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 Post subject: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:34 pm
Posts: 65
Location: Durban, SA
Hi all

I've been reading the posts in the Frontier section and figuring things out a bit, but I need some help with timings, etc.

SO and I are planning a 3 week camping trip for sometime between Aug and Oct 2013. We will travel with our Subaru Forrester and a trailer. We will sleep in a tent. The trip will start and end in Durban.

These are the parks we are thinking, in the order we are thinking: Addo, MZNP, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mokala, Golden Gate. We have done Addo an GGNP before, but the others are first time visits.

So my main questions I need assistance with are:

With 21 nights to divide between these parks, what would your suggestions be?

When would be the best time to go in our 3 month window? We are fairly well prepared for cold, so that doesn't scare us too much.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

B

PS. It feels so good to be back on the boards planning a trip, it's been over a year since our last one. :big_eyes:

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The B Squared - Bianca and Brian

2013: Dates TBC - Three weeks from Durban to Addo, Mountain Zebra, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mokala & Golden Gate.


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 Post subject: Re: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
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Binkie and the Brain :D

I would go closer to end of Sept or maybe Oct, just to ensure you are past the very cold time, and can enjoy spring in the parks.

And I would divide the time equally between all the parks. Allowing for some travel time to and from home, it will give you about 3 nights a park which is a good amount for all those parks; with maybe making Camdeboo a two night stay and Addo 4 nights.

You have a lovely trip planned!

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:30 pm
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I can't advise much on how to split your nights seeing as I haven't been to all the parks you've mentioned but haing just come back from MZNP I can give a few tips there.

I'd try not to go when it's too cold. MZNP often gets snow and some of the loops and 4x4 tracks may be closed which would be a pity. The Sonnerust Loop is particularly enjoyable. The MZNP campsite is great, just be sure to mouse-proof everything! I had a four-striped field mouse make a nest in my hiking shoes, and ate through my sock just fro good measure! The shoes were inside our tent at the time!!

3 nights is plenty for MZNP, although they will be fairly full on. We did a night drive the first night, a short morning walk the next morning, and a cheetah walk on the third morning. Bear in mind that there aren't many species of game in MZNP and what is there is relatively plentiful, though some of the larger herbivores such as the buffalo can be tricky to find. Go to MZNP rather for the views and the amazing scenery!

Speaking to other campers who'd already been to Karoo/Camdeboo, they sound very similar to MZNP, although being newer parks, the landscape is still slowly reverting from farmland to bush and some areas are a bit degraded? But as I said I haven't been there so I can't comment directly.

Addo is lovely, but it can be VERY busy; especially over long weekends. We camped there about 2 years ago and the campsite was cramped and very noisy. Also when driving around the park, because of the nature of the bush (short and scrubby!) we saw far more vehicles than animals. :? I'd avoid Addo over a long weekend or public holidays and try go another time when it's quieter.

Hope that my ramble helps! Enjoy the planning!!


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 Post subject: Re: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:34 pm
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Location: Durban, SA
Thanks for the help so far!

Reading some more on the forums and SANParks website. This is what we are thinking so far:

leave Durban early and drive straight through to Addo (we've done this before and would rather get on our holiday)
4 nights Addo (we only stayed 2 the last time and felt that was a bit short)
4 night Mountain Zebra (we plan on doing a night drive and a cheetah walk, as well as the 4x4 loops)
2 night Camdeboo
3 night Karoo NP
3 nights Mokala NP
3 nights GGNP

This leaves 2 nights for us to spend somewhere else or to split between these parks. Any suggestions?

Our first wedding anniversary is 4 August, so that was why we were thinking of August. We camped at Addo in July 2 years ago, and we coped ok. We had frozen dishtowels and ice on the windscreen, so it got below 0C. We also camped in Knysna in the rain, and managed ok with that.

Wouldn't August guarantee less of a chance of rain in the Frontier Parks (so less chance of roads and 4x4 loops being closed)?

As much as we love the game, our reason for going is to get into the bush. This is both of our recharge places - we love just being in the open. Beautiful scenery is a must, animals and other sightings are an added bonus. From what I've read, we've picked some of the best parks for scenery and ambiance, or as MM calls it "soul".

Looking forward to all the advice I can get. Thanks

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The B Squared - Bianca and Brian

2013: Dates TBC - Three weeks from Durban to Addo, Mountain Zebra, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mokala & Golden Gate.


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 Post subject: Re: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:48 pm 
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Location: Cape Town
If you have two days to spare and want to stay within your selection, I would go with Addo. While I agree it can get busy, we stayed there for a week in October 2012 and found the facilities were kept in good condition at all times. Besides which there is plenty to see and explore in the surrounding Kirkwood, Addo and Zuurberg areas.

Alternatively you could venture south to Tsitsikamma for a couple of days or even hole up at one of the KZN parks in the Drakensberg after GGNP.

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2013: Kgalagadi & Augrabies - 18/4 - 10/5
2014 - .??. NP still thinking!!
BTDT: Addo, Augrabies, Bontebok, Camdeboo, Garden Route, Golden Gate, Karoo, Kgalagadi, Kruger, Mokala, Mountain Zebra, Table Mountain, West Coast


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 Post subject: Re: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:34 pm
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Location: Durban, SA
Thanks for the replies.

I understand the concerns shared regarding snow - while we were on honeymoon on the Wild Coast, it snowed quite heavily across a lot of South Africa - so that clearly is the time to expect snow.

Maybe we will do a short weekend away on our anniversary and plan this trip for late August into early September. We want to avoid the school holidays!

After more reading and discussion, this is probably what we will go with:

5 nights Addo (we only stayed 2 the last time and felt that was a bit short)
4 night Mountain Zebra (we plan on doing a night drive and a cheetah walk, as well as the 4x4 loops)
2 night Camdeboo
3 night Karoo NP
3 nights Mokala NP
4 nights GGNP (this will give us a full day to spend in Clarens, and 1 full day for hiking)

Does anyone have any special tips for tent camping at these camps? Best sites to try get? Things we must leave the park without doing?

TheMiggies - how do you mouse-proof a tent? Keep everything in the locked trailer?

Thanks All!

I really do love these forums!

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The B Squared - Bianca and Brian

2013: Dates TBC - Three weeks from Durban to Addo, Mountain Zebra, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mokala & Golden Gate.


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 Post subject: Re: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:28 am
Posts: 146
Location: Bellville, Western Cape
Binkieloo,

The Tent sites at Addo are quite cramped so when we camped with a tent we normally booked a caravan site as these come at the same price. Also be aware of the vervet monkeys at Addo. We had one inside our tent one afternoon which tore the tent in its frantic effort to get out!

We spent a few nights in Clarens some years ago and found that there were not much to see in the GGNP. However, there is a lot to do in and around Clarens itself.

We will also be visiting MZP, Camdeboo and KNP as well as Addo during April this year. The advice I got was to spend more time in MZP and less in Camdeboo and KNP.

Blackie.

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March/April 2013: Frontier Parks here we come!


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 Post subject: Re: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:08 pm
Posts: 4
mid september in Addo is spectacular, like a mini namaqualand, but avoid school holidays. midweek is fab if possible, no traffic jams. Don't know when your last visit was, but the new Southern section is definitely our favourite, 6 of the 9 lions hang out there, as well as lots of jackals and some caracal. You could well see porcupines in the campsite at night, and the underground hide is a cool place to stroll to from the campsite, and while away a few quiet hours waiting for porcupines, jackals and hyenas to appear.

Karoo NP is jawdroppingly beautiful, if we hadn't seen a single animal the scenery would have been good enough but the big herds of gemsbok galloping alongside the road were a brilliant bonus! We spent 2 nights and felt it wasn't enough, but they were fully booked so we couldn't do a third.

In Camdeboo, the Valley of Desolation is a must, if you can be at the Toposphere around sunset you will be well rewarded with awesome photos! (And while you are at it, if you are in Graaff Reinet, look out for a B&B called Obesa, (in the vicinity of the Drostdy Museum) the owner was a fanatical cactus collector, the plants are now huge and it is a surreal experience coming into the little backstreet and being surrounded by a massive variety of monster cacti, really stunning.

Your trip and the timings you have decided on sound great, hope you have a fab time.


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 Post subject: Re: Early planning stages: Frontier parks, plus
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:20 pm
Posts: 1736
Location: East London, South Africa
Hi the Binkieloo and SO. Your last itinerary sound the best one. I would also take a caravan site where possible as the price is the same. September/October as Dinkybird suggested would be great especially in Addo.
Here's wishing you a wonderful trip with special sightings. Enjoy :mrgreen:
PS: Don't forget your Trip Report when you get home.


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