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Old 06-22-2007, 06:54 PM   #1
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Default Just got back from South Africa!

I just got back a few days ago from my 18 day trip to South Africa.I just want to say its an amazing country and I felt safe the whole time I was there. I wouldn't go walking alone at night, but during the day I was fine. Taxis are cheap so its easy to get around. The biggest myth I heard before I left was the one that people don't stop at stop lights in Johannesburg. I never saw this. People would stop. Maybe this happens in the bad sections of the city, but as a tourist you would probably never end up in those areas.
So for all those people that have stayed away from South Africa because they have heard its dangerous, I would say to re think it because you would be missing out.
If anyone wants to see pictures I have put a few links below.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...2&id=764590073
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...8&id=764590073
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:42 PM   #2
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Thanks for your tips - it's always great to hear from people who visit the less mainstream destinations. Did you travel on a tour, with a group or friends, or independently? It would be interesting and perhaps useful to other t-punks if you could give us an idea of how you arranged your trip.

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Old 06-23-2007, 06:54 AM   #3
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those pictures are amazing! And Drifters looks like a really great place.
would love to hear more stories and info on your trip!

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Old 06-23-2007, 08:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TERI View Post
those pictures are amazing! And Drifters looks like a really great place.
I was going to say the same thing but the palace in sun city didn't look half bad either

The safari photos are great!

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Old 06-23-2007, 09:23 AM   #5
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Wow, those are really cool pics! So glad you had good things to say about South Africa...
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Old 06-23-2007, 09:46 AM   #6
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Nice photos! Love the baby warthog, lol.

Would love to hear more stories from South Africa...would love to go there someday, for diving and more.
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Old 06-23-2007, 10:24 AM   #7
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I went independently. I'm a travel agent, (the best job for someone who has the travel bug ) so part of it was for work and the Drifters tour was something I did on my own time. So for the first 9 days for work I was staying at hotels. That part of the trip was Cape Town, the winelands, Sun City, Pilanesburg and Johannesburg. Even though for that park I was staying in hotels it wouldn't be too much different to do the hostel thing. Day tours there are pretty cheap and their are tourist offices everywhere that will book them for you. I did a full day tour of Cape Point that took me around to the different attractions outside of Cape Town, like the Cape of good hope, boulders beach and hout bay, it cost about $70 CAD if you pre book, but I'm sure it would be a bit cheaper locally.
The Drifters tour was more my style of traveling. They have a bunch of different inns and lodges around the country as well as some other in Southern Africa. The inn in Johannesburg only costs 20 Euros a night and that's for a double room with its own bathroom. Breakfast is included and there is a pool at the inn. Meals are included on the tour and some participation is required, like helping make meals and washing dishes. I did a report for work on Drifters, Its long but I'll post it because it gives a lot of info on their tours and the company in general.
Even though I didn't do the whole "backpack" thing in South Africa I don't think it would be too hard to do. The only thing would be to not take the public bus system to get from town to town. They have some charter airlines and if you book your flights early enough you can get a good deal. I booked my flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg a few months prior to my trip and it only cost $45 CAD. There is a company called Baz Bus that's designed for backpackers. I didn't use them but a girl on my Drifters tour did and she said it was easy to use.
I hope that helps give a bit more insight. If any one has any questions just let me know and I would be happy to help.
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Old 06-23-2007, 10:26 AM   #8
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Here is the report I did on Drifters for my work.

The Drifters Experience
On my recent trip to South Africa I went on a Drifters 5 Day Bushveld Safari. Drifters is a South African owned company that has been in business since 1983. They have many tours that range from 5 to 30 days throughout southern Africa. The maximum number of passengers allowed on a tour is 16, so you get to much smaller places off the beaten path that a group of 50 would never get to. The best part about their tours is that they only use certified and trained guides that are South African. However not only are they guides they are also trackers. This not only means they know how to identify different animals and plants, it also means they know how to survive out in the middle of the bush. Each guide has gone thorough a six month to three year training. During this time they learn everything about flora and fauna in the area, tracking, astronomy, as well as the Latin word for every animal. Once they have become a certified guide they are tested yearly in order to keep their certification. So you know that when you are one of their tours your getting a guide that is well trained and knowledgeable.

With well trained guides and small group sizes you would think their tours are expensive, but they are not. They own all of their own vehicles as well as 16 inns, cabins and camps. The Bushveld camp I stayed in for 2 nights is owned by Drifters and is a private camp outside of Kruger Park in the Balule Nature Reserve. This means they can conduct their own walks, hikes and game drives anywhere they want on the property. The camp is not near any main roads so you get an incredible silence when you are there. The camp is considered luxury camping. What this means is that a large canvas tent is attached to a fixed structure. In the tent were two beds, as well as a bathroom attached to the tent. Each tent is equipped with electricity and running water. The bathrooms are fully equipped with a toilet, sink and shower as well as hot and cold water. The camp has a main kitchen and living space that guests use as well as a swimming pool. The camp sits high on a hill and at the bottom is a water hole that has a spot light on it to view the animals at night. To me this was a great feature as we saw a Leopard at dusk which we would not have seen if there was no light. We saw many animals at the watering hole throughout our stay. Giraffes, Zebras, Baboons, Hyenas and Buffalo to name a few.
Another Drifters property we stayed at was their Inn in Hazyview. The inn is located on the banks of the Sabie River. Which is home to many Hippos and Crocodiles, so the inn has a tall wire fence to keep out unwanted guests. The views from the inn are amazing. With the high rainfall the area gets you fell as though you are in the middle of a rain forest. The inn itself was beautiful. With the wood and thatched roof it looked like something out of Swiss Family Robinson. There is also a pool at the inn as well as some marked paths that are within the fence that guests can use.
All that said I had a great time and an amazing experience. You also canít beat the value. For $743 CAD I got 4 nights accommodation, 4 dinners, 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, admission into Kruger Park and Bourkeís Luck Potholes, an experienced guide, a game drive as well as 2 guided hikes. Also all the transportation was included. The tour starts and ends in Johannesburg which is several hours away from the Kruger area.
This tour is great for those, like myself, that are not big on "roughing it". There was no real camping involved and each place we stayed at had modern amenities. Drifters does offer some longer tours as well with similar lodging. For those who live by the Drifters slogan of "Roughing it and Loving it", there are some other tours that offer a mix of traditional camping with inns and cabins. With either accommodation style you can bet on one thing, you will feel as though you have gotten a true African experience.


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Old 06-24-2007, 03:05 AM   #9
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Great posts, Travel Girl! Brought back memories of my own trip to SA. Glad to hear you didn't run into any problems. I looked at some of the Drifters safaris, too, but ended up doing the self-drive thing in Kruger and then one of their 3 day Hiking Trail excursions. It is amazing to see the animals in their own environment...and lucky dog -- you saw a Leopard, eh? Congrats!

I also did the Baz Bus thing, and highly recommend it for anyone spending 2+ weeks in SA. Loved the photos on your facebook page, too. Definitely brings back memories of Kruger. Cape Town looks great...guess I'll have to go back, one day!

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Old 06-25-2007, 08:55 PM   #10
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I wish I could post video of my trip. I have some great animal shots as well as a great one of the little girls in Soweto singing and dancing. Even though seeing the animals was amazing. Learning about the stugle the South African people have gone through made me view life differently.
South Africa was definatley the second best trip I ever did. Right behind my 5 month backpack trip of Europe.
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