All good thanks – sorry to have missed you at Tremasina – I didn’t know you were in the area and we left at 8am sharp – read your text when we were at Blyde Canyon… The holiday was amazing and the Safari excellent, it was a huge success thank you. And yes we loved Capetown and did and saw a lot and Stellebosch too so it all worked really well – we hired a car x2 to do the Cape for a day and also in Stellebosch to do Franshoek and Boeschendal etc
I guess I wanted to relive the whole trip! See below (sorry) I’ve put a few thoughts down on paper to share with you!
I really appreciate the help you gave us thank you .All the arrangements were perfect and the whole trip went really well so we are very happy, no issues or complaints! I can see that you are running a very good business so congratulations. For us it was a high cost trip, (say compared to chilling in a resort in Thailand etc) SA is unique so a special trip, so a memorable one. We enjoyed the benefits of the AUD being strong vrs the SARand in CPT and Stellenbosch but still the Safari is expensive but accepting thats the way Safaris go we felt the Tremasina Lodge was a good option for us and in particular I wanted to share with you that Viva Safaris are extremely well organised at Kruger, we were in safe hands and what they provided worked really well. Varied game drives, plenty of variety, dawn and sunset, evening dinner under the Booma Tree, breakfasts in the Lapa Lounge, dinners by the fire and the guides were really good too, Phillip, Murray and Luke and Zanallie – it seemed odd to be expected to tip the guides given how much we had already paid (just an observation / feedback – someone must be making on the high cost charged so they should pay their staff! ). I get the culture in Australia is different …
From the itinerary we didn’t really understand the logistics of the different “reserves” or what that meant so when we ended up on open 4WD’s going down dirt tracks through the bush it was awesome and we had a lot of success with the game. Also we didn’t really understand that Tremasina is outside Kruger or the difference between private and the National Park. We do now that we have experienced ourselves. Surprising how much we did see from the public roads.
Kruger Day trip : Note from Tremasina the day round trip to Kruger is 11hours – thats fine but it was in an open sided vehicle and extremely cold – at least 90mins drive each way at 100km/h etc – there were tarp sides down at start and end and blankets but it was still freezing – we really needed coats which we did not have – it was far colder than we expected – we did have lots of layers and beenys. One tip – in your notes and tips you need to stress how cold it is at dawn (at this time of the year at least?) rather than saying “long cotton sleeves for sun protection” and more than just a “sweater”. Perhaps at other times of the year not as cold and in counties further north warmer?
Anyhow Greenfire worked for us – we needed to recharge and it represented good value – we needed some down time and 2 nights was good, both from the fallback of allowing for standby travel and being tired , the +8hours time difference impacts us more than the north/south visitors from Europe. After Lion park we were too tired to go out, so eating at Greenfire was good and we bought extra fleeces at the shopping centre.
Kylemore was a very high standard – the apartment was v luxurious, it got loads of morning sunshine so we had breakfast on the balcony each day (yes outside!) It was a good recommendation thank you and we enjoyed staying there (5nights) and found we slept in a lot every day which was what we needed after the 5.30am and 6.30am wake ups at Tremasina. We paid a lot for Kylemore but I think we got what we paid for so for a 5 night trip not worth trying to save a bit for somewhere lower standard or less convenient.
We used a company called Capetown Tours for our transfers, 1. CPT airport to V&A, 2. V&A to Stell and 3. Stell to CPT airport they were very good and good value and 100% reliable and they confirmed each pick up by SMS the day before, so they were well organised. Maybe not quite as high end as Illios (we saw their vans around) but were much cheaper than what you had quoted which was why I used them.
Taxis – these were a bit hit and miss – our first experience at V&A was interesting “as the meter didn’t work!” – we should have got out straight away but by the time I realised 220R was way too much for Waterfront to Biscuit Mill at Woodstock for a relatively short trip we were on our way. In the end we got him down to 150R (it only too 17 mins / ~5km). My feedback is the authorities need to better regulate the taxi as this was a meter taxi in the tourist zone and even had the official details on the side – I guess foreign tourists are an easy target. (again not what we are used to in AU).Then we took meter taxi x3: 1. Woodstock to Kirstenbosch,2. Kirtsenbosch to Camps Bay and 3. Camps Bay to V&A = all the same driver total 450R (convenient and worked for us )
For Table Mountain we took the open red sightseeing bus , + cable car up + walk down which we enjoyed including the trek down which I recommend, the kids enjoyed it age 9/12 – all really good.
We then hired cars from Avis x2 for a day tour of the Cape (out via Camps, Lllandudno, Chapmans, to Simonstown, then penguins at Boulders and The Cape , all good, and also a day trip from Stelenbosch to Franshoek and Boeschendal – that worked well too. If we had more time in wineries I might book a tour but our kids are too yound for a winme tour and bored compared to us enjoying the wine so our self drive worked well.
The whole trip was a huge success, fly mango was ok, the day from Kruger to CPT was a long one (as expected) we did a game drive at 6am and got to the Kylomore after 10pm. fly mango was running late, we had to wait for the inbound aircraft at JNB. Equaly logistics are challenging, Stellenbosch we left at 11am and by the time QF 64 took off at JNB we had been travelling 9 hours …but I don’t think overnighting in JNB would have helped.
Of course Qantas was fantastic too!
Thanks again and I hope this is helpful. I have no hesitation and will recommend you to anyone heading your way.
Gary and Family from Australia ( July 2016 Cape-Town and Kruger )