14 Days in South Africa

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May 27th, 2003, 05:12 PM
  #1
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14 Days in South Africa

Africa Experts, Need your help on a trip that my wife and I are planning in late Sept. Will arrive in SA Sep 21 and will depart Oct 4. 14 Days.

Here is the itinerary so far:

We would like to spend approx. 5+ Days in Cape Town area. Would like to see Victoria Falls (and possibly stay in Zambia - The River Club or Tongabezi) and go rafting on the Zambezi (3 Days).

The dilemma or opportunity if you put a positive spin on it, is where to do the safari?

If you have approx. 5 days for a safari experience, should we choose Botswana, SA, or Zambia, or Zimbabwe. The reason I ask, is that since we are going to be in the Vic Falls vicinity, could we combine a stay a safari lodge close by versus doing a safari in SA.

A couple of other notes - both of us are active (28 and 31), don't want to stay in places that are too, too stuffy, but also don't mind splurging for a few nights somewhere special (e.g safari). Also, budget is around $5,500 US for both of us (not including international flights). We also don't mind organized tours but don't want to be on one for a full 14 days. We would be willing to hire a car for some of the trip.

Also want to see the big game!

Thanks for help. Please provide as much information as possible on your experiences.
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May 28th, 2003, 07:29 AM
  #2
 
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I would recommend a safari in Botswana (a combination of Chobe and the Okavango Delta). You may be able to overland from Vic Falls to Maun through Chobe and the delta, and you'd see a lot during five days, but its not the type of trip for a self-drive since you'd need a 4WD and you'd most likely get very lost several times.

If you're keen on a self-drive, I think you can do that in Hwange (Zimbabwe) (unlike Chobe and Okavango, I haven't been to Hwange but I've looked into it). Its a short drive from Vic Falls and you can combine a couple of days self-drive with a few days at one of the Wilderness high end lodges.

I wouldn't advise flying back to Kruger and the private reserves since the game viewing is better, in my opinion, in Botswana.
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May 28th, 2003, 09:31 AM
  #3
 
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I think that this is definitely worth a look:


Author: Roccco
Date: 03/28/2003, 08:05 pm
Message: (My apologies for those frequenting North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and Western Africa) Start your own thread!




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Author: Roccco
Date: 03/28/2003, 08:11 pm
Message: Tsala Treetop Lodge, a great looking lodge just outside of Plettenberg Bay and along the Garden Route is currently offering 4 nights for the price of 3.

The price is 3,560 ZAR (at this date about $450 USD) per night for 3 nights with the 4th night free.

The special is offered right on their website: www.tsala.com

The specific location to view the special is: www.tsala.com/special.htm

As the travel agent I am working with described perfectly, "Tsala is like Singita without the animals."

Tsala is owned by the same owners as Hunters Country House and Gorah Elephant Camp, both very highly esteemed places. It is a proud member of the Relais & Chateaux chain (as is Singita and a couple other top notch places in South Africa).

I was perfectly content to save the Garden Route for a future trip until I saw Tsala Treetop after Selwyn's recommendation and now I feel like my trip would not be complete without it!



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Author: Roccco
Date: 03/28/2003, 08:13 pm
Message: By the way, Southern Africa, as I understand it includes:

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.



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Author: Roccco
Date: 03/28/2003, 08:56 pm
Message: Another great deal and one that I was able to take advantage of last year:

Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. Last minute special:

Last Minute Special
For a minimum of 3 nights (cannot be booked more than 14 days in advance):

? Superior Room at R2550.00 (bed & breakfast) - Regular Rate is 4,660 ZAR

? Luxury Room at R2900.00 (bed & breakfast) - Regular Rate is 5,360 ZAR

? Junior Suite at R3300.00 (bed & breakfast) - Regular Rate is 6,990 ZAR

Subject to availability.

_______________________________________

The website is:

www.mountnelsonhotel.orient-express.com/

The Mount Nelson seems like a big enough hotel that if you are going anytime but in December or January that you will have an excellent chance to book a room at last minute rates.

Of course, the Mount Nelson is still expensive at last minute rates, but I really liked it. Where else can you enjoy an elegant high tea in Africa???



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Author: LizFrazier
Date: 03/29/2003, 08:13 pm
Message: Just in case this is the thread for special deals. I just got an email from Africam (www.africam.com) and they are running some specials on lodging in Africa. Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Uganda, just about all of it. Not all camps, but this just may sway some people to plan now.
Some of the periods end this month, some the end of June, at least one goes till December end.
Go to: http://www.africam.com/members/beds.jsp?and check it out if you're interested. You may need to register first, but its free.
We have used this site for a few years to view livecams in different parts of South Africa.
These rates seem good. I've been following Kanana because they have a new Heronry there I haven't seen. Can't go now, but at least I found another site for deals. It also included Tsala Tree Tops. How's that for being timely, Rocco?
Good luck if you can use it. Liz



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Author: Roccco
Date: 03/29/2003, 09:10 pm
Message: Liz,

Thanks for the link. Unfortunately the deal on Tsala expires a couple weeks before I will arrive.

Unless it is a typo, there are some great rates such as Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge for 3,750 ZAR per room per night (not per person per night sharing) through 10/31/03. That is less than $500 USD per night. For anybody that only has three nights or so for safari from Cape Town or Joburg, that is a great opportunity for a first class game lodge.

I am getting so close to my trip that I am considering having my agent just leaving a 4 night gap open at the end of my trip and I will get better bargains than he ever would.

I am still looking for the right place for a 2 night stay to combine with a 2 night stay at Phantom Forest or Tsala Treetop.




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Author: Roccco
Date: 04/08/2003, 02:18 am
Message: Luxury Link right now has a variety of South African packages, including a 9 night Cape Town/Garden Route package, a 4 night Ngala Private Game Lodge package, and a 10 night Joburg/Botswana/Cape Town package.

These packages include only the best hotels including The Mount Nelson Hotels, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, Marine Hermanus Hotel, Westcliff Hotel, Michelangelo Hotel and The Plettenberg Hotel.

For example, the 10 night South Africa/Botswana package that includes 2 nights at The Westcliff Hotel, 4 nights in two separate Orient-Express game lodges in Botswana and 4 nights in Cape Town have been going for around $3,500 USD. This trip used to have a reserve price of $3,750 and I was in email correspondence with someone that paid $5,000 USD for it and loved the trip. I, myself, bid as high as $3,500 but that was when it still had a reserve.

The 4 nights at The Mount Nelson Hotel and the 2 nights at The Westcliff, both in Junior Suites, would cost $3,000 USD before even including the 4 nights in Botswana.

There is also a 6 night Tanzanian package on Luxury Link that includes 2 nights each at three separate lodges located in Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti.

So far, I have purchased two separate packages on Luxury Link. One was a 4 night stay at The Twelve Apostles Hotel, a 5* hotel in Camps Bay, Cape Town, in a seafacing luxury room. These rooms go for over $400 USD per night but I got my package for less than $600 USD for the four night stay.

My other package was a four night stay at The Michelangelo Hotel in Joburg for a four night stay in a Junior Suite, including airport transfers, breakfast daily and dinner one night. This package would have cost me over $1,200 USD but I got it for $600. As I found out after the fact, 4 nights in Joburg is just too long. I ended up shortening my stay to two nights but The Michelangelo was gracious enough to honor my request for an upgrade to a Premier 1-Bedroom Suite with free pay per view movies and internet access. This would have cost me around $800 USD, so I still made out okay.

I may be going to Vancouver, BC, Canada, next month in order not to waste some airline tix that expire in early July that I didn't use last year. Luxury Link also has great packages to Vancouver and other places all over the world, almost entirely in 4* and 5* hotels and lodges.



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Author: Roccco
Date: 04/09/2003, 12:21 am
Message: Wish this one would have been available before I bought my 4 night stay at The Twelve Apostles hotel:

http://www.sa-venues.com/accomodatio...ial_offers.htm

"Cape Migration package"

R 8,700 (gross) for four nights, two people sharing a luxury room at the boutique hotel, Cape Grace on Cape Town?s Waterfront: Valid 1 May - 31 August 2003

Package includes:

Four night stay
Full English and Continental Buffet breakfast
Complimentary head and shoulder massage on arrival
To ensure our guests are constantly surprised by our high levels of personalised service, the following little indulgences are included:
Freshly made tea and coffee delivered to your room in the morning
Cleaning and servicing your room at a time that is convenient for you
Complimentary luxury transfer from the hotel to the city centre
Wine tasting and an orientation to the Cape at 18h00 every evening - an informal and relaxing time to taste a varied selection of Cape wines, while gaining an insight into the diverse and rich history and culture of the Western Cape of South Africa

Stay 4 nights for the price of 3 at The Cape Grace Hotel.

It works out to about $275USD per night or about a $100 USD per night savings.



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Author: DE
Date: 04/09/2003, 01:53 am
Message: Hi Rocco,

Those are some great savings. We are also confirmed now for our entire trip, air flights as well so no further changes will be made. Just wondering, when you have booked through Luxury Link are there any restrictions as to when you can travel or can these trips be taken whenever it is convenient for one to go. I am definitely considering using them for future vacations, but like the flexability of going when we choose to. I am amazed at some of the pricings and they always seem to be for upscale places and rooms, etc. Even saw some great deals including business class airfare. DE



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Author: Roccco
Date: 04/09/2003, 07:48 am
Message: DE,

My understanding about Luxury Link is that as long as the hotel/airline has availability, then you may book it. I don't think they just set aside a couple rooms or airline seats.

The thing I really like about Luxury Link is that their hotels are mostly 5* hotels, unlike the only other worthwhile auction website I have seen, www.skyauction.com. Skyauction.com has good prices on air sometimes but their hotels are not that great.

I did get a great 15 night package to China a couple years ago on Skyauction. It included all my air from Los Angeles, 5 nights in Beijing, 5 nights in Shanghai, 5 nights in Hong Kong, all breakfasts, about 9 full day tours (along with 9 lunches) and even a couple dinners. The accomodations were 3.5* - 4* hotels. The total price was only $1,200 USD per person!!! There were about 25 people on our 15 night tour, entirely North Americans whom had also bought their trip on Skyauction. Some had bought for below $1,000 USD per person. The tour company was Pacific Delights and had we bought the same trip on Pacific Delights website, it would have been about $500 USD per person more.

Skyauction has great packages to China and Thailand that can be had for a bargain. Definitely worth a look if you are considering Asia anytime soon.



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Author: DE
Date: 04/10/2003, 12:31 am
Message: Hi Rocco,

Thanks for the scoop on Skyauction for the Orient. You obviously got an amazing deal. I have been to Beijing about 5 years ago and enjoyed my visit, especially the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. Stayed at the China World Hotel (5 star property) which was a very good hotel and conveniently located. I hope to travel there again and would like to see Shanghai next time as I've heard it is an interesting city with the old European influence and now the addition of the very modern architecture. I will definitely check out that site to see what they offer for pricings. I agree that Luxury Link has great appeal for us because of its 5 star accommodations and the pricings I have looked at can't be beat. Had we seriously looked into this resource before planning and booking our trip to Africa, I know that we would have saved quite a lot. Thanks again for the tip. DE



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Author: pattysuericia
Date: 04/10/2003, 03:06 am
Message: Dear De,

Shanghai is supposed to be fantastic-my girlfriends' nephew goes to school there.



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Author: Roccco
Date: 04/13/2003, 05:32 am
Message: Right now www.africam.com is offering a great rate for the Lanzerac Manor in the Cape Winelands of only 919 ZAR per room per night.

Hopefully this is NOT another typo error as they had for their rate of 4000 ZAR per room per night for the Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge.

919 ZAR (about $120 USD) per room per night does seem VERY LOW for the Lanzerac Manor, one of the most expensive places in the Cape Winelands.

I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that my request for booking goes through.

That is the only worthwhile special I found currently listed on Africam (although about 25 more specials appear...I just didn't think the rates were that great for any except for Lanzerac Manor).



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Author: Roccco
Date: 04/15/2003, 09:57 pm
Message: For anybody visiting Cape Town this year, there is an excellent 4 night package at www.luxurylink.com at the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay, Cape Town.

It includes 4 nights in a luxury seafacing room, breakfast daily, afternoon tea one day and dinner one night.

The same room would sell for about $350 USD per night and likely wouldn't include breakfast and the other amenities.

I bought this same package for $555 USD a couple months ago and it is currently at $532 USD. The bid closes tomorrow and is an excellent bargain considering the prices for 5* hotels in Cape Town.



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Author: Filipa
Date: 04/16/2003, 04:08 am
Message: But remember that Twelve Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay, are being rebuild...as I read in WEB.

Filipa



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Author: Roccco
Date: 05/27/2003, 03:55 am
Message: I received this email and thought it was a terrific bargain:

This is just to let you know that we have a special on at Kaingo and Mwamba
Bush Camp for the months of June and July. Our usual rate is $300 per
person per night however for these two months we are offering a fully
inclusive safari for $150 per person. This offer includes, accommodation,
meals, activities, drinks and National Park fees. Should you stay with us
for 6 nights or more we will offer you a further reduced rate of $120 pppn.


If you require any additional information please do not hesitate to ask.

Warmest Regards,
Kerri


******************************************
SHENTON SAFARIS
KAINGO AND MWAMBA BUSH CAMPS
South Luangwa National Park - Zambia
www.kaingo.com

_______________________________________

Had I not already booked with Kafunta for about $400 per night, I would have jumped on this offer. Those who are considering spending doube or triple the price in South Africa or Botswana
should instead consider Shenton Safaris. I have only read good things about Shenton Safaris and I had a very hard time deciding between Kafunta and Kaingo (Shenton Safaris).

You can literally spend six nights at Kaingo for less than a single night at Singita!!! Something to think about.

_______________________________________

If you were to go on a safari like this you could really splurge in Cape Town and on your chosen destination at Victoria Falls.

I leave one week from today and I will have a full report upon my return in late June.

Good luck.
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May 28th, 2003, 09:35 AM
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My apologies for flooding the board with ALL the specials mentioned. My intent was only to cut and paste the special for Kaingo (Shenton Safaris) for $150 pp per night sharing, all inclusive.
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May 28th, 2003, 02:12 PM
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Cmortal - Have you already booked your air to SA (JNB or CPT) and VFA?
If so, then you have those days firm, so I'm assuming you'll be returning to the States from JNB.

If you only have your flight to SA (JNB/CPT) the r/t air from JNB to VFA is in the range of $325+/-, plus another $100+ from CPT to JNB (unless this is already included in your Int'l flite) - you'll have to be on the first flite out of CPT (at 00-dark-30) to JNB in order to connect to the first flite to VFA, arriving about 12N, then VISA processing and transfer into Zambia.

If you want to go to the Delta, driving to Maun is not the answer (been there, done that - you don't want to). You can get a flight from either VFA or more likely from Kasane in Botswana (you'll need a land transfer across border to Kasane) to Maun or (if can be arranged) direct to a Camp in the Delta and can return via Kasane to VFA. But the Delta camps are notoriously expensive, plus the flites between camps - though in 5-days you can do 2 camps.

Since you are already in Zambia, I believe your best choices are either to drive to Hwange which is probably the easiest, or safari in Zambia with either Shenton or Robin Pope Safaris - then return via VFA to JNB for your return flites to the States.

Certainly you can return to JNB to do safaris at Kruger, but again you've got to be on the first flite out of VFA to make decent connections to Kruger where r/t air will run about $250+ person, plus transfer to camp/s you select. You can find reasonably priced camps on private reserves here.

Unfortunately, we are all presented with too many options once you've gotten (or planning trip) to Southern Africa and just not enough time or enough money to do it all, in only 14 days - that's why many of us return a few times.

You have a few choices - alot also depends on flite schedules, often there is only a morning and afternoon flite between most destinations (except for charters) - check airline scheds to/fr some of these destinations to give you a better idea of what may be doable. Also note that in the Delta area, as mentioned by another poster on another thread, some camps can only be booked through a tour operator.

You've got some research to do.
 
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May 28th, 2003, 05:17 PM
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cmortal,

After reading the original post again, I would definitely suggest that you consider Kafunta in South Luangwa, Zambia. The special that I mentioned for Shenton Safaris is only valid for June and July and after that, the price will go back up beyond the price of Kafunta. I am paying $197.50 per person per night sharing for my 5 night safari at Kafunta.

Here is a wonderful link to a story written by someone that stayed at Kafunta recently (as well as the entire story without photos available by going to the link):

http://www.southside.co.za/articles/...bia/zambia.htm

Zambia - wild and wonderful!


American photographer, Tim Zielenbach took a trip to a few game lodges in Zambia got charged by an elephant and came back smitten.
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Our Land Cruiser rolled around a bush, startling an elephant and her two young calves standing 20 metres away.
She trumpeted - a ferocious blast - and launched a charge which to me looked as though she was determined to destroy our vehicle.
Almost as suddenly she turned tail and safely tucked her children into a thicket.
Then, she re-emerged resolved to punish those who came too close, and charged again!
A grinning Grant Cumings, owner of the Chiawa Camp in the Lower Zambezi National Park yelled "hold on!" and jammed his foot on to the accelerator.

Elephant charge! (22 Kb)

Thankfully, the Toyota worked properly, and the elephant halted her gallop after 500 meters, never once having slowed her 30 km per hour attack.
We watched her return to fetch her young laughing nervously now that the threat was over and wondered whether it was not time to return to camp for breakfast and a change of boxer shorts.
Yet therein lies the charm of Zambia, a country still pristine, unspoiled and uncluttered it is possible to wrap yourself in Africa's beauty and be totally alone. The likelihood of seeing another vehicle is scarce indeed.

Elephants, lions, leopards, hippos and cape buffalo roam freely, across national park and conservation boundaries. Game can be easily viewed from a vehicle or you can walk to the steps from your room and bump into a jumbo on your way to the pool. Or the bar.
At the Kafunta River Lodge in the South Luangwa National Park, I returned from a night game drive which included the sighting of a fine lion pride and decided I needed a swim.
When we'd arrived at the camp earlier in the day, we were warned to be careful at night, since 'Kafunta, the crazy one' had made an appearance at the bar the previous night.

"Who is Kafunta?" I asked Denis Stack, the camp manager.
"Just our local bull elephant who pops in from time to time."
Great...just what I needed, limited visibility and the possibility of bumping into an elephant at the bar ... this could be a fun night!
I changed into my swimming trunks and headed for the pool. As I went down the steps I heard something rustle in the bushes about 15 metres away on my right.

Could it be a jumbo? I managed to stand still for about 30 seconds before I beat a hasty retreat to my unlit chalet from where I shone a torch into the bushes. Ten metres from my door a pair of ivory tusks glinted in the beam. Kafunta looked at me through watery eyes then ambled round to the back porch where he munched on shrubbery for a further twenty minutes before leaving his calling card and heading for the camp's open air restaurant and bar.
His arrival and effect was like that of an old-time gunslinger entering a western saloon - the music and conversation stopped!
Sure, this was unique in-house entertainment, albeit on the wild and dangerous side. Zambia is full of surprises!

Kafunta visits the bar! (37 Kb)




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Jun 10th, 2003, 07:08 PM
  #7
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Thank you everyone for all your great tips. Here is how things are shaping up. With our budget and time - Botswana is going to be to pricey so we will have to save for another time. Here is the schedule so far - thoughts

Sept 21-27 Cape Town Radisson

Sept 27-29 Lion Sands Game Reserve or Leopard Hills or Ngala or King's Camp (what's the best value here amoung these properties but still provides more than plenty of game viewing). Are 3 days enough to enjoy the safari here if we are going to be going to Chobe Chilwero or Tongabezi or similar later (see below)?
Sept 29-Oct 1 Victoria Safari Lodge
Oct 1 - Oct 3 Chobe Chilwero

or

Sept 29 - Oct 3 (Tongabezi or Matetsi or The River Club)

Everyone's thought's appreciated.
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Jun 13th, 2003, 01:06 PM
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Hi everyone - can the experts on this board provide their recommendations for the following:

Sept 27-29 Lion Sands Game Reserve or Leopard Hills or Ngala or King's Camp (what's the best value here amoung these properties but still provides more than plenty of game viewing). Are 3 days enough to enjoy the safari here if we are going to be going to Chobe Chilwero or Tongabezi or similar later (see below)?
Sept 29-Oct 1 Victoria Safari Lodge
Oct 1 - Oct 3 Chobe Chilwero

or

Sept 29 - Oct 3 (Tongabezi or Matetsi or The River Club)

Everyone's thought's appreciated.
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