Friday, May 20, 2011

The Blairadise Guide to South Africa

As per request from my cousin April, here is the Blairadise Guide to South Africa. I don't claim to know everything about this beautiful country, nor do I claim to have traveled the country over. This is just a peak into what I have discovered and hopefully it will entice more friends to come and explore SA. And visit us, of course.

Buying Tickets

Johan and I have made it back to the states twice since I moved here in 2008. Each time, we have scoured the internet looking for the best deal on flights, and not once have we bought directly from the airlines. South African Airways is way too expensive when dealing direct and Delta isn't too far behind. For Natalie's ticket in April, I found the cheapest tickets at Travelstart.  For our most recent trip in October, we bought our tickets on Flight Site. Today, I checked and Flight Site was cheaper. The lowest ticket prices I've ever found was around $1,200, and the price normally fluctuates between that and $2,000. You can always check with your local travel agent to see if they can get you a better deal with a layover. The direct flight from the states is almost 18 hours, so a few days in London is a nice way to avoid such a long flight.

When to Come

There is a website,, that states from November until April is the best time visit South Africa. I agree. Who wants to come to Africa during the winter time? It's not our snow you want to see, it's the hot African sun you want to feel. Personally, I say come in December, because then we will also be on holiday and might get to travel with you.

Where to Go

There is so much to see and do here, so I suggest staying at the very least, two weeks. Especially considering you loose a few days while traveling. Where you should go, depends on what you want out of your trip. If you want a safari, you go to the Kruger National Park. If want breathtaking views, you head to Cape Town or the Panorama Route. Surfing, Durban. If you want a bit of history and city life, you stay right here in Joburg.

If you are into 4x4 off road travel, then you have to check out my brother in laws site, Ivory 4x4 Hire. They offer 4x4 rentals with all the essentials you need for camping in the African bush. He will also recommend a route for you to travel and places to stay along the way. All suggested routes he or some mates have traveled. Johan and I went along on one of his trips in 2008. It was one of our most memorable trips to date. We saw a mother cheetah catch an ostrich, THEN call it's four cubs out and teach them how to finish the kill. Amazing!! Straight out of the National Geographic. He can't promise you such an adventure, but I am sure your trip will be just as memorable.

My two favorite places are the Kruger National Park and Cape Town. If you've seen those two, you will go home more than satisfied.

Where to Stay

The best site I've found for accommodation in South Africa is SA-Venues. They have a huge selection, from luxury homes and villas, to backpackers and hostels. In the Kruger, I would suggest staying in a tented camp. There you can also find the most luxurious tents to budget rentals.

We've always stayed with friends in Cape Town, so I can't recommend a certain place, but there are loads of wonderful choices from backpackers to the fanciest hotels. Once there you will also need to venture down to Stellenbosch and check out the wine farms. Even if you aren't a big wine drinker, you must go enjoy the scenery. One thing to remember when booking your accommodation is that most places charge per person, per night, opposed to per night.

There is always a free place to stay in Pretoria at the Scheeper's house! I'd say it's 6 star.

What to Do

Again, there is so much here to do and see for everyone. Safaris, cage diving with Sharks, whale watching, hiking Table Mountain, exploring the vineyards, the Cradle of Humankind, tour Diamond mines, watch a Rugby game or Cricket match, travel along the Panorama Route, braai with the locals, and the list goes on and on.

South Africa isn't as far away as it sounds. Here are few of my favorite photos while on holiday in SA:

The Vortrekker Monument - Pretoria - May 2011 - Don't believe what you read in your travel guide.

Mine and Amanda's first rugby game in 2008

Botswana with Ivory 4x4 - May 2008 - Can you spot the lioness?

Knysna - March 2008

The Kruger National Park - December 2009

The Kruger National Park - December 2009

Cape Town - December 2009 - The view of Table Mountain from our dinner table.

Stellenbosch - December 2009

Table Mountain - December 2009 - The view from the top!

Cape Town - December 2009
Botswana with Ivory 4x4 - May 2008
The Free State - March 2008 - Sunflower Fields

Uvongo - February 2011

Oribi Gorge - February 2011
Panorama Route - April 2011 - God's Window

Panorama Route - April 2011
Are ready to book your trip? I'd love to help you. Email me.


  1. I would LOVE.LOVE.LOVE to visit! I should convince the hubby.
    I've heard from Amanda and others that SA is truly one of the best spots to vacation the world.
    You know I would be all over the wineries!

  2. Dee, it really is amazing. After the plane ticket everything else is so cheap. You must come over!!

  3. I remember visiting several of the places you listed in your blog!! Great photos. Can't wait to visit again soon.

  4. The photos really make me homesick :( Great post Blair!! We miss you guys a lot!


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