south africa - intinerary help needed

Jan 11th, 2007, 02:33 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,825
south africa - intinerary help needed

Again, many thanks to all those who helped with my proposed east africa itinerary. The family DH plus DD aged 19 & DS aged 16] have decided that the range of activities in south africa would suit us better, so here i am on my researches again.

The trip would last about 12 nights next July [yes, we know that the weather may not be the best but this is the only window we have for a long trip and we don't want to go anywhere too hot]

Proposed itinerary as follows:

Days 1-3 - arrive late evening Cape town from UK flight via amsterdam staying Radisson on the V & A waterfront. B & B . free with 2 nights at Shamwari
day 4 ? Winelands, Hemanus?
Day 5 -7 - staying 2 nights Grootbos [all inclusive, whale watching etc]
Day 7-10 - staying hog hollow B & B
Day 10-12 - staying 2 nights shamwari - ? which lodge? - can't decide.
Day 13 - ? another night at Shamwari, or Addo, or?
Day 14 - evening flight from Port /elizabeth back to UK via Jo'burg and a'dam.

My queries are:

At present we have an extra day/night after the 3 free nights at the Radisson - giving us 2 days [3 nights] in Cape town - is this enough or should we use our spare day to spend another night there?

alternatively, should we spend a night in the winelands before moving onto Grootbos, or extend our time there by a night?

We also have free night at the end of the trip - should we extend our time and Shamwari, or move to Addo for a night?

which lodge at Shamwari would you choose?

Thanks again to all


annhig is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 03:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Before I pitch in and try and help please just clarify something for me:

At what time of the year are you travelling? Exact start date would help.

Do I understand you correctly when you say that your nights at the Raddissson AND that you 2 nights at Shamwari are free?

Opening comments.

3 nights in Cape Town should be sufficient (Must admit this is very tight though) IF you spend one (if not two) nights in the winelands on your way to Grootbos.

Two nights at Grootbos is quite sufficient. Grootbos is a fabulous place to want to visit

Hog Hollow is great. Wonderfiul setting, good food and pretty central to most. Close to Treetop Canopy tour, Bloukrans bungy and Natures Valley beach

Personally if I had to pay for the extra night at Shamwari I would definitely not take the option as the venue is frightfully expensive. I would rather opt to stay in the themed bush lodges (NOT Orlando House) at Schotia ( ) and do their Addo/ Schotia safari.

Much better value than Shamwari and a totally different experience.

If I could make a suggestion you could well be better off by adding the extra day that you have at Addo and increasing your stay in Cape Town by this one day. This would then probably mean that you would have to forego Schotia if your days at Shamwari are free. If your days at Shamwari are not free I would relook at the whole itinerary and possibly skip Shamwari entirely and rather do Schotia and Addo in a one day experience.

As you seem to be staying at Shamwari for free my lodge choices would be Longlee Manor or Lobengula.

Hope this helps.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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Hi, Selwyn,

Thanks so much for your input - just what I need to get my thoughts in order.

As to the time of year we are travelling, it is the 2nd half of July 2007 - out on 18th, back on 31st.

i'm sorry i didn't make myself clear about the Radissson/Shamwari deal - The deal is the we get three nights free at the Radisson with 2 nights paid for at Shamwari. Yes, i know that Shamwari is dar, but with the Radisson thrown in, it begins to look at lot better. The Radisson [and Shamwari come to that] are not places we would normally stay, but taking a/c of the deal they are offering, and the fact that Shamwari is all in, we felt that it was worth paying that amount.

THe info about Schotia is great - i think that one night there in the bush accommodation would make a great end to the holiday; i will have to check to see if we could fit in Addo before our flight - any idea how long it would take to drive from Schotia to Port elizabeth?

Still not sure about the Cape-town end. i'm thinking more and more that given the moving around we'll be doing at the end of the trip, and the need to recover from the flight at the beginning that 3 days, 4 nights in Cape town would be better - we can always drive over to the winelands if we've run out of mountains and penguins to see.

Thanks again for the help- much appreciated.


annhig is offline  
Jan 12th, 2007, 01:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Ok now that I know that you are travelling July the Grootbos sector of your journey makes sense. Fair warning is that Grootbos does NOT come cheaply even though it is a wonderful place to visit.

As far as your deal is concerned with Shamwari and the Raddison your planning now makes a lot of sense to me because in all fairness the deal sounds like a very good one.

In terms of visiting Addo you should have no problem with this. The reason as to why I am saying this is because the Schotia rangers will collect you at Shamwari (or you can simply drive to Schotia which is 20 minutes away from Shamwari and meet them at Schotia at 10h00 . Once you have met up with the rangers they will take you on an Addo game drive in the morning while you will do the Schotia safaris in the afternoon and evening. The main part of the Schotia safari is when you go on the lion safari which is absolutely brilliant. This will all take place on your third day while in the Addo region.
Obviously that night you will overnight at Schotia. One important fact to bear in mind is that Schotia only have three bush lodges so early booking is important.

Schotia is 55Km on an open national road from Port Elizabeth so the drive back to the city should take you about 40 minutes.

In terms of you increasing your stay in Cape Town by one day I would agree with you with provisos (see later) especially considering, as you have so rightly pointed out, that your first day will be close to wasted due to your jet lag. Furthermore you are correct when you say that you will be in a position to visit the winelands on one of your days in Cape Town. With that said bear in mind that the winelands (70 km outside of Cape Town) is on the way to Hermanus and if you are going to visit the winelands region you might as well do this on the third day of your stay in Cape Town. It for this reason that I still would suggest staying over in the Winelands as opposed to driving back to Cape Town from the Winelands on lets say your second day and then driving back on the exact same road on the following day while on your way to Hermanus. There is of course the possibility that you sleep over for 3 nights in Cape Town and visit the Winelands on your way through to Hermanus on your 4th day however this will be a rather quick take on the winelands as Grootbos is about 80 minutes away from the winelands region.

Decisions, decisions.

Hope this has not confused you or put you into a state of "what should I do" because all I can do is advise you while you make the decisions. That is what makes the world of travel so exciting I suppose

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jan 12th, 2007, 04:10 PM
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Hi, Selwyn - thanks again for helping to clarify my thoughts on this.

If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that we insert one night in the winelands on our way from cape town to Grootbos, rather than doing it as a day trip from Cape town - probably a good idea, though it does cut down on our flexibility in that area. i suppose I'll have to consult the family again.

At the other end, you're telling me that we could do Addo as we arrive at Schotia, leaving the Schotia elements til later that day and the next - a good idea IMO. i hadn't picked that up from their web-site, but it does make sense. It seems to be cheaper than Shamwari and closer to Port elizabeth, so would make a better last night choice.

Thanks again for all your helpful suggestions,


annhig is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 06:11 AM
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Hi there,
Your itinerary is so similar to the one that I plan to do, that I couldn't help posting on this one, to a) ask Selwyn to give me feedback on what I am planning and b) ask Ann to post a report once you are back!!
I was originally planning on going this August, but have postponed to Aug 2008 as my kids will then be 5 and 8 and I think it will work out better for everyone! I also have LOTS of time to make this a great trip!
Our planned route is:
4 nights Radisson in Cape Town
3 nights Grootbos
4 nights Lake Pleasant
3 nights Jaci's, Madikwe
The idea behind this itinerary is to give us at least three nights in each place, as with 2 small children we don't want to rush too much, and we are going to Madikwe because of the children's safari programme there. Our basic interests are in seeing lots of animals (all sorts!), enjoying the great outdoors in general, and taking part in as many children and adult friendly activities as possible.
Any advice on "must-dos" or any suggestions to our plan would be gratefully received. Thanks!!

allycb is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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As you are talking of travelling in 18 months time we can plan this one as thoroughly as possible over a reasonable period of time. I actually want to suggest that you open a new thread on your journey so that others can help out with advice too and lets hope that in the process we can help not only you but many other Fodorites thinking of doing a similar journey.

My first question to you is why have you chosen to stay at the Radisson, visit Grootbos and also Lake Pleasant. I ask this purely because these places are not really child friendly especially for very young children.

I understand your not wanting to pack in and out on a daily basis and this certainly makes a lot of sense to me however before I start making suggestions to you I need to know why you chose the above venues as there might be something I dont know about.

I cant comment on the Madikwe part of your journey as I have never been there however I am sure that many other Fodorites will pass out some valuable advice in this regard as we move along with your planning.

Lets hear your response whereafter I will start responding to you with what will hopefully be helpful answers.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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Thanks a lot for your quick reply. When we were originally planning on visiting SA this Summer, I did some research on the web, and a lot of companies offer a "family safari" with these venues. I consulted one company, Cedarberg Travel, and we worked together this provisional trip taking in mind that I wanted to spend at least 3 nights in each place. I believe that Grootbos is actually rated as one of the best family hotels in the world, so I'm really interested in your comments. I agree that the Radisson could probably be replaced by something more family orientated (open to suggestions?), but at the time I think that Cedarberg Travel proposed it due to the good deals available in August and the location. Lake Pleasant was actually a replacement of Hog Hollow, due to budget reasons (I preferred to "splash out" on 3 nights at Grootbus). So, I hope that explains a bit the rationale - as I said, I am open to any suggestions!! Thanks!!
allycb is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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Hi, ally - glad you're joining in the discussion.

AS your kids are somewhat younger than mine, our interests may diverge a bit, but I definitely agree about staying longer in fewer places - that has always worked better for us. Also booking ahead with young kids works best - i remember one evening in Versailles when we discovered it was "full" very well.

i've also heard and read great things abut Grootbos - hence our visit there.

I found some very good info on the site [think I've got the address right], and by googling the wine-route.. some places there are very child-friendly.

As a matter of interest, why have you picked the Radisson? - we are staying there as it comes free with Shamwari but there are a lot of other good places too.

I will of course be posting a trip report - but you'll have to wait a while as we don't go for 6 months!

Best wishes for your planning,


annhig is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Hi Ann,
Thanks for the post and the link. The Radisson was suggested by the travel agent I contacted - I think basically due to the good rate they can get in August. It seems well situated...and I guess that most of the time in Cape Town will be spent out of the hotel anyway. I will keep investigating...
Have you decided on your final plan yet?
allycb is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Hi, Ally - yes, we're just about to book.

The itinerary, with many, many thanks to Abi at bushbaby Travel [a real mine of information and very patient with our endless changes of mind] is as follows:

Day 1 - arrive late in Cape town - 4 nights [3 free c/o Shamwari]
Day 5 - head off to Grootbos - 2 nights.
Day 7 - further along the garden route for 3 nights at Hog hollow.
Day 10 - 1 night at Schotia - thanks Selwyn
Day 11-13 - 2 nights at Shamwari - then home via Port e'beth and Jo'burg.

We think that's going to give us the best combination of town and country, whale watching, penguins, lions & tigers [no, sorry, I got carried away!].

I will of course post a trip report - meantime, let us know how your researches go.

Best wishes, and many thanks again to Selwyn, especailly for the Schotia tip

annhig is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 05:03 AM
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Have a fantastic time Ann. I will look forward to reading that report!!! (Six months fly away!!) Will do another post on my itinerary a bit further on after more investigating.
allycb is offline  
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