Celebrating what they call “The Greatest Safari Sale On Earth,” 2Afrika is also offering a variety of safari programs—from a 9-day program starting at $1,199, to a 16-day ‘air-inclusive’ safari in Kenya & Tanzania starting from $4,999. The cheapest program, the 9-day Es’Cape To The Smoke That Thunders originates daily from Cape Town and takes clients throughout the Cape Town area and flies them to Livingstone for a visit to Victoria Falls. Clients can also benefit from 2Afrika’s consolidator airfares starting from $999 and departing from New York and Washington, D.C.
Kenya’s resurgence late last year has prompted a lot more optimism for its 2009 bookings. “By October, we were only 6 percent down from last year even after all those problems in January. We’re excited about it and we think the Obama factor has also given us a healthy boost and provided us a lot of attention for the destination. We’re mounting some major campaigns to promote Kenya now, and obviously the link with Obama is helpful for that,” explains Maisa Fernandez, director for custom Destination marketing solutions, which represents Kenya in the United States. “I think Kenya is very hopeful that we’re going to regain our bearings and our footing in the marketplace will be strengthened because of a lot of factors. And because we’re a little more on the luxury side, we’ll still be seeing business. In fact, most of our tour operators are still seeing some healthy requests for next year. So it’s going to be an interesting year and we’ll have to see what happens, but our numbers are showing some major upswings so everybody’s just crossing their fingers.”
South Africa South Africa, too, has good reason for optimism and with the recent strengthening of the dollar against the rand—at press time it was 10 rand to the dollar—there’s an awful lot of value being offered there, as well. “South Africa is definitely the place to go,” says Adel Grobler, marketing and communications manager for South African Tourism, USA. “Even without discounting, there are many options that would now offer more value for money for the U.S. traveler than any other destination.”
For example, she says, “The Mantis Collection has an excellent offer called Mantis Madness. You book two nights at one of its lodges and get three nights in one of its hotels for free and that’s valid May 1-Sept. 30.” On the 5-night package, clients book two nights at either Shamwari Game Reserve, Jock Safari Lodge, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, Oceana Beach & Wildlife Reserve or Nkomazi Game Reserve, and they then get three nights absolutely free at either The Constantia, The Long Beach, The Franschhoek,The Bishops Court or The St. James, all located in and around Cape Town.
Grobler says it’s also a good idea not to overlook guest houses and B&Bs in South Africa, many of which offer exceptional value. One example, she says, is the Hideaway Guest House in Knysna, adding that, “It’s a superb location for a relaxing holiday.” Rates run from $30-$70 pp per night in 2009 and that’s just one of hundreds of similar options. Guest houses and B&Bs in South Africa are really of excellent quality and standards, and very good value for the money.
She also suggests the Sani Pass Hotel in Himeville in the Drakensberg area, very close to Lesotho. “This part of the country has spectacular hiking routes and other adventure offerings,” Grobler says, and the hotel offers horseback riding, quad biking, golf, fishing and hiking, and all at rates of between $36 and $50 pp per night. “It’s only a three-star hotel,” she adds, “but offers exceptional value and the environment is spectacular.”