Decisions, decisions...

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May 6th, 2004, 06:44 PM
  #1
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Decisions, decisions...

I have a few different ways to go for next year. I could be totally considerate of my sister-in-law and her husband, choosing an itinerary that would allow them and their limited budget to accompany my wife and I. While I am capable, if just barely, of having an itinerary of my choice, I am not yet capable enough to award scholarships to USS (University of Singita at Sweni).

Or, I could pull out all the stops and spend an obscene amount of money and just hope that in the end it matters that I spent so much more than may have been required.

There are many variables. By going in June, I am taking advantage of shoulder season pricing in Zambia and Botswana, opening up some real deals. However, by going in June, Cape Town is already getting cold, and the whales have not yet arrived to Hermanus. Also, despite it being very cold at night in the Sabi Sand/Kruger NP, top notch places like Mala Mala and Singita will still be charging full rates. While it is possible to save at a lesser camp, I do not want to bother with places like Djuma Vuyatela anymore.

By going in September, both Zambia and Botswana are in high season and charging their highest rates. However, by the end of September Cape Town should start warming up (compared to June, July and August) and the whales will definitely be all over Hermanus.

Anyway, here are the possible itineraries.

Iterary A, aka "the good brother-in-law"

Late June/Early July

Kaingo, South Luangwa (3), S. Luangwa, Zambia

Mwamba, South Luangwa (2), S. Luangwa, Zambia

Kulefu Tented Camp (3), Lower Zambezi, Zambia

Chuma House (2), Victoria Falls, Zambia

Camps Bay Terrace in Palms Suite (sleeps four) (4)

Dump the sister-in-law and her partner and head over to:

Tsala Tree Lodge, Plettenberg Bay (3)

Phinda Forest, KwaZulu Natal (3)

Rocktail Bay (3), but only if we are in decent shape by next year!

TOTAL COST = $3,375 per person sharing for sister-in law portion, if I am successful at even a 30% discount for next year at Kaingo and Star Of Africa's camps (it's 50% this year). I do think that July is too cold for the Sabi Sand in July when my time with the S-I-L would end, and my only option would be KwaZulu Natal, Plettenberg Bay and Rocktail Bay for nice weather. This extra week would add about $3,625 per person sharing to the trip, bringing up my personal total to $7,250 pps including car hire and additional transfers.


Itinerary B aka "You only live once" or alternately as "Damn the in-laws"

September, 2005

Kwando Lagoon, Kwando Reserve, Botswana (3)

Kwando Tsum Tsum, Kwando Reserve, Botswana (3) (not yet open but I expect it to be opened by next year and it is supposed to have a great location)

Kwando Kwara, Okavango Delta, Botswana (3)

Kwando Songwe Village, Victoria Falls, Zambia (2)

A Room With A View, Johannesburg (1)

Mala Mala, Sabi Sand (3)

Singita Sweni, Kruger National Park (3)

Hermanus, Misty Beach Chateau (2)

Twelve Apostles Hotel (3)

Total Estimated Price = $22,500 USD for 23 night package (OUCH!)

I would love to visit Botswana in high season for nine nights and then go right into Mala Mala and Singita Sweni for a comparison. Kwando will cost me about $500 pppns in high season, which isn't too bad, but when adding six nights at Mala Mala & Singita, that will tend to break the bank.


Itinerary C aka "Just Show Me The Game" or alternately as "Singita Who?!"


SEPTEMBER 2005

Tena Tena, South Luangwa, Zambia (4)

Sausage Tree Camp, Lower Zambezi, Zambia (3)

Sussi Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zambia (2)

Kwando Lagoon, Kwando, Botswana (3)

Kwando Tsum Tsum, Kwando, Botswana (3)

Kwando Kwara, Okavango Delta, Botswana (3)

Atlantic House, Cape Town (3)

Misty Beach Chateau, Hermanus (2)

TOTAL PRICE = $18,500 USD for 23 nights, including 16 nights in prime game viewing areas of Botswana and Zambia, 2 nights in Victoria Falls, three nights in Cape Town, and a two day finale with the whales in Hermanus. The flights departing Cape Town to the USA do not leave about 9PM at night anyway, so I imagine that as long as I drive in from Hermanus by about 4:30 PM, that will give me plenty of time to make my flight.

decisions, decisions, decisions...too much time available at home, and far few time avaialble away from home...that is the problem!
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May 6th, 2004, 07:49 PM
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Roccco

I like your Itinerary B aka "You only live once" or alternately as "Damn the in-laws"!!

Maybe cut Singita and add an extra night at Mala Mala that should bring down the total to roughly $18 000.
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May 7th, 2004, 03:26 AM
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hey roccco, where is the new kwnado tsum tsum camp going to be located? any new camps of theirs i am definitely interested in. thx
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May 7th, 2004, 06:16 AM
  #4
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bigcountry,

Here you go:

**KWANDO SAFARIS of Botswana is awaiting the go-ahead from the land board on an expansion programme that will lead to a 20% increase in its bed capacity through the building of the new Tsum Tsum tented camp in the 175 000-hectare Kwara concession in the Okavango Delta. Kwando's Kevin Leo-Smith says the development of Tsum Tsum has been necessitated by the consistent growth in bed nights the company has achieved in the past three years. "This growth has resulted from developing our relationship with specialist tour operators in Europe, the USA and recently in the East. "The extra 16 beds that Tsum Tsum will provide, are needed to handle the strong demand for the Kwando Safaris experience as our booking levels are substantially up on last year," says Leo-Smith. Tsum Tsum will be situated on the edge of the famous Tsum Tsum flood plain, which is one of the Okavango Delta's renowned features known for outstanding game concentrations and has, to date, not been accessible to the general public.
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May 8th, 2004, 03:57 PM
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Rocco, one advantage of doing A with your sister in law and husband is that you may convert two more people to Africa-holics. And that may help Scared want to return more often. Also you save a lot of money that you can put towards the next trip - which must include most of the places you list in B.
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May 8th, 2004, 05:42 PM
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Clematis,

You are right about possibly making more Africa-holics by bringing along another couple.

However, after helping them for about five hours plan an exotic honeymoon, trying to steer them to Costa Rica or Belize (one week time allowance and limited budget), they ended up choosing Cancun. Some people are inclined to explore this beautiful green earth while others want nothing more than to be surrounded by 10,000 other Americans and all while at 500 room hotels. Yuck.

So, while I wish that I could enjoy a place like Chuma House (Star Of Africa) in Victoria Falls, or Robin's House (Robin Pope Safaris) in South Luangwa, that will have to wait.

I just bought my wife a portable DVD player with the first two seasons of Sex and The City and a few new movies to help make her 11 nights in Zambia a little bit easier. Satellite phone is on the way and is not at all a bad deal. For $200 and $1.80 per minute she will be able to call home from anywhere in the world, no matter how remote. As long as she keeps it to 15 minutes a day maximum, that is fine.

I am probably leaning towards an itinerary of something like this in late August - mid September:

8/26/05 - Depart LAX
8/27/05 - En Route
8/28/05 - Arrive Joburg. Transfer to Maun. Transfer to Kwando Lagoon. Flying business class all the way from LAX to Joburg should make this not as bad as it sounds. 4 nights at Kwando Lagoon.
8/29/05 - Kwando Lagoon.
8/30/05 - Kwando Lagoon.
8/31/05 - Kwando Lagoon.
9/01/05 - Transfer to Kwando Kwara. 3 nights. While I think that it would be great to see more of Botswana, I don't want to subject my wife to more small planes than necessary.
9/02/05 - Kwando Kwara.
9/03/05 - Kwando Kwara.
9/04/05 - Transfer to Victoria Falls. Two nights at Sussi Lodge (Star Of Africa).
9/05/05 - Sussi Lodge.
9/06/05 - Transfer to Joburg. A Room With A View. 1 night.
9/07/05 - Transfer to Hermanus. Misty Beach Chateau. 2 nights for primarily whalewatching.
9/08/05 - Thursday arrival for a long weekend in Cape Town. 3 nights at Atlantic House or if Luxury Link offers a cheap package to Twelve Apostles, then I would gladly stay there. I could totally imagine being able to see whales from the balcony of my room at the Twelve Apostles, as I saw this with Selwyn as early as mid June last year from the Twelve Apostles!
9/09/05 - Atlantic House or Twelve Apostles.
9/10/05 - Atlantic House or Twelve Apostles.
9/11/05 - Transfer to Mala Mala. Three nights in a suite in the Sable Unit of Mala Mala. Hopefully it will not be too cold in mid September.
9/12/05 - Mala Mala.
9/13/05 - Mala Mala.
9/14/05 - Transfer to Singita Lebombo for the Grand Finale to this wonderful trip. 3 nights.
9/15/05 - Singita Lebombo.
9/16/05 - Singita Lebombo.
9/17/05 - Transfer to Joburg for flight home to LAX.
9/18/05 - Arrive LAX. END.

RECAP:

Kwando Lagoon (4) - allowing an extra night to adjust.
Kwando Kwara (3)
Sussi Lodge (2)
A Room With A View (1) - Otherwise I wouldn't get into Hermanus until midnight!
Misty Beach Chateau (2) - With a 9AM flight out of Joburg and a 2 hour drive from Cape Town, I should get in by 2:00PM.
Atlantic House or Twelve Apostles (3)
Mala Mala (3)
Singita Lebombo (3)

ESTIMATED COST - $20,000 USD with 13 nights of safari in some of the best places on Earth, two nights in Victoria Falls at a great place, a restful night in Joburg, a couple nights in Hermanus seeing my beloved whales and three nights at either the amazing looking Atlantic House or the tried and proven wonderfully appointed and located Twelve Apostles.

Better start saving now! The deposit alone for Kwando/Mala Mala/Singita will likely alone be $4,000 USD just to reserve my package. Wow, that is nearly the cost of my 11 night Zambian safari! Unfortunately, the Singita virus has infected me once again! Isn't there a cure for this terrible ailment???
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May 8th, 2004, 06:05 PM
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Roccco

Geez Roccco now you've got me thinking of combining the SSGR with Botswana.

Imagine seeing all of that in one trip!

Well worth the money as these memories will surely last a lifetime!
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May 8th, 2004, 06:25 PM
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Roccco

Is this the Atlantic House you are referring to?

http://www.sa-venues.com/wc/atlanticsuites.htm
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May 8th, 2004, 11:19 PM
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Safarinut,

While that place looks nice, this is the place to which I was referring:

http://www.capestay.co.za/atlantichouse/

It reminds me of that contemporary and sophisticated sort of look that Singita Lebombo has going for itself. It is pretty expensive, but still less than a hotel would be at normal rates.
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