This info was based on a quick search and I was a bit surprised about the routing through Jo'burg on the return and long layover in ADD. Unlike the LAX routing, the Ethiopian website routing for my personal "when-if" for B/SA/Z starts in Dulles (IAD). The return flight from CPT makes a quick stop for gas (no deplane?) at GBE (Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Botswana) and has only a 2+45 layover in ADD. It totally avoids Jo'burg in both directions which is a good thing from everything I have heard (though they are different, Schiphol and Frankfort have their own set of issues). I'm not sure why ET's Capetown to LAX return routing stops at Jo'burg.
The source of my info was ET's website, so it might be possible to get my return routing (CPT-GBE to ADD) then ADD - (DUB) - LAX. When we stopped for gas in Dublin it was early morning and still dark. We didn't even pull up to the terminal and were airborne again in about an hour. Many folks slept right through it.
Anyway, as you say I was just making the point there are options. But, without knowing what is important to Roz47, it is hard to get specific. Since my wife is not a big fan of flying, I normally look for (in this order): comfort- business class/full lay flat seats and shortest enroute times (with fewest/shortest layovers), then cost. Cost is not a big concern yet- at least not until my kids' inheritance runs out : )
Wow Alan, that makes things very complicated. I would not want to leave Johannesburg airport to go to an hotel. I would not want to stay around Johannesburg longer than I had to, it's nice but some people have mentioned being stuck in elevators with shady people, and I did not feel too safe there either. All that plane changing means more chance of lost luggage. Our luggage arrived 24 hours late in Tanzania and that was with only one plane change. Nairobi airport, I don't like it. But great to give roz47 lots of ideas and options.