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Old Jul 12, 04, 9:04 am   #1
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Driving Cape Town to Port Elizabeth

We are wondering how long it takes to drive from CT to PE. We will have already done the scenic 'slow' drive from PE to CT in the preceeding week so we want to know how quickly we can do it (while still being safe and enjoying scenery). We will be leaving CT on the morning of Jan 4, 2005 and will need to catch a flight out of PE on the evening of Jan 4. Is this possible? I've had trouble finding a driving map on the web (i.e. mapquest-like). Any thoughts?
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Old Jul 12, 04, 9:58 am   #2
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We drove from Capetown to Port Elizabeth in December. I don't think there is a fast way. There is only one way - and at times, it is extremely slow when the road along the coast goes thru towns rather than around them. At no time is there a divided road along the coast.

There is no way that I would attempt to do this drive in one day. Save yourself wear and tear and fly from Capetown to Port Elizabeth.
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Old Jul 12, 04, 10:19 am   #3
 
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Thanks for the prompt reply. On Dec 23 we are flying from JNB to PE. Then we are renting a car in PE on Dec 23 and then slowly heading over to CT. Our dilemma was whether to pay the drop fee for the rental car if we return it in CT and also pay the increased cost of 2 one-way airline tix (JNB-PE, CT-JNB) rather than a roundtrip JNB-PE-JNB. Based on your advice, it sounds as though we should spend the extra few hundred dollars and avoid the long drive back to PE. I've seen other posts on this site that said they found no 'drop fee' from AVIS but I haven't been so lucky ($90 for AVIS, $300 from Hertz). Thanks again for the advice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiego1K
We drove from Capetown to Port Elizabeth in December. I don't think there is a fast way. There is only one way - and at times, it is extremely slow when the road along the coast goes thru towns rather than around them. At no time is there a divided road along the coast.

There is no way that I would attempt to do this drive in one day. Save yourself wear and tear and fly from Capetown to Port Elizabeth.
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Old Jul 14, 04, 11:55 am   #4
 
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It is possible...

I have done the drive twice between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, both in one day. The distance is approximately 770km (480 miles). In fact, once I also drove in one day from Cape Town to East London (a further 300km)without any problem. We even stopped in Plettenberg Bay for over an hour for lunch and a walk on the beaches.

I can say the roads are quite good. They may not be massively wide six-lane freeways, but they are well paved and it is easy to get up to speed up to 130kmp while maintaining safety. Hills often feature a widening to two lanes each side to allow slow-moving vehicles to keep out of the way, and there are regular widenings to two-lanes each side to permit fast vehicles to move along ahead of the rest. The trip is quite doable in one day, and very beautiful. However, in one day sightseeing will not be the main idea if you want to arrive in PE before midnight. But as you will already have seen the sights (and it is a GORGEOUS route), I imagine you will be able to go fast and not feel as though you have missed much.

However, since you have a flight to catch, you may want to take two days (leaving CT in the early afternoon) to avoid rush hour around CT and PE, as well as having ample breathing room in case of any problems (severe road accidents, flat tyre etc.). It's up to you, but I have done it in one day without a problem, and in a Land Rover Discovery even.

Can I enquire about where you intend to stop along the way to Cape Town? I only ask because I do road trips down there often; actually taking a friend from the States there in two weeks. You must stop at Tsitsikama Park... I always stay in a lodge there that sits beneath high cliffs, has gorgeous ocean views and the surf is amazing, huge. Are you going to Cape Agulhas? (The southern most part of Africa, not Cape of Good Hope!)
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Old Jul 14, 04, 4:58 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchmeckFlyer
Can I enquire about where you intend to stop along the way to Cape Town? I only ask because I do road trips down there often; actually taking a friend from the States there in two weeks. You must stop at Tsitsikama Park... I always stay in a lodge there that sits beneath high cliffs, has gorgeous ocean views and the surf is amazing, huge. Are you going to Cape Agulhas? (The southern most part of Africa, not Cape of Good Hope!)
Thanks so much for the response SchmeckFlyer! Here is our 'tentative' itinerary:
We arrive in JNB on Dec 22 late evening and stay overnight at the airport. Then we take an early morning flight JNB-PE. We pick up a car and drive to Kwandwe Nature Reserve for a 3 day/2night stay. Then we head to Plett for a 2 night stay at Plettenberg Hotel. Then on to Knysna for two nights at a place called Phantom Forest. We then have to make a bit of a long drive from Knysna to Franschhoek. We are allowing about 5-6 hrs for this trip but think it will be slightly less (we will have done lots of day trips along the garden route and coast while in Knysna and Plett). After a few nights in wine country we are headed into Cape Town for 2-3 nights and staying in the Camps Bay area. We are still open for 2 nights beyond Camps Bay and we are deciding whether to go back to the wine country or stay somewhere between CT and PE. Then we head back to Joburg for 2 final nights. Any suggestions or are we making any major blunders?
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Old Jul 14, 04, 5:15 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchmeckFlyer
You must stop at Tsitsikama Park... I always stay in a lodge there that sits beneath high cliffs, has gorgeous ocean views and the surf is amazing, huge. Are you going to Cape Agulhas? (The southern most part of Africa, not Cape of Good Hope!)
We looked at Tsitsikamma Park and it does look very nice. We may well try to stop by for a few hours when we are in Plettenberg Bay or Knysna. We hadn't considered Cape Agulhas but based on your recd, I found a nice site http://www.capeinfo.com/Content/WCre...ttingThere.htm that makes it sound like a nice day trip from Cape Town.
Thanks again,
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Old Jul 15, 04, 3:31 am   #7
 
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Two quick points...

i) I don't know what sort of prices you've found, but JNB-PLZ,CPT-JNB isn't necessarily two one-ways. The SAA website does have a multiple cities option and will allow the open jaw. Both options (JNB-PLZ-JNB and the open-jaw) seem to come out around ZAR1000 pp. You also might want to try and group the domestic legs with your int'l flights, depending on whether they are an associate of SAA.

ii) You might want to try Orbitz for the one-way car hire if you haven't already. It will compare the operators and the key line is total price which includes one-way fees. One-way fees sometimes depend on the car class so this sometimes brings out a good deal (though once you know the deal, I tend to go to the Avis/Hertz/etc site and try and book it there).

Hope that might help.
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Old Jul 15, 04, 11:47 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldb
Both options (JNB-PLZ-JNB and the open-jaw) seem to come out around ZAR1000 pp. You also might want to try and group the domestic legs with your int'l flights, depending on whether they are an associate of SAA..
Those are great prices but I haven't been able to get them?!? I went to SAA site directly - they give you an option of choosing your home country. When I choose US, I get higher prices than when I choose SA. Problem is there are a bunch of conditions for booking as a resident of SA and I don't want to mess us up. We are using FF from NWA for the intl portion but don't want to use FF for the domestic portion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauldb
You might want to try Orbitz for the one-way car hire
I'll check into it! Thanks!
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Old Jul 15, 04, 2:45 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cangst
Those are great prices but I haven't been able to get them?!? I went to SAA site directly - they give you an option of choosing your home country. When I choose US, I get higher prices than when I choose SA. Problem is there are a bunch of conditions for booking as a resident of SA and I don't want to mess us up. We are using FF from NWA for the intl portion but don't want to use FF for the domestic portion.
Are the requirements you refer to regarding exclusivity of certain fares to SA residents/citizens? I only ask because, as my family lives here, I do much traveling in the country with fares/deals "only for RSA residents" although I hold a US passport and only have a temporary residence permit. Not once, whether it be at the airport or a travel agent or a game lodge, have I been asked to prove my RSA residency status. Once I even mentioned I was not a resident, but because I was making the booking from within SA and with an SA agent, there would be no problem...

If you book the flights domestically and use an electronic ticket, or if you know someone who can do it for you, then you could take the option of the lower-priced fares.
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Old Jul 15, 04, 8:50 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchmeckFlyer
Are the requirements you refer to regarding exclusivity of certain fares to SA residents/citizens?
I'll check again, but I think the SAA website said it must be booked using a credit card issued from SA.
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Old Jul 20, 04, 3:53 am   #11
 
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Yeah flysaa.com does insist on SA credit cards for domestic special fares.

However

Some of the other carriers in SA don't (kulula.com / 1time etc.) .. I think you can purchase tickets (e-ticket) from them using any credit card

Alternatively flysaa.com does allow you too book the tickets and have them issued at an SAA ticket office in SA within 48hrs .. you could probably do this just before you travel and then pick up the ticket in SA paying with cash (or probalby even your non SA credit card) .. Risk of course is that the flights might be sold out / at higher fares .. depends on when you are travelling.
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Old Jul 20, 04, 2:00 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDoctorK
Some of the other carriers in SA don't (kulula.com / 1time etc.) .. I think you can purchase tickets (e-ticket) from them using any credit card
Thanks for the great tip! In the process of searching for those 2 discount carriers (neither had the flights I needed), I came across nationwide airlines, another discounter http://www.flynationwide.co.za. You can't book w/o an SA credit card, BUT they have a US office that will book for you. Believe it or not, the US agent's prices were about 15% lower than the nationwide website's prices. This was less than half of what SAA was offering ($801 vs. $386). Downside is that the US agent does not take credit cards - only checks, money orders, etc.
Thanks
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Old Aug 30, 04, 12:44 am   #13
 
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Cangst,
Your trip sounds wonderful. We just got back (3 hours ago) from a month in Cape Town and driving through the Garden Route. We had 2 nights at Kwandwe and it is an amazing place. The people are so freindly and it was the highlight of our trip. Plet has beautiful beaches and good food, but Dec is high season so it will probably be pretty crowded. I wanted to stay at Phantom Forrest but we did not have the time. It sounded really interesting though. We did not make it to Knasa but everyone kept telling us to go. The wine country is so much fun. If you are the least bit serious about wine, I recommend getting the John Platters guide. It list all the vinyards and ranks the each wine that is produced (I may be able to send you my copy). Franschoek is a nice little town. We stayed at Le Petit Ferme. Great place. Spend a night in Stellenbosch. It is kind of a University town, but there is good food and it's nice to walk around. We also spent a night in Paarl at a great place called Roggeland Country House. It's quite well know for its food and the accomidations were lovely (there is also the Grand Roche but they close during August). Unfortunately, you will miss the whales in Hermanas . Driving from Knysna the Franschhoek will probably take 6 hours being it is high season (while the roads are nicely paved they are often one lane). As for the extra two days, I would not book anything now but wait until I got there, there is so much to do you'll easily find a way to fill the days. Hope that helped,
Take care
Chris
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Old Aug 30, 04, 12:47 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cangst
I've seen other posts on this site that said they found no 'drop fee' from AVIS but I haven't been so lucky ($90 for AVIS, $300 from Hertz).
You might also try http://www.imperialcarrental.co.za/d....aspx?load=300. Imperial is one of the top two car rental agencies in SA (the other is Avis) and I've found them to have very competitive pricing and good service.
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