Suggestions Needed For Our Stopover to/from South Africa

Next summer we will be traveling to South Africa with our son, his wife and their baby.  We are planning on using our miles for free flights.  The trip has two purposes behind it.  First and foremost is to visit our daughter’s-in-law family.  She was born and raised in South Africa and then emigrated to the States as a middle-schooler.  Her grandparents, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins still live in South Africa.  We are excited to meet her other family members.  We are also looking forward to seeing the country of her birth and to put a “face” to the different areas that she speaks so fondly of.

sa map and flag

Secondly, another item on our bucket list is to go on safari.  Most Americans tend to sign up with a safari guide and stay in a preserve to be sure to see The Big Five.  That’s not how our son and daughter-in-law have done it the past two times that he has gone.  They always stay in Kruger with reservations made about a year prior to their stay.  They rent a car and do a self guided tour of the Kruger, looking for animals themselves in a more natural and not fenced in manner.  Apparently that is the way most from  South Africa do safari.  We had though of also going to Victoria Falls but apparently there is a huge conference going on during the time we would be there and there are no rooms to be had except in Zambia.  Doing Victoria Falls could also be very expensive as well.

photo: safari.com
photo: safari.com

With such a long trip we thought we would plan a stopover in a location that we might not go to for a primary vacation.  We are having a difficult time coming up with where we want to go.  We thought of the Maldives but Blogger Hubby would not want a week long beach vacation.  We’ve been to Istanbul but admittedly for only 2 days so that is a possibility.  Morocco was another suggestion but I am a wee bit concerned about the heat as I had heat stroke twice in Singapore.  Another possibility is Scotland (where my maternal family is from) and where our exchange student from a decade ago lives.  I had thought of Scandinavia but Blogger Hubby thinks that would be a trip by itself.  Finally, a trip to the Canary Islands.

world with question mark

What are your thought on where we should try to find a stopover for about a week or so?  We desperately need help and suggestions so we can begin planning this trip.

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7 thoughts on “Suggestions Needed For Our Stopover to/from South Africa

  1. How exciting!
    A few thoughts…I have not been on safari but I have heard and read that the safaris are ´better´whatever that may mean, in Kenya or Tanzania. If this is sort of a once in a lifetime trip, then perhaps like another commenter says, it might be worth adding Tanzania to your trip. A dear friend of mine lived there for 6 months and had wonderful things to say and no issues about danger or security.

    Next, my cousin´s girlfriend just returned from spending her summer in Zambia, in its capital. My cousin went to visit and they took a week long trip that included a safari (he has been to SA and also Kenya and described the landscape of this safari as very different from the others and also mentioned that one of the safari options is a walking safari versus jeep) and a trip to V. Falls, for roughly a week, and including everything from regional flights to accommodation to food, they paid about $2k total, for both of them. If you are interested, I could find out about the travel agent they used to book.

    As for a stopover, I am currently living in Norway and am making my first trip to Oslo this weekend, so I can report back about that. It seems that if you are coming in summer and have a week, you could do Oslo plus a nice train ride to the coast with all the fjords and dramatic landscapes. In a week you def. couldn´t see it all, but I think you would get a nice taste for one or 2 of Norway´s regions. I also lived in Malta for a while, which is small, very affordable, and full of history. If you are there in July or August though, it will be quite hot but there are plenty of beaches. Have you been to Paris or London? Those could also be nice alternatives, and I think in general, a stopover in Europe sounds like a nice way to differentiate your trip to have lots of different experiences. Happy planning!

  2. Well, of course I have to recommend Malawi! You could do a few days on the beach at the Lake, then head south to see the alpine forests on Zomba Plateau and the tea plantations around the Mulanje massif… But I’m quite biased. (I promise that guest blog post is coming soon!) Dubai would make sense from an easy-flight perspective; Ethiopia could be very interesting (2,000 years of the Christian [Coptic] Church there, and beautiful and diverse land); and have to agree with Roberta about Tanzania and Zanzibar. So excited you’ll be headed to South Africa, Jane! Can’t wait to hear about it.

  3. OK, if you REALLY want to see animals you should stop in Tanzania and hit the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti. If you go to the crater you could stay at the Tloma Lodge and go in and out from there. A day and a half or two days is more than enough and you will see lots of animals and you could get your big five there. Then you could go from there to the beach in Zanzibar for a couple of days and explore Stone Town as the culture there is completely different. The Serengeti deserves at least three days and there are tented camps and lodges to stay. There is a handling safari company called KIBO that does a fantastic job, if you are interested I have the name/email address of one (if not the) top guide. Morocco is also fascinating. We have toured there twice and really enjoyed it, it is one of the most diverse and interesting places we have visited.

  4. Can’t help, sadly, with any stopover plans as I am not knowledgeable of the routes to South Africa, but I am eager to hear more about your planning and the trip. I really, really want to go to South Africa as well! We leave Tuesday for a month-long trip to Israel and Turkey so I better get back to packing, but we will be in Istanbul for 8 days; I expect you’d find lots to do in Turkey that you didn’t do the first time, and perhaps the family with you will find it fun too if they haven’t yet been.

  5. I think it is fun trying to do find a good stopover. Here is how I would think it out: I would want a place to adjust to the time difference from the US and recuperate from the trans-Atlantic flight. You said you are going in summer, so all of Europe will have great weather. But if “summer” means “July or August”, I would skip anyplace too hot, like Spain or Italy. Then again, if that has always been a dream location to visit, nows a good as time as any to get that place.

    Key for me would be to find a place to recuperate and rest up for the next leg in S Africa. Last hing you want is to be overly tired and/or sick from too much heat!

    Scotland sounds perfect. You are making me hungry for haggis… 🙂

  6. Your trip sounds incredible! South Africa should be amazing all by itself, but having yet another week to play with is wonderful as well. I love your idea to visit Scotland and your friends/family there, plus the landscape and culture will be very different from South Africa. On a completely different note, what about a few days (not a whole week) in Dubai/Abu Dhabi? Yes, it will be hot, but if you plan siestas in the afternoon at the gorgeous hotel pools, it probably wouldn’t be too bad.

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