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family safari in Africa where is it safe /economical to go this July/09?

family safari in Africa where is it safe /economical to go this July/09?

Mar 22nd, 2009, 07:41 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 164
family safari in Africa where is it safe /economical to go this July/09?

Hi , I have gotten lots of good advice over the last few years about trips to take from this blog and was hoping I could get some help. I know that I am getting a late start on the planing.We initially weren't going to take a trip due to the economy but some last minute money has made a trip possible. We have a 13 yr old girl and 17 yr old boy ( would like to squeeze in a couple of trips more before he moves away from home), are all fit ,and the kids are up for anything. We would like to take a 2.5 week trip to Africa,part of the time to Malawi , and 7-10 days for safari. Has anyone had recent safari experiences to share? We are concerned with safety issues and would like to see lots of animals. We can go with fairly basic accommodations. We have all our shots and have taken malaria meds in the past with no difficulty. I traveled to Masai Mara by myself about 25 yrs ago and had a wonderful experience, but not sure how safe Kenya is these days and whether it is worth traveling up there for a safari.
Any advice is welcome!
venturesome4 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 07:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Sorry, but the basic first safari question (and answer) is always -budget- $$$$. The range of safari costs is amazing, sometimes even discouraging. What are you thinking of spending?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 08:04 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,653
I just put my safari in Tanzania on the site a few minutes ago. I never felt unsafe (from people anyhow!) I felt very at ease in Tanzania and found the people amazing and friendly.
Dont know about any other countries but can highly recommend Tanzania.
live42day is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26
Took my four grandchildren To Kenya in June (ages 9 to 15). We felt perfectly safe the whole time. I would not take anything for that experience with them.
emowens is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 08:14 PM
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Thank you ShayTay and twaffle for your kind words.
live42day is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 09:56 PM
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I'm curious about the Malawi portion... do you have friends there? Other interests? You would probably have to go there via South Africa, so it might make sense to go to SA or to Zambia. South Luangwa NP in Zambia is a wonderful experience! You might do a combination of game drives and walking safaris in the park. It's large enough that you could easily spend 7 to 10 days there. You could also use a couple of those days to go to Victoria Falls.
ShayTay is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10
Kenya will be a great place for the family safari . It is still the best safari country in Africa [my opinion !] .In July you will be lucky to see the 8th new Wonder of the world , The Great Migration in the Masai Mara national park .The average cost for the Mid-range per person per day will be about $160 for game drives , FB accommodation , park fees , airport transfer and transport . Top End will be from $350-$500 . But the country is the most rewarding in regards to Wildlife , Birding and culture . You are also sure with your safety . The link below could be helpful .

Enjoy !!!
jaluointhehouse is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 05:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Depending on when traveling - July or August, you can visit either Tanzania or Kenya; early July = Tanzania, in August = Kenya. Kenya is perfectly safe, as is Tanzania.

However, if youu plan to visit Malawi, I'd suggest you first determine transport from NBO/Kenya or from JRO or DAR/Tanzania (all int'l hub cities for use from one country to another i.e. Malawi if you don't have to fly thru South Africa first), just to determine how you get from Point A-B.

Once that's figures out with flights, schedules and costs, then you can work on a safari itinerary.

Visiting either country, July/August are peak-season with prices to match, but your children are entitled to discounts, especially the 13/yr old and maybe the 17/yr old if sharing rooms/tents with parents or the 2/kids together. You can be your own group and design an private itinerary just for your family.
sandi is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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As Shay Tay says, you'll probably go through South Africa to get to Malawi, so it would make sense to do your safari there. I'm a huge fan of Kruger Park, and if you want an affordable safari, it's great. Look up any of my posts in this forum to see why I think doing self-drive in Kruger is such a good idea, especially with teenagers.

If you want specific information, let me know.

Celia is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 05:51 AM
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Oh, to see my previous postings, click on my name above. If you use the search function, you get only posts that I initiated.

Celia is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Good suggestion, Celia. If they are not comfortable with self-driving, they might check into other options for Kruger, or even some place in the private games reserves next to Kruger such as Elephant Plains, which is reasonably priced.
ShayTay is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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It's worth traveling to Kenya and I believe it is safe enough for typical safari activites, but there may be areas closer to Malawi that would save you travel time and money.

If you want an active safari with walking and canoeing, in additon to drives, I'd check out South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi in Zambia.

To keep to a budget I like the suggestions of self drive in Kruger or Elephant Plains.

With 2.5 weeks, you could even do both.

Budget is key for suggestions, if you care to share.
atravelynn is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 22
i had a former employee who moved to malawi two years ago. she loves it there. she runs a charity called chembe child and also runs a lodge outside chembe. her 15 year old sister visited her in october 08 and loved it!

malawi is equally accessible from johannesburg or nairobi with one flight on saa or kenya airways.

i think you should go to malawi and then visit malamala (main)+phinda (mountain) in south africa for three days each. or, you should visit malamala (main)+mashatu (tented) or lions lands river lodge+nitani. the kids would love any of these two lodge combos. i took my 13 & 11 year old daughters to malamala, lion sands, and the okavango delta last marh/april. they loved every place we went!

craig beal
craig_beal is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Wow, such good info and you guys are really fast with your responses! We will be in Malawi for a week to visit our sister parish and hopefully do some water projects. I think it is most likely that we will go through SA so may do a safari there.It sounds like some of the private parks just outside of Kruger have some excellent viewing options. Other options that look very interesting are Zambia, and Botswana.I really want to see some meerkats! I think our budget is 250 or less per person but we might splurge for the perfect itinerary. We get along well as a family and have often shared one room so that isn't a problem.We would like to do a night safari. Canoe safaris are less interesting to us ( have done our share of tussling with the water lilies state-side) and we have some safety concerns about walking safaris. It is gratifying to hear that you didn't have any concerns when those of you who traveled to Kenya were there.We have since gotten some info from friends of ours who traveled there last year with their 2 teen daughters and did feel uncomfortable at times even though they had confidence in the guide they chose and ultimately nothing worrisome happened.
atravelynn, I recognize your name from other blogs, specifically about South America. Wow, you get around!
I think my next step is now to digest some of the fabulous info on this site to hone down our itinerary.
thanks so much!
venturesome4 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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"I really want to see some meerkats! "
I would suggest going to the Makgadikgadi pans fo the Kalahari in Botswana for that. Camps there include Jack's, San, Planet Baobab, Makgadikgadi Camp.

I follow the wild animals, Venturesome4, which is why I get around.

Were you told the source of the discomfort from the people who were in Kenya? Too close to animals on the drives? Walking around in cities? Didn't care for Maasai visit?

If you don't want to canoe and would be prefer not to do walking safaris, then I'd focus on South Africa or Botswana instead of Zambia. Night drives are common either place.

If you decide on South Africa, I couldn't argue with Craig Beal's suggestion and have done the Mala Mala-Phinda combo myself.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 6th, 2009, 09:51 PM
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hi atravelynn,
I think that Botswana may be too expensive for us and am focusing on South Africa for now.We will spend 1 week in Malawi, which leaves us 8-9 days for S. Africa. do you have any suggestions about the most "bang for our buck"? Is it reasonable to do the combo of Mala Mala Phinda in that amount of time? Do you have any particular travel agency you can recommend? We have a guide book but it seems very high end with very plush accommodations including plunge pools, that we really don't need! I have perused the web sites but they don't have much info it seems unless you actually want the data for a specific itinerary. I haven't seen any prices just by browsing.
RE: Kenya -I think my friends were concerned about the driving on the roads and also felt the Maasai village visit expensive and perhaps not so authentic. I know that they were offered cattle for their daughters ( the oldest was 12 at the time) several times but she didn't mention that incident specifically when she discussed her discomfort in a recent email. The area of western Kenya primarily affected last year was one that I had worked in 20+ years before. so sad!
Thanks for your advice. I will keep perusing the threads here.
venturesome4 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2009, 10:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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If you are going to be in Malawi, and concerned about budget too, you should consider just going to South Luangwa NP which isn't far from Lilongwe. Its easy to do a transfer by flying or land. You can do game drives only in SLNP. Also, this way you have time unrushed to include another park like Kafue or Lower Zambezi or even Livingstone at Vic Falls, it won't cost prohibitive either. I suggest you try an agent in Malawi to set it up.

July is a bit nippy in South Africa, and really quite nice in Malawi and Zambia.
luangwablondes is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 47
Yikes - a well known safari outfitter in Kenya just told us not to drive to Sweetwaters or Samburu unless in a caravan due to safety isues. Said to fly instead. Of course that is way more expensive for us since we are a group.
GoCathy is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 03:25 PM
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hey venturesome4 here is our itinerary for south africa hope this helps you........Escorted Package Includes

Flights NYC-Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth-NYC
Airline fuel surcharges
14 nights accommodations
2 nights Protea Hotel Wanderers, Johannesburg
2 nights Protea Hotel Hazyview, Hazyview
1 night Lugogo Sun, Ezulwini, Swaziland
1 night Elephant Lake Hotel, St. Lucia
4 nights Protea Hotel Victoria Junction, Cape Town
1 night Protea Hotel Riempie Estate, Oudtshoorn
2 nights Protea Hotel Knysna Quays, Knysna
1 night Protea Hotel Marine, Port Elizabeth
All transfers
23 meals: 14 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners
Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
Services of English speaking tour manager throughout
Entrance fees per itinerary
Special Features

Soweto Tour
Game drive through Kruger Park
Game drive through Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve
Cape Town City & Table Mountain Tour
Cape Peninsula Tour
Cango Caves
Safari Ostrich Farm
Featherbed Nature Reserve

Depart the USA to South Africa. Your flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for your journey

DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Johannesburg
Arrive in Johannesburg and transfer to your hotel. Balance of the day at leisure
Overnight: Johannesburg

DAY 3, Saturday - Soweto Tour and Lesedi Cultural Village
After an early breakfast depart on a half day Soweto Tour. Experience a fascinating glimpse at the bustling neighborhood life of Soweto, the most metropolitan township in the country, setting trends in politics, fashion, music, dance and language. Drive by the former residence of Bishop Desmond Tutu and visit Nelson Mandela's former home, before proceeding to the Hector Peterson memorial, dedicated to one of the first casualties of the Soweto uprising of 1976. Following a brief stop to freshen up at the hotel, transfer to the Lesedi Cultural Village, home to various African tribes, living in traditional homesteads. Highlights of this evening's tour include a multilingual, audio-visual orientation depicting the cultural history of South Africa, a guided tour through typical homesteads of Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi and Sotho villages, a song and dance performance and of course a traditional feast. Return to the hotel later this evening
Overnight: Johannesburg
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4, Sunday - Panorama Route to Hazyview
Depart Johannesburg after breakfast and travel to Mpumalanga Province, known as "Paradise Country," driving the spectacular "Panorama Route." Stop to admire the views of amazing scenery along the 16-mile-long Blyde River Canyon, cut deep into red sandstone, and God's Window (weather and fog permitting), a breathtaking, Edenic vista at the edge of the escarpment overlooking Kruger National Park. Visit Bourke's Luck Potholes, a series of waterfalls and distinctive rock formations created by countless millenia of water erosion, and continue to the picturesque old mining town of Pilgrim's Rest. Finally, proceed to Hazyview and enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening
Overnight: Hazyview
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5, Monday - Kruger National Park Game Reserve
The day begins at dawn with coffee, tea, and rusks, a South African dry biscuit. Then, depart for Kruger National Park to join a thrilling open-vehicle game drive. Larger than the state of Connecticut, the park offers some of the best game and wildlife viewing opportunities in the world, and early morning is an optimal time of day. You may have a chance to see lion, elephant, giraffe, or zebra in their natural habitat. After stopping at a rest camp for pre-packed breakfast, the game safari continues. With any luck, you may even see cheetah and leopard. Return to the hotel to relax before coming back to the park in the late afternoon for another open-vehicle game drive, maximizing your opportunity to see the compelling wildlife. After the day's excitement, enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening
Overnight: Hazyview
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6, Tuesday - Swaziland Sightseeing
After breakfast travel to Swaziland, an independent Kingdom within the borders of South Africa, known for its lovely scenery, fine handicrafts and vibrant indigenous culture. Visit the Ngwenya glass factory, where visitors can watch talented glass blowers create a range of enchanting African animals, birds and fish, as well as tableware, made from recycled glass that is collected by the children of Swaziland. In the afternoon, visitors may opt for an excursion to a Swazi candle factory, where Swazi wax artists make beautiful candles
Optional: Early Morning Game Drive in Kruger Park
Overnight: Swaziland
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7, Wednesday - Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Game Reserve, Travel to St. Lucia
After breakfast, continue south through Swaziland, before re-entering South Africa. Travel to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, situated in northern KwaZulu Natal, which contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora and is particularly famous for its conservation of black and white rhinos. Home to Africa's "Big Five," you may have a chance to see elephant, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard, in addition to rhino during your afternoon game drive through the reserve. The park also boasts warthog, crocodile, and antelope. Following the safari, continue to your hotel in St. Lucia
Overnight: St. Lucia
Meals: Breakfast

Day 8, Thursday - St. Lucia Estuary Cruise, Flight to Cape Town
This morning, enjoy a cruise on the St. Lucia Estuary. This tidal estuary is home to Nile crocodiles, hippopotami, sea turtles, and even sharks, making it a fascinating and uniquely diverse ecosystem. Later, transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Cape Town. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel
Overnight: Cape Town
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 9, Friday - Cape Town City Tour
After a leisurely breakfast depart on a half day Cape Town city and Table Mountain tour. Driving to the city center, pass famous landmarks such as the Castle of Good Hope built in 1666 by the Dutch East India Company and City Hall, a splendid baroque building, and of course the Grand Parade. See St. George's Cathedral, the Anglican Diocese of Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pass the Company Gardens and the Malay Quarter. The route then leads to Kloof Nek and the magnificent Table Mountain. Ascend to the top (weather permitting) by means of a cable car. At the summit, see wild flowers and the famous silver tree, and marvel at a birds-eye view of the city and its beaches. On a clear day it is even possible to see Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, on one side, and Cape Point on the other. Descend from the Upper Cableway Station and proceed to the Milnerton Lighthouse before returning to your hotel
Optional: Half Day Private Cape Town Cultural Tour (PM)
Overnight: Cape Town
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10, Saturday - Cape Peninsula Tour
Today, depart on a full day Cape Peninsula Tour with lunch along the way. Drive to Cape Point at the southwestern tip of the Cape Peninsula, passing steep mountains, secluded coves, and sweeping beaches en route. After a stop at the fishing village of Hout Bay, one of Cape Town's best-kept secrets, continue to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, comprising over 17,300 acres of indigenous flora and fauna, where you may see baboons by the road-side, rheboks, Cape Mountain zebras, bonteboks and the elusive eland. The native plant life, known as fynbos, forms one of only six floral kingdoms in the world. Then, have the opportunity to see the majestic coastline, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Following the coastline along False Bay, return to Cape Town after lunch by way of Simon's Town. Here, visit the penguin colonies at Boulders Beach, and continue with a scenic drive over Muizenberg Mountain. Lastly, visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, resting at the foot of Table Mountain, for a short walking tour of the beautiful gardens before finally returning to Cape Town
Overnight: Cape Town
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, Sunday - Full Day in Cape Town
Enjoy the day at leisure in Cape Town. This evening transfer to the Africa Café for a dinner
Optional: Full Day Private Winelands Tour
Overnight: Cape Town
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12, Monday - Scenic Route 62 to Oudtshoorn
Depart Cape Town via the scenic Route 62 to Oudtshoorn. Travel through Breede River Valley and the Klein Karoo where you will drive along majestic mountains, sparkling rivers, vineyards and orchards. Upon arrival check in and enjoy dinner at the hotel
Overnight: Oudtshoorn
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13, Tuesday - Cango Caves and Ostrich Farm
This morning after breakfast depart Oudtshoorn for Knysna. On the way, stop for a short visit to the Cango Caves for a tour of the vast limestone formations. Here you will be guided through the various halls and the first six chambers of this most famous natural wonder. Continue on to the Safari Ostrich farm. Here you will have the opportunity to hug, feed, sit or, if you dare, ride the ostriches. You will learn more about the different stages of life of the largest, flightless bird in the world. After your visit with the birds there will be a lunch and show. Continue to Knysna where the rest of the day and evening is spent at leisure
Overnight: Knysna
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14, Wednesday - Featherbed Nature Reserve
After breakfast depart for a morning excursion to the Featherbed Nature Reserve. This excursion includes a ferry ride on Knysna lagoon. You will travel to the Knysna Heads, the grand sandstone cliffs towering above the entrance to the Lagoon. Later take a trailer ride to the Western Head. On your way to the top, there will be stop at a magnificent viewpoint. Here you will be able to capture unsurpassed views and pictures of the Lagoon, mountains and Knysna. When is it time to return for lunch you will have the choice to walk or ride back. After lunch under the milkwood trees, return to the hotel for the rest of the day at leisure to explore on your own
Overnight: Knysna
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 15, Thursday - Tsitsikamma Forest, Travel to Port Elizabeth
This morning after a leisurely breakfast continue to Port Elizabeth. On the way, stop for a visit to the Tsitsikamma Forest. Known as the "Garden of the Garden route", the forest is home to centuries old trees such as Yellowwood, Stinkwood, Hard Pear, Ironwood, Kamassi and many others. The high mountains, deep gorges and rugged coastline are covered with tall indigenous and vast, unspoiled stands of the Cape's unique fynbos. Upon arrival in Port Elizabeth, check in and enjoy dinner at the hotel
Overnight: Port Elizabeth
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16, Friday - Depart for the USA
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

Book your Optional Tours before you travel and see more, save time, save money, and protect your investment. Tours purchased while traveling cost at least 10% more! Tours often sell out - avoid disappointment! Save your cash - many countries do not accept credit cards. Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure.

Half Day Morning Open Vehicle Game Drive 01 Apr 2009 - 31 Oct 2009 $80
Spend the morning participating in an exhilarating open vehicle game drive in Kruger National Park. This world-famous park is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, creating a wildlife experience ranking among the best on the planet. During your time in the African bush, learn about the diverse ecosystem and search for wildlife including the "Big Five," lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhino.

Half Day Cape Town Cultural Tour 01 Apr 2009 - 31 Oct 2009 $69
Join this cultural tour for a unique look at the three distinct eras of South African history, from the birth of the country, to Apartheid South Africa, to the New South Africa, and see how much the nation has changed since Nelson Mandela was released from prison. The tour affords the opportunity to interact, mingle and exchange cultural values with the local community. You will be welcomed in the traditional African manner in the townships of Langa, the oldest formal township, and in Khayalitsha, the largest informal settlement. The tour includes visits to the District Six Museum, and Gugulethu township, meaning "our pride", which was established as a result of the migrant labor system. Experience a visit to a "shebeen", an informal tavern and see local artisans at work.

Full Day Winelands Tour 01 Apr 2009 - 05 Nov 2009 $100
Wind through South Africa's fertile valleys, prized for their renowned vintages, and discover the rustic beauty of sprawling estates shaded by giant oaks and rows of vines running as far as the eye can see. Travel the country's principal wine route to Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschoek, and enjoy tastings at some of the excellent vineyards along the way. Begin with the "Pearl of Paarl" and visit one of the local estates to enjoy a wine tasting and cellar tour. Then continue northwest to the old, scenic village of Franschoek, founded near the Drakenstein Mountains in 1688 by French immigrants, whose descendants eventually supplied highly sought after wine to Napolean, Bismark, and even King Edward VII. Next, stop for lunch, on own account and then it is off to another wine tasting. Lastly, travel to Stellenbosch, South Africa's second oldest town and the historic heart of the country's wine region. First recognized as an ideal location for vineyards in 1679, viticulture has been entwined with the town's history ever since. Also of interest is the town's fascinating variety of architecture, including buildings in Cape Dutch, Georgian, and Victorian styles. Enjoy a final tasting before bidding farewell to the wine country and returning to Cape Town.

Book your Optional Tours before you travel and see more, save time, save money, and protect your investment. Tours purchased while traveling cost at least 10% more! Tours often sell out - avoid disappointment! Save your cash - many countries do not accept credit cards. Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure.

Rates & Hotels
Click On A Date To Book Online
* All Prices are in USD
2009 Land Only Air & Land
Book By
Jun 12 Book After
Jun 12 Book By
Jun 12 Book After
Jun 12
Apr 9 (Please Call) 2359 2559 4269 4469
Apr 23 (Please Call) 2259 2459 4169 4369
May 7 (Sold Out) 1989 2189 3899 4099
May 21 (Please Call) 1989 2189 3899 4099
Jul 9; Aug 6 2049 2249 4399 4599
Sep 17 2089 2289 3999 4199
Oct 8; 22 2369 2569 3959 4159

*Not included: airport taxes, fees & September 11th Security Fee, optional tours, tips to tour manager and drivers (see Terms & Conditions).

Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers, nor does it include Durban - Cape Town. When flying to South Africa via any alternative airline or gateway, these flights must be purchased separately at an additional cost of $275.00p.p.

Accommodations will be provided at the Piggs Peak Hotel in Swaziland on May 7 departure.

Protea Hotel Wanderers, standard rooms, cannot comfortably accommodate 3 adults or two adults and child; therefore, a double, plus a single room configuration has been priced in the package and is available on request

Protea Hotel Victoria Junction standard rooms cannot comfortably accommodate 3 adults or two adults and child; therefore, a loft room has been priced in the package and is available on request.

Protea Hotel Marine standard rooms cannot comfortably accommodate 3 adults; therefore, a double, plus a single room configuration has been priced in the package and is available on request.
Hotel Plans
16 Day Affordable South Africa with Garden Route - [details] (included)
Protea Hotel Wanderers Johannesburg

This first class hotel is located on Wanderers Club grounds in the green belt of Johannesburg's northern suburb of Illovo near to Rosebank and Melrose Arch Precinct. [more]
Protea Hotel Hazyview Hazyview

This tourist class hotel is located in the heart of the lush Mpumalanga Lowveld only fifteen minutes from famous Kruger National Park. [more]
Lugogo Sun Ezulwini

This tourist class hotel is located in the heart of Swaziland's most beautiful Ezulwini Valley. [more]
Orion Piggs Peak Hotel & Casino Piggs Peak

This tourist class hotel is situated in the midst of a secluded pine forest in the mountainous north-west region of Swaziland. [more]
Elephant Lake Hotel St. Lucia

This tourist class hotel is located on South Africa's Elephant Coast in the heart of the St. Lucia World Heritage Site and overlooking Lake St. Lucia. [more]
Protea Hotel Victoria Junction Cape Town

This first class hotel borders the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Green Point district of Cape Town. [more]
Protea Hotel Riempie Estate Oudtshoorn

This tourist class hotel is located just outside Oudtshoorn on a beautiful farm-like setting. [more]
Protea Hotel Knysna Quays Knysna

This superior tourist class hotel is located on the beautiful Knysna Lagoon in the Knysna Quays Waterfront within walking distance from the town center. [more]
Protea Hotel Marine Port Elizabeth

This superior tourist class hotel overlooks the sun and sand of Pollock Beach with views of Algoa Bay and is close to the Boardwalk Casino and Dolphinarium, and historic attractions. [more]

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Airfare Type

[Any] Gate 1 Travel Airfare Only Published Airfare Only

We are unable to reserve airline seats for you until 11 months prior to your date of travel. Until then, we offer a choice of airfares from major US cities which you may select for your reservation. Your final flight details, airfare, airport taxes and fees will be advised 11 months prior to travel. Airfares are subject to change.
Air reservations may be completed no more than 11 months prior to the date of travel. For travel more than 11 months prior, please call Gate 1 at (800) 682-3333.

Select Number of Rooms 1 2 3 4

Room 1
# of Adults
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
# of Children
-- 1 2 3

First Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Second Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Third Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Room 2
# of Adults
-- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
# of Children
-- 1 2 3

First Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Second Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Third Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Room 3
# of Adults
-- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
# of Children
-- 1 2 3

First Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Second Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Third Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Room 4
# of Adults
-- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
# of Children
-- 1 2 3

First Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Second Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Third Child Age
-- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Know Before You Go
Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.
Getting Ready to Go
Passports and Visas
It is each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure and a visa if required. Please check the information at www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies.

Passports and Visas - South Africa & Swaziland
All Non-South African passport holders are required to have at least one, entirely blank (unstamped) visa page (i.e. one side of such a page not front and back thereof) in their passport, each time entry is sought into South Africa. These pages are in addition to the endorsement/amendment pages at the back of the passport. South African government regulations prohibit airlines from boarding passengers without the required blank visa page.

A visa is not required to enter Swaziland but passport should be valid for at least six months upon entry. In addition to blank page needed for South Africa, an additional page should be available for entrance to Swaziland as well.

Please note that depending upon country of citizenship, other requirements may also apply. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that they have the correct travel documents. If you have any questions on the required documentation, please inquiry with the Consulate or Embassy of all countries that are included on the itinerary to ensure compliance.

For more information, please see www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx.

Trip Preparation
A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you’ll need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip.

Health Information
Check with your personal physician for the latest overseas travel health information, or contact the Center for Disease Control’s travelers’ hotline at 404-332-4559, web site www.cdc.gov.

Health Precautions - South Africa
While the majority of South Africa is malaria-free, visitors to Kruger National Park are encouraged to consult their health care providers regarding malaria prophylaxis. Additionally, visitors should use mosquito repellent and wear long pants, closed shoes, and a lightweight long sleeve shirt when in this area. Please consult your physician before traveling to South Africa.
Climate / Clothing - South Africa
South Africa: Spring and Autumn: 55 – 70 ºF, Summer: 60 – 80ºF, Winter: 45 – 65ºF. Bring comfortable walking shoes, clothes you can layer, and an all-weather jacket. Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses are also recommended. On game reserves, visitors should wear neutral colors such as brown, khaki, and beige. South Africa Average Temperatures: http://www.gate1travel.com/weather/a...africa-weather
About Your Flights
Most airlines now require that we provide e-tickets in place of paper tickets. At check-in, you should be ready to provide your e-ticket itinerary and ticket numbers, as well as identification (valid passport) to the agent. In a few cases where e-tickets cannot be issued, you will receive your tickets in a paper form.

Airline Flights
Please check in at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time to allow for security steps. Passengers connecting from another point within the USA may check their luggage through to their final destination, and although problems with lost luggage have been minimal, it is a possibility. Certain carriers do not allow baggage “interlining,” and luggage must be checked separately for each flight. If you are connecting from a domestic flight which is delayed for any reason, causing you to miss your international flight, you must ask the airline for assistance in getting you to your destination. Since all airline tickets are issued on special fares which carry restrictions and penalties if changed, you must have the airlines responsible make alternate arrangements on your behalf as Gate 1 has no authority or control over airline activities and policies. Do not leave the airline check-in desk until an alternative itinerary has been confirmed for you.

Airline Luggage Restrictions
Most international airlines are consistent with regard to the number and weight of the pieces you may check and bring onboard. Domestic carriers however, typically on small aircraft, differ. Therefore, we suggest that you check in advance if you are concerned about size or weight restrictions.

Airline Seats
Airline seats are confirmed whenever possible. Some airlines and/or fare types do not allow for pre-seating and require this be done at airport check-in only. Even when seats are pre-assigned however, we recommend that you contact the carrier one to two weeks prior to departure to reconfirm your seats. In many cases there are equipment changes after your initial booking which can cause airplane seating reconfiguration.

Airline Tickets
Most airline tickets are issued using special fares which cannot be changed or canceled without incurring additional cost. Should you lose or misplace your tickets while traveling, you should immediately notify the airline. In most cases they will have you complete a Lost Ticket Indemnity Form, and for a fee, issue replacement tickets.

Code-share Flights
Many airlines participate in alliances and special agreements with other airlines which permit passengers to travel from one point to another using more than one carrier. While your ticket may indicate that you are flying with one carrier (eg: Delta), you may find that you are actually seated in a plane belonging to another carrier (eg: Alitalia). Please review your airline itinerary carefully to determine which airline you should go to for check-in; if your flight is operated by a carrier other than the primary airline indicated on the itinerary, your itinerary will state "Flight Operated by (Airline)." If you have any concerns regarding which airline to check-in with, you may contact the airline directly or Gate 1 Travel for clarification.

All Gate 1 tour packages allow one piece of luggage per person, plus carry-on bag. Additional baggage will be subject to airline handling charges of up to $100 per piece. As Gate 1 will not be responsible for loss or damage to luggage and personal belongings, you MUST report any loss or damage immediately at the time of the incident and obtain a written report from the local authority for submission to your insurance provider. If your luggage is lost or damaged by the airlines, a baggage claim form MUST be filed with the carrier before leaving the airport. See www.gate1travel.com/luggage.aspx for Important Baggage Information for U.S. Travelers.

Arrival & Departure Procedures
Arrival Procedures
If your program includes airport arrival transfers, please complete immigration formalities and claim your luggage. You will be met by our local representative after you pass through customs. Look for someone holding a Gate 1 Travel sign and/or a sign with your name on it. If you do not connect with the Gate 1 transfer personnel, go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask them to page the Gate 1 Travel representative or phone the number on your voucher.
What To Do When Your Flight Is Delayed
Airlines do not share flight manifest information. Therefore, the only way we may learn of a delay or schedule change while you are traveling is from you, the traveler. The sooner you are able to contact one of our offices, overseas or in the USA, the better we can respond. Gate 1 Travel is only able to guarantee pre-reserved arrival transfers for up to one hour from the scheduled time, no matter the cause. In case you are delayed for any reason, and are unable to follow the instructions on your voucher, please make independent transfer arrangements and retain your receipts. Unused tour services, including transfers and hotel nights are not refundable. Upon your return home you will need to contact your airline and/or insurance carrier to investigate the possibility of reimbursement for any unused tour services.
Departure Procedures
If your program includes departure transfers, instructions will be stated on your voucher or provided locally.
Due to local traffic and other extenuating circumstances, we ask that you allow 30 minutes from your scheduled transfer time for our representative to arrive. This includes hotel, airport and cruise transfers. Such possible delays are taken into consideration in scheduling transfers and you should therefore have no concerns about arriving late for your tour, flight or cruise. For transfers from a hotel, let the hotel reception desk or concierge know that you are waiting for a transfer. In the case of a missed transfer, reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses will be considered provided you obtain a written statement from the hotel's front desk verifying the length of time you waited, and the time you left the hotel, and a receipt for your transportation with time and date.

Escorted tour programs include transfers, providing you have purchased airfare from Gate 1 to arrive and depart on the scheduled tour dates. If you are traveling independently, you may purchase the transfers from Gate 1 or contract your own method of transportation to the hotel or cruise ship. The cost of a transfer will generally be more expensive than hiring a taxi as the pre-arranged transfer necessarily includes round trip service, or a 'dead-leg'. Additionally the driver may have to wait at the collection point for up to an hour.
About Your Accommodations
Gate 1 Travel has carefully selected each hotel based on overall quality, location, price, food, service, and cleanliness. All rooms are standard rooms with two single beds and private facilities, unless you have specifically requested and paid for an upgrade. Room selection is strictly at the discretion of the hotel management. We reserve the right to make hotel substitutions with those of equal standard.
Hotel Check-in/ Check-out
Check-in time is usually 4pm or later. Check-out time is 12 noon. If you will be arriving early in the day or departing in the evening, hotels will usually allow you to store your luggage in their luggage room. Ask at the front desk if the hotel can check you in earlier, or let you stay later.
At Your Destination
Shopping in a foreign country can be a wonderful experience. You may find fantastic, one-of-a-kind merchandise. You may get terrific bargains. However, we advise you to exercise care and common sense when making any purchase. Always get a formal receipt. And remember that, just like in this country, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Shopping - South Africa
Local specialties include handcrafts such as basketware, beadwork, embroidery and sculptures, as well as exceptional gold, platinum, and diamond jewelry. Boutiques, malls, markets, and roadside stands abound.
We suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country you're visiting before you leave the U.S. It is a good idea to carry a chart with you to help you convert U.S. dollars to the local currency. It's also a good idea not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most U.S. ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads on foreign ATMs don't always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you decide to carry cash or travelers checks, exchange them at banks where the rate is more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus

Currency - South Africa & Swaziland
The Rand is the currency of South Africa. The lilangeni is the currency of Swaziland.

Purchasing Tours Locally - South Africa
On escorted tours, the guides will generally sell optional tours to passengers who have not pre-purchased them. Payment can be made by cash or credit card. This does not apply to Independent packages. Please see Gate 1 Terms & Conditions for more information.. http://www.gate1travel.com/terms.aspxptional
Credit Cards
While credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local currency. Inform your credit card company that you are travelling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons.

This is a matter of personal discretion. You may use the following as a guideline:

*Tour escort (Coordinator; may or may not act as a guide):
$6 or $7 per person per day
*Driver (Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage):
$3 per person per day
*Local Guide (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or many guides along a tour program):
$2 per person per half day of sightseeing (2-3 hours)
*River Cruises:
$6 or $7 per person per day as indicated by each cruise line (see details regarding European, Russian, and Ukrainian River Cruises)
*Private car tours(small groups of 2-14 passengers):
$12 to $16 per person per day for each day of sightseeing
*Hotel Porter:
$1 per bag per person
*Wait staff:
$1.50 per person (lunch or dinner)
*Chamber maid:
$1 per person per day

Tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional "compensation." There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour escort or phone our local office. Numbers have been provided in your documents for your convenience.
Tipping - South Africa
Tips are appreciated and expected for good service in restaurants , as well as on safaris. A general guideline for tipping Game Rangers is approximately 50 Rand($7) per person, per day.

Your Safety is Very Important
Every effort has been taken by Gate 1 Travel to ensure your safety. However, it is important that you do not allow your common sense to take a vacation while you're on your trip. Be aware of potentially dangerous places and situations as you would at home. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden pouches. Don't put all your valuables (money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place. (In case that one wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in another safe place.) Don't leave valuables laying loose in your room-use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit card numbers and travelers checks numbers in the hotel safe. If you've purchased an escorted tour program, your travel documents will include telephone numbers of local Gate 1 Travel representatives who will do their utmost to assist you in the event of an emergency. The numbers are printed on your Gate 1 Travel vouchers. Please copy the numbers. Once you relinquish the voucher, you will not have this information. Passengers traveling independently should employ the services of hotel concierges and local authorities.
Local Emergency Phone Numbers - South Africa
Ambulance/Fire: 10177
Police: 10111

In Cape Town:
General emergency: 107

Language - South Africa
Official languages include Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English. The language used varies by region. English is widely spoken.

Electricity - South Africa
The voltage used is 220 volts.

Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.

Code of Conduct - South Africa
Shaking hands is the standard greeting. Common courtesies should be observed. Conservative casual dress is appropriate. Rural areas tend to be more conservative than urban areas. In conversation, avoid discussing racial tensions. South Africa is one of the world's great examples of biodiversity. Please be mindful of this ecological significance and do not litter.
Holidays - South Africa
Holidays 2009
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Mar 21 Human Rights Day
Apr 10 Good Friday
Apr 12 Easter
Apr 13 Easter Monday
Apr 27 Freedom Day
May 1 Workers' Day
Jun 16 Youth Day
Aug 9 National Women's Day
Sep 24 Heritage Day
Dec 16 Day of Reconciliation
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Day of Goodwill
Dec 31 New Year's Eve
nicolino is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 624
OMG! I didn't know anyone could fit that much 'stuff' in one post. I have RSI just scrolling down through all the advertising.
twaffle is offline  

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