Is booking through a travel agent necessary in South Africa?
August 23, 2013 1:45 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I will be visiting South Africa for 2 weeks in December. We have no familiarity with the area, so were probably going to go with a travel agent. Does anyone have tips/help on booking travel within South Africa?

Normally I'd do all my own bookings, but as I haven't ever visited South Africa, I was more inclined to let someone else handle the details. If it's just as easy as the US, is it better/cheaper to book the accommodations, transportation, and activities on my own?

Thanks for any help!
posted by thewumpusisdead to Travel & Transportation around Cape Town, South Africa (5 answers total)
For tourist travel its pretty much the same as the US. Every hotel has a website and you can book your own stuff easily if you want. I had no problem booking hotels, car rental, etc. just like I would at home. I'd say the choice between a pre packaged tour and DIY is pretty much the same as in the US. Doing it yourself lets you be more flexible, see more out of the way things, doing a package lets you not worry about the details. The only thing that struck me as different was that cab drivers were very willing to negotiate a price to act as your all-day tour guide/chauffeur.
posted by MsMolly at 2:42 PM on August 23, 2013

It's just as easy as the US. The local airlines are Mango Air and Kalula. Hotels are mostly online and can be booked through multiple big name booking groups or at the hotel website itself. Travel between smaller places can be done by car hire, bus, or train. If you want to send sme details, I can help point you in the right direction.
posted by mrfuga0 at 3:00 PM on August 23, 2013

Well, if you book by yourself through expedia or some other similiar site (and you may be able to do this with a travel agent also) you plan to transfer flights in either Senegal or Paris and extend the layovers so you get a couple days in each city for the price of a round trip flight to Johannesburg.

This is definitely what I would do again if I was booking airfare to SA
posted by aetg at 9:20 PM on August 23, 2013

My husband and I are going to South Africa in December and I booked through a travel agent because I was insecure about travel planning. In retrospect, after a reasonable amount of web surfing, I would have been fine doing it on my own and probably would have tailored the trip more specifically than we did already.

Check out the Africa forum for a start or feel free to memail me if you want to know more about our itinerary or sites I looked at. I'm so excited for our trip - it will be so great.
posted by marguerite at 7:21 AM on August 24, 2013

There are lots of posts on the green about travelling to ZA.

Seriously, you don't need a travel agent. In fact, unless you're doing something that you're concerned about selling out (Robben Island or Kruger are the ones I would worry about), I'd wait until you were in-country to make some of the plans. If you're doing the Garden Route, I could also see them being booked solid, due to "summer" vacation.

I'm a big BIG fan of Cape Town Backpackers (they also have a guest house that's very hotel-like, only with lots of awesome people who know the country really well). Start there, get a Coast to Coast booklet, and make plans.

If you have specific questions, I love talking about ZA, and I've spent a large chunk of time there as a single white female, so I know about safety concerns too. Memail me or gmail (same as mefi handle) if you want more specific advice.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:52 AM on August 24, 2013

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