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Chapungu, Jackalberry Lodge, Tangala, Gwalaqwala, Honeyguide or Khoka Moya

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May 30th, 2003, 11:27 AM
  #1
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Chapungu, Jackalberry Lodge, Tangala, Gwalaqwala, Honeyguide or Khoka Moya

Has anyone stayed at one of the following accommodations around the Kruger area: MalaMala Harry's Camp
Honeyguide
Khoka Moya
Umlani
Chapungu Camp
Jackalberry Lodge
Tangala
Gwalaqwala

If so, could you provide your opinion and feedback.

Thanks,
Jenny
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May 30th, 2003, 01:26 PM
  #2
sandi
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Stayed at Honeyguide in Manyaletti Reserve. Have previously stayed in tented camps in Kenya (Samburu, Tortillis, Sekenani) and Tanzania (Kirawira) - Honeyguide compared more to Sekenani in the Mara in Kenya -

While the tents were very spacious, they were rustic, however, the beds were very comfortable and had the best linens and fluffiest down filled duvets which were delightful to sleep under. There is minimal electricity in the tents (vs. full lighting) except for a lamp in bathroom vanity and on bed end-table. Sufficient enough to locate where your sleep attire was - though plenty of natural light during the day to do whatever you need to.

While we had previously been in tents where bathrooms were within the tent, here, while the bathroom was attached you had to unzip tent to get into the rear bathroom area. This was fine during the day, but at night it was a bit frustrating the first time we had to unzip in the dark, but that's where the flashlight (torch) came in handy, the next time "no problem".

The camp layout was lovely with only about 10 tents, lovely manager's and staff, great rangers and trackers. There is no protective electrified wires around camp, so it was not unusual while walking on the paths during daylight to come across small animals who scurry right past you - and lots of animal tracks in the pathways. Your tent looks out to open savanah and you can see animals out there, but we never felt any fear. At night you are escorted back to your tent by your ranger who does carry his rifle.

Never met another vehicle while out on game drives - believe there are only about two other camps on this reserve (though since we were there last, understand another camp might have opened).

Food was excellent and it was great having dinners in the outdoor Boma. Other meals were indoors. They do have a small pool.

Our game drives were an adventure, one night returning for dinner, stopped when we heard lions roar, backed into a track and came upon a pride of about 20 (males, females and cubs) finishing off a "kill" of a young giraffe from earlier in the day - the smell was awful, but hey it was dead meat. We pulled right into the middle of the pride - in the dark and just listened to the chomping on bones - once our eyes adjusted to the dark we were able to take photos with nothing but our flashes and they developed perfectly.

We've always enjoyed our "under canvas" African experience and this was no exception. From here we headed to Singita - so no comparison, definitly different and lots more money.

With the exception of Harry's Camp at Mala Mala, am not familiar even with the names of the others you list. Sorry.

 
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May 30th, 2003, 09:56 PM
  #3
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Sandi,

Thank you so much!!! Your reply was extremely helpful. We cannot afford some of the nicer game reserves, but we really don't want to be in a Kruger rest camp either. We have been seriously considering Honeyguide since it is reasonable, and so your reply was very informative.

I am glad to know there were not many other vehicles around. How many days do you think you could stay there and not feel like you were seeing the same scenery over and over again?

Thanks,
Jenny
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May 31st, 2003, 01:34 PM
  #4
sandi
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Jenny - From what I've read, Honeyguide is probably the best camp in this price range and as I mentioned, we never came upon other vehicles.

We were there at end-Nov/beg-Dec and surprisingly, except for our time at Singita (which was full to capacity - 9 houses) - every place else we stayed was relatively quiet, maybe 3 - 4 rooms/tents occupied and this was in Botswana and Vic Falls as well.

As to the number of days you should spend here, it depends on whether this will be your only safari stop? We stayed 2-nts/days, but then we had already been in Botswana (2-nts/dys); Vic Falls (1-nt/dy); and gong onto Singita (2-nts/dys), so we had plenty of safari time (though I can always go for more).

The amount of acres allocated to these camps is quite vast and while, to you, the roads will all look alike, your Ranger will take you all the reserve. You'll also have options for game walks which are usually done between Breakfast and Lunch and can be interesting and exciting. You should also let your Ranger know what your interests are (surprsingly,when in the Serengeti we went crazy for birds, so you never know), though there are no guarantees he can find everything you want. You have to go with a sense of adventure.

Hey, I got real excited when I looked down from the vehicle and there was this dung beetle rolling his ball of dung right in the middle of the road, or the two land snails that had no shame and were "doin it" right in the middle of the road.

If you can find a camp in the Timbavati Reserve (North of Manyeletti) at a similar price, you might want to do 2-nt/days at each (and you have to consider your transfer cost between each), otherwise, if this is your only stop than do 3-nts at Honeyguide.

Note that you will be charged for your drinks here, whether soda, wine, beer. And do not order other than tea or coffee for your wake-up (which are included), such as orange juice as they will charge you. Wait till Breakfast to drink your orange juice. Now we're not talking big bucks here, but it's just a "heads up", you don't want to be surprised.

Let me know what you decide or if you need other info.
 
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May 31st, 2003, 03:14 PM
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If you don't want to stay in a tent, for a little more you could stay in relative luxury at a place like Djuma Vuyatela.

I booked my stay for only 2,013 ZAR per person per night through www.attractiveafrica.com. This was by far the best quote I got from many operators. The usual quote was 2,400 ZAR and the next closest quote was about 2,200 ZAR so this was a really good price and they have a nice website also.

Vuyatela has its own plunge pool and looks like a poorman's version of Singita. Here is a good link with some good photos but I wouldn't bother with getting a quote from the website since they are pretty high. Go to www.attractiveafrica for great quotes:

http://www.uyaphi.com/MPdjumavuyatela.htm

Good luck.
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Jun 2nd, 2003, 04:15 AM
  #6
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Sandi,

Your tips are extremely helpful. The prices for this camp seem very reasonable, and I appreciate the tip about the orange juice.

We are still having a tough time deciding between this one, the one's listed earlier, and Gomo Gomo & Chitwa Chitwa. Since this is our very first time to Africa, it is hard to know what questions to ask the lodge and what to expect.

Rocco,

Thanks for the tip about Djuma. Unforunately the time we are going the rates are too high for our budget. Thanks anyway.

Jenny
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Jun 2nd, 2003, 05:19 AM
  #7
sandi
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Jenny: - Both names are familiar, Chitwa Chitwa more, do you know what reserves they are located? Though the difference from one to the other is often he landscape and animals resident in the area. As I said, you can't always be guranteed to see all of them.

As to questions? Like what? Most camps have pretty much the same schedules during the day with early game drives, breakfast, game walk or some other activity, lunch, rest, tea, afternoon/eve drive, dinner.
The difference usually being the accommodations, quality of management staff, rangers, trackers, food.

If you can find the websites for these camps or a site that shows these camps and their rates, see what they say, what your accommodations look like etc. and how their rates compage, then go from there.

What specifically, might you be interested in? And would either of these be instead of Honeyguide or in addition to - how many days do you have allocated for safari time?
 
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Jun 9th, 2003, 08:45 AM
  #8
 
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We stayed at Honeguide the week before Christmas 2002. If you are wanting a more "real" experience, then this place is it. Food and service were tops. We did a foot safari and literally walked up on two cubs just lying in the riverbed. A bit unsettling knowing mom had to be close by, but the rangers were great at carefully leading us back to safety. The tents were comfortable, and our only complaint would have to be taking a shower with the huge flies that would come from no where. (just one, but seemed like everytime I was in there so was he) They bite!
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