Jeff’s South Africa trip ’07-email discussion- #4
I think your itinerary looks great. The private game reserves are fantastic (have you chosen one yet?) One thing I always re-realize when I go there (The bush) is that you tire quicker than you think of the game drives. Please don’t get me wrong here, it is a literally life changing experience and almost too much to take in.
I would say 3 days of game drives, Kruger/private lodge included would be enough. Perhaps do a 1 day trip into the Kruger, then go to the lodge and then if you are still keen to sit in a car and go squint looking through the bush, do another day or 2 in the Kruger. Not to say that you won’t be pining for the bush ever after.
I would suggest to perhaps consider do the Jo-burg route in reverse so that you end you trip relaxed at the private game lodge, rather than after lots of driving.
I am thinking also that 5 days in Cape Town may be too short and a bit of a whirlwind, compared to 8 days touring the Drakensberg, but that all depends on your perspective and what you want to see.
My choice would be 6 days in CT, 4-5 days in and around the Drakensburg, 4 days in the bush and 3 days in a Swazi jail cell. (just kidding J 3 days just to play around with.
I have never stayed in a hostel in CT, because I live there J. https://www.backpackers.co.za/ is in a great location and comes highly recommended. It is owned/run by a friend of the family. I have mainly stayed in B&B’s guest houses and tents in other parts of the country. (and tend to forget where/when and how because dark, drunk or distracted), but check out https://www.bootsnall.com/hostels/africa/south-africa/ which is a very comprehensive resource. Double check the hostels by googling them for comments/reviews. You will do better than R200 p/p per night in most places.
To answer a question from you first email about safety : I have never had any trouble in 15 years living here apart from a couple of burglaries, so it’s highly unlikely that you will, especially not in the more rural/peaceful areas. The main trick is to not look like a target, so no big camera’s around your neck, obvious wallets, or looking too much like a tourist. Stay away from slum areas, unless it is with an organized tour with security. Keep your eyes out for shifty looking people and don’t leave anything of value visible in your car, lock doors/windows etc. General street smarts really.
If it’s ok with you I will post this on the website and perhaps we can get a few more suggestions for you.