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Old 01-13-2016, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
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Will be there in February....looking forward to seeing your city!

Flying out of Johannesburg....and gonna rent the car and do the 'Garden Route' to get up there.

1) How are the roads? Is is best to get off the roads after dark, due to animals, etc.?

2) Anything going on in February (2016)...events or anything interesting in Cape Town or anywhere in South Africa?

3) Is Durban worth the long excessive driving to get all the over there, and then angle up to J-Burg? Or is the coastline just as wonderful and fantastic along Cape Town and the Garden Route?

4) Are there infamous roads/areas to avoid for 'carjackings'? Is it way less common that the media portrays?

5) I think I read that election time is coming up? Any issues with that? I basically heard that the media is drumming up sides....stirring people up and such...much of an issue for a tourist?
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Old 01-13-2016, 10:19 PM
 
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Welcome welcome Good time as well, the Rand is getting crushed atm with the whole Japan/China/Zuma thing so everything should be extra cheap for tourists.

Gonna respond in parts as I'm typing on my phone at the airport in Sydney while waiting for my flight :P

1) Jhb - Roads should be fine. Since its the rainy season it tends to make the traffic lights a bit erratic. It also makes a lot of pot holes show up so be careful about those. Most of the highway is well lit (N1, N2) N12 wasnt as well lit last time I used it, smaller but free so that's a bonus. N1 you have etolls.

Leaving the city and heading down to Durban you'll find the roads are good but there's very little light when travelling late at night. We were driving back 1 time and it was around 11pm and all you can see is literally what your lights shine. Pitch black out the sides and behind you. Once you head past Harrismith (populae mid point stop for the drive to fuel and eat) towards Durban you'll start descending down Van Reenens pass. Very scenic but care of the weather forecast as it can get very foggy after rain. Once you hit Durban then you have to look out for the speed limit changes. It'll go speed limit sign and then like 10m later a giant eff you speed camera for not slowing down in time.

If you're heading out Bloemfontein direction. Bloem is tiny and if you blink you'll have driven through :P However lots of trucks drive this road so care of them.

If you're heading down Northern Cape and the Karoo. It's long, hot, straight and boring. Very little out there :P Once you get closer to the Western Cape that's when it starts to get interesting with moutain passes and wine country.

Western Cape you'll find a lot of average speed enforcement. I prefer this style of monitoring. So camera at the beginning of the section. Camera at the end, if you get through faster than you should then you were speeding. I don't know much about the garden route road but all the 1s I've been on around the Western Cape have been good and well maintained. You'll only need to worry about animals near any nature reserves and they'll put signs up and then you just have to be a bit more careful. Never had anything happen to me so far
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Old 01-13-2016, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dowsieboi View Post
Gonna respond in parts as I'm typing on my phone at the airport in Sydney while waiting for my flight :P
Thank you for the thorough post!

...and this might get into a completely different thread...but SYDNEY...I was just in Sydney and loved that city. Which makes me think I'll equally love CAPE TOWN...both seem to be similar cities attracting tourists and giving off a lot of their own beauty.

Any comparisons you'd like to make between the cities, as they are so fresh in your mind? (If you want to think about it during your flight, and post it when you get back to CT as well, no problem! Unless you have a lot of time still before your flight!)

I'll be making some of my own mental comparisons as well, after CT...but quite interested in hearing your own comparisons...
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Old 01-13-2016, 10:31 PM
 
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2) There are a lot of music festivals this time of year since its summer. Things like Up the creek, Splashy Fen, Rocking the Daisies, Oppikoppi. There are usually a lot of wine/Champagne festivals but I never know how people hear about them :P Unfortunately can't be more help, have been out of the country since Christmas so not sure what's going on there atm...well besides watching the currency dwindle more as everything around me gets even more expensive that it already was :'(

3) Coastline should be beautiful enough along the garden route. Durban has nice warm beaches though. So if you're fine with the colder water then you're not missing out on too much imo. Durban is hot, humid and very relaxed

4) If the road is near a squatter camp or township then those are the 1s you don't want to stop on and you want to pay attention if they've put any junk in the roads. They've been known to put like rocks or tyres on the N2 by Cape Town. Basically their goal is to get you to pull over. This is generally why no one ever pulls over to help someone else on the road. It's a bit sad but you have to put your own safety 1st.

5) I've just been reading about it. It sounds worse than usual because the ANC did such a kak job these last 5 years that now they might actually have a reason to be scared to lose Jhb and Pretoria to the DA. There aren't normally any incidents though and elections are only on May. Forgive me I'm wrong here but you're black right? (Huge apologies if Ive remembered wrong) but on all honesty I dunno if any Xenophobia goes up with the tension.
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Old 01-13-2016, 10:35 PM
 
271 posts, read 292,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Thank you for the thorough post!

...and this might get into a completely different thread...but SYDNEY...I was just in Sydney and loved that city. Which makes me think I'll equally love CAPE TOWN...both seem to be similar cities attracting tourists and giving off a lot of their own beauty.

Any comparisons you'd like to make between the cities, as they are so fresh in your mind? (If you want to think about it during your flight, and post it when you get back to CT as well, no problem! Unless you have a lot of time still before your flight!)

I'll be making some of my own mental comparisons as well, after CT...but quite interested in hearing your own comparisons...
Did a few weeks in Melbourne before Sydney. Both cities are amazing Melbourne is more like Cape Town and Sydney is more like Johannesburg. Melbourne is very hipster with people just doing or wearing what they want and being who they want to be. Lots of creative graffiti and lots of weird places to find cafés

Sydney is more busy with everyone running around to get somewhere. So a much more sense of urgency. Walking through the city I felt a lot more on edge than I did Melbourne, possibly because it's just so big with high rise buildings everywhere so quite intimidating Preferred the layout of Melbourne as well, much easier to get around and navigate and the free trams in the city were amazing

Edit: Need to add that I think food/coffee/cafés are better in Cape Town :P

Although I might be bias as some things are literally 10x as expensive when I buy the same thing and convert directly... Which I know I shouldn't but I can't help it >.<
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Old 01-14-2016, 03:08 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
Reputation: 9478
Quote:
Originally Posted by dowsieboi View Post
2) There are a lot of music festivals this time of year since its summer. Things like Up the creek, Splashy Fen, Rocking the Daisies, Oppikoppi. There are usually a lot of wine/Champagne festivals but I never know how people hear about them :P Unfortunately can't be more help, have been out of the country since Christmas so not sure what's going on there atm...well besides watching the currency dwindle more as everything around me gets even more expensive that it already was :'(

3) Coastline should be beautiful enough along the garden route. Durban has nice warm beaches though. So if you're fine with the colder water then you're not missing out on too much imo. Durban is hot, humid and very relaxed

4) If the road is near a squatter camp or township then those are the 1s you don't want to stop on and you want to pay attention if they've put any junk in the roads. They've been known to put like rocks or tyres on the N2 by Cape Town. Basically their goal is to get you to pull over. This is generally why no one ever pulls over to help someone else on the road. It's a bit sad but you have to put your own safety 1st.

5) I've just been reading about it. It sounds worse than usual because the ANC did such a kak job these last 5 years that now they might actually have a reason to be scared to lose Jhb and Pretoria to the DA. There aren't normally any incidents though and elections are only on May. Forgive me I'm wrong here but you're black right? (Huge apologies if Ive remembered wrong) but on all honesty I dunno if any Xenophobia goes up with the tension.
I'm white..not black...

All good info! I'll soak all that in...!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dowsieboi View Post
Did a few weeks in Melbourne before Sydney. Both cities are amazing Melbourne is more like Cape Town and Sydney is more like Johannesburg. Melbourne is very hipster with people just doing or wearing what they want and being who they want to be. Lots of creative graffiti and lots of weird places to find cafés

Sydney is more busy with everyone running around to get somewhere. So a much more sense of urgency. Walking through the city I felt a lot more on edge than I did Melbourne, possibly because it's just so big with high rise buildings everywhere so quite intimidating Preferred the layout of Melbourne as well, much easier to get around and navigate and the free trams in the city were amazing

Edit: Need to add that I think food/coffee/cafés are better in Cape Town :P

Although I might be bias as some things are literally 10x as expensive when I buy the same thing and convert directly... Which I know I shouldn't but I can't help it >.<
Did you get out to Bondi Beach and the Sydney coastline much? I think I spent very little time downtown, it also sounds like you spent part of your downtown in King's Cross, which had a fair share of shady characters around, it seemed to me....I spent almost all of it along the coastline...as I did in Melbourne as well. The ocean really attracts me.

It sounds like you spent more time in the downtown areas, and I'd agree that Melbourne is more interesting and better as far as atmosphere, people, etc. in that situation, for sure!

Interesting comparisons though.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Cannes
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Me too: No non-stop flight to Cape Town
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:01 AM
 
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How long are you going to be here for? There are some nice festivals on around this time...
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Old 01-15-2016, 01:27 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJuls View Post
How long are you going to be here for? There are some nice festivals on around this time...
Two weeks....in South Africa...just 4-5 days in Cape Town...depending.
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Old 01-17-2016, 03:20 AM
 
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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.
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