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

Advice on Itinerary

Advice on Itinerary

Old Aug 31, 18, 11:08 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 22
Advice on Itinerary

We are planning a trip to Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa for August 2019. I would love some insight into the itinerary I have put together. I'm really not sure of travel times or where we should spend our time. If we're missing something really special please share that, as well. Our priorities are animals and wildlife. I'm allowing 3 days for travel on each end because we'd like to take a break of 1 day during the flight.

If anyone has opinions on flying into Rwanda and trekking the Rushaga gate versus flying to Entebbe and trekking Buhoma gate, I'd love to hear those, as well. It sounds like less driving and retracing steps to fly into Rwanda, but I'm open to other opinions.
Thanks!

28 days (7/27-8/23)
3 days to get to Kigali Rwanda
1 day in Kigali
1 day drive to Volcanoes (and hike in afternoon?)
1 full day in Volcanoes (2?)
1 day drive to Bwindi
1 day trek with Gorillas, Rushaga gate
1 additional day in Bwindi to hike around
1 day drive to Entebbe
1 day wildlife center in Entebbe
1 day trip to Jinja for rafting
1 day fly to Hoedspruit (or Jo’berg and drive to Kruger?)
4 days Kruger across two locations
5 days driving the garden route
3 days in Cape Town
3 days travel home
WombatCA is offline  
Old Sep 1, 18, 3:26 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeMandarin Oriental Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Seat 1A, Juice pretty much everywhere, Mucci des Coins Exotiques
Posts: 31,433
I can comment on the Uganda part to say that driving around in the west is tough as the roads are so bad. But of course if you drive slow you can see more animals along the road. I was recently out west, but in Queen Elizabeth park and saw lions, elephants, hippos, loads of primates and plenty of lion food (antelope and buffalo). I drove myself as I don't like tour guides and we had no problems.

But I can tell you it would be a long drive from Bwindi to Entebbe. And Entebbe to Jinja will take a good while. If you are thinking of spending more than 2-3 hours rafting you should spend the night in Jinja and start early. Then you could drive back to Entebbe in the afternoon. In general it's not a great idea to drive at night, even if you have a driver. I do it from time to time, but stuff happens at night.
stimpy is offline  
Old Sep 1, 18, 2:10 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Bath, UK
Programs: BAEC Silver
Posts: 754
While in general the South Africa section looks ok, I am not too sure about the Rwanda and Uganda sections. Especially in Uganda drive times can be a little arduous and you can end up just being on the road, especially doing a lot of 1 night stops.

You say that your main aim is to see wild life, I think start there with what are you particularly looking for? I gather gorillas is a high priority. Then look at budget, I am not sure if you know, but a 1 day gorilla permit in Rwanda is now at US$1,500.00 per person, whilst it is only US$600.00 in Uganda, so depending on budget you may want to take this into consideration. If you are wanting to look beyond gorillas to other primates, then I would definitely add in Kibale in Uganda. Personally I would probably cut out Rwanda and spend 7 days doing Uganda only, and then down to South Africa.

Remember also, that you have on August the 8th, from Entebbe to Hoedspruit. I cannot see any flights that would get you there on the same day, and even the flights into Johannesburg would get you in early evening, so you will need the night in Johannesburg.

August is one of the best times to be in Kruger, and there are some incredible properties, personally I could spend the whole 3 weeks there - 4 nights at 2 lodges is perfectly doable, but just make sure you are choosing 2 lodges that will offer you something different, but are not too far apart that you are spending hours travelling from one to the other. So for instance don't choose a lodge like say Lukimbi in the southern Kruger for the first stop and then Motswari in the Timbavati as the second lodge, as you will have a long drive to get from the one to the other. With 4 nights, I would almost be tempted to choose 1 lodge and just really enjoy your stay - again, depending on your budget, some of the lodges offer so much more than just the safaris.

The Garden Route is beautiful, but it is mid-winter, and as such, you could end up with 5 days of rain. You could equally end up with 5 glorious days of cool winter sunshine, just be aware of the chance of rain. It is also peak whale season, so I would definitely include at least 1 night in Hermanus or surrounds for a spot of whale watching.

Last edited by wijibintheair; Sep 1, 18 at 2:12 pm Reason: Add missing info
wijibintheair is offline  
Old Sep 1, 18, 9:31 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: USA
Programs: Air Canada, KLM, BA,Lufthansa, United, AA, Hawaiian, Air New Zealnd, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic
Posts: 728
WombatCA I hope that you have a wonderful time and leave wanting to come back.

Really research the route you are planning. It sounds awfully busy to me.
Jeannietx is offline  
Old Sep 1, 18, 9:48 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LAS
Programs: Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire Ambassador, Radisson Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 2,908
Kigali is really nice, for an African capital. I'm not sure why it's taking you three days to get there, but I would recommend more than a day there.
jphripjah is offline  
Old Sep 1, 18, 9:48 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Economy, mostly :(
Programs: Skywards Gold
Posts: 7,739
I'd cut trmhe garden route to 3 days potentially, fly into PE, drive to knysna and overnight, then to Hermanus and overnight then to cape town. With the two extra days consider a night or two in Franshoek.

Also don't underestimate Cape Town. A lot to do and even in terms of nature and animals worth seeing the Penguins at Boulders as well as spending a leisurely afternoon at Kirstenbosch. Also Cape Point and Table Mountain (or Lions head if you enjoy hiking).
skywardhunter is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 4:07 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: JER
Programs: BA Gold/OWE, several MUCCI, and assorted Pensions!
Posts: 28,798
With the two extra days consider a night or two in Franshoek.
... or even Stellenbosch? Personally we find S'bosch preferable for F&B - many more choices than F'hoek. Also has more interesting shops, museums etc.
T8191 is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 10:11 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Economy, mostly :(
Programs: Skywards Gold
Posts: 7,739
Originally Posted by T8191 View Post
... or even Stellenbosch? Personally we find S'bosch preferable for F&B - many more choices than F'hoek. Also has more interesting shops, museums etc.
Or one of each. Fhoek better for a "resort" style stay in a wine estate. Sbosch better for seeing the town I suppose. Though fhoek also has a nice town centre
T8191 likes this.
skywardhunter is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 10:51 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 22
@stimpy Thank you for the insight! This is really helpful!

Last edited by WombatCA; Sep 2, 18 at 10:57 am
WombatCA is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 10:55 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 22
@wijibeintheair Thank you for responding! I have been concerned about the Uganda portion. We are planning to trek gorillas in Uganda. I added Rwanda because the drive from Entebbe to Bwindi seemed long and boring and I read that you can drive over the border from Rwanda to Bwindi in a much shorter time. Do you have any thoughts on this? Would we be better off just driving from Entebbe?

I will look at adding Kibale.

The Garden route was a last minute addition and may be overly ambitious. I'm mostly interested in an elephant sanctuary in Knyssna that looks ethical but also lets you feed and interact with the elephants. Since Knyssna is on the Garden Route I thought that made sense, but it may be too much to add.

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by WombatCA; Sep 2, 18 at 10:56 am Reason: identifying who I'm responding to!
WombatCA is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 10:58 am
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 22
@skywardhunter Thank you! I didn't realize we could do the Garden Route that quickly. That would help leave some time for some other places.
WombatCA is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 11:06 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Economy, mostly :(
Programs: Skywards Gold
Posts: 7,739
Originally Posted by WombatCA View Post
@skywardhunter Thank you! I didn't realize we could do the Garden Route that quickly. That would help leave some time for some other places.
The Garden Route is a generic term for the "South Coast" or basically the stretch from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, primarily along the N2 highway. While a beautiful drive the PE to CPT drive can be done in 9hrs (I've done this several times) and ultimately it is a high way. ConcenieCo airports are George (GRJ) and PE, though I believe PE has more flights so better fares and options time-wise.

Knysna is nice, and yes there are several elephant parks along the way, including the Addo elephant park in PE. If you like bungee jumping and that kind of extreme sport there's a bridge 2hrs west of PE on the N2, the bloukrans bridge, which for many years was the highest permanent bungy in the world (216m) and is in an absoliabso stunning setting in a gorge with the Indian Ocean visible in the distance.

Another option is to route to CPT more in-land via the Karoo by going via Oudtshoorn and the R62 (from George via a beautiful mountain pass), Oudtshoorn is famous for ostriches and the R62 has many iconic spots along the way. One could also cut back to the N2 from Berrydale to go towards Hermanus if you enjoy longer drives. The Karoo is beautiful but more desert and rock than green, if you start in PE, spend the night in Knysna and spend the day driving this way to Hermanus you'd get a nice combination of both.

I prefer this route also because it has less traffic and is not a highway, road is still in good condition and speed limit is mostly 120km/h (same as the N2)
skywardhunter is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 11:55 am
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 22
Originally Posted by skywardhunter View Post
The Garden Route is a generic term for the "South Coast" or basically the stretch from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, primarily along the N2 highway. While a beautiful drive the PE to CPT drive can be done in 9hrs (I've done this several times) and ultimately it is a high way. ConcenieCo airports are George (GRJ) and PE, though I believe PE has more flights so better fares and options time-wise.

Knysna is nice, and yes there are several elephant parks along the way, including the Addo elephant park in PE. If you like bungee jumping and that kind of extreme sport there's a bridge 2hrs west of PE on the N2, the bloukrans bridge, which for many years was the highest permanent bungy in the world (216m) and is in an absoliabso stunning setting in a gorge with the Indian Ocean visible in the distance.

Another option is to route to CPT more in-land via the Karoo by going via Oudtshoorn and the R62 (from George via a beautiful mountain pass), Oudtshoorn is famous for ostriches and the R62 has many iconic spots along the way. One could also cut back to the N2 from Berrydale to go towards Hermanus if you enjoy longer drives. The Karoo is beautiful but more desert and rock than green, if you start in PE, spend the night in Knysna and spend the day driving this way to Hermanus you'd get a nice combination of both.

I prefer this route also because it has less traffic and is not a highway, road is still in good condition and speed limit is mostly 120km/h (same as the N2)
@skywardhunter
That makes sense! My biggest challenge in planning this trip has been figuring out how long it will take to get from one place to the next and how much time to spend in each spot. Thanks for the information. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!
skywardhunter likes this.
WombatCA is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 12:02 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Economy, mostly :(
Programs: Skywards Gold
Posts: 7,739
Originally Posted by WombatCA View Post
@skywardhunter
That makes sense! My biggest challenge in planning this trip has been figuring out how long it will take to get from one place to the next and how much time to spend in each spot. Thanks for the information. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!
Plug your routes into Google maps for a good estimate on time needed between points
skywardhunter is offline  
Old Sep 2, 18, 12:25 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeMandarin Oriental Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Seat 1A, Juice pretty much everywhere, Mucci des Coins Exotiques
Posts: 31,433
Originally Posted by skywardhunter View Post
Plug your routes into Google maps for a good estimate on time needed between points
Google maps is indeed fairly good at estimating times. And you should study this very carefully. If it says it will take you 2.5 hours to travel 80km, that means it will be a VERY rough road. At some points in western Uganda I was crawling in and out of potholes at less than 10kmh. Google does not warn you about the road quality. Thank goodness I have a solid Japanese pickup truck with 4WD.
stimpy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread