Lonely Planet - South Africa

Three Week Countdown to our Big South African Road Trip!

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Three weeks from today we’ll be hitting the road again on our Big South African Road Trip, or BSART for short. That doesn’t really work too well as an acronym so let’s stick to SART, or what do you say?! We are planning on taking a road trip round South Africa and southern Namibia that will take in the region of 6-7 weeks, which means it will be a very quick trip as there is a lot to see! We won’t be spending more than one night anywhere other than the National Parks, and even then we’ll be moving between camps rather than staying anywhere for very long. We’re going anti-clockwise and pretty much doing the coastal route up to St Lucia, with a quick detour to the Drakensberg, then cutting inland through Swaziland, Kruger, Pretoria, Upington, Kgalagadi, then into southern Namibia as far as Luderitz, before turning back and hitting the West Coast. We’ve been talking about doing a trip round South Africa for a while as Brian only knows the Southern Cape and I can’t say my travel experiences in South Africa go that much further in all honesty!
The route and order of travel came about as I knew from the moment we started talking about this trip that I HAD to go to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park as I haven’t been there since I was a child when it was still called the Kalahari Gemsbok Park, and I only have great memories of the place. On closer investigation it turned out that it is practically impossible to book anything there unless you book months and months in advance. Consequently, this was the first place I booked, way back in May, and even then I could only find three consecutive nights in three different camps!

The next step was to decide whether to go clockwise or anti-clockwise, but we decided that anti-clockwise would just work better in terms of timing. The rest of the bookings then followed, and I’m trying to visit as many of the National Parks as I can, even though Brian isn’t that much of a wildlife fan and seems convinced that once you’ve seen one lion or elephant you don’t need to see any more! I’m trying to tell him that it is all about the experience of staying in the camps, the braaiing, the open skies etc etc, so we’ll see what he says after the trip! Hopefully we’ll have a good balance between wildlife and city life to keep us both happy.
I’ve been spending time planning the trip on and off for a while, but in these final few weeks I will finalise all the details and make sure all the booking are confirmed and routes worked out in detail. In this respect it will be a LOT different from the America trip where we only looked about a week ahead. I have to admit I am a bit more worried about travelling in South Africa than I was about America as I think we will probably be going more off the beaten track than we did in America – there is a reason the Wild Coast is called wild after all! The fact that road conditions can be a bit unpredictable at times and the fact that we HAVE to be in the Parks at the times I booked means I’ve had to do a lot more research on which roads and routes to take as we cannot really afford to lose too much time anywhere. I’ve enjoyed the planning of the trip so far, and we’ve bought a new GPS, as well as a detailed map, and with Google Maps as backup, we’ll hopefully be ok!! I’m starting to look forward to getting back on the road and experiencing what South Africa has to offer!
As with our travels last year, we’ll try to keep a blog going, but I suspect there will be a fair few days without Internet so the blogging may be patchy at times. I’ll also have to get back into ‘writing’ again as my writing is very rusty at the moment….

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