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Trip Report 2015: South Africa for a fortnight

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We returned a few weeks ago from a nice trip to South Africa. We were travelling with another couple friend of ours, with whom we have travelled earlier too. They had left all the planning to me, as everyone was aware that I was passionate about this part ! I always enjoy the planning as much as the travel itself.

We were all vegetarians, which limited our food choices somewhat, although it was never difficult to find vegetarian food anywhere. Both couples were in their late 50’s, and diehard independent travellers. We had selected November as the period of travel, as it is one of the better months to be visiting South Africa…not too warm and not very crowded.

Our broad itinerary was :
Cape Town : 3 days
Garden Route : 3 days
Sabi Sands : 2 days
Kruger National Park : 2 days
Panorama Route : 1 day

Will be posting the Trip Report in several instalments. Here goes the first.

Day 1 : Thursday, November 12th :
This was our travel day, as connections from India to South Africa are not the best. We had an early morning 4:15 am flight out of Mumbai to Abu Dhabi on Etihad, with onward connection to Johannesburg, and another connection thereon to Cape Town. We were ready for the ordeal. We had a 3-hour drive to Mumbai airport, where we reached by 12:30 am, and checked in. Pleasant surprise, as we got upgraded to Business Class for the first segment to Abu Dhabi. Guess they were slightly overbooked on Economy, and they bumped us up. Nice start to the journey.

The flight was on time. Wonderful flat beds. Had a round of drinks, a light breakfast, and slept for about 90 minutes. It was a short 2.5 hour flight to Abu Dhabi, and alas we could not get to sleep more. Freshened up at Abu Dhabi airport, and whiled away time as we had a long 4 hour wait till our next flight for Johannesburg.

It was a long flight to Johannesburg, over 8 hours. The flight was fairly empty, so we could all stretch out on 3 seats each. Managed 4-5 hours of sleep. As I was walking down the aircraft aisle, I tripped on someone’s outstretched leg, and fell down and hurt myself. Fortunately, no major damage. Average food and drinks on the Etihad flight. Reached Johannesburg on time at 4 pm local time.

We had another 5 hour wait at Johannesburg, before our flight left for Cape Town. We had to clear Customs and Immigration, and then just strolled around the airport terminal, which was very average. Had dinner at the airport foodcourt – some Thai food and pizzas, which was not bad at all. Boarded our flight at 9pm, and finally reached Cape Town at 11:30 pm local time. We were pooped by then.

Our B&B had sent a vehicle to pick us up. We reached our B&B Underberg Guest House on Tamboerskloof Road at about midnight. Checked into a lovely suite that we had booked, and crashed out. Entire day spent in transit.

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