Assistance needed with SA safari...


May 5th, 2003, 06:09 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 102
Assistance needed with SA safari...

Actually, I will have alot of questions, but need to get the safari ones answered first!

I have been pouring over the threads here so I am trying to only post questions that I have not seen concrete answers for.

We will be travelling to SA in October for 3 weeks from Europe and I am putting together the itinerary now. I have about $8000 to spend (without airfare). We are tentatively (take that with a LARGE shaker of salt!) planning a trip that looks something like this:

Day 1 arrival J'burg
Days 2-5 Fly to Kruger, stay there. Considering MalaMala (Henry's) or Chitwa Chitwa Safari Camp - any comments?
Days 6-10 Fly to George, rent car. Go to Addo Elephant Park, Schotia, Knysna, maybe Shamwari.
Days 11-13 Drive to and stay in Plettenburg Bay (The Lodge - any comments?)
Days 14- 17 Hermanus (considering the Luxury Collection Hotel there, but only because I have a ton of Starwood points to burn and can therefore spend $$ on other fun things! Any comments?)
Days 17- 21 Capetown and wineries

My first question is, is Kruger really worth all the shots, flights, cost, etc... if we are going to do some safaris at Shamwari/Addo/Schotia? This is our first trip to SA. If it is worthwhile, how long should we stay in Kruger, and then should we just then plan on doing the Addo day trip and the Tooth and Claw safari at Schotia? OR should we bag the southern safaris all together?

We usually stay at mid-high end hotels that have some uniqueness to them, but the private game lodge prices bring a whole new game into play! Whoa! Since neither of us know much about game, and are not going on safari to take serious pictures, but more to have fun, I am having a hard time stomaching Singita and the like. Also, we are 32 and 33, and usually find that most (yes, I know not ALL),of the people in the high end places are usually about 20 years older than us, so we are always looking for something that attracts a "fun" crowd. For example, I would put us in the Cape Milner Hotel (or something else small and interesting)in Cape Town instead of the Cape Grace. Essentially, I would like to feel like I am in the wilderness, not a Hilton in the bush with 24 hour room service and ironed clothes. (Having said that though, I don't want to rough it and self cater and drive all over the place alone since I would have no idea what to look for!!) : )

I will be back with more questions, but any answers on the above would really be helpful - there is so much to choose from it is mindboggling!

Thank you!
melissaom is offline  
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May 6th, 2003, 11:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 251
Firstly - I had never encountered the Lodge in Plett before so looked it up. Thanks for that experience - it looks amazing. It's located on Robberg Beach which is wonderful for walking for miles and miles.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I get the feeling from your post that you are looking to have some fun on your holiday. While you will get that aplenty in Cape Town and environs, the Garden Route, Plett and Hermanus destinations you mentioned are more geared towards relaxing. Just something to be aware of ...

I can comment on the Arabella Sheraton in Hermanus having spent a few days there. It's really spectacular. The major attraction is the golf course. If you play, make a plan - it's quite challenging and just hope that the wind doesn't blow! If you miss the fairway and end up in the fynbos - don't even bother looking for your ball and take the drop. The hotel is quite large, but exceptional. There is also a world class health spa for pampering.

Many Capetonians (real and honorary) will comment that 3 or 4 days is not nearly enough in the area.

The thing about Kruger is that the highveld terrain is quite different to that in the Eastern Cape. It would be quite a different game experience.

In my opinion, I would reduce the time spent "on safari" in the Eastern Cape and rather extend your stay in Cape Town by a day or two.
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
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May 8th, 2003, 12:25 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 102
Here is an update - thank you VERY much for your help! Am still looking for more assistance. By the way, Selwyn (sp?) your work on the Fodors threads has been a huge help as well!!

Here is the new itinerary. Have narrowed down the safari choices to Makweti or Ant's Nest. Anyone have any help here?

Oct 10 ? fly to JNB,
Oct.11 ? arrive 8:30 am drive to Makweti or Ant?s Nest (checkin at 1pm)
Oct 12 safari
Oct 13 safari/leave (find something interesting to see on the way back) and fly to Port Elizabeth (flight 15:45 ? land 17:45 kulula, 470 pp) Drive to Elephant House or Woodall.
Oct 14 wake early and go to Addo Elephant Safari (make reservations), Then do tooth and Claw safari.
Oct 15 Drive to Knysna, stop at Kenton on sea on the way if the weather is good. Stay at overmeer if avail or roomwithaview or splurge on tsala.
Oct 17 Knysna/Plettenburg
Oct 17 Drive to Kleinmond ? stay at Sheraton do winelands/hermanus/chill out (doing this to burn Starwood points)
Oct 18 same
Oct 19 same
Oct 20 same
Oct 21 same
Oct 22 leave sheraton, drive to cape town
Oct 23-29 capetown (avanti guest house or capemilner?)
Oct 30 leave

Any comments/helpful hints are gladly appreciated! Thanks!
melissaom is offline  
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May 8th, 2003, 08:37 AM
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Some comments: in Hermanus, consider Auberge Burgundy - by the water in the center of things. Charming place and managers. Nearby, the Seafood Restaurant, in a small hotel. Great food. Consider going out on a small boat to see the Right Whales. Ignore the hype to dive with the Great Whites.

In Mala Mala, suggest Kirkman's Kamp instead of Harry's - nicer, and the price is comparable, and there is simply better organization and rangers.
Good twice daily game drices along Kruger and Mala Mala property line.

One place to consider: Phinda Reserve's Forest Lodge in the Natal area - absolutely first rate rangers and trackers, and you will see the Big Five each and every time out. This is a unique sand forest, and quite lovely, and the guest accommodations cannot be beat. Wonderful mamagement. An easy three-hour drive on N2 north from Durban. Or you can fly in.

And if you're fighting a budget, think of Zululand Tree Lodge near N2, also in the Natal - terrific huts and food, and good rangers. Large park nearby (10 minutes).

All of these places have great websites.
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