Itinerary Suggestions for South Africa

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Jan 6th, 2006, 11:46 AM
  #1
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Itinerary Suggestions for South Africa

My boyfriend and I are in the initial stages of planning a trip to South Africa. As we know very little about this country, we are looking for some suggestions in terms of an itinerary. We would like to spend some time in Cape Town, do a safari, and possibly visit Johannesburg. We would spend 7-10 days in South Africa and we will be traveling to and from Buenos Aires at some point in March or April. Any help would be welcome. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of information!! We are young, active travelers who prefer to blend as much as possible as opposed to traveling in large tour groups. We also like to stay in accommodations that are moderate/budget levels (generally south of $100 a night unless the extra expense is really worth it). Our requirements are a clean, well lit room with a private bathroom in a safe neighborhood.

Looking forward to hearing back from you!
laosa13 is offline  
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Jan 6th, 2006, 04:05 PM
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Hello,

My first trip to Africa was to South Africa -- you'll love it! It's a wonderful country with so much to see and do.

If there's any chance you could travel in July or August, you will save quite a bit of money -- those months (the southern hemisphere winter) are the low season in South Africa and many places have great winter specials. However, by going in April you will have the best possible weather in Cape Town (it can be cold and rainy in the winter).

I'm not sure where you're flying in, but I'll assume it's Joburg (I believe that's where the flights from Buenos Aires land). Since you only have 7-10 days, I would suggest some time in Cape Town and the Winelands followed by a few days on safari, something along the lines of:

Cape Town/Winelands: 5 days
Safari (Sabi Sands): 4 days
Joburg: 1 day

For your accommodation in Cape Town and Joburg, I would suggest visiting the Portfolio Collection website, www.portfoliocollection.com -- it has a huge number of guesthouses and B&Bs which should fit your budget. You'll be surprised by how far your dollar will stretch in South Africa -- for less than $100 a night, you can still stay in some pretty posh places! I spent a month in SA staying in Portfolio properties, and was never disappointed.

The place where you will want to splurge is on your safari. Whilst many safari camps are quite luxurious, the thing which distinguishes the best from the rest is the quality of the guiding -- this is what makes places like Londolozi and Mala Mala such amazing experiences. It's hard to make recommendations without a better sense of your budget, though. How much are you able to spend on your safari (per person, per night)?

Assuming you are flying out of Joburg in the evening, one night in Joburg will give you quite a bit of time.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 7th, 2006, 03:10 PM
  #3
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Hi Julian,
Thank you so much for the response. I checked out Londolozi and Mala Mala and, although the look amazing, their prices are out of my budget (they seem to be about $500+ a night). I would prefer less luxurious accomodations, but I definitely don't want to sell myself short on the guided experience as I do want to see animals (and at the end of the day isn't that what it's all about?). I was hoping I could find something for under $700 total for the four days of safari.... Any ideas?
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Jan 7th, 2006, 03:55 PM
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Hello,

Believe it or not, Londoz and MM are not as luxurious as some other places out there (which don't have the same calibre of game-viewing).

Is that $700 per person, or for both of you? $700 is about R4300. If that's for both of you, I'm afraid it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to get four nights in a private game reserve with a budget of about R1000 a night. If you do three nights, that ups the budget a bit, but not much -- about R1400 per night. I usually recommend Nottens (www.nottens.com) for people who can't afford Londoz or MM and want a top-quality game experience, but Nottens is R2500 ($400) per person per night.

One option is doing a self-drive safari in Kruger National Park. This will be much less expensive, as you'll be staying in park bungalows and self-catering. You won't be able to drive off-road like you can in the private reserves and you won't have a guide and tracker to spot the game, but you can book a guided drive with a ranger who can give you some tips on how to spot animals when you are on your own.

I usually advise people to see if they can stretch to a few nights at a private reserve, because the guides there will enable you to see so much more than you could on your own. I'm afraid this is one area where a top-flight experience does not come cheaply. However, if you can travel in the South African winter, you may be able to take advantage of winter specials which could make a place like Nottens affordable for you. Some other cash-strapped newlyweds who have posted on this board have waited to take advantage of the better pricing and had a much nicer safari -- remember, the honeymoon doesn't have to be taken right after the wedding!

You may also want to spend some time on the Portfolio website and see whether the prices there free up and money for your safari.

Good luck!

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 7th, 2006, 04:00 PM
  #5
 
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Hello,

I just spotted on offer on CCA's website which might of interest. Phinda is a private game reserve near Durban which has excellent game-viewing and guiding and is a bit less expensive than the Sabi Sands area.

They are currently doing a special offer where one person pays and the other stays for free (50% off their normal rate). The offer is valid during in May and June. Take a look on this link:

http://www.safariasap.com/safari_off...duct.php?id=57

Cheers,
Julian
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