African Safari

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Feb 21st, 2006, 08:21 AM
  #1
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African Safari

My fiance and I are planning on getting married and spending our honeymoon on an African safari. We'd like to combine 7-10 days on a safari and another 4-5 days scuba diving. We are planning on using CC Africa to plan our trip, but I was wondering if I could get some feedback on Tanzania/Zanzibar versus S. Africa? The Tanzania/Zanzibar trip would take us to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Mnemba Island. This sounds like a great trip, but I dont think we can get legally married in East Africa, so we're looking into S. Africa. Any advice on Tanzania verus S. Africa??? Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated! We are looking to spend around $15K and are open to the time of year to travel.

Thanks!
Sonia


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Feb 21st, 2006, 01:06 PM
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Hello Sonia,

Congratulations on your wedding!

To get the most for your money, I'd recommend South Africa in July or August -- it's the low season but game-viewing is at its best because the dry winter weather (remember, the seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere) means that the bush dies down, making animals easier to see as they gravitate towards water holes. South Africa is an anomaly because its best game-viewing takes place in the low season, whereas in other countries the best game-viewing takes place in the high season, the most expensive time of year to travel.

For your safari, I'd recommend one of the private game reserves bordering the Kruger National Park. Game drives are done with expert rangers and trackers in open Land Rovers, and you can go off-road to follow animals.

The lodges range from classic safari to luxuriously over-the-top, with decor from Out of Africa to cutting-edge. CCA has two great lodges in this area, Londolozi in the Sabi Sands (my personal favourite -- I've visited Londoz several times) and Ngala in the Timbavati. Londoz is known for spectacular leopard sightings, and Ngala has a resident pack of the rare African wild dog. I've stayed at both on my trips to SA -- feel free to email me if you'd like more detail about the game-viewing or some pictures. You can also visit CCA's website,

www.ccafrica.com

For diving, you could easily combine South Africa with Mozambique or Mauritius.

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 06:43 AM
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sandi
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Many of the resorts in the coastal areas of East Africa - Kenya and Tanzania - offer weddings. So, I would suggest you check out the requirements - citizenship, whether residency (even a few days or week) required, etc.

Marrying in a country other than your home country ae all very different; some are relatively easy, others not so.

You may want to have an official civil service (Justice of the Peace office, Mayor's office, etc.) and the a cultural wedding on Zanzibar.

Certainly not a subject one wants to think about when getting married, but also what impact a foreign marriage willl have if divorce comes on the horizon years down the road.

When we were in Zanzibar this past June, there was a big wedding taking place that everyone on the island knew about - an American gal, wedding a local. So, apparently, they're done.

If you can't find the information on the tourism website, call the country embassy for details.

When are you planning to marry? Time of year can determine whether it's best to visit East or Southern Africa. Many of the places, especially in Tanzania/Zanzibar that are ideal for a honeymoon are small and intimate and book early - even a year or more ahead.

Hope this helps.

 
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 07:38 AM
  #4
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We were hoping to travel sometime between September and November, but we are pretty flexible. I don't think marriages in East Africa are legally recognized in the US, so not sure what to do about that. Right now, we're just focuing on picking the best safari. It sounds like many people think S. Africa is a better choice. Would you agree? I'm sure we can't go wrong with eiter!
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 01:27 PM
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September especially is perfect for Kenya, the Masai Mara where the migration is taking place. Till mid-October is also good here. CCA has their Bateleur Camp here, though there are a wide variety of camps in the same category or lux as CCA and many for less money. Then in November, the herds head back into the Serengeti in Tanzania, where CCA has their Klein's Camp. Here, also, there are other camps to choose.

There are plenty of luxury properties in both countries in various areas to be considered.

On Zanzibar, Mnemba is lovely, but their cottages do not have air conditioning, only ceiling fans. You can have the same lux and privacy for the same or less at The Palms on Zanzibar island itself. The coastal areas are hot and humid, so a/c may be a consideration for you.

 
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Hello Sonia,

September would still be low season in South Africa, so you would be able to take advantage of the low season pricing. For a particularly interesting diving experience, you could combine a stay at CCA's Phinda Game Reserve in KwaZuluNatal with a stay at Londolozi and some time in Mozambique or Mauritius. Among the activities at Phinda is a scuba excursion to Sodwana Bay. Phinda offers an unusually wide range of safari activities -- in addition to game drives and diving, you can track white rhino on foot; enjoy canoeing, river boating, and deep-sea fishing; take a bird's eye view from a light aircraft; go horseback riding; and observe rare and endangered turtles laying their eggs.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 04:00 AM
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We're still trying to plan this trip! Hopefully it's not too late to get these lodges. So far, these 2 lodges have openings in September. I'd like to add a second stop, but not sure what.

Here's what we have so far:

Kichwa Tembo 3 nights
?
Ngoronogor Crater Lodge 2 nights
Zanzibar Palms 4 nights

Some of my choices for the second stop are Mahale (top choice), Lake Manyara or Tarangire. Any advice or suggestions on our second stop? Has anyone been to Mahale? I feel like Kichwa Tembo and the Crater Lodge may not be enough before heading to Zanzibar. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 04:25 AM
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Like Sandi says, Kenya is great for the migration in September. We were in Kenya and Tanzania last June, and out of all the lodges we stayed in, the Mara Serena was our favorite.
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 05:07 AM
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Hi DeMarco - Congrats on your upcoming wedding! I am far from an expert so I probably shouldn't chime in but I have done a lot of research. To go from Mahale to Zanzibar would be quiet a long trip, if I'm not mistaken. If it were me and I only had 7-10 days, I'd stick to one area. I'm going to be on safari for 16 nights in May/June and I'm "only" going to two parks in Zambia. It's your honeymoon; do you want to savor Africa or inhale it? ;-)

Good luck!
Sharon
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Mahale is just to far to get to in the short time you have.

For an additional stop, I'd suggest Tarangire, where you will find herds of ellees, zebra, plenty of bird life and those amazing baobab trees. Two-days here are just perfect before continuing onto Crater Lodge. If available, I'd try for Swala Camp or Treetops - both offer romantic settings.
 
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Mar 9th, 2006, 04:14 AM
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Yes, we're still planning, but plan on making a decision next week. I'm torn between the Northern circuit in Tanzania (Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara) OR Southern Tanzania (Seleous and Ruaha). We were thinking Southern Tanzania would be good because it's the 'less' visited, but would love any feedback! THis is our first trip to Africa and not sure if we'll be able to go back again!

We are very flexible with our dates (September through November). If we choose the Northern Circuit what is the best time to go? I think I've heard October is good for Southern Tanzania. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Mar 9th, 2006, 05:05 AM
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Hi,

I just returned yesterday from a two-week Tanzanian and a five-week South African holiday.

It was my first time to East Africa, and while I liked the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, I much preferred Selous and especially Ruaha. Both the game viewing and the lodges were much better there.

Overall, though, if you are still in the decision-making process, I would recommend South Africa in July or August and totally agree with Julian's comments to your posting.

Good luck!

Leann
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Mar 13th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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Has anyone heard of Tanzania Odyseey, a travel group based in London?

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Mar 15th, 2006, 04:12 AM
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Dear DeMarco,

I have heard a great report about Boundary Hill Lodge and its uniqueness. Some acquaintances recently stayed there and were very impressed with Room 1. Apparently all the rooms have different vistas.
Maybe you could look at that option.

Malpa
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Mar 15th, 2006, 05:29 AM
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It looks like we've actually decided to go to South Africa (thanks for input). We would like to get 'legally' married in Africa and can only do this in S. Africa.

Here's what we're thinking:

Phinda (Phinda Getty House): 3-4 days
Londolozi: 3 days
Benquerra Bay: 4 days

It would be great to get some feedback on these choices and the amount of time we're allocating to each lodge. Are we missing any key areas in S. Africa?

I'm going to try and get reservations for September/October (I hope we're not too late). Is this a good time of the year to go?? Any input on the months to visit (or not visit) would be greatly appreciate. Any other ideas for lodges would also be appreciated in case we can't get the above places.

Thanks!!
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Mar 15th, 2006, 06:45 AM
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Hi Sonia

We got married in South Africa last October and had a ball. We started at Victoria Falls (Zambia) for 4 nights and did white water rafting on the Zambezi, day safari trip to Chobe River (Botswana) - saw hundreds of elephants! and a trip to Livingstone Island to see the rainbow and peek over the edge of the falls from a natural pool in the river (cool!). We then flew down to the Garden Route and did a self drive down to Cape Town (10 days)stopping off at Knysna, Franschhoek for wine tasting and Hermanus for Great White Shark Diving. From Cape Town we flew to Kruger Airport for our safari at Ulusaba (www.ulusaba.co.za) where we got married. Don't know how it compares with other lodges as this was our first safari but we absolutely loved it and is the first time I've ever hugged hosts/staff on departure! We saw plenty of wildlife (Big 5 included) during our 3 nights, including a pride of 19 lions feeding on wildebeest, leopard with a kill up a tree, a boomslang snake who was an unexpected dinner guest, and a hyena making off with a pillow from our lodge! We found the weather in October although blue skies and sunny in the Cape Town/Garden Route area had a definite chill in the air (.. and we're from Scotland!). At Sabi Sands the weather was much warmer - in the 80s. I can definitely recommend getting married in South Africa in October and would most definitely do it all over again! We booked with Africa Travel in London (www.africatravel.co.uk)and found them to be very helpful and quick at answering our many questions. Good luck with your wedding/honeymoon!
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Mar 15th, 2006, 01:59 PM
  #17
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Just wanted to add that i just got married in Kenya in January and it is perfectly legal.Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Mar 17th, 2006, 09:22 AM
  #18
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We didn't think the US recognized marriages in East Africa? Oh well! I'm actually excited to go to S. Africa and we're planning on going in October.
We're thinking Phinda for 4 nights, Londolozi for 3 nights, Benguerra or Quilalea Island for 4-5 nights.

Are Phinda and Londolozi good choices? I am definitely sold on Phinda, but not on Londolozi yet.

Any suggestions on Benguerra versus Quilalea Island? Which has better diving?

I'm also thinking of adding a stop in Botswana. What are the 'must' sees in Botswana? Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Sonia
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Mar 17th, 2006, 02:31 PM
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I'm not a lawyer, but it looks to me like you can get a legal marriage in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. Check out this website:

http://www.travelafricamag.com/content/view/830/83/I

Have a great safari, and wedding, and may the luck of St. Patrick's Day be with you!
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Mar 17th, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Ooops, the correct website address is:

http://www.travelafricamag.com/content/view/830/83
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