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South Africa in August

norwich
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South Africa in August

hi, my wife and I are planning a big holiday this year. It has to be in the last two weeks of August. We have already counted out Vietnam as it will be their monsoon season. We are currently on South Africa. Has anyone done South Africa at this time of year, is it a good time to go? I'm slightly concerned by the amount of daylight hours in August (only 7).

If this is not a good time to vist SA, can anyone else recommend somewhere else for an August holiday. We like to take in the culture, in the warmth, with good cuisine in a country that's not too expensive. Ideally out of mainland Europe.

London, United...
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1. Re: South Africa in August

Do you mean sunshine hours surely? Daylight hours are a lot longer than that in the north and south. I am going in the last two weeks of August and spending my time in the north east of the country where there will be mostly sunshine in the day and it should be warm - mid 20s and up. At night it will probably cool down dramatically..

We are going to Kruger National Park, St Lucia, Durban and the Drakensberg.

In terms of Cape Town, there are 7 SUNSHINE hours in the least sunny month (July) which is the same as London's sunniest month, also July..

Pickering, United...
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2. Re: South Africa in August

August is a fine month to visit SA in my opnion (but being tied to August hols perhaps I'm biased!). I've been in december several times in the past but find it too hot!

It's not peak season and there are good rates to be had. Game viewing areas are relatively dry so game tends to come to the watering holes and the vegetation is not so lush as to make spotting difficult. Shorts and T-shirts during the day with light trousers and jumper in the evenings. yes, it will be dark by 6.30 but game viewing doesn't stop and the night life is good. Still warm enough to swim off KZN. Cool enough to go game walking. Great destination in August. Jo'burg and northern game viewing areas can be cool at night but not problematic. CTis like August in thee UK - hot and sunny or cool and drizzling.

Diasadvantages - main european holiday season with many folks wanting to return to netherlands, france, etc at the end of August so now is the time to look for good value flights. if you leave it much longer you may find return flight options more limited. Last summer I had to compromise on my return dates and I booked before Christmas.

norwich
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3. Re: South Africa in August

Thanks safarifiend and graham5000, that info is all really handy. August in SA sounds like a good time to go then.

Its early days yet and we've not looked too much into where we want to go. We are going to be on a bit of a budget (not quite backpackers budget though), but we'd love to do some safari, check out some vineyards, drive the garden route etc. safarifiend and graham5000, you both clearly know the country fairly well, what are your must sees and dos, as this will be our first visit.

Thanks

norwich
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4. Re: South Africa in August

Thanks for your advice, we are tied to August hols too. August sounds like a good month to visit then.

This will be our first time to SA, you clearly know the country pretty well, what would be your must sees and dos for first timers?

Washington DC...
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5. Re: South Africa in August

Agree that August is a decent time to go. Regarding daylight, sun rises about 6 am or so and goes down around 6:30 pm or so. That's greater than 12 hrs. Game viewing in the Kruger region should be excellent. Weather in CT should range from ~mid 40s to mid 60s, though it could be rainy.

If on a budget, check out http://sanparks.org.za/parks/kruger/ Look at the camps, which are very good value, and do game drives on your own---very easy and very rewarding. Good luck with your plans.

Kent
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6. Re: South Africa in August

How about Namibia ?

Washington DC...
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7. Re: South Africa in August

August is a good time for Namibia. I was there in Aug 2.5 years ago. I barely saw a cloud in the sky (except at Swakop where things were a bit misty from the ocean)---perfect weather for seeing the dunes at Sossusvlei. Even though it's considered a busy time, I've got to tell you I hardly saw any cars when I drove from Swakop to Etosha, and Etosha was not crowded. I was in eastern Etosha and thought game viewing was slow but I've read that at that time better toward the west.

Pickering, United...
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8. Re: South Africa in August

Sounds like your destined for Cape Town then! Self-driving would help keep the budget down. Check out flights to CT. Alternatively, look at flights to Jo'burg with cheap internal flights within SA with local low cost airlines. A few days in CT, drive through the winelands, work your way along the Garden Route, safari in Addo (parks board accommodation), drop car off in Port elizabeth and fly back to Jo'burg? There are budget options available outside the backpackers. South African families go on vacation too, often self-catering, and many do so modestly. If you can, save up enough for a splurge at Shamwari/Amakhala (of ITV safari vet school fame). The latter has an interesting option called Quartermain's Camp for those who hanker after the simplicity of days gone by (named after the hero of King Solomon's Mines by any chance?).

Get a few guide books (try your local library, ours is great and we live in rural N Yorkshire) and have a skim. See what takes your fancy. great infrastructure and websites makes self-planning very easy and reliable.

norwich
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9. Re: South Africa in August

this is all really useful information. Nambia sounds excellent, but it's been a job convincing my wife to go to Africa at all, in her mind South Africa would be safer (but that's another matter).

It looks like we're going to do a few days in CT, do Table Mountain, some wineries, some of the garden route etc. Then catch an internal flight to Joburg so we can get out to the Kruger.

What I am struggling to get my head round now is how we will do our Safari. We want to go guided to maximise our chances of seeing everything. The Kruger seems to be the best place, obviously it is an enormous national park with huge amounts of wildlife. What I don't get is the continual mention of 'private game reserves' which by my understanding are within the Kruger, what are these game reserves?

What is the best way to do a Kruger Safari. We want something like a 2 night, 3 day trip. I guess we want to try and keep it to approx £800 for the 3 days, ideally less but could go higher if necessary.

Washington DC...
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10. Re: South Africa in August

Many people talk about going to Kruger but really mean going to one of the adjacent private game reserves.

There's Kruger National Park and there's Greater Kruger National Park (I usually just refer to the latter as the Kruger region). GKNP consists of the national park and associated private reserves such as Sabi Sand and Timbavati to name a couple. The park is not fenced off from the reserves so animals are free to wander through each. You can drive a private car through KNP for game viewing purposes but not in the reserves (you can drive a car to arrive at your camp in a reserve).

You can save a lot of money staying at a camp and doing a self-drive in KNP, and it is likely to be exciting and productive. If I've got enough time I usually try to do a couple of days in KNP then drive to a camp in Sabi Sand. I prefer the reserves for safari, especially for photography purposes, because cars can go off road and get you very close to the animals. That's more difficult in KNP (you can't go off road), sometimes because a good sighting can cause a bit of a traffic snarl and actually getting close is precluded.

There are some good value camps in Sabi Sand that would work with your budget. Places like Arathusa and Elephant Plains. Umlani Bushcamp in Timbavati is also worth a look.