October 31, 2003 -- Every once in a while, a fare comes along to make a trip possible which would have been inconceivable before.
If you've ever dreamed of seeing lions and hippos, if Africa has ever been on your agenda, we doubt you'll see a fare lower than Iberia's current special deal to Johannesburg. Starting at $493 ($591 with tax), these fares are about half-off the lowest sale fares we've previously seen to South Africa.
There's a warning, though. Seats are extremely limited, and they're going extremely fast. When we checked again Thursday morning, we found a reasonable selection of seats still available. But you may have to be flexible to save here. You're also stuck with a full day's layover on the outbound leg in Madrid, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Iberia's pages are unlinkable, and you must choose this offer from a specific page. Here's what to do:1.
- Go to
- On the pulldown marked "Iberia en/in", choose "USA."
- Then pick "Online Sales" at the top of the screen, and pick "Special Offers."
- On the page that comes up, choose "USA - Middle East/Africa."
You must fly out between Nov. 1 and Dec. 14, and stay no more than 45 days. But, realistically, only a few departure and return days will probably be available. As we said, be flexible. Prices from various US gateways:
- New York: $493
- Boston, Philadelphia, Washington: $613
- Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Orlandio: $653
- Dallas, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, St. Louis: $673
- Denver: $703
- Las Vegas, LA, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle: $733
(The same fares are available to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, a stopover on the way to Johannesburg. Malabo isn't much of a tourist destination, but if you're heading there, this is a great fare. Iberia also has excellent deals right now to Casablanca, Tel Aviv and Cairo.)
Johannesburg, the City of Gold, is southern Africa's major transportation hub, so it's easy to get from there to your destination, no matter where you're headed in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana or even Mozambique.
For the culture and beauty of Cape Town, you can hop a flight on South Africa's discount airline, Kulula (www.kulula.com) for R1190, or about $173 roundtrip. Looking to save money? The same trip is an 18.5-hour bus ride on Greyhound (www.greyhound.co.za) for a mere R400 ($58) roundtrip. (South African Greyhound buses are far more luxurious, comfortable, and clean than US buses.) Trains (www.spoornet.co.za) are even slower, but more comfortable and romantic, and about the same price as the bus.
Flights to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, start at about $200 on Air Botswana via OneTravel (www.onetravel.com) -- and trust us, you're not going to find a $700 fare to Botswana any time soon.
For our full guide to South Africa, see www.frommers.com/destinations/southafrica.
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