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Please check my itinerary...

Belgium
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Please check my itinerary...

Hi,

We are 3 adults doing a round trip in SA in November for 2 weeks.

I am trying to put together an itinerary, which is difficult because there are so many things to fit in so few days :-)

We want to see as much as possible, but without having to drive all the time, and also fit in some relaxing moments (2 hours at beach / pool / nice nature walk / cocktails on a terrace etc)

Maybe good to know for the itinerary: hubbie and I are in our late twenties and mother-in-law is mid fifties but fit and young-at-heart :-)

Here is what I came up with so far (which is quite a mess :-):

Sat 6Nov

arrival around lunchtime, pick up rental car

drive to CT and explore centre

sleep in Noordhoek

Sun 7Nov

Table Mountain

Cape Peninsula: Boulders Beach, Duiker Island, Cape Point, Chapmans Peak Drive?, relax at Noordhoek or Llandudno beach

sleep in Noordhoek

Mon 8Nov

Maybe Table Mountain (if not on Sun 7Nov)

Robben Island

V&A centre: maybe aquarium, some shopping, harbour tour

sleep in Noordhoek (or would you drive to Stellenbosch late afternoon and sleep there?)

Tues 9Nov

Stellenbosch: explore centre / do 1 winery tour

Drakenstein Lion Park?

sleep in Stellenbosch

Wed 10Nov

drive Karoo Route R62 from Stellenbosch to Barrydale

stop in Worcester? Montagu?

Sleep in Barrydale

Thu 11Nov

drive Karoo Route R62 from Barrydale to Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn: Cango Wildlife, Ostrich Farm

sleep in Oudtshoorn

Fri 12Nov

Oudtshoorn: Meerkat Adventure, Cango Caves?, drive to Prince Albert and back (Swartbergpas and Meiringspoort)

sleep in Oudtshoorn

Sat 13Nov

leave in morning to Plettenberg Bay

Tenikwa park

sleep in Plettenberg Bay

Sun 14Nov

Plettenberg Bay: Tsitsikamma national park

sleep in Jeffreys Bay (found a great guesthouse here...)

Mon 15Nov

morning beach walk Jeffreys bay?

leave to Addo Park so we arrive right after lunchtime

do evening safari

sleep in Addo Park

Tue 16Nov

Morning safari in Addo Park

leave for Knysna

lagoon boat trip / oysters

sleep in Knysna

Wed 17Nov

Knysna elphant park

drive to Mossel Bay: is there anything to see there?

sleep in Mossel Bay

Thu 18Nov

drive to Swellendam

walk in Marloth nature reserve

sleep in Swellendam?

Fri 19Nov

morning in Swellendam or Somerset West or Gordon's Bay?

in afternoon: drop off rental car and flight home (departs at 9pm)

What do you think of this itinerary? Too much/little time anywhere? Are these good locations for guesthouses?

Did I miss any nice places, did I put in places that are not worthwile? I have read that Swellendam is boring... but we do need to stop somewhere on the way back to CT airport I guess.

Would have liked to fit in Hermanus somewhere, although not sure if we would see whales there in November? Any idea where I could fit that in?

The Karoo Route: is it worth stopping in any of the places or is the drive the main goal for doing this route? Woudl you split if over 2 days with a sleep-overi n Barrydale or would you drive Stellenbosch-Oudtshoorn in 1 day via R62? Is the R62 route worthwile doing for the scenery or is it not that spectacular?

Thanks for helping!

Jenny

durban
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1. Re: Please check my itinerary...

I am sure that you will still see whales in Nov in Hermanus.

Mossel bAy attractions mosselbay.co.za/mossel-bay-attractions_conte…

www.kimssouthafrica.blogspot.com

Kent
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2. Re: Please check my itinerary...

Hi Jenny

Great itinerary, here's some of my thoughts, day of arrival Saturday I think it would be best to head to your accommodation, unloaded, refresh yourselves & then take it from there, I think the city centre is closed Saturday afternoons. Perhaps you can visit Table Mountain for a sundowners if its not cloudy & also Signal Hill before or after & then go to the V&A.

Rather do Table Mountain on another day to the Cape Peninsular seeing as you are in Noordhoek & as they are in opposite directions you would be back-tracking the route.

You could go from Noordhoek-Sun Valley-Scarborough-Misty Bay-Cape Point-Simons Town & Boulders Beach-Glencairn-Fish Hoek from here you can get back to Noordhoek easily or you could carry on & go to Kalk Bay quaint place to stop & browse & have a drink. I love the view from Boyes Drive across False Bay if you take this you will come out near Tokai & can drive through the mountains (Silvermine) into Noordhoek, or you could do this route in reverse, stop at Glencairn to see if you can spot whales, as they come in very close when the tide is in. If its a windy day don't go to Noordhoek beach, the wind really rips through the sand & it stings !

From Noordhoek to Stellenbosch you will pass Spier, when I was there in 2000 there was only the Cheetahs but now it sounds like you can spend the whole day there with many different things to do !

I can't comment on staying at Worcester or Montagu as we stayed in McGregor (off the beaten track but close to Robertson) although we have stopped at Montagu Springs for a few hours after coming back from Oudtshoon if you fancy refreshing yourselves in natural hot springs, there are several pools.

An alternative from Kynsna back perhaps stop at Witsand instead of Mossel Bay & Swellendam, its a very small quaint fishing village, perhaps see some more whales, then next day move on as you are missing out Cape Agulhas (good for a couple of hours visit), Hermanus, stay overnight & then on last morning take the coastal route R44 another penguin colony on way to Strand & Gordons Bay. However you are missing out on Sir Lowry's Pass which in my view is better on the way back to CT

If time was on your side then yes I would stop at Barrydale for a night before moving on but if you want to see more (like mentioned above) I would go to Oudtshoorn from Stellenbosch.

The R62 route is scenic & worth it.

My personal opinion is Cango Wildlife Ranch is a bit like a zoo sorry if this offends anyone, I loved Cango Caves but that's if you like that sort of thing !

Cape Town
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3. Re: Please check my itinerary...

Jenny

Lots of good places that you are planning to see but, maybe, a few things about the itinerary might still be a bit of “a mess”!

A few points.

1. Why are you planning to stay in Noordhoek? Noordhoek is a great place to be if you are planning to get away from the city and relax for a few days. Walking on the huge beach – maybe a great horseride along the beach with the wind in your hair and the mountains towering around. Having a fabulous lunch at the Foodbarn in Noordhoek Village (one of the Cape’s best “country restaurants”) or winetasting some of South Africa’s best white wines at Cape Point Vineyards above the beach. Walking for hours through the Silvermine Reserve of the National Park and just chilling out with nature.

Staying put around here for three or four days would be great. But you seem to just be using it just as a place to sleep and driving off the hour or so into the city every day. Even the day you planned to travel round the peninsula you start the day driving all the way back into the city to go up Table Mountain!

So maybe look a bit closer to the city. If you want to be out of the city itself look in Hout Bay which, being the other end of Chapman’s Peak Drive is half an hour closer to everything (and you don’t pay the R30 toll every time you drive up from Noordhoek!). Not as quiet as Noordhoek but still some lovely places to stay in a green valley surrounded by mountains with a very nice beach and excellent restaurants. Probably no more expensive here than Noordhoek and fits the rest of your itinerary much better.

Then three nights in Cape Town are definitely not enough – but you can gain nights back later!

2. Give the Drakenstein Lion Park a miss. Not one of the best wildlife experiences and you will have much better in Addo and maybe other places on your trip. Gives you time to visit another one (better two) wine estates. There are at least sixty great ones to visit just around Stellenbosch. The manor houses, the gardens and the magnificent views are totally worth it even if you didn’t taste a single wine!

3. I would drive Stellenbosch to Oudtshoorn in one day. The places along the route are not places to spend much time in. Maybe an hour’s walk around Montagu. A peaceful village with many historic houses. The drive and the scenery are the reasons to go this way. The extra night that you gain here I would add back to Cape Town. Two nights at Oudtshoorn is good, especially as you plan to do the Swartberg Pass drive. November you should have no problems with weather closure.

4. Now I would do things differently. Driving all the way along the “Garden Route” to Addo and then driving back exactly the same way in the opposite direction, although you plan to stop in different places doesn’t maximise what you see of the diversity of South Africa. I understand that you do have an issue in that you worked hard to get the Rondavel Accommodation that you wanted in Addo on the night of the 15th. If it wasn’t for this I would bring the Addo Booking forward and drive directly to Addo inland. Just a 4:30 hour drive from Oudtshoorn through Willowmore, Steytlerville and Kirkwood. So plenty of time to leave Oudtshoorn after early breakfast and be in Addo around 1pm including stops. Take the R341 (which is also part of the R62) through De Rust and don't take the R62 right turn to Uniondale. Keep on in the direction of Willowmore until you reach the N9. Go north here still following Willowmore. Just after Willowmore take a right turn signed to Steytlerville (R329). This is a single track tarred road with gravel passing strips on each side. This sounds a problem except you never see a car coming the other way. Well actually we did - once, in a hundred kilometres! To pass is easy slow down move to the left passing strip and then back onto the road. I think that the speed limit is 90kph on here and you can go at this all the way. The route is flat and through nearly semi desert- a total contrast to the forested coastal route. In Steytlerville turn left down the main street which is amazingly four lanes wide! After about 200 metres look out on your left for The Verandah Coffee Shop (flashing neon light!). This should just be the right time to stop for coffee. Have your cup of coffee and chat to the couple who run it who are from Fishhoek in Cape Town. Then ask can you see the Motor Museum!

In a couple of Barns at the back they have built a wonderful Museum, not only with six or seven restored American and British cars from the 1930s on but masses of Garage Memorabilia including vintage working petrol pumps. The only problem is that you can't stay too long as you need to get on to Addo!

After Steytlerville the R329 is now two lane fully tarred so you can notch up the speed a bit. Nicer more mountain scenery as well. Now join the R75 to Kirkwood. The Spar here is open Sunday mornings and is excellent to do your shopping for Addo. Now you can either go straight on for about 20km on gravel right to the Addo National Park Main Gate or follow the signs on tar to Addo town and then head back to Addo Main Gate up the R335.

If you bring Addo forward one night to the 14th there is still availability of two semi detached chalets for the 14th for the three of you. You can change the booking by phone without penalty and still keep your eye on the website and change again if something better comes up.

If you do this you now have saved one more night on the trip so far. So yet another night you could add to Cape Town! Maybe for a day drive up the West coast as far as the lovely fishing village of Paternoster. Lunch at one of the fish restaurants on the beach and then back thorough the quiet inland farming country round Darling with some excellent wine estates.

Then you have Sunday evening in Addo. Monday, after you check out, drive to the Garden Route, stopping at Storms River (Tsitsikamma) and spend three nights in one place – Plett or Knysna. All the visitor sights along the Garden Route are within an hour or twos drive from either of these so there is no need to keep packing and repacking and moving from place to place.

See you now have dropped your idea of Mossel Bay which is good. An industrial town and only just over an hour’s drive from Knysna.

Now Thursday drive to Hermanus. About a five hour easy drive stopping at Swellendam on the way. You always said that you wanted to see the whales. There will still be plenty around until at least the end of November. Stay in Hermanus and the next morning walk along the ciff paths where you will nearly always see whales very close to the shore. From here it is less than two hours drive to the airport so you have lots of time to relax and really use your last day as you don’t need to be at the airport until around 7pm.

Sorry this has changed your Itineray around quite a lot but I think the balance is better. In summary now :

Saturday 6 Nov - Wed 10 Nov Five nights based in Cape Town (possibly Hout Bay). Including day trips around the peninsula and up the West Coast. Plenty of time to see the rest of the main sights around the city.

Thur 11 Nov Stellenbosch

Friday – Saturday 12-13 nov In Oudtshoorn – visit sights and drive the Swartberg Pass.

Sun,14 Nov Drive to Addo via inland route. Stay in Addo

Mon 15 Nov Morning in Addo. Drive to Plett or Knysna for three nights.

Thurs 18 Nov Drive to Hermanus via Swellendam

Friday 19 Nov Whale watching in Hermanus. Leave mid afternoon for airport.

Edited: 29 July 2010, 15:35
Belgium
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4. Re: Please check my itinerary...

Many thanks for all of your advice!

I will take all of it into account, but I have two travel companions who also want a say in this ;-)

The reason we do not stay very long in CT is because we just want to do the main touristy things such as Table Mountain etc, and we thought for beach days it would be better to spend those around Plettenberg/Knysna. Or am I wrong?

W don't like the idea of Camps Bay, which is, as I understand it, quite a crowded trendy beach. We prefer a nice quiet beach. That's why the Moya Manzi guest house in Jeffreys Bay seemed so appealing to me, as it seems you can walk from the swimming pool onto the very nice and quiet beach...

Stellenbosch is sth I like to do because of the wine estates, but my two travel companions are not that interested in wine... So I thought about doing one or 2 etates, and maybe pick Spier as they can do th cheetah thing then en we can have a nice dinner there. They both do love to eat, luckily :-)))) Otherwise I wouldn't be travelling with them, hahaha.

We all 3 love animals so that's why I am trying to fit in Addo, Elephant Sanctuary, Tenikwa etc.

And Hermanus seems lovely, although, if we have th opportunity to see whales when at peninsula or Plettenberg Bay, I don't see hte point of driving all the way to HErmanus to see them again... Or am I wrong??

Please give an honest opinion, I have never been to SA, but I am doing a lot of research on the internet before we go. Which I do for all of our trips, as I always want to be prepared. And I must say, seems like whatever we are going to do in SA, it'll be an unforgetable trip anyway :-)

Jenny

Belgium
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5. Re: Please check my itinerary...

RE the location in Noordhoek

Looking at the map I thought that would be a good location and I also found a nice BB there (African Queen)... But of course I have never been to SA, and a map i only a map. I'm not a local lke you guys .

I thought we could stay there and in the evenings get out of busy city life and unwind at Noordhoek beach or at swimming pool of B&B. And I also thought we could drive to CT not via Chapmans peak but via the M3. Or would this take us too long, and do you also have to pay toll there??

Thanks,

Jenny

Edited: 31 July 2010, 18:10
Kent
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6. Re: Please check my itinerary...

Sounds like Noordhoek is the ideal location for you.

The M3 journey is probably an extra 10 mins compared to via Chapmans Peak.

Edited: 01 August 2010, 21:13
7. Re: Please check my itinerary...

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