Help with African vacation

Old Sep 17th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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Help with African vacation

My wife and I want to go to Africa in late November or early December for a week. Can anyone recommend a good place to go where we can see some good safaris, get some good culture, but isn't too expensive to get to? Africa is so big and we have no idea where to start looking or which country to go to. Any experiences that you can share (good or bad) would be appreciated. We're from New York City and are in our mid-late 20s. Thanks!!
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 05:29 AM
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scottsara, you are off to a good start by checking out this board as there is a host of info here particularly for someone willing to do a bit of homework. I am a bit biased of course but there is no better area than East Africa for a start. And, particularly for Kenya and Tanzania there is an excellent infrastructure for handling tourists. Numerous companies are geared up to provide a variety of experiences at different budgets. The East Africa Trip Report Index thread on this board is an excellent way to get a perspective of many trips taken by visitors. And, the search feature, although with some limitations, gives you opportunity to explore more indepth. The local bookstore should also offer books on individual countries. Fodors just came out with one on Safaris to East Africa. I started reading our copy last nite. It would seem very appropriate for someone thinking of a trip there. Even though we have been to East Africa 4 times, I was still excited to see the publication as there is always something to be learned. Once you get a better sense of what you might like, contributors of this board will be glad to address more specific questions. Before you are swayed by fancy, glitzy brochures on travel to East Africa, check with others who have been there. Best of wishes as you begin a delightful process and journey. Dick
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 06:12 AM
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As you mention that you want somewhere that isn't too expensive to get to, I suggest that you check out your flight options first and then see what you can do from there.

Once you start adding flights, it will be more expensive and take up some of your valuable 7 days.

I'm in the UK but I'm sure there are many US fodorites who can give you advice on the cheapest and most practical way to get to africa.

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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 06:19 AM
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SAA has a daily flight out of JFK to Johannesburg South Africa.

Due to the ease of getting there I would make that your first area of exploration. SAA has a few December special offers available through their tour operating arm, So if you are looking for inexpensive start there.

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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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You want safari and culture in late Nov or early Dec. with one week.

I agree that with a week to spend in Africa you will want to minimize your transport and South Africa from NYC works well with no need to change planes.

Here is some weather. The first Mala Mala weather link is for one of the many reserves in or near Kruger so you can see what the safari weather is like there.

Depending on what kind of culture you want, in Johannesburg you could visit the famous Soweto for a 1/2 day or more. I liked that.

You could also easily include Cape Town and vicinity. There are almost hourly flights approx. 2 hours in duration between Joburg and Cape Town. You could travel the garden route or visit vineyards.

There is a cultural outing with Bushmen that can be done from Cape Town that looked fascinating and is something I would consider on a return visit.

For the safari part Kruger and the neighboring private reserves have all sorts of camps/lodges for a variety of budgets with self drive and guided safaris.

If you give us a budget, then you can get more safari suggestions.
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 06:47 PM
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This is the link to the Bushmen walking near Cape Town.

There is a whole lot more to do in Cape Town than what I mentioned, but I was trying to focus on cultural.

Robben Island, where Mandela was held prisoner could be considered cultural and is definitely a unique destination in all the world because the former prisoners and guards are your guides.

Here is more on Cape Town from a local guide, if you wished to include that area.;tid=35120876

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Old Sep 19th, 2008, 04:54 AM
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Nov/Dec (to 15th) is low season in East or South Africa as this is also "wet" season. Not so much wet as to disrupt safari.

Prices, once on-the-ground (lodging) are at low season rates.

From NYC, there are great fares to South Africa. Prices are somewhat lower to East Africa during this time, but rarely as good as those to SA (Johannesburg -JNB)*... usually under $1000 round trip. Expect to pay about $1200+/- to Nairobi (NBO) or Kilimanjaro (JRO).

*contact Premier Tours out of Philadelphia (they have an 800#), their air department for fares. Though a tour operator, you can book "air only" with them.

Otherwise to check air, see to search. Kayak doesn't book tickets, but will direct you to whomever is offering the route/fare.

Flight time from NYC to East Africa thru a European hub requires about 16/hrs flying time. To SA, it's about 15/hrs non-stop to JNB; another 2/hrs to Capetown (CPT).

Once you figure what your budget can handle for transport, we can then assist with the ground options whether East or South.

Good luck.
sandi is offline  
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