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Commercialism??

ireland
Level Contributor
20 posts
Commercialism??

Hi,

My boyfriend and I are planning on travelling to SA Oct 06. So far "DRIFTERS" 18 day overland safati from Jburg to Cape Town is looking the best choice for us, as we both prefer 'roughing it' to 'luxury' on trips like this.It's ���1200 each, which includes food and accommodation(mostly DRIFTERS inn's and camps)and all park entry fees for the 18 days. In this time we will visit Kruger, Hazyview, Swaziland, Dolphin coast, Drakensburg, Ladybrand, Karoo, Garden Route and Cape Town. Is this alot to pay, I don't think so? I have looked up reviews on drifters on the net but can't seem to find anything but THEIR website, does anyone know anything about this company or better yet has anyone travelled with them??

Would we be better off renting a car and driving this route ourselves? We would like to avoid commercialism as much as possible without missing out on the best places. Is this achievable??

South Australia
Level Contributor
163 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Commercialism??

Hardly roughing it, but it does sound like a reasonable deal. Drifters is one of the safaris offered in my agent's brochure, so it would have to be OK. Doing your own thing by car would probably be more adventurous and less crowded, but involve a lot more organisation (bookings etc), and maybe uncertainty. You may prefer that. I think I would.

Cape Town Central...
Level Contributor
462 posts
1 review
2. Re: Commercialism??

Drifters has been around for a long time in South Africa. I dont think you will have a problem with them.

Car hire is also easy and in October, which is out of the school holidays, you would be able to travel without advance hotel or B&B reservations. Your only problem might be in the Kruger Park where I would advise booking a few camps in advance. However, if you stay in accommodation close to the park you can always day trip in.

Incidentally, I would far rather hire a car and do my own thing in the Kruger. I cant think of anything worse than being in a large vehicle crammed with other people all jockeying for the best view of an animal or bird sighting. It is also highly unlikely that you will be able to venture off the tarred roads in a large bus. For me venturing off on the gravel roads is part of the bush experience and making your own "finds" is something special.

ireland
Level Contributor
20 posts
3. Re: Commercialism??

Thanks for that information you guys. I wonder though, how much driving in or around is involved between places-50something, i've read alot of your replies and value your advice. Also it's not a bus as such, more of a customized large jeep, max capacity 16 people. I do prefer the idea of doing it ourselves as it's more adventurous and flexible, but my biggest fear is that i'd miss something really great cos i didn't know where to look or wasted time getting lost.

I like group travel as if you get a good group that's fun, you can have a really good time on the drives between places.

There's pros and cons to each...aaagggghhh i'm so 50/50!

South Australia
Level Contributor
163 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Commercialism??

I understand your dilemma and sympathise. A good guide is so valuable, especially when you're doing something for the first time. But a 16-people vehicle would be too much for me. The most I've ever had to endure was six others beside myself, plus guide and assistant, on my first safari, all nice people thank goodness. Since then, it's been vehicles carrying no more than six. And it was heaven after 9/11 for just two of us to have a vehicle with guide to ourselves on some days.

Cape Town Central...
Level Contributor
462 posts
1 review
5. Re: Commercialism??

If you plan to drive yourself and cover all the areas mentioned you are talking some serious distances. However, if you spread it over 2 or 3 weeks it is not such a big deal.

To give you some idea from my own travels I often drive from Cape Town to Kruger. I usually take 12 hours to Johannesburg where I stop over for the night (you can always break this journey even further by stopping in Bloemfontein or Kimberley). The next day it is an easy 5 hour journey to the Kruger/Hazyview area.

From the south of Kruger to Swaziland or the Drakensberg is a very comfortable short day's drive. As an option you could drive from Kruger to the Kwa-zulu-Natal game parks which will not take more than 4 or 5 hours. You could then proceed to the Drakensberg and thereafter Swaziland or Lesotho. From there travel through the Karoo, stop in Graaf-Reinet and then drive to Cape Town, possibly via the Garden Route. None of those journeys will be too long. You will have done a great tour of the country sampling most of what is on offer.

new york
1 post
6. Re: Commercialism??

to badday,

if you are worried about this being a luxury trip you have no fear! if you are afraid of commercialism this trip is right up your alley. if you like long drives to desolate areas sitting on a bus all day for 12 out of your 18 days, this is your trip. if you dont want to visit towns and meet the people in south africa, you are a ok.

my wife and i went on the same trip with drifters and had an awful time. the drifters people (managers and drivers) make you feel you are on this trip only to support drifters. the owner of drifters, andy dott is the worst of all. he is conceited, obnoxious and has no desire to hear any dissenting view of his trips.

if you want to support a man like andy dott and his organization, feel free to join his world. as for me and my wife, we prefer to stay in the human race and treat others respect. unfortunately, drifters doesn't know the meaing of the word.

NEW YORK
Level Contributor
2 posts
7 reviews
7. Re: Commercialism??

Badday...YOU WILL REALLY HAVE A BADDAY IF YOU GO WITH DRIFTERS...I DID THAT TRIP AND I ONLY WISH THAT SOMEONE WARMED ME BEFOREHAND. Andy Dott, the owner, is very successful at selling his tours and ..I later learned that he offers high commissions. The trip brochure will say that you will spend time in Durban or curio shops..you won't. On our trip, we got to Durban at 8AM; we were back on the bus at 8:45 AM...Nothing was opened Out of the 18 days, 12 will be long,long boring bus trips...This is a typical day: You start out early in the morning..you will stop for lunch and other breaks, but you can't stay long because you have a 'long drive ahead'. Once you finally get to the camp...and it is after dark..your guide will tell you that you have a half an hour to put your stuff away and be bad to help cook dinner....and then of course you clean up. And the food is just slopped together with everyone hand's in it...no sanitary procedures.....very basic and that's being kind.

I can't tell how how many charming little towns we went through without stopping..AND the hut or inns or whatever they call it are extremely remote...you are not going to meet any South Africans..you are going to end the trip without knowing anything about South Africa. Also the Karoo was deadly dull and bleak...look at the pictures of the Drifters lodge..do a scan on "Andy Dott"...he is very prominent in SA tourism, however is is very much despised, something of a racist and a very bitter, angry man. Obviously I did not like my trip and I only wish someone had told me...Do it yourself. Good luck!

Santa Rosa, CA
2 posts
8. Re: Commercialism??

Help! In recently booked this 18 day trip, though my sister and I will only be on the first 8 days. We are leaving the tour in Durban and then flying to Capetown. Is it really that bad? We are both in our 20s, have never been to Africa before, and enjoy tours because it is a good way to meet people. We booked through go2africa and they seem to be very upstanding and reputable. We chose this tour because it was one of the only ones that left when we needed to and went where we wanted to...now I am so worried!