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Honeymooning in Africa

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Mar 27th, 2014, 08:39 PM
  #1
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Honeymooning in Africa

Hello! My fiancé and I are trying to figure out where to go on our honeymoon. We'll have about 10-12 days. And we've narrowed it down to Africa and Croatia. If we go with Africa, where should we go? South Africa to check out Cape Town and Kruger National Park? Or are we better off with Tanzania or Kenya or Mozambique or some combination? We'd like a variety of activities -- not just safaris. We are pretty naive when it comes to this area of the world, having never traveled it before and not knowing many people who have. Any help would be much appreciated! And if you have been to both South Africa and Croatia and can compare, well, that would just be amazing. Thanks in advance for your help!!
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Mar 27th, 2014, 08:39 PM
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I should add that we will be traveling in September!
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Mar 28th, 2014, 06:43 AM
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Well, there is certainly no comparison between South Africa and Croatia. Totally different environments. I would advise you to do a lot of reading on both locations. You could then offer more information in your post such as why these two locations interest you. Adding your budget guidelines and starting location will also help.
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Mar 28th, 2014, 07:50 AM
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We're traveling from Washington, DC. Budget is flexible. Mostly trying to get a sense of where in Africa we should go if we want some safari, some beach, some fine dining, some shopping, some hiking, etc. Which locale offers the most diversity in activities? And, if the answer is South Africa, are there 10-day itineraries anyone would suggest for first-time visitors looking for the things I listed above?
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Mar 28th, 2014, 11:01 AM
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The first thing I would point out is the major difference in both price and time for flying to South Africa vs Europe. The non-stop flight from ATL to JNB for instance is aproximately 17 hours. We flew it last November. The cost of Business Class tickets is about $8000-$9000 per person. Compare that to flying to Europe with an 8-9 hour flight time -- which is a bit easier to do in coach class -- therefore a lot cheaper. Even Business Class tickets to Europe are half the price.

If you want safari and beach -- obviously Croatia isn't the place. There are many places in Africa that could meet your needs. Its a lot to do in only 10 days. Do you mean 10 days on the ground or 10 day total including flight time? From the USA you lose a day in flight...usually arrive in the evening, requiring an overnight in Jo-burg and then move on to a safari location. So that has taken 3 days to get you to safari. Upon departure, the same is true. It usually doesn't require an overnight in Jo-burg as the flights out are around mid-night, but it is a 2 day process. So flying alone is a 5 day investment. Something to consider when you say a 10 day itinerary.

September will be high season in So Africa - pumping the price of safari up. Just to give you some idea (although there are places in many price ranges)-- our "green season" (low season) trip to Botswana last November ran about $1000 per day for the two of us (excluding International air and JNB hotel). Prices during high season can be double. Another trip (also during low season - January) to Southern Tanzania for some safari and some beach/diving was in the same price range -- $1000 per day for two.

I can say without doubt that both the time and price for a trip to South Africa will be substantially more than one to Croatia. It really is comparing "apple to oranges".
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Mar 28th, 2014, 02:06 PM
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Thank you for this, TC. I know you can't directly compare Croatia and Africa for us -- that's a decision we'll make once we have a better understanding of what a trip to South Africa or another country in the region would look like. That's where we could use your help. To which country in Africa would you send us if we wanted dining, hiking, safari, shopping, beaches, etc. -- an experience that isn't heavily focused on safari, but still includes it.

The 10-days would not include travel. We can take a couple weeks off work, and I assumed we'd be losing about 3-4 days total getting to and from.
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Mar 28th, 2014, 04:55 PM
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I can't help much with your preferences. When I go to Africa, I go only for safari. We have been three times. (1) Kenya and Northern Tanzania. (2) Southern Tanzania. (3)Botswana Each time we have stayed 3-4 weeks in the bush.

We added diving and beach only on the trip to Southern Tanzania because my husband wanted to dive with whale sharks and they were near Mafia Island. If you click on my name, you will find my trip report.

I can't give you any information about hiking or shopping in Africa. I do that at home. I can say that we have stayed at some very spectacular camps in Africa where the food was amazing. On this last trip we used all Wilderness Safari camps. My favorite was Vumbura Plains.

http://www.wilderness-safaris.com/camps/vumbura-plains

In Southern Tanzania we used all Selous Safari camps. They have some wonderful packages with their three camps -- one is on the beach near Dar. Dar is also a big city for shopping, but it isn't very romantic.

http://www.selous.com/


You could try posting your questions about Africa on SafariTalk.net However, those guys are pretty serious about their safari...so I'm not sure how much info you'll get on shopping, etc.

Or you could try a good Africa specialist. The one we used is Craig at TravelBeyond. They are listed in Travel Leisure mag every year as the top Africa specialists. They don't charge a fee for their service, so there's no harm in talking to him. Craig has been to Africa (especially S. Africa) 30+ times and knows everything.

If you want to know what Africa and some of the camps look like. I have a web page with many of my photos. www(dot)tonna(dot)zenfolio(dot)com Have a look.

I hope this has helped in some small way. Like I said...its comparing "apples to oranges" and that's not easy. If you aren't just keen on safari and beach. I can say for sure that you will get more bang for your buck in Croatia.
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Mar 28th, 2014, 08:26 PM
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Congratulations on your upcoming marriage.

I’m wondering how it got narrowed down to Croatia or Africa. Why not British Columbia or Brazil or India, etc? Maybe you were taking advice from Anderson Cooper? I think he likes Croatia and parts of Africa for his fav 2 spots.

When are you going? That makes a difference for weather and activities in each location.

With 10/12 days of travel at a more leisurely pace that is befitting of a honeymoon, I’d stick with one country. Did you know the South Africa slogan is “A World in One Country?” So if you choose Africa and you’d like a variety of activities, not just safaris, I think South Africa would be good.

You could do 5-6 days Cape Town, which may encompass the wine country.
And 4-ish on safari

For Cape Town, Fodor’s has a guide.

http://www.fodors.com/world/africa-a...wn/sights.html

Check out this thread. I know it is intended for teenage girls and parents, which you are not. But good advice that includes hiking.
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...us-parents.cfm

Don’t know when you are going, but June-Sept is nice for whale watching and for Great White Shark viewing. You can even do a very safe cage diving with the sharks. Just viewing them from the boat provides outstanding sightings too. Cape of Good Hope is one of the most beautiful places in the world and takes a full day’s outing. You can hike Table Mountain. Historic Robben Island where Mandela was held prisoner. Boulders Bay for penguins.

For the safari, I’d suggest one of the many concessions in Sabi Sands, the private reserves that border Kruger.

Here’s a list. Lots and lots as you can see.
http://www.uyaphi.com/south-africa/lodges/sabi-sabi.htm

My experience is with Mala Mala, but there have been big changes there since I went. Many good options at many budgets.

Here is another South Africa angle to go with Cape Town. Consider Phinda, a private reserve and cheetah sanctuary that has programs of 7 days of 7 different activities such as aerial safaris, cultural visits, hikes, rhino tracking on foot, canoeing/kayaking. I’ve done quite a few of these different activities at Phinda, which is owned/operator by AndBeyond. (You don’t have to stay 7 days and do 7 things, you can do fewer days.)

Last time I was in Phinda, I met a Cape Town couple who chose to honeymoon in Phinda. They ought to know. There are 4 places to stay in Phinda. I’ve stayed at Mountain and Forest Lodge. The facilities and dining are appropriate for a special occasion like a honeymoon. In fact I had the lovely honeymoon suite. Phinda is accessed by flying into Richard’s Bay.


How does all these things suggested above get arranged?

For Cape Town, you could book hotels, a car, and activities yourself. I used Wayne of Take2Tours for my privately guided trips around Cape Town and Simons Town. He is based in Cape Town. Highly recommended.

You can use a company in South Africa. Some that have been recommended, though I have not used them, are Southern Destinations and Sun Safaris. They can do just the safari part or the whole trip.

You can use a company in your own country. If that is the US, there are lots of options. For Southern Africa I have used The Africa Adventure Co in Ft. Lauderdale and Eyes on Africa in Chicago. They can do just the safari part or the whole trip. All has been great on trips with each.

TravelBeyond, mentioned above, is another of the many US companies that can plan your whole honeymoon or just the safari part. It is different from AndBeyond. No connection.

If you decided to do Phinda, you can book directly with AndBeyond. They may be able to help you with Cape Town too. It is usually not less expensive booking directly with AndBeyond. That might seem surprising.


Fodors plans out several entire trip itineraries, here.
http://www.fodors.com/world/africa-a...p_2279968.html
I’d suggest the 14 day itinerary but do not include Victoria Falls, making it 12 per your request.

Have fun in South Africa or Croatia.
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Mar 28th, 2014, 08:46 PM
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Been to both - love both!!

We traveled the whole length of Croatia and it is beautiful! We loved Pula - the Roman ruins in the city are fascinating and well preserved. We buzzed into Slovenia to visit Lipica - we could have stayed there for a long time at the Lippizzaner stable (famous white horses that I am a big fan), casino and winery all in one place! Fun! Then to Plitvice Lakes - stunning, down to Split (amazing ancient city) and other coastal towns, islands and finally to Dubrovnik. Lovely city. If you want beaches, the islands will be less crowded in September, but still a bit crowded. We like to "see it all", and this was a fun trip for us.

S Africa is a "World in one Country". So much to do, see, eat, etc. You could do an amazing trip to KwaZulu Natal. Secluded beaches at Rocktail or Thonga, city life in Durban, safari at Phinda or Tembe or Zululand Rhino Reserve (depending on your budget/needs) and a top ten dive location at Sodwana Bay. It could really be spectacular. The Indian Ocean is always warm and KwaZulu Natal should be warming up nicely in September. If you want to do Cape Town too, it's an easy flight CPT to Durban.

We drove in both countries - not a lot of public transportation. Both were easy, if you drive a manual - otherwise can be very expensive. Croatia is pretty hard to get to - at the time there were no flights from LHR, we had to transfer to a regional airport to fly to/from Croatia. Getting to Durban - and other cities in S Africa go through Johannesburg (for the most part). We fly through Europe (city depends on airline) because we use miles and can't use SAA. It also breaks up the long flight.

Right now, the Euro exchange rate is $1.37. The exchange rate is 10 Rand/$. Flights are a little more expensive to S Africa, but not very much. S Africa does not have to break the bank - there are some really great affordable options!

To sum it up - we went to Croatia and loved it. We went to S Africa and loved it so much we are planning our fourth trip. Croatia is lovely, S Africa is life-changing. (Really).
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Mar 29th, 2014, 03:54 AM
  #10
 
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September is spring in South Africa, as mentioned the best time for whales & also fauna in the western cape. It is not high season as mentioned above, with 10 rand to a dollar there's very good value for money in SA.
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Mar 29th, 2014, 09:02 AM
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South Africa offers much more than just safaris and Cape Town and the Western Cape is a hugely rewarding destination for a honeymoon, and offers quality and good value. For personalised service to match your needs and interests I would recommend Classic Escapes in South Africa - www.classic-escapes.co.za
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Mar 29th, 2014, 09:48 AM
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christabir on Mar 28, 14 at 10:46pm
"Croatia is lovely, S Africa is life-changing. (Really)."
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Apr 3rd, 2014, 02:07 PM
  #13
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This is all so helpful! Thanks a million. So it sounds like South Africa is a winner!

Not sure how we narrowed it down to South Africa and Croatia. We only had a few rules -- had to be somewhere with a mix of actitives (ie, not just beaches), had to be somewhere neither of us have been before and both of us have wanted to go. Patagonia was also high up on the list (we are big hikers), but we decided we'll do that trip in February when a good friend is also planning to travel there.

I'm going to study all of these recommendations, but I can't thank you enough for your reassuring advice. I'm sure I'll be back with more South Africa specific questions soon!
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Apr 3rd, 2014, 02:56 PM
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There is so much to do around Cape Town you should plan to stay at least 4 days. Malaria may be present in Kruger that time of year with the changing weather pattern, if that's an issue look at the next best area for a safari in the Eastern Cape.
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