Cape Town, South Africa ~ Getting there…

Friday January 16 ~ Cape Town, South Africa

San Bernardino Mountains with a layer of fog

San Bernardino Mountains with a layer of fog. This was taken on Sunday morning when on our way down the mountain from our cabin. Had to take care of some business in “the city” before being gone for a month.

It is not an easy trip to get all the way from Los Angeles to Cape Town. We left our place of business at 3:15 pm on Wednesday to head for the airport and arrived in South Africa at 11:15 Friday morning (local times). After clearing customs, we were greeted by a local driver who drove us to our hotel, finally collapsing in our room about 1:30 pm. With time zone changes, it took us two days to get here! 

Just a side note: The driver was arranged for us by Gate 1, as part of our tour package. Four of us were picked up in a private Mercedes SUV and were provided with a bottle of cold water. Just coming off of these long flights and feeling dehydrated, that was a nice thoughtful touch.

We arranged our flights through Gate 1 Travel which allows us some flexibility. Often we choose to arrive at our destination one to three days early so we have time to get acclimated to the local time zone. This time we did not arrive early and it may have been a big mistake.

We instead added on two plus weeks to the back-end, which allowed us to join up with Ben and Yulia and their group for the second part of our travels – through Zimbabwe.

The flights themselves were OK, just long. Our first leg was on Delta, a non-stop from LAX to London (Heathrow) which is 11 hours and 20 minutes. Then we patiently waited through an almost six-hour lay over at the airport.

We make good use of our Priority Pass, that we get through American Express, which allows us access to the private airline clubs. The clubs do vary quite a bit, but we can usually get complimentary snacks and often a hot meal, drinks, a quiet place to relax, and internet access. With the high cost of food at most airports, this part alone makes the club membership a wonderful deal.

If you have a Platinum American Express Credit Card, you can sign up for the Priority Pass here. It is one of the perks!

The club we used in London (No. 1 Heathrow) was quite nice (not the Australia meaning) and had some lovely perks available including massage and other spa treatments, a sleeping room, showers, a movie room and a full bar.

Over the wing - Virgin Atlantic

Over the wing – Virgin Atlantic

The last leg was on Virgin Atlantic, again non-stop from London to Cape Town. That section was 12 hours and 5 minutes. Those are the times shown on our itinerary, but in both cases, we actually arrived a bit early which chopped a little time, but after that long in the air, it seemed minute.

We are booked into the Protea Hotel Victoria Junction for the next four nights. It is near the waterfront and we got a good first impression.

Ahhh, a wonderful firm mattress at the Victoria Junction Hotel

Ahhh, a wonderful firm mattress at the Victoria Junction Hotel

The smart thing would have been to stay up, walk down to the harbor and get some fresh air, have a light dinner and then go to bed in the evening which would have helped us get acclimated. But, noooooo, we were just too tired and after a quick shower we climbed into a very comfortable bed and promptly went to sleep.

Up again at 7:00 pm we went for a short walk, found an ATM to get some local currency, picked up some water at a grocery store, and then a light dinner at the hotel.

It is now 11:00 pm.

Tim is sawing logs and I am wide awake…

We have a full big day of sightseeing with our group tomorrow, so I will sign off for now, and hopefully update you with a much more exciting post tomorrow.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for safe travels. And boy-o-boy was I thankful for that nice hot shower and clean, comfortable bed upon our arrival!

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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8 Responses to Cape Town, South Africa ~ Getting there…

  1. Epic journey! It makes our version of getting to South Africa (Heathrow to Johannesburg) seem tame. ..look forward to reading about the rest of the trip.


  2. roadrunnersdiary says:

    Glad you made it there safely, folks! We’re getting ready for our months-long yucatan adventure!


  3. I can never stay up when I’ve been traveling for hours and a shower is heaven. Have a great time.


  4. Bibi says:

    Hi, love reading your blog! And wanted to ask a world traveler like yourself, about a trip I am planning to southeast Asia in November on Gate1Travel. Is it better to visit one country vs visit 3 countries all at once? For example thinking about a 17 day Bangkok, Cambodia & Vietnam trip vs a 13 day classic Thailand. I want to enjoy the whole experience not have it all be one big blur!


    • Hello Bibi, what a great question and one we too often struggle with. All three countries should definitely be seen, however if you know you can return, perhaps breaking them up into two separate trips would be my choice. Seeing Thailand in more depth and then coming back for Cambodia and Vietnam. You will still probably find it a little over whelming as they pack so much into an itinerary, but I promise you will come home amazed, thrilled and excited to return. If you are not sure if you will get back to SE Asia, then the 3 country trip may be best for you. You really can’t go wrong with either choice, but for me the perfect trip is to go a little slower, have a chance to soak it in and as they say, “stop and smell the roses”. What ever you choose, I hope you have a FANTASTIC trip!


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