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2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

Seattle
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2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

I'm planning a trip to South Africa sometime in the next year or so. I've done a little research and am looking for advice and suggestions.

My initial thoughts are to fly into Cape Town, drive the garden route and hopefully end up at Kruger Park. Then either fly out of J-Berg or figure something else out. Anyone have a 2 1/2 week itinerary for this? Is this a good itinerary?

I want to do a self drive in Kruger. What are the key things that I need to know? How much are accommodations in the park?

Is south Africa an affordable place to travel to?

Thanks in advance for any info. on this. I appreciate it.

Tucson, Arizona
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1. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

When I started planning a trip to SA, I thought I would take a good friend's advice to do Kruger on my own as I like being independent. However, as I researched it more, I realized that while I can: 1. drive on the left with some concentration, 2. read a map and navigate quite well; 3. spot wildlife and i.d. it, I would not be able to do all those things at once (my friend had two companions with him). I opted to book with a safari company to take care of all that.

Just throwing this out there as a little food for thought...

Naracoorte
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2. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

Self drive on your own in KNP is easy - a great many people go solo and often stay from 3 days to 3 months!!

When you are on your own you have total freedom.

www.sanparks.org has all the information you need re the park, accommodation, prices, booking etc.

Boston...
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3. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

Hi Mateo,

Self-driving in South Africa is easy and you should have no problems.

You can fly into Cape Town and drive the Garden Route. Perhaps consider flying from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg, pick up a car and drive to Kruger.

A self-drive safari is easy, affordable and convenient. There are many tips if you google 'self-drive Kruger' and I am happy to point you to some places if you like.

You can either stay inside the Park or outside the Park.

If you stay inside the Park, the cost depends on the type of accommodations you choose. Check out sanparks.co.za which has pricing -- prices change after 1 Nov. 2013.

Also, depending on when you plan to travel, places inside the Park book up fast.

Happy to provide more information once you have a better sense of how you'd like to plan your trip.

I also suggest searching TA for threads where others have sough similar advice...you will find a lot to help you make some decisions.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Heeten, Owner, Swagat at Kruger Park Lodge

4. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

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New York
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5. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

Self drive is easy. Take a gps so you dont have to worry about maps. Get it loaded with SA maps BEFORE you go so you dont have to learn it there. If you go in the spring, think about the west coast. The wild flowers bring tourists from all over. Paternoster is worth a few days any time. The west coast is regularly overlooked by foreigners. Not so by Capetonians. I think the Garden Route is nice but overrated-a tour agent's invention. If you go to either east or west coast, the mountain passes are breathtaking. Finally, if you enjoy good food at a fair price, do research in advance. It's way too easy to pay too much or get only bland, uninspired food. Same as in the US. Finally, i would probably break the trip into 2 parts and fly between CT and either Durban or Jo'burg.

6. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

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Removed on: 01 January 2013, 21:05
usa
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7. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

We just returned from SA trip with the same amount of time. It was perfect! Yes it may be easy on your own in Kruger but you don't get as close to the animals as you do in a private reserve - no question about this - you cannot get off the roads. In private reserves the ranger gets into the bushes all the time to follow and get close to the animals. The elephants, giraffes, lions, buffalo, etc literally surround you. No comparison. We had a wonderful travel planner, Janine Krook. She can find you what you want at your budget. She made our trip perfect, took care of every reservation, we were picked up and delivered to every destination promptly with the exception of our drive from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town which was great. Take your NAV just make sure you have those maps, or receive data on your smartphone. We used a saved map we had made before leaving with all the places we wanted to stop in. Roads are good. Lots of baboons along the way, be careful. We also visited Victoria Falls, beautiful. Went shark diving. Rode the ostriches. The food was delicious everywhere, the sights incredible, but definitely the highlight were the safaris. J'berg is just one big city, don't give it too much time, just maybe to visit Soweto if that is of interest to you. The area around Cape Town is much more beautiful and interesting. We chose two different lodges in the private reserves next to Kruger to have different experiences - it was perfect - one farther north, the other a bit more south. I recommend you contact Ms Krook and you will see the difference (and I think ends up cheaper). Have fun!

Boston...
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8. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

I'd like to mention that in all our self drives in Kruger, we have been very close to animals. We have been surrounded by buffaloes, had elephants cross in front and behind us, spent close to 2 hours with a leopard next to our car, and many many more such experiences. While driving off-road may be good for the paying visitor, the soil compaction/erosion comes with its own set of ecological damages.

Please do not be discouraged by self-driving. You will see a lot. Take a look at the Kruger sightings on sanparks.co.za for example. I'd be happy to send you links to many others who have taken amazing photos inside Kruger while in self-drive.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Heeten, Owner, Swagat at Kruger Park Lodge

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

You could also research the possibility of going with a tour company but doing an 'independent tour'. All the details are worked out for you, they include great accommodation and tours - you have the benefit of having all the logistics taken care of and you get a worry free vacation. The tour companies I am referring to have been doing this for years and they know exactly what will make a trip to SA memorable for you. Kruger is wonderful, but there are also others that might suit you too.

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: 2 and 1/2 weeks in South Africa... advice?!!?

Just as an add on here - have you thought about adding Victoria Falls to your itinerary?

Just wanted to give you an idea of an itinerary that I have seen before

day 1 Arrive Cape Town

day 2 Cape Town

day 3 Cape Town

day 4 - Cape Winelands - Franschhoek

day 5 - Franschhoek-Oudtshoorn

day 6 - OUdtshoorn-Knysna

day 7 - Knysna

day 8 - Knysna - Johannesburg

day 9 -Johannesburg

day 10 - Johannesburg - Mthetomusha (Kruger)

day 11 - Mthetomusha Private Game Reserve

day 12 - Mthetomusha Private Game Reserve

day 13 - Mthetomusha - Johannessburg

end of trip - or you could add Victoria Falls to your vacation

day 13 - Mthetomusha - Jo-burg

day 14 - Joburg - Vic Falls, Zimbabwe

day 15 - Victoria Falls

day 16 - Victoria Falls - Joburg - return home.

Some great highlights of SA.