SA Elegant Adventure first review
What I hoped would be a first review of our SA Elegant Adventure has turned out to be a massive conundrum. We left yesterday on Delta from Seattle to Amsterdam to connect on KLM to Cape Town. A couple of hours into the flight I used the lavatory and noticed there is no water. A couple of hours later the Captain made an announcement that we needed to divert for an emergency landing in Detroit due to a water pressure issue. Long story short…after about 3 hours in Detroit to fix the issue we were off to Amsterdam. Unfortunately our flight to Cape Town would leave 2 hours before we were landing in Amsterdam.
On to the KLM customer service desk at Amsterdam. There are no flights they can get on on today. The earliest and basically only flight is leaving tomorrow. The only problem is that the are no flights to Cape Town. We are now going to Johannesburg and then connecting to Cape Town on British Airways, The other problem is that there is almost a 10 hour layover in Johannesburg so that will get us into Cape Town on Saturday morning, 2 days into the tour. We booked an extra pre night in Cape Town to get over jet lag.
Here we sit in our hotel room (paid for by Delta/KLM). They had a pretty good dinner buffet with wine (paid for by (Delta/KLM) waiting for the shuttle tomorrow to try this again.
I would like to give kudos to the agent at Tauck we spoke with who was very helpful and understanding.
I also received an apology email from Delta saying they will deposit 15000 miles into my Sky Miles account. This doesn’t really cut it with me.
Hopefully my wife and I can give a proper albeit abbreviated review of this tour in the near future.
No way to start a vacation. I hope it's smooth sailing after these hiccups and you get proper remuneration.
John, so sorry to hear this. I was looking forward to your report. I sincere hope when you get there that you have a wonderful time. Be sure and get some trip delay insurance back. And yes, 1500 miles is not enough.
I think John had another zero- 15,000 mi. Still not enough.
We would have been disappointed to miss Cape Town on this journey…it has such a rich history…but as long as you are there to leave for Kruger, you will love the rest of this trip! How very very frustrating! How does this major delay affect your Covid testing?
I thought of that, but John should still be In Johannesburg, so within SA within the time frame, I hope so!
Looking forward to hearing some good news from you John. I’m sure your group will treat you special when you arrive!
JohnS hi , sorry to hear this...next time look into Emirates Seattle- Dubai-Cape town. 14 h. sea,-Dubai / 9 hours to Cape
We got into Cape Town this morning Saturday at 10 AM South Africa time. We left our house on Wednesday about 9:30 AM. The longest most frustrating trip we have ever taken. Our driver transported us to the group (11 people) and took our luggage to the hotel.
We will post a review after we get back and maybe some stuff along the way if possible. There is not much free time on these tours
At least we made it to the wine paring dinner.
John, were you able to stay awake?? I can just see a face plant into the bowl of cauliflower, parsnip and truffle soup or into the vanilla mousse!
Did Delta/KLM book you a room in Jo'burg? too? How about seats- if booked in business were they able to get you business class seats on the new flights? Did you miss any pre-tour activities that you had planned on the day of arrival or the day of the Welcome Dinner?
I hope the remainder of your tour goes smoothly and that you see tons of animals!
JohnS, I think that fantastic menu will be the start of a fabulous trip!... 4 u & wife.. and every day will be an amazing one!
AlanS. Staying awake was not the easiest thing to do. Originally I thought we could just sit around the JSB airport for the 10 hour layover but then I came to my sense’s. While in the KLM lounge at AMS airport I googled some airport hotels near JSB and one almost connected to the airport had rooms for 85 Rand about $55 USD. In my complaint letter to Delta I will see about getting that reimbursed. Delta did not get us this room
We did get Business class on the rebooked flight on KLM. The flight from JSB to CAP on British airways was the European style business class with the middle seat empty. We ended up only missing the welcome reception and part of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens tour. I didn’t really care about missing that anyway. My wife may have other thoughts.
As far as animals…today we saw some baboon’s and African penguins. Tomorrow it is off to Kruger for the Safari.
So glad to hear you haven’t missed much John. When we took our Elegant Adventure years ago, Kirstenbosch gardens wasn’t included in the tour so we did it ourselves on our days before the tour began, but I’m a huge gardening and garden fan. I’ve even been to a lecture about Kirstenbosch here in nearby Delaware from someone who was the director there or some sort of important person, even bought a signed copy of the huge book she had written about it…so you get my passion!
I’m so glad you got to see the penguins, they are in such a beautiful spot.
Who is your tour director? Is it Susan or Chris by any chance. Both are excellent. If it is Susan, she is an excellent photographer. When we toured with her, she presented us all with a DVD of photos from the tour. When we all saw them, we had the same shots, but hers were incredible.
You should be able to claim your hotel stay from the Tauck insurance no problem, it’s trip interruption expenses, or maybe even from any insurance protection that your credit card may give you. Keep all receipts and see if Tauck might help you too.
British, our tour director is Deanne. She is very good and knows the area well. We have the Tauck insurance so I am not too concerned about that.
JohnS - I had Deanne as a Tour Director on my first Tauck trip, which was to the Alps in 2011. She mentioned that her first love was Africa and that she led a lot of tours there. She was great.
What about Table Mountain? Wasn't a gondola ride up there on your itinerary in the morning of Day 2? Or was that cut from the itinerary due to the fires last year?
We also saw some Ostrich on the Cape Point drive today.
As far as the Kirstenbosch Garden yesterday, when we arrived we went straight there from the airport and were able meet up with our fellow travelers and see a bit of the garden before lunch. So I am quite impressed with how everything went I don’t feel that we missed any highlights of thy tour. Today, for me the highlight on the Cape drive was the Penguins.
Tauck and the hotel also arranged for us to have the welcome dinner tonight for our ‘Dinner on your own’. So naturally after seeing Ostrich, I had to try it. It was wonderful (but too much food).
Table mountain was yesterday afternoon. We made that. It is still on the itinerary.
Did any of your group dash to one side of the gondola to get the best city and ocean views? There were a few non-Tauck people on our gondola who when boarding, rudely pushed their way to the front to claim that spot, only to be highly disappointed to find out the gondola rotated.
Everyone on our gondola were civil.
One thing to know if coming to South Africa is that you will get your hands sanitized everywhere you go. There is someone at the door everywhere who will squirt some gooy stuff on your hands.
Trust you are both safely back home. The upcoming Dec. tour now has to contend with the new as-yet-unnamed variant. Never a dull moment.
MarketArt. We came home safely yesterday. Still quite jet lagged. 36 hours travel time from when we left Zimbabwe on Tuesday. Within the next few days we hope to get a full review posted. Hopefully we have not brought any African virus home. All of our Covid tests were negative. Our tour director indicated that so far there are only 5 people signed up for the December tour.
It looks as if your tour may have been the last for a while. If anyone on the December tour was going to fly via England or Europe, their flights will be cancelled in the next couple of days. I wonder what Tauck will decide about their Southern Africa tours now these new restrictions are coming into force. It was hard enough trying to secure flights for our July tour and have time to get tested because there are so few flights available compared to pre pandemic, that’s why we had to cancel.
So looking forward to hearing about your trip.
Can’t wait to see your review. I’m scheduled for February 2022 but not hopeful at all this morning.
On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases official at the National Institutes for Health (NIH), said that U.S. health officials were in talks with their South African counterparts.
In an interview with CNN, Fauci suggested that the U.S. does not intend to impose travel restrictions imminently.
“You don’t want to say you are going to do it until you have scientific reason to do it.”
This is the latest from multiple news sources:
President Biden will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries starting Monday as a new coronavirus variant has emerged, administration officials tell CNN.
Acting on advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
Officials, who are still learning more about the variant, said the policy was implemented out of an abundance of caution given the World Health Organization has now identified this as a variant of concern.
This does not apply to American citizens and lawful permanent residents. As with all international travelers, they must still test negative prior to travel.
Reading todays paper I saw this picture. This was our exact flight. If we were 3 days later we would most likely be in this picture.
JohnS -- Glad you made it home safely. I'm looking forward to your review of the trip.
Sorry … that Tambo airport picture looks like any airport scene I have experienced.
This from 2 friends of mine......... Now , This is sad! .... do I need to say more........