Trip Coach: Oct. 18, 2005

Writer Josh Dean answers your questions on traveling to South Africa

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Liverpool, NY: I would like to take a safari and have heard that it is cheaper to make arrangements after getting to South Africa. True?

Josh Dean: Generally true, yes - not only in terms of South Africa but most countries. You'll find no shortage of travel agent shops in the cities hawking safaris and tours.

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Syracuse, NY: Planning my first (and probably last) trip to Africa in 2006. Thinking a couple days driving in Cape Town and 2-3 weeks safari (Botswana, Zimbabwe???). I am travelling solo and would like to join a very small group of folks age 50+ Prefer off the beaten path (somewhat) versus with the throngs. Like native villages/crafts. Like adventure travel (like Jack Hanna)and great food/wine. How do I maximize with a modest budget? What month(s) are best for game viewing? Should I book air in US and then safari(s) once there? What else should I know that I don't know to ask! Thanks for your HELP!

Josh Dean: The best game viewing is in their winter, when the foliage is dead and the animals cannot so easily hide - that means our summer, since SA is obviously in the opposite hemisphere. If you have that much time i'd highly recommend you do the safari in Botswana, where the parks are huge and wild. It is indeed cheaper to book the safari once you get there when you can pay in rand and save yourself a bundle. All of the major cities are riddled with tour shops that will sell you safaris. Do a combination of Victoria Falls/Chobe/Okavango Delta and you'll see not only heaps of wildlife but also some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. There will be some chances to visit villages along the way. A couple days should be fine in Cape Town. Maybe fly there, spend a few days, book a safari, then travel back and spend another day or two and fly home from there. 2-3 weeks should be enough time to do this well.

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Josh Dean: Thanks everybody for the great questions. And happy traveling. South Africa is an amazing place - comfortable for US travelers and yet spectacular beyond belief. Have fun!

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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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