We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Need lots of help PLEASE

England
Level Contributor
42 posts
93 reviews
Save Topic
Need lots of help PLEASE

We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children aged 12 and 11) my youngest has always wanted to go on safari - so we now feel she is old enough to appreciate it. My husband and I went to Kenya some 24 years ago (before it became too popular) and loved it.

We would love to see SA and especially the wildlife. We will have about 2 weeks either during Easter (April) or the summer holidays (late July/early August).

I know nothing about regions to visit and on a short timescale want to know what our realistic options are. We usually holiday in the USA and my husband loves driving in different countries, so travelling distances does not bother us.

As a family we love animals and theme parks and the beach, are these something we could combine in a two week holiday?

I hope I have given an insight into what we would like to do and what we enjoy. In the past I have found that the best place to start is with these forums. I would be grateful for any help.

Thanks.

Somerset
Destination Expert
for Cape Town
Level Contributor
3,529 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Need lots of help PLEASE

My impression is that the wildlife is your top priority. Here are some suggestions to start things rolling. Fly UK - Johannesburg, hire a car and drive to Mpumalanga (once outside the city it is easy driving and they drive on the same side of the road as UK. Drive to Hazyview/Nelspruit area. Then you have choices you can elect to go for a private game reserve where you will be driven in open jeeps, off road and will definately see a lot of animals/birds but they are quite expensive. Alternatively pre-book accommodation in Kruger National park. Much cheaper and you would drive yourself aroound or book excursions but there is no off-roading in the park. We really do enjoy self-driving and see a tremendous number of animals and you really do see them close up - we really are talking a few feet from lion, elephants etc. We normally only stay 2 nights in private game reserves and then stay for a few days in Hazyview or Nelspruit and drive around the Blyde River Canyon with its spectacular scenery and also maybe delf-drive into Kruger for the day. You could have a really good "animal experience" over 7 days. I would then fly from Kruger Mpumalanga Int. Airport (KMIA) to Capetown. We tend to stay outside Capetown but being your fist time you may wish to stay more centrally, it is a beautiful city. Depending on you interests here are some ideas for your week in Capetown - boat trip to Robben Island, Go up Table Mountain in the cable car. Drive to Cape Point. Drive to Simonstown and just past there is Boulders Beach with a colony of African penguins, go on the beach and mix with them. Day trip to the winelands, Stellenbosch/Franshoek. Near Stellenbosch is Spier wine estate where om addition to their wine cellar and restaurants there is a Cheetah Outreach Centre where (for a fee) you can go in and stroke the cheetahs/ Visit V & A Waterfront and go in the Aquarium there. Visit Century City which is a huge shopping mall with a theme park Ratunga Junction adjoining it. Fly back to UK from Capetown or Capetown-joburg-UK. Hope that gives you food for thought. If you want more specific info like which game reserve or accommodation there is plenty of info posted or if you indicate the sort of itinerary you fancy I could give you my suggestions. No doubt other people will have other ideas, there is just so much to do.

Edenvale, South...
Level Contributor
140 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Need lots of help PLEASE

Hi Margret2,

I'm writing to you from a chilly Johannesburg. Over easter, I visited the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Pilansberg is 500sq km of wilderness. It is about 2 hours drive from johannesburg, on a super quality tar road. The roads inside the park are mainly gravel but easily driven by a 2-wheel drive sedan. Pack a Pick-nick to enjoy in one of the many 'protected' areas where animals have no access. Having said that, I did see a baboon (monkey) scrathing in a dust-bin!

The better time would be easter. Most of Johannesburg heads for Durban, where the accomodation price tripples, so book early.

Durban the beach city in South Africa. It is reached within 6 to 7 hours by car from Jhb. That road is tolled, so expect to pay R120 in tolls!

Avoid booking in Durban itself, the areas are 'dodgy'. Most Jo'burgers book the South Coast. Umhlanga (north of Durban) is also a favourite attraction but the beach is small.)

My recommendation for south coast would be Uvongo. There is a river lagoon, 200m from the Indian Ocean, accessed by the same beach.

If you are really adventurous, hire a 4x4 and see Africa's highest pub (2780m? at Sani Pass).

In the South, see the Garden Route (Knysna, George, Oudtshoorn and a must, Cango Caves. The garden route is about 1200km from johannesburg, that is 13 to 14 hours by car. The speed limit is set to 120km/h 99% of the way.

The historic city of Kimberley (famous for the Big Hole, dug out in the late 1800's by diamond seekers) is often overlooked. My visit in February, was too short (one night at the Road Logde (www.citylodge.co.za), so I missed the Bushmen paintings.

For accomodation try www.wheretostay.co.za

Cape Town, South...
Level Contributor
1,498 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Need lots of help PLEASE

Hi Margaret, gosh you've been given such good advice already and so I'm just adding a little bit, hopefully you don't land up awfully confused by it all.

The Kruger Park would get my number one vote and after that Pilansburg. I think you would be better off saving some of your money and rather doing extra things than spending it on a private game reserve. Kruger is really wonderful.

If you happen to be the proud owner of some timeshare, I'll just mention that there is a place that you could do an exchange with RCI, in the Pilansberg area, I know some friends did that and really liked it.

I agree that the April slot is better. If you happened to come to Cape Town instead of Durban especially, as it can be quite chilly and wet in the June/July time slot, it is mid-winter for us and we are a winter rainfall area, whereas the Johannesburg area is a summer rainfall area and days may still be clear although nights would be cold.

If you came in April, the theme park, would possibly still be open, but it closes in winter.

If you decide to come to Cape Town, I would highly recommend that you stay in the Waterfront area as most of the tourist things set off from there and you would find everything very convenient.

Please ask more questions, and we'll do our best, I hope above everything that you have a WONDERFUL holiday in our lovely land.

England
Level Contributor
42 posts
93 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Need lots of help PLEASE

WOW what a lot to think about. I am going to get a good map on the weekend and start looking at locations. Coming in the winter doesn't bother me as long as we will still be able to do most of the things on our wish list, remember we are from England and quite used to the cold/wet/!!! (however yesterday we had sun all day with temperatures reaching 28)

I will post again when I've digested all this wonderful information.

Thanks for now.

Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
Level Contributor
6,242 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Need lots of help PLEASE

That time I year I would go to Kruger.

Take a look at http://www.sanparks.org/forums

6. Re: Need lots of help PLEASE

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff removed this post either because the author requested it, or because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum guidelines.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:19 pm, June 14, 2006
Soton England
Level Contributor
36 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Need lots of help PLEASE

Reading the dates you give I guess you're planning to travel in UK school holidays. If this is the case some things that perhaps you should consider are:

Flights are usually more expensive over Easter as you're forced to travel weekends and they know its Easter school holidays. This is especially true of direct flights (BA and SAA in particular). I've flown Air Namibia, Swiss and Iberia and manged to save over £500 by doing so.

During Easter it is very busy in SA, especially over the actual Easter weekend. Kruger Park gets full and there are traffic jams at the entrance gates.

Easter weather in Cape Town is good. Down in Kruger it can be hot but more importantly the bush can be very green and thick, not good for game viewing.

Going during the UK summer hoildays is winter in SA. In the Cape there is a chance of cold and wet weather but not quite like the UK though. Up in the Kruger area it is dry and warm, but a bit cold at night. This is definately the best time to see animals.

Airlines know its summer holidays and the prices jump. Again consider going indirect and travelling mid week.

If you like the beach, animals and theme parks then Sun City / Pilanesberg would be good, although its not a real beach and its not really a theme park. SA is not good for theme parks!

8. Re: Need lots of help PLEASE

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:20 pm, August 16, 2009