I spent three and half weeks in South Africa (+ Swaziland & Zimbambwe) in 2001 and South Africa is very easy to travel in independently if that matters to you. The infrastructure is far more developed and it's safer imo than other African countries that may be more off-the-beaten-path. Do a couple of nights in an expensive game lodge with guide... and the rest in self-drive in Kruger Park. While it can get a bit crowded, there are plenty of Lions and Rhinos to go around for everyone. I would rather trade-off a few more people for the comforts and convenience of travelling independently in South Africa, which is a beautiful place. Cape Town is a stunning city too. Best time to travel is Oct-Nov or March-April. That's an interesting approach because the game lodges certainly are expensive. Unfortunately, I'm fairly constrained as to when I can take my vacations. I have to go in August or wait until the end of december. My brother wants me to visit him in Egypt in April but i'm not sure if I'll be able to make that happen. I can only take so many vacations.