South Africa, which is the least painful route?

Nov 3rd, 2009, 03:03 PM
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Best: March and September. There is never a worst.... The Cape weather is a little unpredictable around June, July & August -- Frontal rains that can bring inclement weather for as little as a four hours and if they are back to back can last days and on occasion weeks. Local knowledge is key, as with a frontal system the southern suburbs can be wet and the Atlantic seaboard sunny and warm, also the weather across the tombola in the Paarl/Stellenbosch valley can be dramatically better, ditto for up the west coast.

Some one higher up the thread warned of travel in June - July next year, I agree, world cup activity is causing price inelasticity while hotels are already pretty full. I would also avoid December 15 - through Jan 15 as this is when South Africans take their summer break and head for the coast and parks.
mkhonzo is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 08:43 AM
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clara - whatever you choose: Have a safe and wonderful trip! But you have to hurry......

spassvogel is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 11:21 AM
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SA school holidays. I've heard that Kruger and other such are popular during SA school holidays. Here is a calendar of those -

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 03:44 PM
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Also looking at a tour, as an alternate to a cruise...anyone got info regarding Abercromie and Kent? we did a tour of Kenya with them years back and it was great.
clarasong is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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Seattle to Atlanta and then nonstop with the sleeper beds to Johannesburg on Delta. Johannesburg to Cape Town on SAA?
Cape Town is my favorite place on earth!
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 08:55 PM
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you can do better than A & K clara, at least dollar wise.
matnikstym is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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I flew JFK to JNB direct on SA in May. The flight from JFK leaves in the AM and arrives JNB in the AM

I found the 15 hour flight was Ok, as I am not a great sleeper, so it afforded me the ability to take two 3 hour naps. so as a result i arrived JNB feeling as good or better then I do when ifly to Europe (from NY)

I sat in economy, and the flights both there and back were relatively empty, so many people had 2-3 seats to stretch out in.

I would go eat ethnic food in Queens, they have the best, then fly direct to JNB.

amycyma is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 06:00 PM
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I'm squarely in the stopover camp going over. Have done Delta/Air France from LAX via Paris, with a 10 hour layover, then on to Joburg on a red-eye, and will never do that again, even in business class with showers in Paris. Looney tunes on arrival.

The next year it was LAX via Miami (on American, yuck, and the worst U.S. airport), to Madrid on Iberia (nice plane/service). Stayed in Madrid 3 nites. Then on to South Africa. That worked well, sort of like having 2 holidays, Europe and Africa, in one trip.
I want the jet lag to be over once I get to Africa so I can enjoy the animals/scenery wide awake. At my age, it's flat beds and Ambien or I ain't goin'! But next year, the FF miles run out.
I hated BA when we flew from London to Toronto last spring, but it's probably a low-profit route for them. Dirty plane, bad service, crappy entertainment system, etc.
Also, Delta usually has routes directly to Cape Town during summer (a partnership with South African Airways I believe). The only stop is to refuel in Senegal, if memory serves, and you don't get off the plane. Something like 17 hours.
Unless you like group tours, there's no reason to take one to South Africa IMO. And A&K is the most expensive. You can stay at the most high-end places without using them and save money, I'd bet. With the money saved, you can hire a private guide/driver.
I'd spend quite a few days in Cape Town and the Winelands, and indeed take mkhonzo's advice on the rest. Sept would be perfect. A guidebook will point out all the highlights of Cape Town, like the Kirstenbosch Gardens, Robben Island (while the ex-prisoner guides are still alive, Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope and the coastal towns around CT. But S. Africa is HUGE, so their are many other places to go. Sounds like safaris aren't your thing, so I won't go there.
LAleslie is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 10:08 AM
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Also, Delta usually has routes directly to Cape Town during summer

They dropped the CPT service. The only service now is ATL-JNB which is nonstop both directions.
Patty is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 05:11 PM
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That's too bad. Thanks. So, Patty, no refueling stop. Do they use longer haul planes now or what?
LAleslie is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 09:18 AM
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Yup, they've been using a long range 777 on the ATL-JNB route since June(?).
Patty is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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Gee, maybe I should have booked LAX to Dar this route and laid over in Jo'burg. I booked on Delta for August: LAX-Atlanta-Amsterdam; 3 days in AMS, then on to Dar via KLM.
Anyway, thanks for the update.
LAleslie is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 08:19 PM
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Have flown the nonstop to Johannesburg from Atlanta-nice!The refueling stop in Dakar was always brutal.
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 08:47 PM
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Do any of the Delta experts know how much a business class ticket from USA to JNB are?? Also what is it to upgrade. Not plannning a trip to SA till 2012,but I like the idea of a nonstop from Atlanta to Johannesberg-Thanks Chris
BeniciaChris is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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According to Delta this morning, sticker price for business is around $5900 for next month; $4800 for July/August 2010. Upgradeable coach ("M" fare category) is $3792 + 50K miles, for both next month and next July.
Gardyloo is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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I have heard from friends that Delta will have nonstop charters next summer for the World Cup people in addition to having their normal everyday service to Johannesburg/Atlanta flights.
Absolutely LOVE Cape Town!!
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 8th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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We took NW from the west coast to Amsterdam. Stayed there a few days. They are on the same time zone as Botswana and South Africa, so it was an interesting and fun way to adjust. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Amsterdam is such a fun town-easy to get around and the Van Gogh Museum and other activities make it supurb!
karn is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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clarasong is offline  
Nov 11th, 2009, 11:43 AM
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I would like to ask a somewhat related question for a relative of mine who would like to visit SA for the first time but would prefer to travel there by ship. Are there any ships making the voyage from British or European ports to Capetown?

Many thanks!!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 12:02 PM
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We took Delta flight direct from Atlanta to Johannesburg. Business class has flat beds and it made all the difference in the world. We were able to sleep for about 8 -9 hours and arrived pretty fresh in J'burg.
alund is offline  

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