Travel

Flights to Africa are expensive. Tips on saving money?

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 12th, 2017 7:28 pm
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McKinsey wrote:
Jul 31st, 2017 9:59 am
Air Canada usually have a Business Class seat sale every year, around $3500 (used to be $2500 or so), which is not bad considering the price of Economy.
+1 I know OP said he was not interested in J but for anyone else I can confirm this was the price in March/April of this year when I was looking for August/September. The flights were through LHR or CDG.
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May 7, 2015
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Toronto, ON
I'm not sure what safari company you're going with, but I'm surprised it's starting in Maun and ending in Livingstone, are they skipping Kruger (South Africa) entirely? There are a number of companies that cover the same turf and go between Jo-Burg and Vic Falls (ie On The Go, Nomad, G Adventures), which would make for easier and cheaper flight routing.

That being said, if you're set on the tour you want, and you also want to see Cape Town, I'd suggest flying into Cape Town and then out of Vic Falls or Livingstone (whichever works out better). My safari last year ended in Vic Falls, but I flew out of Livingstone, it's about 30 minutes in between them not counting border wait time. Then you can see Cape Town and take a separate one way flight from Cape Town to Maun. South African Airways has a direct flight, but it may be cheaper to connect in JoBurg or Gabarone.
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BaconBaron wrote:
Jul 31st, 2017 9:54 pm
I'm not sure what safari company you're going with, but I'm surprised it's starting in Maun and ending in Livingstone, are they skipping Kruger (South Africa) entirely? There are a number of companies that cover the same turf and go between Jo-Burg and Vic Falls (ie On The Go, Nomad, G Adventures), which would make for easier and cheaper flight routing.

That being said, if you're set on the tour you want, and you also want to see Cape Town, I'd suggest flying into Cape Town and then out of Vic Falls or Livingstone (whichever works out better). My safari last year ended in Vic Falls, but I flew out of Livingstone, it's about 30 minutes in between them not counting border wait time. Then you can see Cape Town and take a separate one way flight from Cape Town to Maun. South African Airways has a direct flight, but it may be cheaper to connect in JoBurg or Gabarone.
There are so many Safaris that start in Maun ;) We havent settled on a company yet but are leaning towards the itineraries between Maun and Livingstone. We aren't looking at itineraries that visit Kruger, so yes that would be skipped. I probably wouldn't need a guided safari in Kruger. We figured that a Kruger self drive, plus the Blyde Canyon and the Drakensberg could be an entirely sepearte trip all together for a future trip :)

There are indeed tours that start in Johannesburg BUT just with the Maun start we are looking at 11 days. A Johannesburg start would mean a longer safari which might be beyond what we want to spend. But we are open to options so I will definitely consider that too. Like you said, it'd make routing easier. Fly from Canada to Jo'burg, safari from Jo'burg through to Vic Falls, fly Livingstone to Cape Town and back home from Cape Town. i think our preference would be to see Vic Falls as early as possible in the trip so we'd probably do Cape Town last.

Thanks!
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amz155 wrote:
Aug 1st, 2017 8:07 am
There are so many Safaris that start in Maun ;) We havent settled on a company yet but are leaning towards the itineraries between Maun and Livingstone. We aren't looking at itineraries that visit Kruger, so yes that would be skipped. I probably wouldn't need a guided safari in Kruger. We figured that a Kruger self drive, plus the Blyde Canyon and the Drakensberg could be an entirely sepearte trip all together for a future trip :)

There are indeed tours that start in Johannesburg BUT just with the Maun start we are looking at 11 days. A Johannesburg start would mean a longer safari which might be beyond what we want to spend. But we are open to options so I will definitely consider that too. Like you said, it'd make routing easier. Fly from Canada to Jo'burg, safari from Jo'burg through to Vic Falls, fly Livingstone to Cape Town and back home from Cape Town. i think our preference would be to see Vic Falls as early as possible in the trip so we'd probably do Cape Town last.

Thanks!
Its been a long time since I looked at itineraries but you *may* save money by just doing the tour from Maun to Kasane. We didn't make it as far as Livingstone but I'm guessing you want to see Vic Falls. We went to Vic Falls through a one day tour company. Was a long day but we got picked up in Kasane, driven to the Zimbabwe border, we switched to another vehicle there, driven to Vic Falls and visited the Zimbabwe side, then crossed into Zambia (walked over the bridge) and visited the side there - then we went back. Would have been easy to stay in Vic Falls too. That might be a cheaper option for you.
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My wife and I went in January-February 2016, our flights from Winnipeg to Johannesburg were $1700 via YYZ and LHR. We flew home from CPT via MUC and YYZ, but stayed 4 nights in Munich on the way home, which was a nice cooling off period. We rented a Hilux outfitted like the one posted by wirebound, except with only one tent, and drove from Johannesburg to Windhoek. We passed through Maun, the Delta area, and the Skeleton Coast. Lots of driving, but very enjoyable.
Penalty Box
Dec 9, 2003
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Yes yes for Capetown

Look at Kenyan Airways which has a direct flight CPT to VFA

Maybe consider safari to Chobe from Vic Falls

Use IATA search and press travel agent to match
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amz155 wrote:
Jul 31st, 2017 8:17 am
Johannesburg is fine for one end of the trip but we want to visit Cape Town too, so it makes most sense to fly back to Canada from Cape Town. The $140 round trip between Johannesburg and CT...do you remember which airline that was with? Because that's a decent price for a return transfer and if that makes for a cheaper option vs a multi city back to Canada, that would be great.

Do you know how far out your girlfriend's family books their flights? I'm thinking that the prices I look up now could be high either because I'm looking at Sept 2017, which is kinda last minute or the farthest I can go is July 2018, which might be too far out.
Flight was South African Airways - there's multiple flights per day between Jburg and Cape Town.

Girlfriend's family usually go in February/March/April (we went in April) due to winter here / summer ending there. Usually have it booked before or around Christmas time, so 2-3 months prior.

Regarding the Safari, when we went we were limited on time so we coughed up a pretty penny for a 2 night stay at a private "luxury" lodge on the edge of Krugar which included 2x per day game drives on a land rover. Was absolutely worth it, we saw the big 5 within the first hour on the first drive and the lodge experience was fantastic.

If you're interested in Sharks and have some spare time in Cape Town, I really recommend checking out Marine Dynamics in Kleinbaai (about 2 hr drive from Cape Town, wonderful drive too). Really amazing experience, some video I took:



There's so much to see and do in SA (it really is an amazing place ...other than the dangerous crime and corruption...) that if you can't spare too much time there, it might be best to make it a second dedicated trip. We spent just over a week in Pretoria (family + tourist stuff), a week in Cape Town and 3 days for Kruger and we barely made a dent in the things to see and do. It's too bad it's such a costly and long journey from Canada. Keep in mind you basically lose almost 2 days in travel going there and 1 coming back.
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Cough wrote:
Aug 1st, 2017 11:48 pm
Yes yes for Capetown

Look at Kenyan Airways which has a direct flight CPT to VFA

Maybe consider safari to Chobe from Vic Falls

Use IATA search and press travel agent to match
Cape Town gets such good reviews. We're definitely interested in visiting for about a week at the end of our trip.

Will try the IATA matrix.
andr3w282 wrote:
Aug 2nd, 2017 1:05 am

Flight was South African Airways - there's multiple flights per day between Jburg and Cape Town.

Girlfriend's family usually go in February/March/April (we went in April) due to winter here / summer ending there. Usually have it booked before or around Christmas time, so 2-3 months prior.

Regarding the Safari, when we went we were limited on time so we coughed up a pretty penny for a 2 night stay at a private "luxury" lodge on the edge of Krugar which included 2x per day game drives on a land rover. Was absolutely worth it, we saw the big 5 within the first hour on the first drive and the lodge experience was fantastic.

If you're interested in Sharks and have some spare time in Cape Town, I really recommend checking out Marine Dynamics in Kleinbaai (about 2 hr drive from Cape Town, wonderful drive too). Really amazing experience, some video I took:



There's so much to see and do in SA (it really is an amazing place ...other than the dangerous crime and corruption...) that if you can't spare too much time there, it might be best to make it a second dedicated trip. We spent just over a week in Pretoria (family + tourist stuff), a week in Cape Town and 3 days for Kruger and we barely made a dent in the things to see and do. It's too bad it's such a costly and long journey from Canada. Keep in mind you basically lose almost 2 days in travel going there and 1 coming back.
Okay thanks, that's helpful.

Yes, SA is huge and there s so much to see. At first we were looking at just visiting SA with a self drive to Kruger, then seeing Blyde Canyon, the Drakebsberg (sp?), Garden Route, Addo, and of course Cape Town and surrounds. But we decided that we don't really want to drive ourselves around for *this* trip. So, this time, it's looking to be Johannesburg, Botswana, Vic Falls, Livingstone, and Cape Town.

We were thinking of three to three and a half weeks, but with the cost of flights and like you said the time to fly, we may extend to a full four weeks.

Thanks!

Oh, shark cage diving is on the kit. But I have to read up more abaout it since the ethical views on it seem to be mixed so I have to decide how I feel about it.
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Feb 9, 2012
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amz155 wrote:
Aug 2nd, 2017 8:05 am
Oh, shark cage diving is on the kit. But I have to read up more abaout it since the ethical views on it seem to be mixed so I have to decide how I feel about it.
Then definitely read up on Marine Dynamics.
Penalty Box
Dec 9, 2003
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Calgary
From our recent trip to Capetown:

Stay near the harborfront. We stayed in Garden district and it was a long walk up and down hills.

Consider renting a car even while you stay downtown. Parking is easy, traffic is fine, and you will appreciate the flexibility. certainly to do day trips to COGH, shark cages, tram etc.

Are you sure you want to go to Johannesburg if any more than the airport?

Do the garden route at least to Knysna and include Stellenbosch, Paarl, Swellendam etc
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Cough wrote:
Aug 3rd, 2017 2:27 pm
From our recent trip to Capetown:

Stay near the harborfront. We stayed in Garden district and it was a long walk up and down hills.

Consider renting a car even while you stay downtown. Parking is easy, traffic is fine, and you will appreciate the flexibility. certainly to do day trips to COGH, shark cages, tram etc.

Are you sure you want to go to Johannesburg if any more than the airport?

Do the garden route at least to Knysna and include Stellenbosch, Paarl, Swellendam etc
Johannesburg would be for a starting point for a safari, if we choose one that starts in Jo'burg. Otherwise we have to fly from Canada to Maun, which could be more expensive. We may consider driving to the Blyde Canyon if we fly into Jo'burg. Won't have time to visit Garden route this time bc we will probably do a 14 day safari, few days in Livingstone, about a week in Cape Town. Add a few travel days in there and we are at four weeks, which is what we can take for vacation. There's always future trips...
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wirebound wrote:
Aug 1st, 2017 9:52 am
Its been a long time since I looked at itineraries but you *may* save money by just doing the tour from Maun to Kasane. We didn't make it as far as Livingstone but I'm guessing you want to see Vic Falls. We went to Vic Falls through a one day tour company. Was a long day but we got picked up in Kasane, driven to the Zimbabwe border, we switched to another vehicle there, driven to Vic Falls and visited the Zimbabwe side, then crossed into Zambia (walked over the bridge) and visited the side there - then we went back. Would have been easy to stay in Vic Falls too. That might be a cheaper option for you.
Came back to say, sounds like an awesome trip you had. How long was it in total?
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amz155 wrote:
Aug 3rd, 2017 2:41 pm
Came back to say, sounds like an awesome trip you had. How long was it in total?
whole thing was a month
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Cheapest flights will be for September and not August,which is very busy and popular month. Under $1600 is achievable. Prices for flights tend to be the cheapest 3-6 months prior. If you have other purchases coming up, you can consider looking into credit card rewards(eg aeroplan cards or amex) as a few of these credit cards can pay for the flight.
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demi2004 wrote:
Aug 5th, 2017 10:12 am
Cheapest flights will be for September and not August,which is very busy and popular month. Under $1600 is achievable. Prices for flights tend to be the cheapest 3-6 months prior. If you have other purchases coming up, you can consider looking into credit card rewards(eg aeroplan cards or amex) as a few of these credit cards can pay for the flight.
Thanks, this is helpful.

I've never had a CC with travel rewards because I guess I assumed there would be stipulations that might prevent me from booking the exact flight I want. I might spend $2K per month. Can anyone recommend a travel rewards card that would help me subsidize the flight cost? I'd have maybe 9 months to collect points.

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