Where to begin?! There’s a host of places to travel to in Africa – often giving you the chance for a holiday of a lifetime.
This section is about sharing information. Do you have a favourite destination, time of year for something special, or an agent that you would really recommend? Let us know about it and we will include in our different sections.
Check out this map for the right time of year for safari in different countries.
Amanda says – if you’re travelling with kids, try and get a private vehicle when you’re on safari. What a difference it made to us! We could go where we wanted, when we wanted. But also the kids built up a great relationship with the guide, and got so much more out of it.
Amanda says – again if travelling with kids on safari, be aware of the style of accommodation you have. Try and get a family unit where the rooms are actually connected without going outside. Otherwise you can find that you have an adult and a child in each room, so that the kids are not alone when predators are around.
Amanda says – we used Imagine Africa in London for all of our trips. They were excellent. Bjorn Behlert was a great agent for us.
Julie says – if you like to get off the beaten track but want all the arrangements taken care of by someone else then I would recommend Uk based Pioneer Expeditions who use an excellent local operator
If you’re travelling to Egypt, ‘Vicki’ recommends Your Egypt Tours and says – I can’t say enough about them. They custom designed our trip around our timetable and the list of things we wanted to do, arranged our hotels, cars and Egyptoligist guides who were really interesting and knowledagble. Everyone from the company was so helpful from the moment they met us in the airport to the time they dropped us back.
Beginning 1st June, 2015 parents travelling with children (under 18) may be asked to show the child’s full birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, proof of parental or legal authority to travel with the child. Go to Gov.uk for more information.
Kwa Zulu Natal:
Amanda says – a highlight for us was seeing loggerhead and leatherback turtles at the iSimangaliso wetland in Kwa Zulu Natal, over new year. Pick your time of year right and it can be a sighting of a lifetime. We stayed at Thonga Beach lodge.
Helen has also been to Kwa Zulu Natal and says – I recommend the Isibindi African Lodges (www.isibindi.co.za) if you are planning a visit to the Kwa Zulu Natal Area of South Africa. In this area they have three lodges all with their own unique character and surroundings. Over one holiday we spent 4 nights at each of the three lodges, booking it all through the one website. They all offer luxury accommodation with a laid back feel, great food and a range of activities. Thonga Beach Lodge is set beside a beautiful stretch of beach with breath taking scenery. The Zulu Lodge gives you an opportunity to explore the Zulu Battlefields. Kosi Forest Lodge is in a forest setting with forest walks and boat trips
Jan says – we celebrated New Year 2015 with a 3 night break at Lions Sands in the Sabi Sands Game Resort. It’s very easy to get to a short flight from Johannesburg to Skukuza airport and a transfer of 30 minutes in your game vehicle. On our first two drives we saw the big 5 and a highlight was seeing a leopard with its cub.
Emma also stayed at Lions Sand back in 2009 – we had an amazing stay at Lion Sands. I
would recommend booking direct with them and developing a relationship with the booking staff. We originally booked to stay in River Lodge but they upgraded us to Ivory Lodge as they overbooked. It was an amazing place to stay and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful. Was lovely having dinner laid out in the living room one night with the fire roaring! ‘Emma’ also says – Would also recommend staying in the accommodation run by South African National Parks in Kruger if you are driving yourself. I’ve been going for
many years since I was a child and it has improved a lot in recent times.
Cape Town and around:
Emma says – we stayed in the Waterfront Village apartments over New Year
2015. It’s a great place to stay with kids as it’s a lot less formal than
a hotel and quite reasonable (for Cape Town…). The Waterfront is a five
minute walk and there is a pool that you can use overlooking the harbour.
The views from the balconies are of Table Mountain or the canals and it’s
very quiet and peaceful (even at New Year!)
Vicki also stayed at the Waterfront Village – and says – we stayed at the Waterfront Village in Cape Town and loved it. We had a very reasonably priced 3 bedroom apartment with kitchen, laundry and living room and a large, wrap around balcony with a beautiful view of the canal below and a view of Table Mountain from the kitchen. Only a 5 minute walk to the great restaurants at The One & Only Hotel and about 15 mins walk along the harbour to the centre of the V&A.
Angela says – You cannot visit Cape Town without going to Camps Bay!! Houses to rent are extremely expensive at Christmas/New Year but prices dramatically fall in price out of this peak time. Camps Bay is situated below Table Mountain, with houses scattered around the mountain side, with the shops/beach at the base (google map your location to check how far the walk is up the hill).
A big thank you to Angela for all the following rental and restaurant info for the area- Houses to rent website: http://www.theblinkwater.com/ We stayed here with family, this is a modern, large 4 bedroom house with a pool and only 5 mins walk from the shops/restaurants. http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk More cost efficient than going through an agent, owners are willing to negotiate a price, especially outwith peak seasons.
Restaurants in Camps Bay – Godfather – They weigh your fish plate here (which you select from their ‘fishmongers’ and its cooked to perfection. Great fish restaurant, always packed! The Bungalow – (Clifton) About a 10 min walk along the beach front, this is a fantastic sun downer place with chilled music and sofa seating/blankets. Umi – Asian fashion, situated along the front of Camps Bay, another wonderful view and great food – the blackened cod was amazing, we ordered tapas style here and shared along with a bottle or two of wine! Blues – Such a great standard of food here, something for all taste buds and again situated on the camps bay front with wonderful views. The calamari was delicious. Chocolate Lovers – you must go!!!! Honest Cafe – prob THE best cafe i have ever been, def worth a visit if you are in Cape Town and fancy a break from V&A area!! Try everything! Bring chocolate home with you, the chocolate spread is very special!! http://www.honestchocolate.co.za/
Jan says – We had a weekend in Pretoria to watch a Super XV rugby match the Bulls v the Lions at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. If you love watching sport I can highly recommend a visit to watch the Bulls in action they are an exciting team to watch. We stayed at Bohemia House a boutique guest house in the beautiful district Waterkloof. The owners Johan and Alta could not have been more helpful and took us on a sightseeing trip of Pretoria. It’s also an ideal location for a pre-night stay if you are planning a trip on Rovos rail.
Other parts of SA:
Emma says – Rovos Rail, another trip I’d recommend booking direct with. We were
again upgraded and it was a fantastic experience having a bath on a moving train. We travelled from Cape Town to Pretoria over 2 and a half days. The food was lovely and we had a really interesting trip to the Big Hole at Kimberley.
Helen says – Roof top camping is a great way to explore Namibia. There are number of companies that rent out a vehicle with tents on the top and all the basic camping equipment you require. We used Caprivi Car Hire and were very happy with the service and equipment. We had two double tents which each comfortably fit two people. The camp sites we stayed at were all fantastic with great shower/ toilet and bbq facilities. You can usually book in advance, especially if they are attached to a lodge. We sometimes did a night camping and a night at the lodge. Camping in June, the sites were very quiet and we were usually the only campers there. I do recommend taking extra sleeping bags in the Winter months.
Amanda says – so many highlights in this country. But Hoanib Wilderness Lodge blew us away. The only lodge that can get you right out to the Skeleton Coast. Such amazing scenery, animal sightings and peace.
Amanda says – this was our third safari, but by far the best. If you have kids over 8, or are here without children – you should get into the heart of South Luangwa National Park. We stayed at Kakuli (Norman Carr) with our two and hardly saw anyone else. We’ll definitely be going back for walking safaris to both here and Kafue when we don’t have the children with us. I think I’ve lost my heart to Zambia…
Amanda says – we added five days in Lake Malawi (Danforth) to our Zambia trip – what a great combo, safari and beach time in a different kind of way. And it was great. Too many people are put off Lake Malawi by the reports of bilharzia (which even if you were unlucky enough to get it is very easily treated), but you mustn’t be. Its a beautiful peaceful country and a great spot to relax. And I’m sure it could be tagged on to a number of destinations in Southern Africa to give you a really nice safari / beach combo.
Emma says – great place to visit, we stayed at Lake Malawi which was lovely but best place was the Zomba Plateau. Its quite a drive from Blantyre but worth it for the views of Mulanje. We stayed at the Sunbird Ku Chawe and most rooms have a fireplace as it gets quite chilly up there at night. It was quite a while ago now that we stayed there but judging from the TripAdvisor reviews it’s still worth a visit.
Julie says – Madagascar is a friendly , beautiful and diverse country . It is a mixture of Africa and South East Asia. If you want adventure then you can hike in National Parks across limestone pinnacles called Tisingy. Along the way it is exciting to come across lemurs and a variety of reptiles only found in Madagascar. Park guides are fantastic and essential to get the most from your visit. If you want to relax and enjoy snorkelling and diving the islands off Nosy Be have amazing coral and can be a holiday in itself. There are a number of routes from Angola via Johannesburg or Nairobi. It is easier to use an agent who will organise a driver , guide and if you are camping even a cook .
Vicki says – Egypt is an amazing place to visit. Sadly, since 2011, their tourist industry has collapsed but it means no crowds in any of the tourist destinations (especially the Pyramids in Giza) and private group tours. I recommend the Hyatt Rygency in Sharm el Sheikh and if you need to spend the night near the airport in Cairo, like we did, Le Meridien was wonderful.
Emma says – Hurghada – we had a week’s holiday here in October 2012. We stayed at
The Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh (http://www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-sahl-hasheesh/index.aspx) which was amazing. The hotel is beautiful and the food amazing. Due to the struggling tourist industry you may find if you approach the hotel direct
there are offers available.
Emma also says – Cairo – We stayed at the Mena House Hotel next to the Pyramids whilst we waited for our house to be finished when we first moved to Cairo. I would throughly recommend a stay there to anyone who goes to Cairo. If you stay in the main part of the hotel most rooms have direct views of the Great Pyramid – an amazing thing to wake up to! When we stayed our son wasn’t yet two and they were perfectly happy to prepare whatever food he wanted. Even if you don’t saty overnight the hotel is a great place for lunch after a hot and dusty trip round the Pyramids!
Emma was also prepared to share her hidden gem with us – and recommends this restaurant with an amazing view in Cairo. http://www.barrysone.com/index.php
Angela says – Mauritius is a beautiful island (I’m told hotels/restaurants are also cheaper than Seychelles) and depending on what side you head to, very different! My husband is a kiteboarder so we visited both sides – Le Morne (on west side) has the dramatic mountain backdrop and famous ‘One Eye’ surf (prob the largest wave that rolls over the reef i have ever seen and home to regular world championship events) is beautiful but there are lots of newlyweds! The east side is very unspoilt and pretty with lots of sugar cane fields, we loved Belle Mar (alot of all inclusive are situated around here) and near the top of the island (North) is Grand Gaube which is a lovely town with beautiful sunsets and lots of restaurants you can walk to. If we were going back, we would head to Grand Gaube as living in a compound in Angola, we needed some freedom to walk and drive around rather than be stuck in a 5 star all inclusive bubble. This is a great place to visit while in Angola, really family friendly, great food, lots of activities to do/see and great weather! We took our SUP boards and paddled up the river to see the waterfalls