Please Critique this Itinerary

Jul 8th, 2004, 07:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Please Critique this Itinerary

Thank you all so much for your expertise and guidance. You get a big hug from me all the way from Washington DC. I would be lost without all of you.
I tried to take everyone's suggstions into account. I have a nice list of activities and restaurants for the stops along the Garden Route (except Mossel Bay). I would love recommendations for accomodations as well!

We are going to self-drive (Avis car rental), so please let me know if you think we'll have any difficulties getting to these locations on these dates.

South Africa Itinerary- Sept 7-14, 2004

Tuesday, Sept. 7 ? Mossel Bay
Leave Cape Town for the Mossel Bay area. (400 km from Capetown)
Accommodations: Overnight in Mossel Bay ???
Activities: Boat trips to Seal Island to spot whales, dolphins, seals and penguins.

Wednesday, Sept. 8- Botlierskp and Knysna
Leave Mossel Bay for Botlierskop (20 minutes from Mossel Bay)
Accommodations: Overnight in Knysna ???
Activities: Game drives at 9:00 and 15:00. After move on to Knysna

Thursday, Sept. 9- Knysna
Explore the town of Knysna
Accommodations: Overnight in Knysna
Activities:The Scarab in Sedgefield, etc.

Friday, Sept. 10- Stormsriver
Don?t take the National Road. Drive on the old National Road thru Natures valley and the Bloukrans valley.
Accommodations: Tsitsikamma Lodge
Activities:Treetop safari at the Stormsriver Village

Saturday, Sept. 11- Addo and Schotia Game Parks
Accommodations: Overnight in Port Elizabeth ???
Activities: Game drives
Is the combined Addo/ Schotia game drive our best option?

Sunday, Sept. 12- Return to Capetown
Travel back to Cape Town via Route 62- approximately 800 km
Accommodations: Overnight in Capetown ???

Do you have an idea of the cost of the tents at Botlierskop? They do not have the accomodation rates on their website.

Thanks again for all of the help!

jen79 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,216
You may have a different travelling style from me, so feel free to ignore my message, but the main thing that strikes me is that all your stays are one night only. That means you'll have much less than a day to explore any destination since you'll be travelling from or to the next one.

Personally I think your itinerary is too ambitious for only 6 nights BUT in terms of whether it's feasible, I'm sure Selwyn and others are better placed to comment.
Kavey is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 10:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
It does seem very rushed to me as well- I even took a day out of it. I based it on Selwyn's suggested itinerary in my first post.
We are staying two nights in Knysna, so that's at least one place were we will have a full day.

I've gone back and forth about staying in Tsitsikamma versus another night in Port Elizabeth. But the lodge looks so lovely and that seems like a nice place to relax- just doing the treetop safari that day.

There's a chance I could get going earlier (on Monday instead of Tuesday), but I can't really count on that.
jen79 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,216
Much as I enjoyed Addo I would consider dropping Addo from your itinerary and concentrating on CT and the garden route.

Selwyn, what are your thoughts?
Kavey is offline  
Jul 8th, 2004, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097

The problem with your journey is the number of days that you have available to yourselves. When I quoted you the original potential itinerary I did it with a rather heavy heart as I knew that it was very rushed but then I also knew that you wanted to experience the Garden Route as well as animal viewing along the way and only had a certain amount of days available to do this in. To be able to achieve this I promoted an itinerary which is very rushed. To top this you have gone and reduced the journey by another day which is total disaster in my opinion. With that said I am just like Kavey in that I am not really in favour of one night stopover type events. I really believe that this is a very un-qualitaive touring style. To avoid this type of style of touring the only solution in your tourplan would be to leave out the Port Elizabeth/Addo/Schotia leg.

Other comments:

There is no way that you are going to be able to stay at the Tsitsikamma Lodge and then drive to Port Elizabeth the next day so as to view Addo and Schotia too. The journey from Tsitsikamma to Addo is a 3.5 hour drive.
Furthermore you need AT LEAST 3 hours on Addo and you have to be at Schotia at 15h00 to do their afternoon game drive. Schotia is a 30 minutes drive away from Addo. Working backwards to attain this you would need to leave Tsitsikamma at about 07h00 in the morning and I ask myself what you will attain by staying at the lodge if you are going to arrive close to after dark and leave at 07h00 the next morning.

Other comments:

Cut out the sector in your itinerary "Activities: Boat trips to Seal Island to spot whales, dolphins, seals and penguins" You can do all of this in Cape Town on your free weekend in the city. Furthermore you might see whales but I do not know if you will see any of the other "promised species" on the Mossel Bay, Seal Island journey

You asked: Is the combined Addo/ Schotia game drive our best option?

The answer is "NO". Rather stay in PE, travel to Addo and have an Eyethu guide take you on the Addo game drive. Thereafter travel to Schotia for the afternoon "tooth and claw" game drive - Moneywise you will save quite a bit by doing the journey this way.

Overall your journey is much too rushed so here is a modification of your itinerary as a new suggestion so as to accommodate part of the problem.

Tuesday, Sept. 7 Mossel Bay
Leave Cape Town for the Mossel Bay area. (400 km from Capetown)

Accommodations: Overnight in Mossel Bay
Look at Bay Lodge - Great place to stay

Wednesday, Sept 8 - Botlierskop & Knysna
Leave Mossel Bay for Botlierskop (20 minutes from Mossel Bay) Go on the 09h00 game drive. (Contemplate the quad bike safari ? It is a wonderful experience) After your game drive move on to Knysna. Stop in at the Wilderness and Sedgefield along the way. Visit places like Scarab during this journey

Accommodations: Overnight in Knysna.
Go take a look at Overmeer Guesthouse. Great place to stay.

Thursday, Sept. 9- Knysna
Activities: Explore the town of Knysna
Visit the Belvedere Estate and the Knysna Heads

Have dinner at La Loerie restaurant in Knysna. Fabulous

Accommodations: Overnight in Knysna - Overmeer?

Friday, Sept. 10- Stormsriver
Don't take the National Road. Drive on the old National Road thru Natures Valley and the Bloukrans valley. Do the Treetop safari at the Stormsriver Village and then travel on to Port Elizabeth.

Have dinner at Whickerwoods restaurant. Good food venue.

Overnight at Lemon Tree Lane. Great little guesthouse

Saturday, Sept. 11- Game Parks
Travel to Addo and Schotia game parks for the day.

Overnight at Lemon Tree Lane

FAIR WARNING. In my original itinerary I split the the next part of your tour viz the PE > CT journey into two days. This is a VERY IMPORTANT part of your new itinerary Jen79 that you have omitted. If you do the journey in one day here is a fair warning. The ride is a VERY LONG and arduous which I would definitely not advocate. I would rather as, per the original itinerary, split the journey into a two day drive or otherwise suggest that you hand in your hired car at the PE airport and fly back to Cape Town.

Sunday, Sept. 12- Return to Capetown

See above.

By following the above itinerary Jen79 you will only have a single night stopover at Mossel Bay with two nights in Knysna and two nights in PE. Needless to say this wont be as frenetic as your original proposed itinerary.

With the above all said I still want to point out that I dont think that it is a good idea to try and cover the Garden Route in 6 days (5 nights) with Cape Town as start and end points. It simply is not feasable from a qualitative point of touring relative to all that there is to see in the area.

Hope this all helps.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Thanks you two! I knew I probably went a little crazy on this. I certainly don't know what I don't know in terms of planning this trip. I had no idea that Selwyn's original schedule split up the return trip over 2 days- so thank you for pointing that out directly.

I'm a really detailed oriented person, so my preference is to have everything laid out and mapped out before we go. My husband is a little more relaxed on vacations, but we are generally active individuals. For instance, I noticed that several people advocated doing activities such as picnic lunches. This holds no interest to either of us. I think our goal is to do things far-removed from experiences we can have hear on the East Coast of the U.S., so we don't desire any time soaking up sun on the beach. Eating dinner on the waterfront sounds lovely, but strolling on the beach would probably annoy my husband. Hope this helps you understand the lense we are looking through.

We are modifying our schedule now.
We will depart from Capetown on Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 16:25. We absolutely refuse to sacrifice the Addo/Schotia part.
This would give the entire day of Monday, Sept. 13 to travel as well as the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 14.
We are adding the Oudtshoorn via the BaviaansKloof back on the itinerary and nixing the Tsitsikamma Lodge.

Honestly, this is beginning to feel more intense than planning my wedding! But I probably wouldn't have it any other way. My husband and I just got married in February, so this will be a fabulous second honeymoon for us.

Again many, many, thanks for all your guidance.

Regarding the Eyethu guide, I noticed that pre-booking was highly suggested. Selwyn, I know that you mentioned not booking anything prior to departure, but would this be an exception?
jen79 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:52 AM
Posts: n/a
It might help if you laid out your goals for the trip. Your itinerary is radically different from our own the first time we went to SA. We were out to see the animals. What do you want to see and experience when you go there?
Jul 9th, 2004, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097

Happy that you are making the itinerary changes as I believe you are now on the right track.

Eyethu guides. You need not book this facility so far in advance. As a matter of fact heres a tip. Phone one of the guides viz. Headman on his private cellphone on 0837228609 and make an arrangement directly with him for his services. Tell him that Selwyn from "I Love Cape Town tours" sent you sent you to him otherwise he is going to refer you back to the booking office (Yolande - 0833968396) who in the past have made a mistake or two with my bookings hence the direct hotline tip.

Please also remember that once you are in Cape Town dont hesitate to call me on 083 604 3917 and I can assure you that I will help you as best I can with all the latest updated travel news and ideas from the territory that you will be travelling in.

Finally please dont stress yourself in your planning, after all this a vacation that you are talking of. (Your Garden Route journey) With that said if you liken this to your wedding arrangements you could well be correct because all that you are doing is you are cementing your love for the continent of Africa which I can assure you will become a love of your life forever.

Enjoy your planning.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 686
You probably know this already, because it's the same for most countries. And apologies if you do, but just in case . . .

If you want to call someone from outside of S.A., you add the int. dialing code, the country code and drop the zero from the area code. So e.g. the private cell # that Selwyn gave you would be +27 83 7228609. (I've been to the U.S. many times, but I can never remember what the "+", i.e. the int. code, would be. Something like 091, or 01, or 09. Whatever.)
ArthurSA is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 06:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
Selwyn- You are divine. My list of information is ever-growing.

Arthur- Thanks for the country code tip. I was just going to ask around once I got in SA.

Blacktie- My trip probably does look crazy. To clarify (in the event you missed my first post on this board), I'm heading to Capetown for a workshop we are conducting with staff at the Kirstenbosch Gardens. I'll be there approximately one week, and then my husband will join me and we'll drive the Garden Route. With free airfare for me and accomodations for us for a week and a half, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to turn my business trip into a vacation for the two of us.
With the help of our local staff, I will be sure to see the highlights of Capetown and will do a daytrip or two to the winelands over the weekend.
jen79 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 07:16 AM
Posts: n/a
... sounds wonderful! I assume the Cape is included.


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