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South Africa and Victoria Falls

South Africa and Victoria Falls

Old Jul 3, 18, 12:41 pm
  #1  
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South Africa and Victoria Falls

We are planning on a South Africa trip next May. The flights are pretty much set.
Out US-DOH-JNB, In CPT-DOH-US.

We have total of 11 nights and we want to spend 2 of them in Victoria Falls/Livingston (falls and a day safari)

So far I have the following:

Day 1. arrival afternoon in JNB
2. day to explore JNB
3. noon flight to VFA/LIV, visit falls/sunset cruise
4. day safari to Chobe
5. morning Victoria falls, afternoon flight to CPT (might need to connect via JNB)
6. Safari
7. Safari
8. Safari
9. day in CPT
10. drive to see pengiuns
11. day in CPT
Day 12. flight home

Questions:
We are still debating the location of safari in south Africa. any recommendations of a 2/3 tour either near JNB or CPT?
We were told to spend more time in CPT vs JNB, is 1 full day enough for city of JNB?
Anything else we should consider?

Thanks!

Last edited by teddy25; Jul 3, 18 at 12:46 pm
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Old Jul 5, 18, 2:04 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by teddy25 View Post
We are still debating the location of safari in south Africa. any recommendations of a 2/3 tour either near JNB or CPT?
You should bear in mind that the safari lodges in the CPT area do not really offer a genuine safari experience, as the have been stocked with species that never naturally occurred in the area. The exception is Bushmans Kloof, which therefore of course lacks the (B5) animals most guests want and expect to see on a safari.

This may not matter to you, but if it does, rather go for a lodge in the northeastern part of the country. Madikwe and Addo are other options that should work.

Johan
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Old Jul 5, 18, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by teddy25 View Post
We were told to spend more time in CPT vs JNB, is 1 full day enough for city of JNB?

Thanks!
This advice is sound . . . you might even consider leaving for Vic Falls the next morning from JNB rather than spending a day there, or take an afternoon flight (giving you the morning) and do the cruise that evening or the following evening.
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Old Jul 5, 18, 9:20 pm
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Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
You should bear in mind that the safari lodges in the CPT area do not really offer a genuine safari experience, as the have been stocked with species that never naturally occurred in the area. The exception is Bushmans Kloof, which therefore of course lacks the (B5) animals most guests want and expect to see on a safari.

This may not matter to you, but if it does, rather go for a lodge in the northeastern part of the country. Madikwe and Addo are other options that should work.

Johan
any recommendation on affordable Kruger lodges and or tour companies?
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Old Jul 6, 18, 2:20 am
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Originally Posted by teddy25 View Post
any recommendation on affordable Kruger lodges and or tour companies?
Full-service private lodges, right? Not the self-catering or self-drive ones.

Johan
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Old Jul 6, 18, 8:28 am
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Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
Full-service private lodges, right? Not the self-catering or self-drive ones.

Johan
fully service. we have three people. either picking up by JNB or MQP

Last edited by teddy25; Jul 6, 18 at 8:39 am
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Old Jul 7, 18, 1:38 am
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You don't have a huge amount of time to enjoy southern Africa, and I would caution against spending too much time travelling around and ending up spending more time in airports than actually enjoying yourself.

If there is something in particular that you would like to see in Johannesburg (cultural visits like the apartheid museum etc) then a full day touring in Johannesburg can be very interesting. If not, then there really is no need (unless using it as a pure relax and recover day).

May is a great time to visit the falls - water is very high, so visibility can be hampered by the spray, but the spectacle of all that water is amazing. May is also the start of the dry season over much of southern Africa (and the start of the wet season around Cape Town), which means the safari experience in general begins to improve.

Having said that, I would recommend that you look at doing your safari in combination with Victoria Falls. Hwange is an underrated safari area, that is starting to make a real comeback, and is easy to combine with Victoria Falls. Add to this daily non-stop flights from Victoria Falls to Cape Town and you can really streamline your programme. So maybe something like:

Day 1 . Arrival in Johannesburg and overnight
Day 2 . Morning flight to Victoria Falls - afternoon to explore the town and visit the falls
Day 3 . Full day in Victoria Falls to do optional activities - anything from helicopter or microlight flips over the falls to canoeing, white water rafting, village visits etc
Day 4 . Transfer to Hwange (2 - 3 hours depending on lodge) - lunch at lodge and afternoon on safari
Day 5 . Full day on safari
Day 6 . Full day on safari
Day 7 . Final morning safari and transfer back to Victoria Falls - one last overnight on Victoria Falls.
Day 8 . Mid-morning flight to Cape Town - arrival mid-afternoon transfer to hotel
Day 9 . Full day in Cape Town for excursions and visits
Day 10 . Full day in cape Town
Day 11 Full day in Cape Town
Day 12 . Depart from Cape Town

Unless you have a very specific reason to want to go to Chobe, I would say you will get a much better safari experience in Hwange than in Chobe. The day trips to Chobe are very commercialised and like a real sausage factory. In addition, May is just the start of the dry season, and so you are unlikely to see the large herds of game coming down to the water that you see in all the promotional materials, that happens more towards the end of the dry season in August, September, October.

I believe the above routing would give you a much more relaxed trip, and still let you get all the elements in that you want. Depending on what your budget is maybe have a look at the following:
Victoria Falls -> Ilala Lodge / Victoria Falls Hotel / Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Hwange -> Somalisa / The Hide / Bomani Tented Camp

Hope that is of some help.
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Old Jul 8, 18, 6:40 pm
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With the amount of time you have I would not allot a day in Johannesburg unless there is something you really want to do.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 9:04 am
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Originally Posted by wijibintheair View Post
You don't have a huge amount of time to enjoy southern Africa, and I would caution against spending too much time travelling around and ending up spending more time in airports than actually enjoying yourself.

If there is something in particular that you would like to see in Johannesburg (cultural visits like the apartheid museum etc) then a full day touring in Johannesburg can be very interesting. If not, then there really is no need (unless using it as a pure relax and recover day).

May is a great time to visit the falls - water is very high, so visibility can be hampered by the spray, but the spectacle of all that water is amazing. May is also the start of the dry season over much of southern Africa (and the start of the wet season around Cape Town), which means the safari experience in general begins to improve.

Having said that, I would recommend that you look at doing your safari in combination with Victoria Falls. Hwange is an underrated safari area, that is starting to make a real comeback, and is easy to combine with Victoria Falls. Add to this daily non-stop flights from Victoria Falls to Cape Town and you can really streamline your programme. So maybe something like:

Day 1 . Arrival in Johannesburg and overnight
Day 2 . Morning flight to Victoria Falls - afternoon to explore the town and visit the falls
Day 3 . Full day in Victoria Falls to do optional activities - anything from helicopter or microlight flips over the falls to canoeing, white water rafting, village visits etc
Day 4 . Transfer to Hwange (2 - 3 hours depending on lodge) - lunch at lodge and afternoon on safari
Day 5 . Full day on safari
Day 6 . Full day on safari
Day 7 . Final morning safari and transfer back to Victoria Falls - one last overnight on Victoria Falls.
Day 8 . Mid-morning flight to Cape Town - arrival mid-afternoon transfer to hotel
Day 9 . Full day in Cape Town for excursions and visits
Day 10 . Full day in cape Town
Day 11 Full day in Cape Town
Day 12 . Depart from Cape Town

Unless you have a very specific reason to want to go to Chobe, I would say you will get a much better safari experience in Hwange than in Chobe. The day trips to Chobe are very commercialised and like a real sausage factory. In addition, May is just the start of the dry season, and so you are unlikely to see the large herds of game coming down to the water that you see in all the promotional materials, that happens more towards the end of the dry season in August, September, October.

I believe the above routing would give you a much more relaxed trip, and still let you get all the elements in that you want. Depending on what your budget is maybe have a look at the following:
Victoria Falls -> Ilala Lodge / Victoria Falls Hotel / Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Hwange -> Somalisa / The Hide / Bomani Tented Camp

Hope that is of some help.
thanks for all the advise. We are thinking about Hwange. How is that comparing to Kruger? We wanted to do a day or so self drive at Kruger before a camp visit.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 10:57 am
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Originally Posted by teddy25 View Post


thanks for all the advise. We are thinking about Hwange. How is that comparing to Kruger? We wanted to do a day or so self drive at Kruger before a camp visit.
They are two quite different propositions. Hwange is more "wild" than Kruger. Arguably you will see more variety of game in Kruger, but possibly a larger quantity of game in Hwange. I would not really recommend doing self-drive in Hwange, but it is a great way to see Kruger. Ultimately the decision needs to come down to what is more appealing to you. If you did want to combine it with Kruger I would suggest something along the lines of:

Day 1 . Arrival in Johannesburg and overnight
Day 2 . Morning flight to Victoria Falls - afternoon to explore the town and visit the falls
Day 3 . Full day in Victoria Falls to do optional activities - anything from helicopter or microlight flips over the falls to canoeing, white water rafting, village visits etc
Day 4 . Morning in Vic Falls and then transfer to Livingstone Airport (so get a KAZA visa on arrival)and direct flight to Nelspruit. Unfortunately the flight lands at 15h25, and in May the camp gates close at 17h30, so maybe you will need to book a hotel just outside the park - like the Marriott Kruger Gate Lodge
Day 5 . Full day self-driving in the park - where you overnight I would say would have something to do with which private lodge you choose.
Day 6 . Morning driving in the park and then onwards to your lodge for lunch, safari and overnight
Day 7 . Full day at your lodge.
Day 8 . Morning safari and then drive car to the airport for flight to Cape Town.
Day 9 . Full day in Cape Town for excursions and visits
Day 10 . Full day in cape Town
Day 11 Full day in Cape Town
Day 12 . Depart from Cape Town

Depending on how many nights you want in Cape Town you could opt for one more on safari and one less in Cape Town. There are direct flights from Hoedspruit (HDS) / Skukuza (SZK) and Nelspruit (MQP) - the one you choose would be dependent on the lodge you choose. There are just so many lodges to choose from in the Kruger area it is hard to make recommendations. Feel free to PM me if you want and give more details of the type of lodge you are looking for and I can make some recommendations.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by wijibintheair View Post
They are two quite different propositions. Hwange is more "wild" than Kruger. Arguably you will see more variety of game in Kruger, but possibly a larger quantity of game in Hwange. I would not really recommend doing self-drive in Hwange, but it is a great way to see Kruger. Ultimately the decision needs to come down to what is more appealing to you. If you did want to combine it with Kruger I would suggest something along the lines of:

Day 1 . Arrival in Johannesburg and overnight
Day 2 . Morning flight to Victoria Falls - afternoon to explore the town and visit the falls
Day 3 . Full day in Victoria Falls to do optional activities - anything from helicopter or microlight flips over the falls to canoeing, white water rafting, village visits etc
Day 4 . Morning in Vic Falls and then transfer to Livingstone Airport (so get a KAZA visa on arrival)and direct flight to Nelspruit. Unfortunately the flight lands at 15h25, and in May the camp gates close at 17h30, so maybe you will need to book a hotel just outside the park - like the Marriott Kruger Gate Lodge
Day 5 . Full day self-driving in the park - where you overnight I would say would have something to do with which private lodge you choose.
<snip>
This is almost exactly what we did on our last trip to SA a few years ago, and it worked really well. We didn't go to Cape Town because we had been there a few years before (and just drove back to JNB instead), but if this is OP's big trip to SA, then it makes sense to include a trip down there. OP, if you want a super posh experience, then doing the private lodge is nice, but we also really enjoyed just staying in the huts/lodges/etc. in the national park rest camps like Olifants, Skukuza, etc. You can dine in the lodge restaurants, or cook your own braai. They also have ranger-led tours into the parks in the evening, guided walks, etc. if you are worried about doing it entirely self-drive.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 10:00 pm
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Thanks

Thanks everyone for the help, we have decided to do the following:

Day 1. arrival at JNB, overnight at jnb hotel
Day 2. Morning JNB-LVI, afternoon visit Vic falls, sunset cruise
Day 3. Chobe day trip
Day 4. Morning visit Vic falls, afternoon LVI-MQP, overnight @ protea hotel Kruger gate
Day 5. Kruger park, lower sabie
Day 6. Kruger park, lower sabie
Day 7. Kruger park, skukuza
Day 8. Morning Kruger park, late afternoon MQP-CPT
Day 9. CPT town
Day 10. CPT town/drive
Day 11. CPT town/drive
Day 12. Depart CPT
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