Why South Africa?

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Sep 3rd, 2002, 03:08 AM
  #1
amanda
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Why South Africa?

I'm just wondering what people like about South Africa. Why would you choose to visit SA over any other African countries? How is Kruger Park? I've never been to Africa but am thinking about maybe going next year. If we choose SA, how would you recommend we spend 1-2 weeks there? Thanks!
 
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Sep 3rd, 2002, 11:01 AM
  #2
Celia
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Here are some reasons: excellent infrastructure and tourism industry, low prices, incomparable weather, friendly people, nature reserves among the best-kept in Africa, which means more abundant wildlife, good food, GOOD wine.

I would spend 1-2 weeks doing these things:
Kruger Park and Umfolozi-Hluhluwe Park; Cape Town; the Winelands; (that's about 2 weeks, I think), but if there's still time I'd add a day or so in Jo'burg to see the dancers at Gold Reef City and eat at one of the fantastic restaurants.

Others will have other wonderful suggestions, I'm sure.
 
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Sep 3rd, 2002, 04:30 PM
  #3
Rocco
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South Africa is the most incredible country that I have ever visited. I had never even considered going to South Africa up until about three months before I actually did it.
Last November I was completely prepared to take a January vacation to Australia and New Zealand when instead an opportunity to buy a hot property arose. So, out of pocket my vacation money, I was forced to look for another vacation a couple months later and needed to find a place that was in its best season in March. By then it was really too late for Australia, New Zealand and South America and it was too early for Europe (and just had completed a three week trip to China a few months earlier).
Flipping through a Conde Nast Traveler or Travel and Leisure magazine, I came across an ad for a South African Airway sponsored vacation package and I was instantly intrigued by the possibility of going to South Africa. Although expensive, it was not much more than going to Australia and NZ for the same amount of time (about 16 nights).
In the end I selected an itenerary that took me to Johannesburg, Singita Private Game Reserve (in Sabi Sand Resrve and voted the #1 place in the world by CN Traveler in 2002), Cape Town and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
By the end of my stay in Cape Town, my wife and I were spending the last couple days being chauffered around by realtors in an effort by us to purchase a home or at least a property. In the end I was sorry to learn that a foreigner was required to put a 50% down payment and ultimately postponed such plans.
Cape Town reminds me of a friendlier Los Angeles with some definite European qualities but at the same time retaining the mystique of Africa. Cape Town has so much natural beauty that nearly anywhere you go in the City, you are surrounded by Table Bay Mountain or next to the ocean.
To top it all off, the cost of living seems to be about 1/3 of what it is in the United States, at least if you are coming over on vacation and not living there. It is the dream of my wife and I to pay off two of our three homes and keep one home in Los Angeles while renting out the other two homes allowing us to buy and live in a beautiful home in Cape Town. The same house that would cost me $1.5 million in Manhattan Beach (an upscale Los Angeles beach community), would cost me no more than $375,000 (USD) in Camps Bay, Bantry Bay or at a minimum Hout Bay, all nice communities in or right outside Cape Town.
A couple can go out to a very nice restaurant, have appetizers, dinner, wine and end up with a bill of no more than $20 (USD), while the same meal would cost triple in the United States.
So, if you can keep that American money flowing in somehow, a person can really live like a king or queen in South Africa.
Of course South Africa has its problems but so does the United States if anybody wants to look outside the suburbs. I felt no more danger walking down the streets of Cape Town than I would walking down the streets of Los Angeles or any other American city. There are upscale parts and there are parts that you avoid, just like in the United States.
Personally, I cannot wait to spend a MINIMUM of six months out of the year in Cape Town, South Africa...THE SOONER THE BETTER.
 
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Sep 4th, 2002, 12:13 AM
  #4
amanda
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Wow! Thanks! I had never really thought about it before, we're too busy traveling around Europe and Asia, but now I have the bug! Speaking of bugs, is it possible to spend 2 weeks in SA with time in Capetown and a wildlife park, without needing to take malaria meds? (We're trying to get pregnant.)

Also, do you need a car in Capetown or can you walk and use public transportation? I assume you need a car in the winelands? Is that area similar to Napa Valley in regards to touring wineries?

Is this a destination where it works out better/cheaper to book a package (not a tour) or can I book it all on my own (what I usually do)?

Thanks so much for your input! Having never considered SA before, I'm starting from scratch and appreciate your hints!
 
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Sep 4th, 2002, 01:32 AM
  #5
amanda
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Can you recommend a nice place to stay in a park area for under $200 per night for a double? I have visions of 'luxury' tents or buildings on stilts with animals milling around at night. Is that possible? We would want a place with a restaurant if possible.
 
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Sep 4th, 2002, 07:23 AM
  #6
Rocco
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Amanda,
If you would like a budget trip, that will also allow you to spend part of it on Safari, check out skyauction.com. They have auctions for a trip to South Africa, and although it is short, you can always stay a few extra nights on your own in Cape Town. I bought this trip but then upgraded it so much that it was unrecognizable. Probably only through a trip like the one being offered on the auction will you find lodging in Safari area for your desired price range. Even the cheapest private lodges tend to run about $400 per night. Whatever you decide, you will love Africa and Cape Town.
 
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Sep 4th, 2002, 11:21 AM
  #7
Sandy
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Cape Town and all of SA are like the icing on cake. The best! Try 2Afrika website and let Ken help you with your trip. I love to travel and don't often use a tour but Ken made a great trip even better with allowing options I would have not thought possible. Go and enjoy.
 
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Sep 6th, 2002, 12:37 AM
  #8
amanda
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Is there something like skyauction.com for European residents?

Does anyone know anything about places to stay that aren't on private reserves? I'm not looking for 'budget' just not so expensive!
 
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Sep 9th, 2002, 08:57 AM
  #9
Celia
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The facilities at the national and provincial parks are very good, and not expensive, and you will see lots of wildlife. My favorite park in South Africa is Umfolozi-Hluhluwe. Look for Natal Parks Board on the web, and for Kruger National Park. There are more rhinos in Umfolozi-Hluhluwe than anywhere else on earth, I think. Also lots of lions, elephants, etc. etc. etc.

You certainly don't have to do a luxury safari to have a great bush experience. The government-run parks are just excellent.
 
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