Luxury for Less
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JANUARY: SOUTH AFRICA
Lesson to Travel By: If you don't mind a little heat, summer can mean good deals.
The Deal: Who isn't ready for a shot of sun after the post-holiday doldrums? Since summertime positively sizzles in South Africa, safari rates and airfares are slashed by up to 40 percent.
The Luxury Essentials: Head to CC Africa's Phinda Private Game Reserve, in the KwaZulu–Natal region, where you can glimpse the Big Five (yes, they're all visible this time of year) by foot, canoe, and vehicle. During January, games drives start earlier so that guests can sit out the midday heat. Though it can be a bit more difficult to see wildlife in the lush summer vegetation, this is your best chance of seeing the cute babies. Round out your trip with a few days in Cape Town (view slideshow), where the Atlantic coast is refreshingly cool, thanks to currents from Antarctica.
Artful Advice: Avoid Cape Town in the first half of the month, when schoolkids are still on break and families crowd the beaches. It's high season in the city this month, so choose your accommodation wisely: Rates at the famous Mount Nelson Hotel start at $745, but you can find a room just around the corner at the Georgian-era Cape Cadogan for about a third of that.
A Fair Fare: You can fly Delta Airlines from Chicago to Johannesburg for $1,500; the same flight would cost you $2,100 in July.
Phinda Private Game Reserve
Tel: 888 882 3742 (toll-free)
Tel: 27 11 809 4314
From $325 per person, including meals, alcohol, and excursions
Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel
Tel: 27 21 480 8080
Doubles from $225