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South Africa advice (JNB + ??)

South Africa advice (JNB + ??)

Old Sep 28, 19, 11:47 am
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South Africa advice (JNB + ??)

Going on a mileage run which has turned into a bit of a mini-trip after my father decided he wanted to join so I extended my trip a few days as we have slightly different interests. Both of us fly into JNB:
- I arrive from LON Saturday AM around 6am
- My father arrives Monday at 525pm direct from IAD
- We both leave Weds night around 6-7pm ... him to IAD and me to LON

I'd like to do some type of safari before he arrives, but I'm not sure if I have enough time to ride to Kruger or fly to HDS and do 2 nights at some type of lodge property or whether I'll be spending too much time in transit. Any experienced advice here? It looks like I could fly out of JNB with a reasonable connection leaving at like 9am but I'd have to leave around 2pm on Monday it looks like to get back around the time my father gets in.

Option 1A is to do a lodge in Pilanesberg but it looks like Kruger is the preferred national park all things equal and also has nicer properties.

Option B would be to stay in/near JNB (thinking Saxon hotel or maybe FS?) and do a full day Pilanesberg safari on Sunday, but that may leave me with more time in JNB proper than I actually need/want with basically all day Saturday, all day Monday & Tuesday and a half day on Wednesday?

Any sage advice from experienced SA travelers?
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Old Sep 28, 19, 11:58 am
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A lot of people here prefer the Saxon to the FS but I prefer the FS. Neither are great hotels IMO but definitely the best in Joberg.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 2:08 pm
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Unfortunately, I can’t answer your quicky-safari question. But if you end up doing something like that and need a place to stay without going into the city, the Intercontinental O.R. Tambo at the Joburg airport is very nice.
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Old Sep 28, 19, 3:41 pm
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In my experience, safari drives (not self drives) are generally at sun up and sun down since thats the best time to see animal activity. Seems like you could get four drives in: Sat PM, Sun AM and PM, Mon AM. I feel like we were always back to the lodge by around 10AM.

We were in Timbavati (private lodge and drives) and Kruger, where we self drove. I dont think youd want to make the drive out there. But in 2014, they opened Skukuza airport to small commercial flights on SAA. You might look into that if you want to go to Kruger specifically. They do have rest camp guided drives. For a solo traveler, a private lodge will be a lot easier though.
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Old Sep 29, 19, 9:30 am
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What about a transfer to the Waterberg region? I did that on similar to your timetable. It is a pretty easy drive from JNB but we got an airport transfer both ways. Its about 3 hours and very convenient. We stayed at Mhondoro and Jembisa bush home. At the latter we were the only people there with a full staff and we saw Southern Africas only free roaming pack of wild dogs or painted wolves and my kids raced bikes on an old airstrip against giraffes! There is no big 5 though if its your first safari.

You would get 4 game drives in before getting back to JNB.
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Old Sep 29, 19, 10:44 am
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Saxon hotel in joberg is by far the best on my mind after many stays there and trying others. They have two good restaurants, a spa, and for an overnight where we always stay now. Airport intercontinental als nice if arrive late and have another early morning flight, but Saxon nicer if you have the day to spend as well as overnight.
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Old Sep 29, 19, 10:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Larkin View Post
Saxon hotel in joberg is by far the best on my mind after many stays there and trying others. They have two good restaurants, a spa, and for an overnight where we always stay now. Airport intercontinental als nice if arrive late and have another early morning flight, but Saxon nicer if you have the day to spend as well as overnight.
+1

Weve had a few stays at both. The Saxon is clearly the toast of JoBurg; with any time, we always prefer to stay there. But the IC Tambo Airport is a very pleasant stay if you have only a short layover, and weve stayed here in such circumstances several times.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 9:59 am
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
+1

Weve had a few stays at both. The Saxon is clearly the toast of JoBurg; with any time, we always prefer to stay there. But the IC Tambo Airport is a very pleasant stay if you have only a short layover, and weve stayed here in such circumstances several times.
Completely agree. If at all possible to make into Johannesburg proper do yourself a favor and stay at the Saxon. You won't regret it.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 9:16 pm
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FIFO to a private lodge is very doable - I did it in the early 00's to Sabi Sands. Had I think three or four days there, the only hiccup was they cancelled my flight back to Joburg, so we had to bolt to the airport to get the earlier one (thank goodness for safari guides with good driving skills). Joburg is definitely more tourist orientated now then it was 20 odd years ago, and you could easily kill a couple of days around that area prior to your dad arriving. I happily spent a long afternoon wandering around Sandton shopping centre with family 2 years ago.
No idea re where to stay, I always stay Chez family, so have no clue re hotels. :-D
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