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Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Toronto, Canada
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Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

We are just starting to plan our itinerary for South Africa. Our time is very limited on this trip and that cannot be helped. We have been in Johannesburg in the past and toured a little in that area. This time we want to focus on the Capetown area and then a couple of days safari in Kruger and then possibly Madikwe.

We will be flying in thru Johannesburg as we are coming for North America.

Including the days we arrive and leave, we will have only about 11 days. We would like to spend a few days after we arrive enjoying Capetown, as this is the focus. We had thought perhaps 2 on a private concession in Krueger and then thought about Madikwe Hills on our way back to Johannesburg for a couple of days.

Tentatively I had planned something like this:

Day 1, 2, 3 in Capetown

Day 4 possibly a full day tour to wineland

Day 5, 6, 7 on the Garden route

Afternoon of Day 7 flying to Jock Safari (as an example)in time for evening game drive.

Day 8 Jocks

Day 9 Morning game drive Jocks..Flying fairly early (is this possible?) to Madikwe Hills in time for evening game drive.

Day 10 Madikwe Hills

Day 11 Madikwe Hills morning game drive and then flying to Johannesburg for flight to Canada

Does this make sense? I am not sure about the travel between camps. Can't stay in the most expensive camps. Included Madikwe because of the wild dogs.

Maybe we should skip the winelands and spend another day in Capetown or on the Garden Route. Anyone who could provide some insight into the travel between Port Elizabeth and Kruger or between Kruger and Madikwe would be really appreciated.

Again early days of planning and so little time. Any help would be appreciated. Also should we drive the garden route? My husband has had some experience with driving on the left in the UK and Ireland and it seems that the drive is not a problem but any advice would be appreciated. It would either be that or a driver as we aren't really in to bus tours.

Please don't be impatient with me if I seem a little vague. We are planning on October 2014 for out trip.

Johannesburg, South...
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1. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Hi Spriglet,

I like your general idea, but with the 'limited' amount of time you have, I think maybe you are trying to cram too much into 11 days. I think your current proposed itinerary involves too much travelling/moving around.

4 days in Cape Town including the day in the Winelands is good. I might be inclined to cut something out of the rest. The Kruger safari is a must, for me even more so than Madikwe, and also given the logistics from PE to Kruger which will have to be via JHB or CT as there are no direct flights from PE to any of the Kruger airports. Likewise, Kruger to Madikwe would also have to be via JHB for the same reasons.

If you are set on the Garden Route, which, by the way is best to drive, as I think it would somewhat defeat part of the purpose for doing the Garden Route if you didn't drive it, I would be inclined to cut Madikwe from your trip, and add the 2 nights onto Kruger. I would also consider a Sabi Sands lodge as opposed to Jocks. FYI, Sabi Sands does have resident Wild Dog packs although they do tend to move around a lot, unless they are denning. Kruger National Park also has resident Wild Dog packs.

The other option is to cut out the Garden Route, and include Madikwe. There are daily flights from Cape Town into Nelspruit, and likewise from Nelspruit into JHB. In this case you could add nights to either Kruger/Madikwe or both.

Is there any reason that you have specifically mentioned Jocks and Madikwe Hills or would you be open to considering other lodges?

I hope all this helps and that I have answered all your questions.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Definitely would consider other camps and it probably would make sense to cut Madikwe, especially if we have to go thru JHB or CT for each camp.

OK so we could cut out Madikwe and leave in driving the garden route to Port Elizabeth. Do you think the Garden Route is really worthwhile? We are not "really set on it". Whenever I read about South Africa it always appears that it is a big deal to see and we would be really missing out if we skipped it. If so do you think that the three days we have allowed for the Garden Route is enough? If so we would add both days to Kruger.

Would it make sense to do this in reverse? Upon arrival at JHB fly to Kruger and then after fly onward to Capetown. Drive the garden route and then fly to Johannesburg and home? I always hate backtracking when we travel.

The focus has always been Capetown and Kruger. Nothing else is carved in stone in our minds.

I really appreciate your help.

Is there something else that you would recommend? We don't know when or if we will get back to South Africa again. If you think there is something else that we will be really missing please don't hesitate to tell us.

Again thanks for your help.

Johannesburg, South...
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3. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Hi again Spriglet,

It's a pleasure. I'm glad to help and advise.

Working your itinerary around Cape Town and Kruger is great. 3 - 4 days in Cape Town, and a 4 night Kruger safari. My choice of reserves is the Sabi Sands. I fee that it offers the best overall safari experience. Which lodge/s in particular depends on your budget?

The Garden Route is very popular, and is a very beautiful part of the Cape and I think is worth doing if you can fit it in. 3 - 4 days should be enough for the Garden Route.

If you were to leave out the Garden Route, you could do 6 nights in Cape Town and the Winelands and 4 nights in Kruger.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

Cape Town
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4. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

If you only have 11 days (including start and finish) I certainly wouldn't try and do more than two broad regions of the country. I would do the same in Canada.

"6 nights in Cape Town and the Winelands and 4 nights in Kruger". Sounds pretty good to me!

However if coming in October I would do Kruger first and the Cape Region second. Weather, as anywhere, is variable year to year. But in general, in October, the weather is getting better in the Cape (towards warmer and dryer) and worse in Kruger region (towards hotter, more humid and wet).

Edited: 28 November 2013, 22:13
Leeds, United...
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for Western Cape, Cape Town Central
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5. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Hi

You do not need to drive the garden route to experience the beauty of South Africa. As suggested, you could spend all your time in Cape Town and do day trips. Self driving is definitely the best option, or you could choose to stay a night or two in the winelands along with Cape Town

Your original itinerary will involve seeing lots of roads, airports and plane cabins!!

Lisa

Berkhamsted, United...
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6. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Fully agree that two centres, Cape Town and Kruger region, would be best.

In October, a day trip to watch the whales in Walker Bay is also worth considering. And if you return to Cape Town via the coastal route, through Kleinmond, Rooi Els, etc, you get fantastic views as you drive back round into False Bay.

man of kent
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7. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Too much, in too short a time. cut the garden route, you cant rush it, the whole point is to enjoy yourselves Capetown will blow you away its a great place you could spend a month there and still not see all it has to offer we loved the food in both Hout Bay and Kalk Bay . Good Luck you will love it

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

So here is our current plan

Day 1 Arrive and stay in Sabi Sands for 4 nights (Haven't picked a lodge yet)

Day 5 Travel to Capetown by air and stay near V&A waterfront. Seems pretty accessible to everything and we could walk to restaurants at night.

Day 6 Full day tour of Cape peninsula (Cape of Good Hope)

Day 7 Hop on hop off bus to tour around Capetown

Day 8 Robben Island

Day 9 Wineland tour with overnight

Day 10 Back to Capetown and fly home

I am not sure how long Robben Island will take and whether we should get a two day hop on hop off as a way to get around the city on the afternoon of the second day. You can see that we have dropped the Garden Route as we don't have enough time and my husband wasn't really keen on driving this time when we have a pretty tight timetable.

Again any comments or suggestions are great.

Thanks you all for your help.

Northampton, United...
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9. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Hello and just something to consider though I know its not in your plans. Some of the best wild dog sightings are in Imfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal. A friend of mine heard this during a speech by a re[representative from the WWF. It was claimed second only to Botswana. I have seen wild dogs there as have many friends. As said just somewhere to consider.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

Frankfurt, Germany
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10. Re: Just starting to plan itinerary...help.

Your revised itinerary sounds really good to me. As for safari, you might cut a night or two in Sabi Sand and do some self drive safari in Kruger itself - it is a different experience and I am glad we did it. However, if you don't feel like DIY safari, this plan is perfect.