South Africa 2016
[Day 1 Johannesburg] Stay at Rosebank Lodge (isolated, old, good for just sleeping, ++)
[Day 2-4 Kruger National Park] 6 hour drive to safari with Outlook Safari (great accommodations and guides, flawless execution of tours, +++++), afterwards transfer to Curiocity Backpackers (great environment for socializing, huge rooms, +++)
Kruger National Park: Located 6 hours outside of the capital Johannesburg, this park features many trees and shrubs with animals of all kinds including the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino). The winter dry months with fewer leaves mean more views and less malaria-spreading mosquitos. You will not see carnivores hunting prey in open fields but rather spot individual and groups of animals together. Safari tours feature a 3- hour drive in a large vehicle.
Apartheid Museum: Very well done museum away from the city center. Prepare to spend at least 1 hour even if cruising fast. Preferably leave 2-4 hours to see everything about the history of the apartheid movement in South Africa. Follow Nelson Mandela through history in the fight, a must-do for history lovers.
[Day 5-6 Johannesburg – Cape Town] Shosholeza Meyl train (27 hours + 3.5 hour delay, safe, comfortable, great staff and service, great views, ++++)
Shosholeza Meyl: Take this train if you have a full two days to spare. The cost is average, cheaper than a budget airline with more choices for food purchases and room to move. The train is frequently delayed by 3-12 hours. Enjoy the scenery as you travel from the arid grasslands in the Northeast to the lush Vineyards in the Southwest or vice versa.
[Day 7-8 Cape Town] City Sightseeing bus (inexpensive, ticket includes free rides and many tours, comes every 30 min or less, ++++), stay at 91 Loop (convenient location in center of city, great socializing environment, everything very new, +++++)
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront: This is the main attraction and rally point of all of Cape Town. Enjoy the pier and boardwalk in the harbor as you watch ships, take tours, eat your heart out, or simply relax. Many tours start here and some very well known restaurants and hotels visited by stars reside here.
Table Mountain: This attraction is now one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Hike or ride the cable car to the top and walk around the national park. Enjoy breathtaking 360 views of the whole surrounding area. Lines can get long so either arrive early or late.
Camps Bay, Green Point, etc: These are just names of small towns along the Western coast with multimillion dollar beachfront property. They somewhat resemble the Southern coast of California in which the super rich may reside.
World of Birds: Started a bird sanctuary by an individual, this small “zoo”, now houses and takes care of thousands of injured animals of a few hundred species. See one of the most diverse collections in the world. Locals still bring injured animals to this shelter.
Imizamo Yethu: One of the shantytowns right across the street from the rich white areas, this township offers tours of what life is like as a poor black in the country. Township tours give a great experience not obtained elsewhere but make sure to travel with a guide.
Martin Melck House: This individual property used to host a Gold history museum but has now been converted to a Nelson Mandela museum. If a visit to the Apartheid Museum in Johaneesburg is not doable, pay a visit to this abbreviated museum to learn about the history of Nelson.
[Day 9 Cape Peninsula] Bazbus tour (budget tour group serving most hostels in Cape Town) to Cape Point
Hout Bay to “seal island”: Visit this bay on the other side of Cape Town and take a short boat tour to see thousands of seals resting on the rocks.
Chapman’s Peak Drive: See views of the West side of the bay as well as dugouts in the mountains where the road passes through.
Boulders Beach: See colonies of penguins residing on the beach and swimming in the light blue waters.
Cape Point Natural Reserve: Visit the Southernmost point on the West side of South Africa, not actually the Southernmost point. Take a picture by the famous sign.