South Africa or China/Japan

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Jun 3rd, 2003, 04:13 AM
  #1
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South Africa or China/Japan

Just for perspective, can anyone who had travelled to these countries will share information on which they prefered and why? I`m planning my first visit to South Africa in Sept/Oct 2003, but my wife insists in going to Asia (China and Japan). She thinks that going to a Safari would be risky due to the Malaria factor. Also, what would be the best Malaria free zone Game reserve with a real safari experience to visit?

Thanks for your input.
Gilberto is offline  
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 05:38 AM
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There is such a thing as anti-malaria medication. Last time I checked there was not such a thing as anti-SARS medication.

I have been to China and I enjoyed it very much, but it cannot even come close in my heart to South Africa. Do you want to be surrounded by A BILLION people or do you want to feel complete tranquility and exclusivity at a very nice game lodge that may have 100,000 acres all to itself. Let's see, on that 100,000 acres you may have 20 guests plus 20 staff, for a total of 40 people. In China, in the cities you will be vacationing, in the same amount of area there will likely not be 40 people, but 400,000 people!

I know I am comparing Apples and Oranges here, but knowing what I know now, I would be up in arms if somebody were trying to derail my Southern Africa travel plans for, of all places, China...AND I LIKED CHINA!!! What if I didn't like it?

If you two do go end up going to China, I recommend a tour such as the one I took with Pacific Delight Tours, www.pacificdelighttours.com.

The funny thing is that for many years all PDT did was sell trips to Asia and this year they have seen the light and have begun to sell South African Vacation tours.

I went on a 15 night tour that was evenly divided between Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and I got it for the bargain price of about $1,250 pp and that included my air from Los Angeles, my 15 nights hotel, all my tours, all breakfasts about half the lunches and even a couple dinners.

The scam is that these tours get a HUGE kickback from whatever you buy on the shopping trips that they take you on. They give you these little yellow 10% off discount cards and those are only to identify you to the merchants. The merchants then know that whatever sale they make, they are responsible to give Pacific Delight a whopping 40% commission. Sounds crazy but it is perfectly true and this is how PDT and other companies such as China Focus can afford to sell the trips for $1,000 less than someone like you or I could put the trip together for ourselves.

I do suggest, also, that if you end up going to China or Japan that you check the auctions on www.skyauction.com for some really good bargains.

In the end though, China or Japan will not have the magical pull on your heart that South Africa will have. I say that you should take control of this situation and make your Southern Africa dream holiday a reality.

Best of luck.
Roccco is offline  
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 05:52 AM
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Hi Gilberto
I have not been to China/Japan but can set your wife's mind at ease about malaria. Malaria in SA is restricted to limited areas (Mpumalanga and northern KwaZulu-Natal) and is not widespread. There are a number of game reserves in SA which do not have malaria and you can safely travel to without concern. The Waterberg and the Eastern Cape areas are the obvious choices that spring to mind. There are a number of excellent establishments in both these areas and you will also be able to encounter the big five.
Have a look at the website below - there's lots of really useful info about SA in general.
http://www.southafrica.net
If health factors are such a concern, I'd be more worried about travelling to the Far East right now due to Sars. Just my opinion ...
traci
PS. SARS in South Africa stands for South African Revenue Services = the taxman!
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 06:41 AM
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I have been to the three places you've listed -- China, Japan and South Africa. They are all excellent, but unless you have a very large block of time, I can't see visiting both Japan and China on the same trip. There is so much to see in both. A trip through Asia and a safari in Africa are very different so you'll need to decide what your personal preference is -- visiting cities and UNESCO heritage sites, which is what you'll mostly do in China and Japan, or safari.

I'm not sure what the big deal is with anti-malarials (I've taken them many times) and it would be criminal to visit SA for safari not visit Kruger or the adjacent private reserves b/c of iirational fear of anti-malarials. There are other game parks in SA, but they don't rival Kruger and its private reserves.

Also, is now the best time to vist China with SARS and quarantines. Personally, I think not.
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 12:35 PM
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Each of these places (South Africa, China, and Japan) has its own appeal. For China and Japan, the historical, aesthetic, and cultural aspects offer mind-expanding opportunities. I agree with an earlier response that it would be best to choose one or the other nation, unless you have at least a month, preferably longer. I, personally, don't care much for China, although I have traveled there for professional purposes a few times. I really don't like seeing people blow their noses without benefit of a handkerchief or spitting or a bicycle-wagon pulling pink, skinned pigs to the market. While Japan doesn't have any of this behavior and does have many gardens and shrines, the residential and commercial crowding, not to mention World War II bombing, has diminished their overall attractiveness. Another factor today is the extreme cost of travel in Japan. That brings us to South Africa, which I believe is one of the super places on earth and, were I to retire outside the United States, I would choose Cape Town. But, a safari in southern Africa would be completely different from a visit to Asia and that you must consider. I wouldn't worry about malaria; you can take a prophalactic (sp?)---I know that risks with various products have been mentioned, but they are slim, as best as I can ascertain. In South Africa, you have beaches, mountains, vineyards, sophisticated city life, history, wide-open spaces, and many game parks. Furthermore, there is a good infrastructure that makes travel easy. For example, it is easy to rent a car in one city and drop it off in another. One place I've enjoyed several times and, recently, another Fodorite commented favorably on it, is the Honeyguide camp near Kruger. You can have a wonderful vacation in South Africa! ZZ
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