Hello! Thanks for reading this! I've planned many trips for us before but this trip I think I'm going to need some help to make the most of it. There's certainly a wealth of information available here and it's a bit like taking a drink from a fire hydrant so sorry if I'm asking again what others before me have. First, a little about us. We're a young married couple who will be visiting Africa for the first time. We have about 14 days available to us. I hope this will be enough time! We're looking at coming in the beginning of September. This would work with our work schedules best, and I believe that will still be the low season in SA which will give us cheaper rates for accommodations. Another option is possibly November. I'm open to suggestions; I can be swayed! We're budget travelers. We're used to paying around $50 US/night for a hotel room. I think this will relegate us to self catering facilities, but this is fine. We're generally a lunch and supper only kind of people but if breakfast is available then it's a bonus. I wouldn't mind spending a couple nights here and there paying as much as double that to splurge (for us).
I guess what I'm having the most difficulty with is divvying up the days. I've made a list of things we'd be interested in doing. It's not a definitive list, so feel free to suggest additions or subtractions:
Cape Town Area -
Robben Island, Cape Point, Boulders Beach (or similar with being as close as possible to penguins being the main attraction), City Sightseeing Bus, Bo Kaap, World of Birds, Table Mountain Cableway, Chapman's Peak Drive, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, eat a Gatsby somewhere
Wine country - various wineries (we drink wine but we're not by any means connoisseurs. We'd be interested in tours, tastings, maybe even a night at a winery)
Hermanus - whales (we come from an area with whales so this doesn't have to be a prime focus for us)
Garden Route - scenic drive, cango caves, ostriches, Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours (stormsriver), Addo near PE
JHB - Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City mine tour, Top of Africa, Soweto tour, Mandela House
Kruger - Thinking maybe a guided safari one day and then self drive the next? Optional add on visit to Swaziland if time allows. Seeing the Big 5 + giraffes would be a definite highlight
The idea would be to fly into Cape Town, hire a car, drive to PE, drop off the car, fly to Jozi, rent another car, drive to Kruger and back, leaving for home from Jozi. We could also do this in reverse.
A few questions regarding the above -- will there be much to see at the wineries in September? I'd imagine the grapes aren't quite growing yet that time of year. From what I've read there should be many flowers that time of year so it should be a good time for the botanical gardens. I've read that it's also a good time to visit Kruger. Also, is visiting Addo worthwhile if we're going to Kruger as well? There seems to be many game related attractions no matter where you go in SA but I'm not sure how many we should visit without duplicating efforts. I know the time of year we've chosen may not be conducive to swimming outdoors in many parts of the country but if someone could suggest somewhere in the country we could add that in without freezing that would be appreciated too. For a township tour, is it a "you've done one, you've done them all" type of thing or is there value in doing multiple ones like Langa and Soweto?
We're still getting started looking at possible accommodations. I think when we're in the Cape Town area we'll stay in Hout Bay. Based on previous suggestions in the forums, Makuti Lodge looks like a decent place and the rates seem reasonable. We're also looking at the Franschhoek Traveler's Lodge, maybe The Beautiful South in Stellenbosch, Knysna Country House as a stopping point for the Garden Route. Again, we're very open to suggestions.
This is a trip we probably won't be able to do again for a long time so we'd like to see and do as much as possible without breaking the bank. We're really excited about visiting. I just hope our budget doesn't put too much of a damper on things. I read through these threads about budgets of $10000+ for two weeks accommodations and get depressed! Thanks everyone in advance for your help!