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South Africa Solo

vetrade

AFF Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2011
Messages
1,289
"Didn't have any particular reason to stay in Joburg long, but felt arriving after 3pm may be a hassle/waste of an evening to then immediately find a flight to Cape Town etc. even flying over in J, 14 hours is a long time to be on a plane (+ doing a zigzag as I start from Perth...)"

"Since you live in PER, next time consider flying SAA PER - JNB to save yourself lots of time."


I do hope there is a next time for the OP as one trip to Africa isn't enough for most people once they've been there. :)
 

TomCC

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
24
I can't see whether the OP lives in PER, but he was wanting to take advantage of DSCs on the latest QF international DSC promotion, so SAA would be out.
Yeah pretty much this. I expect to be travelling a lot less for work in the next year with our next big project being locally based, so knowing that I will likely be tied up with that for the most part of the year (suspect there won't be many opportune moments to take a week or two at a time) wanted to book something in for December/January that would avoid the peak periods at work & has the additional benefit of in one hit keep gold ticking over.

We have travelled to all the places you have mentioned including a stay in Vic Falls for the NY. Your biggest problem is that you will find 2 weeks just not long enough so I would urge caution in trying to visit too many places. Ultimately your trip will only just whet your appetite for more so set your own priorities based on your personal preferences.

Some comments for you to consider:
Google all suggestions to decide if they're for you.
Since you live in PER, next time consider flying SAA PER - JNB to save yourself lots of time. Plenty of availability to book with Velocity points (if you have them) via the VFF call centre - and SAA on that route are the equal of QF's SYD - JNB.

On a 2 week trip don't bother with anything in JNB - there are many other things more worthy of your time.

CPT: Table Mountain is a must see; Lions Head not so much as it's a bit of a trek and since TM overlooks it, all the views are best seen from TM. Suggest you stay at or near the V&A Waterfront - many excellent restaurants at very moderate prices. Read up on Robben Island - if Mandela hadn't been jailed there no one would bother visiting as it is just barren. Uber is excellent in CPT but it's also well worth getting a hire car for some self driving. The road south through Camps Bay / Chapman's Peak to the Cape Lighthouse won't take too long but it has some great scenery.
The wine areas (Stellenbosch etc) are only an easy 1 hr drive from CPT. We did it on a day trip and saw everything we wanted. Yes the wineries are all nice but how many do you want to see? For a "blow your mind" experience book well ahead to have lunch at Delaire Graff Estate vineyard / winery - it is owned by Laurance Graff, a diamond billionaire and has magnificent sculptures and artwork throughout the grounds and buildings. Fabulous restaurant with some of the best views you can imagine.

Vic Falls - Most things are in a relatively small area so not hard to see plenty in not much time, mostly on foot. In late Dec / early Jan the flows over the falls should be moderate. Devil's Pool is accessed via a boat from the Royal Livingston Hotel but if water volumes over the falls are too high they cancel (unlikely to be a problem for the time of year you're going but seasons can vary). I would rate the experience of DP as 15 out of 10.
After DP we walked through the gate to the falls from the Royal Livingstone. RL guests get free admittance to the falls - but even if you're not staying there you can just fill in the guest book at the gate with a bogus name and room number and breeze through without a problem.
Chopper flight over VF - another "must do" we used Bonisair and they were very good. Zambezi river cruise - suit yourself

After VF we spent a few days at Imbabala Lodge which has a huge leasehold on the banks of the Zambezi right on the border with Botswana. They arrange a bus to collect you from VF. Fantastic game drives with big elephant, giraffe, buffalo and zebra herds plus lions etc and they have their own dock for river cruises to see hippos and travel up river. At night game came right up to the door of our rondavel.

Friends did a tour to Hwange and were disappointed..........

You can fly or drive (6 hrs) to Kruger - but by the time you add in pre and post flight time I doubt if flying is really any quicker overall. if you decide to go to Kruger definitely stay at a private game reserve, say, in the Sabi Sands area, rather than self drive through the publically accessible areas of Kruger NP, where you are not allowed to drive off the roads in search of game. Kruger has the disadvantage that you consume virtually a full day each way in just getting to or from there. That takes a sizeable chunk out of your 2 weeks so maybe there are better options than Kruger on this trip.
Thanks a lot for the advice.

Slowly it's all being fleshed out in my mind thanks to everyone's help.

Scenario One:
Fly from Cape town to Vic Falls, spend 2 maybe 3 days in the area. Fly back to Johannesburg and then spend around four days touring through Kruger returning on the morning of my afternoon (3pm) flight back to Aus. Have heard that I need to see Kruger from a South African I have worked with, just a bit unsure of whether it's definitely a better/smarter option than my other alternative of Hwange.

Alternative
Fly from Cape Town to Vic Falls, start tour that takes in Chobe, Hwange & Vic Falls aiming to fly back to JNB on the morning of the 15th (will have to check frequency/timings of Vic Falls - JNB).

Tough call, as am sure I'd enjoy either way. I guess it'd be hard to go to South Africa and not see Kruger, 12hrs driving would eat up a bit of time as you say though. But if Hwange & Chobe is essentially as good, not really missing out and of course as you both promise I'll be back again one day to do whatever I don't get to!! :)

How about visa's, vaccinations for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana... are all the shot requirements essentially the same or do they vary? Rough cost?

Again can't thank you all enough!
 

craven morehead

AFF Supporter
Joined
Aug 1, 2008
Messages
1,424
Flights
My Map
We have travelled to all the places you have mentioned including a stay in Vic Falls for the NY. Your biggest problem is that you will find 2 weeks just not long enough so I would urge caution in trying to visit too many places. Ultimately your trip will only just whet your appetite for more so set your own priorities based on your personal preferences.

Some comments for you to consider:
Google all suggestions to decide if they're for you.
Since you live in PER, next time consider flying SAA PER - JNB to save yourself lots of time. Plenty of availability to book with Velocity points (if you have them) via the VFF call centre - and SAA on that route are the equal of QF's SYD - JNB.

On a 2 week trip don't bother with anything in JNB - there are many other things more worthy of your time.

CPT: Table Mountain is a must see; Lions Head not so much as it's a bit of a trek and since TM overlooks it, all the views are best seen from TM. Suggest you stay at or near the V&A Waterfront - many excellent restaurants at very moderate prices. Read up on Robben Island - if Mandela hadn't been jailed there no one would bother visiting as it is just barren. Uber is excellent in CPT but it's also well worth getting a hire car for some self driving. The road south through Camps Bay / Chapman's Peak to the Cape Lighthouse won't take too long but it has some great scenery.
The wine areas (Stellenbosch etc) are only an easy 1 hr drive from CPT. We did it on a day trip and saw everything we wanted. Yes the wineries are all nice but how many do you want to see? For a "blow your mind" experience book well ahead to have lunch at Delaire Graff Estate vineyard / winery - it is owned by Laurance Graff, a diamond billionaire and has magnificent sculptures and artwork throughout the grounds and buildings. Fabulous restaurant with some of the best views you can imagine.

Vic Falls - Most things are in a relatively small area so not hard to see plenty in not much time, mostly on foot. In late Dec / early Jan the flows over the falls should be moderate. Devil's Pool is accessed via a boat from the Royal Livingston Hotel but if water volumes over the falls are too high they cancel (unlikely to be a problem for the time of year you're going but seasons can vary). I would rate the experience of DP as 15 out of 10.
After DP we walked through the gate to the falls from the Royal Livingstone. RL guests get free admittance to the falls - but even if you're not staying there you can just fill in the guest book at the gate with a bogus name and room number and breeze through without a problem.
Chopper flight over VF - another "must do" we used Bonisair and they were very good. Zambezi river cruise - suit yourself

After VF we spent a few days at Imbabala Lodge which has a huge leasehold on the banks of the Zambezi right on the border with Botswana. They arrange a bus to collect you from VF. Fantastic game drives with big elephant, giraffe, buffalo and zebra herds plus lions etc and they have their own dock for river cruises to see hippos and travel up river. At night game came right up to the door of our rondavel.

Friends did a tour to Hwange and were disappointed..........

You can fly or drive (6 hrs) to Kruger - but by the time you add in pre and post flight time I doubt if flying is really any quicker overall. if you decide to go to Kruger definitely stay at a private game reserve, say, in the Sabi Sands area, rather than self drive through the publically accessible areas of Kruger NP, where you are not allowed to drive off the roads in search of game. Kruger has the disadvantage that you consume virtually a full day each way in just getting to or from there. That takes a sizeable chunk out of your 2 weeks so maybe there are better options than Kruger on this trip.
I have previously been recommended the Delaire Graff Estate. Hoping to get there on upcoming trip. It looks sensational :cool:
 

vetrade

AFF Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2011
Messages
1,289
You won't need any vaccinations or malaria meds - yellow fever not required nowadays.
No visa reqd. for SA. You will get one on arrival at VFA airport. If you crossed the VF bridge to Zambia you get one at the border crossing
 

JohnM

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
6,860
Flights
My Map
"Didn't have any particular reason to stay in Joburg long, but felt arriving after 3pm may be a hassle/waste of an evening to then immediately find a flight to Cape Town etc. even flying over in J, 14 hours is a long time to be on a plane (+ doing a zigzag as I start from Perth...)"

"Since you live in PER, next time consider flying SAA PER - JNB to save yourself lots of time."


I do hope there is a next time for the OP as one trip to Africa isn't enough for most people once they've been there. :)
Ah - sorry, gotcha.
 

aussie_sue

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
13
Flights
My Map
We are flying into J'burg on August 14th for two weeks. We'll be staying in White River at a time share exchange, but have the next week free. Questions?

1. Do you need extra insurance for a rental?

2. Has anyone gone to the KwaZulu-Natal area for birding? worth it.... anything special to see

3. Drakensberg area? worth it...anything special to do?

thanks
 

JohnM

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
6,860
Flights
My Map
We are flying into J'burg on August 14th for two weeks. We'll be staying in White River at a time share exchange, but have the next week free. Questions?

1. Do you need extra insurance for a rental?

2. Has anyone gone to the KwaZulu-Natal area for birding? worth it.... anything special to see

3. Drakensberg area? worth it...anything special to do?

thanks
1. I'm not sure what you mean. The usual sorts of insurance excesses apply, but there is nothing unusual. Whether your travel or CC insurance covers those sufficiently or whether you wish to take zero-excess coverage is a personal thing.

2. Can't help.

3. Drakensburg can be a little confusing. There are two areas that can be referred to as the Drakensburg. Both are spectacular. The Drakensburg park forms the NE slopes to the Tablelands of the kingdom of Lesotho, while the Drakensburg Range is further north and centred around the Blyde River Canyon.

Graskop is a good place to stay for the the Blyde R Canyon area. Check out God's Window, Three Rondavels, the Pinnacle, Bourke's Luck Potholes - all along a road N from Graskop. Fog can come sweeping up suddenly with a very sharp drop in temperature, so go prepared.

Drakensburg Park highlights include Champagne Valley, Cathedral Peak, Monk's Cowl, the Amphitheatre. A helo ride up to the top from below Champagne Peak is well worth doing.

Check out from post #26 here: Meandering in Madagascar & a little more ambling in Africa…via the Hunter Valley
 

TomCC

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
24
If you decide to go to Vic Falls, even flying in from JNB around the middle of day 1 and out on the equivalent departing flight the next day is enough to see the falls from the ground, do a sunset boat trip on the river (huge array of levels to choose from and a must-do IMO), and take a helo ride over the falls (well worth it). It would be an effective use of your last day before taking the evening QF bird back to SYD, IMO.
May be a question best put in a separate section of the forum, but am currently looking at finishing up from Vic Falls on the morning of the 15th, flying back to JNB on BA landing at 3.35pm for the 7.55pm QF64 back to Sydney.

It does make me a bit nervous knowing that each airline operating VFA-JNB only have one flight a day so cant get back any earlier unless returning the previous day.

Ideal scenario would be to book the BA flight (BA6282) linking it to the PNR of my QF64 flight thus baggage goes straight through and do not have to exit customs at JNB, collect bag, check-in, go back through customs (with the 4hr 20min layover, would be fairly confident in saying it could be done though do not know OR Tambo at all but if any delays in the flight it could cause dramas). Understand that getting them to link the tickets would be fairly unlikely though?

I paid for a business saver fare for QF64 through Amex, am presuming that the implications of a delay from BA6282 is my own risk (ie. not a simple matter of being allocated an available ticket for the following evenings flight back to Aus).

Am I right to be worried at all with the 4hr 20min unprotected layover? If so may just have to come back a night early and do something in/around Johnannesburg for the final day.

Cheers
 

vetrade

AFF Supporter
Joined
Nov 1, 2011
Messages
1,289
Better to take the conservative option and fly to JNB the day before. Under normal circumstances that 4hr 20 transit would be enough but we've occasionally had significant delays flying within Africa, so with both SAA and BA only having one service a day from VFA I wouldn't take the risk because there is no Plan B. As a rule, African people certainly don't pay much heed to the clock so don't expect anyone to care if your timing gets a bit tight. You won't be able to link your BA and QF bookings to interline your bags - expect to have to collect them in JNB.
 

TomCC

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
24
Better to take the conservative option and fly to JNB the day before. Under normal circumstances that 4hr 20 transit would be enough but we've occasionally had significant delays flying within Africa, so with both SAA and BA only having one service a day from VFA I wouldn't take the risk because there is no Plan B. As a rule, African people certainly don't pay much heed to the clock so don't expect anyone to care if your timing gets a bit tight. You won't be able to link your BA and QF bookings to interline your bags - expect to have to collect them in JNB.
Thanks for confirming. Got basically three days around Vic Falls incl. one day on a trip to Chobe, so coming back a day earlier works out ok and am sure will be something around Joburg that will be a good way to spend the final day!
 

JohnM

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
6,860
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Thanks for confirming. Got basically three days around Vic Falls incl. one day on a trip to Chobe, so coming back a day earlier works out ok and am sure will be something around Joburg that will be a good way to spend the final day!
Do a tour out to Soweto on your final day. There's plenty of them to choose from. It's very informative and quite leisurely.
 

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