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Sth Africa itinerary - A week left over - where should we go?

Sth Africa itinerary - A week left over - where should we go?

Old Jul 5th, 2008, 11:40 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Sth Africa itinerary - A week left over - where should we go?

We are travelling to Sth Africa in December / January and have booked most of our trip. We left a week at the end to fly to Zanzibar and have been waiting for 2009 prices to come out. Now we are wondering whether it would be better to visit Mauritius, or perhaps even spend a further week in South Africa. Briefly our itinerary is: 5 nights Drakensberg, 6 nights Kruger Park & Timbavati Game Reserve; 2 nights Johannesburg; 2 nights Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe); 5 nights Stellenbosch; 5 nights Knysna. We fly out of JHB 8 days later. Any suggestions? What was your favourite experience in Southern Africa that we have not covered?
PRLCH is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2008, 12:32 AM
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I presume you arec staying 5 nights in Stellenbosch to cover the wine, there could certainly be no othere reason. Knysna is certainly not worth 5 nights, I am amazed you have found something to do for that long. Can I presume that when you say Kruger you do not mean the park itself but one the areas outside with nicer lodges?
If you fancy a different game experience in an entirely different type of area try the Kalahari. There are a few lodges there if you do not want to self drive.

Try !Xaus Lodge it is run for the benefit of the local community

Old Jul 6th, 2008, 02:17 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,232
i would certainly consider the madikwe game reserve, 4 hrs drive north of johannesburg. fedair does scheduled flights up to madikwe from joburg in case selfdrive is not your cup of tea.


for a beach experience i would have a look at one of the mozambique islands, easily reachable from joburg.

happy planning.

divine54 is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2008, 02:29 PM
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How are you getting from Knysna back to JHB after that part of the trip?

I agree that 5 nights in Knysna is too much and perhaps 5 nights in Stellenbosch too.

But with 10 nights you could do a nice tour with a few nights in Cape Town, a few nights in the winelands (Stellenbosch or Franschhoek or around there), some nights en route (maybe stop at Tsitsikamma?), a night or two max in Knysna and perhaps a couple of nights in one of the various camps in Addo (which would work especially well if you were flying from Port Elizabeth airport to JHB).
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 12:45 AM
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My husband and I visited South Africa last year for a month. Similar to your plans, we spent six nights in Kruger and Timbavati (2 at Gomo Gomo in Timbavati and 4 divided between Kruger Park's Olifants, Skukuza, and Satara camps). We wish we had spent two more days in Kruger, because we enjoyed traveling through the park at a leisurely pace and also enjoyed the ambiance of the camps, particularly Olifants, which looks down on a beautiful river gorge. The areas around Skukuza and Satara, meanwhile, were rich with wildlife.
We were on a budget, so we couldn't afford more than two nighs at Gomo Gomo (though compared to other private camps it is cheap), but we would have loved spending a couple of more days there, as well.
A couple of other folks recommended Tsitsikamma and Addo. We visited those parks, too, and we would gladly go back to both of them. Loved them. A few hours drive from Addo is Mountain Zebra National Park, and that is also worth visiting. The Karoo landscapes are stunning and the wildlife sightings are good. We had planned on traveling to nearby Camdeboo National Park and the town of Graaff-Reinet after Mountain Zebra Park, but it was winter then and the roads were impassible due to ice and snow. Another nice thing, you needn't worry about malaria in these Eastern Cape parks.
South Africa's national parks are so diverse; they all seem to offer something different but equally interesting. If we were to return we would definitely consider visiting Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, though it appears a bit difficult to get to.
I assume you have this link to SANPARKS:
5 nights in Stellenbosch might be one day too many (and we really loved the wine, food, and scenic beauty of the area).
You didn't mention Cape Town. Have you visited Cape Town before?
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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Thanks everyone for your insights - there are several suggestions that you made that we have been considering ourselves. Let me start by saying that we are a family of 4 (2 teenage daughters), so we do check the budget carefully - multiply everything by 4 (kids seldom get child rates any longer) and it soon adds up - especially over a 5 week period. I am a South African by birth (now Australian) and lived there for 24 years, and my husband and I travelled there extensively after our marriage, BUT it has been about 14 years since our last trip. As our elder daughter is entering her last year at school next year, this seemed like our last chance for a big family holiday, and also an opportunity to introduce our girls to their heritage - hence the BIG trip.

As a family we tend to prefer being in the countryside or smaller towns rather than in big cities (even when we travel through cultural Europe), hence our choice of places like Stellenbosch over Cape Town. We also tend to prefer self catering places so we can "spread out" after a long day sightseeing, and we usually like to stay at places for a week at a time so we get to know an area really well and minimise "moving house" too often. It also allows us to have a combination holiday of "rest and relaxation" combined with more active "sightseeing". As we will have a rental car, we will "base ourselves" and then travel out each day.

Stellenbosch is going to be our base for seeing Cape Town, and I imagine we will travel into Cape Town for 2 or 3 days. (A a teenager it was my dream to study at Stellenbosch university - it never happened, but I have always loved Stellenbosch). We have a wonderful looking 2 bedroom self catering cottage on a wine farm which will serve us well I think.

In Knysna, we also have a lovely looking 2 bedroom cottage in a resort on the shores of the Knysna lagoon. We plan to explore places like Tsitsikama (walking), Oudtshoorn (ostrich farm), Calitzdorp (my grandmothers home town), Swartberg Pass (which I remembering being stunning), etc. I am sure we will quickly fill the days.

Thanks to all for the insights to Game viewing. My husband and I have always enjoyed visits to the Kruger Park (yes, sniktawk, I am afaraid it is Kruger Park and not the upmarket lodges - in my days those lodges were for foreign tourists and mostly out of reach for locals in terms of price). Diamantina, like you, we will have 2 nights in each Satara and Letaba camps - we really wanted to do Oliphants, but it was fully booked. We will also then have 2 nights "splurging" (by our standards) at Gomo Gomo - which I have only heard great things about. We seriously considered extending our time game viewing, but given it is the middle of summer and will be VERY hot, and also the long grass is not in my experience the best time for game viewing, we decided to leave it at 6 days. We will be back, I am sure!

Finally, after much debate, the family really want an island holiday at the end of the trip (before #1 daughter hits the hard final year at school). We have managed to get a good airfare to Mauritius, and have found a really nice looking villa on the beach (with air conditioning and a pool), so it is "Mauritius here we come!". (Divine54 we did look into the mozambique islands but my guidebook does not recommend them at that time of the year - I gather the rain is very heavy around then).

Once again, thanks everyone. It was a good opportunity to revisit all our options and make sure the last week is what we really want to do.
PRLCH is offline  
Old Jul 9th, 2008, 12:57 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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in case you op for mauritius make sure you chose a hotel in the north because it's drier to a certain extent.
the wet season belt around jan/febr goes from southern africa via moz and madagascar to mauritius and seychelles. but that doesn't mean it's raining cats and dogs all day. of course weather isn't predictbale anymore.
a friend of our goes to moz around mid jan - and has been there a couple of times same time of the year. it wasn't bad at all.

happy travels!

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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 01:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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you might wanna chweck out www.12visitme.com, you can visit locals and help them through tourism
marcvanopstal is offline  
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