Should we come?

Jan 23rd, 2001, 07:18 PM
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Should we come?

Cathay Pacific is offering a great deal ( 55,000 miles ) from the US to Johannesburg & I've always wanted to go to Africa & see the wild animals etc. After reading input on the forum, I'm leary about the safety & cost. Is it doable without getting killed and/or breaking the bank. Any ideas or suggestions will be welcomed. Fodors forums have helped me on trips to Europe & Asia, let me hear from you, Thanks
Jan 24th, 2001, 03:22 AM
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Great place to visit. Take usual precautions regarding safety. With the US dollar you will come out on top. The rate od exchange is heavily in your favor. Try and get your ticket to Cape Town and travel there and the eastern Cape/Garden route (great post if you look backon the forum). Then you can go to a game park. I personally would not spend any time in Johannesburg.
Jan 26th, 2001, 10:04 AM
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South Africa is definitely doable without breaking the bank. Hotels and game lodges that cater to South Africans and Europeans cost much less than the 5-star ones that do a lot of advertising in North America. Look for web sites for SA tourism.

We go to South Africa fairly often (every 3-4 years, it seems), and the only pricey part of the trip is the airfare. Good restaurants are cheap by American standards, and accomodations are not high. Gas prices and car rental are comparable to Europe.

As to safety, you have to take more precautions than you would in Europe or America, but tourists are generally safe.

Although we used to live in Johannesburg, I would not spend time there on any future trip. There isn't a lot to see and do there, and the criminal element is growing.

Cape Town and the Garden Route, as Mary says, is wonderful. The game parks of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the eastern Transvaal (I forget the new name of that it Mpumulanga?) are incredible.

If you can go for FF miles, and not money, don't pass it up!
Jan 27th, 2001, 10:42 AM
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You will have the trip of your life. I have grew up in SA and have lived in the States for many years. I travel back to South Africa frequently. South African summer is the best time to go to Cape Town which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I agree with the others not to spend any time in Johannesburg.
You will find it very cheap when you are there especially for food. Accommodation away from the Waterfront in Cape town is very reasonable. We have stayed a few times at the Sir Francis ( which is an apartment block which has been converted to a hotel.It is a 5 minute drive from the waterfront. It has a beautiful view (ask for a sea facing apartment), is nicely decorated and is safe and well situated. You will need a car.they drive on the lefthand side of the road. Cape town is safe if you are cautious. Ask at the hotel for places to avoid.I would get a shuttle from the airport and have the car rental company drop a car at the hotel. Automatic cars are more expensive to hire. Stick shifts, if you can drive one, are a better value.
The game parks are the best experience in the whole world. I would splurge here and go to one that offers all inclusives. They will include all meals, teas, snacks , champagne sundowners in the bush and drives on landrovers that seat 9 or less people and that go offroad. You get REALLY close to the animals.(You could actally touch them if you were stupid enough) See if you can find one that won't break the bank. During the South African winter (better viewing but cold at night), rates are lower. See what you can negotiate. Africam has a great website for animal viewing and you will find links to game parks.
I don't know how safe Victoria Falls is now but that is also an amazing experience. Enjoy.
Jan 27th, 2001, 10:10 PM
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If its Afica you want to see, don't spend too much time in South Africa - perhaps visit Kruger Park, but then get up into Botswana - The Chobe National Park, The Okavango and perhaps the Kalahari Desert - this is the TRUE Africa, and you will have a totally safe and exciting wildlife viewing experience.
Botswana is the most peaceful Country in Africa with virtually no crime. Its Game Parks are totally natural and unspoiled, and teaming with wildlife.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of South Africa!
Going 'on safari' is not cheap, even the cheapest Safari Camps cost $150 per person per night in the Okavango, and most of your travelling involves small aircraft - also not cheap!But hey! you only live once, and to have not visited Africa is not to have 'lived'!!
Go For It!
Jan 28th, 2001, 10:10 AM
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If you HAVE to fly to JOburg, then so be it, but don't stay there - get out of town asap!
Jan 29th, 2001, 02:45 PM
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I am a South Africa lover. I go a couple of times a year and have great friends there now. GO!!!!! Besides it being a great value with the rand now, it is a most beautiful and hospitable country. But I disagree with those who say to skip Jo'burg. Yes, be careful, yes, stay in the northern suburbs (I especialy love the Park Hyatt in Rosebank and will not stay anywhere else when I go). But there is wonderful theater and music and art and dance and landscapes and culture and architecture and museums and crafts. And the people are wonerfully gracious and helpful. Don't be afraid. Just be smart and cautious.
Jan 31st, 2001, 08:51 AM
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Nancy, what's happening on the theatre scene in Jo'burg these days? The Market Theatre used to be really interesting; is it still? Are there other theatres doing interesting things?

I agree with you about the wonderful landscapes, craft places, architecture (the Union Buildings in Pretoria are wonderful to look at, and the skyline of Johannesburg is gorgeous!), and I would add restaurants too.

But I still think for a first-time or one-time visitor, the Jo'burg-Pretoria area isn't worth taking time away from other areas. Cape Town has great crafts, architecture, history, natural beauty, too, and less crime. Hotels in Jo'burg have locked gates now. During January, there were about 45 car highjackings in Pretoria alone. It makes me so sad.

Go, Jerald, and spend some time in the game parks, some in the cities (I would pick Cape Town, Nancy would say Joeys), and some in the smaller towns. They are great too. You will have an absolutely unforgettable experience!
Feb 10th, 2001, 02:29 AM
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People are too fast to write Johannesburg off as not a destination.
To the North-west of Johannesburg is an area called the Kromdraai Conservancy. Know being called the Cradle of Humankind. The website is at - this website will introduce you to the start of civilisation in the Sterkfontein caves - the area also has many interesting attractions - hot air-ballooning, trout fishing, etc.
+27-11-957-0034 for more details.
Apr 6th, 2001, 01:41 AM
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Hi Jerald. By all means visit South Africa. It is a stunning country. There is nothing quite like watching the sun rise over the African bush or listening to the nightjars/hyenas whilst sitting around a campfire. Southern Africa is well worth a visit. Botswana is getting very expensive though. Namibia is awesome and Mozambique a great adventure destination (diving/snorkelling/fishing etc. Let me know if you need more info. Check out
Apr 8th, 2001, 10:02 AM
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So, Jerald, are you going? Have you already been? Did our advice help you decide?

Don't keep us in suspense!

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