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We also have dedicated pages for Johannesburg to New York, Cape Town to New York and Durban to New York flights. The only direct flight is with SAA from Johannesburg to New York, a beast a flight, taking 18 hours. There are numerous 1-stop flight options with the likes of Emirates, Etihad, British Airways and Turkish Airlines.
28 May 2013. Johannesburg to New York flights from R8556*, Cape Town to New York from R8903*
*Very limited. The longer the time since the airfare was published, the greater the chance that it has changed.
It was a dream of my husband and I to go to New England in the fall and then on to New York. Finally in 2012 we were fortunate enough to be able to do so, not realising that we would be starting our stay in New York on the day Hurricane Sandy arrived. As we had not been via Dubai before we decided to fly Emirates from Johannesburg. Fortunately for us, Emirates changed our flights which required a sleep over in Dubai on our return trip – but more about that later!
We arrived at JFK on 15 October 2012 and our plan was to collect our booked car-hire and start the New England part of our trip first as the “fall” season was already underway and we wanted to see as much as we could. The leaves start changing furthest north first (and higher altitudes first) and move south so we wanted to get to north Vermont as soon as we could. We spent our first night in Danbury in Connecticut, moved up through Massachusetts and The Berkshires, through New Hampshire and into Vermont. We must have said “Ah isn’t that beautiful” and “Wow, look at that” about a million times – the colours of the leaves were just incredible and it was more incredible than we had imagined.
It was also pumpkin season so many homes and shops had decorated their places with pumpkins and ghosts in preparation for Halloween. In Vermont we went to Ben and Jerry’s Ice-cream parlour and to Stowe – a world famous ski resort and also the home of the Von Trapp family after they had escaped from Austria (remember Sound of Music?).
The sights were truly incredible and we visited so many antique shops and General Stores with all sorts of lovely things to buy and eat. (We ate far too much as usual)!
After Vermont we travelled again through New Hampshire, this time West through the White Mountains (where the views and sights were absolutely beautiful and endless) and we stayed for 3 days in a little cottage in Conway called Sunny Brook cottages. It was so peaceful here and a great place to spend 3 nights to get our breath back for the second half of our trip.
After Conway we made our way along the coast to Boston – it was strange to be in a big city again but we didn’t want to miss Boston – we went to Cheers pub for a pub lunch and had a good look around before moving on to Cape Cod and another one of my dreams - to visit Martha’s Vineyard!
By now the talk of Hurricane Sandy was becoming more frequent (and sometimes worrying) and people were saying to us that we should consider not going to New York as we were planning to spend 3 nights in New York starting from 29 October. We do love the Americans but we do notice that they can sometimes exaggerate so we were not planning to change our trip at all.
Cape Cod was great – we went all the way to Provincetown which is at the tip of Cape Cod and this was a really interesting place. Even though winter was approaching, the place was packed (I think travelling there in summer must be quite unpleasant as the place is small with only 1 road going in and out and the traffic would be a nightmare in summer).
We went to Martha’s Vineyard on a beautiful day and took a bus tour around the island. Martha’s Vineyard was much bigger than I was expecting but my expectations were met all the way – we saw the Onassis compound, Billy Joel’s house, James Taylor’s house and the shop that was once owned by Carly Simon and many other great sites. We didn’t stay on the island but we stayed for 2 nights at Anchor Inn, Hyannis (where the Kennedy’s have a house as well) which was near a harbour and yacht basin and from our balcony we watched the sky get darker and the boat owners bringing their boats to shore in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. We were becoming slightly uneasy but still decided to go ahead with our plans.
By now the news was saying that the storm would arrive in New York on the afternoon of Monday 29 October – the exact day that we were planning to arrive in New York City. We decided to leave Hyannis as early as possible as it was about a 5 hour trip into New York City. The hotel kindly made our breakfast for us a little earlier so that we could be on our way before 7 in the morning.
Our plan was to drop our hired car off at JFK and then make our way into New York by taxi. On our drive into New York the sky was becoming increasingly darker and the wind was gaining speed and the closer we got to New York the news on the radio was requesting “where possible, only emergency vehicles to be on the road”. As we had arranged to hand our hired car in on the 29th October, we felt that it was justified us being on the road.
The closer we got to New York the more urgent and scary the news on the radio became. They were warning that they would close all the bridges leading onto Manhattan at any time if necessary and there were times that we were the only ones on the road. We seriously worried that we had under-estimated the whole thing.
I called National Car Hire to find out if they were open and they said they would be open all day. Our plan was to drop the car off, catch the air-train to one of the terminals and catch a taxi from there into New York. We finally arrived, safe and sound at JFK with no incidents except for the sky becoming darker and darker and the wind picking up. We were the only people returning a hired-car and then we discovered that the air-train wasn’t working as the airport had been closed in anticipation of the storm. Fortunately the guy at National called a cab for us and he took us into New York. It was quite an interesting ride and chat with the cab driver and he said that he was one of the few cabs still working. The roads were eerily quiet and New York city was quite empty. However, we arrived at our Hotel on 45 West safe and sound and booked in. Once we had booked in and had a cup of tea, we immediately headed for the streets to see what was going on. Everything was shut, except for a few gift shops that were open, and there were very few people on the streets.
We spent the evening at the hotel and went to sleep that night not knowing what we would wake up to. When we woke the next morning we switched on the TV and it was quite scary to see the damage that Hurricane Sandy had caused. We were very fortunate in that the storm did not do much damage to the Time Square area where we were – except for the “hanging crane”. All electricity was out from 39th street down (we were on 45th so we had electricity).
After breakfast we decided to go and walk around the streets of New York and to try and find the “hanging crane”. It was actually incredible to be in New York at this time. Even though we did not get to go to Memorial Park at Ground Zero because everything was closed, we felt that it was quite “special” being in New York at this time as not many people get the opportunity to see New York “empty” (see pics!) Central Park was closed, Broadway was “closed to traffic”. The “hanging crane” was unbelievable and we got some good pictures of that too. On the Wednesday we walked all the way down to Battery Park and across Brooklyn Bridge (we must have walked about 12kms) and we saw quite a bit of storm damage. On the Monday there was hardly a soul in New York and by Tuesday late morning and early afternoon people starting coming back.
Our flight was due to fly out on Thursday night at 23h00 and we were expecting there to be delays as the airport was shut on Monday, Tuesday and most of Wednesday. By late Wednesday it seemed that the flights were again taking off and we were again very fortunate in that our flight left on time on the scheduled day.
We then flew to Dubai for the last stopover before heading home. As Emirates had made the change to our flight they paid for the hotel accommodation and arranged the visa for this stay. (how could one refuse this offer!!) On arrival at our hotel (Millenium Copthorne) they were offering a 2-hour night tour from 22h00 at a very good rate so we immediately took advantage of this offer and were able to see some of the main sights in Dubai eg. Burj al Arab hotel, Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world). The wealth of the place is very evident, starting at the airport. We also got some great shots from the plane – although the air was hazy!
Overall we had a unique and exciting trip and we saw so many great things from the changing leaves in New England to the storm in New York to the sites and opulence of Dubai. We are hoping to go back to New York some day to see the things we missed on this trip but our experience was unforgettable!