Namibia or South Africa, August or October?

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Jun 12th, 2003, 01:19 AM
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Namibia or South Africa, August or October?

Hello! We're considering a 2 week trip to either Namibia or South Africa (our 1st trip to Africa!), either the 1st half of August or the 1st half of October. When would be a better time to go and to which one? If we go to Namibia, we'll rent a car (is 4WD necessary?) and drive between Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Etosha. If we go to SA, I'm thinking 4-5 days in Capetown and the rest of the time in Kruger with a rent car both places. We can't afford the lux $1000 a night places! We might be able to swing a couple of $500 nights but only if it was someplace really really cool and absolutely worth it. I'd prefer to keep our expenses for hotels to $100 average per night (or less).

So, what do you think? I'd really appreciate your opinions and advice! Thanks!
 
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Jun 12th, 2003, 02:05 AM
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If you haven't already I'd recommend you look at this thread:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...4&tid=34425476

and make sure to visit the website mentioned. Scott and Nicci did a self drive trip to both Namibia and South Africa and their wonderful report and pictures may help you plan your trip.

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Jun 12th, 2003, 02:25 AM
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Already saw it!
 
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Jun 12th, 2003, 02:36 AM
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And Celia's recent trip report too, I expect?



Here's a couple of sites you may or may not have already looked at:

http://gorp.com/gorp/location/africa/namibia.htm
http://www.africaguide.com/
http://www.game-reserve.com/


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Jun 12th, 2003, 03:32 AM
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Thanks! I'm really looking for advice from people who have been one or both places around the 1st of August or the 1st of October. Deciding which time of year to go is the first big decision.
 
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Jun 12th, 2003, 03:35 AM
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Although October will definitely be the better time of year - that is not to say it will be bad in August, just be aware that the evenings will be chilly. In fact, game viewing will probably be better in August as it is before the first rains. There is also the upside that many places start their high season rates in October.
There are many, many lovely places that you can stay in for the price of $100 a night. I'd recommend that you try to include two nights/three days at one of the "luxury" places where you will get the best game viewing opportunities. In August 2003 Getaways ([email protected]) lists Djuma's Vuyatela camp rates at R2400 per person sharing, that includes three meals and game drives, and translates to $300 per person.
To track down other accommodation visit the AA site (www.aatravel.co.za) or Portfolio Collection (www.portfoliocollection.com) and you will be able to search by your criteria including price.
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Jun 12th, 2003, 04:26 AM
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Thanks, Traci! How is Capetown in August? Is that the height of winter there? Is it too chilly for beaches? I'm also interested in the shark cage dives. Do you have any scoop on that? Thanks!!
 
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Jun 12th, 2003, 02:21 PM
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Pep,

Cape Town will be raining and cold in August. Shark cage diving is a possibilty at this time of the year. As an extra bonus if you do your shark cage diving at Gansbaai then you will see lots of Southern Right whales all along the coastline returning to Cape Town.

I might be biased but even in the wet weather Cape Town IS worth a visit. You just cant beat this place.

Selwyn Davidowitz
[email protected]
Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa


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Jun 12th, 2003, 10:46 PM
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Okay Selwyn, we all know that you just love "Slaapstad"!
Peep - Cape Town is fine in August, it is winter but remember that winters in SA are not that fierce. I am going to be in Cape Town on business in the middle of August and the most important thing is to remember the raincoat and/or umbrella. Actually - I'll probably leave the unbrella at home as I would not want to do a Mary Poppins impersonation! All that rain and cloud and extra green make Cape Town very beautiful in winter.
Now let's just hope there are no "tornado's" (that is just for Selwyn!)! ;-)
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Jun 13th, 2003, 12:00 AM
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It looks like October is more likely. We could go for 2 weeks between September 20 - October 18. Does the weather typically change substantially during this period (or hotel rates)?

Any scoop on Namibia during this time?

Thanks! I've been wanting to go to Africa for a while and it just hasn't worked out so far, so maybe this time it will!
 
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Jun 13th, 2003, 12:21 AM
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I believe a poster here, Nicci, who posted a trip report recently, went to Namibia on October 18 and onwards last year.
There is a great report (with pictures, which might give an idea of weather) on their website, http://www.slrobertson.com/ as well as contact details if you wanted to ask them anything, or ask her on her thread here.
I'm emailing with her at the moment...
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Jun 13th, 2003, 03:39 AM
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Too cool!! Namibia? or SA? SA? or Namibia?? Tough choice! It will probably come down to airfare. There are direct flights from Munich to Windhoek, Capetown and J'burg.
 
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Jun 13th, 2003, 05:02 AM
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Pleeeeeease tell me where you've found that direct service between Munich and Johannesburg? I need to go to Munich in the next few months and can only find flights via London, Paris, Zurich or Frankfurt. It will be a very short trip so I'm trying to minimise travel time as much as possible.
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Jun 13th, 2003, 05:16 AM
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Hey Traci! Maybe I'm wrong. When I was considering a trip last year I'm pretty sure they were available because I was going to fly into CPT and out of JNB. Did you check Condor (Thomas Cook), LTU and Lufthansa? LTU flies between Windhoek and MUC.

BTW, if you need any scoop on Munich, just let me know!
 
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Jun 13th, 2003, 06:11 AM
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In an ideal world I'd say go for 3 weeks but, from our direct contact, I understand you can either go for three weeks next year or two weeks now. I'd agree - go now while you can rather than hold out for longer next year. You can always go back for more!

I must admit I see why it's so hard to choose!! There are so many pluses for both.

Namibia is still, (just), relatively less known, though visitor numbers are growing quickly, so perhaps worth seeing it sooner rather than later, but South Africa offers more variety with Cape Town, winelands, garden route, beaches plus safari...

If you're leaning towards Namibia I'd look at includingbr />
Fish River Canyon
Sossusvlei (in NamibNaukluft Park) and perhaps a day or two in NamibRand Reserve just south of there, if you have it.
Swakopmund
Windhoek
Damaraland
Etosha
Skeleton Coast

You could also pass through Luderitz though it does't appeal much to me.

I'd say that some of the Skeleton Coast can be accessed by car but that the more remote stretches of it towards the North, which are said to be very beautiful, require a fly in extension which is not cheap.

If you were doing both South Africa and Namibia you might do:

Etosha
Damaraland or Windhoek
Sossusvlei
Fish River Canyon

and down into South Africa...

Towards Cape and then do Cape Town, winelands and garden route.

You could drop Etosha from the beginning of Namibia and add in the South African game parks instead.

Just one or two ideas IF you wanted to mix both...


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Jun 13th, 2003, 06:13 PM
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Peep

I agree with Kavey, go now for two weeks and then return next year for more! Although if you go to Namibia, do not miss Etosha and skip Fish River Canyon. Etosha is known as one Africa's best parks for its size and variety of animals. I liked both countries so much that I would recommend visiting each of them. October is the ideal time to see the wildflowers and Right Whales in the Cape Town area; Namibia because it's not too hot to visit the desert and many of the animals in Etosha have babies. A good mix would be 9-10 days in Namibia and 5 days in the Cape Town area.

A trip to Namibia and SA for two weeks I would suggest:

3 Days Etosha-stay inside the park at Namutoni/Okaukuejo/Halali
2 Days Damaraland-Mowani was our favorite lodge
2 Days Swakopmund, Cape Cross, Walvis Bay
2 Days Sossusvlei
5 Days Cape Town, Hermanus, Winelnads, Garden Route

Let me know if you need any advice on lodging. We had a good combination of budget-luxury.

Nicci
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Jun 14th, 2003, 02:18 AM
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Nicci
I'd only skip Etosha IF I were spending a lot of time in SA's game reserves on the same trip and then only in the interest of seeing as diverse a selection as possible.
In a trip not combined with SAfrica I'd definitely agree with you 100% that Etosha be visited for at least 3 nights...
I am hoping to incorporate it into our own self drive trip next year too!
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Jun 18th, 2003, 12:52 AM
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Hi Nicci! I read your trip report and loved it. Did you feel rushed at all moving around so much? We tend to prefer to stay at least 2 nights in one spot but not if the place isn't so interesting. Did you break it up that way to reduce the driving distances or because you really wanted to stay at each place? Can you give me an idea how much each hotel/lodge cost and what it included? Did y'all take anti-malarial medicine? Thanks!
 
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Jun 18th, 2003, 06:42 AM
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Peep

We also prefer to stay at one place for at least 2 nights. We didn't arrive into Windhoek until 10pm & our flight leaving Namibia was 8am, so we needed to stay one night in Windhoek on both ends of the trip. We wanted to stay at Kulala Desert Lodge for two nights, but the second one was booked. Since we were ballooning the next day, we stayed at the lodging owned by the ballooning company. The lodging was ok, but an inconvenience because the hot air balloon took off from Kulala's property. Okonjima was only one night because it was very expensive and one day was more than enough time here. We stayed 2-3 nights at places the rest of our trip, except two stops in South Africa to break up the drive and experience the area. We wanted to stay longer at Buchu-Bush camp in De Hoop Nature Reserve, but did not have enough time. Our favorite lodge in Namibia was Mowani, and Wilderness Manor in SA. The only places I would not recommend are The Port-Wine House and Four Seasons.
This is a cut and paste of our trip itinerary:
NAMIBIA October 17-31

17th October
Rivendell (B&B)
http://www.rivendell-namibia.com/ N$240

18th October
Kulala Desert Lodge (D, B&B + Sossusvlei excursion on 19th)
http://www.namibweb.com/kulala.htm N$2860

19th October
Camp Mwisho Ballooning Camp (D, B&B)N$1800
Ballooning on 20th-N$5000 per couple

20th & 21st October
Zebra River Lodge (full board)
www.zebrariver.com N$2700 total

22nd & 23rd October
Sea Breeze (B&B)N$800 total

24th & 25th October
Mowani Mountain Camp (D, B&B + concession fees)
www.mowani.com N$3340 total

26th, 27th & 28th October
Etosha Park (no meals / no entrance fees included)
Okaukuejo & Namutoni N$1120 total

29th October
Okonjima (fully inclusive)
http://www.okonjima.com/ N$3080

30th October
Rivendell (B&B)
http://www.rivendell-namibia.com/ N$240


SOUTH AFRICA October 31- November 12

Oct. 31 & Nov. 1
Village & Life, 23 Brighton Court
www.villageandlife.com R1300 total

Nov.2
Buchu Bush Camp
www.buchu-bushcamp.com R550

Nov.3, 4,5
Wilderness Manor Guest House
http://www.manor.co.za R2700 total

Nov.6
The Port-Wine House in Calitzdorp R1000

Nov.7, 8, 9
Franshhoek Country Inn
www.fch.co.za R4020 total

Nov. 10, 11
Four Season B&B R900 total
Seapoint Cape Town

We did not take any anti-malarial medicine because it was not necessary in the areas we traveled. Also, the tap water was safe to drink EVERYWHERE we stayed. I forgot to mention in the last reply that birding in Namibia is fantastic, so bring binoculars and a good reference book.

Have you decided on a trip to both countires or chosing only one?

Nicci
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Jun 23rd, 2003, 05:32 AM
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Thanks! I'm leaning towards 2 weeks just in Namibia but haven't bought tickets yet. I'm trying to read a bunch and get a better grasp on where we'd like to stay and then maybe I'll firm it all up. If Namibia falls through, I'll try to SA. Woo hoo!
 
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