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Trip Report - Joburg, Singita, Cape Town and Victoria Falls

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Despite my problems in Zimbabwe (particulary Matetsi Game Lodge), I had a wonderful vacation. Cape Town is absolutely beautiful and Singita was a wonderful experience.
Day 1 - Joburg overnight at the Rosebank Hotel, a nice four star hotel located a block away from the Grace Hotel.
Day 2 and 3 - Singita Private Game Reserve. Had too many close encounters with 4 of the big 5 (excluding Buffalo) to count. Our ranger was Neil and he was not only knowledgable but also very personable and fun to be around. Singita, unlike some other game reserves, allows their rangers to go offroad to follow the game allowing very intimate encounters that would have otherwise been missed. The food was good but not excellent. The service was good but not excellent. Although pleased enough with Singita to definitely return in the future, it did not seem to warrant the perfect 100 score that Conde Nast Traveler saw fit to merit, making it their number 1 vacation destination in the world.
Days 4, 5, 6 and 7 - Cape Town at the Table Bay Hotel. I had no regrets over staying at the Table Bay. While the Cape Grace was a very beautiful hotel, I thought that the Table Bay was equally beautiful. Two of my days were spent on tours and two of my days were spent looking at real estate as realtor after realtor zipped my wife and I around looking at properties in various parts of the City. Real Estate is amazingle inexpensive for an American or Western European. The Rand is down 45% against the dollar in the last year alone. We finally settled on a 17,000 sf plot of land in a gated community in Hout Bay. A beautiful 5,000 sf house was for sale next door for $3.5 Million ZAR (about $303,000 USD). I compare Hout Bay to Manhattan Beach, CA. Not as fancy as Newport Beach or Malibu but still very upmarket but with a real sense of community.
Days 9 - 12 Victoria Falls. Don't really want to talk about it. Matetsi is to be avoided. Only highlight was a great ranger (Casper) who didn't even have the benefit of a tracker for our entire stay. Got stuck for an extra day after Matetsi falsely told me they reconfirmed my flight. Flight had been discontinued two months earlier but didn't learn of it until I arrived at airport. Embarrassed and wanting to keep me from other guests, Matetsi put my wife and I up for free at the Victoria Falls Hotel, a welcome escape from Matetsi. Zimbabwe is a mess right now so if you truly must see the Falls, I suggest no more than two nights at the Victoria Falls Hotel. The Kingdom Hotel is a very unattractive, plastic-like hotel. I had lunch there and used the internet one day and I would never want to stay there.
Days 13 - 15 Cape Town. This time at the Mount Nelson, a very nice but older hotel. Nice to be away from the waterfront and explore the City Bowl a bit. Spent time in areas with real Capetonians and never felt uncomfortable.
All in all a very nice trip. Thinking of returning later in the year for about 8 nights in Cape Town only.

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