HELP - South Africa

Nov 12th, 1997, 07:22 AM
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HELP - South Africa

I decided on travelling in South Africa next year from mid-March to mid-April. But there are two things I'm not so sure about, mode of transport and my itineray.

More or less I want to stick to the standard"-route:
Cape Town - Garden Route - Durban - Drakensberge - Swasiland - Kruger NP. As I'm not so interested in the big cities but the countryside, I'm wondering if I can reach all the good places for hiking and game-watching (which are ?) by bus or train ? Or is a rental car necessary ?

The other thing is that I will be in Kruger NP around Easter if I'm doing my trip this way round. I guess it will be quite crowded then in Kruger NP. Does it also make sense - e.g. regarding the weather - if I'm doing the trip the other way round,
i.e. starting at Kruger NP and ending up in Cape Town ?

Here's another one. What can I do against Malaria besides the usual precautions ? Mosquitos just love me !

Any information or suggestions would be highly appreciated !
Nov 26th, 1997, 10:40 PM
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March-April - beautiful weather. Not too hot & not too cold (usually!) El Nino is playing havoc her too. Malaria - depends on where you go. Kruger you MUST take pills (check with pharamacist WHICH ones). You can get plenty of preventative 'things'. Eg special soap, coils that you burn in your room at night, sprays & creams to rub on.
All will help but profolactics as a necessity in certain areas. Check this out carefully. Local transport is not an option. Car hire no problem. Trains not wonderful. Organised tours plentiful. If you hire a car make sure you keep to 'known' roads and find out 'safe' areas before you drive around. I have lived in Joburg / Pretoria all my life
and find it lovely. Enjoy!

Dec 2nd, 1997, 12:59 AM
Posts: n/a
thanks for your reply !
just found out that there is a 'Baz Bus' travelling from Jo'burg till Capetown and vv. Has anyone been on the bus recently, any expierences/opinions ?
Dec 13th, 1997, 09:37 PM
Jan Potgieter
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Hi Thomas

You picked a good time of the year weater-wise to travel down here. Be sure to book for the easter period as everyone goes somewhere over easter. If you enjoy hiking you must explore Mpumulanga ( Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck etc. ). Don't worry too much about transport. There are plenty of companies offering "overland trips" to destinations such as Kruger and mpumulanga province. Bars are cheap, so you can spend plenty time in them meeting locals who are very friendly and helpful and more than likely will offer you some assistance with accomodation and transport !
Dec 13th, 1997, 09:51 PM
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I think travelling by train is really wonderful; I especially liked the ride from Joburg to Durban. You can watch the sunrise just before arriving in Durban. The trains are very comfortable, and you can eat there, too. The compartments have beds and blankets as well as sheets (second class), and a wash basin inside every compartment. Cape Town is beautiful; the air is described as "Champagne Air". You should try to visit Robben Island and the Cape while you're there. Durban's beaches are quite something; try to get to the University up on a hill overlooking the Bay of Natal. Have fun.
Dec 13th, 1997, 10:46 PM
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From my own personal experience of renting a car in
Johannesburg and then driving for almost two weeks, I
wanted to share with you a couple of things. Driving
was not bad except for the cities such as Johannesburg.
One thing that the rental car company forgot to tell us
was that they put a $3,000 hold on our credit card. It
showed up as a cash draw and my family was really upset
when the credit card company called them my first day in
South Africa and asked if they should go ahead and
authorize $3,000 draw. Since they didn't know how to get
in touch with me, they authorized it. A week later when I
called and they told me about it, I thought someone had gotten
my credit card number and was withdrawing money. When I
called Citibank, they couldn't tell me who the draw was
from so I cancelled my card. Later I found out it was the
car company and they had forgot to tell me. The other
factor that I somehow missed or they forgot to tell me was
that they charge by week and also add on the mileage so it
is much more expensive than in the U.S., especially if you
are driving many miles. Parking was sometimes a problem
in certain areas and there is a lot of auto theft so you
have to take out their insurance (your insurance won't cover
in other countries-at least mine didn't). Gas was pretty
expensive also so these are things you need to keep in
mind. It was nice having a car though and I am glad that
we rented however, I was pretty upset with the company
that they failed to give me all the above information.
You will enjoy your trip. Hope this is helpful.
Dec 25th, 1997, 09:45 PM
Richard Briant
Posts: n/a
Hi Thomas,

You are sure going to have a great trip, one thing I will warn you about is that once in Africa, you will not want to leave. It gets into your blood and you can't get rid of the desire to get back ther at the earliest opportunity.

Anyway, a couple of things really:

1) Swaziland.
They have a malaria problem at the moment and I would advise precautions. You can take all the usual things, and I would advise that you do, but also you should get some personal insect reppellant which should also help. Also don't forget that mosquito coils do work quite well at night although the smell can be a bit off-putting.
If you want to stay somewhere in Swaziland for a few days and want to sleep in a traditional Rondavel or a Swazi Hut, then Jimmy's Caravan Park should suit you. It is not flash by any means but it is cheap and clean. The bar gets some characters in there at night and you should enjoy yourself.
Otherwise, if you want to pay a few extra dollars for more comfort you could try the Happy Valley Motel which has a good disco and girlie go-go bar attached. The bars are good with plenty of action so it depends a bit on your budget.
The high end of the scale would be the Sun hotels, there are four of them but only three which I would suggest and they are all in the Ezulwini Valley, Lugogo Sun, Ezulwini Sun and Royal Swazi Sun.
There are some nature reserves you could visit but none to compare with Kruger in South Africa. All in all though, a visit to Swaziland is a must, I must admit that I am biased though because I spent a few years there and really love it.
Dec 31st, 1997, 10:14 AM
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I am a travel writer based in south africa. Any questions - I might be able to help.
Jan 4th, 1998, 08:12 AM
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Hi, I'd like to add some questions regarding the same subject, I hope you could help me on this:
1) Is there a recommanded public- transportation way to get from Johanesburg to Kruger National Park ?
2) I'm planning to visit KNP at around february-march. Should I reserve from advance a place to sleep (And for camping ??).
3) Are there chip guided tours (Excluding meals and fancy hotels in the price) ?

Jan 21st, 1998, 05:54 AM
Noelle van der Waag
Posts: n/a
Hi Yaron

Public transport in South Africa is to be avoided at al costs. When you arive in Johannesburg, you must either fly to Skukuza or take a Plus Bus bus from Joburg to Skukuza. I would'nt advise that you travel alone in the Kruger Park, it will be difficult for you to spot animals. Either link up with a tour or make use of the open landrover tours which run from Skukuza and other camps every day. You must definitley book accomadation now if you want to find place. Book through the National Parks Board. You can stay in a hut or a tent (which you must take with you). Accomadation here is good value but remember to take your own food and cooking utensils or you will have to eat in the restaurant. I am sure there must be a camp hire place where you can get everything you need - consult fodors!
Jan 28th, 1998, 07:24 AM
Posts: n/a
Hi Thomas,

I would actually suggest starting in Kruger Park and then doing the Cape Town bit.
The Easter week-end is exceptionally busy in Kp, as are the roads.
The Zionist church has a get-together in Pietersburg over the week-end and the roads
are jammed with min-bus taxis and buses,
many of which are ferrying people backwards and forwards all week-end, making them tired, and
not very safe drivers.
Hope this helps.


Mar 3rd, 1998, 11:10 PM
Posts: n/a
Jambo Thomas!
I would definately stay away from Kruger over Easter. Other great Hiking is in the Drakensberg Mountains. I particularly liked the area around Himeville and a trip up Sani Pass is a must. Lesotho is like traveling back 100 years in time in a moon like landscape. A beer at the highest bar in Africa is cool and Sani Top Chalet for the night is pretty good (definately not flashy). The guy that owns is (Jonathan Aldous 27-33-7011466 or fax 7011626) is a great guy and also runs tours up to the top of Sani Pass. As for help with mosquitoes: buy insect spray that is 100%25 deet. To counter the reaction of mosquito bites, take alsong a good cortisone cream and a good antihistimine (Benedryl). Whear light colors in the evening when mosquitoes are most active (tan, white, etc.) mosquitoes and tsetse flies are attracted to dark colors as dk. green and black. Ditto on the coils. Here in the U.S. there are also sprays you can use to spray a room to kill any flying bugs that work real well.
Good Hicking,Ruth

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