Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Africa > Africa
Reload this Page >

How bad is South Africa in January?

How bad is South Africa in January?

Old May 22, 18, 2:26 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: SFO
Programs: OZ Diamond/*G, UA Gold MM, IHG Spire Amb, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,994
How bad is South Africa in January?

I have a business trip to South Africa in the first week of January of next year and was thinking of extending my stay a couple weeks by taking vacation days and going around to the major sites (Garden Route, Cape Town, iSimangaliso, Kruger, Victoria Falls etc), however, I read everywhere that in January everything is crowded and expensive and animals are hard to see in iSimangaliso and Kruger and the water is too high in Victoria Falls. Is it worth travelling around SA at this time or should I aim to come back in May/June time?
1353513636 is offline  
Old May 22, 18, 2:35 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 14,260
January is mid summer and school/university holidays with many locals taking annual vacations & people escaping the EU winter.

You would not be able to visit all of Garden Route, Cape Town, iSimangaliso, Kruger, Victoria Falls etc in a few weeks. It is a large country.
I lived in Jo'berg for a few years and drove the Jo'berg ~ Garden Route ~ Capetown the week schools went back. Took 2 weeks.

As you are there (for free) I would stay longer and go somewhere.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; May 22, 18 at 2:59 pm
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old May 23, 18, 2:12 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: SE1, London
Posts: 21,798
I visited Kruger this Jan and in a days self drive saw countless zebra, giraffe, multiple elephants and a whole rhino family. It’s not the best season but far from a waste of time. Pretty warm though.

Vic Falls will be low in Jan. Mays sees amazing water flow ( I was there last week) and while things are busy, Vic Falls and Livingstone are pretty laid back places.
Swanhunter is offline  
Old May 23, 18, 8:13 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Programs: AAPlt 1MM, HHDmd, MBvLTG, PCAmb
Posts: 1,239
Did a three week trip through SA several years ago. Landed Christmas day in Johannesburg. Started with a few days there which gave us a great foundation to understand the country. Second stop was Durban for a several days (which was fine, but could probably skip). Then flew to Port Elizabeth and drove to Kwandwe reserve. Amazing experience there. We had 6 drives over 3 days/2 nights. 1 day/2 drives we had bad weather and did not see much. The other 4 gave me enough pictures (elephants, giraffes, rhino) to last a lifetime -- especially the one drive we spent tracking and then up close with a lion. Then we drove the garden route with a couple nights in Knysna and an overnight in Swellendam. Also lovely. From there made our way to Stellenbosch for a few days (very nice) and ended with many days in Cape Town (great city).

Maybe Kruger and Victoria Falls will be overflowing with people (and even then my guess it is still worth it). The rest of the country has plenty of space no matter when you go. For us it was amazing trip and January was just fine. In terms of cost, outside of the safari which is pricey (but still totally worth it), I found everything to be really affordable and you get a lot of luxury and comfort for your dollar.
dbuckho is offline  
Old May 24, 18, 12:33 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 714
You write mid-January. Most schools are back to around that time (e.g. Monday 14 January to Wednesday 16 January are likely back to school dates). So, the kiddos and families will likely be back to school once you're done with your work-related travel.

There are plenty of "What to do..." threads in this forum to give you a good idea of a good itinerary
jsnydcsa is offline  
Old May 28, 18, 9:48 am
  #6  
Moderator: Travel Buzz, Chase Credit Cards
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Sunny San Diego
Posts: 2,750
Originally Posted by jsnydcsa View Post
You write mid-January. Most schools are back to around that time (e.g. Monday 14 January to Wednesday 16 January are likely back to school dates). So, the kiddos and families will likely be back to school once you're done with your work-related travel.
The first time I went to SA was in January. It was warm but I would not have missed it. I was lucky enough to be right after the kids went back to school, and it was not crowded in Kruger. You could check the dates for the schools and route accordingly. I just returned a few days ago from SA. It was much cooler, the grasses were high, and it rained a few of the days that I was there. The rain was a factor in game drives and viewing.

It was all still amazing, nothing that would keep me from going either season, but I'm more fond of cool weather than hot. I can't wait to go back!
StartinSanDiego is offline  
Old May 28, 18, 1:32 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 11,586
Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego View Post
I'm more fond of cool weather than hot.
Same here, heat and humidity is the last thing I'm looking for.

Nevertheless, my favorite SA month by far is November, even though I usually visit the hottest corner of the country. It is springtime; unless there is a drought on everything is lush and green; flowers everywhere; birds singing in breeding plumage; impala drop their lambs; and so forth. Hot as hell unless the rain is pouring down, but I don't find the game viewing that much worse than in winter. You just need to put in a bit more effort at times.

I've also visited in January more times than I can remember. It is perfectly fine. Hot, humid and at times very wet, but I figure that easily beats the dry, dreary and drab winter.

Johan
johan rebel is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread