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June in South Africa (Cape Town and Sabi Sands and KZN Safari)

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Mar 12th, 2012, 07:22 PM
  #1
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June in South Africa (Cape Town and Sabi Sands and KZN Safari)

Some advice needed from FellowFodorites. I will be in South Africa between May 25 and June 10, and I am in the process of planning my itinerary. I currently have three nights planned in SabiSands at the beginning of the trip, and three nights at Phinda at the end. I have eight nights in the middle that are still open. Initially, I had planned to spend the entire time in the Cape Town/Garden Route area, but I have since learned that weather in the area is incredibly bad in June. So I am now toying with the idea of moving on to KZN early and spending three or four nights in the St. Lucia Wetlands Park and/or Drakensberg. So my questions are:

1. Is Cape Town weather really that bad in the beginning of June? And does this generalization apply to the Garden Route and Western Cape as well?

2. In light of the season, what's the right amount of time to spend in Cape Town and surroundings? I do want to travel the Garden Route, go shark diving, see the penguins at Boulder, explore the Oudtshoorn and do a whale excusion at a minimum. Would 4 days be enough time?

3. Is 2 nights in St. Lucia Wetlands enough? And if so, where should I spend my time? I was initially thinking about spending the bulk of my time at Thonga Beach Resort; but I really want to have maximum flexibility with excursions, so I was wondering whether St. Lucia is a better base. Any suggestions on lodging?

4. Is 2 days enough in Drakensberg? Any suggestions on lodging?

Any advice is much appreciated. If anyone has a different suggestion about what to do in the eight days, that would be appreciated too...

Thanks!
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Mar 12th, 2012, 10:39 PM
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St Lucia is a great base from which to do a variety of activities.

There are birdwatching cruises, day trips to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi NP and the Isimangaliso Wetlands, the coast is 'just around the corner' and whale watching is available at certain times of the year.

Shakabarker http://www.shakabarker.co.za/ offer a range of activities and the town itself has good restaurants and a couple of galleries for quality crafts.

Fly to Richards Bay and arrange a transfer to St Lucia.

Happy planning,


Pol
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Mar 13th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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I think the worse time for weather in Cape Town is August.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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I don't worry about weather much - except I don't want hot. No matter the generalization, you'll likely get good and bad days. If you want to do those things on your list, Cape Town is a yes. Either do the Garden Route or St Lucia. The GR needs more time than SL. Are you renting a car? If not, GR can be difficult. SL has many tours available so you can arrange more. Honestly, doing GR in that time sounds like trying to fit too much in too little time.

As Pol says, St Lucia is a lovely option. So much to do. So fly to the Kruger region, fly to CT then fly to Richards Bay (the closest airport to St Lucia), and then head to Phinda. Sounds good to me.

SL has horseback safaris, boat tours and beaches. Tripadvisor might be a place to start finding a place to stay. Take them with a grain of salt, but it will give you some options.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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Thanks for the reply guys. Still pondering what to do, but I've definitely ruled out a long stay at St. Lucia. I'll probably add one additional day to Phinda to do whale-watching and the croc/hippo tour and call it a day (no pun intended). Have also ruled out Drakensberg completely.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 10:36 PM
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An extra night at Phinda for $600 or so pp/pn vs $150 or so for two in SL? Plus pay extra for the tours from Phinda?
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Mar 17th, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Well, I was planning on taking advantage of the stay for 4, pay for 3; so the additional night would have been complimentary... but is 4 days in Phinda too much time?
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Mar 18th, 2012, 02:41 AM
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Not sure if camping is an option or not but the Saint Lucia campgrounds are outstanding! Greater bushbabies everywhere all night long. Banded mongooses by the millions, eppaulated fruit bats and we even saw a leopard in the bushes! We did great for wildlife in the region and spent three days - too short if you ask me, as it is a truly rich area. Here is our trip photo-blog:

http://cokesmithphototravel.com/Expe...rica_2009.html

Cheers and great travels! Many other locations you mentioned are featured in the blog as well.
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Mar 18th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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Oops - forgot about that special. Four nights is not too long.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 12:30 AM
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The only reason to go to the Cape area in the(ir) wintertime is the sardine run. But you're too early for that.

Garden route is great, but not in late fall. No flowers then.

Off topic; most people confuse the flower carpets of Namaqualand with the "garden route". In spring, you need to go north from Capetown to see the best of those flower carpets.

OP, since you're already in the east at the beginning and at the end of your stay, why not stay there the whole time? A few days in the wetland area might be nice. But a prolonged stay in Kruger as well. Why not pick another private reserve near Sabi Sands? Timbavati or Klaserie, for example.

Ciao,

J.
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