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25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

London, United...
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25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Hi all,

Based on some comments which I have taken on board, I have amended my itinerary significantly for my 25 days tour of SA. Please can you give some thoughts and comments on this? Flight works out significantly cheaper too on this itinerary somehow. So, here goes:

14-Dec Sat Arrive LVI 1230 Victoria Falls (Zambia). Stay in Vic Falls Zambia.

15-Dec Sun Vic Falls (Zambia). Stay in Vic Falls Zambia.

16-Dec Mon Vic Falls (Zimbabwe) – Day trip. Stay in Vic Falls Zambia.

17-Dec Tue Morning: Vic Falls (Zambia), Depart LVI 1315, Arrive JNB 1505. Stay in J’berg.

18-Dec Wed Drive J'berg to Kruger, stopping over at God's Window, Bourke's luck potholes and Blythe River Canyon viewpoints. Stay outside park.

19-Dec Thu Private Game Reserve (most likely Sabie Sands)

20-Dec Fri Private Game Reserve (most likely Sabie Sands)

21-Dec Sat Private Game Reserve (most likely Sabie Sands)

22-Dec Sun Kruger NP (Berg-en-Dal – Is this advisable considering I’ve stayed in Sabie Sands?)

23-Dec Mon Kruger NP

24-Dec Tue Morning & Afternoon: Kruger, Evening: Drive to Swaziland. Stay in Forester’s Arms?

25-Dec Wed Mbabane, Mantenga Village, Swazi Candles Factory in morning. Then travel South to Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Reserve. Stay at Hluhluwe / Imfolozi Game Reserve.

26-Dec Thu Hluhluwe / Imfolozi Game Reserve

27-Dec Fri Morn & Noon: Hluhluwe / Imfolozi Game Reserve, Evening: Drive to St Lucia.

28-Dec Sat St Lucia Wetland Parks

29-Dec Sun Morn & Noon: St Lucia Wetland Parks, Evening: Drive to Drakenberg Mountain

30-Dec Mon Drakensberg (Didima or Monk’s Cowl)

31-Dec Tue Morn& Noon: Drakensberg (Didima or Monk’s Cowl), Evening: Drive to Durban

01-Jan Wed Flight: Depart DUR 0610 Arrive CPT 0825. Cape Town Day 1

02-Jan Thu Cape Town Day 2

03-Jan Fri Cape Town Day 3

04-Jan Sat Garden Route Day 1

05-Jan Sun Garden Route Day 2

06-Jan Mon Garden Route Day 3

06-Jan Tue Garden Route Day 4

07-Jan Wed Garden Route Day 5

08-Jan Thu Cape Town Day 4. Depart CPT: 1755

All thoughts welcomed!

Shah

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

I think Nooees advice was excellent and am glad to see you maximising the time that you have. Can I suggest less Garden Route more KZN as it is the essence of SA in a way? No doubt others will disagree but having been to all those areas more than once the NE corner in KZN gets short shrift sadly on the tourist trail compared to Kruger. Isimaganislo stretchs for many miles . Think about adding Tembe as those wonderful Tuskers wow ! You can go through Swazi to the Goela Gate exit there and do Tembe then down and onto your other places.

London, United...
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2. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

One minor adjustment - I only have 4 days on the Garden route (not 5) - I put in 6th Dec TWICE!

Berkhamsted, United...
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3. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Have you checked out availability at all?

December/January is high season combined with the long school summer holidays and you may have difficulty in getting the accommodation you need, particularly for the game reserves.

London, United...
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4. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Stargaize, thanks for your thoughts. I am a little hesitant to take out any more days from the Garden route and Cape Town, just in case I miss out on a couple of things on the Garden route. I've just looked at Tembe and it certainly would be great if I can see the Tuskers! Perhaps I can take away the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls? That could be dangerous though as, if my flight LON-LVI gets delayed, I may be left with just 0.75 day in total for Vic Falls. Maybe not.

Maybe this is what I'll do - I'll start building my Cape Town / Garden route itinerary and see if I can take off a day there.

Frankfurt, Germany
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5. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Firstly your program looks fine. I'm just thinking that you are being a bit optimistic traveling from Johannesburg to Blyde River and doing all those stops in one day.

To get to the canyons is about a 5 hour drive and to see the main highlights excluding the waterfalls will take you at least 3 hours. This seems a bit rushed. If you have so much time why not drive via Tzaneen and stay 1 night in Tzaneen. From here you can drive the canyons starting at the 3 bungalows and work your way down to Hazyview where you can stay before entering Sabie Sands. This is also a stunning route taking you over 2 passes.

On your drive to Swaziland don't leave too late in the afternoon. In Swaziland you cannot drive fast and it's not easy finding your way around in the dark on top of that you can find cattle and people walking across the road. Forresters Arms is fine. Another option is Reilly's Rock Lodge which has a stunning location with superb views.

Why don't you fly from Durban - Port Elizabeth or George and then drive to Cape Town. This saves you more time?

All in all your program is nicely worked out and I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun!

Regards

Michelle - Owner - Cape Town Guide

London, United...
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6. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Sandsy40 - For now I've just concentrated on building an itinerary only and not look at accommodation. That will be the 2nd phase, but once I get this out of the way, I can start making queries.

Johannesburg, South...
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7. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Hi Shah,

Regarding "22-Dec Sun Kruger NP (Berg-en-Dal – Is this advisable considering I’ve stayed in Sabie Sands?)" - My opinion is to definitely include this, even though you would have been at a private lodge. The experience is completely different. I'm sure most of the regular poster would agree.

You can also consider camps in KNP like Lower Sabie, Skukuza, Crocodile Bridge and even Satara is an option.

The rest of the itinerary looks great. You're covering a lot.

Good luck with the rest.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Shah

It took me 7 months of planning to get our trip perfected. So do not worry about posting updates. It is much better approach to refine and then ask for comments. I have taken time to respond to posts only to find the poster changes all the parameters due to lack of research and initiative.

I am not sure I agree with Brett re staying at Berg en Dal but I have not stayed there. I think after staying in Sabi I would skip this in favour of heading to Swazi early morning so you are not driving at night. Now this is purely for safety's sake. We did once and never again - too dangerous. Try to be at your lodgings no later than sunset. Having driven nearly 6,000 kms from Kruger to Cape T I am aware of the driving limitations.- traffic, road conditions, fatigue, safety etc. Try not to drive more than 6 hours per day if possible.

I would agree with Stargaize try and add a night or two at Tembe just outside the border of Swazi before heading to Imfolozi. We are staying at Tembe and Imfolozi this year after our day visits last year. Try for 2 nights Tembe and 2 nights Imfolozi and 1 night/DAY St Lucia - take the boat trip on the lake, drive to Cape Vidal and environs. Then to Drakensbergs - note the mist and driving we did Sthn Draks last Sept and the fog rolled in we could hardly see 15 feet in front but this may not be a problem in December. I would consider staying say 2 nights at Vic Falls not 3. We stayed at the Vic Falls Hotel Zim side very nice olde worlde.

I agree with Michelle why go to CT then back to garden route better I think to go from Durban to PE/George and drive via Garden route to Cape Town. It is all in the detail refine and refine = Best trip ever. Over to you

London, United...
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9. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Michelle - I really like the idea of flying to Port Elizabeth. Thanks for the suggestion. I've done q quick calculation and in terms of time, I won't be gaining as much as DUR-CPT allows me to take a 6:10am flight but only 13:35 is available DUR-PLZ. This pretty much eliminates the time I gained not 'doubling back' on the Garden Route. BUT, I like the idea as I will be flying in the new year, and this would allow us to stay up in Durban a little more the night before! Also have to take account of different car hire pickup and dropoff but I don't think that would be significant.

If I want, I can also fly DUR-GRJ (George) at 9:40. Taking account of flight time and not doubling back will gain me 1.5 hrs, but it is a morning flight also (although not as early as 06:10 DUR-CPT!).

In terms of my drive on the 18th, perhaps what I can do is start my drive on the 17th when I touch down in JNB from LVI at 1505? Looking at Google Map, it passes through the town of Emalahleni, Belfast, Dullstroom & Lydenburg. Any suggestions where I can stay so that I won't be rushed on the 18th?

Shah

Johannesburg, South...
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10. Re: 25 Days Itinerary (amended) - Comments Please

Hey Nooee,

I think the question "22-Dec Sun Kruger NP (Berg-en-Dal – Is this advisable" was more about including a self drive in the Kruger at all after having spent nights in a private safari lodge, and not specifically about where in KNP. A combination of both private and self drive is a great option, obviously time and budget permitting, because, as I mentioned the experience is so different in many respects, and if the safari leg is up near the top of the priority list, then this is defs worth considering.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa