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Best European, Middle Eastern or Northern Africa gateway to connect with Johannesburg?

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Apr 13th, 2005, 12:47 PM
  #1
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Best European, Middle Eastern or Northern Africa gateway to connect with Johannesburg?

Although the chances are slim and none for this November/December, I would like to know where others believe to be a nice gateway city for the (northern hemisphere) winter months. This would be for a 2-3 night stopover.

Dubai seems like a natural choice for its warm weather, but are there any other places that are worth considering.

Chances are that I will try to contain myself until April for the Two Oceans Marathon and Botswana.

If I did do a November safari (although I don't think it will nearly be financially possible after having just returned a couple months earlier from my 19 night Zambia/South African safari), it would go a little something like this:

November 24th (Thanksgiving) - Evening departure to ??? (Dubai or elsewhere).

November 25th - Connect in gateway city but go onward to Johannesburg.

November 26th - Arrive Joburg. Enjoy Saturday night in Sandton at Michelangelo Hotel or instead spend one night at Westcliff.

November 27th - Transfer to Makalolo Plains in Hwange, Zimbabwe. 3 nights.

November 30th - Victoria Falls Hotel. 1 night.

December 01st - Cross into Zambia. Light air transfer from Livingstone to Liuwa Plains. 3 night mobile camping safari with Mutemwa Lodge (www.mutemwa.com) to enjoy Wildebeest Migration. Largest wildebeest migration in Southern Africa although it pales in comparison to the Great Migration in Eastern Africa.

December 04th - Transfer to Mutemwa Lodge for three nights. Set on the Zambezi River, there are many activities such as fishing, canoeing, cultural activities and the highlight may be visiting the horseshoe shaped Ngonye Falls.

December 07th - Transfer to Joburg for flight back to gateway city.

December 08th - Two or three nights in warmer climate gateway city.

December 10th or 11th - Return home to LAX.

Some of the other cities that likely connect are Tel Aviv and Athens (although I wouldn't have time to visit the Greek Isles). Other than that, I am at a loss. I would consider Madrid, Amsterdam and Paris, although it probably would not work out with the climate. Cannot afford the extra baggage to carry warmer clothes.

Thanks!
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Apr 13th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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sandi
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Besides TLV, which is a great option if you haven't been, there is CAI (Cairo)... see the Pyramids.
 
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Apr 13th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Here is the 7 night Liuwa Plains package offered by Mutemwa, although I would substitute my first night of The River Club to instead stay at the Victoria Falls Hotel.

http://www.mutemwa.com/package_Luiwe7.htm
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Apr 14th, 2005, 06:14 AM
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Roccco, I'm asking myself the same question for next April/May. Our tentative plan is to fly coach to either Madrid or London, spend a couple of days getting over jet lag and enjoying the city, then using FF miles to go business class to Johannesburg.

Any opinions on Iberian Airways vs BA, and on Madrid vs London, would be very welcome. (We've never been to Madrid, but have been to and loved other parts of Spain; we've been to London many times, and agree with Johnson that "when you're tired of London, you're tired of life".)

I'm looking at these two cities because the airlines are part of American Airlines partnerships and also fly to SA; I'm not sure whether SWISS also flies there, in which case Zurich would be a third possibility.

We don't have enough miles to go all the way from the US to SA in business class, but we have plenty for Europe to SA, and we think that the 6 or 8 hours in coach from Chicago to Europe isn't too big a deal to people who've survived a 14-hour ordeal in coach from the US to SA!

Any thoughts from someone who's done this, or looked into doing it, would be appreciated.
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Apr 14th, 2005, 06:32 AM
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Celia,

You are doing the right thing. For the second year in a row, I will be flying economy class, non-stop, between Los Angeles to London, but then from London I will be flying Business Class to Johannesburg.

I find that it is the last half of the trip that really gets to me, and that I can tolerate the 10.5 flight from Los Angeles to London in economy class.

I do favor South African Airways since then I can also get a free regional flight in Business Class, as I am getting for the second year in a row to Lusaka Zambia. Economy class alone would have cost me about $425 pp for this flight, and since I am flying all the way through to Lusaka (and onto the Lower Zambezi) to start my trip, the Business Class, even for this 2 hour flight, will be greatly appreciated.

Chicago - London in economy should be a piece of cake, about 7 hours, right?
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Apr 15th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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How many nights in Cairo are necessary to see the pyramids? Could I get away with 2 nights or would I need 3+ nights?

Also, somebody please enlighten me about Tel Aviv. As a Christian, it would be nice for me to visit Israel, if even for a couple nights. What sights could I see within a couple full days in or near Tel Aviv?

Thanks.
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Apr 15th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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I wouldn't go to Tel Aviv since this would be your first time in the Middle East, but I would keep it in mind for future trips.

Go to Egypt to see the fascinating ancient culture, or go to Dubai to see what we thought would be discovered after a hundred years or so!
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Apr 15th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Roccco -

It's not so much 2-nts, but having 2-full days to hit the highlights of Cairo and surrounds.

Day 1 - you can do the Pyramids and Sphinx in the morning; afternoon head out to Memphis and Saqqara.

Day 2 - the Egyptian Museum for half-day (a full day is better, but you'd still never see everything; the weight of what is stored, yet unseen, in the basement is actually destroying the ground beneath); the other half-day visit the Citadel, Old and Coptic Cairo and the Khan El Khalili Bazaar.

While the airport is TLV, it is actually located between Jerusalem and TLV, closer to TLV. Tel Aviv itself is a big, mostly modern city as you'd find most anywhere except for a Middle Eastern atmosphere.

As a Christian, Jew or Muslim, you want to visit Jerusalem. Most people never run out of visiting sites of all religions here. And, being a small country it's easy to get around to most Christian sites throughout the country - Nazareth, Meggido, Bethlehem (if accessible). With either a private guide/vehicle you can do day trips as you wish. I'd say that 3-full days would be good, though hectic... 4-days would be better. Or just concentrate 2-days in Jerusalem.

Pick-up a guidebook at your local bookstore to see all that is of interest. No doubt, even with a short visit, you'll only get a taste, and want to return for a fuller experience to both countries.

There is over 5,000 years of history here... and daily discoveries are unearthed to warrant continued visits.

 
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Apr 15th, 2005, 11:14 PM
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Aren't you afraid you might get travelers revenge in Cairo and blow the beginning of the trip? Cairo is still an excellent choice. Madrid is
good too. Was there at New Years last time and enjoyed immensely. Palace Hotel. Both hve great places to visit.
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Apr 16th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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I don't think Cairo/Pyramids is worth a visit on its own though. Check out the Abu Simbel pictures on this website, amazing!

http://www.virtourist.com/africa/index.html
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Apr 17th, 2005, 09:58 AM
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I guess Egyptair to Cairo but rather limited then onwards if trying to stick with same airline. Emirates non stop from JFK and then multiple flights down to EBB/NBO/DAR and also non-stops to JNB.
Air Portuagl(TAP) is now Star Alliance, although it won't be that warm in Lisbon it's an option if you want to pick up some mileage and have a quieter Euro gateway thru to JNB. I guess if you really want to warmth then Dubai, perhaps do the tour/camp in the desert overnight.
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Apr 17th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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Look if you only have 2 days head to Dubai. It's enough to see everything you want to see there.
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