I’ve been looking for inspiration lately about what my next series of travel posts should focus on. Looking for inspiration is hard. It’s like waiting for water to boil, it never happens when you really, really, really want it to. Short of being struck by lightning, i decided to stop waiting and just start writing.
I noticed that my social circle, and bloggers i enjoy reading, seem to be buzzing about South Africa and safari’s more generally. Taking a safari was one of the best experiences i have ever had. Beyond that, visiting South Africa was one of the best experiences, like top three, i have ever had. It will take me several attempts to articulate what was so epic about the experience. For now, it boils down to something a local told me: Once Africa gets in your blood, it will never leave.
Getting to South Africa can be a drag. It’s a loooong flight. When i visited, there were not a lot of International flight options, especially if you were departing from the U.S. Today, there are significantly more routes. But what i did, and what i strongly recommend, is that you break up your flight. I booked VirginAtlanic from JFK New York to London, got off and spent the day wandering around. I’ve been to London a few times and know how to navigate the Tube. This made getting into the city easy. At the end of the day, i went back to Heathrow and 11 +/- hours later, i was in Jo’berg.
Since i spent most of my time on Safari, lodging was not a huge challenge. In Cape Town, i stayed at the Sheraton next to the convention center. The hotel had great amenities and was free to me (cashed in points). The drawback was, after dark the surrounding streets were considered unsafe. The hotel did provide free taxi or water boat services to the Waterfront area which was a great “work around.”
The exchange rate in South Africa is almost always favorable to tourists. You can spend a little or spend more and still enjoy yourself taking in the sites, the food and shopping. And, if you end up spending a lot on wine or furniture (believe me, it happens), ship it home via boat. It takes longer but its much more efficient.
If you are planning a trip to SA, you can get information from South Africa’s tourism site and Lonely Planet. For Safari information, i strongly recommend And Beyond Africa. I promise to elaborate why in future posts. For now, check-it out. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.