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Trip Report Trip Report..First Time in Southern Africa: SA/Vic Falls/Botswana

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Before my memory grows even dimmer, I will write this brief report on my trip in late September/early October, 2007. Although I had made several previous visits to North and West African countries, and one safari trip to Kenya about 15 years ago, this was my first trip to Southern Africa. I was accompanied by two friends, a married couple, who were making their first foray to Africa. One of my friends is a train buff so the Blue Train was at the top of the list, along with CapeTown, the Winelands, Sabi Sands, Victoria Falls, and Botswana. Our trip lasted 3 weeks and began in New York; we flew from JFK to Amsterdam and on to CapeTown on KLM. The trip was planned by Liesl Matthews, a principal of Southern Destinations in Cape Town, with lots of input from us. Liesl was a delight to deal with and we had frequent contact prior to the trip, by phone and by e-mail. Our budget was generous but we specified small hotels rather than the famous names, in Cape Town, in J'Burg and in Franschoek. We booked restaurants in Cape Town and in the Winelands in advance of our arrival..we gave Liesl our ideas and she made the bookings for us. We each give Southern Destinations our highest recommendation.

As expected, the flights (I was in coach) on KLM were long. KLM does not allow booking seats until 90 days out and the seat-booking process, entailing many phone calls to Northwest and to KLM in Amsterdam, was horrendous. Although I called one minute after midnight 90 days out for each of the 4 legs of the trip, I was not able to secure a decent seat, even with 'elite' status on Flying Blue. I was given a good seat, or so I thought, and when I called to check, was told that the seat was not available. And on and on.

Well, enough of those woes. We finally arrived in Cape Town and were met by Charlie Ratcliffe, who was to be our guide for the next week in CapeTown and in the Winelands.
Charlie was utterly wonderful and I recommend him highly. He can be contacted through Southern Destinations, or by e-mail:

KENSINGTON PLACE was our hotel and base for 6 nights in CapeTown. We loved this hotel! It is a small property, a cross between a guesthouse and a boutique hotel, located in the Gardens district. Rooms( ask for rooms on the second floor, which have great views of the City Bowl), are very large and contemporary, with luxurious bathrooms and each room has its own computer with free internet. A lovely breakfast with many choices is included in the room price.

I am experimenting with writing this on Word, so please bear with me as I am a computer idiot...

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