South Africa itinerary advice

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Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:06 AM
  #1
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South Africa itinerary advice

Hi everyone,

My husband and I have decided rather last minute to do a round the world trip (our contract jobs just ended and we have the time) and we have two months in South Africa starting on June 8th. The trip will be done on as small a budget as possible but we still want to see as much as we can. While we plan on using public transport most of the time, I thought we could rent a car for the first 10 days. My plan is to see the malarial areas first so we can stop taking the malarial pills for the rest of the trip. I thought we could arrive in Johannesberg, drive to Kruger for a few days and drive to KwaZulu Natal to see St. Lucia and then drive back to Johannesberg and then fly to Namibia. Does this seem to be too much driving for 10 days? What else should we see on this leg of the trip? After Nambibia,we will fly to Capetown and then make our way overland to Johanneberg, sticking to the non-malarial areas. Please let me know if this is a good plan. Any advice is appreciated.

Alice
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Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:56 AM
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10 days seems OK for me for that part. You could always do with more days, but it isn't really needed.

I'd certainly put these stops in:
- Bourke's potholes, God's window and the three rondavels (can all be done in one day of "sightseeing")
- A few days at Kruger
- A drive through Swaziland
- At least one day in Hluhluwe (no other park has a Rhino population like this one! You can photograph them from 20m or less!)
- One day (or more) in the Drakensbergen. Not that much wildlife, but great views!
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Mar 24th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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We've done a very similar itinerary -- I think 10 days will not be too hurried. Do go to Umfolozi-Hluhulwe. In Kruger you may or may not get good rhino sightings, but in Hlulhulwe, you'll see LOTS of rhinos! The other things pixelpower suggests are all good too.

In St. Lucia, be sure to take the boat trip up the estuary. You'll encounter lots of hippos, crocs, and bird life.

Check with an authority, but I'm not sure you need malaria meds in Kruger in June-July. It's winter, and not mosquito time. And you never need malaria meds in the area between Cape Town and Johannesburg.
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Mar 25th, 2006, 10:34 AM
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More about pixelpower's suggestion to go through Swaziland -- do it! The drive from Kruger to Swaziland is easy, on good roads. The town (capital city) of Mbabane is interesting and colorful. There are two great markets, as well as some good modern shopping, and a big souvenir market that's just outside of town.

The route we took on a trip similar to what you're planning was Jo'burg to Kruger, to Swaziland, to St. Lucia, to Umfolozi-Hluhluwe, and back to Jo'burg.
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Mar 26th, 2006, 11:40 AM
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AliceL,

Your trip to South Africa sounds like a lot of fun.

One thing though, if you plan to drive from Cape Town to Johannesburg, it is a long dull trip. We began our drive in Jo'burg, mid October last year, stayed at B&B's in Bloomfontaine and Graaff-Renet.
The B&B's were very nice, great comfort and good English breakfasts. But the drives between were not at all interesting; long, straight roads, farmland, lots of sheep and ostrich. The mountains we passed were bare and rocky, and the passes scary, but it was a peaceful drive. We drove most of the three days - didn't rush, but were very happy to come to George and Knysna. Had a lovely B&B in Knysna too. Nice area with lots to do, then a good drive to Cape Town. Allow time to enjoy the Garden Route, Wine Country and Cape Town. If we do this trip again, we'll fly between Jo'burg and Cape Town (which we did on our return). Have fun!
- Joan
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Mar 27th, 2006, 04:22 AM
  #6
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Thanks so much for all the great advice! From what I am reading here, our driving trip seems to be a reasonable idea. It is great to get advice from people who done the same trip.
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Mar 27th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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The first 10 days seem great - although you will wish that you had more time!
But driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg isn't that much fun. I would rather spend the time driving from Cape Town to port Elizabeth and the fly from there to Johannesburg. It is an interesting and pretty route with lots of activities and great places to stay.

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Mar 27th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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It IS a long drive from Cape Town to Jo'burg. Driving to PE and flying from there is one possibility (we did that once), but it might be even more enjoyable to drive a loop from Cape Town to Knysna or George or so, and back through the winelands to Cape Town, and then fly to Johannesburg. And you'd avoid car rental dropoff charges that way too.
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Mar 27th, 2006, 09:38 AM
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Alice,
I think that you need to review your itinerary and do more of a circuitous route & since you are on a budget, I would suggest that you get the cheapest rental for the entire journey. 2 months to play with is really a great chunk of time to really enjoy South Africa. Also with regard to malaria, June is dry and the lowveld areas, where you would typically be expopsed to malarial mosquitos' being dry I think that you are realatively safe...

So this is what I would suggest.

Arrive JNB, set off in a westerly direction, this route will take you through the siuthern sections of the Khalahari, pass through Augrabies Falls National Park & then head up into Namibia, aiming for Windhoek. Drive up to Etosha, back down and west to Swakopmund, down to Walvis, through the Naukluft national Park and onward to Sossusvlei.

Continue south towaqrd the fish river canyon, if you can get to Luderitz, head west see that and Kolmanskop, before heading South to Cape Town on the west coast road.

You could branch east into the cederburg around clan william or sooner and west again toward Piketberg, from there take the Vredenburg road and explore the Langebaan area & west coast national park.

After Cape Town, drive the garden route to Port Elizabeth, through the wild coast, stopping in at Mazeppa bay, coffee bay and perhaps port st johns, then up into Durban, through the drakensburg and down into the lowveld. drive up through the kruger, exit at pafuri and meander throughto Tzaneen down the N1 back to JNB for your onward flight.

Lots of driving, but lots of country and sixty days is journals worth of experiences.
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