Sunday, July 8, 2012

South Africa Sojourn: The Conclusion

We finally end our trip to South Africa. We spent a total of 12 days here, traveling from Johannesburg all the way to Cape Town. Now, even though we didn't make it to Kruger National Park and experience a true safari, we were quite satisfied with what the Eastern Cape had to offer. So, here are a few tips if you want to visit this wonderful country:

1. Safaris range from the budget ones (you drive and explore on your own) to guided luxury (tour with all the comforts). You don't have to spend a lot of an lavish camp inside the park. If you're on a budget, you can spend your nights outside the parks. And again, you can drive through the reserves. Kruger is huge, and you have to plan your location there. The Sabi Sabi Reserve is said to be the best, but can also be the most expensive.



2. If you can, get a car. Drive across the country. The roads are world class and can be easily navigated.  Reserve a car in advance, prior to your trip. In all their airports, there are car rental offices, where you can drive off straight. You can even drop off your car in another airport for a fee.


3. Cape Town is of course a must visit. You don't get a lot in Johannesburg so you can just use that as a stopover. Visit the winelands of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. That can make for a day trip actually if you are already in Cape Town. In fact, you can do a lot of day trip from Cape Town, including our favorite, the Cape of Good Hope.



4. Take your time. South Africa is a country not to be rushed. Even if we had only 12 days though, it seemed we were not rushing. We loved our Garden Route drive, so I highly recommend this to anyone. Get a car and drive from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, or go agains the crowd, and do the opposite (like what we did).


5. South Africa has a wide range of accommodations. Exploit these by booking in different rooms. You have to experience a country chalet or a safari tent or a waterfront lodge. There are several choices, and you can book them all through popular sites such as Agoda or Booking.com. We used Booking.com most of the time.


 South Africa was worth it, and I haven't stopped recommending it to everyone who kept asking me where to go for a vacation. South Africa is a vast country with varied experiences, and it was significantly cheaper compared to Europe. My flight from Manila cost me only 1000 USD roundtrip via Cathay Pacific. If this doesn't make you take that trip, then you will be missing a lot from one of the most beautiful countries I have been to.




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