Suggestions for Family SA Vacation


Feb 21st, 2004, 03:21 PM
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Suggestions for Family SA Vacation

My family and I are considering going to Africa for 16 days or so this December over the Xmas holidays. We have just started reading the posts in this forum and have already gotten some good leads. We have checked out Classic Africa and other companies, but are wondering about others suggestions for where to visit while there. We are very flexible on routing and are definitely interested in an active holiday with the end hopefully being on a beach resort. We have two boys who will be almost 12 and 13. Thanks in advance.
kirby is offline  
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Feb 21st, 2004, 03:47 PM
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Hello Kirby,

In your post you talk of "Africa," but in your thread title you mention "SA," by which I imagine you mean South Africa. I'm just clarifying because there are other countries besides South Africa that have good beaches. For example, although I haven't been there, I've heard that Kenya has good beaches.

Anyway, if you do mean South Africa and if you're going in December, that's summer in the southern hemisphere. South Africa's classic safari country, the northern and eastern areas like Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal where game reserves like the Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe and many others are located, will be very hot. In addition to that, it will be malaria season, so you'll need to take preventative medication.

During the southern hemisphere summer, the most pleasant part of South Africa is the southern coastline, the Garden Route and Cape Town. The weather is hot, but not brutally so.

The Garden Route has beautiful scenery and gorgeous beaches, some of which are tremendous for surfing.

While the Garden Route is not "classic" safari country, it does have a few game reserves that, in combination, would enable you to see basically all the species that South Africa has to offer.

Cape Town is situated in a delightful setting between mountains and ocean, and it is of historical interest besides. In addition to that, it has a lovely wine growing hinterland.

If I was going to South Africa during the summer, I would concentrate my trip on that southern coastline. If I was going in winter, I would focus on Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

Selwyn Davidowitz, who posts here at Fodors, offers tours of the Cape region, and his website is very informative:

(Be sure to click on the South African flag to get into the rest of the website.)

Also, read Selwyn's recent post about the Garden Route here at Fodors if you haven't already done so:

Hope you enjoy your trip.
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Feb 22nd, 2004, 05:48 AM
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Thanks for the info Judy. If you could choose, would you go on safari in the summer months of July and August or December? We are also considering Hong Kong and Thailand over Christmas.
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Feb 22nd, 2004, 07:18 AM
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>>>>>>We are also considering Hong Kong and Thailand over Christmas.<<<<<<

I've never been to either of those places, and wouldn't be able to comment on what they have to offer compared with Africa. Maybe there are other folks here who could discuss this.

>>>>>>If you could choose, would you go on safari in the summer months of July and August or December?<<<<<<

Well, when it comes to South Africa, July and August are not the summer months but the winter months. If I was going to go on safari in South Africa's lowveld region, where most of the game reserves are situated, i.e., Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, I would go in the southern hemisphere winter in July or August.

South Africa offers something that other Sub-Saharan countries for the most part do not offer and that is a combination of safari and urban experiences. My favourite urban centre in South Africa is Cape Town, but I like Durban too.

Most people visit other Sub-Saharan countries almost purely for the sake of the safari experience which, it must be said, is excellent. Countries that offer safaris include Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. (Kenya's coastline is said to be beautiful, though, and sometimes is combined with a visit to Zanzibar.)

A popular option for a July - August - September vacation is viewing the mass migration of herd animals from Tanzania's Serengenti Plain to the Masai Mara in Kenya (although the migration is dependent on rains and doesn't occur like clockwork). If one is fortunate enough to witness herds of wildebeest crossing the Talek River, that is said to be an amazing sight.

The same migration occurs in the opposite direction (Kenya's Masai Mara to Tanzania's Serengenti) in December - January - February.

You'll get some useful comparative information from this thread entitled "Botswana/Victoria Falls vs Kenya/Tanzania"

"Ten must see sights in Africa" will get your creative juices flowing (of course opinions will differ on this, and in any case you could never see them all on one trip):

I also suggest you do a word search here at Fodors for "migration" and for each of the country names I've mentioned.

Good luck.
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