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Old May 9, 12, 3:07 pm   #1
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1 Week in JNB, What to see/do? Safari?

I will be in JNB July 10th early AM till July 176h night. I don't know where to start planning this trip, but maybe if I give some info someone can recommend some stuff.

-There will be 2 of us. Both of us never were in Africa (minus Egypt). Both of us are somewhat fit and don't mind walking.
-We want to do a Safari. This is a must. I need to see some animals.
-Being FTers, I need to pay little and get a lot I was looking for the hotels to use points or cash+points (I got on hold the IC JNB Santon for the 14-16th, but not sure what can be seen in that area. I can always cancel without any fees). I do Priority Club mostly and there are a few PC properties in JNB and CPT. Can also do starwood.
-I heard CPT is very nice and wouldn't mind checking out the vineyards and the area. I do love wine.
-I am willing to fly around SA. I got plenty of miles with BA and UA if the airline tickets get too expensive, but can always buy some tickets if need be.
-I do realize it is winter at that time, which can be good or bad when it comes to the safaris and stuff.
-I love photography and plan to rent a Canon zoom lens somewhere. If there is a place that can rent it for me while I am down there, then great!
-I also scuba dive, but I think that shark cage diving would be a bit much. I could though do that shark boat tour.

Thanks in advance
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Old May 9, 12, 4:51 pm   #2
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There's not a huge amount to do in JNB. Sandton City has very good shopping and the IC there is pretty good. You could also go on a gold mine tour but I wouldn't prioritise Jo'burg.

CPT is more interesting (Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape peninsula, winelands) but it will very much be winter there with weather that is worse than the rest of SA.

Head up to Kruger/Sabi Sands to go on safari. July is a good time of year to go because it's the dry season and there won't be so much foliage. Malaria is also less of a problem at that time of year.

If you want to dive, there are plenty of coastal reserves. Sodwana is vey popular but it's a bit of a faff to get there. The closer you get to Mozambique, the warmer the water is. Around the Cape, it's pretty chilly.

Somewhere around Durban could be a good base for diving/shark-related excursions.
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Old May 9, 12, 4:54 pm   #3
 
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I am guessing you are coming from RGN ??
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Old May 10, 12, 6:15 am   #4
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I am guessing you are coming from RGN ??
Maybe
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Old May 10, 12, 2:36 pm   #5
 
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Head up to Kruger/Sabi Sands to go on safari.
Much as I like Kruger, Madikwe and Pilanesberg are closer to JNB and perhaps better options if you only have a few days to spare.

Johan
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Old May 10, 12, 3:04 pm   #6
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Much as I like Kruger, Madikwe and Pilanesberg are closer to JNB and perhaps better options if you only have a few days to spare.

Johan
If flying is an option, it's not too different time-wise. I find Pilanesberg a bit claustrophobic (I know that sounds silly).

By the way, do you know if Kwa Maritane has been rebuilt?
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Old May 10, 12, 4:20 pm   #7
 
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alternative affordable "luxury" safari

Try Kapama .. fly jnb-hds, its a 3 minute transfer !

WWW.kapama.co.za


Check it out on tripadvisor...
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Old May 12, 12, 12:02 pm   #8
 
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By the way, do you know if Kwa Maritane has been rebuilt?
You mean after the fire in 2008 or so? Sure it has. In Pilanesberg, I would pick Tshukudu. Anything but claustrophobic

Pilanesberg is fine if you avoid weekends, public holidays and school vacations.

Johan
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Old May 12, 12, 12:05 pm   #9
 
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Try Kapama .. fly jnb-hds, its a 3 minute transfer!
Well, from the Eastgate terminal to the gate across Argyle Road it is more like 90 seconds. From there to the lodges is another story.

Anybody who wants to share Kapama River lodge with another 200-odd people can be my guest. If you really must stay at Kapama, go for Buffalo Camp.

Johan
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Old May 12, 12, 5:41 pm   #10
 
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apologies

I did MEAN Buffalo Camp !
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Old May 13, 12, 8:52 am   #11
 
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The Southern Sun casino is a decent resort. Surprisingly Las Vegas-like (O.K., Reno- or AC-like), with the restaurants, bars, and pretty lively casino. They even have a craps table (albeit with poor odds and some unique practices -- but, hey, that's part of the fun). This is the only time I can recall seeing craps, my favorite game, outside the U.S. or Macau, so if you're in a part of the world where you don't have access to full-service casinos, it's a nice diversion.

I also took a side trip to Maputo, which was interesting for one night. The Serena hotel is comfortable, and the street life there (e.g., seeing everything in Portuguese) is fun.
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Old May 15, 12, 2:10 pm   #12
 
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I did MEAN Buffalo Camp !
OK, but how were we supposed to guess? It is not what you wrote.

Johan
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Old May 15, 12, 7:04 pm   #13
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Ill look into the camps.
Any place to rent a Canon lens?
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Old May 20, 12, 9:31 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by jason8612 View Post
Ill look into the camps.
Any place to rent a Canon lens?
A quick google turned up these guys who appear to be located on the East Rand (near JNB airport): http://www.rentalens.co.za/.

Durban and northwards along the coast from their would certainly have the warmest weather in July.
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Old May 30, 12, 8:57 am   #15
 
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Personally, I do not think that you can do much in 7 days.

South Africa is an enormous country and takes time to get around.

I will try to break my comments down under a couple of headings to make it easier to read:

Weather:
Cape Town at this time of the year has very short days and can be very wet, windy and cold.

Johannesburg area will be dry, cold at night but not bad through the day (unless you happen to be there when a cold front is passing through).

Durban. Probably the best time of the year to visit here as the heat and humidity is much more bearable. Daytime temperatures will usually be around the 25 degree centigrade mark dropping to around 18 at night. Definitely not cold.

Transport:
Wherever you go, it is best if you can fly. Public transport is not the greatest and whatever you do, avoid the minicab taxis. You can get cheap air tickets on Kulula, 1 Time and Mango.
Hiring a car is vital to get around but you must remember to be aware that hijacking and smash-and-grab crime is quite bad. Certain intersections are known to be black spots for these and will usually have police signboards advising where they are. Keep your windows closed, your doors locked and valuables out of site.
Roads can be in a very bad state although the main intercity highways are usually good. Many of them are now toll roads. There are also a lot of fixed speed cameras, including those that calculate your average speed.
Driving is a great way of seeing the wonderful South African scenery though and I really enjoy it.
There may not be any places left but you could look at travelling on the Blue Train from Johannesburg to Cape Town. This is a 24 hour ride if you catch it in Pretoria and an hour or so less from Johannesburg. This is a luxury train with first class service on board.

Things to do:
Johannesburg
People get confused when they come to SA on holiday. You probably do not want to go into the city. Most tourists head straight for the Sandton area which is actualy a seperate town north of Johannesburg. You could stay here and use it as a base to go to Pretoria to visit the Vootrekker Museum, the Union Buildings (I think they are still called that). There are official bus tours of Pretoria. You can also do one of Johannesburg which might be an eye-opener. For animals, there is a tour to the Rhino and Lion Reserve. A tour of Soweto is also a good idea. I found a site which has these and a lot of others on the web

Durban
Durban has miles of beaches and warm water. It has good surfing and snorkelling. Water clarity is usually better at this time of the year as there is little rain and the rivers are not spewing all sorts of rubbish into the sea.
uShaka is a fantastic day out. I have been there a couple of times. It is reasonably priced and there are many activities to enjoy. If you fancy a swim with the dolphins, remember to take you swimming costume with you.
The Valley of a Thousand Hills is inland of Durban but has some fantastic scenery. There are plenty of roadside stalls selling local crafts and a couple of good places to eat and drink.
Oribi Gorge is a couple of hours down the South Coast but is probably well worth a drive. Apart from fantastic scenery, there is a good chance that you will see plenty of smaller game. It is also home to the longest 'long drop' in South Africa - a long drop for those who don't know what it is is an old fashioned bucket toilet.
There are plenty of other things to do around here and I would suggest a search on the internet.

Cape Town
This is place where most tourists go and who can blame them. Even n winter when it is at its worst it is great. Or at least I think so and I do not even come from this part of the world!
There are so many things to see and do, places to visit, wine to drink, good food to eat.
Firstly, a visit to a wine farm is a must but I would suggest using an official tour company as you can then taste as much as you like without having to drive.
Cape Point is a good place to visit and, if the weather is not too bad, a trip out to Robben Island might be enjoyable.
If you enjoy driving, you could make an early start and head of for Cape Aghulas, the southern-most point of Africa.
A short drive into the Winelands and you will find yourself in Stellenbosch, a beautiful student town with many buildings still in the Old Cape Durch style. Lots of little restaurants and bars too. Across the Cape Town to Johannesburg highway is Paarl which is also worth a visit.
From Cape Town harbour, you can get helicopter tours which will take you on scenic flights all around the peninsular. I think the float plane trips are also still available.
Of course, you cannot miss going to the top of Table Mountain.You can either walk up (you need to be fairly fit for this) or you can get the cable car.
Outside of Cape Town is the Spiers wine estate where there is a cheetah breeding programme. Expensive but worth a visit. The wine is not bad either
A trip to seal island is always fun, especially if the sea is a bit rough! No good if you suffer from sea-sickness.

There are so many more things which you can do in and around Cape Town but I have a meeting to go to so I need to wrap this up.

As you can see, there is way too much to do in just a week and I would seriously suggest that you spend the whole time in in one place. Surf the net a bit to plan your stay and then use official tour companies and a hired car and I can almost guarantee that you will not have a quiet day for your whole stay.

Enjoy it wherever you go. It is a wonderful country with some really friendly and helpful people.
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