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Old 07-13-2017, 08:10 AM
 
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I would actually suggest traveling to the North rather than west to Cape Town, and including the beautiful Drakensburg Mountain Range and then over to Kruger National Park.

Back when I visited about a decade ago Joburg was something you avoided due to crime. Maybe it's better now.
Your flight takes you through AMS? Back then also Delta had a non-stop to S. Africa from Atlanta (with only a refueling stop). Through AMS seems a bit out of the way, like traveling at a right angle and then changing directions.

Otherwise, S. Africa is relatively easy for travelers, inexpensive, highways and infrastructure is excellent, no issues with crime as long as you stay out of the former townships and big cities. Just get a rental car and drive around.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Flatland
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I just returned from a trip to South Africa, and can tell you that it was a very interesting and eye opening experience that I enjoyed greatly. I spent most of my time in Johannesburg and Cape Town, but regrettably missed Kruger National Park.

As for the cities, I think Johannesburg is comparable to New York or Los Angeles, with its more frenetic life pace and hustle. If you are interested in history the Apartheid Museum is a must to visit. We also went on safari to Pilanesberg National Park (about two hours away from Joburg).

I found Cape Town comparable to San Francisco, considering its scenic setting. But Cape Town is much more affordable. In fact they have a couple of very similar features that line up with each other. For instance:

1. Wine country - Franschhoek (about an hour and a half east of Cape Town) is the equivalent of Napa Valley in California. We spent a day in Franschhoek doing wine tours, which were fantastic (so were the wines!).
2. Island prison tourist attractions - San Francisco has Alcatraz Island, while Cape Town has Robben Island (the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years). It is a popular tourist attraction, and advanced reservations are recommended.
3. Parks in spectacular settings - San Francisco's Golden Gate Park versus Table Top Mountain / Lion's Head Mountain in Cape Town (sorry San Francisco, but the Table Top / Lion's Head wins on this one). There is also Cape Point National Park / Cape of Good Hope about an hour and a half south of Cape Town, which I also recommend. Careful with the baboons though, since they are in the lookout for food from tourists, and can get quite aggressive.

And before I forget, South Africa is a LEFT driving country (just as many other current and former British territories), so driving on the left can be very unnerving for those not used to it. Also there is a noticeable difference in car rental prices between manual and automatic transmissions (manuals being cheaper), so that is a factor to consider if budget is a concern.

I also noticed that cycling is extremely popular in Cape Town and surrounding areas. There are many other fun activities around Cape Town (bicycle rentals, parasailing from Lions Head Mountain, whale and shark sighting tours, etc.). I recommend you do advanced research before you go there, to make your trip more productive.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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As others have noted, I'd concur if you had to choose between Jo'burg and Capetown, go for the latter. Joburg is more of a business center, hustle and bustle; the natural backdrop of Table Mountain, Lion's Head, the ocean just make Capetown much more attractive. Not to mention the wineries around Stellenbosch, Franchhoek, Paarl. Yes! And in town, gotta go visit Bo-Kaap - with its pastel colored buildings.

Kind of like trying to choose between Sao Paulo vs. Rio - a bit of a no-brainer for the visitor, unless you're there for business.
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