Location: Places >> Africa >> Sub-Saharan Africa >> Southern Africa
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Any advice for first time camping/hiking/travelling in South Africa?
Posted July 4th, 2012 - 11:33 am by from Leipzig, Germany (Permalink)
Hi everybody,

I am from Germany and did quite some travelling already but never crossed the equator so far.

So this time I'll go really South to South Africa.

My plan is to go for 3 weeks in November and to go around by car and sleep in the tent where it is possible.

I don't need convenience and I would like to avoid big western style cities if possible. What I am looking for is nature, hiking and a real glimpse of the African Culture.

So if there are any suggestions, where to go, where to stay, where to hike and what to see... You are more than welcome to comment!

Thank you!


Posted July 12th, 2012 - 11:15 am by from Cape Town, South Africa (Permalink)
Hi Stefan,

It's really difficult to answer your questions in such broad terms. I can tell you the following:

1) If you want to avoid the big cities in South Africa, you will need your own car (unless you go on a tour, or take something like the Baz Bus).
2) South Africa is fairly big, so don't try and see "everything" in three weeks.
3) As far a hiking goes, are you talking about a few hours or multi-day hikes?
4) As far as nature goes, if you mean "wild animals", pick one of the National Parks or private game reserves.
5) African culture: Africa has got a thousand different groups and cultures, but most of the countries (including South Africa) have been colonialised and influenced by a European country at some stage - to find a truly unique culture, one would have to be very specific and spend all your time there. Also, people in general have the same problems over the world: relationships, politics, making a living, etc.


Posted July 16th, 2012 - 11:44 am by from Leipzig, Germany (Permalink)
Hi Deon,

thanks for these first informations.

My plans have now narrowed a bit.

1. Hiking means 1-3 day hikes. Including some climbing if possible, but not necessary.
2. "Nature" means "wild animals" yes, but also landscape.

My plan is now to go to Johannesburg and from there to Drakensberg Mountains. From there perhaps to Swasiland and after this hit the Coast and visit a National Park.
The route isn't worked out in detail yet. Have to check with distances.

Any suggestions, which National Park is the best? Krüger or better go to one of the smaller ones?

Thanks alot!


Posted July 16th, 2012 - 7:15 pm by from Cape Town, South Africa (Permalink)
I assume you're travelling with your own vehicle.

- Drakensberg (one of my top 3 favourite places in South Africa). Even though the heights and conditions might not be extreme by European standards, don't take it lightly, especially in winter and since fair fewer people climb it. Definitely go in a group. The easiest route is from the Sentinel Peak car park. From there the path to the top is well-trodden. Anywhere else you'll have to know the area or have a very good map and know how to read it.
Try the Mountain Club of SA in Johannesburg for some advice.

- Mapumalanga and the Drakensberg has got some good landscapes. Kruger is good, unless you've got something specific in mind. I know some of the backpackers in Nelspruit run short tours there - might be worth-while looking into that.

Posted July 18th, 2012 - 5:07 pm by from Leipzig, Germany (Permalink)
So what are your other 2 favourite places in South Africa?

Posted July 19th, 2012 - 4:19 pm by from Cape Town, South Africa (Permalink)
I like (semi)wilderness areas, being partial to dryer areas and mountain platos. My choices are the north-western part of the Karoo (Tankwa Karoo and further north), Richtersveld and Drakenberg Plato.

If you're talking (semi) off-the-beaten-track places, others will include the Wild Coast, a place like Hogsback, there's some nice scenery in the far north of the country. All depends on what you like.