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South Africa after Kenya & Tanzania - Why Do it?

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Jan 29th, 2012, 11:55 AM
  #1
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South Africa after Kenya & Tanzania - Why Do it?

O.K. I may be nuts (and a lot of you may say so which I'll take in good spirit) but I really am curious to hear some input to the question posted.

Four of us went went to Kenya and the Crater in Tanzania for a 14 day safari in late August/Sep 2011. We had a wonderful time. We loved seeing the animals and our itinerary gave us a variety of parks where we got to see everything from the Big 5 to the Black Rhino; however, I confess (O.K. here's where I'm going to get killed I know) by the end of the 2 weeks we were somewhat into the overload of "oh look, another giraffe" (cameras don't come up).

So now comes the general discussion of possibly doing South Africa in 2014 and I confess I'm concerned that our "Oh look another giraffe" would be an issue.

Hence my question in the title. For all of you that have done both - could you enlighten me please?
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Jan 29th, 2012, 12:40 PM
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South Africa is completely different than Kenya/Tanzania. In fact, you don't have to do 'any safari' if you prefer not.

Capetown is a winner, with lots to see in/around the city; the winelands nearby; down to Cape Point; the Kirstenboch Gardens; Table Mountain, lots of restaurants - this can easily take up 5-6/days. Can drive the Garden Route, visit Durban or Port Elizabeth.

And, then if you feel a visit to Africa wouldn't be complete without 'game viewing', spend a few days on safari. In otherwords, sure 'go for it.'
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Jan 29th, 2012, 12:41 PM
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... and, as you're so close, you can include a few days to visit Victoria Falls, either this Zimbabwe or Zambia sides.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 02:11 PM
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It's entirely up to your own preferences as to whether you want to do another game drive. As noted by others, there are other things to see in South Africa besides wildlife. If you're looking for justification for doing another safari, I would suggest that in South Africa there is opportunity for closer looks at certain animals, like leopard. You also don't need to necessarily do your safari in South Africa. Namibia, for example, offers a very different landscape for game viewing. Or, you could go to Zambia for walking safaris which is a very different experience in terms of game viewing, or maybe Zimbabwe for canoeing.

I don't think there's anything wrong with not needing to do another game drive. I took both my parents to Tanzania and they were happy with the trip, but don't feel the need or the desire to ever do another game drive whereas I've been on numerous game viewing trips.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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As Sandi says, there's a world of difference between Southern Africa and Kenya/Tanzania with lots to do outside of a safari in SA. In addition to the activities/sights cited above, if you happen to be in SA, say August-October, you could head to Hermanus (about 1.5 hrs by car from CT), sit on the rocks and watch whales in the bay---some come awful close to shore. If you enjoy sand, you're a hop, skip and jump to Namibia, which is a rugged place thoroughly different than CT and the Western Cape and the Kruger region. Though I'm not big on sand myself, the dunes in Sossusvlei and along the coast near Swapokmund are truly impressive. Of course, I'd end any holiday in SA doing some game viewing in the Greater Kruger region---places like Sabi Sand being one of the best places to get up close and personnel with leopards (from a photographer's perspective).
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Jan 29th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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... depends on what the giraffe is doing. I've seen plenty of wildlife on my safaris, but you just never know what to expect and the anticipation is what's so fun. Seeing behaviors of the wildlife, not just checking them off a list appeals to me.

That said, you'll definitely find S.A. to be a different experience. As Sandi notes, you can do a lot of non-safari activities there, "the world in one country" as they say. Beautiful landscapes, different cultures, and historical sights are all on display. For a few days of safari, consider going to one of the camps in the Sabi Sands reserve next to Kruger. They have lots of leopards and rhinos, something you might not have seen much of in East Africa.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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No killings yet. Not even a hint of violence.

Some differences on the safari part:
If you go to Sabi Sands, you'll probably have better/closer leopard and rhino sightings than in Tanzania. Also the rhino will be white rhino, not black rhino as in Tanzania. You'll have a chance of seeing the magnificent Nyala and Greater Kudu antelopes. You'll be in open vehicles which is a nice change.

Maybe you want only 2 nights in Sabi Sands and the rest of the time around Cape Town. There you could drive yourself and visit unique places such as Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Boulders Bay for penguins. Maybe spend a day or a couple on a boat looking at Great White Sharks.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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Thanks everyone - some great input. Anyone do anything in Zulu land - cultural trips?
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Jan 29th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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We were in Zululand in June. Highly recommended. We went to Tembe Elephant Park, Zululand Rhino Reserve and Hluhluwe NP. Tembe was pretty cultural - the camp is owned by the local community (very poor) and they were incredibly open talking about their tribe. Zululand RR is "leased" from the Zulu king/chief. Visit St Lucia and some of the small towns. The beaches are gorgeous and the parks were great.

I love the "next thing" on a game drive. You never know.
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Jan 29th, 2012, 06:11 PM
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Then don't go. You've been on 14 days of safari and feel like that's enough. Fine, nothing wrong with that. So you ask, what else is there in South Africa that would tempt you to travel all the way from USA? IMHO not really anything that I can't see in USA. If I wanted a different cultural experience, I'd go to the Far East. If I wanted my cultural heritage I'd go to Europe. When I want safari I go to Africa. Been there seven times totaling around 90 nights in camps. Love it

regards - tom
ps - and more planned for this May in South Africa
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Jan 30th, 2012, 11:41 AM
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... and, in Kenya you'll find white and black rhino - at Lewa and Ol Pejeta, most having been relocated from other areas.

Again, if you don't want safari, South Africa has lots to offer. Or visit Namibia which is completely different than any of the other so-called safari countries.
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Jan 30th, 2012, 05:01 PM
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and if you like wine...well, around Capetown there is the most incredibly gorgeous wine country you could ever visit, plus amazing cuisine to go with it. On our first day in CPT in 2004 we found ourselves strolling through "The Company Gardens" -- realizing that it was the Dutch East India Company, which if you had a half-way decent world history class in high school or college, means a lot. We were gazing up at the beautiful Table Mountain on that glorious afternoon, and said to each other: "Aren't you supposed to be sure to up to the top on a clear day like this? Let's go!" And we were treated to a fantastic ride up in the cablecar, views in every direction for miles and miles and miles, and a magnificent sunset.

We're going back this fall just to see it all over again! (After a 10 day safari in Zimbabwe)
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Jan 31st, 2012, 04:01 AM
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I can't comment on the cultural stuff. Not into that.

But imho a trip in Kenya and Tanzania is more uniform; not much else to do than safari. South Africa is quite different. The cape town region is known for it's landscapes (very blue seas, table mountain, ...) and the winelands. Also, you can visit the pingiuns and seals. A bit to the east are great spots to see whales. Thn there's the garden route with all the flowers, nice towns like Knysna (tip: Featherbed Island!), and the Outeniqua steamtrain. Garden route ends in Port Elizabeth, and nearby is Addo NP and a lot of smaller game reserves.

Bottom line; I reckon you could do a week of "regular" tourism and a week of safari, and come home with quite a travel story, by visiting that part of SA alone.

Idem for the east. There's not just Kruger there. There's the Drakensbergen too, with plenty of sightseeing (Bourke's potholes, 3 rondavels, God's window, ...) and good hiking.

Plus, as Lynn said, the safari experience is quite different. Much closer to the animals, and completely open vehicles. Plus, you can do safaris on foot too. Quite different!

Happy travels!

J.
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Jan 31st, 2012, 02:58 PM
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Thanks again everyone. Always know I can count on the Fodor's pros!
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 09:59 AM
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patandhan
You are just as nuts as me.
The answer is so very simple. Get yourself a private Landrover. Remember most of the time you are going to have first time Safari Guests with you who want to see the BIG FIVE in 24 hours as they have to fly out to Cape Town or Vic Falls. South Africa is a long haul destination and for many a once in a life time experience. So if you want to have a personal experience without the "Oh not another Giraffe" then I highly recommend getting a private vehicle for yourselves. I have guests right now on Safari who have booked with me since 1997 and they have their own private vehicle in the Kalahari.

Africa is amazing and it tends to get to one in different ways but when it does then its addictive. Get your own Private Vehicle.

Mark Garzancich - Owner of Taga Safaris Africa
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Can you state the additional cost of a private vehicle, Mark?

I agree, private is better. But the cost must be considered. With 4 people sharing, private might not be out of reach.
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 09:03 PM
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Hi atravelynn
Costs do vary from lodge to lodge but you can safely bank on around R3500 or US$400 per day. With 4 guests it is definitely worth it.

Mark
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 08:27 AM
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IMHO a private vehicle for a first-timer is silly. Even if (if!) you would get an impatient person saying "oh no another X" at one (one!) of your camps, then all that's needed is for the guide to tell him he's not the only customer in the jeep.

Of all the safaris in private reserves that we've done so far, none were with a private vehicle (unless by accident we were the only customers), and the above scenario has so far never happened to us.

I think it's rather the inverse; returning customers might want to go for a private vehicle, as to avoid the newbies stopping for every impala. But then I'm the exception, I guess.

B.regs,

J.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:13 PM
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Agree with J. 110%
And you will have more fun sharing a vehicle if your first safari. Besides, even more important than the vehicle is the guide. Your guide/ranger is by far the single most important factor in your safari. (That is one reason I return to a few camps and make sure I have a guide I know).

regards - tom
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Feb 4th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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pixelpower, I do agree with you. For a first timer a private vehicle is not on unless you know what you want. Tom you are right, its fun to meet other safari goers on your first time and make friends, in fact I personally love it, but if one is interested in a certain topic like birds or lions or leopards then a Private Vehicle is the way to go. I will never ever forget a certain sighting I was in in the late 90's when I had 2 Guests on the vehicle with me who between then had 6 cameras from SLR to Video. We came upon two Cheetah hunting Impala and they blazed away with all six and then when they had finished asked the guide if they could go and see the Kudu about 300 metres away. I was dumbfounded and as they were paying guests we had to comply. We missed the kill. They were Happy.

What can I say?
Everyone to their own.

Yours on Safari
Mark
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