I am going to be in SA in Nov/Dec next year, and am trying to figure out the best trip/route to travel from Jo'burg to Cape Town, or vice versa.
Am looking at the South Africa Encompassed tour with STA, seems to cover a lot, has anyone heard anything about this? Or know of any other good tours?
Are you looking to book an organized tour?or overland? or do you intend to travel independently? And do you want to stay in South Africa or go up through namibia or botswana as well? There are tons of decent tour operators. It's really the type of trip you want to book and your comfort level.
Well I think the plan is to stay in South Africa, and travel overland with an organised tour, for safety and convenience. Yeah there does seem to be loads of options, just want to make sure we see as much as we can for the best price, trying to avoid being ripped off! Don't mind camping or whatever so long as we are with a group (I will be travelling with my boyfriend but still would rather go with an organised tour, I think)
Hi Emma, Traveling with a group might have it's advantages, but doing it on your own is much better, I think. Safety is not such a big issue.
I wouldn't worry about doing it on your own at all, obviously same safety rules apply as any third world country about wearing jewelry, flashing money around etc.. a bit of common sense and you should be fine! Have a look at the Baz Bus which you could as a hop on hop off service and is relatively cheap. There are a lot of backpackers who use this and you will probably end up forming a group or picking up some mates along the way.
Doing it independantly gives you a lot more freedom to move around and pick up the real vibe of the place rather than being dragged to the same tourist traps as everyone else.
I've travelled from Jo'Burg to Cape Town with an overlanding company called Nomad Africa Adventure Tours.
Had a great trip!! It was a camping tour, but there is also an accommodated version of the tour available.
The tour starts in Jo'Burg, then to Kruger Park, Swaziland, St Lucia, Durban, Drakensberg, Lesotho, Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant Park, Tsitsikamma Park and then on the Garden Route all the way to Cape Town.
There are a lot of overlanding companies that offer similar trips, can't say anything about them, but had a really good time on the Nomad tour!
Enjoy South Africa!!
Emma, you should really just pick a travel style based on your own comfort level. If you're interested in an overland, there are several threads here on TP about different companies. Although its been a while, I've done two overland trips through africa and both were tons of fun and incredible experiences, and the nice thing about an overland is you don't have to sort out the particulars, just go along for the ride. There are limitless tour operators. Personally, some of the smaller, lesser known localized companies are a good bet and will cost less and are just as safe with more personal attention. Camping safaris are really are good value for money and you'll see a ton: Kruger, Swaziland, Zululand, Garden Route, Lesotho, Cape Town. Just get in touch if you want a list. good luck with the planning and don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions.
You could definitely make the trip on ur own, as already mentioned there's the Bazbus going around in Southafrica and stopping right in front of all the main backpackers in every place. (if you go in high season its best to book the backpackers in advance). If u would like to see also some national parks and so on it might be cheaper going with an overland, as they bring u right to the park, and otherwise u always have to book some smaller tours in the single places... in addition the overland tours include mostly also food, camping (in tends or accommodated tours), and u don't have to care about how to get from A to B. I made my intern ship with Nomad tours and I went already 3 times on tour with them (even now, years after my internship, I still go with them when I'm around in Africa, as most of time I travel alone, and therefore I think it's nice to have a group of young ppl, lots of adventure and just fun fun fun...) it was always a gr8 experience... there are also other overland companies, just make sure what their package include and what not.. and compare the prices... (here link to Nomad: http://www.nomadtours.co.za/ncv_20_day_cape_town_to_victoria_falls_north_tour_2010.html) I'll be on this tour the 3rd of jan.. if you want I can tell u afterwards how it was....
If you have some questions just contact me...
cheers and greetings from Cape Town
Check out www.seat61.com/southafrica.htm
You can get some amazing cheap train tickets if you do a bit of homework.
The country is just stunningly beautiful, although I didn't like Jo'burg purely because of the unfriendliness of the restaurants and bars towards foreigners. Lovely city though, but nowhere near as nice as Cape Town. What a beautiful place and lovely atmosphere.