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South Africa in December

(24 Posts)
Mumski45 Mon 07-Nov-16 10:07:14

We are taking our 2 DS' (9 and 11) to South Africa in December. I am looking for advice on what to pack especially for the kids. We will be visiting Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls, The Garden Route and Cape Town.

I understand that the weather will be warm particularly during the day but I am concerned about early morning in Kruger - will it be cold? and I am assuming we will need some long sleeve clothing to avoid insect bites.
I have also read that Kruger can be quite wet in December.

I would love to hear from someone who has been at this time of year and can give me tips on what they used/did not use.

Also any general tips would be very much appreciated, thanks.

bojorojo Thu 10-Nov-16 16:52:41

Victoria Falls is not in South Africa. December is the height of the summer holiday season in South Africa and it will be hot. I didn't think Kruger had a rainy season as such but thunder storms may happen. Lots of sun tan cream and a fleece for early mornings might be necessary. Hats to shield from the sun and binoculars. Decent insect repellant is a good idea and long sleeves in the evenings. I would buy a Lonely Planet guide for correct information and tips. I find they are the best guide books.

2014newme Thu 10-Nov-16 16:54:50

It's very hot in December. I have been in January and it was hot hot hot.

FleshEmoji Thu 10-Nov-16 17:12:26

We went to Cape Town on Dec 27th and were so chilly the first evening we had to buy fleeces. Didn't help that the house we were in was in the shade of Table Mountain.

I'd definitely say take them in case of cool evenings. In the day time we were fine in T shirts and it got warmer as we drove along the Garden Route and left the west coast behind.

tuliparcher Thu 10-Nov-16 19:37:22

I'm so jealous Mumski! You'll have a great time. December/January is the rainy season, but Southern Africa is experiencing a drought at the moment, so you may or may not see any. The thunderstorms can be quite something! Cape Town is cooler at than the rest of the country. You may need a fleece in the evenings there. The Kruger Park is really quite hot at this time of year.
If you're going for long sleeves it'll have to be very thin material. Insect repellent, sun hats & sunglasses are a must.
Are you flying up to Victoria Falls? Which side are you going from Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Mumski45 Sat 12-Nov-16 14:48:22

Hi thanks everyone for the tips thats really useful. I have heard mixed reports about how hot and wet it can be at this time of year.

bojorojo - i am aware Vic falls is not in South Africa but we are flying there for a 2 day visit.

It sounds like we will definitely need to take a fleece for the early mornings and evenings.
I'm also considering taking walking boots rather than just trainers and sandals but my list is just getting bigger and bigger. I know we could get stuff out there but I would resent buying things there when I know I could have taken them with us.

All the things you have suggested are now on my list.

Mumski45 Sat 12-Nov-16 14:51:45

tuliparcher we are flying to and staying near Livingstone which I think is on the Zambian side.

FleshEmoji Sun 13-Nov-16 08:37:43

It's worth considering that you'll easily be able to buy more summer clothing, but finding extra fleeces or cardigans might be harder.

Have fun - I loved it!

JustSpeakSense Sun 13-Nov-16 08:53:41

I am South African.

It will be increasingly hot in the Kruger in December.

But night time game drives might require a jumper (game vehicles will be equipped with blankets but I imagine would not be needed in December)

Please take anti malaria medication. And prepare yourself for mosquito defence (local stuff is better than what you can buy here 'tabard' is the best brand, also burn mosquito coils or use those plug in machines in your room at night)

Obviously sunblock (several applications a day) and hats.

Open shoes are what you will wear the most, but one pair of trainers and one jumper per family member should be ok.

Unless you are going to be hiking in the mountains I don't think walking shoes would be needed.

Have a wonderful time x

Mumski45 Mon 14-Nov-16 18:41:42

Hi and thanks very much for the tips. I think I am going a bit overboard on the long sleeves and covering up idea. Will probably not bother with boots and keep long sleeves to a minimum as it sounds like it will be hotter than I thought.

We all went for our vaccinations today and the malaria tabs are on order.

I never thought this holiday would need so much planning

JustSpeakSense Mon 14-Nov-16 18:52:24

You will have a wonderful time, your itinerary sounds amazing!

dingalong Tue 15-Nov-16 18:20:11

I hope you're going white water rafting on Zambezi - wonderful experience !

InformalRoman Wed 16-Nov-16 09:31:39

Don't forget you'll need to take your children's original birth certificates or certified copies with you.

Mumski45 Fri 18-Nov-16 12:55:43

Hi thanks Informalroman - i had read that somewhere. DH is dealing with passports tickets, formalities etc so I will remind him.

White water rafting - now that sounds like fun I will look into it, thanks dingalong.

Yes the itinerary is fab and is getting more and more booked up. I'm currently trying to organise a 2 day bike ride for 9 round Cape Town. Not easy when everyone is of a different ability but we are getting there.

InformalRoman Fri 18-Nov-16 14:15:32

You'll have a great time. DSs were 9 and 16 when we went - highlight for them was a quad bike safari. Food is fabulous and plentiful - just as well because if they're anything like mine they will have hollow legs!

JamieVardysParty Mon 21-Nov-16 20:16:50

I live in Limpopo, on the east side and it is between 35-40 degrees at the moment. Getting down to 24-28 at night. It is very, very hot. We are also getting thunderstorms every other day, which is great compared to the drought of last year.

I'd take one pair of comfortable trainers and a pair of sandals/flip flops per person. We went on safari last weekend and just needed a very light jumper in the morning. DH didn't take one and was fine with the blanket/poncho that is normally in the vehicle.

YY to getting tabard and long sleeve tshirts are useful for keeping the sun off. No need to buy safari-specific clothing, just neutral colours.

Millers Thumb in CT is one of my favourite restaurants. Food wise, try to avoid the waterfront as it is expensive. If you do Robben Island, make sure you go and get tickets beforehand as it does get popular and tickets are limited. If you get chance, do the Chapmans Peak drive to Cape of Good Hope and Simonstown - amazing to see the penguins.

bojorojo Mon 05-Dec-16 22:26:38

Hire a car. Bikes could be dangerous. SA is not like here. You need 2 days to explore the environs of Cape Town by car. All those hills!

Mumski45 Wed 07-Dec-16 13:54:55

Thanks for the tip bojorojo. Please can you tell me why you think bikes would be dangerous?

Mumski45 Wed 07-Dec-16 13:59:19

Thanks for all the info Jamievardysparty.
We are planning to cycle the Chapmans Peak Road and include the penguins at Simonstown.

We have booked the girls through an agent who is also sorting the Robben Island trip for us so hopefully we will have tickets before we get there.

Ladydepp Wed 15-Feb-17 15:33:58

Mumski45 - in case you happen to see this!

I am planning a family trip to SA for December 2017. Just wondering what your highlights and lowlights were, particularly near Cape Town? We are not planning to go to Kruger but just spend time in Cape Town and environs.

Thanks in advance to you and anyone else with advice.

bojorojo Fri 17-Feb-17 00:20:10

I have been to Cape Town twice. Yes to Table Mountain, Robben Island, Chapmans Peak, drive to the beaches and all the small towns around the Cape, Constantia Vinyard and Hermanus to see the whales. We also like Stellenbosch and lunch at a lovely vinyard is a real treat. The Botanical gardens in Cape Town are great too but the Waterfront is greatly over-rated. You could be anywhere.

Depending where you are staying, the guest houses/hotels have lots of good recommendations for places to go, where to eat and what to see. The beach scene will be in full swing in December and lots of the beach resorts have great restaurants.

I don't think SA is particularly safe for cyclists. Driving is poor in places and lots of speeding! I can barely recall seeing anyone white on a bike. They use cars to go everywhere and are obsessed by personal safety. If you bike in what is clearly a holiday area, you might be ok, but on general roads I wouldn't do it.

Mumski45 Fri 17-Feb-17 00:35:35

Hi Ladydepp
We had a fab time and I absolutely loved Cape Town. Best bits were hiking up Table mountain and then taking the cable car down, Robben Island, paragliding of signal hill and the cycling. In actual fact the cycling felt perfectly safe although we did have a guide. Both DS's cycled up Chapmans Peak and were really proud of themselves. I clocked up about 90 miles over 3 days and the scenery was stunning. There were actually an lot of cyclists around and I found drivers were actually more considerate of cyclists than in U.K.

Cape point was also a good day out and we included a trip to the penguins at boulders beach. There were some things I would have liked to do but we just didn't have time for everything and the botanical gardens was one of them.
I am hoping to go back in a few years when I have a milestone birthday and do some more cycling there.
I agree the Waterfront is overrated although we stayed near there and it was quite convenient for eating out.

Ladydepp Sat 18-Feb-17 12:17:12

Thanks so much for all the great information. Funnily enough a friend told me recently not to bother staying long on the waterfront as its very generic. We are now staying a few nights near Kloof st, possibly a couple nights in the Winelands and a couple of nights near the waterfront.

I will be making copious notes on activities and sites to visit from this thread!

Has anyone been to Aquila safari park for day trip or overnight stay?

Mumski45 Sun 19-Feb-17 16:25:16

We didn't get time to do it but I wanted to spend a day exploring Cape Town by Bus.

Bus company

I wanted to do the Blue route offered by this company which offer a hop on hop off service going past Kirstenbosch and the Imizamu Yethu Township Walk.

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