Here we are, a week away from our flight to South Africa, the rainbow nation – so called by Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the post-apartheid. No term defines this country better than this. Different languages, populations, customs and landscapes interact daily. Pristine spaces, wild animals and Cape Town, the city at the end of the continent.
A year of research, planning and waiting has gone and now we are finally ready. We will spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve, first in Cape Town then in the Kruger National Park. First tip: book in advance, especially if you are planning to travel during the peak season. We booked our trip 10 months ago, when hotels were fully available and flight tickets were on a budget – € 650 return compared to the € 1700 you would spend booking the same flight now. Looking for more tips?
Find out how we planned our trip to South Africa..
SOUTH AFRICA: TRIP ITINERARY & MAPS
Trip duration: 15 days
Travelling from 23rd December 2017 to 6th January 2018
How to plan a trip to South Africa:
Our journey will begin in Cape Town where Luna, friend and contributing editor, is waiting for us. We will experience the city like a local, tasting new foods and getting lost in the narrow alleys of the city. We have many activities planned. Watching the sunrise from the top of the majestic Table Mountain, spotting the small African penguins in the famous Boulders Beach. Taking selfies in front of the colourful St James’ beach houses and wine tasting in the lush valleys of the Winelands. Six days won’t be enough …
Known to be rather violent, Johannesburg – or Joburg in slang – attracts and frightens us at the same time. During our first trip to South Africa, we will spend only one day in the city, but we’ll go back.
Kruger National Park
The oldest natural reserve in the world. We will spend New Year’s Eve in a lodge overlooking Crocodile River, where the animals of the Kruger National Park come to quench their thirst. We will greet the new year with a 4 day safari in the park, hopping from camp to camp trying to spot the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. What better way to start 2018?
Blyde River Canyon
Fourth and last stop of our South African trip is the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, located north-west of the Kruger National Park. It’s the third deepest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the United States and the Fish Eagle Canyon in Namibia. How could we miss it?!
Visa to visit South Africa
For European, American, Canadian and Australian visitors, life is easy. The visa to enter South Africa is issued at the airport upon arrival, it is free and is valid for three months. The passport, as for all journeys, must be valid for at least 6 months after entering the country.
The local currency is the South African Rand. In the cities, you can pay almost everything by credit card (but don’t forget the bank fee). Another common payment solution is through the app Snapscan, a practical solution to pay safely with no need to carry cash, load a wallet or worry about your card being skimmed. Once you’re there, you will get money out of an ATM in Rand, and you will often be charged a foreign transaction fee of about 4 percent by your bank. This can be expensive, so make sure you budget for it.
Budget for a trip to South Africa, per person
Flight: 650€ (Milan – Cape Town / Johannesburg – Milan)
Flight: 75€ (Cape Town – Johannesburg)
Car: 225€ for 15 days rental
Safari: 100€ (park fee and two guided trip)
Insurance: 80€ (medical, flight, luggage)