Travel plans

To travel to South Africa is expensive and involves a long, boring and uncomfortable flight. There is no getting away from these stark facts. By using a good booking agent and buying your ticket well before the actual departure date you can reduce the cost quite a bit over the alternative of buying a ticket just before you leave. By using the best route you can ensure that you spend the minimum time in a jet.

Before finalizing your flight booking is the last time that you may be able to consider taking a short tour of some place of interest before or after your booked safari. Even if you have booked your hunt with another hunting outfitter Andrew McLaren Safaris will gladly assist with advice and help make arrangements for any other tour.

Andrew McLaren Safaris is NOT a travel agent, and offer the following travel advice for what it is worth, best check travel details with your travel agent.

South African Airways Air Travel Tips

South African Airways work the Atlanta to Johannesburg as well as the New York JFK to Johannesburg routes in a reciprocal relationship with Delta Airlines. This means that free miles accumulated by frequent fliers with Delta Airlines can be used on SAA flights.

The flight from Atlanta is routed first to Sal Island and then either via Cape Town and then to Johannesburg, or direct from Sal Island to Johannesburg. You obviously want to reduce the travel time and take those flights that go directly to Johannesburg, which is Flight SA 212 which departs from Atlanta on Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday at 10.30 (local USA time) and arrives in Johannesburg the next day at 10.15 (South Africa time) and then goes to Cape Town where it arrives at 13.25. On Fridays flight SA 212 departs Atlanta at 10.30 and arrives at Johannesburg at 10.15, but it does not then go to Cape Town. Flight SA 210 which depart from Atlanta on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10.30 is routed from Sol Island to Cape Town (arriving at 9.55) and then to Johannesburg, a significantly longer flight, as it arrives at 12.55. If you are hunting near Cape Town, then these are obviously your best choice flights.

Plan your return journey from Johannesburg to be on flight SA 211, which departs from Johannesburg direct to Sal Island on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 20.20 and arrives at Atlanta the next day at 08.15. The longer flights of SA 209 that depart on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 17.25 are routed via Cape Town to Sol Island and arrives in Atlanta at 08.15.

Current (December 2003) quoted cost of a return fare for any departure before the end of May 2004 is US $ 1354 plus airport taxes.

Some American visitors may find it easier to fly via New York JF Kennedy airport. Here you may depart on a Monday on flight SA 204 at 17.55 (local time) and is routed via Dakar to arrive in Johannesburg the next day at 17.50 (South Africa time). On every other day of the week there is a flight SA 202 that departs at 17.55 and is routed via Sal Island to arrive in Johannesburg the next day at 15.13.

All the Johannesburg to JFK flight SA 203 depart at 20.45 and are routed via Dakar to arrive at JFK the next day at 07.10

The JFK to Johannesburg return flight cost depends on the flight season. Budget for about US $ 1500 plus airport taxes, i.e. exactly the same as the Atlanta to Johannesburg return fare.

When reading on various Internet forums about travel agents two names are very often mentioned as capable and reliable, those of Kathi Klimes at World Travel (kathi@wldtravel.com) and Gracy Travel. These are not my personal recommendations, they are only often mentioned by other seasoned African hunters as “tops.”