Djuma or Londolozi

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Feb 24th, 2006, 05:01 AM
  #1
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Djuma or Londolozi

Hi again:

Many thanks for the help we are getting in planning our family vacation to SA in December 2006. We have gotten a couple more suggestions from agents for the camps of Djuma or Londolozi Pioneer . Any feedback on these would be great. I have done a review of them on the board, but if anyone has been there recently or has strong feelings one way or the other, please me know.

Also, we have had the Radisson recommended to us for Capetown. We need two rooms everywhere we go as our boys are 13 and 15 - any other suggestions for lodging at Capetown. Do people suggest renting a car and touring on our own in Capetown, or hiring a car/driver for a couple of days to see the sights?

Again, I am very appreciative of the help - I have used this website for many of our travels in the past (Thailand and Australia) and have found the advice and comments extremely valuable.

Thanks,

Lori
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Feb 24th, 2006, 09:02 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Hello Lori,

I've stayed at Londoz several times, and had superb game-viewing every time. The leopard viewing in particular has been specactular -- the rangers not only know about leopards, but about the indivudual and family histories of the leopards of Londolozi, which adds tremendously to the game-vieiwng experience.

Pioneer is one of the smaller camps at Londoz, and has a classic, informal safari atmosphere (the open kitchen is great). You may have read some disparaging comments here about Bateleur Camp (the oldest of Londoz's camps) but Pioneer is considerably newer and posher (and Bateleur has undergone some recent refurbishments so those comments are out of date anyhow).

I have not stayed at Djuma, which is located on the same reserve as Vuyatela (their luxury option). Service at Vuyatela has gotten mixed reviews here.

However, I met one of owners of Vuyatela/Djuma in Botswana, and her attitude towards her guests (especially Americans) was appalling. In some camps this might not matter, but according to people on Fodors it's not uncommon for the owners and their personal friends to stay at the lodges, where they are treated like royalty whilst the guests are ignored.

I'm not saying you can't have a great experience at Djuma. However, when there is such a negative attitude at the top, you have to wonder about the trickle-down effect.

When I have crossed paths with the Vartys, who own Londoz, they have always been very friendly and have prioritised guests' interests.

With your group, you may be better off letting a cottage in Cape Town. You'll have your own space and it will save a bit of money as well. Village and Life and The Village Lodge both have cottages in DeWaterkant, a very nice, centrally located part of town with lots of restaurants and shops. Village and Life also offers cottages and apartments in other areas of town if you prefer a different area.

http://www.dewaterkant.com/

http://www.thevillagelodge.com/

This would be much less expensive than staying in a hotel, and would also enable you to live 'like a local' for a few days.

If you stay in the City Bowl, you won't need a car to get around (but if you stay on the coast, you will). Taxis and Rikkis are cheap and plentiful. You may, however, want to rent a car for a day or two to go down to the Cape Peninsula or out to the winelands (if you go to the winelands, I recommend staying for a night or two).

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 26th, 2006, 06:20 AM
  #3
santharamhari
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You may be better off with Londolozi....

I doubt if it is equal comparison.....very differnt camps, different pricing.....regarding the game, i can't comment....the only camps in the SSGR are Mala Mala and Lionsands....
 
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Feb 26th, 2006, 05:59 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 316
Lori,

I think there may be a substantial price difference between Londolozi and Djuma or Djuma Vuyatela (not sure which camp at Djuma you are thinking about). but if budget isn't a big issue, then I think that Londolozi would be the best choice. The game viewing at Londolozi was excellent when we were there last June, (Londolozi has some of the best property in Sabi Sands on the river), the service and the rangers and trackers were excellent, and the food very good, the atmosphere is relaxed, and your kids might enjoy a visit to the Londolozi village.

We stayed at Tree Camp (doesn't allow kids I believe), but saw one of the suites at Pioneer Camp that was beautiful. I have not seen the "chalets", only the "suites", but supposedly the chalets are somewhat smaller and not as plush as the suites. However, the chalets are usually a much lower rate (although that may not be the case at Xmas/New Years holidays if that is your time period).

I can't comment on Djuma Vuyatela, except I think it has gotten some mixed reviews here. If you are looking for something with lower rates than Londolozi, you may want to consider some other options.
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Feb 27th, 2006, 07:13 AM
  #5
 
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Hello, Lori

I have not stayed at Londolozi but my husband and I stayed at Vuyetala in October of 2004 and had a fabulout time. The accommodations, food and staff were all wonderful and the game viewing was fabulous.

I am a bit concerned about some of the negative comments about the management at Djuma as our experience was completely different. I met one of the owners while staying there and she was extremely friendly and welcoming. I might add that my husband and I were on a free upgrade from the Bush Lodge that we had booked but a large group wanted the same dates at the Bush Lodge. I am quite sure that she and other management were well aware we were not paying full price but at no time did I feel we were treated any differently than any other guest.

We have just finished booking our return trip to South Africa and the first place on our itinerary was Djuma and we planned every other spot around that. There has been a change in ownership in the past year in that two owners left and ownership has reverted back to the original couple. Perhaps the negative experiences some people have had were the result of those who are no longer part of the business.

I would not hesitate to recommend either Djuma Bush Lodge or Vuyatela based on our experience. They seem to have found the right mix of first class staff and accommodations without smothering the guests with attention.

I guess sometimes our travel experiences can be influenced by our own attitudes going in to the experience. We sat at the table after lunch at Vuyatela with eight guests who only wanted to talk about the World Series - while 10 elephants played in the waterhole right behind them!

I know you will enjoy your trip no matter where you choose to stay. It is a fabulous country filled with extremely friendly people.

Kathy
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Feb 27th, 2006, 10:31 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hi

My wife and I went to Djuma Vuyatela in December 2004. I have posted a trip report with some pictures on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com/djuma_vuyatela_safari.htm Maybe you can find some useful information there.

Regards
Gard
Stavanger, Norway
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
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