Destination: South Africa: Cape Town
The most obvious option is to fly to Johannesburg from New York or Washington, D.C., on South African Airways, then take a connecting flight to Cape Town. It’s not an option I like, however, because while SAA is a very good airline, the flight takes more than seventeen hours, with a stop in Dakar eight hours into the trip (this comes at about 3 a.m., just when you might be in a deep sleep, and although you don’t have to debark, it’s extremely disruptive). My suggestion is to take the red-eye to London, stay overnight there, then fly directly to Cape Town (which you can do with either Virgin Atlantic or British Airways) the next evening. (You could, of course, forgo the overnight stay, but then you have two consecutive nights on a plane.) KLM also flies to Cape Town (and partners with Northwest Airlines in the U.S.), so going via Amsterdam is another possibility. And the time difference between Europe and South Africa—London is five hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time, Cape Town is six—is minimal, so there is the added advantage of a more gentle acclimatization in taking this route.
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