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Air fare is low so where should I go for my first time in Africa?

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Aug 7th, 2013, 05:26 PM
  #1
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Air fare is low so where should I go for my first time in Africa?

Air fare is pretty low from LAX to Johannesburg - approx. $1026 rt in February, approx $886 to Nairobi. I am an Africa newbie so haven't a clue as to where to go or how much things will cost. It would be my husband, me & possibly our college age daughter. We are really interested in maximizing wildlife viewing. We have travelled throughout Asia & South America viewing wildlife. We are not high end travelers and lower budget accommodations are fine with us. I have planned all of our trips using Fodor's forums and have really appreciated all of the help I've gotten to plan stunning trips. I amreading previous posts to try to figure out where we would like to go on the vast African continent.
Your help would be appreciated.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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Pick up a copy of Fodor's "Complete Safari Planning Guide" that covers all the safari countries. Lots of useful information to help you decide.

If that $886 fare is on Turkish air know that it arrives in the middle of the night (around 1:30 or 3:30am) and the departure is likewise in the middle of the night. And TK is known to change schedules. Just don't want you to be surprised. And with arrivals at those hours, you get charged for hotel the night prior and an overnight last day vs a dayroom.

You might want to spend a few extra $$$ for another carrier who doesn't make changes or have such odd arrival/departure hours.

Otherwise, Kenya is wonderful between Jan-Mar, where rates are at mid-season, but know it's 'summer' in East Africa and while daytime temps while on safari are warm to hot, there's little humidity; nights/mornings are cooler for sleeping... but few camps (if any I can think of) have a/c. City hotels, as in Nairobi/NBO, though do have a/c, if it's needed.

Good luck in your planning.
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Aug 8th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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The fares for LAX to JNB at around $1000 seem remarkable to me. I'd have thought something around $1500 would be more usual for a decent price. It's hard to get a $1000 fare from the East Coast to JNB, so if you're thinking of going I wouldn't wait too long on those fares.

Two things to avoid on trips to Africa, at least to my way of thinking, is getting itineraries that are endless or that get you to your destination in the middle of the night. Sandi mentioned that TA will get you in at some horrible hour. I would pay a bit extra (as compared to the lowest price) to make the schlep as short as possible and to get in at a time that would allow me to get some sleep before starting on the African adventure the next day. KLM is a good airline in my book, with a relatively good total travel time LAX to JNB and an arrival around 10 pm.

South Africa is a good option for a first visit. You can do self drives in Kruger National Park, which I always find pretty exciting, and stay at rest camps with very good prices, though you have to self cater or use camp restaurants. You could throw in a couple days at some of the good economy choices (Elephant Plains, Nottens, Arathusa) in Sabi Sand after the stay in KNP, so you have a little bit of luxury and excellent game drives with proficient guides.
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Aug 9th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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I acknowledge it is impossible to capture the spirit and culture of an entire country in one paragraph, but in a brief overview, the best and most popular areas in Africa for safaris are East and Southern Africa, which offer vast plains and roaming packs of extraordinary wildlife, but when looking for diversity Kenya is the place to be..

You could climb a mountain, lie on a pristinely white beach, enjoy the lively activity of the cities and towns, spot game amongst the plains & savannah, and learn about countless tribes and their way of life. Kenya really is like Africa all in one, with endless possibilities within her borders and fabulously friendly people. This is the continents finest.
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