SOUTH AFRICA QUESTION

Old Mar 12, 02, 3:53 pm
  #1  
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SOUTH AFRICA QUESTION


Ok, carefully , I am going to try another thread. Had my head knocked off the last time I tried this.

Flying in May to South Africa on an AA First award-Cathay Pacific. Very excited. I have the hotels in HK, thanks, though I wouldn't mind hearing advice on the HK hotels. Love the CLK Airport Regal.

I need help with the following hotels, if you can assist? Will post on 3 boards.

I am looking for any advice, please, on the following:

Jo'burg Airport Sun Intercontinental
(overnight before heading home)Is there a pedestrian bridge linking the hotel with the terminal? How is security? Just a little bit of crime over there,

Jo'burg Airport Holiday Inn
Same question as to ped. bridge, vs. a shuttle

Sandton Hilton(looked small when I was there, is it nice?) I believe it is near the Sandton Shopping Centre-can you walk safely? or take a taxi?

Randburg Hyatt(might do both of these)
I hear very nice, !?

(Did the Crowne Plaza-Sandton, nice, but don't care for Bass miles)

Durban Hilton
(location!?)

Cape Town Radisson
(can one walk to the Wharf/shopping area, and safely at that? )

Is there a new Sheraton in Cape Town?

Any good hotels in Whindoek, Namibia???

Thank you so much. Very appreciated and will be happy to pay back in kind with advice, as I am able to do. Take care/ciao.

------------------
Michael
AA PLT,1 MLN Miles+
Hilton Gold
Sheraton Gold
Marriot Silver
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Old Mar 13, 02, 8:16 am
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Sorry I can't help you; I have no ideas about your questions. But I am interested in responses to your JNB airport hotels questions, and would like to add one of my own.. It seems we will have about 10 hrs between flights in JNB (10am - 8pm). Since I will be alone with my two daughters (ages 12 & 14), I was wondering how to kill time safely.. Any suggestions? (we will just have finished two red-eyes, and connecting to a third, so trying NOT to sleep, lol)
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Old Mar 13, 02, 11:36 am
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AFAIK the "only" hotel in Windhoek is the Kalahari Sands. It's serviceable. Namibia's infrastructure has been going downhill (obviously not nearly as badly as Zim) but it's becoming an East-African-like haven for western tourists who want to be able to say they've seen Big Game. Gone are the days when Etosha was a spectacularly well preserved spot to watch animals at leisure!

Haven't been to JNB for 4 years but security around the airport hotels should remain more than adequate. It's a fairly "sterile" area, i.e. not much excuse for casual contact with strangers. None of the hotels win awards. Unless you have special needs/affinities, pick the one that has the best rates at the moment.

I personally would give Durban a pass, from a security perspective, unless you really need to be there. And I certainly would not drive the Garden Route, if that was your plan. Too many chances to get unlucky.

In other forums, commenting negatively about SA security would generate large flames from partisans and the travel industry based there. Although I don't expect that from this crowd, I should hasten to add that travel there is no doubt safe as long as your luck holds and you stay away from trouble spots.

But if you're caucasian, you certainly wouldn't want to start your trip by looking at the readers' comments column in the on-line Joburg newspaper, www.mg.co.za. We've been long-time fans of the South African game parks, visiting fairly often, but have tentatively scratched this year's visit after reading the invective there.
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Old Mar 14, 02, 9:05 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Cape Town Radisson
(can one walk to the Wharf/shopping area, and safely at that? )</font>
The hotel is next to the Wharf. There are a lot of people, so no problem with safety.


<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">But I am interested in responses to your JNB airport hotels questions, and would like to add one of my own..</font>
Next to the airport is a Caesar's palace (Casino, Hotel, shopping centre, ...). I wasn't there; I only saw it from the taxi(so I don't know how far away it is and if it's of any interest to you and your daughters). You can check out at http://www.caesarspalace.com/ .

[This message has been edited by LH738 (edited 03-14-2002).]
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Old Mar 15, 02, 3:09 am
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Hello everyone and thank you so much for your responses. They are so appreciated.

I am active on the AA board and plan to check out the Oneworld board in full, as it would certainly make sense.

Here is a question. As to the danger of SA. Is it worth it to go? Is it really that dangerous that I should stay away? I am having a hard time with this as I would like to go, but I know that if I went to Australia instead, I would feel much safer and relaxed.

Please, any thoughts? and no flames intended, but I do want honesty. I was there a few years ago but it does sound like things have changed in the last few years since Mbeki came in.

Thank you so much, Michael

------------------
Michael
AA PLT,1 MLN Miles+
HH GLD, SCI GLD, MM SIL
LE PRESIDENT ETERNEL DE CAMAIR-CAMEROUN AIRLINES
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Old Mar 15, 02, 1:52 pm
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I'm a poor uninformed traveler in Los Angeles, about as far from any insight into South Africa as anyone can be, so take my comments for what they're worth.

I've visited the area many times over several decades primarily because the game parks (Kruger, Etosha) were so spectacular. I tend to maintain a traveler's interest in the area because of that.

It's probably "safe enough" to go and enjoy yourself but a cautious person will do a bit of extra homework before going there, and keep a careful eye out. You're worth a lot of money, and the bad guys know that local law enforcement won't be on the scene as promptly or with as much sympathy for the western tourist as say the LAPD. The reason it's safe in spite of that is that the bad guys are still a tiny minority so it's hard to get unlucky.

The last time we visited we drove to Kruger, as has been our custom. The trip was uneventful. We took a longish break in Nelspruit and wandered around. The town seemed much more a beehive of activity than before. I think we were the only white folks in sight, but it wasn't at all uncomfortable or worrisome. It was just a bunch of good folks going about their business.

On the other hand, the readers' column in the M&G I mentioned above really shocked me. There are clearly a few folks willing to express strong hatred for white people. You just have to make sure to don't cross paths with them. My comment that I'd probably cross SA off my travel list wasn't entirely a safety issue - visiting Kruger by air from JNB provides pretty much a 100% safe cocoon - but a culture-shock reaction to the letters.

A tiny problem is the poor access to details of what kind of problems exist, which would help avoid trouble areas. The M&G has apparently changed editorial policy in the past couple of years and no longer seems to publish reports of casual crime. There's a usenet newsgroup, something like soc.southafrica, that probably still has a lot of information. For a while it was the height of foolishness to visit downtown Johannesburg even at noon, while Capetown was thought to be well controlled. It would be nice to know how that's changed, if it has, and if it matters to your plans.

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Old Mar 15, 02, 4:35 pm
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Here's the Google link to the newsgroup I mentioned:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=e...e.south-africa

There's another ng with .afrikaans on the end, likely to have too little english in it to be of use. Maybe there's a .english group too but it's not easy to go prospecting for group names with Google.

I haven't looked at this ng for some time. It too has changed. Many of the postings are the SA view of global events rather than things going on at home, but it gives you some perspective of what the people are thinking, and once in a while there's an article about internal affairs. And once in a while a redneck with a serious problem with polite society has his say, so be prepared for strong opinions on both sides. All in all it's very interesting but probably not the most useful trip-planning tool.
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Old Mar 16, 02, 2:16 am
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the Sun airport hotel is in a new building adjoining the multi story carpark opposite the domestic terminal a short walk from the arrivals hall. There is no problem security wise.
Fishbait: in the same above building under the hotel on the ground floor level is the Magicbus counter. You can rent a minibus to take you into Johannesburg and arrange to pick you up later. I would recommend you go to Randburg Waterfront. This is a small lake surrounded by pubs and restaurants. There is a bus tour that goes around the city from there. You can stop off at the different locations like the zoo and then pick up the next one. It terminates back at the Randburg Waterfront. An alternate tour is to the Lion Park (feeding time around 11 am) on Hans Strydom about 30 minutes away from the Waterfront, the Lippizaner show etc.
See:http://www.goafrica.co.za/joburg/
http://www.goafrica.co.za/joburg/whatson/whattodo.stm
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Old Mar 16, 02, 8:31 am
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I'm in SA right now, in the middle of a two week trip. i worked last week in Jo'burg, and am now in Cape Town for a hot and sunny relaxing weekend. back to jo'burg on su day night unfortunately !

Hilton Sandton is fine. It is farily new, the room i had was good and comfy- and cheap at ZAR 750 per night (about 45 GBP). It is not far from Sandton Square or Sandton City. Both of those complexes have lots of resaurants and so forth.

Basically no-one walks anywhere in the northern suburbs of jo'burg - there are hardly any pavements (sidewalks) anyway. It reminds me of suburban sydney or miami for example. From the security perspective - caution is the main approach. The hotel can organise taxis, shuttles etc, so will restaurants and so forth, so no need to put yourself at risk.

However, other than a day in J'burg, there isn't a lot too see. (i am here for work) but i do recommend a trip into Soweto. These can be easily organised through the hotel, and are a safe way to get an insight into how the majority of south africans live day to day. An eye-opener. Just make sure you travel with a township-run business, so that your ticket price benefits the local people directly - not lining a tour company's pockets

Cape Town is a different story. there are still dangerous parts (eg between the waterfront and city centre) but a bit of common sense will not go amiss really. The fall in value of ZAR means that taxis are ridiculously cheap - so always use them - expecially at night. However, it is good to walk through town and ramble between the museums, the 'company gardens' and the internet cafe where i am now.

I would suggest that you avoid the chain hotels at least once in SA, and do what i have done this weekend, and stay in a private guest house - the buildings are beautifully preserved victorian wooden homes, mine has fantastic antique decor and a great freidnly atmosphere. Taking breakfast out on the patio with the other guests this morning was a real treat.. nice clear blue sky, a great view of table mountain and that's not a feature radisson can offer - for forsake the mile earning hotels (and their higher rates) for a few days! There are listings on the web and in guide books.

The sheraton is not in cape town, but a golf resort up the coast - not somewhere you would want to base yourself for this city.

Anything else, email me.

Cheers and enjoy your trip - GK.
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Old Mar 26, 02, 1:56 pm
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Is the garden route too dangerous to drive on your own. I was planning on doing that as part of my RTW.


Thanks
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Old Mar 26, 02, 6:57 pm
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Thank you everyone for your kind help and responses. I am playing with hotels now and should have everything fully booked.

If you have more advice, please share. I am going to act on what has been said here and I am just so excited. Also, I think that others are benefiting from this advice, whether or not they say anything.

I love and care deeply for this country as I, for some reason, think about it often.

Thank you, Michael
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Old Mar 26, 02, 8:04 pm
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I just got back from a trip to South Africa and would make the following observations:

- Jo'burg (and probably Pretoria) seem far more dangerous than other parts of S.A. In Cape Town and its environs, people seemed to take reasonable security precautions, but nothing that seemed particularly over-the-top. We felt safe exercising reasonable and prudent security measures and staying to areas that we were confident were fairly secure.
- I can't really see any reason to stay in Jo'burg for any lenght of time. Soweto is worth seeing, but other than that there seemed to be very little unique about Jo'burg. Other parts of the country have a lot more going for them.
- I highly recommend a visit, and would gladly go back.
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Old Mar 26, 02, 8:38 pm
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[Duplicate removed]

[This message has been edited by jordyn (edited 03-28-2002).]
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