Africa - Jo'Burg to Maputo itinerary
Apr 18, 11, 12:31 pm
Few facts up front:
- Arrive JNB 14:30 on a Monday in September
- Depart MPM 8:50 on a Saturday
- Main goal is to visit Swaziland and Lesotho
- Into JNB/Out of MPM times are inflexible
As far as things to see, I'm gathering Maputo has much more than Lesotho and Swaziland for someone who's much more into cities/cultural activities than sitting at lodges watching the day/game go by.
I've done bigger safaris, so not really looking for that here. Main goal is to just visit these two countries in transit from JNB to MPM.
Current thinking is to hire a car and drive a loop from JNB to Lesotho to Swaziland, spending one night in each. Drop off the car in Nelspruit and take the bus (Intercape) to Maputo. Other option is to loop back to Jo'Burg and fly one-way into Maputo.
Thoughts? Recommendations? We tend to be a bit of the "express tourist" type, trying to see as many places/countries as possible in a short time, and then coming back to places we really enjoyed for much longer trips later. Any advice welcome!
Apr 19, 11, 11:44 am
58 views and no suggestions?
Apr 26, 11, 12:00 pm
If you're asking whether Maputo is more interesting than Swaziland and Lesotho, then in my experience, yes. I personally wouldn't even suggest Lesotho, however in Swaziland you'll likely stay at one of 3 of the Sun hotels in the valley near Manzini. You can go horseback riding, go to the large casino near by (Pig's Peak), or gamble at 1 of the 3 hotels. There's a shuttle that runs between the 3.
With Maputo, 2 full days is likely plenty of time. You can take a bus tour to get acclimated one day. The Polana Serena can have some decent prices; stay in the main building for history, the new building to be closer to the water, and it's a great place to kill some time by the pool). One thing I enjoy is taking a walk southwest of the Polana, around to the west and over to the train station. DO NOT WALK ON THE GROUNDS OF THE PRESIDENT'S HOUSE on your way. Nearby is an infamous church (Cathedral de Nossa Senhorada Conceicao), along with the history museum (worth a visit if only to see how benign neglect can turn a good effort into layers of dust).
You should also visit the fort (Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceicao). It's an easily navigable city. Hope this helps (a little, at least).
May 3, 11, 9:59 pm
Thanks - that's actually a huge help. We tend to love driving trips between places, so (in the interest of country counting of course) that driving between Jo'Burg and Maputo via Lesotho and Swaziland would accomplish multiple goals...but, also had the suspicion that a day or so in each was MORE than enough.
Maputo seems quite interesting, and I suspect that's where we'll spend the majority of the time. We debated a few days in the Kruger, but we'll be coming to Jo'burg from Namibia/Botswana, so I suspect we have the wildlife mostly covered. Thanks!
May 29, 11, 6:23 pm
I'll help out with Lesotho as we have done a roadtrip throught it. It is not really the type of place where you would go to for 1 day. It is quite a drive from Joburg and then the road in Lesotho isn't the best and most would need a 4x4. The only place to visit would be the "Katse dam" - a big man made lake in the Drakensberg mountains. Going into Lesotho via the Sani pass (if it is still open) is quite dramatic but takes a day!!
If you just want to set your feet into Lesotho to tick the box. I would recommend going to Clarens and the Golden gate national park for some beautiful mountain and rock formation - quickly making a day trip into Lesotho - and then driving through to Harrismith on your way to Swaziland.
If it is your aim to tick of 3 countries then by all means go to them but if I were you, I would divide my time between SA and Mozambique. Mosambique has some of the best Islands and beaches in the world. Why not consider Zimbabwe and the big falls or Bulawayo and the Matopos National park or even Botswana???
Jun 7, 11, 12:17 pm
Why not consider Zimbabwe and the big falls or Bulawayo and the Matopos National park or even Botswana???
This is actually part of a longer trip - Botswana and the Vic Falls area are already on the agenda! ^
Jun 9, 11, 6:57 pm
Why not consider Zimbabwe and the big falls or Bulawayo and the Matopos National park...Why not? 2 words: Robert Mugabe.
Don't worry, ironmanjt, I won't flame you if you go to the Zim side :) (the view from that side is MUCH better than the Zambian side), but for me it's always Zambia until Uncle Bob and his nasty wife Grace die (preferable) or leave (works in a pinch). I did have to give Bob some money once when I had to pass through Zim on the way to/from Botswana a couple of times, so my hands are dirty...
Jun 9, 11, 7:00 pm
Why not? 2 words: Robert Mugabe.
Considering I've been to North Korea, Iraq, Belarus, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran in the last 3 years, it's obvious a dictator won't keep me away. I'm a big believer that change happens from the inside - it's when you ignore dictators that they get away with things.
Jun 10, 11, 7:54 am
Okay, so you'll be in Zim. Given that, if you think you'll be picking up souvenir-type items on this trip, DO price them out in SA and/or Mozambique, and try and compare the prices to what you see in Zim. In my experience, the prices in Zimbabwe are ALWAYS higher than anyplace else, and you'll want to bring USD to pay for things.
The Roseebank flea market in Joburg is awesome (to me), but you won't be there on a Sunday. In Maputo, the sidewalk to the right of the Polana usually has various hawkers selling the same stuff you'll see all over S. Africa, and it's usually a bit more expensive there (because if you're on that sidewalk, odds are you're staying at the Polana, which makes you rich), but one has to bargain.
If you WON'T be picking up souvenir-type items, ignore this post. :D
I really need to get back to Mozambique. Thanks for making me totally jealous.
Jun 10, 11, 11:23 am
The Roseebank flea market in Joburg is awesome (to me),
Yeah, I've been to South Africa a few times, and love the Rosebank Market. Unfortunately, won't be near there on a Sunday this trip.