help form S.A members

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse Bar' started by petite, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. petite

    petite Bench Player

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    dear S.A. friends :
    my 8 year old kid is crazy about animals and been beggin me to take him to africa.
    im doing so next augost and i could use some advice
    im flyng to johanesburg and then directly to kruger park where ill plan to stay for 5 days ( enough?) and then rent a car and drive all the way to santa lucia (the izimangalizo park) stop for a day or two in suasiland.
    questinons
    is ist safe to drive those 700 km? are the routes ok? do you have enough infrastructure to do it with a kid and wife?
    what about the izimangaliso park is it nice? is it a regular destination for people in S.A?. it is not offered to international public in most agency trips.
    i read that the santa lucia may be dangerous cos robberys and even shootings my occur even with in the park.
    what are the best places apart from kruger to see wild life in S.A?
    i read that cape town is the nmbr 15th most dangerous city in the world.
    i dont live in disneyland: Buenos Aires is dangerous too but i wanna know what to expect
    first thing i read after deciding the trip was the ex springbok shooting near pretoria..
    ill finnally spend a day or 2 in jhojannesburg. before heading back. Something that i dont have to miss there?
    thanks in advance and anny suggestion wellcome hope i catch a rugby game somewhere!
     
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  3. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    Hi Petite.

    Here's some follow up questions, which will aid a bit more in answering your query.

    1. When you are in the Kruger, are you staying in the same camp or are you going to stay in different camps. Also, do you know the name of the camps?
    2. The road from the South of the Kruger to Swaziland and then to St. Lucia is a very far stretch, and you're not going to drive on any of the main roads or highways. Why did you pick St. Lucia, nowadays it's more of a fishing and diving resort than anything else. There are way better places to visit than St. Lucia.
    3. Cape Town has dangerous areas, but it's not really where the tourists are going. Stay away from Khayelitsha and Mitchell's Plain.
    4. How long are you going to be in SA? I'm just thinking of the distance between Cape Town, St. Lucia and the Kruger, I wouldn't recommend driving to all of them, as you'll be in the car most of the time, and it will actually be more expensive than flying.
    5. Are you going to be part of a tour group?
     
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  4. unrated

    unrated Bench Player

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    The Kruger is nice, but if you dont go with a tour guide then you will sometimes struggle to know where to go to find all the best watering holes where you can glimpse the big 5.

    if you want a nice safari drive but a more commercial experience in the nighttime then i would suggest staying at Sun city (close to Joburg) and doing the pilansberg safari.
    If you want the full bush experience there are some nice bush lodges in the kruger, one of them is called bed en bos where you basically sleep in the open with mosquito nets around you theres a fairly good chance you might wake up the next morning with an elephant drinking water mere meters away from your bed with no walls separating you.

    St Lucia (izimangaliso park) is very nice. Its full of Hippos and Crocodiles and an abbundance of bird life in the area so if thats what your after then you can go for that, you can also visit cultural attractions there such as the Zulu or Siswati cultural villages. There are nice curio shops in the area. Two things you need to be careful of in the st lucia area is Malaria and drought. Take malaria medication beforehand. if you go to the izimangaliso wetlands park you can just pitch up at the gate and pay the entrance fee and off you go, there are ferry's that can take you on a tour. not recommended to tour this park by car, boat is your best bet. Only if you plan to sleep in the park itself then book way in advance but id actually recommend to stay at another lodge not the izimangaliso park accomodation. Stay away from government run accommodation rather stay in private lodges, hotels or airbnb houses.

    If you want to have a wildlife experience close to Capetown the addo elephant park is a nice place to go.

    I also would not recommend driving from Joburg to St lucia, and thats not because its unsafe but becasue its far and not the best scenic route for your money and time.
    If you can rather do the coastal drive from cape town to the northern parts of the country, going past towns such as Ceres, Knysna, Plettenberg bay, Jefferys bay, Hartenbos and then there is even nice wildlife parks on the wild coast. (Just google these names for more description).

    Personally i always recommend people to go to the Drakensberg mountains about 480 km from joburg and 200 from Durban. There you can find great easy and difficult hiking routes ranging from 1 day to 7 days, the wildlife is amazing and you can sleep in caves or chalets. the caves has an abundance of history with rock cave paintings from the san people. The flora in the area is second to none, here you can find the national flowers in its most spectacular form, protea trees hanging from cliff tops. you can stay in absolute luxury in the Drakensberg mountains, in swiss like resorts or you can have that rugged feeling staying in old farmhouses (Run by KZN Enzimvelo) deep into the drakensberg mountains making a fire to keep warm at night.

    If you do decide to travel on road
    where ever that might lead just keep money on hand to pay for the tolls, it can become expensive.

    Honestly joburg is over commercialized and generally a **** place. The area is dry, flat and at alltitude. If you want to visit big malls and casinos while on the trip then joburg can be nice, but if you come for a wildlife experience then joburg should be no more than a transportation hub where you get of the airplane and hire a car to get to the more beautiful parts.
     
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  5. petite

    petite Bench Player

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    thanks for the info guys!!! really appriciate you taking the time to aswer. this is so usefull.
    so far we reserved the air tickets to kouger though johannesbourg and the acomodation at krouger for 5 days (in 3 camps: names imposible to remeber :) the fist one is where the plane lands the southern airport. the other to are up north. havent sort what to do after that.
    we also have two days in johannes before going back to get some rest. so we have arroung 6 days to visit santa lucia or other destination
    our main interest is wild life and ill probably avoid malls.. or big citys.
    for what ive seen in google maps thers some 700 km from kugger to santa lucia it looks like a 8 hs ride not so much (im used to diving those distances) my main concern is the state of the roads specially cos i ll be driving from the right, never did before. do u guys think it could be a problem? the idea is to drive those 5 days in krouger and get used to it before heading to santa lucia.
    for what i read theres a riff at izimangalizo and thats why we want to go. to see de indic ocean, whales if very lucky. do you think i might get to sea sharks at santa lucia or near by?
    dont think im going to cape town.
    thanks again for the help!!
     
  6. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    Ah, so you are flying from Joburg to Skukuza (the main camp in the Kruger). But if you say you are going North from there, you might need to tell us the names, as some camps are impossible to drive to in one day from Skukuza (especially with the driving limit and the times the camps gate closes).

    Camps North of Skukuza are:
    • Satara
    • Orpen
    • Olifants
    • Letaba
    • Mopani
    • Shingwedzi
    • Punda Maria
    But I would seriously recommend you having a tour guide while in the Kruger, you will learn a lot more about our wildlife and about the reserve from them, plus they have radio communication with other guides to help the tourists see the better sightings such as Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Wild Dogs etc.

    To be honest with you, I struggled to transfer from a right side steering wheel to a left side steering wheel when I went to the USA as a student. And my biggest problem was to get used to find a new centre spot on the road as well as turning the vehicle. It took me about 2 weeks to get it right.

    The time of year you're coming is too early to see the whales. I would recommend you then rather come in October, and go to Hermanus in the Western Cape which is where the Whales are every year. It's then also closer to the other coastal towns that offer Great White Shark expeditions and cage diving.

    To be perfectly honest with you, I would have a relook at your itenerary. And would remove Saint Lucia completely from the plans...
     
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  7. unrated

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    The Isimangaliso park in st Lucia is very nice, dont know why TRFheineken is against it, its a protected world heritage site. If you want bird and wildlife species that appears near wetlands then this is a great place.

    However if you want to do reef diving, go shark cage diving or whale watching then this is not a great place to do it. Sharks like cold water but the more north you go up along South Africas eastern coastline the warmer and more tropic it becomes. So st lucia and places such as Kosi bay is very close to the mozambican border the water is very war, (Fun for swimming in) and even snorkling for small reef fish ( but that id rather do at cape vidal which is also close to st lucia) . IF you go more southwards to Durban then there will be places where you can do what they call soft cage shark diving. its just a soft cage for you smaller breeds of shark. And if youwant to dive with the beasts of the ocean then you have to move to the far south of South Africa where the water is much colder and as far away as possible from the warm Mozambican streams. With hard cages you can dive with the great white sharks near gansbaai. But the con is that it is not nice to recreationally swim in the oceans so far south as its super cold. Fun swimmin at the beach is reccomended for the northern parts of the east coast.

    Please go and google the "Golden gate higlands park". It might be a destination you want to go to. Also "Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park" and "Cathedral peak"
     
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  8. petite

    petite Bench Player

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    thanks! i have to digest all this info and sit with kid and wife to see the options
    dont care much about the whales cos we have plenty here. but we dont have riffs, the water here is damm cold! swiming and snorkling with fish sounds great. the sharks are a main interest for my son but hes only 8 so i wasnt planning to put him in a cage with a great white!! yes i read about cape vidal we wanted to visit it!
    i´ll google these places
    heineken we are going to olifants and lower sabie apart from skukuza (we have the reservations) think we are going to hire the guide as you say!
    thanks again for your views, very usefull!
     
  9. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    Well you certainly picked the camps with the best views. between Skukuza and Lower Sabie you should see a lot of wildlife next to the Sabie riverbed. and then between Lower-Sabie and Olifants is the best route to take to see Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs. Olifants probably is the camp with the best view of all the camps in the Kruger, as it's built on a hill and overlooks the mighty Olifants River. May I suggest you visit Letaba as well, which has a Museum about Elephants, which is very interesting and educational for kids and adults alike. It's just 30km away from Olifants.

    As for the rest of your itenerary, I understand now a bit better of your plan with this trip, But I think Mozambique will offer you a better deal with regard to snorkeling in riffs with underwater life.

    But then again, there are so many places in SA that you can visit, that we might not even think of right now.

    I'll be honest, I don't like St. Lucia, mainly because of a personal bad experience there. Which will most probably add to my negativity. But my Uncle is one of the best people to ask about St. Lucia and the wetlands, and he's a professor who does regular studies in the Kruger and the Wetlands regarding frogs and other amphibias. In fact he's in the Kruger right now, to do a study regarding the changes in Bullfrogs habitats after floods. He always tells us it's such a strain for him to drive to St. Lucia, as the road to get there is just so bad (this coming from a guy who drives a 4X4 with every piece of equipment you can think of on his car).

    If wildlife is your main priority, and you want to make it educational for your son, I want to suggest you stick around the Kruger area, there are places like Kapama and Moholoholo rehabilitation centres, where they let adults and kids interact with wild animals, help with feeding the animals and even play with baby lions and both of them are around the Hoedspruit area.
     
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  10. petite

    petite Bench Player

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    thank you very much!!
     
  11. The_Blindside

    The_Blindside First XV

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    This. Totally agree with this when I switched from driving from the right of the car/left of the road to the opposite side in the USA. Especially centering the car; kept naturally veering to my right side of the lane I was in. Turning right and left also took time to get used to.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  12. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    I hired a car in Barcelona and like 10mins later scraped the side of it when going up a ramp onto the motorway cause I couldn't tell how far I was from the wall on the spiral ramp thing I was driving up, lol
     
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  13. petite

    petite Bench Player

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    thanks boys! im gonna have to cope ;)
     
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