The Real Deal: Book a land-only trip to Africa and receive 50 percent off your second trip (whether it's your companion's ticket or a subsequent vacation).
When: July 1-Oct. 31, 2008.
The fine print: Local transportation, sightseeing, the services of an English-speaking guide, some meals, lodging, and lodging taxes are typically included. Does not include international airfare. The starting rates apply to double or single occupancy; solo travelers will be paired with a roommate of the same sex. Trips must be booked at the same time and paid in full then; mention promo code 2338 when booking. Please see Intrepid Travel's full terms and conditions. There is also a local fee used to cover incidentals that is usually paid in cash and varies by trip; the 50 percent discount does not apply to this fee. You will probably need a visa to travel to most African countries. The U.S. Department of State lists entry requirements to help you determine the best way to get a visa. Read before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: April 30, 2008.
Contact: Intrepid Travel, 800/970-7299, .
Why it's a deal: When you book one Intrepid African adventure, you get the second for 50 percent off. So you can take your traveling companion for half off, or save the discount for another trip for yourself. The savings comes in the trip experience — after you get there, almost everything is arranged, and you'll get two trips for the price of one and a half.
Trip details: The applies to 30 trips, which start at $590 per person for a five-night trip from Johannesburg to Livingstone. Note that many of the packages include stops in Kenya, where riots broke out earlier this year after a contested election. Intrepid Travel paused trips to the area and just recently relaunched them. Read for some background information and resources.
Of the eligible itineraries, the caught our attention for its unusual, varied combination of destinations packed into about a week's time — for $1,050, plus a local fee of approximately $264. This trip normally costs $2,628 for two people, but will cost $2,103 for two with the promotion — a savings of $525.
This trip begins in Johannesburg, where you'll want to arrive the night before, as the tour departs early. As you travel through Mpumalanga, you'll make short stops to take in the view along the way, including at Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world, and an animal orphanage. On the second day, you'll explore Kruger National Park, where you could see the Big Five: elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, and buffalo.
The following two days star Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The city reveals both African and Portuguese influences, and you can savor the cuisine, nightlife, markets, and bars. Then it's on to Swaziland's Mlilwane National Park where you'll set up camp for one night and sleep near antelope and zebras. As you near the end of your trip, you'll go through KwaZulu-Natal, the South African heartland of the Zulu, with a stop for the night in St. Lucia. The next morning brings a drive through Hluhluwe Game Reserve, famous for its large rhino population.
The trip ends in seaside Durban, where you can appreciate the beautiful coast and sunny beaches. You can always extend your stay to see Cape Town or South Africa's wine areas, either by booking independently or by adding an extension through Intrepid Travel; see their for options and more information.
The Africa packages do not include airfare. A recent Kayak search produced a multicity, round-trip flight (New York City to Johannesburg, Durban to New York City) for $1,776 in mid-July on South African Airlines. The flight out has one stop in Dakar, Senegal, while the return flight goes from Durban through Johannesburg and Dakar (two stops) before arriving back in the U.S.