South Africa - solo or w/group?

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May 18th, 2004, 01:39 PM
  #1
smg
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South Africa - solo or w/group?

I'm a 20-something American guy making the first trip to South Africa late this year. Hoping for a 10 or 14-day trip to get a glimpse of the urban and rural South African experience. What's the best way to do this: With a tour group (any recommendation would be greatly appreciated) or solo? Or, is traveling independently unmanageable in South Africa?

Thanks!
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May 18th, 2004, 03:09 PM
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It is possible to travel independently in South Africa.

Although you can rent a car and drive yourself through the game reserves, tourists often go on a safari. That is, they go to a game lodge where a guide takes them out on game viewing drives with a small group of other guests. If one does it this way, meals usually are included with accommodation.

Game lodges vary a great deal from sumptuous to simple, and their prices cover a correspondingly wide range.

One can visit South Africa's cities independently, although one needs to know which are the nicer (and safer) neighbourhoods in which to stay, and which are the less nice (and less safe) ones to avoid.

In visiting the cities, it probably will help you to get the most out of them if you take some guided day tours to cover specific places or activities.

My favourite South African cities are Cape Town and Durban.

You've said that you want to see both urban and rural South Africa. With 10 days you probably would be able to visit a game reserve (if that's one of the things you want to do), and you'd also be able to visit a city (I recommend Cape Town if you have time for only one).

If you can stretch your trip to 2 weeks, you probably can fit in a game reserve, the Garden Route (i.e., the southern coastline around Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Wilderness, George), and Cape Town.

The most popular area for visiting game reserves is the province of Mpumalanga, which is in the northeastern part of South Africa. There one finds the large Kruger National Park and several private game reserves.

There also are a number of game reserves to the north of Durban, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Cape Town is situated in a very scenic location. It takes at least three days to do justice to Cape Town and its immediate environs.

The winelands in Cape Town's hinterland (Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, etc.) are worth an additional day or two.

An activity that has become quite popular near Cape Town is shark diving, and that would require another day.

The distance from the Mpumalanga game reserves and the south coast of South Africa is too great to drive. You're better off flying that stretch.

It would help people here to make suggestions if they knew if any of the above mentioned ideas appealed to you, and if you were to provide some budget guidelines (luxury, moderate, frugal).
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May 18th, 2004, 04:01 PM
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>>>>>>The distance from the Mpumalanga game reserves and the south coast of South Africa is too great to drive.<<<<<<

Oops, that distance is not too great to drive. I've driven it several times. What I meant to say was that it was too great a distance to drive during a short vacation.
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