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Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

London, United...
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Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Hi Guys, My fiance and I are getting married at the end of August and we're looking into the idea of a honey moon in September in South Africa. We may have left it too late but to be honest the honeymoon has been the last thing on our mind...

We don't know much about the country at all but having read advice and info around the web and on tripadvisor of what to see and do we're thinking of flying into Joburg then straight to Cape Town for a few days. Then back up north for 3 or 4 days on a nature reserve and then hopefully ending with a bit of a beach holiday, maybe going up into Mozambique.

The main issue we have is budget (that wedding budget keeps creeping up and up!) so we're looking for advice on how to do this on a budget. When it comes to the nature reserves, we're also very keen to not just be another tourist on a safari. I know that by definition that's exactly what we are but I think we would prefer to be roughing it a bit in the outdoors rather than be waited on 24/7 in luxury huts.

Any ideas, experience or thoughts would be really appreciated. Thanks!

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

May be more cost effective to fly directly to Cape Town, start your honeymoon there and then back towards Jhb. You could do the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve which is 2 hour drive from Johannesburg and adjoins Sun City - it's not Kruger Park but it's a good alternative. Kruger Park may be difficult to book into at this late stage as generally everything booked from up to a year or so before. If flying into Cape Town is not an option, then suggest Pilanesberg first, followed by Mozambique and finally Cape Town, flying out of Cape Town.

Somerset
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2. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Without knowing your budget it is difficult to be specific but a couple of suggestions - Rather than fly London to Johannesburg and then straight on to another flight to Cape Town, then back up to Joannesburg, book a "multi-city flight from london to Cape town, Cape Town to Nelspruit (Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport). At Nelspruit airport pick up a hire car (they drive on the same side of the road as us !). Book accommodation at one or more rest camps in Kruger National Park (www.sanparks.org) and self drive yourself round Kruger. The accommodation is fairly basic but you will have cooking facilities, an outside braii (barbeque) and there are some shops in most camps and are certainly good value for money. Whilst it is very nice to have someone drive you and find animals there is great satisfaction in spotting your own animals. You are not allowed out of your car in the Park but you will often come across animals from elephants, giraffe, antelope and even lions wandering along the roads in front of you (which in many cases are dirt roads but in good condition) Much much cheaper than a private (luxury ?) game reserve. Then eventually drive yourself to Johannesburg and fly back to London from there.

Somerset
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3. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Whoops - crossed with gemini16 post - but we obviously think similarly.

London, United...
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4. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Thanks guys,

Yep, flying straight to Cape town makes much more sense! I think I was following the threads of some guys who were traveling from the US so maybe Joburg was better for them?

I like the idea of the rest camps in Kruger park and also the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve as an alternative. Going to look in to them now.

Many thanks!

Dublin, Ireland
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5. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

In contrast to the others I have always found that its cheaper to book a return to Joburg and then book your internal flights. Also as an alternative to Kruger you could consider Imfolozi in Kwazulu Natal. You can self drive and they have lovely en suite tents for around £60 per night (2 people).

For example this year my parents are flying to Durban first via Johannesberg and spending a week split between St. Lucia (a nice seaside town where you can do snorkling, whale watching, hippo cruises and game drives) and Imfolozi. Then they fly Durban to Capetown. Spens a week in Cape town and then back to Johannesberg to catch their return flights. I think including car hire, flights and accomodation it came in around €2,000 per person.

Northampton, United...
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6. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Hello and as above if you are considering Mozambique then you could consider KwaZulu Natal. Depending on your budget you have a stack of choices. You can get reasonably cheap flights from cape Town to Durban then head north from Durban where you have both the warm Indian Ocean and a lot of Big5 game reserves. If you want specific ideas please ask. Its also a lovely time of year to be in KZN, not too hot and humid. You will also have a chance of seeing migrating hump back whales to.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

Gold Coast...
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7. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Hello

I have to agree with Somersetal and also would suggest for the safari portion of your trip you consider a self drive in Kruger. Not only is this massive park the flagship park of South Africa but it is easy to access and certainly offers budget accommodation.

You will however have an issue with booking so late and may not even get accommodation, but there is a chance.

Basically you simply hire a car and self drive staying in the ‘main’ Kruger park. This means staying in the national Sanparks accommodation, basic but clean and very well priced, choice of various bungalows, permanent safari tents and cottages. As said above there is absolutely nothing like enjoying the wonderful thrill of finding animals yourself. You also will have all the flexibility you want, which means you can spend as much time as you like at sightings, and even drive for twelve hours a day if you like.

If you decide to give this option a go you need to immediately look at the Sanparks site and check accommodation availability:

www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/default.php

Scroll down the page to the different camps and have a browse through the accommodation options and you will soon get the idea. I would suggest having a look at the biggest camps first off as they are the most likely to have rooms, but some smaller camps may also. Try Skukuza, Satara, Crocodile Bridge, Berg en Dal, Pretoriaskop for a start. These are all located in great game viewing areas, Skukuza in particular is likely to have bungalows available as its the biggest. If you find some openings come back here for some more advice on camps and the best way to book. One important factor is that room availability changes every day. This is because people book and do not pay their deposit on time then their room immediately becomes vacant, meaning you can change your booking at any time if a better room does come up.

Another option is a stay in a private reserve adjacent to Kruger, huge difference in costs here but all inclusive, and no doubt what you will get shown if you walk into a travel agents for a brochure. You said you are on a budget therefore depending on what that is, I do not know if it would stretch to time in a private lodge. If it does maybe you could for example spend some nights in the main Kruger Park which is very inexpensive and excellent value, then a couple of nights in a private concession like Sabi Sand or Timbavati to increase your chances of seeing big cats up close. A combination would give you two entirely different experiences but both wonderful in their own ways.

>> I think we would prefer to be roughing it a bit in the outdoors rather than be waited on 24/7 in luxury huts.<<

This statement says to me that you would love staying right in the camps within Kruger Park, however you must act quickly the popular camps like Lower Sabie for example book up a year in advance, but as I have already said room availability does change literally every day. Maybe consider the advice you have so far and come back with your thoughts.

Northampton, United...
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8. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Hello and just following up from my last post I was looking at accommodation in Nambiti Big 5 Game reserve. With the current Rand to Sterling rate you are looking at approx £80 per night including all food (3 meals a day) plus 2 game drives. Its 3 1/2 hours in-land of Durban and on the edge of the Drakensberg Mouintains world heritage site. The mountains also have some wonderful honeymoon spots! Regarding flights, it appears to be far cheaper to fly to Durban than either of the Kruger airports.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

London, United...
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9. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for all your advice. I'm new to tripadvisor but can see that with people like you it's a truly great thing. From all of your advice and more searching around I'm starting to get an understanding of what is feasible and possible within the time and budget.

I'm starting to think along the lines of flying straight to Cape Town, spending a couple of days there and then a few days driving up the Garden route (haven't looked into this too much yet). Fly from George to either Johannesburg or Durban to then drive to the game reserves of KwaZulu Natal ( I really like your ideas mark and Thulathulabound, I need to look into the options possible here). And then maybe drive? up into Mozambique to find some nice away from it all beaches to relax at the end of the trip.

Mark, what accomodation were you looking at in Nambiti?

i have spoken to a couple of self-drive travel agents who offer this sort of service and itinerary but I think I can pull it all together myself on a better budget and more interesting trip.

Many thanks everyone!!

Northampton, United...
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10. Re: Budget Honeymoon in South Africa

Hello and Elephant Rock Lodge & Springbok Lodge, both places I have stayed at. If I can help you with KZN in any way please ask. I do get posts deleted here because I have a dedicated site on KZN.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN