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cape town in the middle of august

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cape town in the middle of august

My husband and I have been throwing around the idea of an African vacation--realistically, it would probably be a couple of years from now. We were considering taking four weeks, and starting in Tanzania, then on to Rwanda (gorillas), then Zambia (for Victoria Falls) and finally South Africa (safari, Johanessburg and finally Cape Town).

Here's the question: as far as I can tell, the best time for game safaris, etc. is July and August--especially if we're planning to catch part of the migration in the Serengeti. Even though we are putting the Cape Town visit (a must for us!) off until the very end, we would be there in mid-August--in the middle of winter.

I'm guessing that this is just about the worst way to see Cape Town. I'm picturing that the boat to Robbens Island might be canceled due to weather--and also the gondola up to Table Mountain. And it would probably be pretty miserable down at the Cape?

Am I right about this? I'm not sure what to do to fix it. We could make the whole trip a bit later (September) by seeing the herds of wildebeest after they have already crossed into Kenya--but that would be adding another country (and visas, etc.) to our itinerary.

I guess what I'm hoping to hear is that Cape Town will be fine in August--but I'm guessing that's not really the case.

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1. Re: cape town in the middle of august

I believe the weather in August in Cape town is quite variable. It can be windy with torrential rain or sunny and warm but it is one of the months with the most rainfall.

We were there this past August and had beautiful sunny weather. Table Mountain wasn't open as they were doing maintenance but we did get to Robben Island. If you have a few open days to allow for closures, you can probably fit them in on one of the days you are there.

McGregor, South...
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2. Re: cape town in the middle of august

You really cannot tell. This August we had some fabulous weather. The last two days here have been hot and balmy - eating dinner outside at 10pm, but today is like winter, grey, cool and damp. Just come and take your chance - even in winter weather the 'bad' days only last 2/3 days and then you get a glorious day or two!.

Edited: 07 October 2010, 20:19
Port Elizabeth
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3. Re: cape town in the middle of august

In 4 weeks, I wouldnt combine East Africa and Southern Africa.

It is way too many flights and border posts.

Edited: 07 October 2010, 20:26
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4. Re: cape town in the middle of august

Thank you all for your answers. I'm getting the impression that if we plan at least 4 nights in Cape Town, at least one of the days may be settled enough for us to be out on the water.

I know, 4 countries in 4 weeks is pretty fast--we're still in the very early stages of planning. I'm not sure if this will be our only trip, ever, to Africa--if it is, I'm trying to cram in a wide diversity experiences.

When we visited Australia, we basically went to 5 different areas (required flying) in 5 weeks, and that worked o.k. for us. But, of course it was all within one country. Does crossing the borders in Africa always involve lots of paperwork--and therefore involve a lot of time and stress?

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5. Re: cape town in the middle of august

My experience has taught me that you would find the best weather for your itinerary by going later - first to Kenya and then into southern Africa. If seeing the Ngorongoro Crater is important, then you can include it, too.

But if you haven't looked into costs, I have to say that self-drive for the game reserves in east Africa is a challenge for someone unfamiliar with them. And vehicle rental is expensive. But four weeks is plenty for all of that. I operated one itinerary that started in Cape Town, went to Vic Falls, then to Tanzania (through Nairobi) and we did it in 15 days. I have to say that I spent this September in South Africa - 55 miles across the water southeast of the Cape Peninsula - and I wasn't all that happy with the weather! But maybe this was a chillier-than-normal year.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

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6. Re: cape town in the middle of august

bwanadave--

Thank you! If we wanted to be sure to see the herds in the Masai Mara (and maybe even see a few still crossing the river), when should we go? Mid-August? (This would put us in Cape Town a whole month later--in mid-September.

Would it be repetitive to visit the Serengeti after this (on our way to the Ngorongoro Crater)? Are their kopjes in the Masai Mara, or just in the Serengeti?

Also--can people cross the border between the Mara and the Serengeti--or would we have to go back to Nairobi and fly?

I've just realized that I probably shouldn't be asking all of these questions in the Cape Town forum. Sorry!

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7. Re: cape town in the middle of august

OK - To expand a little on my response... If you start - in September - in the Masai Mara, you will be in the heart of the migration. Doesn't really matter much where you stay. My comment about the Crater was aimed at the possibility that you wanted to see it while you are there. The best use of time and money is to maybe go from Nairobi to a camp in Samburu in the north - then do a loop out to the Mara.This can be either with an organized road itinerary along with other travelers, or to fly out to the camps and do game drives with the Guides stationed at the camps. This will be great wildlife - plus that image of Africa we all have.

Back in Nairobi, take the road shuttle to Arusha and use an operator there to take you to the crater.. for at least 2 nights. By then, the Serengeti has been grazed down to the dirt. I would not bother with it.

Then, on to South Africa from either Nairobi or Dar es Salaam. Frankly, Nairobi is the cheaper choice, with the best fares (right now) on Kenya Airways to Johannesburg. Get some history education at the Apartheid Museum and with a visit to Soweto - and then on to Cape Town. Or, with 4 weeks, do some more safari, too.

Wish I could go with you! I miss my old friends in east Africa..

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

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8. Re: cape town in the middle of august

bwanadave,

Thanks. Your answer has helped me a lot . I already had the Crater on my list--it sounds like it is really spectacular. I sort of feel funny about not seeing the Serengeti, since it is so famous--but, I guess from what you're telling me, it is pretty similar to the Mara. Your help has been much appreciated!!

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9. Re: cape town in the middle of august

The Mara River crossing started in June this year, We were in Kenya in September this year and saw one one of the biggest River crossings, seen for awhile. Its all very hit and miss seeing a River crossing. Make sure your accommodation is in the Mara Triangle otherwise you will be travelling for hours to maybe not see anything. We were only about 15 minutes from the river. The first day the animals decided not to cross. We met people who had travelled 8 hours and still did not see a crossing. Don't count on seeing the migration.

Cheers

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10. Re: cape town in the middle of august

While I'd love to see a river crossing, I think we'd be really happy if we saw the huge herds of wildebeest. I just don't want to time it so badly that they are all somewhere else!