I am writing this post from the Skydeck in the International Terminal at ATL Airport where I have around two hours to kill before boarding one of the longest flights of my life (Atlanta to Johannesburg which is scheduled or 15 hours and 13 minutes and 8,434 miles).
Unfortunately, I will only be able to enjoy this flight in Economy Comfort, as booking a business class ticket to Johannesburg with Skypesos is nigh on impossible. I am hoping that if I can get at least a few hours of sleep the flight won’t seem nearly as long. One can hope, right?
No matter how quickly the time passes as I traverse half the globe, I am looking forward to an awesome week in South Africa with my father, who we will call Papa Jeffsetter from now on.
This trip is exciting to me for so many reasons that I can hardly count them all. Let me give it a shot, though:
1) First of all it’s a nice mileage earning opportunity that should net me 18,977 Medallion Qualifying Miles + ~38,000 redeemable miles for a $1,672.50 ticket price. Not bad for a vacation.
2) I’m traveling with my dad and we always enjoy our trips together. We have gone to Alaska, Key West, Chile, Argentina, Greece, Turkey and Queens (for the US Open Tennis Championship) and it’s always a good time.
3) We will be staying in a suite at the Vuyani Lodge and doing twice-daily safari drives each day of our stay. It is also all inclusive.
4) In Cape Town we will be staying at the Westin, which is rumored to have an awesome executive lounge with great views of the harbor.
5) There will be a mix of tourism (Robben Island, Table Mountain) and wildlife/relaxation that I am looking forward to balancing throughout the trip.
6) I get to test out the GoPro Hero 3+ camera I recently purchased while on our safari jeep and during other aspects of the trip.
7) My DJI Phantom quad-copter made it through the TSA pre-check line without being examined, so I will be able to shoot aerial videos with the GoPro and do other awesome things.
8) This visit will include the city that the New York Times considers the #1 place to visit in 2014 – Cape Town.
9) I hear that the wine in South Africa is bountiful and improving all of the time.
10) It’s a freaking safari, dude!
11) I will take a picture of the crazy planes that Kulula Air uses to haul passengers around South Africa.
12) The return flight routes through Paris on an A380, which means I’ll be on the upper deck of an AF A380 for the second time this year (unfortunately this time it’s just in economy class).
13) From a photography perspective, there will be all kinds of amazing opportunities to shoot wildlife and landscapes throughout a beautiful country.
14) We are spending a night in Johannesburg before leaving and might check out the World of Beer while there.
Can you tell that I’m excited for the trip? I asked my friend Jeff Cammack, who runs the Safari Guide Africa website for what I can expect in South Africa. Here is what he said:
“South Africa offers a fantastic opportunity for families to experience an African safari as there is a wide selection of lodges that cater for families. This in combination with the fact that South Africa can offer safaris in an accessible and malaria free environment, as well as a favorable exchange rate makes it the ideal family safari destination in Africa.”