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kittykat23uk posted a topic in AfricaHi All this is my and my Mum's trip itinerary to South Africa in Mid Sept. Please help us to plan our stay, especially the first few days where we are doing more of the touristy things. We are looking for suggestions on, how to structure our first few days to see as much as possible and any inside knowledge on the best places to cover to see birds and mammals. are there any bat roosts, roosting owls, good spots for small mammals etc. good places to hike to see special mammals and birds? We will have a guide but he'll probably want us to have a fair idea of what we want to cover. 15 Sept- arrive 2120 overnight at Road Lodge Cape Town International Airport 16-18 The Cape Peninsula. Simonstad Seadeville BB (Simonstown) http://www.seadevilla.co.za/simonstown-activities.php Pick up on Saturday 16 Morning 0830 from Road Lodge... Visiting some of the main botanical and natural history destinations such as Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Cape Point and the south-western tip of the African Continent, Betty’s Bay, Stony Point, Boulder’s Beach and others. possibly Table Mountain, depending on weather. Staying in Simon’s Town. This is the section we need most advice on. does anyone have good recommendations for how to structure our 3 night stay? Mum is keen to see flowers so we have to include Kirstenbosch. I've been to Betty's bay, and Cape Point. has anyone got any up to date info on where to find cape rockjumper? 19 and 20 Swellendam and the Agulhas Plain. Swellendam BB Aan de Oewer BB http://www.aandeoever.com Moving on from the Peninsula our next port-of-call is Swellendam, the third oldest town in the country, which will provide a base from which to explore Bontebok National Park (named after the endemic ‘Pied Buck’) and De Hoop Nature Reserve, another gem of a wildlife destination, and a good place to see Whales.- as well as whales we hope to have a chance to see zorilla and possibly caracal here. Has anyone got any tips on visiting either of these parks? 21 Karoo National Park. Karoo NP chalet https://www.sanparks.org/parks/karoo/tourism/accommodation.php Has anyone got any tips on visiting either of these parks? From Swellendam we’ll begin our long northward journey, with a stopover at Karoo National Park, which can provide some great mammal watching and birding. Has anyone got any tips on visiting this park? 22-24 Dunedin Farm (double room on this farm) Moving on, our next stop will be at Dunedin Farm, where we’ll spend three nights in total, with the extremely rare Riverine Rabbit at the top of our want list here. we also hope to pick up a lot of the smaller mammals here, sengis etc and bat eared foxes with nightly spotlighting excursions. I have some good notes for this site so should be okay. 25-27 Marrick safari camp After Dunedin we’ll have a long drive to Kimberley, We will have two night drives at Marrick (booked, possibility of a 3rd on night of arrival), where we hope to find species such as Black-footed Cat, Aardvark, Aardwolf, Southern African Hedgehog, Springhare and others . On one of our full days here we will have a day visit to Mokala National Park, where we may get lucky with mammals such as Black and White Rhinos, Sable and Roan Antelope, and perhaps a Sengi or two. Having read a report from Royle Safaris we should also look to cover Benfontein Game farm from this base to increase chances of black footed cat. Should we spend the second full day at Mokala as well or are there other options? Do you know whether the flamingos at Kamfers dam will be present in September? We'll have guided night drives here but any tips on where to go during the daytime would be good. 28 – 29 Augrabies Falls National Park. From Kimberley we’ll drive through to Upington and then Augrabies Falls National Park, our base for the next two nights. look out for birds such as Verreaux’s Eagle, Bradfield’s Swift and Short-toed Rock-Thrush, while drives in the park will give us a chance to see species such as Namaqua Warbler, Rosy-faced Lovebird and Sociable Weaver, among others. Mammals to be seen include the Springbok, South Africa’s national antelope, as well as Klipspringer in the rocky areas, Southern Giraffe, Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Cape Clawless Otter and others, while a night drive may produce a Leopard with some luck. Has anyone got any tips on visiting this park? 30 Sept - 5 Oct The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. After Augrabies we’ll stop off in Upington to pick up supplies before heading on to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The exact camps we use will depend on availability, 30 Kalahari trails (morning walk with meerkats) . KTP Our routine will include morning and afternoon drives, and no doubt we’ll get to know the Kalahari very well indeed during our time spent here. Mammals to be seen include an exciting array of predators such as Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Wild Cat, Honey Badger, Spotted and Brown Hyenas. Raptors can be prolific as well, and there plenty of general game along the Auob and Nossob Riverbeds to keep you occupied between predator sightings. Booked: 1 Oct Twee Riv 2 Oct Mata Mata riverfront lux chalet- Pieter to provide spotlight. 3 Oct Kalahari tented camp unfenced 3 km from Mata Mata 4 Oct TBC Hopefully Nossob 5 Oct tbc 6 Oct Jo & Mum depart on the 17:10 flight from Upington to Johannesburg SA8770 to connect with the 2315 from Johannesburg KLM 592. Any good spots for dens, roosts etc would be welcome, I'm interested in seeing all mammals and birds we can find! Any advice on places to stop off en route to break up the longer journeys that are good for flowers, birds and mammals, or maybe even a nice vineyard or two, would be nice. Thanks, Jo
-INTRODUCTION- Hi to everyone. I'm back from a great trip in South Africa (first time there). I and my girlfriend had an amazing time and we were lucky to spot a lot of interesting animals in the parks we visited. After the trip of last year in Madagascar (http://safaritalk.net/topic/16227-awesome-red-island/) we needed to come back to a "classic" safari destination in order to improve the good experience in Namibia 2 years ago (http://safaritalk.net/topic/15973-sand-and-stars-namibia-2014/) and to upgrade to a "next level". In fact in Namibia we had something like 2 whole days of safari in Etosha, because we decided to focus more on the landscape area of the nation. Now in South Africa the safari was the focal point of the trip and we spent almost 6 days. More, I bought a new camera and I got interested in birding. But why South Africa? Well, it was an easy choice. Probably one of the easiest African country to travel in self drive, easy to reach from Europe and a good balance between safari and landscapes. We had only some hesitation on the tour: most of my friend did the "classic tour" (at least it is classic in Italy), so basically Cape Town - Garden Route - Kruger (the South East). But all the time (usually the holiday period is August) they said: "It was supercool BUT the Garden Route and the Winelands are not so special...". And since this part was always the half of the trip I got skeptical (also because I wouldn't "downgrade" my travel experience after Namibia). THEN... I discovered the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Also thanks to this forum in my mind rised a new tour: the NORTH-WEST! This park is in Kalahari (a place we love) and it is very "unpopular" in Italy for several reasons. First of all the accomodation: few places and always full. So the big tour operators don't include it (and the area around) because people usually book the tour few months before, and for sure there are no places for "large groups". So, in January we started to check availability for August: NONE! Then I contacted an Italian/South African Tour Operator, South African Dream, which organizes customized tours to have an idea of a possible tour and the total cost. This was very useful, because they kept an eye daily on possible cancellations in KTP. Then, at the beginning of February they sent me an email: there are free places for 3 days! BOOK THEM! We organize the rest of the trip later! So at the end we used this TO for the flights, car rental and accomodations. And everything went good. The tour is this: - 30 July 2016: Flight from Milano MXP by Emirates. Night onboard. - 31 July 2016: Lending in Johannesburg, take the car and toward Kruger. - 1 August 2016: Kruger - 2 August 2016: Kruger - 3 August 2016: Kruger + Blyde River Canyon - 4 August 2016: Kruger- Johannesburg and internal flight toward Upington - 5 August 2016: Upington - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - 6 August 2016: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - 7 August 2016: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - 8 August 2016: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - Augrabies Falls - 9 August 2016: Augrabies Falls - Springbok via Namaqua National Park - 10 August 2016: Springbok - Cape Town (!!!!!) - 11 August 2016: Cape Town (Shark Caging + Boulder's Beach + Helicopter tour) - 12 August 2016: Cape Town (Stony Point + Hermanus + Stellenbosh) - 13 August 2016: Cape Town (Cape Point) - 14 August 2016: Flight from Cape Town by Emirates. Night onboard. - 15 August 2016: Lending in Milan MXP. The tour was wonderful but a bit strong for driving. Considering it I would change some things but mostly 2: - I would take an internal flight Johannesburg-Nelspruit - I would cut the Sprinbok-Cape Town drive with 1 day more in Calvinia or Lambert's Bay For the accomodation we stayed in: - Berg en Dal Rest Camp (2 nights) (Kruger) - Skukuza Rest Camp (Kruger) - Graskop Hotel - Protea Hotel Oasis (Upington) - !Xaus Lodge (Kgalagadi) - Mata-Mata Rest Camp (Kgalagadi) - Kalahari Tented Camp (Kgalagadi) - Augrabies Rest Camp - Annies Cottage (Sprinbok) - Southern Sun Waterfront (4 nights) (Cape Town) We hired 3 cars: - For the Kruger area: Hyundai Ix35 2x4 - For the Kgalagadi area: Toyota Hilux 4x4 - For Cape Town an easy Hyundai I20 Hatch 2x4 As camera I have an Olympus E-620 with Zuiko 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6, Zuiko 18-180mm f/3.5-6.3, Zuiko 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6. Plus I have a Compact SONY Cybershot 18.2 Mp mainly used for recording. Weather was different for each area: - In Kruger sunny (except 1 afternoon raining!) and dry. Some clouds in the early morning. Temperature were quite ok during the day (but never hot) and ok also during the night (cold but with a sweater ok) - In Kgalagadi always really sunny and really dry/clear. Cold in the morning (even close to 0) and warm in the day (never really hot btw). In 2 hours in the morning you can really feel the temperature rising every minute... - The west coast sunny (and we were lucky!). Less dry and less difference of temperature day-night. In the evening in Sprinbok I didn't use the sweater. - Cape Town wet! I mean, the first day we found sun with not even a cloud and we were fine with a t-shirt during the day, but in the night we always found wind and you need a jacket. The second day was cloudy and rained (around 13 C ) and the third day was cloudy with some sun in the morning. From the second day we never sow the top of Table Mountain again. In the next posts the details!
Well, it’s been several days since my wife and I came back from our second African safari trip and I’d better start my TR before the memories fade away (not that my memories from safari fade away easily, but still…). Since last year we debuted in Eastern Africa - Kenya (Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, Lake Naivasha, Selenkay Conservancy, Amboseli NP, Ol Kyniei and Naibosho conservancies) we decided to get an idea about the southern part of the continent. The list of places to visit was long, time and funds were limited, so it took quite a lot of planning, starting from September 2013. There were two iconic places in Southern Africa, which we wanted to see – Cape Town and Victoria Falls, so I did my best to integrate them into the itinerary, while keeping the time spent there to a minimum (so we will have the bulk of our trip spent on safari. In terms of national parks / reserves I really wanted to see some of the private reserves adjacent to Kruger NP plus the Okavango Delta, so the trip took place in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe (shortly, just for the Zim side of VF) and Botswana. This first TR will cover the RSA part of the trip. For the Zim-Zam and Botswana portion of the journey, I will write a separate report in the Botswana section. The trip took place between May 16 and June 05, as you know the weather patterns in Cape Town are kind of tricky - the opposite from the rest of the country, so timing was not easy. We wanted also to see a green bush, without the rains, though. When considering other facts, like the water level of the Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls, availability of well priced lodges and camps, time off from work, timing really turned out to be quite a challenge. The RSA part of the trip was designed entirely by myself – booked hotels, activities, lodges, domestic flight tickets separately, one by one. For the Botswana section I used a very competent local agent in Maun – Nadine from Safari Specialists (also known as Safari Destinations). I will write more about them in the Botswana TR. Itinerary: 2 nights in Cape Town. 3 nights at Motswari Lodge, Timbavati Private Game Reserve. 3 nights at Elephant Plains Lodge, Sabi Sand. 1 “technical” overnight in Johannesburg. 1 night at Maramba River Lodge, Livingstone, Zambia. 2 nights at The Old House B&B, Kasane, Botswana. 1 night in Maun, Botswana. 2 nights at Pelo Camp, Jao Concession in the Okavango Delta (Wilderness Safaris). 3 nights at Sango Camp, Khawi Community area, Botswana. Everything was very carefully planned by the hour and the funny thing is that the plan actually worked 100 %. On our BA flight from London Heathrow to Cape Town we got an unexpected bonus – great aerial views of the Namib desert and Walvis Bay (as far as views from a commercial flight go): Sea salt processing facilities in Walvis Bay, Namibia: Landing in Cape Town: Isn't this the best view one could get from an airport? Regarding Cape Town - what is the best thing one could do in CT for one half and one full day? Best answer: hire a pro photographer guide with a car for the entire duration of the stay and do not hire just anyone, get James Gradwell - a great pro and owner of Photography Tours, Cape Town. The guy is really bright, very knowledgeable, knows the very best spots for photography in town and around the Peninsula and is flexible, decisions regarding where to go are made on the spot depending on weather and your preferences. If this is not enough, I will mention that James is also a qualified safari guide and has worked in several game reserves in RSA. To say that we had lots to talk about (from photography, history to safaris and wildlife) would be a serious understatement. We were extremely lucky with the weather in CT – two beautiful sunny days, which helped for excellent landscape and even wildlife photography. I will not bother you too much with the landscapes (will post just a few, this is a safari forum, after all). We stayed at an excellent location – Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, right at V & A Waterfront, so we were able to walk around the area even before we started our tour with James. We loved Cape Town, the city reminds me a bit of Vancouver, BC with the ocean and the mountains in view. James Gradwell showed up on time at the hotel lobby and we decided to start the photo tour with the colourful houses of Bo-Kaap (the Malay Quarter), just stopped at the City Hall for a quick photo: Sorry for the non-safari photos, it is quite a temptation to post them, though, since they are a lot easier to shoot than longer lens wildlife shots
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