South Africa Itinerary
A round trip from Cape Town through the Winelands to the Eastern Cape via Route 62 and back to Cape Town via the Garden Route.
We took three weeks to make our trip which was enough time to see everything at a fairly leisurely pace. You could probably shorten it to 15 days if you were short of time. An Eastern Cape Safari proved to be a good choice. You can make your way up to Kruger, but that involves longer journey time, a stay in Johannesburg and the need to protect yourself against malaria – so the Eastern Cape was our choice for the safari portion of the trip and we were very happy with it.
Best time to visit South Africa
We visited in late October/November and had lovely warm weather most of the time. Early mornings and evenings can be cold though – particularly when you are on an open topped safari jeep – so be sure to pack your fleece, hat and gloves.
One of the great things about South Africa is that it is pretty much a year round destination. Wildlife viewing opportunities vary according to the time of year. Winter (May to October) is a good time to visit because it is easier to spot the big game then.
If you want to see whales, then you need to visit between July and November.
Top Ten "Must-Dos" for a trip to South Africa
- Have breakfast on the V&A Waterfront
- Marvel at the unique SA flora at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
- Visit the African Penguin colony a Boulders Beach
- Experience the Tasting Menu at le Quartier Francaise, Franschhoek
- Be hugged by an ostrich at Oudtshoorn
- Hike the Dolphin Trail along Tsitsikamma
- I-Spy the Big Five on an Eastern Cape Safari at Shamwari
- Explore the flora in style at Grootboos Private Nature Reserve
- Take a photographic journey of a lifetime at Shamwari
- Enjoy a sundowner deep in the bush
Where I Stayed
Best Hotel Award
We managed to find some superb hotels on our trip through South Africa and picking the best isn’t easy. Shamwari wins because it is a great place to experience a safari and that is the reason why most people choose to visit South Africa. Experiencing the luxury of a safari lodge and the thrill of seeing big game close up knowing that you are in the safe hands of an expert team is without doubt a bucket list experience. Our stay was greatly enhanced by booking a photographic package with the specialist team at Shamwari. I learned so much and just wished that I had had a better camera with me to do it justice – but it definitely paid dividends on future trips!
My Packing List
Basic Essentials for a trip to South Africa:
- Fleece, hat and gloves for cold nights/early mornings
- Waterproof jacket
- Sun hat/sunscreen
- Mosquito repellent
- A no peg clothes line
- Loose fitting cool trousers – khaki is best
- Sleeveless safari jacket – the sort with pockets for all your bits and pieces – khaki is best
- Covered shoes – for bush walking
- The best camera you can afford!
Flora and Fauna
South Africa is home to an such a wide variety of flora and fauna it is not possible to list it all here. No visit could fail to disappoint anyone in search of exciting wildlife viewing opportunities. The indigenous plant life includes some 23,000 species of flowering plants (including 728 species of trees) – around 10% of the world’s flowering species. On top of all that, there are also some 900 species of bird. Just make sure you take a good camera to capture it all!
Some of the highlights to look out for are listed below, to get you in the mood for making your own trip.
- Whales (July to November)
- The Big Five: Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant
Search for “Foodie Firsts” to discover more about South Africa’s Foodie scene.
- Rooiboos – caffeine free red tea made from the fynbos shrub that only grows in South Africa
- Biltong – many South Africans say this is the true taste of home – the one they yearn for if they are abroad for a while. It is slender strips of meat that has been salted and sometimes marinated then dried, to increase its shelf life. It can be made of wildebeest, warthog loin, ostrich steak or beef sirloin.
- Bunny Chow – the South African hamburger. This is fast food, perfected by the Indian population of Durban. It is basically curry in a loaf – you eat the whole thing.
- Beer – Africa is where beer was born, apparently.
We enjoyed a very high standard of cuisine in South Africa and it was open of the many highlights of this trip. As you can see from the photos, gastronomy is taken very seriously here – some of the dishes were just to beautiful to eat?!
More to follow – website under reconstruction …
Learning the Lingo
Braai – BBQ
Robot – traffic light
Bleed me dries – mobile phones
If you are into your facts and figures, search for “Fascinating Facts” to learn more about South Africa.
Tips for Future Travellers
More to follow – website under reconstruction …