A Whirlwind Tour of South Africa

Two weeks covering the country from bohemian St. Albert, to the wine region to cosmopolitan Cape Town

Although I haven't been able to sit down and hash it out yet, I have a rough idea of how much it would cost someone to take a trip like the one I just took. First of all, don't go with a guided tour company. South Africa is English-speaking, and infrastructure is generally first-rate, so guides and hand-holding is not necessary. That saves a great deal on cost, and people who book independent self-tours will find that the high prices of African vacations are pretty much inflated.

Flying on South African Airways during shoulder-season months, as I have done, the price of flying all the way down to Cape Town from the East Coast of America was $995 plus taxes, and that includes five nights' hotel. From there, you can just extend your return flight as long as you need, get a rental car (I paid $350 for two weeks, plus $20 for each tank of gas), and book your own accommodation as you go along-bank on $25 a night and that's more than enough for the sensible consumer to buy food as well. So for two weeks in Africa, doing the same things I've been doing, you'd pay around $1,500, including airfare, or around $100/day.

Take a cruise, go to Disney, fly to London -- no matter what you choose I guarantee you'd spend much more in half the time. Contrary to myth, Africa is not an expensive destination. You can safely add it to your life's experiences, and for much less than you think.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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