South Africa Safari in June?

Feb 13th, 2011, 03:11 AM
  #1  
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South Africa Safari in June?

Perhaps I have left it too late already to even get a booking, but I wanted to check if mid June is any good for visiting South Africa and spend a week or so on a safari. I have read a bit (not enough!), but if the timing is all wrong, I will look at alternate vacation ideas. We have two weeks free starting from 12th June. I need to know if we will be able to view any animals and if it will be too cold (we're used to NY winters). Thanks a lot.
minsin is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 04:44 AM
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June falls in, or very nearly in, the range of best months to visit the Kruger region. See the site below for some additional info.

http://www.krugerpark.co.za/Kruger_P...uger-park.html

Temps should be comfortable. Early morning and evening game drives will be chilly in a moving vehicle. Make sure you bring some layers, including a mid-weight jacket and perhaps a hoodie. You can put on or strip off as the temps change. Chances of rain are very low then. See: http://www.places.co.za/html/temperaturegr.html

Don't look at other destinations! You'll have the best time in South Africa. Steve
sdb2 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 05:05 AM
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I went around that time and it was great--even with some very unusual heavy rain for that time of year. Absolutely bring a hoodie. I wore a wool hat and gloves in the mornings until well after 9:00 a.m. But like the unusual rain, there was the first Joburg snowfall in 25 years when I went.

June is one of 2 or 3 months I'd shoot for on a return.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 05:15 AM
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BTW, if you're leaving from JFK, I just wanted to mention that you might want to consider South African Airways #204, a favorite of mine. It's non-stop, but more important it arrives JNB in the (next) morning, giving you lots of time to head off to your final destination or extra time in Jo'burg to get over jet lag. Most other airlines/flights get you there in the evening or night.
sdb2 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 07:56 AM
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We went in June in 2009 and are going again this year. It's a good time to go. As atravelynn says it is chilly in the morning and at night. Dress in layers. I need gloves and earmuffs (NYer, too). The vegetation is starting to die back as winter approaches, so the animals are easier to spot and water is scarcer so they stay near permanent water sources. June - Sept are the best months for safari.

Two weeks gives you some options. All safari or do you want to do Capetown for a few days? Are you interested in luxury or basic - both with great wildlife viewing? There is something for just about anyone. The private reserves around Kruger are everyone's favorites, especially Sabi Sands.

Because we use frequent flyer miles, we go through Europe, but you lose a day. South Africa Airways is better, but that's a very long flight. Longer in coach.

June is even better because it's soon!
christabir is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 08:10 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for the quick replies. I am an ex-NYer, now in HKG. Advice is much appreciated. Have done some research in the meanwhile and I think we'd like to do the KNP first for 8-9 days and then chill a bit in CT. The flying time for us is 11 hours and there is a non-stop that gets us there early in morning.

Most interested in viewing wildlife, nature walks, with comfort and good food thrown in. Not looking for luxury rather a great trip experience. DH will not like to drive, so self-drive is out. As I am thinking of this as a once-in-a-lifetime trip before one of the kids leaves home, I am willing to stretch the finances a bit.

Looking forward to more advice here!
minsin is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 10:02 AM
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Check out Mala Mala, that is a great time to see the Big 5 every day.
ShellCat is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 11:00 AM
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minsin, I wish I had a dollar for each time I've heard people say it's a a once-in-a-lifetime trip, then return to Africa over and over. I'd have enough money for another safari! Beware mal d'Afrique.
sdb2 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 12:00 PM
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Minsin,

If self-drive is out (as it was for me), then Sabi Sands makes more sense than Kruger.

For maximum wildlife variety, mid-June in the Cape Town region starts getting into some of the best time to see Great White Sharks. The sharks that breach as part of their seal hunting technique can be seen out of False Bay through African Shark Eco-Charters. I spent a week with them, but many people book a single trip that lasts from early morning to afternoon. You can also do safe guided walks with baboons through Baboon Matters for a reasonable cost and see an easily accessible penguin colony. Penguins, sharks, baboon walks are all done from Simons Town, about 30-40 minutes from Cape Town by car or train. I based myself in the picturesque and safe Simons Town for these activities. Hiring a private guide for any Cape Town activities is easy and what non-self-drivers do.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 02:41 PM
  #10  
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Mala Mala sounds great, but is too expensive for me. Is there some way for getting discounts?

Sabi sounds good too. What other camp/s can I add to this? There are so many options! I noticed that some folks are using guides, and consultants to plan the trip. Any recommendations?

Also, is it advisable to include Victoria Falls in the itinerary? I know it is a bit all over the place, but I saw some tours that offer all this in a week. But wanted to check before my ambitions run away with me. Thanks...
minsin is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 03:00 PM
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If you are going solo, Mala Mala waives the single supplement for one of its rooms if you book far enough in advance so that's a discount. But I saw "we" which makes me think you are not a solo traveler. Traveling in June is a good way to pay a rate that is lower than high season. Also there are sometimes deals of stay 4 nights, pay for 3 or similar.

There are many other places in Sabi Sands besides Mala Mala. Some that I'd like to try that are less expensive include Arathusa and Elephant Plains.

If you've always wanted to see Victoria Falls, then a trip to South Africa has you relatively close. Two nights at the falls is sufficient if your main interest is the falls itself. If this is mainly a safari, then I'd stay put in South Africa. Cape Town and vicinity can provide you a nice contrast with safari activities.

Guides = Unless you do a self-drive, the guide aka ranger drives you around the park. You might also have a tracker in the vehicle to help find the animals.

Consultants = Some travel agents call themselves consultants. It can be helpful to use a company that specializes in Africa to help coordinate domestic charter flights and book your lodging, especially if you mix and match many locations and activities. Often it is NOT more expensive to use an agent and can even be less expensive than booking direct. (I'm not an agent or consultant promoting the business.) Booking upon arrival would cost less, though. With 2 weeks to travel, you probably would not want to arrive with no reservations.


If you list what you hope to get from your trip, and a budget then specifics on where to go and itineraries can be suggested. It is very easy to have your ambitions run away with you.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 04:00 PM
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Minsin,

Pixelpower, a fellow Fodorite reviewed a wide variety of lodges in Sabi Sands, Klaserie, Timbavati and Manyeleti along the western border of Kruger - here is a link to his post http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...und-kruger.cfm

These lodges would meet your need for comfort rather than lux at a great price, and there would be no driving. I've been to Kruger in June and found the weather then to be very agreeable.

Happy planning,


Pol

There are reviews of his stays at Shindzela, Pongwe, Africa on foot and Elephant Plains if you search the forum.
Treepol is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 07:21 AM
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Thanks again... Yes, we are four adults travelling together (kids are old enough to be called that!) and I am paying for all, so would like to look at the bottom line a bit

@Treepol, I checked all of the Kruger posts in the forum, including ones suggested to me here and am still struggling with prices in properties like Mala Mala, Singita, etc. I would love to experience that, but way above my budget! Then I saw that you are staying at two other camps - Shindzela and Umkumbe. We might not head up to Tambavati, but I will definitely look up Shindzela.

Saw an itinerary from go2africa which included Sabi and Victoria Falls. Will see how do-able that is. DH is a Nat Geo enthusiast and we might end up spending more time in Kruger. But I have to do my home work before I show different itineraries to him!
minsin is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 08:06 AM
  #14  
 
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http://www.africa-adventure.com/safa..._africa_safari

Check out the above. It has Sabi Sands, Vic Falls, and Chobe in Botswana. Chobe is very near Vic Falls so you're not adding a whole lot of time traveling to include it. The Chobe River Cruise is a unique activity in all of Africa with wildlife, especially eles, coming down to the water to drink. June is good time to go. The later in the season the better for Chobe. If Vic Falls is high on your list, going to Chobe too makes sense and lets you take advantage of another nearby highlight.

I've used The Africa Adventure Co many times with outstanding success.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 10:29 AM
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What's your budget? I did a last minute trip a few years ago that had 8 days on safari in two different camps and time in Cape Town.

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...uth-africa.cfm

I remember looking into Victoria Falls, but it turned out to be expensive since it didn't fall naturally within my itinerary. If you spend all of your safari time within Kruger/Sabi Sands or in a area nearby, then it's probably more do-able.

I went with AndBeyond, and they have a deal where you stay 4 nights and only pay for 3 or some variation thereof.
lifelist is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 10:15 PM
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I agree that the andBeyond "pay3, stay4" offers are great value for money! They have a variety of lodges to choose from, and the special offer definitely makes a Sabi Sand and/or Timbavati safari more affordable!
SPECIALIST_RANGER is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 11:27 PM
  #17  
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Thanks... I checked the 12 day itinerary, and it has everything that I'd like to do, but how do they give you those prices? I've already sent an enquiry email. Hope it is not large groups. As I go along, I am discovering more and more lodges. Perhaps I will go with one luxury and one tented one.

Also, I am realizing that packing for the trip will not be easy. All small aircraft have strict weight restrictions. I did notice that a lot of them offer laundry service
minsin is offline  
Feb 15th, 2011, 05:39 AM
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Of course you first need to settle on someplace to go before you can pack your bag, but here are all sorts of packing ideas below.

Layers is good and you don't need anything dressy for most trips. Even Cape Town is a relaxed atmosphere.

Not to parse words, but your statement: "Perhaps I will go with one luxury and one tented one," is a bit of an oxymoron.

Unless your tent is your own or you are doing a very low-budget tented safari, the tented facilities are generally more exclusive and expensive than the lodges. They also tend to get you closer to the flora and fauna.



Lynda’s packing list—the most extensive

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34802443

-------------------
Other packing info
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34639696

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35165024


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34782437


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34606894

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34934728


Even what you wished you had brought
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34929931
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 19th, 2011, 09:35 AM
  #19  
 
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As mentioned on a few occasions above, June is definitely the best time to be on safari in South Africa. Sundown and sunrise game drives can be a bit chilly, but that is nothing warm clothes can't assist with. Daytime temperatures are very pleasant. Rain is not common at that time of year, although the worlds climates do seem to be changing.

Many of the lodges mentioned above are lovely but can be quite expensive. A good itinerary that is in the mid-range 3* and 4* price category and may work well for your family could be to contact a company called Journey Into Africa Tours & Safaris. They offer an 11 day Kruger, Vic Falls & Cape Town tour that can be found at the below link:

http://www.journeyintoafrica.co.za/s...frica/cw4.html

You could then add two extra nights at Chobe Safari Lodge while in Vic Falls to make this a 13 day tour. They tailor make itineraries and can probably customise something for just your group at a reasonable price.

All the best.
africa_safari_man is offline  
Feb 19th, 2011, 09:35 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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As mentioned on a few occasions above, June is definitely the best time to be on safari in South Africa. Sundown and sunrise game drives can be a bit chilly, but that is nothing warm clothes can't assist with. Daytime temperatures are very pleasant. Rain is not common at that time of year, although the worlds climates do seem to be changing.

Many of the lodges mentioned above are lovely but can be quite expensive. A good itinerary that is in the mid-range 3* and 4* price category and may work well for your family could be to contact a company called Journey Into Africa Tours & Safaris. They offer an 11 day Kruger, Vic Falls & Cape Town tour that can be found at the below link:

http://www.journeyintoafrica.co.za/s...frica/cw4.html

You could then add two extra nights at Chobe Safari Lodge while in Vic Falls to make this a 13 day tour. They tailor make itineraries and can probably customise something for just your group at a reasonable price.

All the best.
africa_safari_man is offline  

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