The review, "South Africa Highlights Tour the Best" by my husband, Robert Nied, regarding our trip beginning July 14, 2012, may be found on the "Reviews" page for this tour. It is dated during the last seven days. No part of this review duplicates the previous review.
This review is composed of a list of suggestions to make this tour more enjoyable and more educational for travelers. They are:
1. Engage your Program Guide in conversation about topics that interest you that he did not present as part of his formal presentation on the bus. He or she is a tremendous source of information about almost all topics South Africa. Likewise, if your driver is either Colored or Black, he can add to your knowledge about his personal life during the Rebellion and afterwards.
2. Obtain a 10 day weather forecast beginning two days before departure and the historical weather for the month of travel.
3. To lighten your baggage layer your clothing for any expected cold weather, especially during the open jeep safari ride in Kruger National Park. You may wish to consider a light windbraker as the top garment. A securable hat, light leather or wool gloves, and a scarf will be very helpful to keep you reasonably warm.
4. From at least the fifth floor of your hotel in Cape Town try to view the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean, a truly spectacular view, as is a similiar view over the Indian Ocean from your hotel or from the ocean front in Port Elixabeth.
5. Within fifty yards or so of the monument to Elizabeth, the namesake for Port Elizabeth and the location of one of your tour sites, is the city's travel bureau where you can obtain two modestly priced walking tour guide books, one with more than twenty stops for a next-day walking tour, if you wish. You will be able to cover about ten or so locations, but they are all worth the time and effort.
6. Bring along or purchase along the way reading material for the long bus rides and evenings without late entertainment.
7. The add-on excursion to Pretoria that can be arranged the day or so before is well worth the modest additional cost. Consider buying fruit from the many stands in the park adjacent to the parliament buildings.
8. Be conservative in the purchse of the SA currency because almost all purchases can be paid for by either a credit or debit card. To convert the balance of your local currency at the end of your trip to dollars is very expensive. One hundred and fifty dollars in local currency obtained from an ATM machine is efficient.
9. In Cape Town a thirty minute walk along Long Steet, the adjacent street with the Slave Museum for twenty minutes, and about a little over an hour in the Company Gardens are important for an ovelrview of the downtown area. Bear in mind that there are pickpockets on these major streets and to protect yourself by being aware of persons close to you and to move away quickly. Also, know that to obtain a taxi from either street may be very difficult and that you may have a forty-minute walk to a bus at the Riverfront for a ride to your hotel.
10. If you wish to visit Robben Island (off the coast of Cape Town) where Nelson Mandella was imprisioned during the last years of his twenty-seven years of imprisonment at two locations, you should purchase tickets for the ferry and the tour several months in advance of your trip. The internet should provide this opportunity.
11. Be very judicious in deciding whether or not to protect yourself from malaria, as we experienced no mosquitos during our entire nineteen days on the ground. If there are concerns on the ground, a product such as Deet should be effective.
Thelma Nied, Jacksonville, Florida, August 28, 2012