Help us choose a destination please
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Jun 16, 2012 1:34 PM Last Post By: itchyfeet38
Jun 13, 2012 12:52 PM
Help us choose a destination pleaseMy friend and I (both in our 30s) will be spending the whole of October in Africa. This will be our first time on the continent and we need some help deciding where to go. The options we’ve considered so far are:
i) a self-drive trip around South Africa
ii) a combination of two east African countries such as Kenya + Tanzania.
We’re open to other suggestions as long as they’re in southern / eastern Africa.
The sort of things we’d like to see / do are:
i) A 3-night safari (preferably not camping but not expecting luxury lodges on our budget)
ii) Trekking (but not mountain climbing)
iii) Visiting rural villages
iv) Visiting historical sights
vi) Beaches (mainly to walk / relax on and look at not to swim)
vii) Whale watching (wouldn’t want to miss it in South Africa)
viii) Some light kayaking (not white water rafting)
ix) Short river cruise
x) Eat decentish food i.e. we’d rather not spend a month eating cornmeal mixed with water but not expecting to find gourmet food in most of east Africa.
The only “compulsory” activity from the above list is the safari. My friend is a bit concerned about crime. While she understands that this exists all over the world, she’d rather avoid places that are particularly notorious. We intend to stay in private hostel rooms or guesthouses.
We have a budget of USD 3,000 each excluding international flights.
Where do you suggest we go considering our interests, budget and the time of year?
Jun 13, 2012 5:59 PM
With a month and your budget I'd highly recommend the following:
1) Head to Rwanda / Uganda to see the gorillas. You pay a premium for just an hour with the cute little (large?) things but it is an amazing and humbling experience as I'm sure many will agree. Book in advance though as permits sell out quickly.
2) Easy to hire a driver and car for a few days and head out to rural villages in either of those countries.
3) Head to Arusha (Tanzania) for a 3 night / 4 day safari in the Serengeti. No idea when the Serengeti Migration is but might be worth trying to coincide your trip with trying to see it as I've heard that it's spectacular (even without the Migration though I thought the Serengeti was pretty special)
4) Head to Zanzibar for some R&R and some of the most beautiful beaches.
It was a few years ago that I visited most of those places but I do remember that if you flew internationally with Kenya Airways you got some really cheap flights between most of those destinations (I think you can only drive to Jinja but I may be wrong). I know you mentioned you wanted to go trekking but if you were up for it Kilimanjaro is just around the corner from Arusha.
I'm sure there will be other suggestions out there but these were certainly some of my highlights from my time in East Africa.
Jun 13, 2012 11:26 PM
2I would hire a car and tour South Africa and Namibia. You can do a self drive safari in Kruger (nice reasonably priced accommodation is plentiful), whale watch from the stoep of a cottage in De Hoop, hike on the spectacular Wild Coast or in the Drakensburg, kayak on the Orange River or with seals and dolphins at Walvis Bay in Namibia and enjoy spectacular landscapes in Namibia.
East Africa is much more expensive. I think you would struggle to do the above itinerary on your budget. South Africa is blissfully simple to travel to and around. And your money will go much further. See if you can find a copy of Greenwoods Guide to Special Places in SA and Namibia - it has some great value (and sometimes unusal) places to stay and things to do.
Jun 14, 2012 8:13 AM
I would like to recommend you to go to Madagascar , this country is rich for the wildlife as lemurs, reptiles( chameleon, leaf tailled gecko, ...), birds and so on . About the beach they have 2 small paradise island called St Marie and NosyBe, they had amazing landscapes, they are rich for the cultures and historical sights like Zafimaniry Village, they have whale s- watching season in St Marie. You can taste their local food with sea food . They have 7 species of Baobab tree it's one of amazing tree in Madagascar.
I don't know where are you from but i think your budget is enough to explore this country if you need more tips don't hesitate to ask me again.
Edited by: anneholiday
Jun 16, 2012 2:21 AM
4Thanks to all of you for your contributions.
@absy - based on what itchyfeet38 said about East Africa being much more expensive than South Africa, we're inclined to opt for the latter.
@itchyfeet38 - we like the idea of visiting Namibia. Would it be possible to go there by car from Cape Town or is it more sensible to fly?
@anneholiday - I would absolutely love to visit Madagascar (more than SA or east Africa) but it's definitely not within my budget.
Have you guys been to Lesotho or Swaziland? Are they worth visiting?
Jun 16, 2012 7:15 AM
Jun 16, 2012 1:34 PM
6Self drive trips incorporating Namibia from SA are very common - hire companies will be very familiar. It is easy enough to drive up from Cape Town - though best to take your time over it.
My favourite route (not the quickest/most direct) is up through Cedersburg, Calvinia and Neuwoudtville (all good dirt roads, spectacular scenery around every corner and no traffic - overnight at Cedersburg and/or in a magical cottage at Papkuilsfontein).
Alterrnatively belt up the N27 along the coast. If you do that consider stopping over somewhere near Lamberts Bay (Donkieskrall? - amazing rooms built in the caves) and see if you can fit in a meal at an open air seafood restaurant on the beach (eg Muissbosskerm).
There are loads of fantastic spots in southern Namibia before you get to Sossusvlei. Try googling Klein Aus Vista (make sure you seek out the desert horses) and Koiimasis is also beautiful . Visit Kolmanskop - a very atmospheric abandonned diamond town. Kayak with the seals and dolphins in Walvis Bay.
Loads to do, and some great places to stay. My top tip though would be to take your time.
Cape TownBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$18.76 per night
Cape TownBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$403.49 per night
Dar es SalaamBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$200.00 per night