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

Jul 10th, 2003, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,306
Hi Kavey. I'm green with envy -- to have the luxury of such a long trip!

We have not been to South Africa yet but have a 2-week itinerary planned for late Nov-early December of this year and can't wait. So I'm far from an expert, but wanted to offer a few thoughts based on the research we've done.

My first thought was, if cost is a consideration, have you thought about staying in one of the camps within Kruger National Park for part of the time? They are VERY reasonably priced and easy to arrange on your own. I'm told they're not luxurious but comfortable. We are renting river view bungalows with private bath, air conditioning, kitchen, etc. in two different rest camps I've heard good things about -- Olifants and Lower Sabie -- for 460 Rand per night (not per person). Very reasonable. Game drives are around 100 R per person or you can drive yourself. They also offer game walks and other activities. Here are links:
We are staying 3 nights in each of those 2 rest camps and then 3 nights at a private camp in Sabi Sands called Chitwa Chitwa, which we've also heard good things about and is reasonably priced relative so many of the other upscale places in the area. They have a pretty good website:
We were able to get better rates than their site offers by reserving through Mark at Taga Safaris, who has been very helpful and who also has a good website at Another reasonably priced camp we considered was Elephant Plains.
We are following with 6 nights in Cape Town.

Have fun planning!
lisa is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 01:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Well I've been spending a lot of time looking at your comments and also elsewhere and am thinking of reworking the itinerary as follows:

6-7 nt Cape Town
(stay in one place but visit eastern winelands, inexpensive BB)

2 nt Western Winelands
(Inexpensive BB)

1 nt Hermanus
(Inexpensive BB, combine with above for a 2-3 night stay and spend one of the days touring coastal area in car???)

1 nt Swellendam
(Inexpensive BB, suggested extra stop but not sure we need it AND Oustshoorn stop)

1 nt Oudtshoorn or Calitzdorp
(Inexpensive BB, see above)

4 nt Knysna (Inexpensive BB)

2 nt Addo National Elephant Park
(stay outside in cheap BB and self drive within, maybe book 1 or 2 guided drives when get there)

Drive to Port Elizabeth and fly to Durban

2 nt Durban
(Swim, relax, indian temples, shopping, seaside town - not sure about whether want 1 or 2 nts here)

2 nt Fugitive Drift
(Possible addition, not sure yet, enjoy history but not sure if are so interested in THIS history, is expensive)

2-3 Rocktail Bay
(Need to look into this as not sunbathers but might be nice to include relaxation nights, but would also have had some of this in Durban, plus may be wrong time of year to even see turtles (I know we won't see egg laying) so looking at how many nights etc)

2 nt Hluhluwe
(Stay cheaply at Hilltop, self drive, huge park)

2 nt Itala Lots of rhino, self drive, has been suggested to me instead of Pongola, stay cheaply as above and self drive)

1 nt Swaziland
(Slow drive through and 1 nt enough if not hiking etc)

1 Whie River/ Hazy View
(Not sure we need this night here, might be better after Kruger)

4 Kruger (prob Sabi Sands, not definite, not researched yet)

we haven't decided yet about what budget we're going to set for our Kruger stay - a lot depends on how much we spend in the other towns and reserves, and as you can see, we are intending to do those on a low budget. We might then be able to splash out on what I'd call an intermediate price place in Kruger - more than one of the rest camps but not LeBombo, Singita style.
Will look into Chitwa Chitwa as well as Honeyguide, Tanda Tula etc.

I know we could get the wine shipped, but unless it blows us away in terms of cost (including shipping) compared with what we know we can find in France, we'll not likely be buying anything more than a bottle here and there for picnics. I don't drink it myself so I can definitely tour Pete around for some visits etc - assuming these places aren't going to get arsey if we taste and don't necessarily buy.
But given that our intentions to stay in winelands are more about a couple of nights in a lovely intimate BB and some enjoyable meals and scenery, with a few visits thrown in, that's why I'm thinking of cutting the nights a little in that part of the trip.

Once I have the itinerary settled to my satisfaction, I will start spending more effort looking at accommodation; I have some recommendations and ideas already but only just started in that area really.

Kavey is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 02:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Wow...8-9 weeks??? That is awesome.

Considering that you are going in June, I would recommend that you do consider adding South Luangwa, Zambia, to your list. I guarantee you that you will be able to get last second rates at Kafunta or Kaingo for about $250 USD per night, all inclusive, including transfers from the airport. The flight from Johannesburg is really not that expensive. Probably about $200 USD per person to Lusaka and then another $300 USD per person to Mfuwe, but then once you are there you are able to enjoy great safari rates in an incredible setting.

The Sabi Sands is probably not going to be anything special after going to places like Little Mombo, etc., and if anything it will feel touristy, especially if there are families or groups there like there was for my visit. Sabi Sands is like Safari 101, but for someone that is already at the pinnacle and going to Little Mombo, you may want to skip it.

South Luangwa is so beautiful with the biggest Baobab trees I have ever seen, the highest termite mounds I have ever seen (some of them over 15 feet tall with trees and other shrubbery growing out of them), an amazing river, and wildlife all around. I didn't appreciate the thousands of impala and puku that I was seeing at Kafunta until I got to Djuma and saw 1 lion for every 5 impala, when the ratio at South Luangwa, despite seeing a pride of ten lions was more like 1 lion for every 500 impala/puku.

Five nights is just a bare minimum but I could easily have stayed 7 nights, with the first two nights at the Kafunta River Lodge, three nights at the Island Bush Camp (walking safaris), and the final two nights again at the Kafunta River Lodge. The two of you could have a full seven nights, including airfare from Joburg for $2,750 USD (2,428 Euros).

Although the temptation to book a place in South Luangwa ahead of time will be great, if you can hold out until the last 30 days you are 99.9% guaranteed a room.

In my opinion, the Sabi Sand is a little too cold in June/July to fully enjoy the game drives. We really froze by the end of the game drives and were bundled up under our blankets, at times covering our entire heads because we were so cold.

Even if you do go to Sabi Sand (I see that you want to go to Hazyview), you really still should consider South Luangwa.

Good luck!
Roccco is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 02:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

By $250 USD per night rates in South Luangwa, I mean $125 USD per person per night sharing.
Roccco is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 03:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Thanks Rocco
I'm not sure that this will work out to be feasible with cost of flights included BUT I am definitely not going to dismiss the idea without some consideration!
Thank you!
I wondered too about how I'd find Kruger given the other experiences we've had but an agent, whose opinion I trust, reckons that I will still get a lot of enjoyment from it, and that it shouldnt be too crowded at the time of year. This is the same agent that said I probably would be disappointed with Etosha, despite the interesting landscape, given that we were already visiting Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and Mombo etc.
It's very much undecided right now - this bit is the hardest. I don't think I'll have so much trouble choosing accommodation but deciding on itinerary is HARD!

Kavey is offline  
Jul 11th, 2003, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22
I don't know if it would fit into your itinerary, but Mashatu in the Tuli Block is wonderful and inexpensive compared to the rest. And since it is so close to South Africa, it probably isn't too long of a drive. The Main Camp is only $175 a night per person and the Tent Camp is $125 a night. We stayed at the Main Camp and loved it. It really was one of my favorite lodges, even when compared to those that cost more than double. They also offer horseback and mountain biking safaris, if you want to do something a little different.
Dina is offline  
Jul 12th, 2003, 12:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Thanks Dina, Will look into that too.
Kavey is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 05:50 AM
Posts: n/a
Gee Kavey, this is a full time job. I LOVE the original part. I think the sequence is perfect and I would like to do that just like this. Exactly!
The last part uh-uh. Don't know anything about that. Just that it must be a monumental job on your own.
Wow, what kind of trip report will be get to read after this sojourn? Liz
Aug 7th, 2003, 07:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Sod it, for those who can't be bothered reading that broken up post above, here's a double post:


When we booked our original 3 week luxury wedding renewal & second-honeymoon trip, 18 months before the departure date, we still weren?t able to secure the exact itinerary we wanted. Same camps but wrong order.

However, we were happy with the order we were able to secure and made a firm booking. But since then my agent has been periodically checking back with Wilderness Safaris and was recently able to give me the option of reverting back to our intial requested order, still with guarantees of specific tents etc as promised previously. (For example, at Savuti we?ll get the one tent with an outdoor bath tub as well as shower etc).

So that portion of the trip is now as follows:

3 nights Savuti Camp
3 nights Jacana Camp (boat transfer to next camp)
2 nights Tubu Tree
1 night Gudigwa Camp
4 nights Little Mombo
4 nights Jack's Camp
Fly Maun-Windhoek
1 night Hilltop House
4 nights Wolwedans Dunes Lodge (incl. a ceremony to renew our wedding vows)
Finish in Windhoek

As you know we?re now planning a 4-5 week trip in South Africa to precede the itinerary above, to be, in the main part, on a much, much tighter budget than the above.

As above this is how the itinerary stands at the moment:

6-7 nt Cape Town, (stay in one place but visit eastern winelands, inexpensive BB)

2 nt Western Winelands (Inexpensive BB)

1 nt Hermanus (Inexpensive BB)

QUESTION: Should we combine Western Winelands and Hermanus into one 2-3 night stay and spend one of the days touring coastal area in car from the same base?

1 nt Swellendam (Inexpensive BB)

1 nt Oudtshoorn or Calitzdorp (Inexpensive BB)

QUESTION: Swellendam is an extra one night stop that was suggested to me by someone or other but do we want to stop here and in the Oustshoorn area? If we don?t then which is the best place to stop? Swellendam? Oudtshoorn? Calitzdorp?

4 nt Knysna area (Inexpensive BB)

2 nt Addo National Elephant Park (stay outside in inexpensive BB and self drive within, maybe book 1 or 2 guided drives when get there)

QUESTION: Has anyone any experience of visiting Addo when staying outside rather than in one of the expensive lodges inside? What about self drive within as opposed to the guided drives one can book? Does anyone know how much such guided drives might cost?

Drive to Port Elizabeth and fly to Durban

2 nt Durban (Yet another inexpensive BB, time to swim, relax, visit an indian temple or two, shop, enjoy the seaside town)

QUESTION: Am I right to schedule 2 nights here to stop and rest up a little or would one night be better and use that other one night somewhere else?

2 nt Fugitive Drift area

QUESTION: Has anyone included a stay at any of the BBs or lodges in this area that focus on historical story-telling? Fugitive Drift Lodge is expensive, the associated Guest House is a little cheaper and I?ve also found other options such as Isibindi Zulu Lodge and Isandlwana Logde: Any thoughts? We?re not massively into the history of this period, so it may be best just to miss this out entirely.

3 Rocktail Bay (A Wilderness Safaris? property that I?ve seen featured on a TV holiday programme)

QUESTION: I know I need to look into this as we?re not sunbathers so we would want to be able to fill our time with other activities ? it might be nice to include relaxation nights, but would also have had some of this in Durban, and this is an expensive way of just relaxing. I think it?s the wrong time of year to see the turtles that the area is famous for laying their eggs but I wonder if we?ll see them at all? One great looking alternative is Makakatana Bay Lodge, (thanks for that suggestion) although I?m not sure of it?s position relative to Rocktail, nor of the rates relative to Rocktail. Other suggestions in this region would also be welcome.

2 nt Hluhluwe (Stay cheaply at Hilltop, self drive, huge park)

2 nt Itala (Apparently has lots of rhino, one of the animals we?ve not had sightings of previously, the reserve is suitable for self drive, and has been suggested to me by my favourite agent instead of Pongola, we?d look to stay cheaply, self drive and possibly book a guided drive or two)

QUESTION: Has anyone visited this reserve?

1 nt Swaziland (Since we don?t hike etc it?s been recommended that a slow drive through to admire scenery with a 1 night stop to break up the route should be sufficient)

1 nt White River/ Hazy View

QUESTION: As advised above, we may not really need this stop, in which case the question is do we want to stop here anyway?

4 nt Kruger We?re still researching this bit but have poured over the suggested options and bookmarked them for later decision.

1 nt either in J?burg or close to it

I think for this trip that a flight up to South Luangwa would be excessive but I might still look at substituting it for the Kruger stop.

Lastly, Selwyn has made the excellent suggestion that I reverse the South African trip, starting with safari before working my way down to garden route, winelands and, finally, Cape Town and then leaving from CT for Maun and my 3 week Botswana and Namibia trip ? thus breaking up the two game viewing portions of the trip with the Cape area portion. I like this idea a lot but want your input on one point and that is related to weather: I?ve been told that arriving in CT at end April means arriving in late Autumn when weather is already heading into winter and is already quite rainy. The more Eastern areas of SA will have good weather throughout the months of May and June. Therefore I?ve been advised to do the Cape portion of the trip earlier and then follow it by the Eastern Africa portion to get the best weather throughout. Any thoughts?

I wonder how many pieces I?ll have to cut this into to get it to fit and whether or not anyone will have the patience to sift through it all and provide me with further help.

Many thanks again for all your time!
Kavey is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 11:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Just to explain weird order of recent posts, I posted and made a pig's ear of it.
Liz commented on my post.
In the meantime Fodors (Chris) kindly responded to my embarassed request to delete the messed up posts and hence they are missing.
Anyway I really appreciate their help and sorry for confusion.

Looking forward to any replies from all of you Africaphiles!
Kavey is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097

At long last I am entering into this discussion. Sorry it has taken me so long but I have been so busy touring that time has truly been limited in terms of being able to answer some of your queries. The fact that I have been so busy is a VERY IMPORTANT part to my answer to you as you will see.

Right now the Western Cape Region is supposed to be going through tons of water and cold weather as it is Winter. Believe it or not we have had no rain, no cold and only sunshine RIGHT UP TO NOW. The experts say that this will not change next year. When I made my original suggestion to your to swop the tour around by having a game safari, visit Cape Town and then go on your big African journey as much as I did not want to I had to agree that taking the weather into account my suggestion would not be a good idea timing wise. With what I am telling you relative to the weather patterns this year I am still sticking to what I suggested and that is do the Cape Town leg second. I know this is controversial but I am basing what I am saying on what is happening right now. I hate to say this Kavey but the ball is in your court to make the decision but I certainly know that if I had to be doing the wonderful trip that you are undertaking then I would do it in the manner that I am now suggesting.

In an early mail you wrote that you wanted to know about where to stay in Addo and whether game drives were freely available.

In response I must mention that Port Elizabeth is 75Km from Addo and it is well worth your while to be able to stay in PE and travel to Addo on a daily basis. You could also stay in the camp village at Addo itself. To do this you have to book long in advance (not too late as yet imho). The accommodation is very basic but certainly adequate and it is elf catering so this might put you off. There are a number of B&B's in Addo however the ones that I know of are not cheap by SA standards (R800 p/p/night) (About 60 Quid per person per night) It is for this reason that I recommend staying in PE and travelling to Addo. If you want to stay at a wonderful venue then look at Lemon Tree Lane in PE As far as going onto Addo on a drive with the rangers on the game park is concerned, there is a local outfit that will guide you on the park. You can walk in and book these drives on the park on the day of you being there. My opinion is that you should NOT take a toured drive. Rather stop in at the shop on the park and buy a little book that they sell for R25. In this book you will see pictures of all the different animals on the game park. There is a little story about all of them. Use this chart and the excellent map that you will be given at the gate and do your driving and game viewing yourself. There is no better experience than having to find the animals yourself. Thats what makes it all so great to do a private game drive. May I also remind you that there will be a time factor to consider when you take a ready made game drive with a ranger in that the drive will probably be about 2 hours. I strongly recommend a longer period on Addo and with that said you can only achieve this if you do the drive yourself.

Kavey lets hear your feelings now that I have told you of this rather unusual weather pattern that we are experiencing at the moment. Once I know your feelings we can talk further.

Quick question: Where did you find the coding on the Fodors page to highlight and bolden your writings? -

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

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Aug 8th, 2003, 12:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Responding later to your weather info but the coding is as follows...

As below, without the spaces:

< i > My text goes here < / i >


< b > My text goes here < / b >
Kavey is offline  
Aug 8th, 2003, 01:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Do you know of any sites where I can read more about the experts' thoughts on weather in the Cape next year. If they are right in their assertions, I do indeed think your suggestion to reverse my South Africa itinerary may be the best option.

Looking also for input on that itinerary above, especially to the highlighted questions... itlyen, traci, clematis, dina, everyone... come back!

I need your advice, pretty please!

Many thanks
Kavey is offline  
Aug 8th, 2003, 06:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Have you any experience of Darlington Lake Lodge in Addo? The rates on the website seem to be very reasonable at the time of year we're visiting... much less than Gorah and other similar standard camps...
Kavey is offline  
Aug 8th, 2003, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,121
Sorry, I have no answers to your questions, but just wanted to say thanks for the coding info. (So I don't feel totally useless here, have you read the book "Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight"? Odd title but I thought it was an interesting story.)
April is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 12:14 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Hi Kavey, I'm here. I don't have much else to add, your trip looks fantastic. I only spent 4 nights in Cape Town and other than one lunch, we really didn't get to venture into the wine country. I did hear about a place that had semi-tame leopards in the CT area and that sounded worth visiting but we ran out of time. I have heard very nice things about Durban. I would go with what Selwyn suggests about the weather. Any way you slice it, this will be a fantastic trip!
Clematis is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 06:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Thanks folks!

April I haven't read the book but will look out for it.

Selwyn I'm thinking hard on the weather question and thus the order of the itinerary.

Clem, thanks!

I'm hoping some of our other regulars will have some further input, maybe Traci or aother SA expert!

Kavey is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2003, 11:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,097

Whats up?

Have you come to any decisions of what route you are going to take as yet?

Talk about the weather; believe it or not it is snowing on the mountains of Cape Town as I write this mail. Brrr -

Selwyn Davidowitz
Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2003, 08:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Hi Selwyn

We've thought about it a lot and we're going to stick with the original routing which will mean starting in Cape Town.

I've been working flat out this week and today Pete and I laid an entire laminate floor in our new conservatory, so I've been quite lax!

But I am intending to work on itinerary more this weekend so I can at least finalise number of days total (to book international flights) and also number of days in Cape Peninsula as opposed to Eastern regions so I can book internal flight from PE to Durban.

Rest can then be fine tuned and accommodation found.

This sounds low but we're aiming to spend no more than £140 uk between the two of us per day and that needs to include car hire, petrol, accommodation and food. And it needs to average a little lower on as many days as possible in order to be able to include the internal flight and the game park entrance fees etc.

Hence we'll be looking to stay in backpackers quite a lot - I understand a lot of them do have double ensuite rooms as well as dorms so we'll look at prices of those compared with the least expensive BBs we can find.

Suggestions very welcome!

Thanks again!
Kavey is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2003, 09:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
So used to using [ and ] on other boards that I forgot that it's < and > on this one!!!!
Kavey is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:49 PM.