Author Topic: Trip Report: Etihad Glitch Fare (UAE, Vic Falls, Chobe, Joburg, and Cape Town)  (Read 11636 times)

Offline Markus

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My wife and I travelled to Africa on the Christmas Day, Etihad glitch fare. This trip report covers our travels to the United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. We traveled for about a week, starting on Monday, March 9th and ending on Monday, March 16th. We met some DansDealers along the way who did some activities that we didnít do (Kruger, for example). I hope to be able to update this post at a later time with some of their notes. If you have any questions that were not answered in this long post, please feel free to PM me.

ABU DHABI/DUBAI
We left New York on Monday, March 9th on our flight to Abu Duabi. Abu Dhabi is one of the "provinces" in the United Arab Emirates. I think there are about seven provinces in total, with Dubai being another one. From Dubai, Abu Dhabi is only about a one-hour drive. We arrived in Abu Dhabi at approximately10:00am. It took us a while to clear customs, confirm our upgrade, check our luggage into airport storage, and daven. We didn't end up leaving the airport until about 1pm. Davening in Abu Dhabi Airport was really weird. I was lucky enough to find a secluded place to quickly put on tefilin, but of course two airport employees walked by in middle of my shmoneh esrei. I got a really strange look and had absolutely no kavana, but was otherwise fine.

Transportation. There are a few modes of transportation available in Abu Dhabi. They include: (1) car rental, (2) train (like a subway system), (3) Etihad Shuttle Bus, and (4) Etihad Chauffer service. The last two options are only available for those travelling on Etihad. We didnít use them, so I will not include any information about them in this post. You can check the rest of the forums to find all the information you need. I was told the train system is really good as well, but we didnít use that either so I cant really comment on it.

Mosque. We opted to rent a car for the day instead. Upon leaving the airport, the first thing we did was drive to the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The mosque was extremely grand, and was much like the one in Morrocco. It was very interesting, but we only spent about half an hour there. Apparently my wife was not tznius enough though because the mosque management made her put on an abaya. It's basically a burqa, but with a headscarf instead of a ski mask. It was extremely uncomfortable for us, but it was kind of hilarious at the same time. It seems they make most women wear them. I donít recall any charge to enter the mosque, but I think it would pay to take a tour if you can. Otherwise you might not know what you are looking at. We did not take a tour.

Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa/Burj al Arab. From the mosque, we drove to Dubai. We first drove to the Burj al Arab and Burj Khalifa. The Burj al Arab is the famous Dubai hotel shaped like the sail of a ship. Itís the only seven star hotel in the world. We were not allowed in though because we did not have a reservation. It is possible to make a reservation without staying at the hotel, but we did not look into it. Our next stop was the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world. I don't know what it houses exactly, but it seems like the main tenant is the Armani Hotel (of Giorgio Armani fame). My wife and I really wanted to go to the hotel's Atmosphere Bar, which is on one of the hotel's top floors. It's basically just a regular bar with a really high up view. Unfortunately, they would not let us in there either because I was wearing sneakers. The bar maintains a very strict business casual dress code, and my sneakers didn't conform. If you really want to go but are not properly dressed, you could technically go next door to the mall and purchase conforming clothing. We opted not to mainly because we were not terribly interested in the view. From what I found in my research, the view is mainly of desert land.

What's interesting about Dubai is that every man basically wears the full traditional Emirati garb. It includes a white robe, a red or white head "towel," and sandals of course. Many of the women wear burkas. Seeing them shopping at Channel and Gucci and driving Bentleys is quite a sight. 

In Dubai, we spent the bulk of our time at the Dubai Mall. I believe it's the biggest in the world, but I'm not quite sure. At the Mall, we first went to see the fountain show and aquarium. The fountain show takes place in a huge man-made lake between the Burj Khalifa and the Mall (they are right next to each other). The show takes place in fifteen-minute intervals starting every night at 6pm. It was quite cool, and we had a cool view from T.G.I. Fridaysí balcony. We had to purchase drinks in order to get access to the balcony, but the drinks were not expensive.

We then went to the mallís aquarium, which is a real sight to behold. It's about three stories tall, 150 feet wide, and about 50 feet deep. Inside, it has all kinds of fish, sharks, and stingrays. Scuba diving lessons are available inside of the tank as well, but it seems like itís a full-day activity.
 
After the Dubai Mall, we finished off our day at Dubaiís smaller mall. The one with its own indoor ski slope. We didn't actually go skiing, but the mall does offer equipment and clothing rentals for a reasonable fee. I guess that makes sense considering the average person in the desert probably doesnít have his or her own ski clothing. I think the total cost was somewhere in the range of $50. From there, we drove back to the airport to check in.

We were really glad we only spent a few hours in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. To be honest, had we spent any more time we would have been bored. There was not a whole lot to see or do there overall. Note: we did not go to the souk, which is supposed to be a big attraction. I think anything more than two days would be too overkill.

AUH AIRPORT/BUSINESS CLASS
Back at the airport for our flight to Joburg, we were luck enough to have access to Etihad's Business/First Lounge. We used about 36,000 Citi Thank You points per person to upgrade our seats to Etihadís lie-flat business class. Even though the point redemption was not cheap, we felt it necessary for this leg. We had been travelling for two days without a hotel room, and we planned to have a full day of activities once we landed in Africa. We did not upgrade the rest of our trip though, as it would have cost about 400k points total.

The Etihad lounge was one of the nicest weíve even been in. Aside from its beautiful dťcor and immense size, the food looked first class and smelled even better. None of the cooked food was kosher, but there were fresh fruits and vegetables as well as plenty of drinks and alcohol. After two days of traveling, though, the showers were a real highlight for us. But the best part by far was the complimentary 15-minute back massages. After hours on a plane, it was a pleasant surprise and really helped us relax. We also met some fellow Dans Dealers in the lounge. Considering we were strangers in a strange land, it was nice to see some fellow Jews. They actually weren't traveling business class, but they booked refundable full-fare business class tickets to get access to the lounge. Nice shtick.

VICTORIA FALLS (ZIMBABWE)
Our flight landed in Joburg at about 8:00am on Wednesday, March 11. As soon as we cleared customs we went outside to meet a kosher caterer, Jack Meyerovitz, who was dropping off frozen food for our time in Zimbabwe. (Africa@koshersafaris.co.za, 27-839653001). The South African Rand is really cheap right now, with an exchange rate of about 12:1. As a result, our food was really quite cheap. For four dinners, one lunch, two packages of jerky, a cooler, and airport delivery our food cost a total of only $100. The food was very generously portioned, and tasted quite good considering it was frozen. It was not gourmet, but we were very satisfied with it. I would recommend Jack to anyone on these forums. The other kosher food we considered was Totally Kosher. They charged significantly more for the same amount of food though (about $250), so we opted not to use them. As soon as we picked up our food, we went straight to our gate to catch our flight to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). We checked in our food and thanks to American Express Platinum, we were able to make use of the Priority Pass lounge to sit down, eat and drink a little, and daven. Our food was still frozen when we landed.

Note: There are two cities near the Falls that tourists can stay at. Each city also has itís own airport. The first city is on the Zimbabwe side, and the second city is on the Zambian side. The town on the Zambian side is called Livingstone. The airport shares the same name. The second city is in Zimbabwe, and the airport is named Victoria Falls Airport. We opted for the city on the Zimbabwe side of the Falls though for two reasons. First, the Zimbabwe side is yellow fever free. That is really important, as entering South Africa from Zambia requires proof of yellow fever vaccinations. Second, the views of the Falls from the Zimbabwe side are far better than the Zambis side. In fact, I donít recommend making a trip to the Falls if you are going to see it from the Zambia side. I canít speak with regard to the dry season (though I suspect it would be just as bad), but during the wet season you will not be able to see anything from the Zambia side. The mist from the Falls are just too great to allow for clear views.

We landed in Zimbabwe at about 1:00pm, and that's when being in Africa really hit us in the face. The entire airport was one small building, with international arrivals/departures at one end of the room and domestic arrivals/departures at the other. The line for customs started from outside the building, and snaked its way inside. Once inside, you are in a 30x40 non-air conditioned room with wood walls and two desks with two customs agents seated behind them. Customs took over an hour because the two employees at each desk had to hand write about 75 visas for all of us. It was a very third-world experience. Once we cleared customs though, our hotel had a driver waiting for us. We drove to the hotel, which was about 15 minutes away. Transfers to and from the airport were included in our hotel price.

The Elephant Camp Hotel. The hotel we stayed at was simply amazing. It was called the Elephant Camp, and was more unique than any other hotel we've ever been in. I highly recommend it. When we first pulled into the hotelís main entrance, the entire hotel staff was waiting to greet us. They waived at us while we were in the car, and shook our hands and introduced themselves when we got out. It was a really nice touch and made us feel welcomed. In itís entirety, the hotel consisted of twelve residence tents, one "lobby" tent, and one management/gift shop tent. But don't let the term ďtentĒ fool you. This was a five star experience through and through. Each tent was very spacious, and contained hard floors and glass windows and doors. Apparently, each tent costs $25k to build without furnishings. Inside, the decor is very nice with a four-poster bed; a living room area with a couch and two chairs; a free mini bar (including alcohol); and a bathroom with a tub and an indoor and outdoor shower. Each tent also has its own porch and pool overlooking the Bush. In Africa, the bush is basically how they refer to wildness where all the wild animals roam. Though you can sometimes see animals from that porch, we did not.

The hotel price included all meals prepared by the in-house chef. The food was generously served and looked amazing, but we could obviously not partake for kashrut reasons. The hotel was extremely accommodating to our kosher needs though, and the chef always stopped by to make sure our frozen meals were properly prepared. The hotel was also willing to give us a lower rate for our booking because we were not partaking in any of their meal options. We ate our meals mostly on the lobbyís outdoor deck under the stars and candlelight. It was really quite relaxing and romantic. It was also nice that drinks were always free. Even though we barely partook we did not feel nickel and dimed at any point (which cannot be said for most St. Regis or Ritz Carlton hotels). I put a huge premium on that feeling.

Zambezi River Cruise. After our arrival, the hotel took us on a cruise down the Zambezi River. The Zambezi River is the river that feeds Victoria Falls. It also serves as the boundary between four countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Nairobi. The cruise was really nice. A big part of the cruise was the chef-cooked food and fully stocked bar, which we could not partake in. Nevertheless we enjoyed the main part of the cruise, which was seeing the animals coming to drink at the riverbed near sunset. We got to see a giraffe some hippos, and an impala. But the highlight was seeing a family of 15 elephants playing together in the water. We also got to watch the sun set on the horizon from our view on the boat. The cost of the cruise was included in our hotel booking, but we had to pay an approximately $10 park fee upon checking out of the hotel. 

Chobe Safari. At night there's nothing to really do in Zimbabwe. So when we got back to the hotel we just settled in and got some much-needed rest.  The next morning we woke up at about 6:00am for our day-trip to Botswana. In Botswana there is a national park called Chobe, where we booked a half-day safari game drive. When we arrived at the reservation, our driver pulled up in a modified jeep and we were lucky enough to have a private game drive. The cost of the safari was about $150/person.

A safari is truly a once in a lifetime experience. You appreciate God's creations in an entirely new way, and you begin to understand the complexity of natural ecosystems. Though I donít understand how people go on multiple-day safaris, it would be a mistake to go all the way to South Africa without doing at least one game drive. I could have probably tolerated up to two days, but time unfortunately did not permit it on this trip. Another amazing part of the experience is to watch the driver's spot animals in the bush. The animals blend in so well that it's often extremely difficult to spot them on your own. The drivers have extremely well trained eyesight though, and have the capacity to spot animals behind trees and rocks from over 1000 feet away though. It's truly mind-boggling. Hiring a guide was worth every penny. I donít know whether you can self-drive at Chobe, but I donít recommend doing so in any event. Our drive ended at about 1:00pm, at which time the driver dropped us off at the border where our hotel sent a driver to meet us.

Victoria Falls. From the border, our hotel driver took us straight to Victoria Falls. We viewed the Falls from the Zimbabwe side. The power, beauty, and sheer size of the Falls is not to be missed in my opinion. To give you an idea of what I mean, it's about 4 times the size of Niagara. Because of the way the Falls are formed, however, the views are much better than Niagara. Basically, there is a large, 100-foot wide canyon that stretches for probably just less than one mile. The Falls flow over one side of the canyon and can be viewed from across the way. Though many tour guides might suggest spending more time there, we spent about an hour and a half at the Falls. Make sure to take the raincoat they offer you though if you plan to visit the Falls during the wet season. You will most definitely get wet/soaked.

Elephants and Cheetah Encounter. After the Falls, our hotel driver took us to meet the hotel's elephants and cheetah. The experience was unforgettable. The hotel has their own elephants that they offer safari rides on. They charge about $150/person though, which was clearly a tourist trap. Being the cheap man that I am we opted to skip that. But we got to feed and interact with the elephants instead as part of our hotel package. It was very cool and we enjoyed every minute. Next, we got to meet the hotel's domesticated cheetah. It was terrifying and surreal, but we loved the entire experience. The Cheetah even licked me -- which was gross -- but I just let it do its thing for fear of getting eaten. Apparently cheetahs have no shame when a man's wife is around. Later that night, after another candlelight/starlight dinner, my wife and I went to the local casino. They did not have a poker room, but they did have blackjack, roulette, and slot machines. I donít think there was much else there. The entire place was empty when we arrived, but it filled up later in the night. We had a very nice time, considering we only lost $15.

JOHANNESBURG
On Friday, things started to take a turn for the worse. We were scheduled to leave Vic Falls in the morning and arrive in Cape Town (via Johannesburg) for Shabbos. We had a stopover that was cutting it a bit close, but we had no other flight option because flights in Africa are infrequent (unlike in America). Unfortunately, our flight out of Vic Falls was delayed by over an hour and a half. As a result, we missed our connection to Cape Town. Before we left Zimbabwe, an airline rep confirmed on us a later flight to Cape Town that would have still allowed us to arrive in time for Shabbos. When we landed in Joburg, though, we were told that the flight was purposely overbooked and that we could not get a seat on that later flight (backwards country!). I asked the airline if theyíd be willing to offer two customers $200 from me to go on a later flight. They were not willing to work with me. To make things work, they still charged me for the flight that they overbooked. I am fighting the charge on my credit for now. The entire experience was very frustrating. As a word of caution to future travelers, do not expect things in Africa to run as ďsmoothlyĒ as they do in America. Leave room for contingencies in all of your planning. That advice is especially important with regard to flights.

Anyway, long story short, we got stuck in Johannesburg for Shabbos. Thank God, my wifeís roommate from Seminary was from Johannesburg. When my wife told her we might be stuck, she got us in touch with her parents who graciously offered to host us. In truth, we had an amazing Shabbos and enjoyed every minute of our stay in Joburg. I donít know if I would recommend Joburg for a weekday stay, but Shabbos was lovely.  There are also tons of kosher food options. I hear Nandos is awesome, but we did not have time to try it out. The community was extremely hospitable and very orthodox. Keep that in mind if you plan on only bringing a polo shirt, sneakers, and slacks for Shabbos (oopsÖ.).

CAPE TOWN
Thankfully, we were able to take a 6:00am flight from Joburg to Cape Town on Sunday morning. The early flight allowed us to spend Sunday and Monday in Cape Town before heading back to the States on Monday night. Flights between Joburg and Cape Town were really cheap on South Africaís discount airline, Mango. Our flight cost a total of about $150 for two tickets. Kulula is another discount airline option.

We landed in Cape Town at about 9:00am on Sunday and the first thing we did was rent a car. In South Africa, like in England, drivers drive on the left side of the road. The experience was interesting to say the least. Not only was the steering wheel on the right side of the car, but EVERYTHING ELSE was switched as well. Comically, every time I tried to turn on my blinker I turned on the windshield wipers instead. Crossing the street was also surprisingly difficult as your instinct is to look one way before crossing when in Cape Town you really have to look the other way. But we survived.

Cape Royale Hotel. We checked into our hotel, The Cape Royale, at about 10:00am. Unfortunately, the options for hotels in the major point programs are very limited. The hotel was officially rated five-stars, but we got a pretty good deal on our room. We paid $770 for three nights in a one-bedroom suite, with breakfast included. Turns out you get what you pay for though. Amongst some of the other issues we experienced relating to customer service and poor management, there was a dirty coffee cup on the counter and dirty water in the electronic kettle. All's well that ends well though, and we got one night of our stay complimentary. That made me a very happy camper. When we checked in, the bell hop made a point of telling us that the American Soccer team recently stayed in the hotel as well. Upon further inquiry though, he revealed that the last time the team was in Cape Town was in 2010. The Devil is in the details, I guess. Overall, while the hotel was fine, the rooms and the service were nothing to write home about. If you can spring for it, I highly recommend staying the One & Only. It seemed like one of the only hotels in the area that was really 5-Star by American standards.

Kosher Food (Cafť Riteve). The first thing we did in Cape Town was get kosher food. We chose Cafť Riteve, which is located inside the Jewish Museum. Like the rest of the kosher food options in South Africa, the prices were great. The food was fresh and quite good as well. I ordered a personal pizza, while my wife ordered a salad. She also ordered a fresh fruit smoothie. I think our total was less than $20.
Opening Hours: Sunday Ė Thursday: 8:30am Ė 5pm; Friday: 8:30am Ė 3pm
88 Hatfield Street | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 465 1594

Table Mountain. Because of our Friday flight mishap(s), we had to re-book a lot of the activities that we had already planned and pre-paid for. After checking into the hotel, we spent a considerable amount of time sorting those plans out. One of the main attractions we planned to see was Table Mountain. Table Mountain is basically a 1000-meter high mountain with a completely flat top. Once on top, you have the most magnificent views of the city of Cape Town, as well as it's beautiful beaches and coastlines.

Even though Cape Town was quite cloudy when we arrived, we were very lucky to have clear views once we reached the top of the mountain. It was truly breathtaking. For some reason, and I can't explain why, all the clouds in Cape Town (and there are many) gather around the mountain's top. That's true even when the rest of Cape Town's sky is extremely clear. The city has actually nicknamed those clouds the table cloth (get it?). Anyway, as a result, it's very hard to know when is a good time to go to the top of the mountain. We were very grateful we managed to get a clear view when we went. The cost to get to the top of the mountain was approximately $20 per cable-car ticket.

At the top of the mountain, my wife arranged for us to go abseiling. I don't know whether there is any difference, but I think abseiling is the same as repelling. Regardless, it was one of the most terrifying things I've ever done. It was an absolute blast though. While gearing up and putting on our harnesses, the guides clipped a red bag the size and shape of a buoy to our belts. To ease our nerves, he told us that the small bag was a body bag. You know, just in case... I guess he thought it was funny.

The guides also failed to mention that the mountain face changes about halfway down. While the first part of the mountain allows you to descend while pushing your feet against the mountain, the latter half does not. Instead, the mountain face recesses about 30 feet leaving you hanging from a rope 900 meters from the ground. It was absolutely terrifying, and I've never in my life wanted more to have my two feet on the ground. When we finally reached the end of our activity, we were still more than halfway up the mountain. From there we enjoyed more breathtaking views. We still had to hike back up the mountain in order to catch the cable car down to our car. The hike was about 30 minutes long over small rocks and boulders. It was not an easy hike at all, but we enjoyed it very much. Abseiling costs about $60 - $65 per person. We felt it was well worth it.

Boulders Beach. From Table Mountain, we drove down to Boulders Beach with a quick pit stop at some local antique shops along the way in Simonís Town. The prices where quite good for Americans, much like in the rest of Africa. We actually bought a Springbuck skin carpet that is about the size of a small person for under $35. I don't know what we are going to do with it yet, but it was too cool and too cheap not to buy.

Boulders Beach is the spot near Cape Town where all of the country's African penguins live. The place has become pretty commercialized, but it offers the opportunity to get really close to wild penguins. To say the Penguins were adorable would be an understatement. We spent about an hour there, but could have easily stayed for longer. The scenery and the company were really captivating. I think we paid about $7 per person to get in. If you want a less commercialized experience, though, there is a separate beach area to the left of the tourist part where you can also see penguins, swim in the water, and catch some sun. There are not nearly as many penguins there, but it probably makes sense to stop by there once you are in the area.

From Boulders Beach we drove to Cape Point to catch the sunset. Cape Point is the southernmost point in the Southern Hemisphere. It's also where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet. It's also where Vasgo de Gama discovered Africa when he landed at the Cape of Good Hope. More importantly, it's supposed to beautiful. Unfortunately we arrived about five minutes after park closing and were not allowed in. It was pretty discouraging. We had an awesome day though, and we were luckily able to return the next day instead. Note, the national park closes at right about sunset. But they stop allowing cars in about an hour beforehand. The park times should be available online.

Kosher Food (Avrons). On our way home we stopped at Avron's place, which is Cape Town's kosher meat restaurants. We were famished when we arrived, and we were excited to eat there after hearing so much about it from others. The place sure lived up to its name. It was not fancy by any standards, but the food was very tasty. More importantly, the entire meal was about $40. We ordered an appetizer to start, I ordered a steak, and my wife ordered chicken. We also purchased dessert and tipped the waiter.
Opening Hours: Sun. Ė Thursday: 11am Ė 3pm; 5pm Ė 10pm; Friday: 11am Ė 2:30pm
19 Ė 33 Regent Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 439 7610

V & A Waterfront. Our next stop was the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. The waterfront, as it is called, is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and of course boats. It was nice to walk through, but there really wasn't anything there for us to see or do. It was very touristy. We checked it off our list though. We then briefly went to check out the One & Only Hotel. It's has the name of one of the nicest hotels in the area, and certainly lived up to that name. Afterwards, we went to our hotel and passed out from exhaustion.

Cape Point. The next morning (Monday) we slept until about 7:30, and checked out of our hotel at 9:30. We then left for round 2 of Cape Point. The weather was overcast and rainy, so we didn't get the full views we had hoped for. Nevertheless, the trip to Cape Point was nice and we were glad we went. Because we travelled to Cape Point right after the forest fires, many of the surrounding activities were closed. So we did not get the full experience. We were more than satisfied with what we saw though.

Nathan Sawaya Lego Exhibit. When we returned, we briefly went back to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Unlike at nighttime, there were lots of local artists selling their wares. We got to see some really interesting African art and enjoyed walking around. We refrained from buying anything this time though. We also went to an amazing travelling Lego exhibit that happened to have been in Cape Town while we were there. The artists name is Nathan Sawaya (Google his work Ė It's quite cool). Even though my wife had seen his work in New York a while ago, we really enjoyed the exhibit. The artist was actually a former lawyer who didn't like sitting behind a computer all-day. He decided to change directions, and started building Lego instead. If you have the opportunity to see his exhibit next time it's in your city I highly recommend it.

Kosher Food (Coffee Time). To end our trip, we picked up some lunch at Coffee Time. Again, the prices were really good. In total, our bill was about $20 for a soup, two main dishes, and a desert. The restaurant is located in located in what looks like a house. The property has a fence and guard, and may not be apparently a restaurant from the street. The food was very fresh, and the service was very good as well. I didnít find the menu very appealing, but my wife loved it. Itís a great place for soups, salad, and tuna/egg sandwiches. From the restaurant we went straight to the airport.
Opening Hours: Monday Ė Thursday: 8am Ė 3:30pm; Friday: 8am Ė 3pm
20 Breda Street | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 461 8414

A very special thank you goes out to my wife for shouldering the burden of planning most of this trip. None of this would have been possible without her.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 01:56:01 PM by Markus »

Offline Proisrael

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Great TR! Thanks for the info!

Offline Markus

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Great TR! Thanks for the info!

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed. Trying to add pictures now, but donít know how to do that yet.

Offline User6669

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Thanks. Glad you enjoyed. Trying to add pictures now, but donít know how to do that yet.

You need need to upload the image to a hosting site e.g. www.tinypic.com and then to insert it click on the img button (2nd button on the 2nd row, one after you tube) and insert the image link, and that's it.
".איזהו חכם, הלומד מכל אדם"

Offline Yaalili

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Great great great report, just did a very similar trip myself.

We did the trip about a week before you. For davening, we davened on the flight just before landing in AUH, flight attendants (9W) were completely cool with it.

FYI as of a few months the Yellow fever ban was lifted from those flying to LVI. We did both side of the falls, and has absolutely no issue when returning to JNB. I don't know what people told you about the Zambia views, my friends and I both had a great time there, beautiful views, and a really up close rocky area where we were able to stand right on top of the gushing water. The infrastructure on the Zambia side is not as good as it's Zimbabwean neighbor, it's more of a mess there the trails, and they have a bridge on the falls, which was really slippery from all the mist, terrible surface.

The LVI airport is a lot, no a ton! more modern than the VFA airport, which literally looks like a 3rd world airport like you say, The LVI airport is brand new, air conditioned, nice exterior too. We were in Zimbabwe literally 2 days before you on Monday, March 9th. We spent about two hours in the Zimbabwe VF park, the views were incredible, they have 16 different viewpoints, we also came across plenty of Baboons and a deer right beside us.

We went to the Casino too on Sunday night, one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Victoria Falls, the dealers were all chill, great to speak too, and Carling's black label beer is great.

Shabbos in Joburg for us was great, we were hosted by a great family in the Glenhazel area. We went to the Chabad shul with Rabbi Carlebach and we visited the Chabad Yeshiva for the Farbrengen on Shabbos afternoon. Motzei Shabbos we went out to RTG, highly recommend it, more of a fast food place than a restaurant, but the steak and burgers there were awesome and cheap.

Now I am up to Cape Town in your post :)

Offline E-MAN

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Can't wait for the pics!

Offline TimT

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Great TR
Trying to add pictures now, but donít know how to do that yet.
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=46084.0

Offline Markus

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Great great great report, just did a very similar trip myself.

We did the trip about a week before you. For davening, we davened on the flight just before landing in AUH, flight attendants (9W) were completely cool with it.

FYI as of a few months the Yellow fever ban was lifted from those flying to LVI. We did both side of the falls, and has absolutely no issue when returning to JNB. I don't know what people told you about the Zambia views, my friends and I both had a great time there, beautiful views, and a really up close rocky area where we were able to stand right on top of the gushing water. The infrastructure on the Zambia side is not as good as it's Zimbabwean neighbor, it's more of a mess there the trails, and they have a bridge on the falls, which was really slippery from all the mist, terrible surface.

The LVI airport is a lot, no a ton! more modern than the VFA airport, which literally looks like a 3rd world airport like you say, The LVI airport is brand new, air conditioned, nice exterior too. We were in Zimbabwe literally 2 days before you on Monday, March 9th. We spent about two hours in the Zimbabwe VF park, the views were incredible, they have 16 different viewpoints, we also came across plenty of Baboons and a deer right beside us.

We went to the Casino too on Sunday night, one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Victoria Falls, the dealers were all chill, great to speak too, and Carling's black label beer is great.

Shabbos in Joburg for us was great, we were hosted by a great family in the Glenhazel area. We went to the Chabad shul with Rabbi Carlebach and we visited the Chabad Yeshiva for the Farbrengen on Shabbos afternoon. Motzei Shabbos we went out to RTG, highly recommend it, more of a fast food place than a restaurant, but the steak and burgers there were awesome and cheap.

Now I am up to Cape Town in your post :)

Thanks so much. Very glad you enjoyed.

With regard to Zimbabwe being Yellow Fever free: I saw that in the news as well. You are absolutely correct. However, I learned that you have to leave a large margin for error in Africa. I asked a few people in Africa whether Zambia was Yellow Fever free, and they said it was not. In my opinion, I would not want to take any chances and have to get stuck with any needle/vaccination in Africa in order to return to return to South Africa.

Thanks for the points on seeing the Falls from the Zambia side. I guess I stand corrected. Either way though, there are just so many more viewpoints from the Zimbabwe side. It would seem to me that if you could only choose one side it would make more sense to go to the Zimbabwe side. What do you think?

Offline Markus

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You need need to upload the image to a hosting site e.g. www.tinypic.com and then to insert it click on the img button (2nd button on the 2nd row, one after you tube) and insert the image link, and that's it.

Thank you. Iíll have to look into it. Perhaps after Shabbos.

Offline Markus

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Great TRhttp://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=46084.0

Thanks.

Offline Yaalili

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Now getting on to Cape Town, we flew Kulula going there and Mango back. Both were great. Kulula was more of the funky type, making jokes over the announcement during the flight. Mango had a great new 737, you can smell it's new smell when you got on, excellent smooth flight. Both of these "low cost carriers" offer a free bag of luggage up to 20KG.

We stayed at the Protea hotel for our first night there, couldn't be beat to use our Marriott anniversary night on, you can use Marriott points for most protea hotels now. The hotel was excellent, we had an entire apartment to ourselves, dining room, living room, kitchen, laundry, bedroom, bathroom, was great. Would highly recommend it, we stayed at the North Wharf location right by the CTCC. For our 2nd and 3rd night in CPT we stayed at the Park Inn by Radisson, 28k points for 2 nights (BOGO free) was great value as well. The hotel wasn't close in comparison to the amazing place we had the first night though.

We went to Cafe Riteve for one of our mornings for breakfast after davening in the Gardens shul. None of their dairy items were CY, so that left us to choose from some eggs, chips and smoothies, which tasted very good. Don't get the chips there, they were dry and no taste. We also tried out the other 2 kosher places in CPT. Avron's place had a great steak, and $8 for a 400gram burger can't be beat. Again the chips/fries here were not good, this one was soggy in oil and no good taste, but the burger was great. Skip the dessert I got - Fried ice cream - cheap but tasted awful. Goldie's deli, also in Sea Point, had the best chips/fries of CPT, very decent steak sandwich from there too, and their prices were the best, more of a take-out place than a restaurant.

Table mountain! Our first day in CPT was very cloudy and it rained a bit too, so we decided to skip TM and do it the next day. We come back the next day, the weather was gorgeous, but the cable car was closed because the wind at the top of the mountain was too strong for the cable car to fly up in there. They were telling us no chance it would open that day. We were really disappointed at that moment, that we didn't do it the cloudy day before. One of the staff there arranged for us to take the elevator up, to the place where the cable car leaves from, and see the views from there and give us a little history tour about it. We were on a mission to continue pleading with them, to try out the cable car again to the top to see if it will work. Well what do you know, a miracle happened they sent it up and it was a success! We were going to go up Table Mountain!!! Within 5 minutes a huge line had formed already to buy tickets for all the other people that were hoping it would open up too. The wait (30 minutes) was all worth it, the views up there were incredible.

We went to Boulders beach too on our first day there and spent a good half hour penguin watching. They are very interesting and it was a well spent $6. P.S. about Cape Point, there are more southern place in Africa itself, and Chile/Argentina are more southern than that too.

The CitySightseeing CT bus was a life-saver in CT. The stops and the frequency was very good. Went to all the main places that we wanted to go to, and would highly recommend it. We bought a 2-day pass, which included unlimited bus travel, a canal cruise (which was cool), a sunset tour to signal hill and more. All that for about $22 usd. Was the best money that I spent of the trip. It has a stop just a block away from Chabad and another stop just in front of the Gardens shul/cafe/SA Jewish museum.

This was a fun way for me to write a brief version of my TR in yours :)

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Thanks so much. Very glad you enjoyed.

With regard to Zimbabwe being Yellow Fever free: I saw that in the news as well. You are absolutely correct. However, I learned that you have to leave a large margin for error in Africa. I asked a few people in Africa whether Zambia was Yellow Fever free, and they said it was not. In my opinion, I would not want to take any chances and have to get stuck with any needle/vaccination in Africa in order to return to return to South Africa.

Thanks for the points on seeing the Falls from the Zambia side. I guess I stand corrected. Either way though, there are just so many more viewpoints from the Zimbabwe side. It would seem to me that if you could only choose one side it would make more sense to go to the Zimbabwe side. What do you think?

I would def do both sides, they both have views that you don't get on the other side. And the KAZA visa allows access to both countries for just $50 over a course of 30 days. Guess I wouldn't want to get stuff without it either, but didn't think of it that way.

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