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Old 07-05-2017, 10:27 AM
 
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My wife and I won a six-day safari near the Pongolapoort Nature Preserve. We are beyond excited. Because it takes so long to reach South Africa from the States, we plan to stretch our trip into a two-week jaunt.

We will be visiting from late April to early May 2018. Our flight dates haven't been set quite yet.

That's where your advice would be invaluable.

Our thoughts currently:

1) Fly into Durban. Enjoy a day or two there recuperating from our long flight.

2) The safari has a shuttle van from Durban to the resort. Be at the resort for six days, then return to Durban.

3) Maybe a day driving around in the area exploring.

4) Fly to Cape Town and explore there as well.

5) Fly home from Cape Town via Amsterdam.



So my question is three-fold:

1) I know we'll miss Johannesburg, but it seems that we can either choose between either there or Cape Town. Good choice or not?

2) From what I can tell about Durban, it's a nice tourist area. Yes/No? The guides only tell us so much.

3) If you could suggest anything else, we're all ears.

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2017, 01:32 AM
 
274 posts, read 293,301 times
Reputation: 300
Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
My wife and I won a six-day safari near the Pongolapoort Nature Preserve. We are beyond excited. Because it takes so long to reach South Africa from the States, we plan to stretch our trip into a two-week jaunt.

We will be visiting from late April to early May 2018. Our flight dates haven't been set quite yet.

That's where your advice would be invaluable.

Our thoughts currently:

1) Fly into Durban. Enjoy a day or two there recuperating from our long flight.

2) The safari has a shuttle van from Durban to the resort. Be at the resort for six days, then return to Durban.

3) Maybe a day driving around in the area exploring.

4) Fly to Cape Town and explore there as well.

5) Fly home from Cape Town via Amsterdam.



So my question is three-fold:

1) I know we'll miss Johannesburg, but it seems that we can either choose between either there or Cape Town. Good choice or not?

2) From what I can tell about Durban, it's a nice tourist area. Yes/No? The guides only tell us so much.

3) If you could suggest anything else, we're all ears.

Thanks!
So I was born in Durban, grew up in Johannesburg and currently live in Cape Town. So feel free to ask any questions or PM if you need any help

1. Short Answer: Cape Town over Johannesburg easily

Long Answer: So Johannesburg is the economic capital of the country. It's a bit city vibe where it's all about your career and night life. Everything moves at a fast pace and it because of the wealth that's there it attracts a lot of the crime in the country. It's diverse in nature as the prospect of jobs attracts people from all over the country and so you get a much better mix of people of all races. There's a wealth of history from Apartheid times with typical tourist places such as Soweto, Apartheid museum, Gold Reef City, walking tours through the city, Nelson Mandela square/Sandton City.

The layout of the city is spread out far and wide and public transport is sparse making it quite difficult to get around without a car.

Cape Town is the legislative capital of the country. It's slow paced and more about quality of life. Mainly due to the city being hugged by Table Mountain/Lion's head/Signal hill and the ocean giving you endless choices of "Do I want to take a quick hike up Lion's head after work to watch the sunset? Or maybe I want to go enjoy a drink at the Waterfront? Or maybe I want to go to bar down town?" Cape Town has a unique vibe that's hard to explain. The general joke is that Cape Town feels like its own country and all the people are hippies that get high on the mountain

As the city attracts a lot more tourists, it's better geared to cater for them. The city generally feels a lot safer than Johannesburg/Durban, but still requires caution in some places. While public transport isn't near a 1st world level, the MyCiti buses are actually pretty decent.

Most people tend to feel the city feels a lot more European. It can be less diverse as certain areas attract foreigners that have moved here and can afford the ridiculous prices or just wealthy people in general (Camps Bay for instance). If you go out more into the suburbs you need to find that places like Camps Bay are more the exception than the rule.

2. Durban has fantastic beaches. The vibe here you can think of is tropical weather, so think lots of humidity and then full of surfer bros :P The city itself is a bit of a dump so I'd recommend staying away from that but the entire promenade that stretches from the stadium down to uShaka is pretty great North beaches are typically better.

Durban becomes busy over the holiday periods and most people from Joburg tend to flock there for a week or 2 at a time. So 1st week of December for instance it's packed of recently graduated matrics and New Years the beaches are just completely packed with people.

3. I've got tons of Cape Town suggestions if you need
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Old 07-06-2017, 02:28 AM
 
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Dowsieboi : I'm planning to go back to SA for 6 weeks next winter. This is what I 'm planning to do (did the Cape Province early this year):
1) Land in Jo'Burg. Stay in an Air Lodge around Tambo since I'm too afraid to go to city center because of the high risks involved. I don't want to get mugged or worse.
2) Go visit the Kruger with "Baz Bus" (4 days)- Baz bus are really a good deal!
3) Back in Jo'Burg , fly to Livingstone Zambia and stay there a few days to enjoy the Victoria Falls (maybe I'll make a jump on the Rhodesian side but not sure, I'll get updates on the security situation there first)
4) Fly back to Jo'Burg and -ideally-on the same day board a flight to Richards Bay. Then on to St Lucia (close to Hluhluwe reserve) where I'm considering renting a R'B'nB for a month.
Then fly back to Jozy and ideally the same day fly back (direct) home.
I'm fascinated by SA but only too conscious of the situation of the country, so I want to be extra careful.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:44 AM
 
274 posts, read 293,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
Dowsieboi : I'm planning to go back to SA for 6 weeks next winter. This is what I 'm planning to do (did the Cape Province early this year):
1) Land in Jo'Burg. Stay in an Air Lodge around Tambo since I'm too afraid to go to city center because of the high risks involved. I don't want to get mugged or worse.
2) Go visit the Kruger with "Baz Bus" (4 days)- Baz bus are really a good deal!
3) Back in Jo'Burg , fly to Livingstone Zambia and stay there a few days to enjoy the Victoria Falls (maybe I'll make a jump on the Rhodesian side but not sure, I'll get updates on the security situation there first)
4) Fly back to Jo'Burg and -ideally-on the same day board a flight to Richards Bay. Then on to St Lucia (close to Hluhluwe reserve) where I'm considering renting a R'B'nB for a month.
Then fly back to Jozy and ideally the same day fly back (direct) home.
I'm fascinated by SA but only too conscious of the situation of the country, so I want to be extra careful.
1. Try not to fall into the trap that you can't get mugged outside of the city center. As long as you stick to common sense you should be fine. Eg.
- Don't flash money and valuables around.
- Don't drive with valuables in plain sight on the seats (rather just put it in the boot)

Be familiar with which areas to avoid. Google maps will try route you through the shortest route but it doesn't exactly factor in how dangerous the areas are. Typical areas you'd try avoid (more so at night): Diepsloot, Hillbrow, Alexandra, Zandspruit, Soweto (unless with a tour or local)

Joburg has some really nice suburb areas if you did want to look further than the airport Sandton is pretty upper class and has some great areas. Rosebank, Bryanston, Parktown, Parkhurst. Then areas like Houghton are also nice The Gautrain works really well in Johannesburg. Clean, safe and modern. It goes from OR Thambo and goes through to Sandton and Rosebank or even out to Pretoria if you really wanted.

2. I've heard about he Baz bus but never used it. Apparently really cool

3. Vic falls is still on my list! Last time I checked it made me sad that the plane ticket was so expensive. Was almost the same price as a return flight to Amsterdam

Enjoy though man, sounds awesome

Why Richards Bay out of curiosity? Why not Durban?
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:28 AM
 
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Why Richards Bay out of curiosity? Why not Durban?
I've seen that in Tampo there are plenty of flights to Richard's bay that is close to StLucia where I want to stay, I'm interested in wildlife (hippos, crocs and other critters, you name it) so it seems to me a logical choice...



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Old 07-07-2017, 07:03 AM
 
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definitely Durban and Cape Town over Johannesburg.
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Old 07-10-2017, 08:30 AM
 
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@ dowsieboi : for my stay in Jozy, I found an executive suite in Shrublands (Sandton), is the neighborhood okay ? do you advise me to confirm my reservation (the price is competitive)?
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:03 AM
 
274 posts, read 293,301 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
@ dowsieboi : for my stay in Jozy, I found an executive suite in Shrublands (Sandton), is the neighborhood okay ? do you advise me to confirm my reservation (the price is competitive)?
Had to Google it. Looks like they just named the accommodation after the road?

But looking at where it is on Google maps. That area is pretty decent and modern Right next to Crawford which is 1 of those fancy private schools. And close enough to walk to Benmore Shopping Centre or if you walk further down the road you'll find my old office and Sandton City. I could quite easily walk around there after hours with my laptop and felt pretty safe

Only thing I'll caution you about is that Gautrain station there in Sandton has had issues with Uber in the past. The metred taxi workers still aren't happy and used to get violent, particularly at that station.

Police to monitor Sandton area following fresh attacks on Uber operators
https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/sou...tors-threaten/
Uber vehicle set alight on Sandton Drive allegedly by metered taxi drivers | Sandton Chronicle
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Old 07-10-2017, 12:50 PM
 
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I won't have problems with that lol! I'm not an Uber user, and I don't like the concept anyway (but it's another topic).
Thank you anyway for your advice, dowsieboi.
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Clifton, Cincinnati
124 posts, read 62,457 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StilltheSame View Post
definitely Durban and Cape Town over Johannesburg.
This. Dowsieboi is pretty spot on.

Joburg is the financial capital of the country, lots of big shopping malls, gated suburbs, and universities. It should not be on the top of your list when it comes to other urban areas in South Africa IMO, especially this time of year the surrounding countryside has little to offer. Don't get me wrong, I have found plenty to like in Gauteng. The rural and urban beauty of Cape Town is easily in the world's top ten, and Durban has that tropical lush feel to it that Johannesburg is lacking. Wine country and the mountain ranges of the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are worth looking at too.

The nice thing with South Africa is the infrastructure is really updated for being a developing country, and I have found it easier to get around than comparable countries in its development class.
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