In many ways, Port Elizabeth is a great place to end off your Garden Route self-drive holiday. Lying in the Eastern Cape province, it’s the place where the Western Cape’s lush forests and plantations start giving way to burnt orange aloes and the thicket bush that is the perfect terrain for kudu and one of the Eastern Cape’s main attractions: elephants. Addo Elephant National Park lies less than hour from PE – as it’s known to locals – and is ideal for first-time safari goers who are looking for a completely safe, malaria-free, family-friendly destination.
My first evening on Botswana’s Chobe River was the stuff of dreams. I sat on the roof of a game drive vehicle and watched in open-mouthed wonder as herd after herd of elephants poured out of the surrounding forest and down to the river to drink. Many younger ones broke into a run, their trunks and ears flapping in excitement; the older ones usually managed to keep to a dignified pace – at least until the last few yards. The countless trampling feet sent dust billowing into the air, turning the setting sun into a huge, hanging orb of fire.
There are travel deals and then there are travel deals. We know it can be tricky to recognise the genuinely good deals from the specials that make big promises but don’t deliver real savings. Always be wary of deals that seem too good to be true – in our experience, they usually are. On an African safari, you get what you pay for, which doesn’t mean there are no great travel deals to be had. It’s always important to know exactly what is and isn’t included in an all-inclusive safari quote. You should receive a clear list of exclusions and a current estimate of what those exclusions may cost you. If you don’t know what is excluded, you can’t compare apples with apples if you shop around.