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Old 01-17-2016, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
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I can second spending at least a little time in Joburg. It really is a fascinating city and deserves more than just being a transit point to get to Cape Town.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Macao
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Originally Posted by quisa View Post
I used to work in Joburg for 6 months several years ago and traveled a lot in ZA. It is such a great country and a fantastic place to travel.
Roads are generally in a very good condition, especially the main roads. This does not apply for some minor roads, especially in former homelands where potholes are more frequent. Short distance night driving is not a problem although you should beware of carjackers in some areas such as the CBD of Johannesburg, Sandton and close to townships. Considering long distance travel at night I would rather remain on main roads (especially toll roads are mostly secured by fences in order to prevent animals to cross them). On minor roads in rural areas you should pay attention on animals as well as on pedestrians who are sometimes even in the middle of nowhere at night.
Crime is definately an issue but remember that most of the millions of visitors coming to South Africa every do not face any problems at all. Just be cautious, avoid walking in deserted areas at night (esp. CBDs) and if going to a Township (what you should definately do...People in Townships are mostly very open minded and friendly) you should go with a local or someone who knows the area well (e. g. there are a lot of township tours organized by local businesses).

Since South Africa is a large country with a lot of things to do and see it takes a lot of time to see all the areas you wish to see. I fear 2 weeks are not enough to do Cape Town for 4-5 days, Garden Route as well as Durban and Joburg. So I would recommend to focus on one of these areas. There would be several options:

1. Johannesburg (incl. Soweto) to Kruger Park, crossing Swaziland (which is beautiful and friendly country without visa hassle) down to St. Lucia (beautiful national park area close to the sea - here you can see whales elefants and whales at the same time if you are lucky) and to Durban. I did not like Durban too much but I was only staying there for one day so I cant really judge. The surroundings of Durban are really beautiful though

2. Durban down to the Wild coast (never been there but it must be phantastic and very traditional) and further up to Drakensberge including the little Kingdon of Lesotho (Drakensberge is best done in summer though)

3. Cape Town via the Garden Route up to the Wild Coast

Cape Town and the Western Cape are very beautiful but they somehow felt like a world of its own. If you really want to feel the new South Africa you should definately go to Johannesburg. This city is not the most beautiful and gritty in parts but it is fascinating, a melting pot and has a very interesting and lively culture scene (especially in areas like Braamfontein or Newtown in the rather gritty CBD). I dont want to tell that Western Cape is not typically South Africa though, it is especially the diversity of cultures and landscapes (within a distance of 20 km you can sometimes feel you were in different countries) that make ZA so fascinating.
First off, I'd like to thank you for such a thorough and well-written post!

My plans continue to shift and change all the time. But, at the moment, I am thinking 4-5 days in Cape Town, than a few days doing the Garden Route all the way to Port Elizabeth. I'll meet up with some South Africans who I have met outside of SA...and then I am thinking of flying to Maputo Mozambique and spending the last 3-4 days there...and taking a bus (or flight) from Maputo to J-Burg Airport and fly out....

After way too much thinking about it, I've decided Cape Town, Garden Route, and Maputo...are the three things I want to see most and get to know most in Southern Africa.

Durban...I did want to see that interplay of Indian, Black, White, etc...quite curious about an Indian-SouthAfrican population....and the beach promenade looks interesting. But pretty everything I've viewed of Durban online, it seems like it would NOT be so interesting. Maybe its youtube, but it seems like the city is infested with Nigerian drug dealers with nothing to lose....thats the way it seems to be painted... and the crime issues seem to just as crazy as J-Burg...it seems! I'll see how I feel about this trip to Southern Africa, and if I really like it a lot, than Durban will be planned for on some follow-up trip someday.

I don't know, SA is a difficult place to really understand from afar. I think I'll have to have my feet firmly planted on South African soil to really understand the place! Yeah, and my time is so limited...two weeks is enough for a taste, but not much time for anything else! Too much to see! But, I suppose that from this visit, I'll at least learn if I want to come back again or not! I think I will based on Cape Town alone...but impressions while there, will be the biggest impact on that.
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Old 01-18-2016, 01:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
First off, I'd like to thank you for such a thorough and well-written post!

My plans continue to shift and change all the time. But, at the moment, I am thinking 4-5 days in Cape Town, than a few days doing the Garden Route all the way to Port Elizabeth. I'll meet up with some South Africans who I have met outside of SA...and then I am thinking of flying to Maputo Mozambique and spending the last 3-4 days there...and taking a bus (or flight) from Maputo to J-Burg Airport and fly out....

After way too much thinking about it, I've decided Cape Town, Garden Route, and Maputo...are the three things I want to see most and get to know most in Southern Africa.

Durban...I did want to see that interplay of Indian, Black, White, etc...quite curious about an Indian-SouthAfrican population....and the beach promenade looks interesting. But pretty everything I've viewed of Durban online, it seems like it would NOT be so interesting. Maybe its youtube, but it seems like the city is infested with Nigerian drug dealers with nothing to lose....thats the way it seems to be painted... and the crime issues seem to just as crazy as J-Burg...it seems! I'll see how I feel about this trip to Southern Africa, and if I really like it a lot, than Durban will be planned for on some follow-up trip someday.

I don't know, SA is a difficult place to really understand from afar. I think I'll have to have my feet firmly planted on South African soil to really understand the place! Yeah, and my time is so limited...two weeks is enough for a taste, but not much time for anything else! Too much to see! But, I suppose that from this visit, I'll at least learn if I want to come back again or not! I think I will based on Cape Town alone...but impressions while there, will be the biggest impact on that.
Pleasure to give you advice! I absolutely know what you are talking about, since I also shift and change my plans several times per day before traveling..but is is always great fun to plan a route.
True, the Indian-African mixture of Durban is really something special, although the Indian shopping area in the CBD cannot be compared as those Indian areas you find in South East Asia such as in Kuala Lumpur. (Generally, cities in Southern Africa cannot compete with SEA cities in terms of street vibe) However, you can get good food there (especially Bunny chow is particularly a South African Indian mixture)

Cape Town is a very beautiful city and I am sure you will have a great time. It is easy to locate around and very safe in the inner city area, great night life etc, although it feels very westernized and even remembered me of San Francisco and surroundings a bit. Very unique about Cape Town is its Cape Malay ethnic group that shaped daily life in Cape Town a lot. The group is a mixture of descendants of Indonesian workers, bushmen, black Africans and white people. The Cape Malay cuisine is very distinctive (try boobotie) and cannot be compared to anything else in the world.

Maputo is also a great choice, I think. I have never been there but definately want to go there on my next trip to Southern Africa. Very distinctive from the rest of the Southern African Subcontinent with a special latin vibe and a bustling nightlife.

Enjoy your trip!!
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Old 01-18-2016, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Cannes
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All this unsettling talk about South Africa has got me shivering. Should i be concerned? I also have a trip to SA soon
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:36 PM
 
84 posts, read 61,791 times
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Originally Posted by survivingearth View Post
All this unsettling talk about South Africa has got me shivering. Should i be concerned? I also have a trip to SA soon
Don't be concerned, just be careful and enjoy it. Watch your back and your belongings. And don't let people know you're a tourist, a lot of scamsters out there who pretend to help you and just take your money in the end.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:35 PM
 
Location: Macao
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Originally Posted by survivingearth View Post
All this unsettling talk about South Africa has got me shivering. Should i be concerned? I also have a trip to SA soon
Unsettling talk? I think unsettling talk about South Africa is kind of 'the norm'...I haven't noticed any upspike in it anyways.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:39 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,943 posts, read 36,139,074 times
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Originally Posted by quisa View Post
Pleasure to give you advice! I absolutely know what you are talking about, since I also shift and change my plans several times per day before traveling..but is is always great fun to plan a route.
True, the Indian-African mixture of Durban is really something special, although the Indian shopping area in the CBD cannot be compared as those Indian areas you find in South East Asia such as in Kuala Lumpur. (Generally, cities in Southern Africa cannot compete with SEA cities in terms of street vibe) However, you can get good food there (especially Bunny chow is particularly a South African Indian mixture)

Cape Town is a very beautiful city and I am sure you will have a great time. It is easy to locate around and very safe in the inner city area, great night life etc, although it feels very westernized and even remembered me of San Francisco and surroundings a bit. Very unique about Cape Town is its Cape Malay ethnic group that shaped daily life in Cape Town a lot. The group is a mixture of descendants of Indonesian workers, bushmen, black Africans and white people. The Cape Malay cuisine is very distinctive (try boobotie) and cannot be compared to anything else in the world.

Maputo is also a great choice, I think. I have never been there but definately want to go there on my next trip to Southern Africa. Very distinctive from the rest of the Southern African Subcontinent with a special latin vibe and a bustling nightlife.

Enjoy your trip!!
If Kuala Lumpur outdoes Durban with Indian elements, than maybe I can easily forgive myself for not making it to Durban. I've visited Kuala Lumpur (KL) many times, and always liked the Indian influenced mixed in, but if it outdoes Durban, than I just saved 3-4 days of an excursion

Street vibes.....yeah, Southeast Asia is pretty amazing. That's a good comparison to make for me, as I'll know SE Asia quite well. I was kind of expecting to be car-bound throughout most of Southern Africa...with the exceptions of Cape Town and Maputo, which seem they might have nice walkability to them.

BOOBOTIE...I am capitalizing it, as I might look back at this thread while in Cape Town, and I can try it!
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:43 PM
 
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Welcome to SA You will love Cape Town!

Be sure to stop along the garden route - Knysna, Plett, all beautiful.

Durban - more beach but if you want something different, drive down to the North Coast. Drakensburg is also really nice.

JHB - more shopping and stuff, but do do a guided tour of Soweto, where Nelson Mandela lived. And make sure to visit the Kruger Park
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Old 01-19-2016, 04:15 AM
 
Location: Cannes
2,324 posts, read 1,459,925 times
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Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Unsettling talk? I think unsettling talk about South Africa is kind of 'the norm'...I haven't noticed any upspike in it anyways.
You are right i guess it surprised me for a bit all the negativity i've been hearing( no talking abut in this thread specifically) Hell, i work in Sao Paulo and Rio pretty sure SA is way safer. Plus you are going before me Let us know how it goes
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Old 01-19-2016, 04:57 AM
 
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I'm in the early stages of planning a future trip to SA (first time down there), and I'd like to know what is there to do in Cape Town (besides hiking to the Cape of course) and if someone has a hint about a priceworthy accommodation. Thanks
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