No turning back now...


Feb 15th, 2004, 11:42 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
No turning back now...

I have all my air booked from LAX-London-Rome-London-Johannesburg-Lusaka-Johannesburg-London-LAX!!!

Although I was tempted to allow enough time to get a half day city tour of London, in the end, I didn't want to risk missing a flight. Plus, I needed additional time so that I will be able to check in luggage, as my schedule in Johannesburg is pretty tight to make my flight back to London at the end.

Ultimately, I will arrive in Rome one night before my Insight Tour, "Best Of Italy", commences. I will have the following itinerary:

Rome (3)
Assisi (1)
Venice (1)
Florence (2)
Naples (2)
Rome (1)

I will be ready for a vacation after that so-called holiday. Unfortunately I am travelling with a group that has never been to Italy and my wife really wants to spend time with them (two of her uncles and each of their respective wives). Too bad they are not a little better travelled, allowing us to pick a more stimulating itinerary like India or even Australia/New Zealand. Then again, had that been the case, I would likely not be able to add on Zambia!

Okay, they are forgiven!

In Zambia, I intend to be a little more adventurous this year and I will not push scaredtodeath to do anything she doesn't want to do such as gamewalks. I will do a lot more gamewalking in the South Luangwa this year and will also try an "ultralight" flight, which is a miniature airplane that is really nothing more than a hang glider with a lawn mower engine strapped to it, allowing it to fly lowly overhead inaccessible parts of the South Luangwa that are teeming with elephants, hippos, buffalo, crocodiles and other game. This is offered at Tafika Lodge, which is a game park that I am not staying at but that is very close to Kaingo and Mwamba, so I am hopeful that I can book myself on one of these little joyflights.

I will also make the most out of my time in the Lower Zambezi and will canoe in the Zambezi River a couple times and go fishing on one occasion. The best part is that most of these activities, with the exception of the Ultralight, are included in my stays at my chosen game lodges.

And then there are also the elephant hide and the hippo hide which I hope will allow me relatively close access to each.

In the end, this entire holiday, including Italy and all my air and transfers between game lodges will only cost me about $4,875 pp for a 21 night package:

Italy 9 night tour with 1 1 pre-night hotel stay in Rome: $1,600pp

Air from LAX-LHR-LAX (economy) - $610pp

Air from LHR-Rome-LHR - $215pp

Air from LHR-JNB-Lusaka-JNB-LHR (Business Class) - Free + 80,000 frequent flier miles pp

11 night Zambian ground package including Lower Zambezi (4) and South Luangwa (7) and all transfers from Lusaka: $2,450pp

Grand total = $4,875pp / 21 nights = $232 pp per night sharing. This is really the least expensive trip, per day, that I have taken in a VERY LONG time!

Yet, I will be flying Business Class for the first time (I'm so ghetto) and will enjoy plenty of time on an all-inclusive safari.

What makes this even sweeter is that I will be able to avoid South Africa and its 6.5 Rand to $1 USD completely on this trip. You know how fast $2,425 USD pp, the price of my Zambian ground package, would be spent in South Africa?! It would probably get me a three night safari at a nice place, but not Singita, Londolozi, or Phinda, and three nights hotel in Cape Town at a nice hotel, if I REALLY SHOPPED AROUND!

My savings are more than worth the sleepless nights I have encountered and it has had the indirect result of helping other Fodorites benefit along the way.

94 days and counting til liftoff!
Roccco is offline  
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Feb 16th, 2004, 04:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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So sorry you have to do your time in Italy on a tour, but at least the people there are charming and the food and wine is sooooooo delightful. I hope you aren't stuck eating all your meals with the tour group. Just remember, nearly any red, '97, '98 or '99....
Only one night in Venice...too bad. I'd love to have been Peggy Guggenheim...that broad knew how to spend her money!
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Feb 16th, 2004, 05:32 PM
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you'll love business class...the only problem with it is you'll never want to fly economy again.

I have to say I think getting London-Johannesburg-Lusaka-Johannesburg-London for 80,000 is a great deal considering this would be what you'd pay in miles for LAX-LON rtn. It's a pity you don't have time for a stopover in SA...but I hear your point on the exchange rate. We were in Venice in early January and the falling dollar was very painful!
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Feb 16th, 2004, 08:32 PM
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I will probably only need to endure a couple painful dinners with the tour group. I will need to endure the rest of the painful dinners with my wife's uncles, listening to bad jokes that lack the proper delivery!

And there is that politics thing...why do white men in their 40's and 50's think that Dubya is the second coming of Christ?! Oh boy! I am a citizen of the world and just try to brush all the false idol worship to the side and change the subject to Africa!

(Sorry for the generalizations, if I have misclassified any Fodorites within the above category)


I took full advantage of South Africa when the Rand was at 11+ ZAR to $1 USD in Spring, 2002. I tolerated it last year when it was about 8 ZAR to $1 USD. This year, with most game lodges and hotels not offering any breaks, I will take my business elsewhere.

Just to spread the love, however, perhaps I will buy a Diet Coke and a slice of pizza at the JNB airport and drop a full 20 ZAR this time around!

For Zambia, I am sure that I will not spend more than the equivalent of about $300 USD in cash while I am there, and most of that will be in tips and as gifts as I throw Kwacha out the window to the children from the villages that chase and wave to the vehicles as they pass.

And in credit card expenses, I doubt that I will spend more than whatever a microflight excursion costs and perhaps a couple items from the curio shop at Chichele Presidential Lodge, the only place I am going that even has a curio shop, unlike every single game lodge in the Sabi Sand.

Drinks, laundry, road transfers...all of them are included in the nightly price at all of my game lodges.

Pretty hard to pass up a beautiful place like Zambia when its prices are so user-friendly compared to South Africa right now.
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Feb 17th, 2004, 04:15 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 48

You are very rude. You have no business talking about my family as you have.

If you really feel so strongly about the elementary level of this travel group, maybe you shouldn't join us. Remember, these are people who have lived their whole life in the middle-east, dumped their life and came to the U.S. as adult immigrants. I urge you to attempt the same in a NON-ENGLISH speaking country, like, oh, let's, say...Iraq.

When you can leave your whole life behind and emigrate to another country as an adult, learn another language, and build up enough to YET go on a vacation, let me know.

Let me know if you can do that on the equivalent of not even a migrant worker wage.

Since you decide to publicly declare your feelings about my family, I felt it only necessary to respond to you in the same manner. But I do not feel that this is the Howard Stern Show.

Keep it up, and our fellow fodorites will have loads of fun hearing about RayMorales, Esther, and the whole idiotic group.

May this be a warning to you...

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Feb 17th, 2004, 06:00 AM
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As Bugs Bunny's friend, Elmer Fudd, would say..."sawwwwy."
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