South Africa with 3 yr. old

Jun 6th, 2002, 11:39 AM
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South Africa with 3 yr. old


I have the good fortune of attending a one week conference in Cape Town in mid September. Since everything I have heard about cape Town and SA has been positive, I plan on taking my wife and 3 year old daughter. In addition to the one week in Cape Town, we are thinking of taking a second week as holiday. Any recommendations on what we should do or where we should go?

Let me provide a few more details. First, we are rather adventurous travellers, having taken our daughter at 18 months to India for a few weeks. Second, during the first week in Cape Town, my wife and daughter will have the opportunity to see most of the local sights.

we would love to go on a good safari, but I think that our 3 year old is a little too young to keep quiet for long periods of time of course likes to operate according to her schedule and not the safari leader's. Having said that, if there is an opportunity to visit a game park by ourselves, we certainly be interesed in it.

Thanks in advance for all of your assistance.

Jun 6th, 2002, 12:21 PM
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I think you are right about the question of whether she is able to sit for a few hours which would be what the safari drives are. The other very important factor to consider is safety. Most of the private resorts are not fenced in and my biggest concern would be about the little one wandering off, even just outside your door. The animals can and do roam freely through the camp,although not so much during the day, but I would be petrified that I would turn my back for a second and she would be gone. One time, we could not go back to our room for a few hours after dinner as there was a buffalo outside our door. Another time, we were at a night "bush braai" and I managed to stop a 7 year old from wandering off into the night to "pat the doggie" - a hyena. Where were the parents? Who knows?

Many of the camps will not take children under 6. Some will take them and you can hire babysitters from amongst the staff during the drives.
My recommendation would be to go to the Kruger National Park where the camps are fenced off.Another important factor is that you can rent a car and do self drives and go according to your schedule. With a car seat in the car, you can do short drives and if your kid falls asleep, even better.
Jun 6th, 2002, 02:09 PM
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Jason, there are many private game parks which would be suitable for families of young kids so check with locally based travel agents in SA. There are a number of threads posted on this subject as well. Another alternative is to explore the north and south coasts of KwaZulu Natal which are quite beautiful. Fly to Durban and check out its rich heritage and diversity (your 3 year old will enjoy the Umgeni Bird Park and beaches). Rent a car or car with guide and drive the south coast thru lots of lovely towns to the Wild Coast. Or drive north thru sugar cane fields to the provincially run Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve which has accommodation(I was there last Sept and was lucky enough to see lots of game including a great herd of elephants). From there you could head to the wetlands of St. Lucia which is a world heritage site (prolific bird life, crocodiles, hippos, fish. Also Sodwana Bay. Alternatively, you could head north from Durban into the Drakensberg Mountains.

Just a few more ideas to chew on. Keep in mind that SA is a developing nation with high employment and crime so take usual precautions as for any other developing country. People are wonderfully hospitable, great food and wine, good tourist infrastructure .... Enjoy
Jun 6th, 2002, 07:42 PM
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I certainly think you should rent a car and drive thru a game park or preserve yourself. That way you can accomodate your 3 year old. The problem is tht your meeting is in Cape Town and most of the game parks are a long way away. A lot of the roads in South Africa are not such that you can make good time and you will end up spending your time driving the highways rather than thru the game parks. Think about flying to a place near a major game park such as Kruger, Hluhluwe or Pilanisberg and renting a car there.
Jun 7th, 2002, 12:59 AM
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CT is (literally) on the other side of the country to the better known game reserves - but you may want to consider the Eastern Cape area. There have been a number of game reserves to open there recently - and it is much closer to CT than the better known reserves in KZN or on the highveld. Game drives with a small child will definitely be challenging! If you give up on the safari route there is more than enough to do in and around CT. September will be whale spotting season - I am sure your daughter will enjoy watching whales play around in Gordon's Bay or Hermanus. You may be lucky enough and be in time for the Namaqualand daisies. It's a bit of a drive out from CT but is a spectacular sight of endless fields of colourful daisies as far as you can see in the middle of a desert. Also take a trip to Spier Estate just outside CT - they have a cheetah breeding programme.
Jun 7th, 2002, 02:27 AM
Roger Clulow
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Dear Jason

We are a online tour operator with an 8000 page website. We can certainly assist you with all your African travel requirement.

Would you like us to send you an itinerary and quotation?

Kind Regards

Operations Manager
Jun 7th, 2002, 04:22 AM
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Traci and others who have replied thus far,

Your suggestions for sights in and around CT are excellent. We will in fact arrive in CT about two days before the conference begins. This will give me some time to see the area and of course my wife and daughter will have the 4 or 5 days during the conference to explore a bit more. I especially like the idea of whale watching and Spier Estate.

It sounds like for the week after the conference we might be best off flying from CT to another location and then renting a car and driving some of the game parks on our own. Would it best, as Tutu has suggested to fly to Durban? Is there enough to do there to keep an adventurous family busy for a week?

Thanks in advance for all of your help.

Jun 8th, 2002, 12:12 PM
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Personally, I would advise flying to somewhere near Kruger Park, renting a car, and doing your own self-drive game viewing there. Kruger is the granddaddy of game parks, and has excellent accommodations. It's been many years since I've been there, so I can't advise on particulars of where to call to book and so forth. Umfolozi-Hluhluwe is also excellent.

I don't think Durban is worth a week of your limited time. It's a whole lot like Miami -- nice, but not as good as lions and elephants in the wilds.
Jun 9th, 2002, 09:12 AM
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I told my husband about this posting, and he offers his advice too: Fly to Durban and rent a car there, and drive up to St. Lucia. Take the boat trip there. (I concur!) You'll see hippos and crocs galore, and birds too. Then drive on to Umfoloze-Hluhluwe park. Stay at Hilltop Camp in the park. It's a great place. And the game you'll see there is outstanding.

Have a wonderful time; I know you'll love South Africa!

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