Wednesday, October 08, 2008

To Africa in five days

I leave for Johannesburg in just five day's time. Things are coming together:
  • I received my tickets today from Natural Migrations, the tour company arranging the Botswana and Victoria Falls segment of the trip. They sent a very nice package along with the e-ticket for the internal African flights and tour coupon: a nylon travel documents wallet, a leather luggage tag, a very nice full colour map of the areas we will be seeing, a detailed itinerary, and lots of other information about traveling in African on a safari.
  • I already have my e-tickets to fly to Africa and back, booked through travelocity.ca. I am flying with Air Canada and South African Airways, Victoria-Vancouver-London/Heathrow-Johannesburg over the north pole.
  • The arrangments with Thompsons Africa were completed a couple of months ago, and I just paid for this segment last week. Thompsons will meet me in Johannesburg airport upon my return from Botswana, hand me my travel documents, and transfer me to my hotel for an overnight stay. The following day, I pick up their South African Surprise tour - traveling from Johannesburg to Cape Town, seeing Kruger National Park and many other sights as we travel down the coast.

  • I’m up-to-date with vaccinations, so I just had to booster my Dukoral (cholera and travellers’ diarrhea) a few days ago. That vaccine is effective for three months. I will start taking Malerone the day before I leave, which is a preventative medicine for malaria. Since I’m traveling during the dry season there is a low risk of contracting malaria, but it’s not worth taking a chance.

  • So I just need to pick up some US$ cash from the bank, and I’m ready to go.

I'm happy about leaving Victoria airport at 1:30pm local time, since I hate getting up early for those crack-of-dawn departures. I never seem to get a good night's sleep the night before departure, so I'm never at my best during the early morning hours. It will be a marathon getting to Johannesburg, since the end-to-end time is some 33 hours (21 hours in the air), with two five hour layovers in Vancouver and Heathrow.

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