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Who has been to South Africa?

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Old 11-03-2017, 12:52 PM   #31
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Impressions after visiting South Africa - Cape Town and Panorama Route

Number of people asked why we liked South Africa so much. Here are reasons:

It was _good_. Yes, I know difference between tourism and immigration, and no, we have not been exposed to dangers of crime or similar things, probably because never stayed outside after sunset and been at Johannesburg (which has quite a bad reputation) just for one night.

My dear wife asked me and herself a question why it was such a positive experience. We counted following factors:

- Friendliness of people when interacting with them: at shop, restaurant, other places - people in general are polite, smile and willing to assist/help regardless of ethnic background/skin color.

- No language barrier: while understanding English spoken by local black people takes considerable effort, it still was English speaking country.

- Huge, i mean HUGE ROS (return on spending) for local restaurant/cafe/supermarket food. It was bargain - three people can eat at a restaurant with a starter and meal and coffee and it will be less than $20 per person, including all tips and taxes. My wife said that she has eaten one of best steaks in her life in Hazyview Pioneer Restaurant. Can't remember a case when we ate something and did not like it. Here is Asia if you want to have same quality meal for European food, expect to spend $100 per person (without guarantees).

- Really good infrastructure development. My wife before going was expecting something in line of Thailand (not even Malaysia level). Instead we saw excellent infrastructure, acceptance of credit cards everywhere, good internet coverage, clean streets _everywhere_ - we saw how people were cleaning highway shoulders in the middle of the da. Compare this to pile of trash on streets/highways everywhere in SEA except Singapore.

- Overall, cheaper, in some cases considerably cheaper than travelling to Europe/US/New Zealand/Australia. We've been in New Zealand in December/January. Don't get me wrong - one of my best travels, but on two weeks there we spent more on that vacation than on all our vacations in Asia for last five years combined! A room, just a simple room at AirBnB in NZ was more expensive than to rent 2 bedroom/2 bath house with pool in Cape Town's Hout Bay next to beach. The same applies to food - in NZ we've been at restaurant only twice, it was so expensive there.

- Trying new food we never knew existed. And we brought 5 kg of rusks with us. And I gained 2kg I am trying to get rid of.

- Cheap car rental, comparing to US/EU/NZ, especially one way fees. It was like $30 per day, including all fees and taxes. In US they will charge you $280 and more for one way fee - it makes more sense to fly than drive.

- Excellent hikes and nature walks: Well, nothing compares to New Zealand, but Cape National Park was really good, and Kirstenbosch in Cape Town is probably one of the best gardens in the world. Visiting World of Birds at Hout Bay and watching penguins walking next to you on At Boulder Beach was delight of the day.

- Finally - Kruger National Park and vicinities - just google Blyde Canyon and neighbouring areas. As good as Grand Canyon and Zion NP. One day we visited 6 (SIX!) different waterfalls, each of them within 15-20 min drive from each other. And at the end - seeing zebras and antelopes, multi-colored grasshoppers and lizards from your lodge is quite an experience.

So. Will be back. Will go to Garden Route and add Namibia/Botswana next time.
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Old 13-03-2017, 08:49 PM   #32
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Gosh u just add South Africa to one of my must visit
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Old 13-03-2017, 11:04 PM   #33
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has anyone done south africa solo and without driving? i have been considering cape town, table mountain and surrounding areas but couldn't find anyone to go with me.
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Old 13-03-2017, 11:19 PM   #34
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has anyone done south africa solo and without driving? i have been considering cape town, table mountain and surrounding areas but couldn't find anyone to go with me.
If don't leave Cape Town, and plan to stay there all the time - durable, but plan to budget min $50/day to get around via Uber/taxi - as a guideline - trip from the Airport to Hour Bay was around $30. Just remember that rental car is $30/day and I have not seen a single white person using buses which go around.

'Surrounding Areas' - depending on destination might be challenging, expensive or both. Check TripAdvisor forums - local can give some advice.
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Old 20-03-2017, 12:24 PM   #35
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Detailed analyses of 15 days South Africa trip expenses

Finally had a time to put together all the incurred expenses by me and my wife for our two weeks South Africa vacation. Totally it came as $4,716.02, again, including everything. From this:

Total airfare - $1,668.00, note - we had three fights - one return to/from SA and two internal flights. Return flight was via SQ via miles redemption, yet taxes and fees for two people were $1120.

Total lodging - $811.37 and $562.51 - two separate entries because $811.37 was AirBnB for 10 days and $562.51 - two nights at a private game reserve for wedding. I _would_not_ stay there and pay that amount of money if I had a choice. Plus - the place did not have aircon - it was +38C inside during the day and we had to wet bath towels and use them as blankets to deal with heat. One could stay at Kruger for 1/3 of that price.

Total car rental for 15 days - $330 - that at three locations - Cape Town, Kruger area and one night at Johannesburg.

Food - cafe/restaurant/supermarket, SIM card/internet, tolls, park access fees, parking, etc - $880 - all the necessary expenses.

Shopping and souvenirs - $350 - was handled by my dear wife

Cash expenses - the rest, appx $120 - to pay entry fees at sites (parks/waterfalls) at Panorama route, small tips to parking and gas station attendants, small souvenirs from roadside stalls.

In short - second cheapest place I've been in my travels after South-East Asia. Totally worth to go back.

Just to compare - Christmast travel in NZ South Island for two weeks was $4000 more expensive and for that vacation airfare part was $500 - also miles redemption.

Last edited by invisible999; 20-03-2017 at 12:27 PM..
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Old 20-03-2017, 01:49 PM   #36
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Sure, plenty of backpackers do that and if doing the coastal route, there's even a backpacker bus called Baz Bus
http://www.bazbus.com/
Of course, to fully enjoy/explore, car rental still the best.


has anyone done south africa solo and without driving? i have been considering cape town, table mountain and surrounding areas but couldn't find anyone to go with me.
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Old 20-03-2017, 05:08 PM   #37
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Finally had a time to put together all the incurred expenses by me and my wife for our two weeks South Africa vacation. Totally it came as $4,716.02, again, including everything. From this:

Total airfare - $1,668.00, note - we had three fights - one return to/from SA and two internal flights. Return flight was via SQ via miles redemption, yet taxes and fees for two people were $1120.

Total lodging - $811.37 and $562.51 - two separate entries because $811.37 was AirBnB for 10 days and $562.51 - two nights at a private game reserve for wedding. I _would_not_ stay there and pay that amount of money if I had a choice. Plus - the place did not have aircon - it was +38C inside during the day and we had to wet bath towels and use them as blankets to deal with heat. One could stay at Kruger for 1/3 of that price.

Total car rental for 15 days - $330 - that at three locations - Cape Town, Kruger area and one night at Johannesburg.

Food - cafe/restaurant/supermarket, SIM card/internet, tolls, park access fees, parking, etc - $880 - all the necessary expenses.

Shopping and souvenirs - $350 - was handled by my dear wife

Cash expenses - the rest, appx $120 - to pay entry fees at sites (parks/waterfalls) at Panorama route, small tips to parking and gas station attendants, small souvenirs from roadside stalls.

In short - second cheapest place I've been in my travels after South-East Asia. Totally worth to go back.

Just to compare - Christmast travel in NZ South Island for two weeks was $4000 more expensive and for that vacation airfare part was $500 - also miles redemption.
Where did you stay in cape town? Any recommendations?

What car rental company did you used? Any issues when returning the rental car?

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Old 20-03-2017, 06:55 PM   #38
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Basbuz goes all the way to Johannesburg. Seems popular with backpackers. But I agree a rental car will be more flexible and it isnt expensive with 2 pax.
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Old 20-03-2017, 06:56 PM   #39
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Sellun, have you decided where you are going for your honeymoon already?
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Old 20-03-2017, 07:04 PM   #40
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I'm also thinking of going Africa for honeymoon, but we like to join a tour so it's more convenient. Anyone heard of A2A Safaris? Like to know the experience with them and whether they are affordable
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Old 20-03-2017, 08:33 PM   #41
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Where did you stay in cape town? Any recommendations?
AirBnB. Rented 2 bedroom house at Hout Bay, this one
https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/15852892


What car rental company did you used? Any issues when returning the rental car?
Avis. Look at FlyerTalk car rental forums, there are coupons from time to time 10-20% off or one extra day free. No issue, but they charged one more extra day because I dropped car 20 min late. I asked the charges to be removed, have not received the answer yet.
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Old 20-03-2017, 10:23 PM   #42
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Sellun, have you decided where you are going for your honeymoon already?
Most likely SA. In the midst of confirming the itinerary..

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Old 21-03-2017, 05:24 AM   #43
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I'm also thinking of going Africa for honeymoon, but we like to join a tour so it's more convenient. Anyone heard of A2A Safaris? Like to know the experience with them and whether they are affordable
Don't just stick to Singapore travel agents. Compare their packages and prices with the ones based in SA itself and/or the UK. I used Go2Africa for South Africa and the service was very good. I used one called Yellow Zebra based in the UK for Tanzania and it was also very professional. Because of the higher volume of tourists, they might have contacts with more reserves and stuff.

A2A safaris is supposed to be one of those niche / non-mass market ones that cater to the higher end of the market - good in that there's usually a certain standard expected (e.g. lodging, food, response times), but it also means you pay for it. I think we did approach them when planning for Tanzania but didn't go with them in the end.

Another you can try in Singapore are Country Holidays. It won't be cheap either but the friends I know who've used them (for other destinations) speak highly of them.

do speak to a few of these and see who you feel more comfortable with in terms of their ideas and also budget. BTW, I'm past the age where I can travel rough so I'm resigned to paying for my comforts when I travel. There is a relationship between price and quality - you just have to find what's a good balance for yourself and that changes with time.
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Old 21-03-2017, 09:50 AM   #44
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I've come across Country Holidays too but A2A seems like they are more specialized in SA.

Was hesitating on the packages outside Singapore because I'm not sure how communication would be like, only through emails?

When you approached these companies for planning but did not go ahead with them, how much roughly did you have to pay for their services?

Don't just stick to Singapore travel agents. Compare their packages and prices with the ones based in SA itself and/or the UK. I used Go2Africa for South Africa and the service was very good. I used one called Yellow Zebra based in the UK for Tanzania and it was also very professional. Because of the higher volume of tourists, they might have contacts with more reserves and stuff.

A2A safaris is supposed to be one of those niche / non-mass market ones that cater to the higher end of the market - good in that there's usually a certain standard expected (e.g. lodging, food, response times), but it also means you pay for it. I think we did approach them when planning for Tanzania but didn't go with them in the end.

Another you can try in Singapore are Country Holidays. It won't be cheap either but the friends I know who've used them (for other destinations) speak highly of them.

do speak to a few of these and see who you feel more comfortable with in terms of their ideas and also budget. BTW, I'm past the age where I can travel rough so I'm resigned to paying for my comforts when I travel. There is a relationship between price and quality - you just have to find what's a good balance for yourself and that changes with time.
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Old 22-03-2017, 06:51 AM   #45
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I've come across Country Holidays too but A2A seems like they are more specialized in SA.

Was hesitating on the packages outside Singapore because I'm not sure how communication would be like, only through emails?

When you approached these companies for planning but did not go ahead with them, how much roughly did you have to pay for their services?
Communication can be thru emails or even calls. It's no issue because they probably use VOIP calls or even if IDD calls, the price of calls has come down very much.

As for "planning", there is no cost at all to you. Basically you just approach them and tell them you are exploring the possibility of [whatever] and you come across their website / agency and could they tell you what they have to offer / suggest. Of course, from there narrow it down to your shortlisted agencies that you ask more questions of. Don't lead people along unnecessarily. For them it's part and parcel of the business that not every enquiry results in a sales. Just be reasonable - don't be like the auntie who pokes and prods each and every fish at the market then decide not to buy any at all type.
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