Travel South Africa!

dusty paws

8.11.2012
O.G.
Sep 20, 2006
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East Bay, CA
Hi all! My boyfriend and I may have the opportunity to travel to South Africa in February! I'm really excited at the idea of this happening.

So... what are the must sees? Where would be a good place to stay (it doesn't have to be a hotel, either). And my major concern is drinking water - my boyfriend either must have bottled water or bring a filter due to a chronic stomach condition. Does anyone know what the water situation is like there?

And anything else you'd like to chime in would be fantastic!
 

stephc005

O.G.
Aug 7, 2008
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MD
so jealous! i'm dying to go to south africa- #1 on my list is lion park in johannesburg. amazing! but then again, i'm really into animals so that's why i want to go.
 

buzzytoes

Dog Chauffeur
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Jun 7, 2008
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Go on safari FOR SURE!!! We went to Londolozi but that was 20 years ago so I have no idea what has popped up since then. They also have quite a few good wineries if you are into that kind of thing. We had a picnic at Boschendal winery (I was in sixth grade so clearly I was not tasting wine) and the grounds were lovely.
 

jpgoeth

Shopinator
Jul 6, 2007
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I haven't been to South Africa, but I have been to Kenya and Tanzania on safari and we never had any trouble at all getting bottled water. Even in places where the water was supposedly safe we always got bottled water and never had an issue.
 

Alidoll

Member
Apr 23, 2007
1,252
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Cape Town is brilliant! Do a tour of the city that includes a trip up Table Mountain..the views from the top are spectacular.

Robben island is a must. They have guides who were actually incarcerated on the island doing the commentary so really interesting.

Stayed at the Table Bay Hotel on the V&A waterfront. Five star hotel but sooooo worth splashing out. Right next door to a large shopping mall with loads of restaurants (green dolphin worth a visit for the sea food...and jazz!).

Didn't have time to do much else (as was en-route to Perth) but would reckon a safari should be in there..and shark watching for the more adventurous! Wine tasting meant to be good in the area.

Have a fabulous holiday..would love to go back but have a 10 month old daughter so cheap and cheerful for us for a few years till she's old enough to appreciate a different culture.
 
I lived in South Africa for 4 months last year, so I think I can help you. On your question about the water, in Johannesburg, you can drink from the tap, it's safe. And the bottled water is, of course, safe, too.

In my opinion, the must-sees in SA are:

Kruger National Park- about a 6 hour drive from JNB, but there are flights to get there, too. It's the biggest game reserve in South Africa, and probably the best, in terms of the diversity of the wildlife. It's quite huge, though, and it would be best to stay a minimum of three days to maximize your chances of seeing the rarest animals and to make the drive (or the cost of the flight) worth it. If you don't have the time, it might be best to go to Pilanesberg, which is nearer JNB (about 1.5 hours drive).

Apartheid Museum- It's obviously going to be quite emotional and sad, but it's still worth the visit. It would be a travesty to go to South Africa and not visit.

Soweto Tour- Soweto was the township that was the center of the anti-apartheid movement. There's loads to see (Nelson Mandela's former home, Hector Pieterson monument, etc.). The Soccer City stadium is also in the area, which would be a highlight if you were a football fan.

Table Mountain- absolutely gorgeous. And I recommend coming in the afternoon and waiting for the sunset. It would be best to check the website, though, for updates if they're open. Sometimes the cable car is closed due to dangerous wind conditions.

Cape Peninsula- Again, gorgeous. There's quite a lot to see, all of it beautiful. You need a car for this, though, which you can rent. Another option would be to go on a private tour. I went with Tanya (http://www.discoverytours.co.za/) and so did my mom and sister on a separate trip, and she was absolutely lovely. She's fun and knowledgeable and very accommodating. You can even customize your tour with her.

Stellenbosch Winelands- if you're into wine, then you can't miss this. There are a lit of vineyards to tour, and they all host wine tastings, so it could be quite the day. If you plan to do this, then maybe having Tanya take would be the best option. Haha.

BTW, I am in no way affiliated with Discovery Tours. I just take any opportunity that I can to get the word out on Tanya, as she is just absolutely lovely. And she charges quite reasonably, too.