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Seeking comments on itinerary, questions - first time trip to South Africa

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Feb 1st, 2006, 09:02 AM
  #1
EVG
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Seeking comments on itinerary, questions - first time trip to South Africa

Honeymoon in a couple weeks, and I'm beyond excited. I've been reading these posts with much interest, and would greatly appreciate any comments, positive or negative, on my itinerary, and/or answers to my questions -

Nationwide Flight from Johannesburg to Kruger, staying at Protea Hotel Kruger Gate for 3 nights. I've had difficulty arranging transport from the airport to the hotel, but I will try emailing again (any tips would be welcome)! And I assume I can arrange game drives upon arrival at the hotel, and do not have to book in advance?

Flight back to Johannesburg and then to Cape Town the following day.
3 nights in Cape Town, staying at De Waterkant House. No excursions booked yet.

2 nights in Franschhoek, staying at Akademie Street. Dinner at Le Bon Vivant, but am having difficulty securing a reservation for the 2nd night.

3 night in Camps Bay - Atlanticview

Have any of you had experiences in these places, or have any suggestions? Thanks so much!
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 03:08 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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I would strongly advise that you hire a car at Mpumalanga international airport for your travels in and around the Kruger park. This will give you great flexibility in organizing your time. There is so much to see and I would not want to be wasting time waiting for safari operators to pick you up and drop you off each day.
You do realize that Camps Bay is VERY close to Cape Town and Franschoek is little more than an hours drive away. Why not base yourself in one place - preferably near the Waterfront.
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 03:23 AM
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I agree with 50something regarding hiring a car. However if you don't want to "Dive The Big 5" do daily transfers from KMIA to Protea Kruger. You can contact them on: [email protected]
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 06:29 AM
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EVG
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Thanks for the replies. Being novices, we didn't feel comfortable driving on our own through the park, and wanted a guide (the hotel is right outside the gate). But, if that's a stupid idea, which it sound like it is, we could reconsider. Regarding selecting a central place, we would prefer to walk to the vineyards, restaurants, beaches etc. and not rely on the car (that we will rent once in Cape Town), so that is why we picked a variety of locales. We plan on enjoying the wine!
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 06:39 AM
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Driving in the park is easy, the roads are tarmac or similar and easy to navigate. You will be given a good map. When we stayed at a lodge there was a book into which people put the road number down when they saw one of the big 5 or anything else of interest.
On an aside we were charged by an elephant, which made a very exciting day! And also saw some tourists having a picnic by the lake! ( lots of crocs etc close by!).
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 06:42 AM
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Driving yourself in Kruger is so convenient and easy that I'd advise doing it yourself. Take a good animal ID book. The give you a map at the gate, and it has pictures of most of the animals you'll see, but by necessity it doesn't have much depth of discussion. But using it and a book of your own, you'll be able to see and understand a whole lot.

I'm not sure if you can arrange to go on game drives with park rangers, since you aren't staying inside the park, but I think there are some day time drives you could do with them. The rangers are really knowledgeable.

I think you'll also love Cape Town and Franschhoek.

Have a wonderful honeymoon, and best wishes for a very happy marriage!

Celia
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Given that you'll probably have serious jet lag, may i recommend watching the sun rise from the top of I think it's Lions Head, one of the spurs of Table Mountain. We did it on Feb 14th a few years ago, a great memory.
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Feb 2nd, 2006, 04:22 PM
  #8
 
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Hello,

Kruger is primarily a self-drive destination, and the roads have been constructed with this in mind -- you will be fine if you hire an ordinary saloon (sedan). I'd second those who have advised hiring a car for maximum flexibility. That way you can choose when you leave the hotel, how long you stay out, and what route you take. You also won't have to share your vehicle with random strangers.

Unlike 50something, I think it's a good idea to stay in Franschhoek rather than Cape Town -- you don't want a long drive back after a day of wining and dining! However, I agree with 50something that it doesn't make sense to stay at both De Waterkant and Camps Bay, as both are essentially in Cape Town. If you stay in Camps Bay, you'll need a car to get around, so if you don't want to hire a car I'd suggest staying at DeWaterkant for the entire stay.

If you enjoy wine and food, I suspect you will find that two nights in Franschhoek is not enough. I'd suggest rearranging that part of your trip into the following:

5 nights in Cape Town (De Waterkant)
3 nights in Franschhoek (Akademie Street).

Cheers,
Julian
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