I'm planning to spend two months of my semester break in the summer in South Africa. In the moment it looks like I'll be leaving in the middle of August and return in the middle of October, so it will be some two months of travel.
For the flights to Jo'burg are much cheaper then to Capetown I'll start my trip there.
Do you have anything to recoment, when you keep in mind that
1. I'll be down there for two months and don't want to rush anything.
2. It's freaking winter in August so I reckon that the eastcoast and the center should be the best places to go, what do you think? I don't want to sit in the rain in Capetown
I'm really looking forward to this :D By the way, I'll be 21 by then, shouldn't be a problem to rent a car, or is it?
So, thanks for everything,
Hi Paul, I really don't think the weather should hinder you too much unless you plan on going camping. Where will you be travelling from? Truthfully, winters in ZA don't tend to get much colder than a North American late autumn. There will be occasional frost, but during the day, you can usually wear short sleeves. It will all depend on where you go...drakensberg mts. or the south coast and the beach? With two months of cruising around, you should be able to cover a lot of ground. Safaris, hiking, scuba diving, you name it you can do it. It will really depend on your interests. Are you planning on staying in ZA or maybe consider a trip to Namibia Bostwana or Mozambique. There are plenty of inexpensive beaches in Moz where you can plant your butt for a couple weeks of sunshine bliss...but you can do that in ZA too. As for renting a car, it will depend on the rental agency you use. Some will not rent to anyone under the age of 25, while others charge a "young drivers fee" from the age of 18 to 25. You will also find that some don't charge at all and will rent to anyone over the age of 18. You will just have to check around. There are plenty of other options for getting around the country including the baz bus, which drops off and picks up at backpackers/hostels throughout the country. There are also larger bus companies and of course the African taxi system as well. Good luck with your planning and if you give some more specifics as to your interests, etc...I can offer some more specific recommendations.
Thanks for the reply,
I found this in the terms & contidions at imperial car (europcar) "By your signature hereto, you confirm that you have an unendorsed and valid driver’s license and have had such, for not less than two years or is above the age of 23."
Sounds good to me. I made my license 2 and a half years ago, so there should not be a problem.
I'm not really planing do rent a car the whole time, but maybe for 4 weeks. I should be fine with buses and maybe I'll get a lift by some other travellers. That however was my favorite way of travelling in Australia.
On my interests,
I'll definitely go to the krüger NP. All I heard is, that it would be a shame to miss it. The drakensberg mts. seem to be pretty impressive, too and so is the wildcoast (am I right, that the wildcoast is somewhere south of Durban?) Also I'd love to hit some Beaches in Kwazulu natal.
But the thing that impressed me most in Australia (I spend 9 months there last year, the classic "german-backpacker-are-doing-their-gap-year"-thing ) was the outback, so I really wanted to visit Richtersveld NP. And maybe go to Namibia to see some REAL desert
Besides that I'm really into the big outdoor-stuff, so I thought about hiking the wild coast, is that possible?
I don't know anything about the other countries north of South Africa, really. Well, I do know, that the Vic Falls are there but that's basically it. Can you recoment anything specific?
What are your favorite spots at the south end of Africa?
thanks again and regards from bloody cold Munich,
Hi Paul, it sounds like you are very open to adventure and getting off the beaten path. Depending on your budget, and to maximize your time, what I would suggest is something like this:
• Join an overland for a Victoria Falls to Cape Town trip (approx 3 weeks). This will get you to the Falls, the bush in Botswana, both Chobe River and the Okavango Delta (unparalleled game viewing), through all of Namibia (Etosha, Swakop, Fish River, Soussosvlei) and then down the western coast of ZA.
• From there, I'd hang in Cape Town for a couple of days, and then work my way down the Garden route, hitting up a couple of beach towns and smaller reserves along the way (Tsitsikamma National Park, Addo Elephant Park).
• Then I'd do a section of the 280 km Wild Coast Hiking Trail in the Transkei. You can backpack/hike along a network of trails, either camping or staying in traditional Xhosa huts.
• From there you could consider chilling out at Bulungula, a Fair Trade Lodge run between the entrepreneur and the community.
• After this you head up to Durban for those beaches in Kwazulu-Natal. The further north you go of Durban, the less crowded the beaches. And again, once you hit the wild coast, south of Durban, its very secluded.
• From here you could head up to the Drakensburg and hike in Royal Natal and Golden Gate.
• Then back to Joburg to pick up a car and head for the Kruger, or you could organize a couple of day safari through one of the multitude of tour operators.
• Then off back to the tail end of wine fests in Germany!
My favorite places? I love Zululand, Hluluwe-Imfolozi, Mkuzi, and Itala are some of my favorite reserves. I love the Kruger. There is something new there every time I go. The northern region of the Kruger is something very different, however not widely visited. I spend a lot of time in Joburg visiting friends & family. Just did a safari in the Kalahari, this time in our own 4x4, and it was an incredible experience. That is something you could consider, since you love the desert. It's a very subtle experience. Not big on game, but big on spaces and little things (bugs, scorpians, etc). I loved Mozambique and would love to go back and explore it more slowly. Botswana is unprecedented for unique game experiences. One of my fondest memories is that Chobe River Cruise, beer, binocs and animals. What could be better! I think the best part of all of these places is the diversity of cultures and peopoles. You will hear a different language at every turn. People will always wave back to you. There will be bigger smiles than you have ever seen! The South Africans are truly a warm and friendly culture, from the Zulus to the Afrikaaner. And the food is divine!
If you would like more personal recommendations (ie. rental car agencies, overland operators, places to stay) send me a pm and i'd be happy to pass them on! You will find several threads here on tp about overland companies. Good luck with the rest of winter, and small world, Paul from Munich, My sister lives in Esslingen.
Wow, thanks for the detailed reply!
Without having seached for it in the forums (shame on me for that one) do you have a rough price I would have to pay for such an overland? Because my budged is rather tight, but the idea of such a trip sounds absolutely stunning!
Isn't Capetown pretty rainy at that time of the year?
Wild Coast hiking sound great and one thing that is (after reading through the website and some blogs) most definitely on my list is the Bulungula Logde. I think a week there would be awesome!
Oh man, I see it, I should be spending more time down there... There are situations you hate youself for studying. But at least I study something interresting: history Most people don't like history but I love it!
Anyway, back to topic, I really should give this overland-thing a thought, would be great to see the falls and Botswana and the desert. But on the other hand I think there are a lot of Places in South Africa to see, and I could do that much more relaxed or just stay at a place for two weeks if it's amount of awesome is big enough
Thank you very much, and hell you're right, the world is a small place! A very good friend of mine lives in Pfaffenhofen which is a town very close to Munich and guess where I first met him? While banana-picking in Australia.
Paul, I would start searching the overland tour operators for actual prices. A lot of them are starting to offer discounts, so you might be able to get a deal. I would take a random guess and say a 19-25 day overland vic falls/joburg (some start down in joburg) would run you anywhere from $1500 USD - $2500 USD. Be sure to look for camping safaris, as the cost is a lot cheaper. Some overland tour operators out there are Drifters Adventures, Kiboko Adventures, GAP Adventures, WhichWay, are just a couple. Gap Adventures was recently recommended by another TPer as well. I have done tours with both Drifters & Kiboko and loved it. Overland tours are a good way to cover a lot of distance in a short period of time cutting a lot of red tape with border crossings, transportation issues. They include basically everything but your booze. Look into the Joburg - Nairobi for a vast African experience. I think this might be a good option for you to see a lot but still get the time to travel independently through ZA which has much more of a tourist infrastructure.
Weather in Cape Town is rather unpredictable, but all I can say is that when I've been there in October and September it wasn't the rain I was worried about but the wind which was pumping. If you're only going to be there a couple of days, who really cares? Just go for it! I have some friends who stayed at Bulungula Lodge and all they want to do is get back. They said the experience was so incredible, they'd never been to a place as relaxing and wonderful before. You can be sure I plan to go!
You could always do the month long overland from Joburg to CT, then take the Baz Bus up the garden route to Bulungula and see who you hook up with to rent a car from Joburg and hit the Kruger together splitting the cost significantly. You can self-cater and sleep up to six in the parks accommodations and they are very reasonable. Just remember that tourists are charged about us$20/day in the Kruger, so budget for it. Or, you could just bazbus it to Pilgrim's Rest/Nelspruit and rent a car from here. You can also rent cars from inside Skukuza in the park.
Good luck with you planning and don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions.