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Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

New York City, New...
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Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

Hi everyone,

My wife and I are looking to go on this trip : virgin-vacations.com/africa-travel/south-afr… . Pound for pound this looks like a fantastic value and well planned itinerary. However, I can't find any reviews on this package anywhere. The only person who recommended it was a lady that works at virgin vacations who said it was the best trip she's been on. I appreciated her feedback but I'm sure she had to sell it a bit to me.

Has anyone been on this trip? How are the group sizes? Were you able to swim at Victoria falls? Any help is greatly appreciated.

-Eric

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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8,467 posts
58 reviews
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1. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

When I looked at the link you included in your question - it was obvious that this is not a Virgin Tour. Believe it or not, I simply copied all the hotels and pasted that into the Google box - and this came up:

gate1travel.com/africa-travel/south-africa-t…

Gate1 is an old-school operator of packaged tours and this is a good example. You see lots of places, have an Escort/Guide, stay in pretty good hotels. It is a good value, if indeed all the necessary flights around southern Africa are included. I am suspicious that this trip may actually be operated by Thompsons Tours - though I can't find it on their web site. But if you Google:

14 Day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls - you will see how many tour companies are selling this trip. And none of them actually runs it.

The one glaring shortcoming would be the "safari" experiences. A morning drive-thru at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in your bus and a day at Kruger in one of the big (really big) trucks.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

Thanks for the post!

My wife found that tour from gate1 about an hour after my original post. I was a little surprised, but expected considering this would be my first time on a trip like this.

Some more information I left out: the lady at virgin who I talked to said there was no place for me to look up reviews when I asked. I wouldn't say that's anything too alarming, but it is 2012 and I can find reviews on #2 pencils so thought it was a little odd.

My budget is around $11k and this trip really fit well.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a multi city trip such as the one we are looking at?

We are expecting a proposal from a highly recommended travel agency tomorrow so ill post updates.

Thanks for the time!

Atlanta, Georgia
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7 posts
11 reviews
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3. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

Hi Eric! What did you find out? My boyfriend and I were looking at the same trip, but we also didn't see any reviews. HELP!!!! We don't want to spend that kind of money and have it fall flat.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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2 posts
22 reviews
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4. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

Hi Eric, I was also looking into this Trip for out summer Vacation, did you end up taking it? Does anybody has any information on this?

Thanks for your help, E

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

Hey- we didn't end up booking. The lack if reviews scared me off. Ended up planning a trip to Europe next month instead.

When the time is right, I'll go ahead and do the safari right. Small group style.

Edited: 07 May 2013, 20:16
Johannesburg, South...
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6. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

Hi Eric,

Good call. Although we would have loved to host you in South Africa and show off our beautiful country, I think you have made the correct decision. You definitely going to want to have a great safari experience if your travelling all the way to SA and by the sound of it the Virgin Vacations package will not give you that.

In my opinion it is better to speak to an operator who can tailor your whole trip according to your requirements and budget, and give you the best experience for your buck.

Enjoy your European vacation, and hope you will get to experience South Africa really soon.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

Los Angeles...
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7. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

Hello -- Sorry to hear you ended up not booking. I just returned from this trip (yes, it is handled by Gate1). I was very impressed and my few complaints were really nitpicky and would apply to any group tour. Overall, the trip was an excellent value. (And one correction from a prior post -- You are in a 10 person open jeep, not a bus, in Kruger. We did two game drives in Kruger and saw the "big five" and more). I am happy to answer any questions anyone has about this Gate1 trip...

Dallas, Texas
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8. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

Hey, my husband and I are looking up at the Virgin Tours aka Gate1 and since we have no reviews about this tour, we are struggling to go ahead with it. Would really appreciate if you could share your experience as well as any dissatisfactions you encountered on this trip. Thanks!

-Sophie

CA
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5 posts
1 review
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9. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

How big of group did you travel with on your Gate 1 tour? Do you travel around in a large tour bus? Did you have any in country flights and if so was the price included in your tour cost? Did you stay in a nice safari lodge in the Kruger?

Thank you!

Brenda

10. Re: Virgin vacations - South Africa w Victoria falls. Anyone?

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