ATTN: SAFARINUT, NEED YOUR HELP!

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Jul 27th, 2004, 05:31 PM
  #1
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ATTN: SAFARINUT, NEED YOUR HELP!

i've been reading your posts and seem like you are a good person to help us narrow down our search. we are going to south africa as part of our honeymoon (so far there's india and maldives and south africa is our last stop) and would like to find the best lodges in terms of game viewing + accomodation (romantic enough for honeymoon) + food. we'd love to go to singita but $3000 per day is not what we'd like to spend unfortunately (that's including the transfers from johannesburg). we are looking to spend about $1500 - $2000 per day (including transfers from johannesburg). would love to get your insight. currently looking at: Simbambili, Ulusuba, Londolozi, Mala-Mala and Lion Sands. Can only choose 2 of the above since we are thinking of doing 2 nights on each one. Thanks for your help!
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Jul 28th, 2004, 03:38 AM
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obenr

I would rate Ulusaba as your top lodge when it comes to a honeymoon choice.You have two options here:

1)If you want to go to Safari Lodge ask for "River 4".This is surely one of the most romantic suites in the SSGR.Price R11 500 a night.This is what Discovery Channel had to say when Ulusaba was voted top honeymoon destination "The Safari Lodge at the Ulusaba Private Game Reserve provides unmatched luxury and breathtaking views of Africa's natural world. Lovebirds can escape to one of the resort's River Suites, accessible only by swing bridge, or stay in one of the main chalets. Animal viewing occurs all day long as wildlife crosses in front of the lodge's large windows. Lions, vultures, leopards and elephant are some of the animals that are possible to see on daily game rides or walking tours. Couples can unwind in the aromatherapy and reflexology wellness center or with a workout at the reserve's gym and tennis courts"

2)If you prefer Rock Lodge book one of the Rock Cliff rooms and ask for the "Swazi room"Price R9 500 a night.

Rangers to request would be:

1)Karl Langdon,the most experienced ranger there and by far my favorite

2)Jobe,a local shangaan

3)Janet,a female ranger that has worked for the KNP before joining Ulusaba.

4)Duard Terblanche.

Sorry I'll have to go now as I have a plane to catch to southern Ontario for a golf trip,will try to check in later to finish my reply.

Good luck!

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Jul 28th, 2004, 04:08 PM
  #3
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thanks so much for your reply! we will definitely include ulusaba then but how about for the 2nd lodge? have you heard of leopard's hill? pictures look beautiful on the website. i am eager to hear more from you! thanks a bunch!
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Aug 4th, 2004, 08:26 AM
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obenr

Sorry for the late reply...golfing 36 holes a day in the Niagra region!!!

I would not choose Leopard Hills as my second lodge because they are also situated in the western sector of the SSGR and traverse the same area as Ulusaba.

Simbambili would be the obvious choice except for the fact that they are located north of the Sand River and this would make your transfer expensive

So,in order to keep your transfer cost to a minimum spend your remaining two days in the southern section of the SSGR.

The best honeymoon destination would be between:

1)Lion Sands Ivory Lodge.

They have an amazing special running until the end of September if you book within 14 days of arriving for R2000pp/night.This represents a saving of R10 000 a night from their usual rack rates!!

If you can't book last minute I would suggest Lion Sands River Lodge.

2)Londolozi Safari Lodge

Great honeymoon Lodge,small and intimate.Ask for room number one,great outdoor shower close to the dry riverbed.Request Jonothan Harley as your ranger and Zack as your tracker.

3)Nottens Bush Camp

4)Sabi Sabi Selati Lodge

Make sure you end your trip at Ulusaba.

Cheers.
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Aug 4th, 2004, 08:49 AM
  #5
 
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Safarinut - I have a question for you also. I have reservations at MalaMala for 6 nights beginning 9-24. When I made my flight arrangements I am landing at MalaMala on 9-23. I immediately called MalaMala to add on one night but they are full. Is there another lodge near MM that I might be able to spend the first night? Or should I try to change the airfare.

Thanks
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Aug 4th, 2004, 09:51 AM
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sundowner

Wow!,six nights at Mala Mala!,do you have any idea what amazing sightings you will have there in twelve game drives!!!!Good for you!!

Thanks for your update on the ranger situation but don't worry Leon is a great ranger.Two other rangers to keep in mind if you are unable to get Leon would be Gilles(?sp)and Tim.Make sure that you don't get Alex,very nice guy but not enthusiastic enough.

Now to answer your question:

You have a few options:

1)Nottens Bush Camp
Located on Mala Mala's western border and shares traversing rights with Sabi Sabi.The Lodge overlooks a waterhole and is small and intimate.Request Joe Mathebula as your ranger.This is the closest lodge to Mala Mala and well worth the R1 800PP/NIGHT.

2)Lion Sands River/Ivory Lodges.

3)Kirkmans Camp

4)Londolozi Safari Lodge

5)Sabi Sabi lodges.

I really think Notten's at this price and close proximity to MM would be your best bet.

If you have specific questions on the other lodges mentioned I will be more than happy to help where I can.

SIX NIGHTS AT MALA MALA!!!!
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Aug 4th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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Safarinut

Yes, 6 nights at MalaMala and all because of your enthusiastic posts. I'm pretty excited about it.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll call Nottens first thing in the morning and see if they have an opening. If not, I'll just go down the list until I find one. Hopefully MalaMala will allow this. I know their website says their landing strip is private and can't be used for other parks so that will be my next problem.

Thanks
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Aug 4th, 2004, 12:06 PM
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sundowner

Don't worry!South African Airlink and Mala Mala have agreed to form a partnership with Notten's Bush Camp in allowing them to book their guests onto the direct scheduled flight between Johannesburg and the Mala Mala Airfield, effective 9 July 2003.

The transfer time from MM airstrip to Nottens is less than 30 minutes.
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Aug 5th, 2004, 06:15 PM
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My family and I were at Nottens in May and loved it! It is beautiful and very romantic. Probably not as luxurious as Mala Mala but a very special experience. We flew into The Mala Mala airstrip by light aircraft. we landed shorly before the scheduled flight. The Nottens people will pick you up and turn the drive into a mini game drive for you.
I do hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Gilly and Bambi Notten are lovely people. Hopefully you will get Thomas as your ranger on the gamedrive and Sam as the tracker. they are both very quiet but really in tune with the area. Take the bush walk with Thomas. He is really nice and very intersting.
I am so jealous. Sounds like you will be having a fabulous honeymoon. Enjoy!
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Aug 5th, 2004, 09:40 PM
  #10
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thanks safarinut! we are looking seriously into Londolozi Safari Lodge (2 nights) then Ulusaba (2 nights). We are not sure about doing another 2 nights in the wild so we are thinking of seeing Cape Town and staying at the Ellermann House for another 2 nights. Do you think we should stick to a safari or should we see Cape Town??? Would love your help once again!!! THANKS!
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Aug 9th, 2004, 06:51 PM
  #11
 
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obenr

If it were me... of course 6 nights of safari!!!!

I love Cape Town but to me it's just another beautiful city...

What about 2 nights at Rock Lodge,2 nights at Safari Lodge and 2 nights at Londolozi!!!
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Aug 9th, 2004, 08:33 PM
  #12
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do you mean 4 nights at ULUSABA (2 nights each at rock lodge and safari room) then 2 nights at Londolozi Safari Lodge for a total of 6 nights?? Please clarify as the property we are thinking of staying at in Londolozi is the Safari Lodge and in Ulusaba, there are Rock Lodge rooms and Safari Rooms!!!...
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Aug 9th, 2004, 09:06 PM
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obenr

Yes I mean 4 nights at Ulusaba:

1)2 Nights at Safari Lodge,my room choice would be the river rooms.You also get safari rooms here as well as elephant rooms.

2)2 Nights at Rock Lodge,my room choice here would be the Makwela Suites.You also have the option here to stay in the Rock Cliff Rooms,the Master Suite or The Rock Suite.

LONDOLOZIChoose 1 camp)

They have five camps at Londolozi:

1)TREE CAMP:
Most Luxurious,ask for a suite with a Sala,all suites have private plunge pools.Total of 6 suites.

2)BATELEUR CAMP
Eight chalets and four suites all with magnificent river views, private plunge pools and leisure decks.

3)PIONEER CAMP
Three suites and three river-view chalets.

4)FOUNDERS CAMP
Five safari chalets and one suite.

The above mentioned four are located on the Sand River in the northern section of the reserve.

5)SAFARI LODGE
Six air-conditioned chalets.This lodge is in the southern section of the Londolozi property and a good 30 minute drive from the other four.

Londolozi shares traversing rights with Singita so if you stay at Londolozi you will be able to drive on Singita's land as well.Singita,as a general rule, allows only 2 Londolozi vehicles on their property at any given time and vice versa.

Hope this doesn't add to the confusion!
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Aug 12th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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Safarinut, I am amazed at how highly you speak of Ulusaba i found it very big and impersonl and that they have turned it into a hotel in the bush in place of a safari lodge, I would far rather for a honeymoon look at something like Dulini Lodge at Exeter and then leopard hills (though the road from Leopard Hills would worry me) or Dulini and Londolozi combination is awesome. If the budget is a little tight then Royal malewanr and Garonga is an awesome combination as well!
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Aug 12th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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debbimeadows:

Do you really think that Ulusaba Safari Lodge is more hotel-like than Leopard Hills,Dulini or Londolozi???

''Ulusaba i found it very big and impersonl''???

Ulusaba has a capacity of 20 guests,Royal Malewane 20 guests and Garonga 14.What's the big difference???

Why would the road to Leopard Hills worry you?

''If the budget is a little tight then Royal malewanr and Garonga is an awesome combination as well!''????

Do you think Royal Malewane at R5450.00 per person per night sharing fits a tight budget????.

I look forward to your response.
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Aug 13th, 2004, 10:31 AM
  #16
 
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Hi Safarinut

Ulusaba has for my taste gone far to modern adn very unsafari like, it is a personal opinion, you get the feeling of all being on top of one another.

The road to leopard Hills ...no the road in front of leopard hills, while in the camp you can see the village and main road from the camp for me, i preer the cmplete bush feel.

Royal malewane is expensive, however when you combine it with Garonga the cost reduces to all nights in a private Game Lodge!
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Aug 13th, 2004, 04:09 PM
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debbimeadows

''you get the feeling of all being on top of one another.''

I really don't get it?

Ulusaba's river 4 suite at Safari Lodge is at least 60 meters from the other suites and at least 200 meters from from the main lodge!

Are you a travel agent?
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Aug 13th, 2004, 06:28 PM
  #18
 
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Message for debbimeadows:
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "seeing the village from the camp"? As we are going to L.Hills next week for our honeymoon. Also "by the main road", surely it's not as if there is much traffic going by.....is there?

Are you saying L.Hills has little privacy?
Awaiting your reply.
Cheers
Marc
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Aug 14th, 2004, 10:26 AM
  #19
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To: SAFARINUT
Finalizing our safari part of our honeymoon now. Please let me know if we are making the right decision. We finally decided to devote 5 nights to an South African safari. We have chosen 3 nights at a SAFARI ROOM in ULUSABA and 2 nights at Londolozi Safari Lodge. Unfortunately, the rooms you suggested at both lodges were out of our budget. Given that we will not be staying at the rooms you suggested, would you change our lodges to others like Jocks Safari Lodge, Simbambili or Lion Sands River Lodge. Again, this is a honeymoon so we would like a combination of great game viewing, luxury, excellent service, etc. THANKS SO MUCH IN ADVANCE FOR ALL YOUR HELP!!!
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Aug 14th, 2004, 10:57 AM
  #20
 
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obenr

Ulusaba,regardless of what room-type you book, WILL blow you away!It's really a very romantic setting with tons of luxury,great food and exellent game viewing.Request Karl Langdon as your ranger and be sure to say hello to Makwela(a famous leopard there).

Londolozi Safari Lodge isn't as luxurious as Ulusaba but well worth a visit.My second lodge recommendation would be Simbambili but make sure that your transfer cost is reasonable.Marc from Taga Safaris is the best person to speak to.

So definitely Ulusaba followed by Simbambili and a tie between Londoz and Lion Sands for third place.
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