Booked! South Africa Plans Set

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May 3rd, 2010, 12:12 PM
  #1
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Booked! South Africa Plans Set

Have recently booked our travel plans for the summer months. Can't get enough of Africa and while this will be our 10th trip to Africa---and South Africa has more often than any other place been our gateway entry to the continent---this will be our first time seeing the game parks in South Africa. Our itinerary is as follows (we depart late JUL and get back early AUG):

US to JoBurg--one night to get rid of the jet lag:

early a.m. flight to Timbatavi for three nights at Ngala Tented Camp

Depart Ngala for Exter River Lodge in Sabi Sands for four nights

Flight from Kruger area to Phinda Private Reserve for four nights
Vlei Lodge for the first two nights (originally we were to spend the whole time there but there was some issue and they only had the two available---we'll split our time with two nights at Rock Lodge

While there we booked everything---some fishing at Sodwana Bay, the Flight of the Sea Eagle to have a look at the KwaZulu Natal wild coast, the St Lucia Wetlands etc...also a Zulu village visit for a bit of the cultural (I know these are usually touristy but...) and a rhino stalking (tracking) walk....for black rhinos---I don't know how this is but in Namibia it was quite a thrill at Palm Wag---we were charged twice!

We'll follow that up with four nights in Cape Town before bringin it on back home---we've been in Cape Town a number of times and are open to any new eats or shopping or wine country musts...we've booked the Shark trip out of Simonstown for the second time...it was another activity I couldn't get enough of with the "Air Jaws" predations...

This year, I'm double booking as I have a Brazil trip to the Pantanal set along with Rio and Iguazu Falls...tried to follow atravelynnes advice as best as I could although could not get a response from one of the travel companies she used...so I have Carlos as a guide to do a Jaguar tracking camping expedition along the Paraguay River and to the Taiama Jaguar Reserve..

Will do trip reports for both trips and provide pictures---I can't wait to take off!!
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May 3rd, 2010, 02:15 PM
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Sure you'll love Ngala Tented and Exeter. You doing this after the World Cup? Any problems with those camp reservation availability?

Also, you ever been to Kruger, if not, next time work in a few days there. Easy to do if you're doing Timbavati and Sabi Sand reserves.

regards - tom
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May 3rd, 2010, 06:19 PM
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Sounds like a fantastic trip! Have fun and we want a trip report! Happy travels.
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May 3rd, 2010, 06:23 PM
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Looks like you are gearing up for a Year of the Spotted Cat. Those locations are good for leopard, cheetah and jaguar.

Ironically, my two trips of 2007 were South Africa (Sabi Sands & Phinda) and Brazil, just like you. One of the ladies who joined me in Brazil had been in South Africa earlier and she came up with term Year of the Spotted Cat. Especially clever with the verb spot in there.

Seeing your shark outing plans, we really do travel to the same places. If you're thinking fruit bat migration in Kasanka, Zambia in 2012, I'll fall off my chair, Gator!
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May 4th, 2010, 06:40 AM
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We arrive after the World Cup has been completed but we were stung a bit on international airfare just the same..must be close enough to the end of the games to fall into the "getting gouged" category---we were able to do one free flight which sort of made up for the outrageous fare (nearly double what we've paid in the past...) The accomodations have been booked for a while---I'd be curious to know, but my guess is that the game parks and lodges havent benefited as much as they probably thought they would from visitors for the Cup....might even have cut into their normal expectations...

LOL no fruit bat migration lynn so I'm not stalking you around the globe ; ) I have always wanted to go to the Pantanal so seeing your trip report encouraged me all the more...so many choices in South Africa but it seems Kruger and Phinda are the areas most promoted at any rate....we'll see how it goes...
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May 4th, 2010, 04:31 PM
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From what I've read, your guess seems to be right. Perhaps this economy encourages more last minute plans and things will change 30-60 days out.
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May 4th, 2010, 06:55 PM
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There was a thread here few weeks ago about massive reserved blocks of hotel rooms being released. Including Kruger.
30-60 days out, yep here now, WC is June 11 - July 11.

regards - tom
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May 5th, 2010, 08:41 AM
  #8
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We depart JUL 22 but the airfare was over 2 grand...any suggestions for great places to eat, drink in Cape Town...favorite wineries...new restaurants? We've sort of done most things that we know to do in CPT...visited the Cape of Good Hope...Hermanus and the sharks..and Simonstown and the sharks...Robbins Island...up to Franchoek(sp) and Stellenbosch and Paarl...we're open...
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May 6th, 2010, 02:34 AM
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hey guys.

Im with a holiday lettings agency in Kwazulu Natal. Specifically Ballito, on the North Coast. We offer a range of affordable accommodation in houses, flats and apartments etc to suit any of your requirements. The area is situated on the Dolphin Coast, stunning beaches, nightlife, shopping, new airport only 10 minutes away and the Durban Football/soccer stadium a short drive to Durban City centre.

Contact me at [email protected] for any enquiries.

Happy holidays and travels to everyone!!!
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May 6th, 2010, 06:33 PM
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Did you walk with baboons in Simonstown? Kirstenbosch Gardens?
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May 7th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Have not gone to Kirstenbosch...what is the walking with baboons in Simonstown? We've been to Boulder Beach to walk amongst the penguins...it was more baboons walking with people at Cape Point---grabbing purses and eating their lipstick! baboons scare me LOL
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May 10th, 2010, 04:41 PM
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As far as great eats, The African Cafe and the bar at The Cape Grace Hotel. Both were really great, and the fish and chips at the Cape Grace is a sure bet-they use klipslet fish and be sure to have a drink, "Call a Cab" only have one, or you may need to. Also, the 1/2 day morning winery tour is well worth doing as is the abseil rock adventure from the top of Table Mountain. Have a blast....
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May 10th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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Here is a copy of what I wrote in my trip report about Baboon Matters:

I felt this encounter was right up there with the gorilla and chimp visits. The baboons are habituated to human presence in similar manner and you get a close glimpse of troop life for a couple of hours, with no set time limit for the visit.

Participation in this activity at 250 Rand/person (lots less than the $500 gorilla visit) supports two dozen local monitors who help keep the baboons away from the towns so they don’t raid these inhabited areas. It is a win-win-win scenario for the local citizens who want to be baboon-free, for those employed as monitors, and for the Cape Chacma Baboons—the only protected baboons in Africa.

* There were two troops you could visit, named for the dominant male in each, and I visited both George’s troop and Eric’s troop. Each troop had the whole spectrum of members and they were equally interesting as they went about their business of eating, grooming, mating, sleeping, nursing, playing, sparring, and climbing trees, in our midst.

* Six people go on the walk, so I’d reserve early, since this is popular (and reasonably affordable) for families, who can take up the majority of the 6 spots with parents and a couple of kids. I requested my walk dates and times through the Baboon Matters website about six months in advance.

* Walks require a minimum of two participants, but Baboon Matters agreed to take just me if no one else joined when I scheduled, since I was willing to pay for two under those circumstances.

* There are both morning and afternoon walks that spend about 2 hours with the baboons. My schedule allowed only afternoon visits, which seemed to be a great time to visit.

* The guide carries water that Baboon Matters provides in a backpack and you can stop for drinks any time.

* You meet at the Baboon Matters office, about a 10-minute ride drive from town. It is easy to get to by Rikki Taxi or even the train that runs frequently and stops in Simons Town, then heads down the tracks to stop across from the hotel and offices where Baboon Matters is located.

* From the Baboon Matters office, where the 20-30 minute orientation takes place, you drive to wherever the baboons happen to be and begin the walk. This drive component can be tricky because only certain staff members are licensed to drive paying guests. So you might end up getting a ride with other guests who drove there if you don’t have a car.

One of my scheduled visits even got switched to a different date because of this driving issue. I think more staff are in the process of getting the needed licenses.

*Jenny, the founder, and all of the staff are super people with very interesting lives and tales.

* The baboons were completely non-aggressive, in contrast to behavior that may be witnessed at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. That’s because the aggressive baboons have been fed and have learned they can acquire food with hostile actions. Wayne of Take2 Tours even told me that the baboons in the reserve target children and people with gray hair because they offer the least resistance to attacks for food. In contrast, the baboons on the walk do not associate people with food and see the monitors and the guide as dominant.

* Unlike gorilla visits, you do not have to stay close together in a small group and remain still. You can venture out several meters in various directions for better views and photos during much of the approximately two-hour visit. We remained prepared to regroup or relocate ourselves at the direction of the guide if needed.

* For one of the visits, the climbing was rigorous, over rocky hill slopes. We felt like mountain goats. In addition, this area had been burned previously and had charred remnants all over. We all ended up with black clothes by the end of the walk, even the guide. Cold water was suggested for washing the charcoal stains out, and it worked, thanks to the complimentary use of the washing machine at Sea Spray.

* The Baboon Walks alone should make Simons Town a prime wildlife destination.
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Jun 8th, 2010, 08:18 AM
  #14
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Thks very much---just saw these responses---I have eaten at the Africa Cafe before and love the atmosphere and art there--will definitely do it again---great suggestions

Lynn that sounds really great---we'll check that out---my dad may not be able to climb very much but we'll see because that sounds like something I'd love...
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Jun 9th, 2010, 04:45 AM
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Hi there!
You have an amazing itinerary - I hope you enjoy each and every moment to the fullest.
Cheers
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Jun 9th, 2010, 04:54 AM
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Does anybody else have any opinion on the camps that I've mentioned? Or if you guys think that there are better choices of camps please let me know and I'll check and see if they have availabilities.
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Jun 9th, 2010, 04:57 AM
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My apologies I posted the above on the wrong thread!
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