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South Africa driving route advice needed. Is the Transkei dangerous?

South Africa driving route advice needed. Is the Transkei dangerous?

Dec 31st, 2010, 04:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 18
Thanks to all for the guidance. We have taken everything said very seriously, reviewed it and have a new draft of our itinerary. Your opinions on it are welcome and respected. Are we missing something not to be missed? Are we staying too long, not long enough somewhere? We are going in February and will have just come from 4 weeks of safari in Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda as well as we will be 10 months into a year of travel. We are trying, as the best that we can, to not move too much.

3 nights in Durban, Umhlanga Rocks specifically. (Laundry, email, rest and renew)

5 nights St Lucia - in a location that makes H-U Park accessible. 2 days in the park, 1 boat launch on the estuary, 1 rest day.

3 nights Sodwana - diving, snorkeling, birding

1 night Oshowe - as a stop on the way to Durban and to bird in the area.

1 night Durban to catch an early AM flight to Port Elizabeth

2 nights Addo Elephant Park

4 night Knysna - day trips to Plettenberg and Tsitsikamna Nat'l Park.

3 nights Arniston via Swellendam - day trips to De Hoop Nat'l Reserve and Cape Agulhas

6 or 7 nights in Cape Town - day trip to Hermanus and other wine areas.

Thank you.
adifferentvista is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
A few suggestions, if I may...

I would be inclined to stay in Tsitsikamma NP (specifically at Storm's River Mouth, where there is a variety of excellent accommodation right on the ocean) rather than Knysna, which I have always thought is a bit of a tourist trap and very crowded. Storm's River Mouth will be far more restful.

May I also suggest staying in De Hoop - and doing your day trips from there. The scenery in De Hoop is fantastic, and there are some lovely cottages for rent. For a reserve with so much going for it, De Hoop is greatly underutilized - you will not be disappointed. Some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in SA, and you will have it all to yourselves! A great place to relax and enjoy the scenery - the tidal pools, the dunes, the beaches - fantastic!

Finally, I would take three of your nights in St. Lucia and spend them in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi - Hilltop is a fantastic camp in a memorable setting.

While in St. Lucia, do go for the ride on the St. Lucia and definitely visit Ilala Weavers (www.ilala.co.za) - they have a fantastic supply of beautiful Zulu baskets and bead work - the best we found in the year we were in SA.

In Durban, go to the Bat Shop for a wonderful supply of crafts, particularly telephone wire baskets - they have an excellent assortment at some of the best prices. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Jan 1st, 2011, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,535
We really enjoyed the Harold Porter Botanical Garden in Betty's Bay (about 50 km west of Hermanus) - more than Kirstenbosch in Cape Town, even. The penguin reserve in Betty's Bay was also fun.

We were there in October, early spring, so the garden was beautiful. It felt more "botanical" and less "garden" than Kirstenbosch, at least to me. There are waterfalls you can hike to as well. Not sure what it is like in January.
Cranachin is offline  
Jan 1st, 2011, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
Your itinerary sounds good to me. Make your reservations in the national parks as soon as you have dates. In the park accommodations, much like in the US sell out quickly. Like robin, I think the oceanettes at Storms Mouth River sound fantastic. Mountain Zebra NP is nearby, too.

There seems to be a lot of time in Sodwana/St Lucia. Have you looked at Kosi Bay? The have some "dive houses" too. Mkuze, Zululand Rhino Reserve and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi are all within an hour of each other, so you could see/stay all three. If you want a bit of luxury, Thanda, Thula Thula and Phinda are all nearby. The tented camps at Thanda and Thula Thula look lovely and more affordable than other options.

It looks like a good trip. If you are going before me (June), please let us know if there is anything we need to know!
christabir is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 03:30 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
I would consider Hermanus in the days you are in the Cape Overberg area, perhaps forget Swellendam, Knysna to De Hoop is doable in a day. Try out the Malgas punt whilst in the area, or forget Hermanus no whales that time of year, but a wonderful scenic drive all the way to Cape Town. At Kleinmond there is a huge protea farm.
braaiseason is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I cannot find the report here, though I KNOW I posted it, the search function just doesn't seem up to it, but here's a link to it over on TTG, where I also shared it:
Kavey is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 08:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Kavey - I'm enjoying your trip report! I'm about half done and it is just great. So much detail, and good info. Thanks for sharing it.
christabir is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:52 AM
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No probs, it's the one I managed, I am behind/ missing on most others!!!
Kavey is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Ahaah, finally found it here on Fodors, remembered that we have a Southern Africa trip report index as well as the East Africa one that popped up recently, so searched on the word "index"!


And here is the index:

Kavey is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 07:12 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
I had no idea that there was a SA trip report index - thanks for the link! Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 10:10 AM
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Posts: 5,285
It should not be that hard to find

christabir is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I know, Fodors has one of the worst search engines of any forum I know! Ah well!
Kavey is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 987
I agree with Canadian Robin about staying in Umfolozi-Hluhluwe instead of in St. Lucia. I would stay a night or two in St. Lucia to do the boat trip, and to rest and renew. In St. Lucia, a great place for a sundowner, with views of hippos and flamingos, is the boat club. It's open to the public. If you stay in St. Lucia the whole five nights and drive into the park, you'll be spending an awful lot of time just driving there and then back again -- it's an hour or two each way. Hilltop camp has lovely rooms and a restaurant with good food and a view that's truly magnificent.

I also second the recommendation for Tsitiskamma National Park over Knysna. The "oceanettes" are nice little apartments right on the ocean, where we saw dolphins playing right off our deck.
Celia is offline  

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