Itinerary for month in South Africa (August)

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Oct 25th, 2015, 05:23 PM
  #1
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Itinerary for month in South Africa (August)

Have enjoyed Fodor's books but new to this website/forum. I am planning to spend a month in South Africa (dates flexible but somewhere between mid-July and mid-September, so think "August"). It's just my husband and myself. We are wanting to get out of the heat in Florida where we reside. We will have to work some over the internet (maybe 20 hours a week). I was thinking we would rent a small home or villa somewhere not too far from Cape Town and spend most of the time there - some place with a view! Then we could be some half day and some full day excursions from there. During the time I would like to take 3-4 days and go to a safari. We have a pretty healthy budget for the trip but the planning is more overwhelming than I thought! Flights are more plentiful into J'Burg, but should I stick to flying in to Cape Town to avoid some of the hassles it looks like exist in J'Burg airport? Or should I fly into J'Burg so we are closer to Kruger and then do the safari at the beginning of the trip? Then is it worth the price to take one of the luxury trains to Cape Town? or should we fly? If we took the train would we see the wildflowers or should we make that a seperate excursion? Goals: relax, enjoy the "winter" weather, scenery/animals, romantic (second honeymoon type of trip), wildflowers, wineries, etc. So much to consider! Would like to start with finding a vacation, self catering rental and then work on the flight arrangements. Any and all advise is so very appreciated!
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Oct 25th, 2015, 08:35 PM
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I don't know what hassles you are talking about at JNB.

I understand the draw to Cape Town and it's a beautiful city, but I would consider visiting Cape Town and staying in/around Durban (KwaZulu Natal province). The ocean is warmer, the weather warmer but not hot in August, gorgeous beaches on the Indian Ocean and close to many world class safari destinations. There's even a ski slope inland that's open June - August. So much to do in KZN. Zinkwazi is a town I'd look into, Mtunzini if you can get a place with a view. I'd choose St Lucia because there is so much to do and since you will be there off season, you could get a nice place relatively inexpensively. No view, but very near the beach and in a wildlife reserve. My favorite town. Lots of self catering houses/condos/flatlets available in all three towns. Balito is more upscale, but more crowded too - for a reason, of course!! Durban airport has been recently improved.

You will get a more authentic experience in KZN - Cape Town is very European feeling. S African wine is excellent and it is sold all over the country, not just the winelands.

A major issue might be finding reliable internet service. I am currently looking into it, but can't find much info for residential wifi/internet. What I have found is very expensive and I'm not sure about availability for private residences.

From KZN you can visit Hluhluwe-imFolozi, a world class reserve that happens to be responsible for saving the rhino the first time we tried to exterminate them, many private reserves that we love, top ten diving, Durban, an interesting city and it's a day drive to Kruger, not a flight. Horseback riding, golf, every water activity - everything you can think of.

Stick to August - Cape Town gets windy and wet, and rain and heat build up in the rest of S Africa in September.

Don't just do safari at the beginning - do it as often as you can.

Have fun planning. KZN! It's beautiful!
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Oct 25th, 2015, 11:35 PM
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I also have no clue what hassles are being referred to at JNB airport. It's a much nicer airport than many I have been thru in the US.

Cape Town in winter is not my favourite time of year, it can be very rainy, cold and miserable. JNB weather is much better, it can also be very cold but by lunch it warms up until sunset then it is very cold again.

If you do decide on Cape Town, there are some beautiful areas close to the city where you can rent a villa or apartment, make sure they are heated.

If you go to Durban, I would recommend you stay somewhere north of the city, Ballito is lovely, Umhlanga is not bad, Shaka's Rock, Thompsons Bay etc. Some parts of the city are very nice too eg Morningside. I liked Durban more than I thought I would, it doesn't have the scenic beauty of Cape Town nor the food scene however (although it has it's own specialities) but the beaches are very nice.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 04:28 AM
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It is true that Cape Town can be a bit chilly still in August but over a month you should get some great days. you could fly to JNB and then do your safari first or you can fly direct to Kruger (3 different airport choices depending on the lodge choice) from Cape Town. if you not going to travel that much in SA then a train trip could be a nice way to see a bit more of the countryside. Durban is really great and if you can visit then definitely do so. I dont think you would be dissapointed in CT though. its a good time for a safari and its out of season so could get some good rates.
Sandy - Love Africa Travel
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Oct 26th, 2015, 06:19 AM
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Thank you so much, all of you. I defaulted to Cape Town because it sounds lovely and because I have friends who went there. The internet/wifi was a factor as it appears it might be sketchy in a lot of places and for work reasons, is crucial. I will look at the Durbin area for sure to see what they offer. I only thought the JBurg airport was difficult because of some things I've read on the iternet, but truly don't remember where - it was just a feeling I was getting. Also, the info could have been old. There are more flight options into J Burg than Capetown so I might see where I can get the best flight and then either do the safari on the first part of the trip if J Burg has best flight for me. Would the safari (Kruger) be better toward the beginning or end of this trip? Any real difference?
THANK YOU - this is a lot to consider!

Sandy
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Oct 26th, 2015, 03:18 PM
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We stayed outside of Cape Town for a month in this lovely house in Simon's Town. It was a great base for touring around and we loved the Cape area.

There are two units in the house - we stayed in Unit 2 (at the time the owners lived in Unit 1 - looks like it's available to rent as well)

https://www.accommodirect.com/listin...ests=1&rooms=1

It's also listed on airbnb

The house is lovely and HUGE and the view is stunning. I worked from there -- the wi-fi was fine and good cell coverage too.
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Oct 27th, 2015, 02:22 AM
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It doesn't really matter but maybe save the Safari for last, a fabulous ending.
Sandy - Love Africa Travel
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Oct 27th, 2015, 03:51 AM
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I agree, save the best (safari) for last.
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Oct 27th, 2015, 06:30 AM
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Thank you I will save it for last, or maybe do a short one on each end of the trip... I am going to have a great weekend trying to put this together.
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Oct 27th, 2015, 07:54 AM
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Depending on when your visit ends, give some consideration to heading a couple of hours up the west coast from Cape Town to Paternoster and West Coast National Park. In late August through the middle of September the wildflowers in this region will knock your eyeballs out. Paternoster is a picturesque village, and while West Coast NP doesn't have many predators, it does have some interesting wildlife and provides awesome birding.

Some snaps -

http://gardyloo.us/aug24b%20016s.JPG
http://gardyloo.us/aug24b%20044s.JPG
http://gardyloo.us/aug24b%20066s.JPG
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Oct 27th, 2015, 11:40 AM
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I wouldn't save safari for last because you'll be kicking yourself for not doing more. If, like so many of us, you love it, you'll have "wasted" a whole month in SA and only spent a few days in the bush as you're leaving.

Cape Town is nice, but you'll have to fly or drive very long distances to do a lot of fun stuff. Not a lot of day trip activities. The water will be too cold, the weather not great (so what's the point?). Try to find a nice waterfront condo or house near, north of Durban. There will be many places with good Internet - it's a major city - and you will have better access to water activities, wildlife, almost perfect weather and still have great shopping and restaurants. Balito is a higher end neighborhood, so something in/near there would be good. Princes Grant is a high end waterfront golf community and Uhmlanga Rocks (I hope I spelled that right) is a higher end touristy town. Durban airport is good, north of the city. Very convenient.

I am looking at moving to an area well out of town, so getting good internet will be significantly more difficult - no wires, no land lines, tough for Internet. In the cities, infrastructure is much better.

I use property24 for my real estate search. I'm not sure how to search for rentals, although there are a few there. Airbnb is not big there yet. There are tons of holiday homes/condos that are rented out, but I don't know how to find them.

Have fun planning - it's half the fun!
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Oct 29th, 2015, 07:35 AM
  #12
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Thank you so much to all - I will be working on this over the weekend and will look into the other areas as well. Just for the record, a large part of the reason I am going during the winter in South Africa (summer in Florida) is to get out of the heat. So I truly don't mind it being cold, chilly, whatever. It is miserable in the summer in Florida (think 90 plus F and very humid) so the colder weather is a draw, not a detriment.

Thanks again, I will endeavor to be a good fodorite and give any information out to others that I can.
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Oct 29th, 2015, 01:56 PM
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I guess the question then is: would you choose Seattle or San Diego in the winter?
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Oct 29th, 2015, 03:40 PM
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I guess the question then is: would you choose Seattle or San Diego in the winter?

No disrespect, but I live in Seattle and from time to time travel to Cape Town during the southern winter, and to me it's nothing like Seattle. There are orange groves around Cape Town and Stellenbosch; the nearest orange groves to Seattle are two states away. I'd put Cape Town closer to San Francisco or maybe the Monterey Bay area, e.g. 90mm or 4 inches in the rainiest months (June and January respectively.)
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Oct 30th, 2015, 12:50 AM
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If you don't mind cold, chilly, wet weather then go for Cape Town or close by areas. It is beautiful no matter what season and some of the restaurants have open fires which make the place very cosy.
You might be able to find something in Camps Bay (expensive area but might be less so in winter) or Clifton, Sea Point or Hout Bay which is a cute town with lots of facilities, supermarkets etc. Just make sure it is heated.
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Oct 30th, 2015, 12:17 PM
  #16
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Just for the record - I would for sure visit Seattle in winter...

Thanks for all the input!

Sandy
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Oct 30th, 2015, 01:52 PM
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Don't forget to pop up to Vancouver while you're in the neighbourhood.
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Oct 30th, 2015, 07:18 PM
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I spent a month (summer) in Vancouver one year. It was magical. Loved it and all the fund things to do - Shakespeare in the Park and the museum and the wonderful walks around the large park near the bay (forget the name).

One of m all time favorite places.
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Oct 30th, 2015, 09:33 PM
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That would be the seawall around Stanley Park.
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Oct 31st, 2015, 04:09 AM
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We just spent 9 nights in CT in mid September. We really liked it, we did it at the beginning of a 3 week visit to southern Africa. We were busy every day. A bit of rain on a day or 2. We were busy every day with day trips or exploring CT. Did 2 walking tours of CT. The weather was spring (northeast US) like. It would have been a let down to do it at the end. The cost was also considerably less to stay in CT than do do more days on safari, though we wouldn't have minded another location and safari or 2 but budget was already stretched.
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