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May be returning to Southern Africa in May & need advice on air transportation..........

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Feb 8th, 2003, 03:51 PM
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May be returning to Southern Africa in May & need advice on air transportation..........

I probably will be heading to South Africa and Botswana in late April / early May. While my accomodations are all part of the package, none of the air transportation is included.

My trip begins with four nights at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. I was at the Mount Nelson and the Table Bay Hotel just last March so I am very familiar with it.

I will probably arrive a day or two early to extend my Cape Town stay and will likely keep it simple by staying at the Mount Nelson (last year I saved 50% by doing a last minute booking directly with the hotel and I will attempt to do the same this time).

Following Cape Town, I will go to Botswana for four nights at two different Orient Express lodges. This is the more challenging part of my trip as it appears like I will have to fly Cape Town-Joburg-Maun and will have to do so partially on Air Botswana. Last year my wife hated Air Zimbabwe and I am not looking forward to the challenges (with her) that flying anything but SAA or BA will entail.

The trip ends with two nights at the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg.

So far, it looks like I can buy air cheaper by purchasing round trip air first between LAX and a European city such as Madrid, Amsterdam or London and then buying a separate R/T ticket between that European city and Johannesburg. If that is the case, I will definitely stay 3-4 nights in Europe first, and consider it free airfare.

The ticket to Botswana does seem a little steep (about $400 per person, nearly the same price that the R/T between LAX and Europe will cost).

Please let me know if there are any better ways of getting from South Africa to Botswana by air on a decent sized plane. Also, if there is a flight that goes straight from Cape Town to Maun, Botswana, that would be ideal. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

BTW...can hardly wait to return to Africa!!!
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Feb 9th, 2003, 01:37 AM
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Did a little more research and discoverd that I can do Johannesburg first, Botswana second and Cape Town last. That makes things a lot easier although I still don't like the policies of Botswana Air that allow Botswanians to travel for a very subsidized rate at the expense of tourists who are, in turn, overcharged.
Then again, it beats walking!
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Feb 9th, 2003, 06:49 PM
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You can get cheap flights between CPT-JNB on Kulula!

www.kulula.com

The reginal flights to tourist places in Africa are very very expensive.

For the long-haul try Air Portugal via Lisbon or Iberia via Madrid, both make nice stop-off points on the way.
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Feb 9th, 2003, 07:00 PM
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Thanks James. That was one of the reasons why Madrid was a consideration (plus the Madrid marathon is April 27th). Still trying to find a more affordable trip allowing Amsterdam, as I would love to be able to recover for a day or two in Amsterdam after running 26.2 miles. I will check out that link for regional air. Thanks.
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Feb 10th, 2003, 03:48 AM
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Where did you find a fare LAX to Europe for around $400??? in May?
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Feb 10th, 2003, 03:55 AM
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I've just checked with a colleague who recently flew with Air Bots to Maun and she says that it really is not that bad - way better than Air Zim. Remember that Botswana has better infrastructure so although the fleet may be small the aircraft will be maintained. However, if the problem is the size of the aircraft I'm sorry to say you are not going to get anything bigger than a turbo prop (about 40 seater) aircraft. SAA fly into Gaborone (under the SA Airlink colours) and this will also be a smaller aircraft.
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Feb 10th, 2003, 04:11 AM
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Sue,
For about $325 per person I can fly from LAX to AMS as late as March 31st.
It goes up by about $100 through mid April and then over $500 in May. Travelocity.com
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Feb 15th, 2003, 01:17 PM
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James,
Thanks for that great tip about kulula.com.
Checking the rates for a May 03rd flight to Cape Town and returning to Joburg on May 09th, a competitive American website, expedia.com was $340 per person! However, for the same dates, kulula.com was an amazing $140 per person!
Thank you all for the wonderful tips that you are providing. I may be able to get a first class trip in for well under $6500 at this rate. Its starting to look like I'll be able to all my air in for about $3500, 4 nights at a very nice game reserve in for $1500, 4 nights at Twelve Apostles in Cape Town for $550 and 4 nights at The Ritz hotel in Madrid for $650.

The hotel rates quoted are by way of an auction I won for each stay. The game reserve prices I quoted are from www.mtbeds.co.za and for under $375 USD per night total (under $187.50 per night per person sharing) you can get some pretty nice places like Savanna, Inyati, Jaci's Safari Camp, Exeter, Jock Safari Camp and Ngala.

I will be eager to report the difference between a camp such as the above camps and Singita where I stayed last year but has now risen to about $1500 per night.
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