SA intinerary - critiques please!

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May 6th, 2004, 09:34 AM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 102
SA intinerary - critiques please!

Any comments on the itinerary below?

We did the Garden route & capetown and winelands last year and were trying to find some new things to explore. Is it too long to drive from Stellenbosch to Wilderness in one day? We are breaking up the trip on the way back. None of the rooms are booked yet, so thoughts on those are welcome as well.

Oct 12-20 safari in Zambia (already planned and booked, so no changing now!)
Oct 20 fly to Cape Town, drive to Stellenbosch, stay at Huis Van Riebeeck in winelands. Anyone ever stay here? Looks great!
Oct 20-24 winelands (major wine shopping)
Oct 25-26 wilderness, stay at Wilderness Manor (paragliding, canoeing, hiking)
Oct 27 Swellendam, stay at Bloomestate
Oct 28-Nov 3 Capetown at atholl house in Camps Bay
Nov 3 home

Thanks!
melissaom is offline  
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May 6th, 2004, 10:03 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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>>>>>>Is it too long to drive from Stellenbosch to Wilderness in one day?<<<<<<

No, it's not too long, IMO.

Did you drive through the Swartberg Pass when you travelled through the Garden Route last year? If not, it might be an idea to re-allocate a couple of days from elsewhere (winelands, maybe even one of your Cape Town days) in order to visit Oudtshoorn - Prince Albert - Meiringspoort. The Swartberge are worth seeing and, for that matter, hiking.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
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May 6th, 2004, 12:18 PM
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melissaom,

Please share your itinerary for your Zambian safari. Glad to see other Fodorites are going! You will not be disappointed, but it will be very warm in October.

Also, if you don't mind sharing, which operator did you book through?

Thanks.
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May 7th, 2004, 12:56 AM
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Hi there,

Thanks for your replies. First I will answer the questions, then I have some!

Rocco: We are booked at Chichele Lodge and the other place is a secret my husband is keeping from me.

Selwyn: I had sent a message to the Dunes right after I posted - we must have been thinking the same thoughts! They have offered the Shell Room at 1050/night, but I will see if we can get the White Room.

I think we may be talking about two different Van Riebeek Huis properties. The one we are looking at is an apartment - and looks far far away from a dump to me. Take a look:

http://www.stellenbosch.org.za/Accom...px?REGIONID=14

Your ever-so-sage comments have me concerned though, so please let me know if I have gravely mistaken. I will ask them if the windows are double glazed, as we do want to be central, but not living in the middle of a traffic jam.

Part of the reason we are going to Wilderness is for paragliding, and the other is for Serendipity!!! We wanted to go last year but it was too far a drive to Knysna after imbibing, so we decided against it. We are really looking forward to it.

I will check into Braeside.

On the winelands - yes, 4 days is alot for some people, but we also bought 120 bottles last year and that takes a lot of research! We are planning on doing the same thing this year and hiting the wineries we missed last year.

If you make it to Atholl House, any specific room recommendations you have would be great.

Thanks,
Melissa

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May 7th, 2004, 05:07 AM
  #5
 
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Hi Melissaom,

Take the Shell room if you cant get the White room. Stay at The Dunes no matter what!

The Van Riebeek house that you intend staying at and the one I am quoting you from the 70's are the same building. I know this from the address as well as having spent many of my student days at the residence with fellow engineering students. It could well have been bought over by the present owners and was renovated thereafter as I agree the pictures do not look like a university residence to me. I will be taking a look at the venue soon and will report back when I do so.

How did you take all that booze back home last time round??

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
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May 7th, 2004, 06:17 AM
  #6
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Hi Selwyn,

Would love your feedback if you have a chance to look at Van Riebeeck - the price is great - 500 R/night!

As for hauling the vino back to Europe, we took a rather unorthodox approach that worked well. We visited 3 shippers in the winelands and settled on The Vineyard Connection. Most people sign up for a shipping number, go to the vineyards and buy the wine as they go and the vineyards ship it to The Vineyard Connection, who then sends it on. But, you might not get your VAT back always, and my issue was if I buy as I go, there might be wines at the end of the trip I preferred more than the ones at the beginning! So, we bargained with the guy at the Vineyard Connection for a 10% discount if we bought all 120 bottles from him, which he thought was fair, and it made up for any vineyard discount we would have lost, and he got to handle all the VAT hassles.

So, I kept meticulous notes as we visited the vineyards and we went back to The Vineyard Connection at the end, chose all the wines, and we were off. Oddly enought the cheapest way to get the wine here was by plane - and we did the option where you pick it up at the airport instead of home delivery.

One of the things anyone should be aware of when shipping wine is many of the agents charge a 25 R per bottle surcharge for sparkling wines because they are larger. Ours did not (thank goodness as we shipped 36 bottles!)

They were great, the wine came in one time and in perfect styrofoam containers. If anyone has any questions, let me know.

PS - Definitely staying at the Dunes!!
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