What to do in South Africa with a car and 25 days?


Oct 23rd, 2005, 07:58 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 27
What to do in South Africa with a car and 25 days?

Basically we have the month of February. But it is difficult to decide what to do. We have been on Safaris in Kenya, so expensive Safaris are not a top priority for us. So far we have come up with this: 3 or 4 days in Capetown, then a couple nights in Hermanus. We will continue east to Durban. We are thinking of then going to Blydes River Canyon area. Then to Pretoria for 3 nights, visiting surrounding areas.
Next we will proceed to Kuraman and spend 2 days driving the Diamond Drive Loop to Kimberly. And then on to Graaf Reinet and Oudtshoorn. Last is the wine country. What do you think of this itinerary, and the places we have chosen? How should we portion our time? Please take the time of year into consideration. Thanks so much.
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Oct 24th, 2005, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Apologies if I've already posted this for you but this is the trip report of our 5 weeks in SA last year.
Below is a quick version of the itinerary.
If I can help answer any Qs let me know.
06-May 6 nts Cape Town
We stayed in the Garden Suite at Jambo Guest House. We visited Robben Island, took the cable car up Table Mountain, explored the city centre, took a day drive to Cape Point (stopping to see the penguins at Boulders Beach), spent a day with tourguide and friend Selwyn (who showed us some of the winelands as well as a township called Kayamundi) and even found time for shopping.

12-May 3 nts Franschhoek, winelands
Our home for this part of the trip was Plumwood Inn. We stayed in their pretty Vineyard Room. During our time in the winelands we visited a number of local wine estates. took a day trip to Hermanus and enjoyed some of the great restaurants that the area is known for.

15-May 1 nt Swellendam
An overnight stop to break up the drive, with some sightseeing along the way. We stayed in the lovely Aan de Oever.

16-May 2 nt Oudtshoorn
We stayed in Thylitshia Villa which is a short distance outside of town. Main attractions for us were the Cango Caves and a local wildlife conservation centre. We were able to pet tame cheetahs and see many beautiful animals close up.

18-May 2 nts Knysna
Knysna was our base to explore this beautiful region of the Garden Route. We stayed in the Inyathi Guest Lodge which was right in the town centre. During our stay we explored the local region and took a boat out into the lagoon.

20-May 1 nt Storms River Village
Keen to enjoy the Tree Tops Canopy Tour we stayed one night at the Storms River Guest Lodge, a last minute booking. Despite my fear of heights the tree tops experience was amazing!

21-May 2 nts Addo
For our stay in Addo Elephant National Park I booked us an ensuite chalet with it's own kitchenette. This accommodation is part of the comfortable government run rest camp and allowed us to self-cater and stick to a low budget. We got a map of the park on arrival and drove ourselves around, for the most part, though we also booked an Eyethu hop-in guide, Headman, to guide us in the comfort of our own car for a few hours.

23-May Flight to Durban
23-May 1 nt Ballito
On arrival at Durban we collected our car and drove straight to Ballito where we met an internet friend, Kim. We had a lovely lunch in a local restaurant before a quick stop at Kim's new home. Building was almost complete though the interiors weren't quite finished. We then spent the rest of the afternoon at Kim's apartment. Very relaxing!

24-May 2 nts Umfolozi
After reading romantic reports about Mpila Camp safari tents (another government run rest camp) we decided to spend two nights in the famous Imfolozi Park during which time spotted lots of game. We also saw our very first rhino (a white one). The park was beautiful, visitors were scarce and we really liked our accommodation. The second day was spent in Hluhluwe Park. We saw a lot more rhino here and the scenery is even more stunning though we saw a better variety of game in next-door Imfolozi.

26-May 1 nt Hluhluwe
Our next night was spent in the Zululand Safari Lodge, located in Ubizane. a private reserve bordering Hluhluwe (pronounced "Shlooshlooweh"). The accommodation at Ubizane was absolutely wonderful and a real bargain compared with prices for the government rest camp at Hilltop. It was only a few minutes outside the park exit. The buffer dinner and breakfast were excellent too.

27-May 3 nts St Lucia
We stayed 3 nights in the Avalone Guest House. The location was good, our room was pretty and comfortable and the hostess, Monica was a darling. We were the only guests for the first two nights and really relaxed. On the last night I cooked an Indian meal and we had a little dinner party with a couple of Monica's friends. Whilst int he area we took a wonderful boat trip on the Estuary and also drove into the Cape Vidal park.

30-May 2 nts Ndumo
The Ndumo Game Reserve is just beautiful, though the drive there was a little rough and rocky. The water pans are surrounded by the yellow fever trees and sycamore figs. Birding is truly excellent and we also saw many other animals including lots of hippos, some huge crocs, 2 porcupines and a bushbaby. We splashed out and stayed in Wilderness Safaris' Ndumo Wilderness Camp. We were the only guests both nights and our hosts Andy and Shannon were very attentive. Our guide, James Tembe, was excellent.

01-Jun 3 nts Ithala
Ithala offered the most magnificent landscapes and was almost empty of other visitors. We were originally booked into Thalu Bush Camp but were not happy with the bathroom and toilet, both in separate buildings some distance from the main residential building (along paths open to all animals). We switched our booking to the main camp, Ntshondwe and loved our self-catering chalet - best design of all those we stayed in. We fell in love with the scenery and had some good animal sightings including some really close up encounters with white rhino.

04-Jun 1 nt Berg-en-Dal, Kruger
To break up the long drive between Ithala and Olifants (and to avoid the dangerous area around Hazyview) we opted to drive up through Swaziland and stop overnight Berg-en-Dal, located at the southernmost tip of Kruger National Park. It was a long drive but Swaziland is a beautiful country. Roads there are much worse than SA roads..

05-Jun 3 nts Olifants, Kruger
A popular camp within the vast Kruger National Park, the Olifants camp is situated on top of a hill towering several hundred feet over the river of the same name. We stayed in an ensuite riverview bungalow with it's own little kitchenette. We enjoyed our drives in Kruger, though it was certainly more crowded than other parks. We saw lots of elephants and birding was good. We took a disappointing night drive and a much more exciting river walk with the camp guides.

08-Jun 1 nt Jo'burg
After a very long drive we overnighted at an inexpensive chain hotel before our early morning flight to Maun, Botswana and a few weeks in Botswana and Namibia.
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