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Background

Having worked with a couple of South Africans (actually one South African and one Zimbabwean) in London, both of whom were now back living in their native land, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to visit South Africa for the first time. I had a week's holiday left in the year, so in early December 2004, I decided the time was right for a visit. One friend lives in Jo'burg and the other near Durban, so I decided that I would visit them both for a couple of days and then spend a further few days in Cape Town. A flying visit to be sure and I was under no impression that I wouldn't get to see everything, but I hoped that this trip would give me a chance to whet my appetite for a further, longer visit sometime in the future.

Planning - Flights

With most of my miles having been used up on my Canada first class extravaganza, I was left with looking at alternative paid options to SA. The first option that came up was a business class fare on Iberia, via Madrid, to Johannesburg. This seemed to be very good value, but I was not so keen on IB's business class or the prospect of connecting in Madrid. Then, out of nowhere came a BA Autumn sale and I quickly bagged a return in World Traveller Plus (BA's premium economy) to Cape Town. I then added returns to Jo'burg and Durban, so it turned into 6 flights in a week LHR-CPT-JNB-CPT-DUR-CPT-LHR! The internal flights were booked on BA, they have a franchise partner called Comair which operates internal SA flights.

Planning - Accommodation

I was staying at friends in Jo'burg and Durban, so all that needed to be planned was Cape Town. This is the wrong time of year to book cheap accommodation in Cape Town, which is rapidly taking over from Durban as the holiday location of choice in SA. Eventually I decided on the Holiday Inn on Strand Street, which used to be the Cape Sun Intercontinental.