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Monday, June 23, 2014

South Africa - After thoughts & tips


After thoughts - 

South Africa was an easy introduction to Africa for us.  Our itinerary of Cape Town and the Sabi Sand Safari were so different that it felt like we were on two separate trips.  

Cape Town is so blessed geographically that it was really one of the most beautiful cities I had ever visited.  Growing up in Taipei, a city surrounded by mountains and the ocean was not far away, I was reminded how nice it was to have nature so close by.  Cape Town was small in size and population. Within minutes of a drive, you were immersed in stunning and dramatic landscapes.  Being used to flat land and skyscraper buildings in New York city, I am envious of Cape Towns' natural beauty. 

Our Sabi Sand Safari felt like a luxurious adult summer camp.  The experience was far from my romantic visions from the movie "Out of Africa". However, even with the five star amenities and attentive service catering to our every needs,  when we were sitting on the 4x4 driving out to the bush,  we were quickly reminded that we were on this ancient and majestic motherland of Africa.  After having our first safari experience, we were ready to embark other parts of Africa.  I know I will be looking for wildlife migrations for our next safari. 


Tips - Cape Town: 

  • Rental car - Although some people may be intimidated by driving on the left side in South Africa, renting a car is highly recommend when you visit Cape Town.  The city is not safe to walk around at night and the public transportation is not very convenient.  It takes a while to get used to driving on the right side, but the traffic is quite manageable in comparison to other major cities.  If you decide to rent a car, be sure to get a GPS system. 
  • Township tour - You probably already read it in other websites or guidebooks.  Yes, it is the must visit when you come to Cape Town.  We highly recommend Siviwe Langa Township tour, the tour company we used.  If your schedule allows, go there on a Sunday morning for the church service and vibrant township life. 
  • Table Mountain Cable Car - It is a good idea to book tickets in advance online through Table Mountain Aerial Cableway website, which would save you sometime waiting in line at the kiosk.  



Tips - Sabi Sand Safari:

  • Vaccination - we spent a lot of time doing research on what vaccines to get, if and what anti-malaria drugs were necessary.  There was a lot of debates on this topic that you can find online.  After researching and consulting with the doctors, we received a Hepatitis A shot, Typhoid pills, and Malarone pills (one of the three anti-malaria drugs) in the end.  It is also a good idea to educate yourself on the pros and cons on the three types of anti-malaria drugs: Malarone, Mefloquine, and Doxycycline. 
  • Kruger National Park vs. Private Game Reserve - When it comes to choosing either Kruger park or one of the lodges in the private reserve, here are some deciding factors.  
    • Budget - Kruger provides more economical options if you want to bring your cost down. 
    • Animal viewing - Animals are free to roam between Kruger Park and Sabi Sand reserve so you will most likely see similar animals between these two.  The only difference is that the private game reserve provides a team of professionals to maximize the game viewing opportunities and more intimate experience by having access to drive off-road and drive at night. 
*If you decide to go with the private game drive, there is really no need to use a travel agent.  The lodge should be able to arrange the trip for you. 

  • Packing list - Beyond layers of earthy tone outdoor wears you should bring on a safari trip, don't forget pack your binoculars.  
  • Alarm clock - If you stay in one of the private reserves, it may be a good idea to set your own alarm in the morning and not rely solely on the lodge's morning calls.  I am not sure if it is only Lion Sands' unique problem, but it happened to us and other couples that the lodge missed our morning calls during our 4 day stay. 


Animal Footages




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