Southern Africa on a budget

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Jan 26th, 2005, 01:27 PM
  #1
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Southern Africa on a budget

After reading the prices on this board, we almost gave up on our dreams of two months in Southern Africa. We are seniors and need to stay in budget places, yet have fun.
A company quoted $950.81US per person to fly from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls and return; airport taxes, sunset cruise and accommodation at a backpackers for three nights.
The current fare on SAA is $356 pp.,We figure departure and other entry fees around $125; backpackers hotel at $12.50 pp. for three nights (including border pick up) - total $518.50. A savings of $432.31 per person.
Why would anyone who can use a computer go through a tour company or travel agent????
We would appreciate any help with other money saving ideas.
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Jan 26th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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Hello twoaussies,

Although you probably are implementing many of them already, you might want to read through Selwyn's money savings suggestions in the below mentioned thread. You'll need to scroll down to reach the posts in which he listed them:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34401255
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Jan 26th, 2005, 03:39 PM
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twoaussies,

That is an incredibly expensive price for that trip. I have being doing some research for and come up with this plan. If you fly to Kasane on airbotswana, you can do so for 1800 ZAR based on the special promtional fare. You have to pay within 24 hours of booking! This also give you the opportunity to saty in northern chobe area for a night! Chobe safari is not exclusive or the best but their rates are fantastic with some excellent game viewing. IF you then get them the take you to KAsangula Ferry, about ten dollars each. I checked the fawlty towers backpacker website, they will pick do a return journey for the two of you for 140 dollars to livingstone.

Another alternative is to find a cheapish lodge, eg chundkwe through a company like maplanga- thats

www.maplanga.co.za.

They give discounts to southern africans so try and claim you lived there or that you are currently living there on business or volunteer project works nicely! Should get it for cheaper. They will also give you activites to falls etc unlike the backpackers and also pick you up for free.

Also, in both cases you visa will be waivered as you have accommodation booked in Zambia. I wouldnt be too bothered about both sides of the falls. If you go to Zambia, the microlighting will afford you a spectacular view of both!

Just realised, the flight may not be that much cheaper, i thought your SAA flights were in UK money! Though the Chobe add on is worth it.
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Jan 26th, 2005, 11:15 PM
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twoaussies,

Please go see my mail to Cecil under the header "Apartments in Cape Town area". If you need help then please shout and I will do whatever I can do help you however please limit this request for help to the Cape Town and Garden Route sector as I only have two hands.

Hope the above will add to ensuring that you have a great stay when visiting our country.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
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Jan 27th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Staying in self-catering places will save you a lot of money, that is, if you don't plan on using backpackers places for the whole two months. Do your safaris in the national and provincial parks rather than the private reserves. Make picnic lunches with groceries from the markets. Drink South African wine. It's only a few bucks a bottle, and it's right up there in quality with European or your own Aussie stuff!

Have a great time!
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Jan 28th, 2005, 04:35 PM
  #6
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Thanks to all for replying. I previously posted that we were going through London on Virgin Airlines. Thanks to someone on this board who said they were flying San Diego to Victoria falls - a lightbulb went off in my head. We are now using f.f. miles to fly Orlando/Atlanta/Johannesburg/then to Victoria Falls. After five days there, flying through JB to Cape Town. All on 80,000 f.f. miles. This board is wonderful.
Selwyn: Following a previous post of yours I have already contacted Village and Life for quotes. Guess that means I cannot use your kind offer? They are quoting $60US for a crash pad. We would rather a bed and breakfast, are there any under $60?
Please keep any advice coming. Many thanks
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Jan 29th, 2005, 02:19 AM
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twoaussies,

When you speak of US$60 I assume that you are speaking of this price being per person per night. I know of no venue, of any worth, that is US$60 for 2 per night and that includes Village and Life.

For a total bill of R650/night (about US$110) for 2 people on a bed and breakfast basis you could look at Albatross Guesthouse http://www.albatrossct.co.za/

Excellent value for money. Pretty well located. Clean and safe. Good parking space available for your car if you need it. Friendly and meticulous host. (Ben). My opinion is that is a highly recommended area for budget travel.

Hope this helps.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa


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Jan 29th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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Selwyn: I think your statement "no venue of any worth" might be the crux of the pricing. Village Life - dewaterkant - has crash pads of bedroom, kitchen and bathroom for 250R for single and 400R for two people. I thought you had recommended Dewaterkant, perhaps in the more expensive accommodations. Thanks for your interest.
Guess we shall have to budget more for Cape Town.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 11:36 AM
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At the risk of being drummed off of the board for suggesting such a low-life alternative: in November 2004 we stayed at the Hotel Formule 1 Foreshore in Cape Town. It was fine for our purposes. Inexpensive (currently 235 ZAR per room), clean, quiet, centrally located. Certainly not elegant, but it met our needs.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 12:17 PM
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We managed to book De Waterkant Village&Life self-catering unit for 2 persons R450 per night (Feb 05) using www.safarinow.com, although their initial quote was more expensive, upon our regrets that due to limited budget cannot stay at their place they offered a new lower quote.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 04:01 PM
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At last folks are ready to admit that there are some of us who cannot afford (or who do not want to) $1,000 a night for a safari, or $500 for a hotel room. We can pay those astronomical sums for one week in S.A. or pay budget amounts for two months. I know what I prefer.
Thanks for the Formula 1 info. We do not want to rent a car while in Cape Town, can one use buses to get around from Formula 1
I could not find de Waterkant offers through Safarinow. I did get a quote on a crash pad through them for US$60 a night. Has any one used that. Self catering would be great.
Ari: Did you contact Village and Life directly?
Thanks to all. Anyone with a reasonable car rental company where we can pick up the car (Toyota Tazz seems the cheapest) and drop off in Port Elizabeth.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 04:14 PM
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Internal Airfares are much cheaper if you buy them in the country you are travelling in. e.g. we bought our tickets in Nairobi at American Express for Nairobi/Zimbabwe. Then in Zim we bought tickets for Zim/Vic Falls/Joburg. Prices were 25-30% less than our travel agent could do in Oz. Car hire was cheaper for us to organise in Oz via Hertz. The rate included unlimited kms which was unusual in Sth Africa. Do it all yourself, if possible. We saved around US500 in the 3 weeks we were away by booking flights, safaris & accom when we arrived in Africa.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 04:16 PM
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Sorry pls read Harare for Zim.
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Feb 2nd, 2005, 08:57 AM
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Twoaussies:

I contacted De Waterkant Village and Life via Safarinow.com, precise site address where you can ask quote from Renier at DeWaterkant V&L is http://www.safarinow.com/go/dewaterkantvillage/

bestest,
Aari
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Feb 2nd, 2005, 11:33 AM
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Though exchange rates have fluctuated quite a bit even since our May/ June 2004 trip I may be able to offer advice that's useful to a certain extent.

We were travelling in low season so we were able to spend an average of about £40 (GBP) per night (£20pppn) throughout our South Africa 5 weeks. Sometimes we'd go above but we were also able to go below. Every single place we stayed provided COMFORTABLE, CLEAN and WELL-LOCATED ensuite accommodation. Most of that was in small bed and breakfast guest houses. Some was in government rest camps within national game parks.

We splurged on food in Cape Town and the winelands but could easily have spent far less. We also could have self-catered more when in the game reserves but often ate in the restcamp dining room instead.

Petrol was (compared with UK prices) very cheap indeed.

Our most expensive single expense was car hire inclusive of super cover (which we insisted on to reduce the excess to less ludicrous levels).
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Feb 2nd, 2005, 01:54 PM
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In response to your email:

No our Kruger stops weren't expensive (though more than B&Bs in the Cape region) - I think around 500 to 600 Rand per night.
B&Bs in Cape region were around 400Rand per night but more in Cape Town which is more expensive that surroundings. We used Portfolio Collections to search for places but then used google to find their own direct websites so I could email and negotiate prices directly to get discounts. We were travelling low season but it's still worth emailing and negotiating politely.
The Kruger camps don't include breakfast but DO include ensuite bathroom and private cooking facilities. You can go cheaper by sharing either.
I didn't look into getting VAT back on car rental as I thought it only applied to goods you bought to take out of the country not services/ products used in the country itself such as a car.
We went through Hertz who were cheapest when taking into account supercover. Tempest were cheapest without supercover.
Kavey
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Feb 2nd, 2005, 02:05 PM
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Oh and we could easily have spent LESS on the accommodation outside of the game parks and still stayed in what I would consider to be perfectable acceptable, clean and comfortable guest houses. The ones we chose, even the one that was only 350 Rand a night between two of us, were extremely nicely decorated with very pleasant staff, excellent locations in their towns, wonderful breakfasts etc.
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