South Africa - enjoy both Safari and diving/beaches?

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East South Africa - enjoy both Safari and diving/beaches?

Last Post This thread is marked as being about South Africa
1. Posted by SusanneJ (Budding Member 5 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


I am a swedish girl looking for some tips!

Have for the last couple of days started to think about travelling to South Africa. We (two persons) can only be away for 2 weeks and I would like to go in October. Is that a OK period to be there? I would like to start with a 3-4 days safari and then finish it on a nice beach (rather beaches - it would be ok to change place at least once if the distance is ok). I have a PADI - so scuba diving is a must! I have heard that the water is rather cold? I would also like to surf. My budget is about $1000.

I am very thankful for all suggestions and tips!


2. Posted by GaryM (Budding Member 3 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

October is fine, especially in our next of the woods, Kwa Zulu Natal.

You could dive at Sodwana or St Lucia and also take in the game reserves in Northern Kwa Zulu Natal.


Kzn Wildlife also have game reserves.

Those links should be a good starting point.




[ Edit: sorry, no promos in the forum please. link signatures are considered promos. ]

3. Posted by Brerrabbit (Budding Member 15 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi there Susanne

Durban is a great place for a holiday but Cape Town is better.

It is the highlight of any visit to South Africa so I suggest that you plan your trip accordingly.

Fly directly to Durban on arrival in South Africa and spend a day or two visiting the places mentoined in GaryM's replies.

From Durban fly to Port Elizabeth and then visit the Addo Elephant park for a day or two seeing the Big 5.

Hire a car in Port Elizabeth and then drive down the Garden Route visiting Jeffries Bay for the surfing (Best waves in SA) Plettenberg Bay
Knysna Mossel Bay.

Port Elizabeth to Cape Town is about 10 hours if you are in a hurry but taking 2 - 3 days and seeing the sights along the way is a great way to do things.

There are fantastic beaches in Port Elizabeth and all the places I have mentioned so far so you CAN have your cake and eat it.

Leave about 4 days for Cape Town where there is lots to see and do.

October is not really hot yet although the days are getting warmer and beaches can be good.

For tanning the bikini beaches at Clifton are great although the water is not the warmest.

For swimming the Muizenberg coastline is the best.

There are plenty of dive sites in and around Cape Town so just enquire on Google for Cape Town divesites and see what comes up.

As the summer season is just starting accommodation will be plentiful and there are plenty of back packers places for those with a tight budget.

Look for something close to the V & A waterfront so you can walk instead of using public transport to get around.


Look forward to hearing from you.


[ Edit: sorry, no promos in the forum please. ]

4. Posted by Vlakvark (Budding Member 40 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi Susanne,

I agree with Rabbit, although I would suggest you dive while in Kwa Zulu Natal. The water is a lot warmer because of the Indian ocean and there are some great diving sites. Personally I suggest you dive at a place called Aliwal Shaol on the south coast near Umkomaas. I'm not sure about that time of year, but you normally get the chance to dive with Raggies. (Ragged tooth sharks) An experience not to be missed.

I also don't think your $1000 budget will be enough if you are going to be flying all over the place.

5. Posted by mgregory (Budding Member 25 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


The others give generally good advice. But its difficult to really advise, especaillay with me having been in Sodwana to do diving and also along the eastern cosat and living in Cape Town. But here's something to think about

If comming into JHB, go to one of the hostels on arrival , catch the Baz Bus from one of the hostels to Nelspruit / Sabie a,d then take a day trip into Kruger from there go via Swaziland to Sodwana and go diving there, and then use the Baz to go down to at least Durban, also has fantasic warm beaches.

Then depending on finances - you can either return to JHB or carry on down the Eastern Coastline using the Baz Bus over a few days and see nmore of the country - ending in Cape Town.

Cape Town and the trip down will give you plenty of activitiesm and beaches etc, gradually with the water getting colder. cape Town is a cold water city (not as cold as northern Europe) but has some very f=good diving and plenty of adventure activities.

More info : - the Baz Bus Site - Members of Backpacking South Africa - hostels, transport, tours etc


6. Posted by Karanne (Budding Member 3 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi Suzanne , good choice on South Africa , my advice on my experience , the warm sea you are looking for and based on your low budget( I hope that $1000 excludes your flight) would be definately to use
either 1. to fly to JHB and stay at Moonlight Lodge or something similar and your cheapest and an excellent safari would be at the Pilanesberg
and then travel to Sodwana , the only tropical water dive in South Africa - you can check out these sites
or alternatively you could just go to Sodwana and do your safari there as well - but I think you would be missing out on seeing a little more of South Africa..........

7. Posted by SusanneJ (Budding Member 5 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all the helpful tips! What started as a two weeks trip now seems to become a little bit longer - and little more expensive ... ;)

I am now thinking that I should start in Johannesburg, quickly go to Kruger Park (if I have understood it correctly that should be a great park to visit? - Do you miss a lot if you don´t book a tour? Can you rent a car and go by your self or would you miss a lot doing that? I am not however sure that living in a tent is my way of fun...). If I understood it correctly you could take the Bazbus from Johannesburg to Kruger Park and then on to Sodwana? Renting a car did not seem so expensive either but maybe that´s more risky?

Day 4 or 5 travelling down to Sodwana for some nice beaches - and maybe diving/surfing. Day 7-8 to Durban or a nearby town for a few days (some more diving or surfing). Day 10-12 we go to Port Elizabeth for a few days and the last couple of days in Cape Town. And then returning with a flight to Johannesburg. I found a page "" which I thought had good prices.

I think that South African wine is excellent - has anyone got a good idea where to go for wine tasting?

Thanks again!!!


8. Posted by Vlakvark (Budding Member 40 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

The best places to sample South African wine would be in the Western Cape. About 40 km's from Cape Town you will find the best wine routes towards Paarl and Stellenbosch. There should be tours taking you there from Cape Town, or you could hire a car and drive there yourself.

I have flown with Nationwide before and there is nothing wrong with them. You will however probably find even better rates on either Kulula Airlines ( or One Time airlines (Website: These are both budget airlines with real good prices.

9. Posted by Vlakvark (Budding Member 40 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Just checked on the web. Try for all the details you'll need on South African wine routes.

Enjoy your trip - you are going to love it!!

10. Posted by Brerrabbit (Budding Member 15 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi Susanne

I'm a Cape Town tour guide.

Cape Town is my speciality

Need my help

Contact me