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Old 11-02-2009, 09:26 PM   #1
socalfamily
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What do you think about Safari to South Africa?

Hi everyone.

Thanks for the responses about my first inquiry regarding recommendations for my family. We have been studying the ABD booklet, and we are now considering the Safari to South Africa. It states, "Minimum Age 6, Suggested Age 8+." My sons will be 6,7.5, and 9 yrs old next summer. For those of you that have gone, what do you think determined their minimum and recommended ages? Do you think that our youngest will be too young to enjoy?

Also, did you feel safety was ever an issue?

Thanks so much for your assistance!
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:07 PM   #2
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We did the Safari to South Africa in late June. First, safety was not an issue. Cape Town is a large city and so you must take all the regular precautions you would in any city. The food and water are safe. No one got sick on our trip. We were advised where to walk and not walk at night. We had a wonderful time. A lot was packed into those days. I don't know about how Disney sets the ages. My youngest turned 11 on the trip, she was the youngest kid in our group. The next group had some younger kids. I would think younger kids might get tired a little more easily. When we went on the Germany trip in 2008, the seven year olds seemed to each have a day that they were just worn out.
On the safari, the game drives can be up to 4 hours long (most are around 3 hours long). Can your children sit in an open air vehicle for several possibly cold hours starting at 6:30am (wake up call at 5:30)? Can your kids last through an 18 hour flight? (or 8 hrs to London and 11 hours to Cape Town)
I'm not saying they can't do it. You know your kids. My husband was worried that he couldn't sit through the flights. He did fine and my kids
(11,12 and 15) did fine. My kids are seasoned travelers.
It's a great trip and as long as you think your kids can handle it, go for it. You will all love it.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:26 PM   #3
socalfamily
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Thanks for your feedback!

We travel to Europe to visit family, and that trip takes about 24 hr door-to-door. Exhausting! But travel to South Africa would be much longer, so we shared the same concern that you raised. So probably MORE than exhausting! Actually, DH and I think that the travel time is probably our biggest reason to hesitate. But since I found this great site, I thought we could hear from someone experienced like yourself to rule out any other potential issues/ concerns.

I think we saw your posts when we searched the site. The whole adventure looked amazing, but I was surprised to hear about the cold weather. How cold was it? I always pictured South Africa as warm and sunny with blue skies. Sounds like I was way wrong!

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:03 PM   #4
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We had an unusual cold stretch and unusually bad weather for the whole trip. It is winter in SA in our summer, but the temps would normally be in the low 60's. It was probably in the low 50's most of the time. Plus, we had a lot of rain.
We mostly wore 2 layers of fleece over long sleeve shirts (and I wore a lined raincoat over that, but I'm always cold). The safaris, being in open air moving vehicles, were really cold. You need gloves, hats and scarves. They also hand out blankets.

The trip that went the week after us had much nicer weather. Look for travelingtinkerbell's report.

The trip was FANTASTIC. I can't say enough about how great it was. Good luck in your decision.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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We were on the same trip as Abby. The weather was a bummer - but it didn't take anything away from the trip. The guides did a great job of trying to work around it. The open air safaris were pretty chilly - but during the days it was much warmer there (at the game reserve) - in the 70s or so. Just be sure to bring lots of layers, hats and gloves. Hopefully you won't need it all of the time.

Our kids were the oldest - 14, 15 and 18. It was the best trip they've ever had. Of course the flights are a drag. Just be sure to go down at least a day early to try and get rid of some of your jet lag.
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:04 PM   #6
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Jet lag and flight time

We haven't been to South Africa, but have been to Australia (not with Disney). We had young kids at the time, and the only problem with those kind of destinations is the long flight and jet lag. It can take awhile to adjust to the time change, and the flight days are tough. So, I would keep that in mind, when thinking about taking young kids that far. Good luck with your decision, and hope you find a great trip.
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momof3greatkids View Post
We haven't been to South Africa, but have been to Australia (not with Disney). We had young kids at the time, and the only problem with those kind of destinations is the long flight and jet lag. It can take awhile to adjust to the time change, and the flight days are tough. So, I would keep that in mind, when thinking about taking young kids that far. Good luck with your decision, and hope you find a great trip.

South Africa is only 6 hours ahead of the East Coast of the US, so the jet lag is the same as going to Europe. Australia would be much more difficult (I would guess).

We arrived late in the evening. Went right to bed and did just fine all the next day. The next night, it was hard to fall asleep, but after that, we all adjusted.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:21 AM   #8
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I would love to do this Adventure. Sounds exciting. Fortunately my wife and I do not have children yet so we should be able to deal with the flights without a problem. Do you think is was worth it? Did you pay with DVC points or Cash?
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jerry@dvcstore View Post
I would love to do this Adventure. Sounds exciting. Fortunately my wife and I do not have children yet so we should be able to deal with the flights without a problem. Do you think is was worth it? Did you pay with DVC points or Cash?
Some people on our trip used DVC points. We paid credit card. The price last summer, for the week we travelled was nearly $1000 pp less than the 2010 prices listed on the ABD website (using the no longer available EBD and the loyalty discount). We purchased through Costco and received Costco gift cards when we returned. Our credit card also pays us pack 2% for travel. So that was quite a bit back in cash.

The trip was FANTASTIC. This was our 4th ABD and all were great, but this was by far the best trip we have ever been on.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:56 PM   #10
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We are new to the ABD travels but are scheduled for our first trip to South Africa this Dec. 09. We are traveling with a 10 yr old and my husband and I. It will be summer there. Any advise?
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Old 11-16-2009, 03:05 PM   #11
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Yes, it would be a hard trip for younger kids with jet lag and all the walking and pace.

But what an incredible trip! I love South Africa. I grew up in Kenya and we spend a summer in South Africa. I loved it.

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Old 12-09-2009, 07:40 AM   #12
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:42 AM   #13
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What do you think about Safari to South Africa?

Safari in South Africa and you can't help but think that the idea of Christmas in all the summer heat is not what Christmas is all about, but let me help you change your mind and swap jingle bells and sleigh rides for the heat of a South African summer.
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