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SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Berlin, Germany
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SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Hello friends,

my wife and I decided to got to SA this summer (starts at middle of july) for about 21 days, nudget about 3400 euro max pp (all inclusive)

Can you advice me for a good travellers guide (book)?

I have to plan a route for this tour. We thought about starting in Capetown (3-4 days), diving with sharks, Whalewatching, looking for penguins and seals, sightseeing.

After that following the garden route, visiting african natives (San).

Then go to Krueger NP for about 7 days (safari is important for us).

In the end maybe go to Mosambik to see the beautifull beaches (Bazaruto Archipel)

What do you think, is that a good idea? How would you do it?

Do I miss anything important?

I am still not sure how to do the tour. Maybe on self driving (jeep), so we drive the whole way for ourselves?

I ask myself how to get along at Krueger NP. Drive for myself and miss everything important or go by y group. But I dont like big groups.

:/

Any help is welcome!

Thanks a lot

Greetings,

Andy

:)

P.S: Sorry for my bad english

:)

Berlin, Germany
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1. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Heeeeelp!

:)

Philadelphia...
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2. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

You can certainly drive most of this yourself.

You do not need a "Jeep" any sedan will do but I suggest you get something a bit higher so you can see further.

Suggest you fly into CT and rent a car for there and the garden route.to Port Elizabeth then fly to Jhb and rent a car for Kruger and drive there.

Suggest you fly to Mozambique.

Say, 5 days Ct, 4-5 days Garden Route 7 days Kruger 3-4 days Mozambique (or fly up to Vic Falls)

Also please note there are no San on the Garden route. They are in Namibia.

Berlin, Germany
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3. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Hallo retiree60,

thanks for your great help!

:)

I think of flying to CPT about 10.07. We like to see robben island, the cape of good hope, a township, the tafel mountain, simons town to see penguins, whale watching on a boat at hermanus, maybe shark feeding or watching. Then follow the garden route to Oudtshoorn to see a Ostriche and meerkat farm. We can feed crocodiles there in a crocodile farm. If possible we would like to meet native afrikans (sadly there are no san in this area).

At tsitsikama we would like to make a bungeejump.

Drive to PE and fly as you mentioned to JB.

From there rent a car again for safari and leave mozambik besides, because we dont have enough time and money I guess.

Back home from JB at around 01/02.08.

Before we go to Kueger we want to stay at a private game reserve to get closer to the animals by driving offroads in a guided tour. Maybe 3-4 days.

After that we like to drive for ourselves at the Krueger.

Can you recommend any good private game reserve, not too expensive, but very good to see the big 5 (we love wildcats).

I found this one (shidulli lodge), they seem more affordable than others, but I dont really know how to compare:

http://www.shidulilodge.co.za/index2.htm

And I (my wife and I) dont really know where to go at Krueger.

It seems so big, maybe I should open a new post?

Is there a best of best tour for the Krueger? Or should we stay at one place?

We dont like to camp in a small tent, but we dont need luxury as well. It should be a beautifull nature spot with many animals, adventurous and not to many tourists. (sounds like the wish list for santa claus I guess)

:)

Can you suggest any car rental and what car would you choose?

Questions and questions...

I am a total Africa noob...

:)

Thanks for your help!!!

Greetings,

Andy

:)

Fragen über Fragen...

Bin halt ein totaler Afrika Anfänger...

:)

Danke schonmal im voraus und liebe Grüße,

Andy

:)

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Suggest a vehicle like VW Kombi for Kruger any car is OK for CT and Garden route.

I don't know Shiduli. Sorry.

Berlin, Germany
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5. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Thanks a lot!

:)

Pretoria, South...
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6. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Seeing you're coming to Africa I don't see how you can fail to see Africans unless you keep your eyes closed: most of the people you pass in the street will be local....

Berlin, Germany
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7. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Hello AuntieFr0mJ0zi,

your totally right!

:)

I guess I can be easy missunderstood due to my baaaad english!

:)

What I meant was to see some of the african bushmen (tribes) who still live today close to nature and to stay with them maybe for 1 day and see and learn who they used to live.

Do you see any option for SA to do that?

Thanks for your help!

:)

Greetings,

Andy

:)

Cape Town
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8. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Hi Andy

A lot of questions – plus the ones you sent me by PM but let’s try and answer them all in one place!

Firstly the last. South Africa is a modernised progressive country with a highly developed G20 economy. Yes there are still big differences between rich and poor and some people still live in poverty. But there is very little of the country where people still live in a truly traditional way. In the Kalahari Desert in the North West of the country there are still a few nomadic San (Bushmen) but this is a long way from your planned route. The other areas where people still follow traditional ways, although significantly modernised – the will wear clothes from the local supermarket, have TVs and cellphones – include the former Transkei region of the Eastern Cape and Zululand in the far North East. Again neither of these are on your route so I think you have two other options.

1. Around South Africa there are a number of “traditional” sites which are set up for tourists. The people wear traditional clothes when entertaining the tourists and then change back to normal clothes and go home to watch Manchester United on TV or to the pub, disco or local football match. Near Cape Town a good authentic experience is the !Kwa Ttu San Village. Here you can learn about San life and history and the way of life still followed in the Kalahari far to the north. It is close to the West Coast National Park which is worth a visit although you will be a month too early for the spectacular spring wildflower displays here in August and September - http://www.khwattu.org/

2. To see how many of South Africa’s poorer inhabitants live in the 21st century you should also visit one of the thousands of “townships”. One of the legacies of Apartheid that has not yet been eradicated is that many poorer people live in these settlements close to but separated from all the main cities and towns in the country. Places like Soweto in Johannesburg or Khayelitsha in Cape Town are themselves “cities” with over a million inhabitants – a mixture of people who have come to the city from more rural parts of South Africa to “seek their fortune” and others from all over Africa who are just trying to escape from even worse poverty. The people are wonderful and friendly and, during the day, it is “safe” but, as a tourist, it is better to visit these areas with a local guide who can explain the history and help you not to get lost!

So to move back to your older questions :

1. You now say that you are shifting your trip a week or so to avoid SA school holidays – an excellent idea. National Parks, in particular, do get very booked up over holidays. It will still, of course, be the middle of winter. SA is a huge country and includes many different climate regions. The south west, including the Cape, is a winter rainfall area. This means that you will get some wet days but also interspersed with lovely bright sunny days when the temperature may get as high as 20C. It never gets very cold at night – below 5C is exceptionally cold. We have only had two days below zero in Cape Town in the past hundred years! However you will get snow in the mountains an hour or less form the city.. Already last week I saw the first snow. Along the garden Route the climate changes to more equitable with a small amount of rain all through the year. And then the rest of the country – the Interior, the North and the East have a summer rainfall climate. This means that in winter they get very little or no rain. It is clear and days often get above 20C but it can get very cold at night –5 to –10C is not unusual even now in June.

So, especially in the cape the important thing is to be flexible day by day. The climate is locally variable so if it is raining in the city – an hour away in the Winelands it might be bright clear sunshine. So don’t have too fixed plans and be prepared to change them with the weather. This is why, at this time of the year, a car is nearly essential for a stay of any time. For what you want to do in Cape Town I would allocate at least one week of your three here including day trips around the cape Peninsula, up the West Coast, to the Winelands and down to the South for Shark Cage diving (you just look you don’t feed – unless you want to loose a hand or more probably an arm!) and, hopefully, Whale watching ( by mid/late July there should be quite a few starting to arrive).

Stay in one base. At this time of year one advantage is that accommodation is available and at low season prices. You should also be able to bargain for a 7 night stay (at least 25 percent discount on the nightly rate). There are lots of good priced accommodation available – either B&B or apartments/cottages. I would not stay in the beach areas (Camps Bay, Bantry Bay etc) at this time of year – you might have a nice day or two but it can be bleak – think of a North Sea resort in November! Better is closer around the city – De Waterkant (apartments), Bo-Kaap, Tamboerskloof or Oranjezicht (can be expensive but cheaper places to be found). Alternatively stay a bit further out from the city – but closer to many other places you want to visit. Within 25 mins there are a lot of quiet, even country areas where you can find excellently prices and comfortable accommodation. Look at areas such as Hout Bay (away from the beach), Newlands, Constantia (again avoid the more expensive places) or even split between the city and the Winelands (but you won’t get such good discounts).

From Cape Town then follow the inland route (Route 62) to Oudtshoorn. This is the semi desert Little Karoo and will be warmer and dryer than nearer the cost. I would spend a couple of days in Oudtshoorn, Loads of good accommodation here at low season prices – look at La pension - www.lapension.co.za - or the YotClub - http://www.gardenroute-yotclub.com/ – both favourites of ours with lovely hosts. Lots of trips out and around from Oudtshoorn. Possibly the mountain passes such as the Swartberg Pass (best check first as it might be closed through snow. Meeringspoort is a lower pass and normally never closed. Also the Cango Caves – one place where the weather has no affect on your visit – a constant 12-14C the whole year round!

Then down to the coast at Wilderness where you join the “Garden Route”. As I say the climate here is a bit warmer and dryer than the Cape. As you say your main aim here is activities – zipplining, kayaking, bungee jumping and hiking. Lots of possibilities. You may even want to stay one or two night in the excellent Addo National Park, less than an hour from PE, for your first safari experience before Kruger. Some of the best Elephant viewing in Southern Africa – you can often see 200 at one time. Stay in the SANParks accommodation – as always fantastic value.

You can then either drop your car at PE and fly to Joburg. But with 3 week total you could think of driving on two days to Durban or even then two further days all the way to Kruger. You will be in the warmest winter region of South Africa here in KwaZulu-Natal. When you get to Kruger I am not sure that you have enough budget to stay in a private reserve – you could look at a private tented camp such as Shindzela. Both Games drives and excellent walking safaris. On the border between the Timbavati Resrve and KNP itself. Good value and a complementary experience to Kruger itself - http://www.shindzela.co.za/default.aspx This is one of the lowest prices Private Camps in the Private Resrves that are not fenced from kruger. But it will still cost R2,800 per couple ( about €300 per night) but this does include all meals and safai activities – look also at the excellent TA reviews of this camp.- tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g471860-d156793…

Then for Kruger I suggest looking at the hundreds of posts already on here. Particularly look at posts from Navigator31 who has visited Krger more than 100 times over his life and also myself. Maybe start with - tripadvisor.com/…33641615

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g312618-i9872-k447…

And then work your way on from there. For a first timer in Kruger I would stay in three camps over 5 or 6 days. Exactly which depends mainly on availability – read my posts on the best way to book. I would pick one camp in the South – say Lower Sabie, One in the central region say Olifants. And then add one of the smaller Bush Camps – my favourite camps in Kruger. Much smaller 8-15 cottages for a wonderful, quiet bush atmosphere. Bigger, more spacious accommodation – more comfortable than the main camps. But no facilities such as restaurants, shops, cinemas, petrol stations etc. So buy your food in a shop in one of the other camps. All the accommodation in the Bush Camps has a well equipped private kitchen with stove, fridge/freezer and often a Microwave as well as an open air Braai/Barbeque site. My very favourite camp is Talamati Just 12 cottages and great game viewing in the area with very few other vehicles around. Also a wonderful waterhole right in the camp – floodlit at night. Take a bottle of wine after dinner and you will frequently see Lion, Elephant, Rhino and lots of other game. We have even seen Leopard and Seval cats. However I am not sure whether they have accommodation for your dates. The SANParks site is offline right at the moment but check yourself – sanparks.org/parks/…availability.php

So other of your questions –

Car Hire - For car rental it is much cheaper to use an Internet broker such as www.carhire3000.com - www.carhire4less.co.uk or www.arguscarhire.com (there are lots of others). These companies negotiate worldwide deals with the major car hire companies - Hertz, Europcar, Budget, etc. They get very big discounts - much of which they pass on. The car will be the same car from the same airport desk, with the same service and support, as renting through the company's own website - but will be around 40 pcent cheaper!

You don’t need anything other than a standard small saloon. Not the smallest but the next up – usually Economy Four door with Aircon (aircon is not so critical in the winter but you get a slightly better and biggest car in this group). Toyota Yaris or VW Polo. There are 3,000km of roads in Kruger many tarred but the majority hard sand and gravel surfaced) in the winter there is virtually no rain and all roads are easily passable in this type of car. Around €130 per week. Fuel is also cheaper here than in Europe – although like everywhere has been going up!

So hope this is useful information. You will have a great holiday in South Africa. This is truly a “World in One Country”. Like thousands of others you will, I am sure, then start planning your next trip!

Pretoria, South...
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9. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

I was going to suggest you tweak your itinerary and take in the Wild Coast (the "former Transkei region of the Eastern Cape" mentioned in the previous post) - see www.wildcoast.co.za and http://www.fairtourismsa.org.za/ - but on second thoughts the winter weather might not be conducive.

Have you thought about a homestay in a township or similar? I assume they exist in Cape Town, and this one in the Knysna area on the Garden Route is one I intend to avail of if I ever get to that part of the country: openafrica.org/route/Mothers-of-Creation-Rou… , review in http://www.countrylife.co.za/index.php?p[IGcms_nodes][IGcms_nodesUID]=5e6c4bd2fd48fb279f5bbb364f9fda93

Edited: 08 June 2011, 19:56
Berlin, Germany
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10. Re: SA tour and Safari, where to go?

Hi Van,

thanks a lot to your fantastic advices!!!

:)

You should really work for Krueger Park or Tripadvisor, people like you who help others in the forum that much are really a precious gem!

:D

I have some questions left that you might have the right answers for.

After reading you advices we decided to keep the tour as follows:

Take the plane from Germany (Berlin) 17.07 and hopefully arrive the same or next day at CPT. Stay there until the 24.07. During this stay we are planing to do the following :

Cape of good hope, Penguins at boulder beatch, Whales watching at Simons town, Chapmans Peak Drive, watch seals at Hout bay, Table mountain climb, visit robben island, visit township in masiphumelele, go to !Kwa Ttu San Village, visit Hermanus (sleep there or visit from CPT??? ) to go for a whale boat tour, go for shark cage diving in gansbaai.

On 24.07 we leave CPT and head on for Oudtshoorn to stay there until 26.07.

During this time we will visit an oustrich farm, a meerkat park (I love them!!!) and feed crocodiles at Cango wildlife ranch.

We leave on 26.07 and head on for the garden route until 28.07.

We are not sure where to stay there, should we stay in Knysna or in wilderness? There we plan to do the following:

Bungeejumping, hiking, (canyoing ot is it to cold?), maybe see Tenikwa wildlife awareness centre.

On the 28.07 we will drive to PE check in for our plane to JB or a closer airport, maybe Nelspruit. From there get a rented car and drive to the shindzela lodge you suggested, hopefully arrive the same day,

Here begins part 2 of our tour, the safari.

Before looking at that part some last questions about the first part:

Do you see any mistakes, wasted time or am I missing some important things to do or to see?

I skipped the wine land part, as we both dont drink any alkohol.

:P

Should we drive to Durban and see the Kwa zulu natal? Or should we see the Addo Elephant NP or the Umfolozi NP? I ask myself the following:

We stay in Krueger and the shindolozi 9 days in total. Isnt that enough "wildlife". Am I missing big things if I skip Durban/Kwa zulu, Addo and Umfolozi ? I am not sure wether its too expensive or too long drive in the end compared to flying to JB and directly go to Krueger.

Or should I keep the first or the last part (Krueger) of the tour shorter, skip something and implement a third part of SA and do something different???

(I guess not, but what do you think?)

:/

Now to the second part:

I checked your advice for the shindzela lodge. It seems very nice to me! Do you know about this one http://www.shidulilodge.co.za/index2.htm ?

It was recommended in a book, however it seems further away and more expensive than the one you suggested. If prefer the shindzela lodge. I guess I will go for it!

:)

I checked the availability of shindzela. They have a tent for 2 persons on the 28.07. I guess I will try to book it tomorrow after I read your next answer just to make sure its the right decision.

I plan to stay there with my wife from 28.07 (arrive from JB or maybe a closer airport and drive there with a rented car) until 31.07 (3 nights). Then drive to the next camp in Krueger.

I guess from 31.07 to 02.08 stay in the first camp (which one of the ones you adviced shoud I choose?). Then move on and stay in a second camp from 02.08 to 04.08 and leave again to the third camp to stay there from 04.08 to 06.08.

On the 06.08 leave with car to JB and back to cold and grey germany (Berlin)...

:)

So the question for me is now which order of camps should I choose from the suggested ones? And what accomodations and so on. I read about the satara camp, that it has a high possibility of spotting wildcats, so is this an option I should choose as well?

Too much tourists is not something I like while being in nature on the other hand I love to see many animals, so it might be good to mix the camps like you suggested, maybe start in the crowded south and head for the talamati if available? Hm, I got no idea...

:/

If you have got a good advice for me here, I might try to book it right away tomorrow. (Can I call them via phone any time of day?) Otherwise I may be too late...

:(((

Do you have any suggestions where to book a good and cheap flight from Germany to CPT and from PE toJB or Nelspruit.

Thanks a thousand times for your help Van, I would be totally lost if not people like you would help noobies like me!!!

:)

@ Auntie: Thanks a lot for your advice too!

:)

Greetings,

Andy

:)