The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
Even with the U.S. dollar seemingly in an unchecked freefall, we're still encountering deals that should be somewhat reassuring to American travelers. Last week, we looked at ways of traveling to Australia inexpensively. This week, another deal popped across our collective radar that wants to persuade Americans to come to South Africa, where you receive about eight rands for the U.S. dollar. According to South African Tourism (tel. 800/593-1318; www.southafrica.net), the exchange rate has even gone up, in our favor, from a seven to one ratio, in the past six months. English is widely spoken and understood, and you can fly nonstop from New York and Washington, D.C.. In addition to its natural beauty and safari opportunities, the country is home to a burgeoning wine scene, and you can dine inexpensively. We're told that a dinner for two at a well-regarded restaurant in Johannesburg, for example, will cost about $20.
The vacation packager arm of South African Airways (tel. 888/722-4872; www.flysaavacations.com) advertises South Africa in Style, priced from $1,999, for nonstop, roundtrip airfare from New York or Washington, D.C., on South African Airways, to Johannesburg. There are several travel periods for which this price is valid: the month of May, September 16-30 and December 1-15. The package also includes four nights at a five-star hotel (either the Commodore Hotel, Table Bay Hotel, Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa or in Cape Town), and two nights at Jackalberry Lodge, a luxury game lodge in the Timbavati Private game Reserve. Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you will be met by a company representative and transferred to your hotel. In terms of meals, six breakfasts and two lunches are included. All your ground transfers and domestic flights within South Africa are covered, along with game drives. The itinerary includes a half-day tour of the Winelands, an optional helicopter ride, and entire day at leisure to explore Cape Town, its waterfront, shops and restaurants. On the sixth day of the trip, you'll fly to Johannesburg and then connect there for a flight to Hoedspruit, and then onto the lodge for some time in the wilderness with game drives.