Please help me with ideas on a 5-6 week trip :o)

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Jun 13th, 2003, 05:36 AM
  #1
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Please help me with ideas on a 5-6 week trip :o)

Well, 8-9 weeks actually but the last 3 weeks are already booked...

Basically, Pete and I have just decided to take some time off and make the Africa trip next year into a much longer one!

What is already booked (from 8 June):

Currently set to fly Heathrow-Jo?burg-Maun
4 nights Little Mombo
3 nights Savuti Camp
1 night Gudigwa Camp
2 nights Tubu Tree (boat transfer to next camp)
3 nights Jacana Camp
4 nights Jack's Camp
Fly Maun-Windhoek
1 night Hilltop House
3 nights Wolwedans Dunes Lodge (inc. a ceremony to renew our wedding vows)
Fly Windhoek-Jo?burg-Heathrow

We ideally want to add the 5-6 weeks into the trip _before_ this itinerary so that we finish the whole trip with 3 weeks of luxury and our wedding vows renewal.

Ideas I've tossed around in my head, generally, for future trips to Africa:

- South Africa (cape town, wine lands, garden route, game viewing etc)
- Back to Namibia to see Etosha and also Fish River Canyon
- East Africa - in ideal world to include migration/ crossing but doesn't have to
- Zambia and Vic Falls

I think in reality we?re looking at the first two ? Namibia and South Africa

Given the time of year we?ll be arriving in South Africa (very end of April/ early May) we figure we need to start with the Cape area whilst the weather is still good there. From there we could move up the West Coast of Africa and into Namibia and then East across the interior?

Alternatively we could start in Namibia and come down the coast of S Africa into the Cape and continue Eastwards from there.

This will be on a _much_ lower budget than the 3 week itinerary above and we will likely stay in the wonderful BBs that Selwyn often recommends, pretty much exclusively, with the possible exception of the game park areas.

All input (and excitement) welcome!

<bounce> <bounce>

Kavey
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Jun 16th, 2003, 02:23 AM
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Anyone?
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Jun 16th, 2003, 06:08 AM
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Are you going to rent a car?
 
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Jun 16th, 2003, 06:25 AM
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Yes we are, Peep.
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Jun 17th, 2003, 07:05 AM
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Kavey

Two months in Africa sounds fantastic! Since you have so much time, maybe renting a car to drive the entire trip? On our last trip we met quite a few people who were traveling from South Africa to Namibia to Botswana by car.

Have you ever considered a trip to the island of Madagascar? The only place in the world to see Lemurs in the wild. Also known to have lovely beaches with crystal clear waters and great snorkeling or diving.
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Jun 17th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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Nicci
We've already booked the 3 week trip, several months ago, though internation flights not yet booked so that's cool. That trip is pretty much self contained - private flights between camps, etc.
So it's just 5 weeks we have to play with to precede it.
We want to really stick to a budget on that because the 3 week thing is mind numbingly expensive.
That said, I don't think I can do camping - either in campsites or on in a jeep roof tent - I need easy access to a bathroom in the middle of the night!
So we're thinking cheap (but pleasant) BBs and hostels all the way.
I don't think we can run to lots of internal flights hence Madagascar is likely out though it's long been on my list for a future trip.
I'm thinking most of the 5 weeks would be in South Africa, and possibly into Mozambique, though I was trying to look at including Etosha but that's hard because we're not so fussed about going back to Damaraland and we've already got the red dunes of namib desert in our 3 week itinerary (plus visited before) so Etosha is kind of up there on it's own and very distant from South Africa.
In South Africa we want to fit in as much diversity as possible. Cape Town and peninsula, winelands, garden route, and then over to mountains, East, game reserves etc.
Is there a website you used to help work out times and distances for the major drives in South Africa?
Thanks
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Jun 17th, 2003, 08:47 AM
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We used maps and info from guidebooks to get an idea of distance, then reconfirmed with someone local when booking or inquiring about lodging. Etosha is nice because you are able to self-drive and go at your own pace. The self-catering lodging inside the park is inexpensive, has AC and is super clean. The road from Windhoek to Etosha takes about 5 hours and is paved the whole way.

Although we met some happy travelers camping and doing the roof tent thing, that is not for me either. There are some lovely B&B's and guest houses in Southern Africa for those on a budget. We used www.namibian.org to book in Namibia and researched on www.portfoliocollection.com for South Africa.

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Jun 17th, 2003, 12:12 PM
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Thanks Nicci
Would you be willing to drop me an email with the details of accommodation you used?
Thanks so much
Kavey
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Jun 18th, 2003, 03:28 AM
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We are going to Namibia for a month in September. We booked through Cardboard Box Travel and have been very pleased. The Epupa Falls area in northern Namibia fascinates me and the Epupa Lodge looks wonderful. The Himba people should be interesting. Also in northern Namibia the Kuene River Lodge with rafting could be a possibility and you could see Etosha on the way.
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Jul 1st, 2003, 09:48 AM
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Thanks very much.

Any more anyone?

Particularly on itinerary for SA?
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Jul 1st, 2003, 10:43 AM
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Just to kick back for a few days in different scenery, what about some time in the St. Lucia area, possibly staying at a place called Makakatana which will book you over the internet.

This is on the Indian Ocean not too far from Durban, and convenient to N2.

They have rangers who specialize in boat trisp on ther large lake and then beach safaris along the highest sand dunes in the world.

If interested, Kakakatana Bay Lodge at St. Lucia Wetland Park - contact Franci or Leigh-Ann Morrison at [email protected] or [email protected].

Stayed here in 2001 for four days. Delightful. Very charming hosts and guests and lots of conversation. Ten to 12 guests and no children.
 
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Jul 7th, 2003, 02:50 AM
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Fantastic!

Here are some of the suggestions we've been getting from some agents I've been talking to. I've been upfront with each one (of 4) in letting them know that I've approached a few others.

FIRST SUGGESTED:

5 Nights: Cape Town
2 Nights: Winelands
1 Night: Stellenbosch
2 Nights: Hermanus
1 Night: Oudtshoorn
4 Nights: Knysna
2 Nights: Addo National Elephant Park
2 Nights: Durban
2 Nights: Hluhluwe
4 Nights: Rocktail Bay
2 Nights: Pongola Game Reserve
2 Nights: Swaziland
1 Night: White River
4 Nights: Sabi Sands


SECOND SUGGESTED:
7 nts Cape Town
2 nts Oudtshoorn
4 nts Plettenburg; Wilderness, Knysna, Tsitsikamma NP
1 nt Durban
2 nts Battlefields, Fugitives Drift
3 nts Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve OR St Lucia, wetlands area
2 nts Milwane, Swaziland
2 nts Hazyview; Blythe River Canyon
3 nts Sabi Sands (Djuma Camp?)



Both these would likely require 1 nt in Jo?burg or Maun before continuing on to our prebooked 3 week luxury trip.

Given that we want to keep this budget I'm going back to these two agents and discussing budget accommodations with them and reviewing whether it will be financially feasible to include so many high-end game park lodges.

Your input requested again...
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Jul 7th, 2003, 07:29 AM
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SECOND has also offered this alternative itinerary:

7 nts Cape Town; winelands included
2 nts Oudtshoorn
4 nts Plettenburg; Wilderness, Knysna, Tsitsikamma NP
Drive to Port Elizabeth -> Durban flight
2 nts Durban
2 nts Battlefields, Fugitives Drift
3 nts Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve
2 nts Milwane, Swaziland
2 nts Hazyview; Blythe River Canyon
2 nts Djuma Camp, Sabi Sands
3 nts Kings Camp, Timbavati Private Game Reserve
1 nt Jo?burg
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Jul 7th, 2003, 10:48 PM
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I recommend the first option:
5 Nights: Cape Town
2 Nights: Winelands
1 Night: Stellenbosch
2 Nights: Hermanus
1 Night: Oudtshoorn
4 Nights: Knysna
2 Nights: Addo National Elephant Park
2 Nights: Durban
2 Nights: Hluhluwe
4 Nights: Rocktail Bay
2 Nights: Pongola Game Reserve
2 Nights: Swaziland
1 Night: White River
4 Nights: Sabi Sands

My reasoning for this is:
One night in Outdshoorn is sufficient;
you are covering a great deal of territory and this has the fewest number of single night stays (I find it exhausting to only stay one night in a place);
this covers the winelands/Stellenbosch and Hermanus (all just around the corner from each other) separately from Cape Town so you have enough time to do the city justice;
Knysna is 15 minutes from Plett/wilderness/Tsitsikamma;
and the longest drive is Knysna to Addo, about 4 hours.

When you drive between Addo and Port Elizabeth, be sure to stop at the Nanaga Farm Stall and buy some mud pies and dune pies - highly addictive! When in Durban make sure that you go to Jaipur Palace for dinner - it's excellent.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 01:41 AM
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I agree with Traci that you don't need 7 nights in Cape Town. It's not that one couldn't have fun but I think 4-5 will probably serve you, depending on what you like to do. You can see Robben Island, Table Mt, the botanical garden, shop the antique shops and play around the waterfront, take a drive to Boulders beach and around the Cape in 4 days. I highly recommend getting a guide for at least one day, perhaps the Boulders beach/cape tour. Not only for the ease of it (they'll drive and they know where to go and when to go) but also because they will discuss current affairs from a S.A. point of view. Our travel agent had arranged a guide otherwise we could have met the famous Selwyn here but however you get your guide, use one for those drives in CT. There are many places in the world where I wouldn't think of doing this but it is the thing to do in CT. Lucky you, 9 weeks!!
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Jul 8th, 2003, 02:19 AM
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Thanks Traci and Clem...

One of my concerns has been that we're hitting the Cape area at a time of year when there are usually a lot of rains (though i accept that it was pretty dry and sunny this year at that time, I believe that was an exception).

I've been told that the temperatures are not too cold (from a UK point of view) but that it can be wet for many days in April/ May and that the rain can last quite some time.

So I am thinking that, although we won't be able to see much of what CT offers, that 4-5 nights in CT will be sufficient, given that we can always come back another day.

Having already spoken to Selwyn we're really hoping to spend a half or full day with him - will get his input on the idea to make that the Boulders beach/ Cape tour.

In terms of the wineland - can anyone give me input on what the landscape looks like at this time of year (early May) and what we would be doing with out time for our 2 nights in that area?

I am assuming that one wants/ needs to make the overnight in both Stellenbosch and Hermanus - that they wouldn't combine into one 2-3 night stop because of their locations?

On another note, if we were to look at cutting costs in the second segment (after the flight to Durban) what would you all recommend? Should we stick with rough itinerary and look for less expensive accommodation or look at a different or shorter itinerary with similar accommodation.

I'd like to keep in Rocktail Bay if I can, though am not sure how many nights it justifies.

All input very very welcome - thank you all!
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Jul 8th, 2003, 09:46 PM
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I know I usually give Capetonians a lot of grief about the weather, but even if it rains Cape Town is particularly beautiful. In May it will be cool, and it may rain, but it is unlikely that you will have the gale force winds which are really the problem. Remember that the cable car is closed if there is cloud on the summit, and that can happen in the middle of summer and have nothing to do with rain.

The greater winelands area is lovely, vineyards on the foothills of mountains, and tucked away picturesque farmhouses. Stellenbosch and Hermanus are very close to each other. What about staying in Malmesbury or Ceres for two nights and covering the "west coast" vineyards, and then doing Stellenbosch/Worcester/Robertson from Hermanus over a period of three nights?

While there are some very quaint towns in the winelands area, the main activity is wine-tasting at the various estates - so stock up on the liver-tonic and get someone else to drive!

Durban has yet to be discovered on the same scale as Cape Town and so you can get some very reasonable and excellent accommodation in the city. It is very vibrant and a unique mix of cultures so definitely worth the stay.

Keep Rocktail Bay - it is very special, but you can cut it down to 3 nights if you want.

The hotel "star rating" in SA is considerably better than I have experienced on any travels overseas. If it is a three star establishment it is quite comfortable.

Sabi Sand is only just over 100km further than White River - is it really necessary that you stay over there for a night?

If you need to stay over in Johannesburg - maybe if you save that extra overnight in White river - then the Quatermain Inn in Morningside is excellent and very reasonable. I recently booked there at under R800 a night for two people sharing.

If you post an idea of how much a night you want to spend (or where the travel agents have suggested you stay), I can give some additional comment.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 12:22 AM
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Well - they haven't come back to me with suggestions for all the places to stay yet so I'm not sure...

In an ideal world we'd budget only £1000 a week between the two of us to cover car rental, accommodation, iternal flights and even food.

I imagine that's not even remotely realistic so we'll likely go higher as necessary - I'm thinking we can really go for less expensive BB in Cape region (we're not amenity hogs - but I'd like something that's got a comfortable double bed, ensuite with tub and shower and is clean) and then we can spend more on accommodation in reserves where activities are included.

I like the idea of cutting out the 1 nighter though I think many people have said Stellenbosch is one of those places that's such a pleasure to stay at?

I've found a few maps but mostly quite low level - do you have any websites that will show me distances and even travel times between the towns on my route?

No idea at all about the White River suggestion - what's the overall driving time between Swaz and Sabi?

If one of the other itineraries for post Durban is better we can go with that?

Thanks so much for your help on this...

PS Pete would be tasting and I'd be driving as I don't like wine BUT given that we're flying and that we often drive to France with our car to stock up on wines, we're not intending to actually buy any to take home with us. If that's the case should we cut winelands down to perhaps 3-4 nights overall?
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Jul 9th, 2003, 10:49 PM
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I would only suggest you change the post-Durban sites if you are very interested in matters relating to the Anglo-Boer and Anglo-Zulu wars.

To me Stellenbosch is a university town (and a very nice one at that) but I personally don?t see any compelling reason to overnight there.

I don?t know of any sites that have information with distances and times, but I?ve had a look at one of my more trusted books and these are my estimates. I?ve added in comments about the road/driving conditions for each leg. I say upfront that someone, somewhere is likely to disagree with something, so please, these are ESTIMATES. I have not done all these legs myself and a number are a best guess!

Cape Town/Ceres: 70km (good roads, mostly single lane highway with an emergency lane/shoulder)
Ceres/Hermanus: about 100km (that is really a guestimate on my part and conditions would be as above)
Hermanus/Oudtshoorn: About 320km (you?re on the N2 for most of the way which is a very good road)
Oudtshoorn/Knysna: A mere 200km (a regional road, but it should be good due to the interest in the area)
Knysna/Addo: About 300km (N2 all the way)
You will need to drive back to Port Elizabeth from Addo (about 70km) and then fly from there to Durban. The flying time is about an hour. DO NOT think about driving from Addo to Durban. It is quite a journey, the roads are not good in places and it is also not very safe for some stretches.
Durban/Hluhluwe: about 250km depending on where in Hluhluwe you are headed (on the N2 almost all the way)
Hluhluwe/Rocktail Bay: a very short drive of less than 100km (you can only access Rocktail in a 4x4, so you have to be met at a point by the staff)
Rocktail/Pongola: again under 100km (regional roads which will not be fantastic, but will be safe)
Pongola/Swaziland: This depends a lot on where in Swaziland. I estimate it?s 100km to Big Bend, another 80km to Manzini, and another 90km to Piggs Peak. (The roads in Swaziland are not generally as good as those in SA, a ?national? road is likely to be only a single lane in each direction without an emergency shoulder. Be on the lookout for livestock!)
From the Swazi border/Sabi Sands: 280 to 300km (regional road well-maintained due to the tourist volumes)
Sabi/Johannesburg: about 500km (the first bit will be on a regional road, but once you join up to the N4 from Nelspruit it?s multi-lane toll-roads all the way)

The speed limit on this route will be 120kph in most places, but you can go at whatever pace you want ? you?re on holiday and do not need to break any records!

Have a look at the AA site (www.aatravel.co.za), they have all sorts of accommodations listed with a wide variety of price ranges. Food and drink are really cheap in SA once you divide by 12.5 to convert to GBP!

About wine, every vineyard I have been to ? no matter how big or small ? has offered international shipping, so you don?t have to carry your loot around with you for the rest of your trip.
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Jul 10th, 2003, 12:08 AM
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Thanks Tracy, this is of great help, let me go and digest it all.

Thanks again, this is just the kind of help I am looking for.

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