An African journey holds many surprises, even for experienced travelers. You don't expect the stars to be so many or shine so bright. You don't expect to care so much for the many species of birds, or wonder so long about how the strong survive. You don't expect the brilliant colors of the women's dresses to match the reds of the flowers and the greens of the hills. You don't expect a rhinoceros to be so dense, or a baby elephant to be so cute. And you don't expect to feel the same excitement you felt as a child every time something new and wonderful happens. Africa is more than an adventure. It's a delight of the senses.

Reader favorite 2Afrika (tel. 866/462-2374; has two special sales running concurrently with May departures. Departing May 3, 2006, a 12-day Kenya and Tanzania trip leaving out of New York through London costs approximately $2,950 per person for two people traveling together. The trip includes round-trip airfare out of New York, eight-nights' accommodations at safari lodges or permanent tents, 26 meals, all in-country transportation, professional safari guides to introduce you to and familiarize you with local customs and wildlife, all entrance fees to game reserves, and night and day safaris. In addition to the daily wonders of landscapes and animal, highlights of the trip include an equator crossing, visit to the Thompson Falls, and nine game-viewing drives through such places as the Serengeti Plains, the Masai Mara, and the Lake Manyara National Park. In addition to New York, U.S. departure points available for no additional cost include Boston, Washington D.C., Miami, Los Angeles or San Francisco. As of Sunday, March 19, 2006, six spots were still left for this trip.

The other special from 2Afrika is a 13-day air-inclusive trip to Tanzania departing on May 21, 2006. With 12 places left, this Tanzanian trip starts at $3,095. The Ngorongoro Crater, the Tarangire National Park and Arusha are highlights on this trip. Similar amenities are included such as airfare from the same departure points as above, all hotel accommodations in lodges with en-suite bathrooms, almost every meal, and professional guided safari trips. Extra excursions such as a hot air balloon ride above the Masai Mara or the Serengeti National Park and a two-night three-day trip to Kigali to visit a gorilla camp are available. The gorilla excursion includes transportation from Nairobi to Kigali in Rwanda, accommodations and a day of gorilla tracking as you find the trail of gorillas in the natural environment. Cost of this trip comes to $1,650 plus $195 in taxes. Prices decrease based on the number of people in your party. If you have four people, for example, you save $175 per person. With both 2Afrika trips, all airport departure taxes out of the United States are included in the price of the trip. 2Afrika has other trips available to many African destinations departing all year round. A 10-day trip that visits Victoria Falls, Johannesburg, Botswana, and the Okavango Delta costs $3,855 per person. The trip departs daily from United States departure points. All the trips also include meet-and-greet-on-arrival service from a 2Afrika representative.

For a longer trip to Africa that focuses on South Africa, Djoser (tel. 877/356-7376; is offering a 25-day trip that visits Cape Town, Etosha, Chobe, and Victoria Falls. A May 18, 2006, departure from New York costs $4,395 and $4,570 from Miami or Los Angeles. (The trip departs once or twice a month thereafter throughout the year.) Djoser trips take you deep inside the culture and way of life of the areas they visit. In Namibia, travelers visit the second largest crater in the world. Going off the beaten path, travelers will experience isolated villages and desert travel with dunes as high 650 feet. You'll also cross the border into Zambia, experiencing the sites and sounds of Africa along the way. Accommodations on this trip range from four to six person huts to a few nights on a houseboat to permanent tents. You're on your own for meals with a Djoser trip, but your guides are always available to recommend local restaurants and often accompany travelers looking to eat in groups. A thirteen-day trip starting in Johannesburg visiting some of the same places highlighted in the 25-day trip departs May 11, 2006, and then fairly regularly on a monthly basis through November costs approximately $3,125 with airfare, guided tours, all in-Africa transportation and accommodations included in the price of the trip.

On sale now from Friendly Planet (tel. 800/555.5765;, a 14-day South African safari spending four days in and around the beaches town of Cape Town before visiting Durban and Zoolooland, Kruger National Park, and then ending up in Johannesburg and Soweto. The trip departs from New York. The two-week journey is sold out through the spring, but spaces are still available for October 8 and November 5, 2006, departures starting at $2,599. A three-day add-on trip to Victoria Falls costs $799.

Also on sale, Friendly Planet has safaris to Kenya that visit Samburu, the Masai, Lake Nakuru, and Mount Kenya. If you reserve before March 31, 2006, you can save up to $800 on a regular asking price of $3,199. There is more availability on this trip with departures available beginning July 8, 2006, and then departing twice on a monthly basis through October 14, 2006. Taxes and airline fees come to approximately $295. The price includes round-trip airfare out of New York on Virgin Airways, guaranteed window seats on gaming trips, 24 meals, including eight dinners, all intra-Kenyan transportation and accommodations at first-rate hotels. On Mount Kenya, you'll stay in a tree-house hotel.

FIT Tours (tel. 800/248-3487; just notified us of its 10-night land-only itinerary for South Africa. Based-priced from $1,269 you get the use of a rental car (and yes, it's air-conditioned), all mornings meals, two lunches, two dinners, three-nights' stay in Cape Town, two-nights' stay in Stellenbosch, three nights along the Garden Route and two nights on safari at Lalibela Game Reserve. Departures for these offer run May 1-20 and August 21-31, 2006; between May 21 through August 20 the base-prices jumps slightly to $1,329. You can look to South African Airways ( for airfare, or FIT can make arrangements.

If you want a helping hand with your Visa, Friendly Planet and other travel providers recommend or use a third-party Visa expediter called CIBT Global Visa and Passport Professionals (tel. 800/929.2428; For just $50 extra, CIBT can arrange all your Visa fees "practically" online and make the often cumbersome Visa or Passport process that much easier. Any document problems are usually handled by a CIBT native-language speaker with contacts within the consulate or embassy of the country you're visiting. You can also rent a global phone from CIBT for usage just about anywhere. Rates to different locations are available at

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