Why visit Johannesburg?


Oct 5th, 2000, 10:46 AM
joseph cameron
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Why visit Johannesburg?

I'm going to SA next year. Influenced by numerous Fodor's postings, I'm skipping Johannesburg. Is this a wise decision? Are there significant reasons I should keep Johannesburg in my itinerary? Secondly, is there any agreement on the 1 or 2 best game reserves to see? It's difficult to sort through all the various Fodor's opinions on this issue. Many thanks, Joseph
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Oct 5th, 2000, 12:19 PM
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I lived in Johannesburg for a while 20 years ago. On every trip to SA that we have made since we moved back to the USA (8 or 10 trips), we've visited Jo'burg. But we've decided to skip it from now on. What you will miss are, first, good restaurants, but those exist in droves in the rest of the country, especially the Western Cape. Second, Gold Reef City (in spite of its touristy ambiance), has some very good tribal dancing and mine dancing shows.

But that's not worth the constant worry about crime that pervades the city. It is really a fortress compared to just 4 or 5 years ago.

Cape Town more than makes up for anything you'll miss in Jo'burg.

Our favorite game reserve is Umfolozi-Hluhluwe, in Natal. You will see lots of game, and the facilities are excellent, both in the park itself, and in the private lodges on its edges. Hilltop Camp in the reserve is a wonderful place to stay, with great views and very comfortable lodgings and a good restaurant. Of course, Kruger Park is the granddaddy of them all. But really, all the game reserves are good.

Are you planning on national park reserves, or private ones?

I love SA, and I know you will too!
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Oct 6th, 2000, 12:37 PM
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Have a look at the previous thread. I was in Jo'burg a year ago and it is really not a very nice place. It is dirty, dangerous and has nothing beautiful about the place. Save your time for Cape Town which is a wonderful place.
Don't bother listening to the liberals who tell you that you should see Jo'burg to get a taste of the "new" South Africa. Believe me, you don't want to experience that
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Oct 10th, 2000, 11:19 AM
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Joseph, both the national and the provincial parks of SA maintain very high standards with regard to facilities, training of rangers, and so forth. Umfolozi is run by the Natal Parks Board, and is excellent. The private reserves range from very good to ultra luxurious. The prices are really low for an American budget, except for the ultra high end private reserves.

You will probably get more personal attention from the rangers at a private reserve, but unless they're really crowded and busy the public parks rangers will be available and answer all your questions too. I have heard that it's getting harder to get reservations in the national parks, so that might be a factor. I think you can make reservations over the internet.

If you have your own car you can drive it in the national parks, in addition to going on game-viewing drives with the rangers. In the private reserves, you go with the rangers at set times. But they know the times that animals are most active and visible, and they know where to look to see the most game.

Satour, the SA tourism office, has a web site, as do the parks and many of the private reserves.

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