South Africa - May 2003 - Advice requested

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Feb 7th, 2003, 08:08 AM
  #1
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South Africa - May 2003 - Advice requested

I'd like your wonderful advice please!

My sister and her girl friend are planning a two week trip from 17 May.

Their choices right now are Cuba, Vietnam or South Africa.

They are looking for somewhere not too expensive (and I think South Africa is a top value destination).

They want to arrive, have hotel booked for first few days and then go free.

They'd like to know about weather etc in different areas of the country at this time of year. Also whether it will be very crowded.

They'd also like ideas for itinerary and tips on what to include.

Thnks for all you can give me.
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Feb 9th, 2003, 06:51 PM
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If it was my choice I'd go for Vietnam and Thailand.
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Feb 10th, 2003, 03:25 AM
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Aside from the very favourable exchange rate SA has the advantage of being largely English speaking. If travellers want to keep things unplanned and go where things interest them possibly off the beaten track, being able to converse easily with the locals is a big advantage. May is the start of winter but these are comparitively mild - I suppose it depends on what you are used to. May is also a good time to view game. The evenings will be cool, you will need a jacket, but daytime temperatures reach the mid-twenties (seventies). Also - except for the Western Cape area, winter is a dry season in SA. May should not be too busy - there are no local school holidays and it falls outside most international visitor timeframes. Suggestions for an itinerary would depend a lot on interests, I am guessing with Cuba and Vietnam as the other options that you are interested in experiencing other cultures? Well SA is a real melting pot, with something extra special and unique on top. You can:
go on safari
head for the beach (certain areas will be warm enough in May)
visit museums, monuments and places of historical significance
admire scenery
indulge in a retail feast
do the wineroute
climb some mountains
travel down a mineshaft

With the "unstructured" format envisaged the highly developed infrastructure in SA is also a plus. You will be able to travel around quite easily.
And one thing I can guarantee - you will not get a warmer welcome anywhere else - South Africans are known for their hospitality.
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Feb 14th, 2003, 01:31 PM
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traci ever think of taking people around? Patricia in canada (loved south africa)
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Feb 17th, 2003, 10:38 AM
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Thanks so much to those who replied.

It looks as though Cuba is now a fairly firm choice, though SA is still high on my sister's wish list (and my own).

Thank you.
Kavey
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Feb 18th, 2003, 06:02 AM
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Rocco,
We did a shark diving trip with White Shark Adventures last September, and they did not require you to have a scuba license. The top part of the cage is kept above the water, so if you are not a certified diver, it is possible to use snorkelling equipment. The company's website is: www.whitesharkdiving.com
However, I should mention that despite a 96% chance of sighting sharks, we saw none the day of our trip (neither did any of the other boats near Dyer Island). Apparently the changing weather patterns have made their sightings less predictable over the past few years. So, if you are pressed for time on your trip, this may not be the most productive way to spend the day.
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Feb 18th, 2003, 06:06 AM
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Sorry, my last post should have appeared under the heading "Cape Town Area Advice"
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Feb 18th, 2003, 08:55 AM
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No worries OSC, though I'd recommend that you post it again on the relevant thread, if you haven't done so. That way for anyone searching in the future, the info will all be contained in the one thread.

As I said above sister and friend are decided on 2 weeks to Cuba for May but she is now looking for a possible destination for a single week in August with another friend.

SAfrica is again amongst the list of options, IF a reasonable flight can be found.

Her friend is much keener to relax by a pool/ beach in good weather, Sis enjoys getting out and about and seeing the place so they're looking for a combo of both.

What's weather like in various areas at that time of year (August)?

Is it worth coming to SA for only one week when she may be able to come for 2 or 3 next year?

Would Cape Town fit the double criteria best or somewhere else such as Rocktail Bay/ Maputaland Coastal Forest Reserve or some other beach and wildlife area?

Again asking for input on slightly different parameters...

THANKS so much

Kavey
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Feb 21st, 2003, 12:16 AM
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Hi Kavey
The only place in SA that will offer good beach weather in August is KwaZulu-Natal. I see you read the excellent recent post which covered some of this area. KZN has a lot to offer in terms of beautiful scenery and culture. I see you have discovered Rocktail Bay - absolutely lovely spot and perfect for the beach part. But you are not exactly mobile as it is only accessibly by 4x4 vehicle. For the week you could stay on the KZN north coast, and take day drives through Zululand (lots of historical sites), the Midlands Meander (arts and crafts) and Durban are always improving their tourist facilities. I heard this week of a micro-breweries tour through the midlands area as well. Could be fun! But if your sister particularly wants to go to Cape Town - I would reluctantly suggest that she waits for next year when she has 2-3 weeks and can tour the country more widely.
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Feb 21st, 2003, 12:25 AM
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Dear Traci
Thanks so much for your reply.
Actually I havent been reading anything here on KwaZulu-Natal - but recently one of the TV holiday shows featured the destination. As I'd read about Rocktail Bay in the brochures when researching my 2004 Botswana trip I was curious about it and watched the program.
I'll pass on the advice.
Both she and I want to visit South Africa but I think it's worth waiting to make it a great trip.
I can't really visit this year because we are doing a 3 week Africa trip next year and there are sooo many other non-African destinations on our wish list.
Sister will need to wait till she can take a minimum of a couple of weeks off at the right time of year.
Thanks for the advice, really appreciate it.
Kavey
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