a VirtualTourist member from Calabasas
The two "givens" are that we need to be at the J'Burg airport on the morning of Oct 27 and then on Nov 8 we will be done with the the photo safari portion of our trip. Coming from the states I am thinking a couple of days before in say Amsterdam and at the end a couple of days in Capetown before we head back to Los Angeles. I have some flexibility before and after and would like some ideas of that we could incorporate on either side of our safari time. We will be in the Kruger Natl Park for 4 days, then up to the Victoria Falls, then to Botswana, then to Chobe Natl Park, then to Okavango Delta. So I am looking for recommendations before and after. Thanks gang!! Karl
I spent a few days wandering around in Capetown some years ago and found it very interesting. Go up Table Mountain, down the coast, visit the parks and the waterfront. The Aparteid Museum, if you do that sort of thing, is not to be missed. (A very sad, moving place.)
Amsterdam Stopover a fine idea,
noting the VOC and Jan van Riebeeck's links with the establishment of Cape town, a historial research excursion will be wothwhile. Rijstafel (Java) cuisine are linked with Kaapse Kos, and of course the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Gallery, geniet
On what to do after your Foraml Itinerary,
my hoge Potpages on Western Cape, Cederberg, stellenbosch, Paarl, might give a few tips
Table Mountain and the seashore are certainly worth exploring. The setting of Capetown is very pretty. Head out of town a bit to the wine growing regions (Stellenbosch) and their Cape architecture; these are picturesque and give you the chance to pick up some nice Cape wines. The Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens were a pleasant visit and a nice place to see some unique native flora. I'm not sure if the proteas will be in bloom; our visit was in December / January and they were getting towards the end of the bloom period. They were unique and everywhere.
If the weather is nice; Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope) is an interesting stop. When we were there there was a beached shipwreck (just some ribs sticking out of the sand, that made for interesting photography). Cape Agulhas (the southernmost point in Africa and I remember it being rather windblown, with a rather sandblasted lighthouse situated there.
For sure Cape Town and the state of Western Cape. It's very different from where you will be on safari and one of the most beautiful places in the world, IMO. I have been there many times and I never get tired of it--lots to do and see. I have some tips on my pages (most are kind of old but the information still holds).
As for Amsterdam...well, I'm a person that likes to maximize the time in the farthest-away place, so I'd spend those days in SA instead. The way I see it, you're already paying considerable money to get yourself all the way to SA, so why not take as much advantage of that opportunity? There is a tremendous amount to do there. If you are into photography you can get some great opportunities in other parts of the country as well--Karoo Desert, the southern coastline, the Drakensberg mountains, etc. Do a little more research on less well-known places and you will not regret it. SA is a fantastic destination for many reasons.
Karl, we just visited South Africa last October. Best part of our trip was staying at the game reserve. The latter part of our trip was going to Cape Town. Unfortunately for us, the days we were in Cape Town, it was too windy to go up to Table Mountain. We did enjoy visiting Stellenbosch - wine country. I would have liked to see Victoria Falls but it did not fit into our schedule - the drive there and back to Johannesburg did not seem practical given the days we had for our trip. Cape Town was nice but not so interesting that I would visit again. It was pretty much a city center. Since I hadn't been before, I wanted to go. I cannot emphasize more how great the game reserve experience was. I think going to the various national parks is a great idea! Hope you have a great experience!
You guys are awesome...Thanks for the info. Karl
How about going to Lesotho? You can drive there on your own from Joburg (best with a 4wheel drive) and spend a couple of days exploring a country that compared to SA is even poorer.
I stayed at the Maleealea Lodge and enjoyed it very much. http://www.malealea.com/
I would include the V and A waterfront. There is lots of activity there plus a great mall that has at least one African shop where you can get souvenirs at reasonable prices. Simons Town and Fish Hoek are lovely small fishing villages on the sea. Simons Town is historical because of it's affiliation with the Navy and there are some interesting shops.
There is so much more. Have a look through the Cape Town pages on VT.
The last time I was there (Nov. 2011,) I flew from Vancouver to Cape Town with KLM. They have a 23 hour stopover in Amsterdam and I was able to have a tour of the canals and got the general flavor of the city.
Whatever you do, you will have a great time. Diane
Spend all your time in South-Africa, our regions are all so different from each other, definitely include Table Mountain, and a few wineries as well as KwaZulu Natal (Drakensberg) in your visit. Victoria falls are super special. Another option is to spend more time in Zambia and go to Lake Kariba, we rented a houseboat for a few days and it was magical. Enjoy your stay!!