I'm really excited about this trip, but flying half way around the world to take an 11 day tour seemed like a waste, so I'm working on extending my stay in southern Africa. At the moment, Thompsons' 15 day South African Surprise is the leading contender.
It dovetails nicely by leaving Johannesburg the very next day after I return from the TravelQuest segment. This segment would take me to Kruger National Park, Swaziland, both the St. Lucia and Drakensberg Mountains World Heritage Sites, and all the way down South Africa's Wild Coast and Eastern Cape region, to Cape Town. By adding on a few of Thompsons' reasonably-priced optional extras, I will also experience two open vehicle safaris, two boat cruises through wildlife areas, and see the Cape Peninsula area. This tour also offers caves, national parks, and whale watching, among other things.
While I'm getting excited about all these wonderful experiences in southern Africa, I also have stay focused on the details. For example:
- After researching the African countries I am proposing to travel through, I realized that their entry requirements state that a passport must be valid for six months past the date of entry. My passport expires five months after entry, so I have to apply for a new passport right away. Thank goodness the Canadian government has recently implemented a faster way to renew passports.
- I also have to decide within the next few days on either booking the South African Surprise segment or make other arrangements, because I have to book my flights three months ahead of time in order to take advantage of advance purchase fares. Otherwise I'll be paying too much for airfares.
- After referring to Canadian Foreign Affairs Travel Reports and Warnings about the countries I will be visiting, I now know that South Africa itself is where I will have to be on guard the most. Botswana and the other African countries I will be visiting are not nearly as dangerous for foreigners.