South Africa Fast Help Needed

Apr 25th, 2011, 06:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 7
South Africa Fast Help Needed

So I need some advice on this...

My husband and I are arriving June 22 - haven't booked anything other than flights! I know - need to get a move on. We are early 30's and very active and love adventure. I'm wondering if this is too much, not enough, etc...

June 22, 23 Stay in Cape Town
June 24 - Gaansbaii and shark dive
June 25,26 - Garden Route
June 27,28,29 - Safari (tented camp possibly)
June 29,30,1,2,- Nicer accomodations Safari somewhere else near Krugar
June 3 - Head Home
Is this too much moving around, not enough in Cape Town, should we take out Garden Route?
sarac9978 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 08:04 PM
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You from USA? If so, very long way to fly for only 11 days, try to stretch it to 15 or so.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
I would skip the garden route this time and spend more time in Cape Town. Lots to do. Don't miss the Cape of Good Hope and the penguins at Boulders Beach, Robben Island is outstanding, Table Mt, wine ands if you're interested.

For an affordable safari, try Shindzela. It happens to be tented and sounds great. We'll be there the week before you. Check out pixelpower's review here on fodors (search Shindzela or pixelpower). Lots of "nice" (expensive, mostly) options in Sabi Sands. Mala Mala is a favorite, too. I believe &beyond lodges have a 3 for 2 special in June. Check their website and contact them. All of these camps are very nice at many prices. Of course some are nicer than others, but all will give you a good wildlife experience. The more affordable ones will most likely put more people in the vehicles on game drives, so ask about that if it's important to you.

You will be flying to the Kruger area? You can arrange for charter flights and transfers through the
lodges. Are you using a safari agent? No need because most of the lodges can make arrangements. Availability at the last minute might be a problem, so be flexible.

Of course more time is better, but 11 days will whet your appetite for next time.

You're gonna love it! Let us know how it was and when you're going back.
christabir is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 09:01 PM
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Posts: 642

with just 11 days I'd suggest dropping the Garden Route and spending more time in Cape Town or maybe further down the coast at Simons Town and spend your time doing day trips. You could do the Cape of Good Hope, enjoy the wines and wineries of the Stellenbosch area and soak up the atmosphere of Cape Town.

Alternatively, you could add more safari time. Here is a link to a great thread put together by a fellow Fodorite on good value lodges along the western border of Kruger, which includes some tented camps,


Treepol is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 09:01 PM
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That would be winelands, not wine ands.
christabir is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Hi there,

I always advise 3 nights minimum in Cape Town, particularly if you are coming off a long-haul flight and 4 nights is always preferable. Don't under estimate how much there is to do and see in Cape Town.

To do the Garden Route properly you need at the very least,3 nights. Even that really is not enough time. The Garden Route is all about taking your time, exploring little towns, stopping off at farm stalls, and late afternoon picnics, taking detours and scenic routes and taking your time to explore and enjoy the area.

If you rush it - it loses it's beauty.

Also remember a shark cage dive is weather dependent - it is usually best to have 2 days in the area just in case the weather turns.

I'd rather recommend as you are going to Kruger anyway, leave out the Eastern Cape Safari and use the nights to explore the Garden Route. I would switch your itinerary around too.

If you have booked your flights to arrive in Cape Town. I would advise:

22 June: Arrive CT. Spend 3 nights here.
25 June: Drop hire car and fly to George Airport. Collect hire car. Drive to Plett. Spend 2 nights here.
27 June: Drive to Swellendam (?) or Oudtshoorn. Spend 1 night here.
28 June: Drive to Gansbaai. Spend 2 nights here. (or you could do 1 night Gansbaai and 1 night winelands)
30 June: EARLY a.m. drive through to Cape Town Airport. Drop hire car and catch direct flight to Kruger. Transfer to lodge. Spend 3 nights here.
3 July: Head home.

IF you can change your flights to arrive into Johannesburg. I'd recommend:

22 June: Arrive Johannesburg. Catch flight to George. Collect hire car and drive to Plett/Knysna. Spend 2 nights here.

24 June: Drive to Oudtshoorn/Swellendam. Spend 1 night here.

25 June: Drive to Gansbaai and spend 2 nights here.

27 June: Drive to Cape Town and spend 3 nights here.
30 June: EARLY a.m. drive through to Cape Town Airport. Drop hire car and catch direct flight to Kruger. Transfer to lodge. Spend 3 nights here.
3 July: Head home.

Hope this helps! You might find these blogs quite helpful:
VanessaHobson is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
We're just back from 5 nights Cape Town, 3 nights Sabi Sands and 3 nights Tembe in Kwazulu Natal, and in my opinion no matter how long you stay it's never long enough. There is heaps to see in Cape Town it's a beautiful city and 1 night isnt anywhere near enough, and if I was you I'd pick to short stays in camps in different areas but closeish together to save travel time.
sallysaab is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 02:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 7
Thank you so much for the advice! We're going to look further into this info tonight! I'll let you know what we decide! Your help is great!!
sarac9978 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 06:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 7
Ok - I'm starting to get stressed out about planning our vacation!!! I've searched, read, searched, and read and I just can't decide.

Here's what we HAVE decided on.. I think

(arriving June 21 in JNB)

4 nights Cape Town,

1 night Gannsbaii,

6 nights safaris - split 3/3?

Depart JNB Jul 3 8:00 pm

Now, where should we stay to see the most game - this is where the stress comes in. We want to stay in one middle of the road place and one above average place - 3 nights each. There are too many choices and I just can't decide! Thanks in advance!
sarac9978 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 07:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
We want to stay in one middle of the road place and one above average place - 3 nights each.

Firstly, not sure I know the difference between "middle of the road" and "above average", both are close to same to me. Anyway, all six nights Sabi Sand reserve. This allows easy transfer, short drive, between two safari camps and you won't miss any game drives. So you have 3 nights Kirkmans Kamp or Elephant Plains and then 3 nights MalaMala. Or, I'd could easily take all 6 nights at MalaMala (have before ).

Last morning at MalaMala - morning game drive, breakfast, short flight Sabi Sand to JNB for flight home same day.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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I'm not a diver, rather a dipper (big toe) and when we did Gannsbaii, where I took the pictures... did this day after arrival CPT.

Now, not sure whether it's "you don't dive after flying" or the other way, "don't fly after diving" though this activity isn't "deep diving" And, if the shark diving is your last activity, believe you have to return to CPT for flight to Kruger, therefore, I'd keep this activity as part of the entire Captetown stay and schedule the sharks for the early part of visit in case it has to be cancelled one day and rescheduled for the next. Something to consider.

Then head up to Kruger, and Sabi Sands is best for game viewing with splitting at two camps at different areas of this rather large private conservancy... where camps above are good ones, always budget dependent.

From Kruger, back to JNB and home... all sounds good to me for the short amount of time.

Good luck!
sandi is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
Here's an offer from &beyond:

Add a night at Kirkmans. All flights/transfers included for a fair price.

But I'd probably stay all 6 nights around Kruger as I suggested above. Shindzela or Arathusa (and check for availability of Elephant Plains) and Mala Mala would likely be my choices. Stayed at Arathusa in 2009 and loved it. You'll see game anywhere, especially in Sabi Sands, but nothing is guaranteed (except maybe elephants and impala). If you choose a Sabi Sands camp, the ones to the east are better game choices -closer to Kruger NP - but in general not as posh as the ones to the west. Enjoy your planning! I know it's overwhelming, but your plan is a good one.
christabir is offline  
Apr 28th, 2011, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 39

Don't get stressed! The planning should be half the fun!!

Seriously, June is ages away and you'll find very few SA hotels / lodges full at that time of year. In fact I often advise clients to leave bookings until 30 days before and insist in big, fat discounts. specialises in this sort of deal.

Personally I'd consider:

3 nights CPT
1 night Gansbaai (or even do your drive on the 'way' from CPT along the Garden Route because it's not particularly attractive in it's own right).
3 days Garden Route / Route 62 / Little Karoo
4 days Safari in Addo Elephant Safari Park or Shamwari. Kruger is awesome, but it's a long way to go (and an expensive flight) from the Garden Route. Especially as Addo also has the Big 5, more interesting scenery, some cracking lodges and it's on your route.

But, remember, don't stress!
satpacker is offline  
Apr 28th, 2011, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 23
Another UNUSUAL spot to consider nearish to Cape Town (you need a car) is Kraal baai, in the West Coast Nature Reserve.

If you ended up staying longer in CT you could try renting a house boat on the lagoon. You can easily take a lovely drive through the wine lands and then curve around to the reserve. or
make some friends in Cape town and try this one :

This is a great day trip! Otherwise I have to agree Boulders, Simonstown, St James and a drive past Smitswinklebaai and on to Hout bay would also be a stunning day, and one you should not miss!

Probably you can skip the garden route, and see more of the area around the western cape on the way to Gaansbaai. Bettys bay also has a colony of penguins, a fantastic botanical garden with stunning hikes through the mountains, hermanus is a cute little village all whale oriented, and just the drive from CT to Gaansbaai is beautiful along the coast.

If you are looking to see the most animals in a reserve, Stay in the south of KRUGER:

1.either Spends LOADS of cash and go on a private safari where they guarantee big 5 sightings - the uber fancy lodges in the KNP, singita ,sabi sands, timbavati these will set you back quite a bit though but if you have money to spare will be well worth your time!

Or 2. Stay in the South of the park, hire a car, and book a cabin or bungalow (self catering) at the various KNP rest camps. I can recommend Berg en Dal, very pretty small camp. There are also more reasonably priced private camps in the KNP South, tented and not tented.

You can fly direct to Kruger park or Nelspruit probably from Cape town. if you book into a private camp they will probably be able to arrange to pick you up etc. if you fancy trying kruger on your own, rent a car and explore, just remember to keep your windows up if you see baboons The KNP also offers night drives at almost all of the rest camps if you are staying over, they can be quite fun!

There are also plenty of great places nearby to explore in Sabi, Pilgrims rest, etc...

Good luck!
P.s. this was my last trip to Kruger, I loved every minute, hope you do too!
Kat_Cameron is offline  

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