The Real Deal: International round-trip airfare and regional travel, five nights' accommodations, a rental car, a day of sightseeing, and some meals, from $1,999 per person — plus taxes and surcharges of about $169.
When: Depart Oct. 7-15, 2007 [and Jan 7-15, 2008]; add $100 for Oct. 16-31 [and Jan 16-31, 2008]; $200 for Nov. 1-30, Dec 1-6; $300 for Oct. 1-6. Additional dates available.
Gateways: D.C., New York City; add $180 for Atlanta, Baltimore; $200 for Chicago, Miami; $290 for L.A., San Francisco.
The fine print: International airfare, fuel surcharges, lodging taxes, transfers, breakfast daily, one lunch, and a full-day farm drive are included. Additional airport taxes total about $169 per person. A manual transmission rental car with insurance and unlimited mileage from Hertz is included. Add $79 for automatic transmission. Additional rental-car fees add about $79 per package. Based on double occupancy; single supplement $599. Visas are not required for U.S. citizens. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Foreign Independent Tours, 800/248-3487, fittours.com.
Why it's a deal: A recent search on kayak.com for travel to Cape Town (with a return flight from George) in mid-October yielded lowest round-trip fares of $1,440 from D.C., and $1,524 from New York City, each on South African Airways and with two stops. In comparison, for about $550 more, this package includes the round-trip airfare as well as five nights' accommodations, a rental car, sightseeing, and some meals.
Trip details: The Journey Into Yesterday package includes round-trip airfare to Cape Town (a 16-hour flight from New York City) on South African Airways, a Star Alliance member, and five nights' accommodations.
You'll be met by a friendly guide at your arrival at the airport, and will be handed a travel guide for your self-guided tour. You'll pick up your Hertz rental car and head north, passing the Huguenot Tunnel (nearly two-and-a-half miles long) through the Groot Karoo (the Great Karoo), the vast scrub plains that lie between Cape Town and Johannesburg. You'll soon arrive in a land of plantations and vineyards and stop at Matjiesfontein, a former imperial outpost with a transport museum and an old post office that offers a taste of pioneer life. Stay at the 58-room Lord Milner Hotel.
The next day, you'll hit the road for Prince Albert, a town featuring a distillery, a regional-history museum, and an hour-long ghost-walk tour. Consider taking a hike through the gorgeous mountain passes, a scenic drive up the Swartberg Pass, or a tour of the Cango Caves. You'll spend two nights at a bed-and-breakfast called The Karoo Lodge.
For the final part of the trip, you'll explore the De Rust area of the country. You'll head to farm accommodations in the Swartberg mountain range, enjoying a traditional Afrikaans meal and sleeping in a converted Voortrekker (pioneer) ox wagon (with a private bathroom and air-conditioning) at the Die Gat Guest House, for a two-night stay.
During this part of the trip, you'll have a five-hour game drive through the landscape with a lunchtime braai (barbecue). From De Rust, you'll take an outbound flight from George rather than double back to Cape Town.
Note that the weather in Cape Town tends to be balmy and mild year-round.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.