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Africa, closer than ever before?

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During the course of our early planning for a 2016 trip back to Japan (been there once already) and Australia (this would be a third visit), Africa surfaced onto our radar. We’ve had on-again, off-again discussions about a “dream trip” to Africa, but have put it off due to the perceived inaccessibility financially. Like many first-timers to the continent, I suppose, a visit would include the obligatory wildlife safaris. We would like a safari experience that pulls out all the stops: comfortable accommodations at a place of character, good food, diversity of animals. And we want to experience safaris in a couple of different landscapes (e.g. Kruger and the Okavango Delta). We’re also drawn to Cape Town and Victoria Falls, which help us narrow down our geographic focus. With the U.S. dollar at historic highs against the South African rand, we think this may be our best chance. While we’ve not made a final decision, we’re inclined towards Africa in 2016. We’re looking at early-to-mid April, possibly spilling over into May.

Taking a look at the notes from previous planning attempts and doing some additional research, we’re thinking about an itinerary close to the following:

Cape Town, 5 nights

Cape Winelands, 2 nights – We’re looking at both Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. We would probably see both, but what are the pros and cons of each as a home base? May be helpful to share that we would be relying on taxis and public transport.

Greater Kruger, 3 nights – Our budget is around 4200-4800 ZAR per person per night. In the past, we’ve looked at Notten’s, Nkorho, and Elephant Plains, each appealing in its own way.
Victoria Falls, 3 nights – Our thinking is that 3 nights would give us 2 full days, one for the Zambian side and the other for the Zimbabwean side. We allocated a similar amount of time to our visit to Iguazu Falls last year, and it was perfect for us.

Chobe, 2 nights

Impalila Island or Zambezi Cruise, 2 nights – On previous occasions, we’ve looked into the Okavango Delta, our first choice, but could not find something that fits into our budget of about US$400 per person per night. It seems like even increasing it to US$500 would not make much of a difference. After some research, we were attracted to Impalila for some similarities with Okavango in terms of environment. Do folks here have any experience with Impalila? We also came across information about overnight cruises on the Zambezi, which is interesting to us as well. Any experiences here?

Johannesburg, 3 nights

Any feedback or advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

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