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-   -   Cape Town; Zulu Nyala; Tongabezi, Zambia; Sandibe and Nxabega, Botswana report (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/cape-town-zulu-nyala-tongabezi-zambia-sandibe-and-nxabega-botswana-report-371479/)

mgquil Jun 2nd, 2008 09:03 PM

Cape Town; Zulu Nyala; Tongabezi, Zambia; Sandibe and Nxabega, Botswana report
 
We arrived in Cape Town on May 6th after leaving Seattle on May 4th. Flew British Air and transfered in London. We landed on the tarmac in heavy rain and wind. We stayed at a lovely B & B on the side of Signal Hill overlooking the stadium that is being built for 2010 world cup. (Bluegum Hill Guest House) We had a driver that watched the wind predictions. He took us to the wine country on the 7th. We went to Cape Hope the next day and to the other side of False Bay the next day. We never got to go up on Table Mountain, it always was covered by clouds. Cape Town is a beautiful city.
On May 10th we flew to Durban and was picked up by a van from Zulu Nyala. It was a 3-3 1/2hr. drive. Zulu Nyala was the spark for this safari. I bought the 6 days at a charity auction. All the people there had also obtained their trip from auctions. Lots of people from Washington, some from Maine, Kentucky, Florida, Wisconsin. Zulu Nyala is a private game reserve. One fence divides this property from Phinda. Zulu Nyala does not have cats except for a Leopard which we never saw. We saw elles, buffalo, nyala, kudu, giraffe, zebra, impala. hippo, rhino including a 3 day old baby rhino, wildebeest, warthogs, tortise and probably some that I missed listing.
We first stayed at the Nyati Lodge for 3 days. We were in the original building that is undergoing renovation (much needed). We had a back room that had 3 beds (for some reason they thought we were traveling with a 5 yr old child). The floor had some kind of yellow paint? that turned your feet or socks yellow. The front rooms that looked out over the watering hole looked better. The new building, that was down the hill, had better looking rooms. There was about 24 people max. at this lodge. We then moved to the Game Lodge. This was better than our room at the other lodge. This lodge had room for more people. Each day one tour bus arrived and left the next day. Food was buffet style, plentiful and tasty at each lodge.
Because the reserve is small, they encouraged side trips. We did go to St Lucia for the cruise to see hippos and crocs and we got to wade in the Indian Ocean. We did not do other trips because we were going to Botswana and felt we would see the animals there. If you don't go, your guide arranges for you to go on a drive with another guide. If this is the only safari that you are going to do and it is your first, you will see lots of animals and if you do the side trips you will expand your experience. I would not have wanted to end my trip here. It would be a disappointment after Zambia and Botswana.
When we left for Richards Bay for our flight to Joberg for our flight to Zambia, we picked up people at the Heritage Safari Lodge and the tented camp which is close by. There was probably 5 tour buses in the lot. The Heritage looked like a hotel. The people that had been in the tented camp said that the tents were being /needed to be upgraded also
I believe that the 2 lodges that we stayed in need renovation and some upkeep.
Sorry for the length but I know that others had asked about Zulu Nyala. Gail


KayeN Jun 3rd, 2008 03:48 AM

Hi Gail

Odd about the 5 year old child and the yellow floor!

I can understand about it being disappointing way to end a trip, so very lucky that you started and it just gave you an appetite for more. Interested to hear what you say about Sandibe and Nxabega as I was at both in July 2006.

Also a shame about Table Mountain, but I guess that is what happens at times.

Kind regards

Kaye

mgquil Jun 3rd, 2008 07:50 PM

To continue: On May 16th we flew to Joberg and then to Livingstone, Zambia. We were met and transported to Tongabezi Lodge. We were greeted by several staff and given a wet washcloth. What a beautiful, peaceful place. It is perfect as a break between safaris or would be a great place to end your trip. It is on the Zambezi river. We had a cottage on the river, there are 4-5 along the river. Three up in the trees. The tree house is a great place for the honeymooners. The hippos come out at night and walk around the cottages (we had great foot prints around our cottage) and "mow" the lawn each night. The food is fantastic, well seasoned and presented.
This lodge is not in a reserve, so you do side trips. We rode elles one morning, what fun...then we went to see the falls. We got drenched on the walk down to the falls. We did a drive in the smallest reserve in Zambia but it has the only white rhino in Zambia. The others had been killed by poachers so this one has 2 guards with rifles 24/7. We got to walk to the area where it was sleeping under a bush. We also took a helicopter ride over the falls...how beautiful.
The staff are superb..you have your own valet who awakens you with coffee, does all of you laundry including underware and walks you back to your cottage each night. They put the mosquito nets down each night and light candles in the outside sitting area and inside the cottage.
Everything is included except for the side trips. All drinks included. They had some good wines.
Was introduced to Amarula, great in coffee, alone and with vodka.
In a magazine in the room, there were descriptions for a budget, moderate and a $8000+ safari in Zambia. This lodge was the only one listed in the $8000+ safari in Zambi. What a wonderful place. Gail




mgquil Jun 4th, 2008 08:46 PM

And the end: On May 19th we flew to Sandibe lodge in Botswana. Another fantastic lodge with superb food, wonderful staff and great cottage. I really loved the outside shower. How cool to bathe while looking out at the surroundings..you .sure dry off fast. Here we got to see a lioness with 2 teenagers. Never saw the male that was in the area.
This lodge also had hippos at night.

We flew to Nxabega on May 22nd. This is a tented camp. Just as wonderful as the other two. This lodge has elles at night. Also saw kudu during the day. What a peaceful time on the delta in mokoro having sundowners listening to the tiny frogs making that wonderful loud sound. On the way back we encounter 3 separate elles that were not to happy to see us. Never heard such a loud and long trumpeting. Luckily they did not choose to attack the vehicle. The next evening we went out on a motor boat farther into the delta and again had sundowners. On our way back we got to see a leopard walking down the road. We were luckily enough to be able to stay with it for at least 30 mins.

Lots of elles because the water is drying up and they are moving back into the delta. Lots of baby elephants.

At both of these lodges in Botswana you have your valet and they wash everything including underwear. Both are small camps maybe 20 people. Only 3 vehicles at each camp while we were there.

We left May 25 for a flight to Maun and then to Joberg. Stayed overnight and left for London and then back to Seattle on May 27th. This was a trip of a life time. Gail

Dana_M Jun 5th, 2008 07:03 PM

Thanks for the insightful report Gail. Glad you loved Zambia and also Botswana.

The safari portion of your itinerary was in the right order. If you had not gone to Bots, would you have felt disappointed at Zulu Nyala? Or did that creep in, after having seen other places?

matnikstym Jun 5th, 2008 07:10 PM

Thanks for the report mg. Sounds like a nice well rounded trip. Will your pics be posted?

mgquil Jun 5th, 2008 09:25 PM

If I had ended the trip at Zulu Nyala, I would have been disappointed after being in Zambia and Botswana. If I had only gone to Zulu Nyala for my only safari experience I would have seen lots of animals, beautiful country and would not have known what I missed. For many of the people there, that was going to be their only safari but many were traveling the garden route and going to Cape Town.
I am glad that I bought the 6 days at Zulu Nyala at the charity auction because it was the catalyst to a great trip.
I will post pictures. Gail


mgquil Jul 23rd, 2008 12:28 PM

I think that this will work (I hope)
On my computer I have to click on the 2nd part after the ">"

Pictures of the Lodges:

http:gallery.me.com/mgbmlt#100007

Pictures of Zulu Nyala, SA animals

http:gallery.me.com/mgbmlt#100020

Pictures of Sandibe, Botswana

http:gallery.me.com/mgbmlt#100024

Pictures of Nxabega, Botswana

http:gallery.me.com/mgbmlt#100031


steve1984 Jul 23rd, 2008 06:34 PM

Could you give us more information about the driver in Cape Town? I am wondering how to get in touch with him.
Thanks

mgquil Jul 23rd, 2008 07:53 PM

His name is Tertius Bester, Fusion Travel
7 Ascot Village, Grand National Boulevard, Royal Ascot, Milerton; cell phone 082 555 0423
fax: 0866 541216
email: www.newfusion.co.za
We never contacted him because the B & B notified him that we had arrived. Our trip was compiled by Mills Tourism Consulting in Seattle, WA. Africa is the only country in which she arranges tours. Hope this helps. Gail

Drum_Africa_Tours Jul 24th, 2008 04:10 AM

Dear Gail

I am so sorry to hear that you did not have a good experience at these two lodges. That said, there are so many great lodges in the KwaZulu-Natal area, that do not have funny yellow floors (LOL) and are attentive about the fact that you are not traveling with a 5 year old. I really hope that you will come back to South Africa and next time maybe venture down the Garden Route - it has so much beauty to offer. Maybe next time you would consider doing the Battlefield tours in KZN. Maybe you need to return soon so you can explore more.

Botswana is great isn't it, it's sounds like you had a wonderful time there and I am very interested in the lodges you mentioned. Will definitely be looking into them.

mgquil Jul 24th, 2008 07:14 AM

Even with the "yellow" feet, we had a great time in South Africa. The country is beautiful and for a small reserve, we saw a lot of different animals. Gail

atravelynn Jul 24th, 2008 09:41 AM

Your spark of a winning auction bid sure ignited into substantial trip. What a nice variety. It proves yellow feet are good luck.


steve1984 Jul 24th, 2008 06:04 PM

Gail,
Thanks for the information about Mr. Bester.


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