My wife always wanted to go to the above places and a big birthday is coming up next year.
So I thought about a surprise present but I still have mixed feelings about the region, in particular after reading this and similar travel advisories:
We like independent travel and ideally would love to travel on our own with a rental car. I saw that some of you (dchd4321, doubleu1017 etc.) went to the region, wonder what your experience was and if you have any advice?
Did you go with a group (I believe dchd4321 had a total of 3 cars? Saw in one of your pictures the name africatravelco.com, did you travel with them?) or travel in parts by yourself?
The U.K. government site seems to downplay the risk a bit (compared to the Canadian site), not sure if this is honest though, the region is a big travel destination for folks from the U.K. since years.
Kranzie, you decided a while ago to go to Cape Town. What are your plans now? Any additions to Cape Town?
We also would want to go on a safari. We heard from a Swiss couple that Botswana was awesome (and they actually drove by themselves). Did anyone experience a safari in Botswana or somewhere else?
Any recommendations for group travel without braking the bank?
Appreciate your input.
Two years ago I visited southern Africa. I flew into Windhoek, Namibia, and rented a car there to see the desert. The main roads are in fine shape, but when you get off them, conditions are not the same. It's definitely something you can do though. Traffic is light. I flew to Cape Town for a few days, and used public transit there, then flew to an airport near Kruger National Park. I rented a car again, and drove around that part of South Africa, the park, and Swaziland. Drive yourself is the normal way to visit Kruger, and there are lots of good lodging options within the park. Go to the South African national parks website to make reservations. I prefer to drive by day and had no problems. People drove courteously and everyone was welcoming. Roads have good signage and markings. There are places in the big cities I would prefer not to go to, just as most places, and I chose not to drive at night. I did do a quick safari (Chobe) in Botswana on another trip to Victoria Falls. I would not claim I really saw much of the country, as this was a day trip from Zambia. There are others who can tell you a lot more about safaris there.
Great Info, thanks. Starting this fall, it will be easier to get to Cape Town. From what I understand, United will offer the first non-stop flights from Newark. Saves a lot of time. Is it essential to book accommodations with meals as you can’t wander around after dark? Which time of the year did you pick for Kruger Park?
We are still hoping to make it to Cape Town, and hope to visit the city and drive the Garden Route. We actually have a friend who just returned from a trip there with his wife and he absolutely loved it there! He felt safe the whole time and had a blast. The pics/videos of his great white shark viewing and a safari they went on are beyond amazing.
That’s exactly what I struggle with. People keep saying they had a great time but government agencies scare the hell out of me as they are very explicit with their warnings (not the standard be careful kind of thing). Please keep me posted if you find a good company to do the safari with.
My husband and I spent about 2.5 weeks in South Africa in 2014. It was one of the best trips we've ever taken. We started in Cape Town, picked up a car after a few days there and drove to a small town in the little Karoo area, then drove the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth. From there, we flew to Johannesburg, got another car, and drove up to Phalaborwa to spend a few days at Kruger NP. You do definitely need to exercise caution, especially in the cities and while driving in some parts of the countryside. Main things to do are keep your wits about you, avoid areas that give you an unsafe feeling, and be careful with transportation. We specifically chose not to spend nights in Jo'burg because of the crime rate, staying in Pretoria for a couple of nights before returning home. It's an amazing country like nothing I've ever seen before. We loved it so much we are planning on going back next summer to South Africa and possibly Zambia or Botswana.