If you are heading to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia or Mauritius, Avios are your best friend! British Airway’s subsidiary, Comair has a good network in the region.
Use GC Mapper to find out the mileage on each route.
Use the Avios Award Chart to see how many Avios for each segment. In the example above, you can see that Jo-burg to Durban, Port Elizabeth, Victoria Falls and Harare are in the 1st zone and cost 4500 Avios. Jo-burg to Windhoek or Cape Town cost 7500 Avios and Mauritius costs 10,000 Avios. All flights are easily booked online.
The seaside town of Port Elizabeth was the ideal gateway since our first destination was 3 hours east and our planned day-trip to Birds of Eden was around 2 hours to the west going towards Cape Town. Port Elizabeth is easy to get around and the roads are well-marked. The Radisson Blu Hotel is in the seaside suburb of Summerstrand. Just follow the signs, stay as close to the sea as possible when roads diverge and you can’t miss it!
This hotel is a bargain for those who have the Club Carlson Visa, only 38k points for 2 nights!
Like I said, you can’t miss it!
Nice spacious lobby
They have one of those annoying “open” bathrooms but at least there is a shade for those who prefer privacy. I must say I would have preferred the bathroom be completely enclosed, I’m not a fan of those open bathrooms. Beds are comfy with a nice assortment of pillows.
There’s a tv and work desk with a view of the sea. Internet connection was pretty good. There is also secure free parking. Overall, this hotel was a good option for us as we used our points. If we didn’t have points, we probably would have spent the night in a town closer to Birds of Eden to save a long drive but we had to spend at least one night in Port Elizabeth any way to catch an early flight to JNB. The breakfast was not included for a points stay and the restaurant didn’t have anything of interest so we went the cheapie route and bought food at the supermarket next door.
There is a lot of confusion about the classification of Cape Parrots. In the past, there were 3 subspecies: Poicephalus robustus robusts (Brown-headed Cape Parrots), Poicephalus robustus suahelicus and Poicephalus robustus fuscicollis (Grey-headed Cape Parrots). Cape Parrots have now been reclassified so the Brown-headed Cape Parrots are in their own species now – Poicephalus robustus and the two Grey-headed Cape Parrots are now in their own species divided into Poicephalus fusicollis suahelicus (the Grey-headed Cape Parrots in the Limpopo region) and Poicephalus fusicollis fusicollus (Grey headed/Brown-necked parrots found in West Africa. If all this is confusing, there is a good graph on Thor’s Cape Parrot page.
In this post, I will be blogging about my experience with Poicephalus robustus, the Brown-headed Cape Parrots. The distribution map below is extracted from Birdlife and I have indicated in blue the approximate range of these birds. They breed in the Hogsback area and fly down to King William’s Town most days to forage as fruit trees are plentiful.