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Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

Brooklyn, New York
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Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

Usually I take to Trip Advisor when I've read through hundreds of posts and craft a preliminary itinerary. Only at this point to I offer myself up to the forums for advice. However, I have to say I have read hundreds of SA forum discussions, and I am still confused!

We are planning a trip in February (while that may not be the best time, it is what it is...would March be any better)?

We will have 15 days or so.

-The only thing I really know is that we will fly into Cape Town. Spend 5 days in and around Cape Town. I feel like I can figure our the best things to do here... there's so much on the boards!

- Then I'm thinking we self-drive to Port Elizabeth in maybe 5 days. I have no idea where to stop along the way.

- Final stop: Kruger. Flying from Port Elizabeth. I think it's the Kruger piece that is making me so confused. I like the idea of doing two different experiences, maybe each 2 nights, or 2/3. However, where to enter, what to do, is all up for debate. We will not stay in the super luxury camps, but could do some type of private experience. We will fly home from J'Burg.

Any and all recommendations would be greatly appreciated. All of my travels have been nothing but enhanced by the advice I get on these boards. I've dreamed of going to SA for many years and I know it will be great, but I just want a bit more clarity!

Thank you in advance.

Cape Town
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1. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

February is our hottest month and it can be windy in Cape Town. March is a bit cooler and the wind usually calms a bit by then. I would opt for March.

This is a great time to do a Garden Route tour.

I would head from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn and spend your first night there. Oudtshoorn has lots of very popular tourist attractions and I would recommend a tour with Meerkat Adventures (if you dont mind getting up really early) as well as a visit to the Cango Caves. Maybe the Cango Wildlife Ranch and a tour of an ostrich farm too.

Then make your way to either Knysna or Plettenberg Bay and use one of these places as a base to explore the Garden Route.

My favourite activities in this area are : The Featherbed Experience, Monkeyland and the Birds of Eden, Tenikwa, a trip up the Keurbooms river, the treetop Canopy tour and just walking through the forest and on the beaches. The sea temperature should also be great for swimming at this time.

As you are flying from Port Elizabeth, why not do 2 nights in one of the game reserves there. If you combine this with a few nights around the Kruger, you will be doing your game viewing in areas with very different scenery and vegitation.

Maybe also consider spending a night outside of a game reserve in the Kruger area and spend a day doing the Panorama route.

Mark September

Small World Tours

2. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

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Removed on: 01 October 2011, 09:35
3. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

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Removed on: 01 October 2011, 15:05
4. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

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Removed on: 01 October 2011, 10:35
Leeds, United...
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5. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

No self promoting please Nikki

Camps Bay, South...
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6. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

Kruger rest camps are good value. Go on the sanparks.org website. You can self-drive and book a few guided drives.

Cullinan
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7. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

I apologize. First time today trying to help on the forums. I was only using my experience to give what I hope was good advise. The referrals I give I have no connection with. They are contacts that I use myself. Do I understand correctly that we are not allowed to give names or offer telephonic help if the visitors are in South Africa already (habit as tourist guide)?

Nikki

Africa Treasure Tours, Travel & Safaris

Camps Bay, South...
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8. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

@Nikki. Perhaps it was your email address and number? People can always PM you for work through tripadvisor.

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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9. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

You mention flying first to Cape Town. Your research has probably shown you by now that direct flights to Cape Town originate in Europe, so you would connect somewhere there from your flight originating in the US. Or you can fly South African Airways nonstop from JFK to Johannesburg and connect on to Cape Town from there.

Back to your safari... It's possible to take a morning flight from PLZ (Port Elizabeth) to Johannesburg and connect onward to either HDS (Hoedspruit) or MQP (Nelspruit) and reach one of the private reserves in time for the afternoon game drive. But barely, depending on which reserve you choose. I like the Thornybush camps for a good experience at a moderate price. They have a 3-for-2 offer during your months that make then a good value. Serondella is a favorite of mine - Thornybush Main Camp more expensive, more public areas. Same wildlife. They also have a luxury camp with the 3-for-2 in the Sabi Sand Reserve - Simbambili. Moderate price and very popular camp in Sabi Sand Reserve is Elephant Plains. All of these are best reached from Hoedspruit. As are many good moderately priced camps in the Timbavati Reserve.

From the Nelspruit airport - many choices - mostly in Sabi Sand, and mostly more expensive than those mentioned above. But it is a splendid place for wildlife. This map shows most of the private reserves within Sabi Sand - http://www.sabisand.co.za/ssw-map.html - there are no fences dividing them, nor fences separating Sabi Sand from the huge Kruger Park. Animals roam freely wherever they choose. Names missing from the map are Simbambili, which is the narrow strip above Elephant Plains, and Exeter River, which is where the word 'Exeter' is, and also Mala Mala, the huge reserve which is all that blank space just above Kirkman's. Some reserves do their game drives only on their own land. But some large 'clumps' of land are shared by several camps, such as the whole area west of Singita and much of the land north of Mala Mala & Londolozi.

Might be worth finding web sites for some of these - look at their rates - see how (and if) they fit into your budget and then ask on the forum for opinions about them.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

Brooklyn, New York
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10. Re: Would really appreciate itinerary advice!

Thanks to you all. Dave, in particular, you've helped me calm down a bit and think differently about the Kruger or Sabi visit. I'll be back with more details as I bring them together.

However, still open to other recommendations.

Thank you in advance!