I am a 33 yr old American woman planning a work/pleasure trip to South Africa this May. This is literally a lifelong dream of mine and I'm super excited but also making myself crazy with research! Please help me stop the insanity! The first week of my trip is for work and so my itinerary is fairly set. It's the second week of free time that I'm trying to make some decisions about.
I will arrive on Friday, May 4 in Johannesburg and will have part of the weekend to myself, during which I plan to visit the Apartheid museum, hopefully the Cradle of Mankind area, and possibly Soweto, all via a tour company (which I haven't chosen yet). Starting Monday I'll be working. Tuesday evening I leave with my work group for Durban and then fly on to Cape Town Wednesday night. I'm hoping to see Table Mtn and some other city sights between a few work functions on Thursday and Friday. Then things start to get interesting...as of Friday evening I will be completely on my own. My plan is to catch a flight from Joburg back home on Sunday, May 20, so I will have just over a week to myself.
I am planning to take day trips around the Cape and to the Winelands that first weekend. I will probably do this via a tour company rather than renting a car and doing it on my own but am open to suggestions? I do love wine and the pics I've seen of that region do look gorgeous, so I'm wondering if I'm doing myself a disservice by spending only one day in the Winelands?
My original plan was to then leave CT on Monday morning and head toward the Garden Route with some sort of organized tour or driver, if I could get one. Now, I would normally be fine renting a car and driving myself, but some of the info I first read about traveling in SA indicated this wasn't a good idea for single women. However, I've seen quite a few TA posters saying just the opposite. I'm a smart girl and keep my wits about me and am not prone to paranoia, so would love to hear more opinions on this. Renting a car and making arrangements myself certainly seems the more economical route and gives me the flexibility I'm after. I just don't want to do anything stupid or illinformed, either. Anyway, I was thinking a 3 nt Garden Route jaunt, probably with nights in Oudtshorn, Knysna, and Tsitsikama/Storms River, then on to a game reserve for 3 nights (saw a pay 2/stay 3 deal at Amakhala which looked like a good deal, especially since I'll have to pay the single supplement).
This all sounded like a pretty good plan for someone who only has a week to spend and knows she can't see even a fraction of all that the country has to offer, until I started reading and researching more and now I'm wondering if I shouldn't redirect and try to go to KZN and the Drakensburg area instead, given the time of year and to have more of a "traditional" African experience than the Garden Route can provide. I do love mountains. And the KZN parks sound great. But outside of a reserve, can I even see that area on my own? I'm a good driver but is it crazy to think about navigating the Berg on my own, driving on the unfamiliar side of the road? To be clear, I'm not opposed to flying from CT to another city to start the leisure portion of my trip.
Clearly im all over the place. I would be so grateful for any suggestions - either to stick to my plan and just plan a return trip to see the Eastern part of the country, when I can take more time and hopefully have a traveling companion, or to scrap the Garden Route and try for a more "wild" experience in an area that is also likely to have drier, warmer weather in May.
Many thanks in advance!