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Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

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Manchester
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Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

Hi there

It's out first time in South Africa in October. We're attending a wedding in Clanwilliam and a couple of agents have each put together an itinerary for us. Itinerary 1 is lower in price so we'd obviously wecome that, but not at the expense of missing something out. A decent safari experience is also a priority.

Itinerary 1

Cape Town - 3 nights

Swellendam - 1 night

Plettenberg - 2 nights

Kariega Game Reserve - 2 nights

Oudtshoorn - 1 night

Stellenbosch - 1 night

Clanwilliam - 2 nights

Itinerary 2

Cape Town - 3 nights

Amakhala Game Reserve - 2 nights (fly to PE first)

Plettenberg

Knysa

Swellendam

Bainskllof/Wellington

Any hunch as to which would be a better trip?

Thank you!

Weybridge
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1. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

Either itinerary is good ... I would struggle to say which was my favourite.

I would just add a couple of comments about Kariega versus Amakhala, which may help you decide.

Both are about the same size, and both are extremely scenic, which is a big plus point.

They are also what I term 'split' reserves.

In Kariega, the lion and elephant are kept in a separate part of the reserve, and you do your game drives to here in the afternoon (young children are not allowed on these drives). To get from one part of the reserve to the other, you cross a small country road - literally out of one gate, and in through another. The morning drives are done on the main part of the reserve, and you can also walk in this part of the reserve too.

At Amakhala, the lions are also kept in a separate part of the reserve, but to get

to this from the main part of the reserve you do cross under the main N2 road via an underpass - which can detract from the overall feeling of being totally immersed in your bush / safari experience. However, to be forewarned is to be prepared - I had some wonderful sightings when I stayed at Amakhala, which more than compensated for the N2 encounter.

I also had some great game viewing at Kariega too, I hasten to add !!

Manchester
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2. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

Thank you very much for your comments. I suspected there wasn't much in the itineraries.

One question...

Plan 1 is all driving. There is no flight to PE to get to the safari.

Plan 2 includes a flight from CT to PE.

Do you have any thoughts on this as to overall experience (too much driving or is it manageable).

Thank you!

Weybridge
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3. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

Your tour operator has planned the driving very nicely so that you are not doing great stretches - Cape Town to Swellendam is about 2.5 hours, then Swellendam to Plett is about 3 hours, then Plett to Kariega about 3.5 hours ! So perfectly 'do-able' !

Manchester
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4. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

Thank you for your help. So we've decided on itinerary 2. Would you mind just commenting my idea for our route from Amakhala to Clanwilliam.

Amakhala Safari Lodge - 2 nights (booked)

Plettenberg Bay - 2 nights

Kynsna - 2 nights

Montagu or Swellendam? - 1 night

Bainskloof nr Wellington or Franschnoek? - 1 night

Drive to Clanwilliam

Does the route from Amakhala look ok to you or is there anything else which you think we should include. Any comments re the Montagu v Swellendam or Bains v Frans would be helpful. If there's not much between them I would prefer to go for the less driving option.

If you have any good tips for accommodation that would be helpful too.

Hopefully we might get to go to Stellenbosch after Clanwilliam as we're flying home from Cape Town and have a spare night.

Paris, France
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5. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

Have you thought of having 3 nights in either Plettenberg or Knysna (they are very close and hardly worth changing your accommodation) which could then give you 2 nights in Franschoek instead of 1 night (great shame only to be there for 1 night) - my preference for an overnight stay would be Montagu - we always stay at Aasvoelkrans - www.aasvoelkrans.co.za - it's a stud farm with luxurious and unusual rooms that are always full to the brim with flowers and a beautiful garden - just the sort of relaxing place you would need for an overnight stay

Weybridge
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6. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

I would agree with the above post - Knysna and Plett are so close - about 30 minutes only - so personally, I would stay at one or the other for 3 nights, and free up one night extra for Franschhoek - certainly also my preferred destination in the Winelands. Franschhoek is set in a valley, it has some lovely accommodation and some of the best restaurants in the Winelands.

Depending on your budget, my favourites are La Fontaine, Residence Klein Olifants, or Franschhoek Country House and Villas.

Again, Montagu or Swellendam ... probably Montagu.

Paris, France
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7. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

Just another idea re accommodation - I have just booked Belair Country Lodge in Paarl www.belair.co.za for our next visit to the Winelands - as you had mentioned visiting Franschoek and Bainskloof this is right inbetween the two so you can visit both easily. Haven't stayed there before but it has a lovely description in the Greenwood Guide www.greenwoodguides.com and looks very luxurious surrounded by wine farms and wonderful views, big plus is it does not have the higher tariffs of Franschoek!

Edited: 21 September 2010, 15:08
Leeds, United...
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for Western Cape, Cape Town Central
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8. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

Agree with OP's, definitely Montagu. You mentioned Wellington, I can thouroughly recommend Bovlei Valley Retreat, which has views up to the Bainskloof mountains. Wellington is slightly off the usual tourist trail, but lots of wine tasting to be had in the area and in Paarl

Lisa

9. Re: Thoughts welcome on our itinerary (& Kariega or Amakhala)

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