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Three Weekends in SA

Ventura California
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Three Weekends in SA

Hey everyone,

Here's my situation. I am a student who has been given the amazing opportunity to intern in Johannesburg for a month with a few other guys. We will be over there all of July and will be working M-F. We basically will have 3 full free weekends to do whatever we please. From what I've heard Capetown (we'd fly) is a must for one of the weekends. I have also heard good things about Durban and Kruger National Park. We also will probably want to spend one weekend exploring the Johannesburg/Pretoria area.

My question to all of you is if you had three weekends in SA (based out of Joburg)where would you go? What would you do? What would you see?

Any tips/advice at all will be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Travis

durban
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1. Re: Three Weekends in SA

I think it depends very much on what your interests are? The obvious is of course to visit Cape Town as it is the fairest city of all, although I'm not sure how much you will see in a weekend and July is also winter there. The Capetonians will probably assist you better with this. If you are visiting Durban itself the city does not hold much appeal anymore as although in years gone by we used to be voted one of the cleanest cities in the world this is sadly no longer true. However 5 minutes out of the city we have some lovely suburbs, restaurants, pubs all occupying beautiful old Victorian/Colonial houses. If the beach is your thing then coming from California I dont think our beaches in Durban will hold too much appeal, however there are other interests in and around Durban, such as diving the Aliwal Shoal (20 min away in Umkomaas) you can dive 2 wrecks and maybe see Raggy Sharks and more, The midlands meander has tree canopy riding in Karkloof, Ushaka Beach in Durban has canoeing and Durban, North beach and Dairy has surfing (if your a surfer), if your a culture vulture then visiting Warrick Junction (a truly african market) with Syngomas(witch doctors) and other interesting things being sold there(must be done by tour though) Tourist Junction will assist you with this. Or visit valley of 1000 hills and see the zulu cultural village (zulu dancing) spectacular scenery and crocodile farm. There is too much to mention so rather give us an indication of what your interest are.

Ventura California
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2. Re: Three Weekends in SA

Thanks for your reply! As far as my interests go I really just like being outside and as long as I'm around nature I'm happy. I don't surf or dive but do like doing kayaking, hiking, climbing, I would also consider myself somewhat of a culture vulture and definitely not someone who enjoys going on holiday just to sit in front of a 5-star hotel pool (if that makes any sense). I would like to get the best taste of SA culture as possible whilst over there (without doing anything TOO risky).

Thanks for the tips on Durban. Would you recommend driving there from Johannesburg? If not plane/train? Is it a scenic drive? How long do you think it would take? Is it safe? What about driving at night?

As of right now I'm thinking of spending a weekend in Durban, Capetown, and one in Johannesburg or Kruger National Park. Does that sound about good for 3 weekends?

Thanks again for your time! I'm really looking forward to July :)

durban
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3. Re: Three Weekends in SA

It' about five hours from Jhb centre to Durban, however it is mostly freeway and not very scenic. If nature is what you are looking for and you like hiking then the berg would be your best bet. The Royal National Park is possibly the closest to Jhb and it has the spectacular Ampitheatre. If you stay in the National Parks just check times they close as they close earlier in winter and driving from Jhb you may arrive late.

If you come in to Durban you could head to Oribi Gorge on the South Coast for lovely hiking.

Doing all three trips in three weekends will give you the general idea of South Africa, but you possibly will miss most of the highlights of each province because we are all so diverse, culturally, geographically and language wise, however it may wet your appetite to come back some day. And what the hell youll be here you may as well make the most of it.

Paris, France
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4. Re: Three Weekends in SA

For me 3 weekends in Joburg would be KRUGER, KRUGER and KRUGER! You will not get an experience like it anywhere else and each visit could be very different staying at different camps in the park, it can become quite addictive I promise you.To me personally South Africa is absolutely not about cities (apart from CT) However I appreciate you will want to differ a bit with only a short time in the country.Having lived in J'burg for 3 years I got to be quite an expert on weekends away from there. My first rule of thumb was don't attempt anything that is more than 4/5 hours drive so that would exclude Durban. A very little mentioned area (on Tripadvisor) is around Tzaneen (about 4 hours north) which after Kruger was my favourite weekend destination.Also the Tuli Block in Botswwana is 5 hours away and a very special experience because of the remoteness of it.Our favourite weekend destination however was a 4 hour drive to Buhala Lodge near the Malelane entrance into the park which over looks the Crocodile River and the Kruger (where in July you would see a lot of animals coming down to the river) that gave us some wonderful south african hospitality and luxury as well as being able to drive into the park.

durban
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5. Re: Three Weekends in SA

I do agree that South Africa is not a city destination country, however I do think that the exception is Cape Town. It is a beautiful city and if you are coming to South Africa one you should visit. Like in my earlier posting I'm not sure how much can be achieved in 2 days in Cape Town I am awaiting a response from our Capetonians. I also suggested the Drakensberg which is on average three hours from Durban due to the interests that TViera has and the berg is spectacular, especially the ampitheatre and to do the hike up it is unbelievable, but as I have said it is not possible to experience the true beauty of South Africa in 3 weekends but they will be here with 3 weekends spare what the hell go for it. Durbanites leave the city and travel up and down our coasts and to the berg and the midlands often on the weekends so it is not that extraordinary a request, except you will only get a tit bit and not the whole dish.

Ventura California
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6. Re: Three Weekends in SA

Thanks again guys! It really is a shame that we’re gonna be over there for such a short amount of time. That being said I really want to make the most out of the little time we have over there. So Capetown and Kruger (we have to see the animals) are sounding like “for sures” for at least one weekend and although Durban sounds incredible itself I’m starting to wonder if realistically the long drive is worth it for such a short visit. That being said I did look into Drakensberg and it looks amazing. I also noticed the nearby Tugela Falls also look breath-taking. Aahhhh so much to see, so little time. I do have a few more questions for you guys if you don’t mind:

Frenchpoodle75:

-Is the drive to Kruger from Joburg scenic? Do you need a 4x4 vehicle once in the park?

-Is it possible to see a lot of animals without going on a guided safari or is that a must?

-Is July a busy month? Should we think about booking something fairly soon?

I also checked out the Buhala Lodge and it definitely looks like a nice option. I will look into Tuli Block and Tzaneen when I get some more time.

proudlysaDurban:

Would you say the Drakensberg amphitheatre from Johannesburg is about a 4 hr drive?

Also do you know how long it takes to climb up the Drakensberg amphitheatre?

Thanks again guys,

Travis

Paris, France
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7. Re: Three Weekends in SA

In answer to your questions. The drive on the N4 to the southern end of the Kruger is not all that scenic but not too bad - however for a weekend visit it is the quickest way letting you have more time in the Park than hours spent travelling getting there.All you need is an ordinary sedan car. Yes the park will be very fully booked in July and that is why I suggested Buhala Lodge They also have someone who will take into the park which for a one off visit is probably better for seeing more animals than doing it yourself.Of course there are other places near the entrances to the park - Eventhough I have never been there I see that 'Trees Too' near the Crocodile Bridge entrance gets a lot of good reviews and it is more of a budget option.I have also stayed at Blue Jay Lodge in Hazyview which I can highly recommend (10 mins away from a park entrance - the drive there would be much more scenic through Lydenburg and Sabie (approx 4 1/2 hours) - Hope this helps.

durban
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8. Re: Three Weekends in SA

www.sahikes.co.za/Details.asp?TrailID=334

The above url will hopefully help with hiking distances. As far as distances from Jhb, probably under 4 hrs and closer to 3, depending on traffic, road works out of the city. I hope that helps

Ventura California
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9. Re: Three Weekends in SA

Thanks again guys for all the great tips. I'm in the process of talking to the other guys about the plans right now and will definitely let you guys know how the trip goes or contact you guys if any more questions arise in the next few months.

Thanks again,

Travis

10. Re: Three Weekends in SA

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