I'm planning a solo trip to South Africa and would love any advice on best places to visit and places to avoid. I like big cities as well as small towns. Also, does anyone have advice on solo travel in SA?
The standard 'first time in South Africa' trip is Cape Town +Kruger National Park There is a Lot more to see in the country - I've spent 4 years road tripping it professionally and have only covered 70%... but, the CT + Kruger trip is the most popular for good reason! They are both awesome destinations, so much so that many people fly all the way out here just for one of them, and both of them are relatively easy to get to because they are our most popular spots.
You'll almost certainly be flying in via ORT airport in Johannesburg, and should be able to easily arrange a tour with a company that picks you up right from the airport and takes you to the Kruger. In terms of budget, the cheapest will be with an 'all inclusive' budget operator, next would be renting a car and staying at private lodges, and most expensive would be flying to Nelspruit, catching a bush plane and flying straight to a private lodge (the views you get from the bush planes are magical though).
Then you can fly Nelspruit - CT or ORT - CT (more travel but cheaper).
In Cape Town, your hit list should include:
(1) The hop on/off City Sightseeing bus tour
(4) A day tour of the Cape Winelands - try to fit in wine tasting, a walk or a cycle through the vineyards, and a drive over Franschhoek pass
(5) The whales along the Overberg coast if you're here between Aug - Nov.
All of the above should take you about 11 days (inc. the Kruger).
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I would do a safari and then focus my time in Cape Town area. Great beaches to check out. Hout Bay, Simon's Town, Fish Hoek. All on the way to Cape of Good Hope. False Bay isn't visited as much. Something to check out. Vineyards to the East. Stellenbosch is lovely. Fanschhoek. If you want off the path... go north from Cape Town toward Saldhana. If you're into bungee jumping, you can check out Bloukrans Bridge. Highest in Southern Hemisphere I believe. I haven't been to SA in a while, so others may know much more.
I would suggest Cape Town as the first place you should go! It is a big city, but it has beautiful beaches and Table Mountain National Park if you're looking for outdoorsy activities. From there, you can easily drive to the winelands. The Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch has stunning vineyards. If you'd like help planning your trip in detail, I'd suggest Avant-Gard Cape Travels. Its a bespoke travel company run by a fantastic chick (Lindsay) who can design an itinerary around your goals.
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