working in johannesburg

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Nov 10th, 2004, 07:14 PM
  #1
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working in johannesburg

Hello all! My wife and I are usually over on the Asia boards talking about our upcoming honeymoon, but we just found out that we are going to be working at a conference in johannesburg in march 2005. We are totally clueless about this region and was wondering if we could get some help! We will only be there 2 weeks and have to work half the time What do we need to know before we go? Whats the weather like in March? Oh, and my parents want to me to ask if its safe? I know safe is a realtive term these days but you know what i mean. Thanks in advance for your help! Jeffrey And April
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Nov 10th, 2004, 08:17 PM
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Hello Jeffrey and April,

If you take reasonable precautions (stay in a nice area such as Sandton, catch cabs at night), you should be safe.

March will be late summer in the southern hemisphere. The weather should be very pleasant.

I take it you will be working for a week and vacationing for a week.

With only a week's vacation, I think you need to be very focused on your likes and dislikes, as you obviously don't have any time to waste.

You basically can choose between seeing wild animals in one of the safari areas or going to the seaside.

A good safari area to visit would be the province of Mpumalanga to the east of Johannesburg. The game reserves are approximately a 5 hour drive from JNB. There is the huge Kruger National Park (KNP) and adjacent private game reserves, such as Sabi Sand.

Visiting the KNP on a self drive basis is the more economical way to go. If you do that, you do have the option of paying extra and hiring a guide here or there for a specific activity, such as a guided walk in the bush.

The lodges in the private game reserves are more expensive. However, the prices they quote include 3 meals a day plus afternoon tea, and they also include morning and evening off-road game drives in an open 4 x 4 vehicle (with usually a maximum of 6 passengers to one driver / guide). The accommodations at some of the lodges are extremely luxurious with luxurious prices to match. However, you can trim the costs from ludicrous to merely ridiculous if you do some research into the different lodges. Often a more moderately priced lodge will still have good game drives, but somewhat more modest accommodation. "Modest" by the standards of the private lodges may include such cost cutting measures as not having a private, heated plunge pool -- that sort of thing.

I describe the private lodges in the way I do because I followed your name to one of your posts on the Asia forum, where I saw you asking about hotel rooms between $50 and $100. Well, I have to clarify that that price range will put you in KNP (a place that I love, by the way). It will not get you into a private lodge.

On the way to or from the Mpumalanga game reserves, you would be able to drive through the scenic area in the vicinity of the Blyde River Canyon, God's Window, Bourke'Luck Potholes, the gold rush town of Pilgrim's Rest, Mac Mac Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, etc.

Another very pleasant option is to fly from Johannesburg to the beautiful city of Cape Town. It's too far to drive in your time frame. If you want a cheap flight, look at South Africa's budget airline, www.kulula.com .

Cape Town, along with its environs, is worth at least 3 full days. Then, quite close to Cape Town are the winelands. You can visit them as a day trip from Cape Town, but it's nice to overnight in Franschhoek or Stellenbosch if you can. That could occupy a couple of days. Then another day could be spent visiting a seaside town called Hermanus, to the east of Cape Town. It would be nice to spend a night there, but that too could be done as a day trip if necessary. That would pretty much use up a week.

The weather in the Cape region should be most pleasant.

As I see it, there is a third option that would combine the best of both worlds in a sense. That is to drive from Johannesburg to the province of KwaZulu-Natal. There you could see wild animals and then finish up at the coastal city of Durban. As is the case in the province of Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal has private and public game reserves. One that is about as economical as the Krugar National Park is Hluhluwe-Unfolozi National Park. Depending on how much time you want to preserve for wild animals and the seaside, you may even be able to swing through the scenic Drakensberg range on your way to the KwaZulu-Natal game reserves.

South Africa has a relatively narrow coastal plain, and most of the country is occupied by a fairly flat, high plateau. Johannesburg is situated on this plateau, 6,000 feet above sea level. That gives JNB a rather pleasant climate. Summer days tend not to be as hot as they otherwise would be at that latitude.

The lowveld regions of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, however, will be hotter than JNB, and they'll be at the tail end of the rainy season. Although the weather probably will be a little on the hot / humid side, it should not be bad. The height of the summer heat, which you would have experienced if you'd gone in January or February, should have passed.

If you go to the Mpumalanga or KwaZulu-Natal game reserves, you will need to take anti-malarial medication. Malarone is a newish drug that has become popular for this purpose and that is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. However, you should consult a competent medical specialist about this.

Johannesburg, Cape Town and their surroundings are free of malaria. If you confine yourself to those destinations, you do not need to take anti-malarial medication.

Hope that helps.
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Apr 5th, 2005, 08:48 PM
  #3
 
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jeffrey---are you home? how was it

bob
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