rifle brandished most of the time. The proof of the pudding is in the eating when I have to mention that in the evening 22 people went on the night game drive and we were all offered the opportunity to go on the morning game drive the next morning. Well 2 people out of 22 turned up for the morning drive. Enough said about the game drives.

The food and accommodation at the lodge was pretty average and certainly not on the top 50 list of game farms.

All in all when it comes to game viewing on the Garden Route your best bet is to go to Botlierskop near Mossel Bay. Great game drives and definitely the best in the area. The tented accommodation at Botliers, which is only one year old, is also very good. www.botlierskop.co.za/

In summary, as a professional tourguide /operator who travels the Garden Route regularly all I can say is give the Garden Route Game Lodge a miss and go to Botlierskop as it is a much better place to enjoy game. The lions at Botlierskop are also encaged as part of the Born Free Foundation,however you will se magnificent lions in the wild when you are on Schotia. With that said after your Botlierskop safari travel down to Port Elizabeth and then complete your game watching vacation with a trip to the Addo Park and Schotia Game park. Needless to say there are also many other adventures in stall for you along the way with the Treetop safari being one of them (Great experience)

Another very very important point. In September we will still be in the Winter season and because of a low tourist trade I would only book for places a couple of days in advance. Furthermore the Winter weather will more than likely play a huge role in what you will be able to do so with that said may I suggest that you book nothing as yet and do all your bookings when you are in SA thus giving you flexibility as to what and when to do whatever you want to do.

When in Cape Town please give me a call on 083 604 3917 and I can assure you that I will help you per telephone as best I can so as to advise you as to what to do and what not to do. Rest assured I will not give you bad advice and at the end oif the day if you come out smiling because of your great journey I too will be a very happy party in that I will have helped you attain this joy in our wonderful country.

Hope the above helps.

Selwyn Davidowitz
[email protected]

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa




Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:00 AM.