South Africa/moderate price range

Feb 21st, 2002, 03:17 PM
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South Africa/moderate price range

We have enough frequent flyer miles to visit South Africa.We are planning on renting a car, and staying for 10-14 days. We can afford to stay in moderate priced places. We would prefer quaint, charming, interesting B&B's, guest houses, or lodges. We plan on flying into Cape Town, driving along the coast/whale area, wine route, garden route, and taking several days to go see animals. I have read several travel journals where couples have had a 'marvelous trip for only $10,000'. We obviously can't afford that,don't want that, but aren't in the backpack/youth hostel category either. We would like nice moderate priced restaurants, places to stay, etc. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Oh, we're planning on early November, is that a good time? Thanks.
Feb 21st, 2002, 05:41 PM
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I was in Cape Town and on the Garden Route exactly a year ago and loved it!
You don't need to spend much money at all to have a great trip. (Forget that nonsense about $10,000. You probably won't come close to needing even half of that, if you stick close to any kind of budget.)
Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about accomodations, but, regarding weather:
If you prefer relatively cloudy and cool weather, then early November is fine. However, if you prefer warmer, sunnier weather, wait 'til December, when summer starts. (December of 2002 is also a great time to go, because of the solar eclipse).
Feb 22nd, 2002, 12:01 AM
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I would go for November if I was you. December is too hot and crowded, November is "low" season and you should be able to find accommodation without having to book ahead. You will also be in whale season along the Cape Coast.
We often usr the Formule 1 hotel in Cape Town, although it has limited facilities, it is clean and VERY reasonable and also very central.
For useful South African links go visit my SA links page:
have a great holiday!
Feb 22nd, 2002, 06:54 AM
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Two sites to look at are:

There are many more good SA web sites, but these two should be a good start.

You'll find many many good places to stay in a moderate price range. The standards of service are very high too. Is this your first trip to SA? You'll love it!
Feb 23rd, 2002, 02:00 PM
Lynda Howland
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I went to S. AFrica several years ago with two other women (we're all in our late 50's), and rented a care and drove the garden route from Cape Town to Jo'Burg. We stayed in several "backpacker places" for under $10 a night. These are very clean, located in old mansions; sometimes we had to share a bath. There is a wonderful backpacker network throughout S. Africa. Each place has leaflets for all the other places in the country.
We did stay in several B & B's - again, these are easy to find - we just drove into town and went to the local tourist office. Here are a few places I can recommend. Hermanus - Fairfield B & B at $15 per person. Mosel Bay - Allemans Dorphus B & B, 44 Montagua St. - about $15 per night). Jeffries Bay - The Guesthouse, 17 Flame Crescent; [email protected]). Cintsa - Buccaneers Retreat (private cottages on the ocean with private bath for $12 each - a beautiful place and setting). Knysna - Brach House B & B ([email protected]). Durban - Anglerock Hotel ($7 each with shared bath; [email protected])
If you'd like any other information, please e-mail me.
Feb 25th, 2002, 03:17 AM
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Weather: SA is very diverse. The best time to go is Feb / March. December and early Jan is high tourist season - and there are loads of them, and the weather can be a bit unpredictable. Mostly hot and dry, but can rain. Feb / March is generally hotter, but can be a bit windy at times. The wind can be a bit of a weather forecaster - when the South-Easter blows hard, it will be very hot (30 deg) when it stops. The garden route generally gets its rain after Cape Town as the storm front moves up the coast, so don't leave for your trip on a rainy day or you may run risk of rain all the way. If you can't go in Feb / March, then November is second best.

Accomodation: Depending on which area you want to stay in Cape Town (I would recommend Sea Point / Bantry Bay / Fresnaye / Camps Bay, you should find hotels cheap by US standard. I remember paying $50 for a motel 6 in San Diego, where a slightly better hotel can cost less. Try the City Lodge in the Waterfront. Good access to everything. Can't help you along the Garden route, but if you must go to Plettenberg Bay - and if you can, stay in the Beacon Isle hotel - part of the Southern Sun group - you should find them on the web. (about $80 /night incl. breakfast). If you go to Hermanus - stay at the Hermanus Esplanades - basic self catering, but right on the beachfront and about $30 / night for 2 people. Tel: +27 28 312 3610. I always stay there. They are on the web aswell - somewhere!

Unfortunately you won't see whales in Feb / March. Best time is August / September - in Hermanus. The weather can be quite good then, but it can also rain for a few days in a row.

Restaurants: A good meal in a good restaurant (Bottle of wine, starter, main and desert) should cost maximum $15 per person. Tips are between 10 and 15 percent. Sea Point / Camps Bay and Waterfront have very good restaurants. Try Primi Piatti in the Waterfron for great pizza, or Bayside cafe in Camps Bay for Steaks or Villamoura (slightly mroe expensive) for unbelievable Seafood.

Having a car is a must - public transport is terrible. You can do most with a good guide book. Don't do tours unless you really have to.

Avoid the township areas at all costs, but don't be to worried about safety - just be alert and aware of your surroundings. Downtown is relatively safe at night, but unless you are going to a nightclub there is not much else going on.

Try also going to Spier wine farm - also on the web.

A common problem are informal parking attendants - homeless people offering to look after your car - for a fee of course. They are generally not dangerouse but more of a nuisance. I usually say I will give them something when I return to find my car in one piece (and it always is) and then give them 1 or 2 Rand (about 10-20 cents)

If you are exchanging money the best places are Thomas Cook agents - Rennies Travel and Master Currency - both have beaureux at the Waterfront - Travellers Cheques give you a better rate. ATMs are everywhere.

Lastly, stay as long as possible - there is so much to see and do. The locals are extremely friendly in general and usually more than willing with directions or information. Try also (the cape town tourism organisation).

Have a great time
Mar 2nd, 2002, 09:06 AM
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Thanks for the information. What about going to any of the wildlife reserves? I guess we could splurge a little there. Can you drive to those areas from Cape Town, or do you have to fly there or what? Are the private reserves really better?
Mar 4th, 2002, 02:34 AM
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My first reaction was that you are going to have to fly up to the highveld to see any decent wildlife but I pulled out my copy of "Portfolio of Safari Places" and was pleasantly surprised to find a few options in the Eastern Cape. I had heard before of Shamwari (very exclusive - sorry I don't have an address), but was pleased to discover Bayethe ( - looks nice and personal but they don't say if they have the Big Five or not, so probably not, and Kwandwe ( The latter is part of the Conservation Corporation group so you are assured of good standards and they do have the Big Five. If these don't work out then I suggest you fly from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg and then drive onto a lodge from there. Again, Conservaton Corporation's website will list a number of excellent locations in their group. One gem little known about is Tshukudu ( I have not had the pleasure but have heard rave reports - and it is also fairly reasonable. They still quote their rates in Rand so you need to divide by eleven which gives some very pleasing results It's a small lodge that fills up quckily, much more personal -they also rescue and rehabilitate animals so you may even get close enough to touch! Other favourites of mine are Entabeni ( and Madikwe River Lodge.
Mar 10th, 2002, 06:51 PM
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I was in South Africa about 18 months ago and my advice is contact places that quoye you a price in rand. The fact is that the exchange rate is so bad that south africa is becoming cheaper by the day. Eating out in Capetown is surreal when you can go into an EXCELLENT restaurant and eat for $8 for an entree. There are lots of b and b websites one which has very nice properties is They have tonnes of places. The whole safari thing is more complicated because most of them price things in US for foriegners...though this may not be true of some of the smaller family game farms. Anyway, if you go in November you may be able to get an end of season special. We got a wonderful deal (in Zambia) through a South African travel agent who I can't recommend highly enough Sandy Ingles who is the owner of an agency called Pulse Africa We booked a 10 day safari for our honeymoon so it wasn't cheapbut compared with US prices it was half price! The best thing about her agency is that as South Africans they really know the places and they occasionaly negotiate great deals during the end or beginning of the season.
I really hope this helps. I found the forums so helpful when I planned a trip to Australia...happy trip!
Mar 12th, 2002, 05:15 AM
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smarTours is an excellent tour company for planned tours. (If you want to drive and decide where to go after you get there, smarTours does not do it that way) We have used smarTours 3 times and been very happy with each tour. No, I am not working for the company! I am just an average tourist who likes value and Ist class or better hotels. smarTours provides this. Their phone is 1-800-337-7773
Mar 13th, 2002, 01:15 PM
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We spent christmas 2001 in SA. I can highly recommend the following B&B's.

Froggs Leap in Hout Bay (we're going back next Jan)
The Elephant House near Addo Elephant Park, PE
Sound of the Sea, Wilderness. Your room is virtual on the beach.

You'll have a great time - lucky you

Mar 15th, 2002, 03:46 PM
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Thanks, this is just the kind of information I'm looking for. Is there a website for Sound of Sea in Wilderness? I couldn't find anything on it, but it sounded interesting. Did you stay at any other B&B's?
Jul 27th, 2002, 04:10 AM
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Also looking for quaint, interesting places to stay. We're renting a car and driving along the coast, Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. Any problems with safety in the wine and garden route areas?
Jul 27th, 2002, 07:56 AM
Liz Frazier
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Hi SS-
This sounds like sooo much fun! I read about the website:, on this forum and have been having fun watching their sales. They post the pictures of most of the places. During slow seasons they reduce the rates and post them here. You can reserve (through them I guess) whenever they show up. Prices are quoted in Rand, although some are only for SA residents. I don't know if this will help you but maybe it will. Liz
Jul 30th, 2002, 12:38 PM
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We've done the garden trip a few times in the last year and found some great B&Bs and lodges. You can read our detailed reviews and see pics at
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