Notes from my recent tour

I just returned from the July 31 tour. Had a great time. Safari was an amazing experience. Notes below are meant to address questions I see asked in this form. (I realize I am repeating items covered in other posts - especially about cold mornings - but I wanted to include all my notes in 1 post).

3 nights were "smart casual" - only 1 guy wore a sport coat and no one wore a tie. Most guys wore long sleeve, button down shirts. Rest of the tour was casual - jeans and running shoes were common. Weather ranged from mid-40s to mid-80s. Bring layers.

On day 2 you have the afternoon free but it's only 3 hours so you can't do much beyond walking around V&A Waterfront.

For early arrivals:
- Kirstenboch Gardens received good reviews from several people who went there. (Take a cab or the blue bus line).
- There are several museums in downtown that are interesting but not must sees.
- Beaches were very pretty and I was told they are very nice in summer.
There is a "Hop-on Hop-off" bus. The red line is a circular route that takes 90 minutes if you don't get off. Can use for downtown or the beaches. The blue line is a circular route that goes around Table Mountain. It takes 2 1/2 hours if you don't get off. Can use for downtown, Kirstenboch Gardens or wineries. Both routes have significant overlap with the bus tour that's part of the program.

The safari vehicles are Land Cruisers that have 3 rows of tiered seats behind the driver. The sides come up to around waist level. It's totally open above that (no roof, no windows, windshield is down). The vehicles used are from the safari lodges (as well as the guides and trackers) so you can see pictures of these vehicles and learn more about the safaris on and The do have a flat canvas roof that can be put on the vehicle. I assume they use these when it is much hotter.

- Binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens and high quality display are essential. You will often be looking at animals that are several hundred yards away. A highlight of my tour was when we parked about 30 feet from a lion. Studying him through the binoculars was amazing.
- In winter it is dry and cold so there weren't many insects. Insect repellant is still a good idea.
- With the open vehicle you get lots of sun so sunscreen is important.
- About half the group wore safari clothes, about half didn't. Don't worry if you don't want to buy these - you get a little dusty but can change. I do recommend a safari style hat. The wide brim helps with the sun and a chin strap is essential to keep it on (a cheap one is fine).
- At the start of the morning drives it was in the mid-40s, but felt colder. When you start driving the wind chill makes it feel like low-30s. As noted in numerous other posts, I highly recommend a warm cap. warm scarf and gloves for winter months. I didn't bring the cap or scarf and after the first day I tied a sweater around my neck- it worked but no style points! Temperature changes significantly while you are on the drives so have layers for cold mornings and evenings (you get back after dark and it cools off substantially when the sun goes down). A bag or pack for all your safari gear is useful as you want to grab it and go in the morning.
- Vehicle ride can be very bumpy.
- To see the weather forecast for safari area use "Skukuza" as the city

Cape Town to Skukuza and Skukuza to Jo'burg is on a small jet operated by South African Air. Suitcase limit is 44 pounds. You check in your own bag so they may assess you a surcharge for over-weight bags. Don't know amount. It didn't look like the consistently enforced the weight limit.

Jo'burg to Victoria Falls (and back) were on British Air 737. Weight limit was 50 pounds. Again, you check in your own bag so a surcharge for over-weight bags may be applied.

I used an adapter at the Cape Grace but it looked like they had an outlet that would work with American style plugs. At the other 3 hotels/lodges I used outlets that accepted American style plugs (Most hotels had several different types of outlets, some of which can take more than one type of plug. It may not be obvious that there is one you can use). Bottom line - take one if you want to be safe but you may not need it.

My room at the Victoria Falls Hotel had an outlet for American style plugs. They have been doing upgrades at the hotel and I'm not sure if all the rooms have been updated with these outlets.

I went on my own and didn't have any problems (I have done this several times before). Tour activities and most of the meals are group activities where you will be with the other people in the group. Nice group of people - very easy to travel with.

LOW LIGHTS - I put on 5 pounds and now have to head to the gym.


  • Thanks rsj! We are on the September 11th trip and can't wait:-)
  • Couple of additions. The Cape Grace has two fancy BMW's and drivers that can be used and reserved free on a first come first serve basis, we used one for Kirstenbosch Gardens. The Christian Barnard Heart transplant museum was a great tour for us, a car will pick you up and return you as part of the ticket.
    Scarf on safari--- we found our buffs just as warm, they weigh nothing and take up no room and can shield your face from insects or sunshine fairly stylishly with the variety of patterns available.
Sign In or Register to comment.