I'll fly into Cape Town Nov 7th 2007 and leave the same spot by the 26th. Meanwhile I wish to visit every major habitat type and get as many endemic bird and mammal species as I can (eco-nerd, right... :-)
Decided to rent a car by myself, shop for food as soon as I arrive and camp whenever I can. That should be cheap, but IS IT SAFE?
Iim thinking about a day-trip off-coast to get pelagic birds, mainly albatrosses, which don't exist in the Northern Atlantic, and probably one of the trip highlights will be great white shark cage diving in gansbaai. That will take 2 days.
Other than that I wish to check out Southern Wright Whales at Hermanus and Humpback whales at Plettenberg Bay. That means at least one more day.
I'LL TAKE THIS CHANCE TO INVITE OTHER TRAVELERS TO SHARE THE CAR WITH ME IF THEY'RE IN THIS AREA AT THE SAME TIME AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW SOUTH AFRICA WITH A BIOLOGIST (THE BIOLOGIST IS FOR FREE!).
That leaves me with 15-16 days to go around these two provinces (W and N Cape) and their respective "ecoregions".
I have browsed more than enough sites on the area but what I really need is someone to tell me what they though of the natural parks and what they think are the highlights in the region.
SA basically safe, you can hire a car to do your travelling off the major routes, and use the Baz Bus ( www.bazbus.com) tp travel from Cape Town up and down the eastern cast from Cape town. Any of the bigger or Backpacking SA (www.backpackingsouthafrica.com) can assist you on your arrival with good advice and bookings etc
Travel in South Africa is relatively safe, as long as you use your common sense.
The cheapest and most convenient way to get around is by car. Drive South Africa in Cape Town does car and 4x4 hire including some budget cars.
There are so many nature reserves and national parks to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Langebaan lagoon in the West Coast National Park is one good option.
For information about the Western Cape parks and to arrange activities, like shark diving and whale watching, the Overlanding Africa operators have some excellent advisors and packages. You can check them out on the Internet.
Good luck and enjoy your time in sunny South Africa!
[ Edit: sorry, no promos in the forum please. ]
South Africa has a very good national parks system, well maintained, good facilities and inexpensive compared to some other countries. Buy a wild card and get into all the parks without paying any additional entrance fees. If you get a chance to go all the way up to the Khalagadi national park, the birdlife is outstanding, particularly the raptors. The animals and desert ecosystem of that area is also very unique. It is a long way though so at least 5-7 days are needed in the area to make the trip worthwhile. You could spend the whole time along the coast as there are a number of parks worth visiting in that area, the garden route also has quite a number of good parks all the way up to Addo, which boasts the big 7, they include shark and whale in their version of the big 5. I thought the Eastern cape was actually better for the park system than the western cape but to each his own. Have a good trip.