Cape Town & Sabi Sands tour company?

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Jan 30th, 2007, 04:58 PM
  #1
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Cape Town & Sabi Sands tour company?

Next Feb/Mar 6 of us are planning a trip to Cape Town for wine country and sightseeing and to Sabi Sands for safari. We'd like to spend at least 5 days in Cape Town and would like the option of having that be mostly free time with tours that we schedule ourselves. We'd also like at least 4 days in Sabi Sands at a nice lodge or chalet. Does anyone have experience with a tour company that offers that arrangement.
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Jan 30th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Sorry that was Feb/Mar 08.
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Jan 30th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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We used Yvette DeVries at onsafari.com
Four of us toured Cape Town and then the Sabi Sands.
The advisors are from South Africa but the office is in Conn. USA 8007003677.

We had such a wonderfull trip (including botswana) that we are using them again to go to east africa at the end of 2007.

Happy Trails
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Jan 31st, 2007, 04:37 AM
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Hi Lexia,

There are plenty of agents who can arrange the sort of trip you're looking for.

I'd recommend adding two nights in the winelands to your itinerary -- the winelands are too wonderful to be seen on a quick daytrip. There are so many superb restaurants that you'll want time to savour them, and it's so much nicer to be able to walk home at the end of your meal rather than face a long drive back to Cape Town.

If you'd like to do some touring in Cape Town, I'd recommend getting in touch with Selwyn, who posts here occasionally. He is a native Capetonian who has introduced many Fodorites to his home town, and has a longstanding relationship with one of the townships which enables him to show you a non-touristy view of township life. Here's his website:

http://www.ilovecapetown.com

The Sabi Sands will be a great place for your safari. At that time of year the bush will be very thick and green (making animals more challenging to spot) so you'll want to make sure you go somewhere with superb guiding. If your schedule allows, I'd recommend March over February as February in the Sabi Sands can be really hot and humid. You'll definitely want a place with a private plunge pool to cool off!

The Sabi Sands is divided into a number of private game reserves, each with its own camps. The three largest reserves are Mala Mala, Londolozi, and Singita. I've stayed at all three and would highly recommend them -- the game-viewing was superb across the board. Mala Mala is best for hard-core game-viewing, while Londoz offers a well-rounded bush experience and is known for its leopard sightings and Singita is tops for luxury. Londoz Varty Camp is the least expensive option with private plunge pools.

Definitely do at least 4 days -- your're on the right track there!

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 31st, 2007, 06:30 AM
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We went to SA in 2005. We used a local SA company called Jenman Safaris. The staff were very helpful and personable. They were great at handling our itinerary into Vic Falls as well. Their website is:

www.jenmansafaris.com

hope this helps!
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Jan 31st, 2007, 06:32 AM
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BTW, we stayed at the Elephant Plains lodge in the Sabi Sands area. My wife and I loved the lodge. People were great, the trackers and rangers were aggressive and very knowledgeable about the terrain. Also, what really made it enjoyable is that my wife was feeling a little ill to the stomach (no that's not the enjoyable part!) but the kitchen staff at the lodge were super accomodating to her dietary needs without hesitation. Two thumbs up!
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Jan 31st, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Fodorites come thru again! Thanks so much for all the info. I'm off to start researching. IF anyone thinks of something else to add- I check this forum every morning -- fodorites share the greatest information and experiences so generously.
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Jan 31st, 2007, 09:09 AM
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You could arrange reservations directly with the lodges, it is really easy and safe, these are very reliable companies and you can do that by phone+email. I have recently visited two lodges Lion Sands and Notten's. Both offer superb game viewing opportunities, the difference between them is basically a question of price with Lion Sands being a lot more expensive but in return it is also a little bit more luxurious (the accomodation, the food, the sundowners, etc. are better). Again, in terms of game viewing both would be fantastic destinations.
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Jan 31st, 2007, 04:19 PM
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xisco, volchy
I had been researching the individual lodges and found many that were wonderful, with prices to match. I was wondering if tour companies got price breaks based on the volume of clients they provide.
Secondly, the luxury looks terrific -- I'm sure I could quickly get used to it. I do know that the 6 of us like good food and accomodations.
However, when 'on safari' can you give a feel for what the luxury adds as opposed to a more 'wilderness' feeling.

Does price have any correlation to guide quality? Volcy liked Elephant Plains a lot due to the trackers. Am I asking the wrong question. Should it be: "where are the best trackers?"
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Jan 31st, 2007, 06:26 PM
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As far as I could tell, the tour companies don't seem to get breaks in terms of pricing. They really just provide greater insight into which lodges have the best reputations and also really save you time, energy, and long distance calling costs by coordinating all of this for you.

Assuming we aren't talking about public park lodging but instead private lodging (which is what sabi sands is) then the difference in price between amongst the private lodges is mostly due to accomodations and not so much the quality of the game drives you'll take.

Yes, the accomodations were great, but in no way did it take away from the Safari experience. It really doesn't. Once you are on the game drive, you'll be so far removed from the lodge that you will definitely get the safari feel. Espcially if your lodge offers sundowners where you get some snacks and drinks during the afternoon game drive during sunset.
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Feb 1st, 2007, 05:39 AM
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We stayed in a fantastic hotel, not in the center of Capetown itself but THE perfect location to do both the center and the surroundings: tour the peninsula, go to cape of good hope etc. They make wonderful packages and oof is just superb , it is a winery.
name : constantia uitsig. Just great! They also own a lodge but not in SS but rather Timbavati. In SS we stayed in Simbambili which is a great lodge with the most superb leopard sighting as you will find elewhere on the forum. Less expensive than Londo , great value!
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Feb 2nd, 2007, 09:37 AM
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To all,
Thanks for the superb replies. I have learned a lot and once I absorb it all and have a chance to select a tour company and itinerary, I'll post on a new thread and get some more terrific help.
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Feb 2nd, 2007, 06:31 PM
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I recommend Wild Wings Safaris based upon all my dealings with them so far for a safari in the Sabi Sands and Timbavati in June 2007. They spent significant time in responding to all my questions and difficult logistics (we are a going to a group of 6 adults and 6 kids) and I am very satisfied.

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Mar 26th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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for capetown i would go with africadiscovery tours and for sabi sands malamala hands down.
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