roccco - help with travel agent

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Apr 5th, 2003, 11:02 AM
  #1
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roccco - help with travel agent

Could you let me know the agent you mentioned for discounted air fares to Africa please? I am trying to put together a trip on short notice for my husband's birthday and 10 year annv. late May/early June. He wants to go to South Africa.

We will only have around 2 weeks and he would like to do one game preserve and then the Seychelles. Any help appreciated.
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Apr 5th, 2003, 12:24 PM
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Dear Clematis

I had mentioned & recommended to the one & only Roccco about this agency called African Travel(LA based) at 1-800-444-2784 or 1-800-421-8907 and I was told by a very satisfied customer to ask for Barbara. Now I know that Roccco used a different agent but I'm quite sure Roccco will answer you himself. If you need anything else please let me know but there are some real great experts on this site.
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Apr 5th, 2003, 05:58 PM
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Clematis,

I will be happy to tell you who the agent I used was. But, since Patty has already given you the contact info, I will just provide you with the name of the agent. It was Johann Van Zyl at African Travel, Inc. Same numbers as Patty reported.

However, personally, I would do a little research beforehand, as well, even if just a day or two worth. Just have some other travel agency names available that deal with Africa such as Taga Safaris, Attractive Africa, Ultimate Africa, whatever. I have no doubt that I got such a great deal because the agent knew that I could take my business anywhere and that I was familiar with many other agents.

If you want the preferred air rates, you must depart by June 12th. Here is what I paid for my air:

Los Angeles - Johannesburg
Johannesburg - Lusaka (Zambia)
Lusaka - Mfuwe (South Luangwa)
Mfuwe - Lusaka
Lusaka - Johannesburg
Johannesburg - Cape Town
Cape Town-Hoedspruit (Sabi Sand/Kruger)
Hoedspruit - Johannesburg
Johannesburg - LAX

For ALL those flights the price was only $2,208 per person ($3,187 - $979 for my Kafunta Safari package in Zambia).

I just checked and the very cheapest that I could get the flights myself on Travelocity.com would be $1,550 pp for the LAX - Johannesburg portion, $486 for my flights from Johannesburg - Lusaka (I have to take a later flight 5PM flight from Lusaka to allow enough time to get there from Mfuwe (South Luangwa), and $320 pp for my Lusaka - Mfuwe transfers). Those segments alone add up to $2,356 pp or $148 MORE THAN all the flights I listed earlier.

So, it is like I am getting the following for free + $148 discount:

Johannesburg - Cape Town
Cape Town - Hoedspruit
Hoedspruit - Johannesburg

Those flights are worth $487 pp total. Take that $487 and add $148, and the total additional cost I would have paid, using the trustworthy South African Air as much as possible, would have been $635 pp more.

As I said before, my agent beat another supposed African travel specialist by about $500 pp for the air and they used the exact same itenerary.

I did get the cheapest private game lodge rates in the Sabi Sand Reserve (Kruger National Park area) from Attractive Africa (www.attractiveafrica.com). Their website is very user friendly and I don't think I ever even spoke to or emailed their agents before booking. I didn't have to!!! Their website made everything so easy and had the prices listed, instead of requiring you to email as most websites make you do.

Another good priced company is Taga Safaris (www.tagasafaris.com). They offered to beat the price of Attractive Africa, but I don't do business that way. The one who offers me the lowest price from the onset, puts it in writing without asking to be told another agents numbers, is the agent that gets my business. Taga Safaris does have a nice website also, easily one of the top three that I have seen for African travel.

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Apr 5th, 2003, 06:10 PM
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(By the way, TODAY is my birthday and my wife didn't even take me to South Africa!!!). She is probably still mad at me for taking her to Chile for "her birthday" (or more honestly for my marathon and Atacama Desert, Santiago and Patagonia visits)!!!

I am an old man at 32 years old now. Must have subconsiously been trying to fight it this morning because I really abused myself in the gym today. Hopefully that wisdom part starts coming along anytime now!!!
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Apr 5th, 2003, 06:52 PM
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROCCCO-MANY MANY MANY MORE!!!!!!
How did you like Chile-your honest opinion?
ALL THE BEST TO YOU ON YOUR BIRTHDAY ROCCCO!!!!
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Apr 5th, 2003, 09:30 PM
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Wow, here it is your birthday and you're typing out replies to me! Thank you so much and Happy Birthday!!

I will spend a couple more days of research as you suggested and let you know what happens.
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Apr 6th, 2003, 09:16 AM
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Patty,

Honestly, I didn't really like Chile very much. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a 5. However, my expectations out of a holiday are not the same as everybody else's.

For those that love to backpack and camp, I could see where Chile could rate a 9 or even a 10, but for those of us that appreciate luxury travel to exotic locales, Chile just could not provide that experience.

The food in Chile, IMO, was similar to the food is Spain...very bland. Surprisingly, the fruit was not even good and one of my tour guides commented that it was because North Americans got all of the best fruit while only the leftovers were left for the citizens of Chile. I didn't go on a guided tour but I did have a few day tours.

I liked Santiago. I didn't experience any of the smog reported by some. It was a very nice, clean and orderly city with the Andes Mountains as a backdrop.
My wife and I even checked out real estate one day. We were supposed to see all the city's historical sights, but really we had no interest in that, and our 23 year old female tour guide was more than happy to do something a little different and instead took us to a bunch of open houses for high rise condos in the exclusive Las Condes part of the city.

Unlike South Africa, there are no real estate bargains to be had in Santiago. While in South Africa, the price may be 1/3 of what one would pay in the USA, in Chile, the prices were probably 2/3 of what one would pay in the USA.

I could see where Chile could be a better destination if a few more exclusive hotels/lodges would open up.
I will not deny that there are many beautiful landscapes to be found in Chile and the changes in geography from the Atacama Desert in the north to Patagonia in the south are amazing.

And THAT is my report on Chile!
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Apr 6th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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Oh, I almost forgot...thanks for the birthday wishes!!!
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Apr 7th, 2003, 12:41 AM
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Rocco
Sorry I wasn't on to wish you a happy birthday on the day - belated wishes from me now!
You were born in the same year as both my husband and I - you're about 1.5 months older than him and 6 months older than me!
Kavey
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Apr 7th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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Kavey,

Sure, rub it in about me being OLD!!!

Thanks.
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Apr 7th, 2003, 12:07 PM
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Heck no - I think you're incredibly young and youthful - at the PRIME age in life! etc etc

LOL
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Apr 7th, 2003, 04:36 PM
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Pattysue, thank you so much for your kind post. I have been doing research, spending ridiculous amounts of time reading many old posts here and looking at the various sites roccco suggested. I also spent time in the bookstore.
I may email you as my situation has special needs. I found a hotmail address for you from an old post.
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Apr 7th, 2003, 05:27 PM
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Dear Clematis,

You are most welcome to e-mail me any time-just put Africa on subject line so I don't delete. I have other people I can recommend in south africa if you so desire. Kind regards, Patricia
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Apr 7th, 2003, 05:35 PM
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Dear Roccco,
Yes, I know all about the real estate prices in south africa! But (as I was told) there are pitfalls there as well! A 3 bedroom house with pool costs about as much as a luxury car. I looked at homes in Pretoria and when I was off sightseeing, my friend went to look at prices in Cape Town which is far more expensive then in Joburg(where I think the salaries are higher)but the cost of living in CT is higher. Everyone is impressed if you have a home in Plett Bay(according to the afrikaners I met who got very animated talking about Plett)
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