Duba Plains - Botswana + 12 Apostles Cape Town

Jun 28th, 2009, 11:38 PM
  #21  
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Thursday 11th June

The weather had improved, so there was reason to get up at 5:30 am, including the lions to see, and buffalo to watch, and birds to learn about. After chocolate muffins and the traditional English breakfast, we were off at 6:30 am.

After a phenomenal previous day, we were happy to just drive around and see what we could see. We drove to where the kill was the previous day, and came across the carcass, and not much else. The lionesses had all cleared off, and Reuben believed that they had been fighting. We saw the usual suspects – Red Lechwe, Tsesebe, and birds – lots of them.

Back for brunch – bbq’d chicken, pumpkin salad, cabbage salad, grilled polenta, and cheese and fruit platters. These platters are kept in the middle of the table and weight around 608 kg each. They are huge and laden with around 6 types of fruit (papaya, oranges, apples, pears, melon, bananas), and 8 types of cheese. Fresh fruit, smelly cheese and a sauvignon blanc are an ideal pre-nap combination. Also a hot shower in the outdoors adds to the sweetness of a one hour nap.

In the afternoon, we had the afternoon tea on offer - mini pizzas and some boboatie. Then off to wander around and see what we could find. There was not much in terms of action, but we were happy to mozzy around. Sundowners were had with cheese straws and wine. The weather was much warmer.

Back to camp in time to make sure that we still had places around the camp fire, and that not too much red wine was sampled without our presence. Dinner was lamb stew with samp, mixed vegetables, salad, and pineapple pancakes. We were in bed by 10:30 pm.
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jun 28th, 2009, 11:39 PM
  #22  
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Friday 12th June

After devouring the usual suspects for breakfast, we wanted to see some action again. So off we were, driving through water, past Marshal Eagles, and Fish Eagles, and Wattled Cranes, and Egrets, Ring Necked Doves, and Saddle Billed Storks, and Egyptian Geese, and White Faced Ducks, and the list goes on.

We came across a honeymooning couple of felines. It was the skimmer male and a female who had lost (they were killed by another female) a few weeks earlier. It looked like they had started their mating ritual the day before. He was so attentive with her. He would not let her move away. What was bizarre is that normally the female initiates the mating ritual (is a 5 second romp a ritual? Some of us male species think so), but here, it was the Skimmer Male who would initiate the ritual. 5-7 seconds later, the female would growl, he would jump off, and she would be on her back, legs in the air rolling around contently. We watched this a few times. We decided to drive around a bit and see if the other females were around, but Reuben pointed out marks n the track where you could see lion paw prints. He explained that it looked like there had been a fight between the lionesses, and they had headed off in different directions.

We found the buffalo. They had crossed onto no man lands, where both the Tsaro and Skimmer pride’s territory’s overlap. We did not want the Skimmer pride to push the lions into their territory, as we could not get across there. In fact we were driving around less then 20% of the total Duba concession, as we could not access the rest due to high water levels, and no reliable crossing points.

Back to camp for a fish finger, spinach filo pies, and lots of salad for brunch. Then nap time.

Mini Pizzas for afternoon tea with iced coffee and we were off again. We really wanted the buffalo to cross back. They were content on the other side, and had spread out, which indicated that they felt they were safe. The lions were still where we had left them in the morning, and were pleased with their life of mating.

We decided to head back home slowly. We saw Spotted Hyena, African Wild Cat, Civet Cat, Genet Cat and some Bat Eared Fox’s. A really full drive home. Something to brag about to the other guests☺

Dinner was Pumpkin Soup, Rump steak with a potato bake, green beans, carrots, salad and a steamed ginger pudding. In bed by 10:30 pm after making sure the fire still existed.
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Jun 28th, 2009, 11:40 PM
  #23  
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Saturday 13th June

What morning is this? Do we live permanently at Duba? Would we want to? I would love to be here all the time. What we did not know this morning when we woke up at 5:30 am, wanting an extra 5 minutes or 5 hours of sleep, was what was in store for us today. So the usual routine of wake up, get dressed, wait for the breakfast escort, pick up guests on the way to the mess area, have breakfast and try to leave before everyone else. At breakfast, one of the guests was having a whinge about how he had been on safari more then 80 times, and this was going to be his 12th drive t Duba, and he had never seen a kill. Hey I travel more then 80 times a year, and I have never been upgraded (can you be upgraded beyond Business Class is a 2 class aircraft?) So what dude, enjoy what you are seeing, and when your time is right, the animals will give you a show that you will never forget. So we were off at 6:30 am.

We headed out to where we had seen the honeymooning couple the day before. We found them, and they were still in their star gazing, lovey dovey state. However with them were three other females near by. We first saw Silver Eye, on her own, and then her two companions around 120 meters away. Due to the tension among the females, the Skimmer Male is the only one who keeps them all in line, so Silver eye and her friends find some level of protection having him around.

The Buffalo had not really moved overnight. They were still on the other side of a deep channel that we could not cross. After a while the two females moved away, heading towards where the buffalo were. We went to look for them after less then 10 minutes, and they had disappeared. We looked in all the bushes, and the palm thickets, and we could not see them at all. They must be hiding inside the thick palms. We knew they were heading over to where the buffalo were, so would not loose them in the long run. Silver Eye, nor the honeymooning couple did not move.

We drove around the bushes to get a better view of the Buffalo, and stop to have our morning coffee and biscuits, as well as the long political/cultural/life chats. We saw three female lionesses resting in very strategic positions on the other side of the channel, a bit away from the Buffalo. Our two were not there. After around one and a half hours of chatting and drinking – coffee I might add, the buffalo started moving towards us, looking to cross the channel. The lionesses had “disappeared”. We then saw them in strategic positions near the buffalo. The buffalo would not move if they saw us, because they now associate vehicles with lions, So we hid behind some bushes, and waited. We could see through the branches what was going on.

The buffalo moved and all of a sudden there was a surge toward the water. The crossing had begun. The channel would have been atleast 3.5 meteres deep, and it was an awesome sight watching them cross. We estimated there were around 900 of them. This was a spectacle, and as special as watching the Wildebeats cross in the Masia Mara. As soon as 2/3 of them had crossed, we repositioned ourselves, so that we could see them cross better, and also had a more open view of where the lions were.

There were around 20 buffalo left to cross, when we saw the lions emerge, and go after a calf. A couple of the bulls and cows tried to ward the lions off, so they retreated, and a cat and mouse game started. Within 40 seconds, the lions had gotten hold of the calf, and the buffalo moved back, as some crossed. The mother of the calf tried to go and save her baby, but the lions attacked her as well. One female jumped on the back, while the cow tried to keep them off her, and try and save the calf at the same time. There was a lot of movement between the lionesses and the calf (who by now was not moving much), and the mother. The cats brought the cow down, while one of the females had already started eating the calf. Within a few minutes of the calf being caught, the Tsaro females (around 6 of them) had managed to subdue the mother bufallo. By now the rest of the buffalo herd had crossed. The lionesses tucked into their brunch.

We then saw Silver Eye on the other side of the channel (same side as the kill), as she must have heard the commotion. She could not see the lionesses, and would walk, then stop to listen and smell. She did this and went straight past the kill. The closest she would have been would have been around 150 meters. She kept going and disappeared into the thicket. We did not see her again.

We decided to go and look for the other cats. We saw one of the females emerege from the palm thicket, and head towards the chanel, so we drove back to where we were originally positioned. She came upto th edge of the channel, and was a bit nervous. She kept looking around, and then at the females with the kill. Eventually she decided that she could not see any danger (i.e. crocodiles), and crossed the chanle (not the deep part), waded through reeds and was on the other side at the buffalo buffet.

We then saw the mating female come, with the male not far behind her. They came in front of our vehicle, and were lookimg on the other side of the chanel to where the kill was. She seemed even more on edge, while the male was happy just watching her and following her. She waited quite anbit, before she walked off up the channel, looking for a crossing pojt that maybe looked more safe to her. The male follwed very slowly, stopping often to sniff the ground, and at one point he started licking the area where she had urinated earlier. Meanwhile the female found a very clear part on the crossing, and started to cross. She was in very deep (around 2-3 meters), and swam across fast. As soonas she was out, her pace picked up, and she was with her sisters feeding. The male had by now lost sight of her, and then saw her on the other side of the channel, which probably confised him. He now kept sniffing out her trail, so he could cross, and he lost it, found it, lost it, found it. Eventually he got to the edge of the channel and crossed. It was a magnificent site watching the Skimmer Male swim in deep water, and come out on the other side with his mane wrapped around his neck. He too joined the females, sort of ouching them away.

We had such a phenomenal morning. It was now time to head abck to camp, as we had to eat again. We were back by 2:30 pm. The dude who had a whinge at breakfast was asked in the middle of the drive if he wanted to jojn us, as his vehicle had to go back to drop guests at the airstrip. He was too worried that he wuld miss a meal, so headed back with his vehicle. Mate you would have seen a kill.

Brunch today was celebrated with beer and white wine. Hang on we do that everyday……so I had to have more. There was pork, and pasta with cheese, lots of slads, including a beetroot salad, cheese and fruit. We had a quick shower, a mini pack up, and were back to head off for our final sundowner game drive at 4:30 pm.

We had all agreed that we wanted a drive near by. Reuben had a surprise in store for us. He took us to the Mokoro Station, and did a short punt for us, with our Masai friend. Then our friend had a go, which was very cool for him. He managed a good 80 meters and DID not fall. I was so waiting with the video camera to get something for Funniest Home Video’s. He let me down.

We saw 8 Southern Girffae, - the first giraffe the whole trip. They are resident around the airstrip as they feel safe here. They were beautiful creatures, so graceful and elegeant.

We had a long sundowner with hundreds of brirds flying home to roost. It was our last sundowner at Duba, so it was sad. We had now had 9 sundowners, and some damaged livers.

Tonight the fire was at the star deck. Miraculosly we did not need to use the Boma any more, so we sipped and laughed around the fire, surrounded by water, gazing at the Milky Way.

Dinner was Pumpkin Soup, Roasted Chciken, with rice, mixed vegetables, salad, and an apple tart tartin.

Tonight we stayed up till 11:30 pm. It was our last night, and there were some red wines that had our name written on them (or was that the sippy bottles that had our names written on them?)
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jun 29th, 2009, 10:29 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3
Ah, RWA, it's Linda of the Boston4. Very jealous you got to see 2 kills after we left. We had a wonderful time at Tubu Tree, despite the rain - if it's possible, the food is even better there (thanks to Gladys, who Anne swears she knew in a former life).

The day before you arrived at Duba, we saw Skimmer male and one of his females attack Silver Eye. It sounded horrific, was over in about 12 seconds, but somehow Carleton was able to see that, for the first time, Skimmer male partcipated rather than protect Silver Eye. Glad she finally got to eat, and that the male is looking out for her again.

Great report - can't wait to see the photos!
tindoo_lindoo is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 03:09 AM
  #25  
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Sunday 14th June

This was our last morning. It was sad to get up and go to breakfast. We really dragged our feet. We were 100% packed and had left our bags in the tent. We were off on our last game drive by 6:30 am. We were joined by Spike, who was a new guide at Duba.

This morning we saw unusual number of Red Lechwe. It was like seeing Impala or Zebra in the Mara. We managed to find 2 of the females at the site of the kill. They were walking away from where we were, and we saw another two of the lionesses. There was not much activity with them. They were full and ready to rest of their huge meal.

We decided to look for the Buffalo. They were near a deep channel. After around half an hour, they crossed the deep channel. It was wonderful seeing the calves negotiate the channel as easily as the adults. The crossing lasted around 10 minutes. Once the buffalo were on the other side, we had along morning tea, and managed to polish off all the biscuits.

On the drive back to camp, we saw some hooded vultures near where the female lionesses were, and also some jackals.

For brunch, we had a beef stew, potatoes, beetroot salad, and other salads. It was a good brunch. Dardley and Rueben had both joined us with Bonang. All of a sudden, there was a gathering of the staff by the pool. They came and sang the most wonderful goodbye song to the three of us. It was very moving and touching. They welcomed our stay, and said they were loosing a family. I nearly cried (might have been the onions in the salad). The radio squawked that the pilot was ten minutes away. I prefer quick goodbyes, so lots of hugs and kisses (and I think a few tears) later, we were back in the Land Rover heading to the airstrip.

As we were clearing the airstrip of giraffe, there was a message over the radio that we had left a bag behind. Dardley rushed off the get it. I am not sure if one of our party had left it behind on purpose, so that they would ‘have’ to go back to Duba the next day to get the bag.

The plane was in sight, and it was an Airvan today. We were onboard in no time, and heading off to Chiefs Camp before final flight to Maun.

The flight back was uneventful. Not really much to report.
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 03:21 AM
  #26  
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Trip Report
Maun Lodge
Maun, Botswana
June 2009
Riverview Deluxe Room

Check in

We were collected at Maun airport by the complimentary Maun Lodge Shuttle. It is about a 15 minute drive from the airport.

Check in was straight forward. The reception area has complimentary tea and coffee and water for residents.

Room

The Riverview rooms do have a view of the river, but it is not too pretty. You can see lots of reeds, and industrial type development on the other side. Also lots of donkeys and goats. Not the sort of view you would want to sit down and have a sundowner drink to.

The room itself is well appointed. I would rate it a strong 3 star hotel. There was a queen size bed with blankets, a TV with DSTV (Satellite), empty mini bar fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, a cupboard, writing desk, bedside tables, safe (was locked and despite asking reception to have it unlocked, it was not done) and a decent air-conditioning unit.

The bathroom is small, with a corner shower (screen leaked badly), toilet and basin in a vanity.

For one night, the room was adequate.

Hotel

The hotel has a bar that faces an inner courtyard (not the river), a restaurant with river views, and a pool with its own bar. The facilities are basic.

Breakfast was a decent buffet with good service. There was a choice of hot and cold dishes, and decent coffee.

Verdict

Good hotel for a one night stopover. Good value for money.
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 03:31 AM
  #27  
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Air Botswana – Economy Class
MUB – JNB 15 JUNE 2009
ATR 42
Y CLASS: 15%
SEATS 4A 4C 4D
Flying Time: 2 hours

Check in:

We arrived at the single check in counter at Maun airport at 8:00 am for our 10:00 am departure. It was a straight forward process. I asked for seats at the back, but was told there was a light load today, and we had all been assigned seats in the middle of the aircraft for balance purposes.

We went to a coffee shop outside the airport, across the road, it was very good, with a good breakfast selection, and a decent cappuccino.

Boarding:

We went back to the airport and cleared security, immigration and customs at around 9:30 am. The incoming aircraft could not be seen. The departure lounge is small, with 2 toilets. At around 9:45 am, we were advised the flight would be delayed 30 minutes. Eventually the incoming aircraft came at 10:45 am. We commenced boarding at 11:15 am. At least we had been told we would be delayed.

Flight:

There were 12 passengers on board. We took off at around 11:30 am (90 minutes late).

Service was different to the incoming flight. All we got was nuts and a drink. The staff were surly. The rest of the flight was smooth, and uneventful.

Arrival:

We landed close to 1:30 pm and had a long taxi. We were explicitly told again several times to remain seated until we were instructed to disembark. We waited a full 5 minutes after the doors were open. We were bused to the terminal. Many passengers had connecting flights, and were not sure if they (or their luggage) would make it.

Immigration was very quick. We waited close to 30 minuets for our bags to come. Some passengers were jumping up and down about their connecting flights. We were chilled. Our connecting flight was at 3:00 pm to Cape Town, and if we missed, it, we could always take the next one.

Verdict

It was a good flight. Nothing exceptional.
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 04:05 AM
  #28  
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Hi Linda. Good to hear you guys are back in the US, and had a great time eating.....oh and the safari as well. The three of us had a drink each for the 4 of u, every evening at sundowners, and an extra one on the days of the kill, and an extra one on the days that we ate breakfast.

Will email you re 2010.

Mahul
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 04:38 AM
  #29  
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South African Airways – Business Class
JNB-CPT 15 JUNE 2009
Boeing 737-800
J CLASS: 25% Y CLASS: 70%
SEATS 2A 2C
Flying Time: 2 hours

Check in:

All South African Airways flights, including domestic have a common check in area in Terminal 2. There were quite a number of priority desks, so no queue. Our luggage was tagged, and boarding passes issued.

The security area to the domestic departures is still at the far end of the building, so it is a long walk to get there. We were through in less then 10 minutes and up to the SAA lounge.

The lounge is large with adequate seating, and computer work stations. It overlooks the runway and apron area. That is all that is great in the lounge. The food and drink offerings are very average, with a full service bar (4 guys huddled in one corner talking). There is a choice of school sandwiches (white bread, crusts cut off, very thin), soft drinks, beer and wines. It was a disappointing lounge.

Boarding:

Boarding was via an aerobridge. We were seated quickly. There is no pre-departure drinks nor towel service. We were offered the local newspaper.

Flight:

Seating in J class is 2-3 across. You would not want to be stuck in the middle J class seat. We were airborne by 3:15 pm.

There are overhead screens which show some comedies and promotional videos on South Africa. There are no headphones, which was disappointing. We were offered either a cheese or chicken and cheese toasted Panini, and bowl of fruit. The sandwiches were pathetic bread masses with little filling. The wine was average, but we managed 1.5 bottles on a two hour flight (got the rest of the 2nd bottle to take home).

Service was not bad. Our glasses were constantly topped up. Rest of the flight was uneventful.

Arrival:

We landed at around 5:00 pm. There were buses waiting. As usual J class had to wait for the bus to get full, before we left fro the terminal. Surprisingly our bags were already on the conveyor belt when we got there.

Verdict

A very average J class service. I would not pay money to do this again, nor would I recommend it to anyone. The lounge in JNB is just a waiting room, while the flight is a glorified economy trip.
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 04:46 AM
  #30  
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12 Apostles Hotel
Camps Bay
Cape Town
June 2009

Airport Reception

On arrival from Johannesburg, we were met at the arrivals hall by a smartly dressed man who had our name on a signboard. After introducing himself, he took the trolley, and took us outside to where the car (Mercedes Benz) was parked. He loaded the car up, and we were off to the 12 Apostles Hotel. On the drive, he was chatty, and asked if we had been to Cape Town before, suggested places to visit, including restaurants. It was an easy 40 minute drive to the hotel.

Check in

Check in is done seated. We were asked what we wanted to drink. They suggested a juice, glass of sparkling wine, glass of wine, tea/coffee, water, etc. We opted for some sparkling wine.

It was explained to us that there were several reservations made at the hotel restaurant – Azure for us (we had some dinners included as part of the package), as well as some spa treatments (again part of the package). These had been made, as the spa and restaurant did get busy,

Check in was quick, and we were escorted up to our room – an ocean view suite.

Room

The room was on the 1st floor (the hotel has many levels, as it is on the side of a hill). There was a long entry foyer with a chest of drawers. To the left was the bathroom and bedroom, and in front the lounge area and balcony.

The bathroom was large and well lit. What made it seem even larger was the fact that all the walls were mirrored. There is a separate shower, a bath, twin vanity, bidet and toilet. There were lots of towels, and two sets of robes. Toiletries are Charlotte Rhys, and were packed in large bottles. The bathroom was very clean, and well maintained. Throughout our stay, it was always well stocked, and kept very clean.

The bedroom was not huge. It had a king bed that was very comfortable, with a pillow menu. There was a single chaises lounge, and two wardrobes. I felt that the storage space was not adequate enough. If we had hard cases, there was nowhere to place them once unpacked. There was a lap top size safe, shoe cleaning clothes, laundry bags, etc. The bedroom overlooked the lounge area, and had a Sony Plasma screen, as well as a DVD player. The view through the lounge was a panoramic uninterrupted view of the Atlantic Ocean.

The lounge area was large. To one side was a round dining table with 4 chairs. In the centre was along sofa and coffee table. On the other end of the dining area was a large plasma screen with DVD player. If we sat on the sofa, we had to watch the TV on an angel (but had full ocean view). We decided to rearrange the lounge so that we could comfortably sit and watch TV. Below the TV was a long cabinet that housed a mini bar (well stocked), a vanity mirror (odd place to have it), tea/coffee making facilities and some books/magazines.

The balcony had two chairs and a table. The view was stunning.

The room was well appointed, and well furnished. It was air-conditioned (one unit in the lounge, and one in the bedroom). Services included free popcorn and hot chocolate for when you watched a DVD from their extensive DVD library. Lighting was good for the various rooms, as was the climate control and soundproofing.

I felt that they had inappropriate types of glasses in the mini bar (not enough water/wine glasses), the tea/coffee set did not have saucers to put dirty tea spoons or tea bags on, not enough drinking water was given, for a suite we were given fruit only once, no flowers (except a gorgeous fresh orchid).

I have read reports where people do say the room are noisy due to the traffic from the road below. I would agree. It was noisy early in the morning, and late afternoons with commuter traffic. There is nothing that can be done, but enjoy the view, and wine on the balcony, or keep your doors closed. We got used to it fairly quickly.

Service

This is what was exceptional at the hotel. There was not enough that the staff could do for you. Service was very genuine and warm, not fake like you get at hotels in Dubai. Concierge service was second to none. These guys knew what they were talking about when it cam to restaurants. They recommended some sensational places including La Colombe in Constantia, Myoga at the Vineyard Hotel. On the Tuesday night of the 6 restaurants we wanted to go to, 5 were closed. Ashley the concierge made reservations at 3 restaurants, printed the menus, brought them to the room, and then let us decide which we wanted to go to.

There were some obscure requests made to the concierge (where can we get ear candles, where can we see vintage cars, where can we get a camera cleaned, etc.) and all of them were met so quickly. To save us time, the ear candles were brought to the hotel.

The hotel provided an excellent car service. They have a fleet of Mercedes Benz, and the drivers (guides) were extremely professional, courteous and knowledgeable. There is a free service to the V&A Water Front, as well as the city. The evening we were dropped off at Myoga, the driver came in, told the concierge who we were and where we were dining, and also ensured that the concierge knew to organize a car back to The 12 Apostles for us. I know that there are commissions involved in the concierge business, but these guys made us feel so special in a very genuine way. They truly cared. We used the cars everyday to the various places we wanted to go to. One day we had to collect a very expensive camera that was being cleaned, and asked the driver if we would take it back to the hotel for us, while we went shopping. He took it back, gave it to the concierge who gave it to security, and it was placed in the hotel safe. There was a note in the room letting us know where it was, and to contact them to have it brought to the room.

On our last day we went to La Colombe Restaurant in Constantia. Wow…the food was to die for. Service was sensational. We lunched for 4 hours and had a great meal. However we had asked if we could get the car service to take us to a couple of wineries before lunch, drop us at La Colombe and pick us up when we were done. We were collected by a gentleman called Mr. Sammy Adams. He was the epitome of gentlemen. Mr. Adams collected us from the hotel, gave us a map, showing where we would be going, and gave us the most amazing tour to the first winery. He had grown up in the region (I would say he was 60 years old), and had a first hand experience about life there, including the apartheid era. I am not much for touring, but this experience is one of those once in a life time memories for me. We had such a good time with him. He would stop the car and show us some of the most weird, and wonderful things. He came into the wineries with us, and gave us a history on each winery. He dropped us off at La Colombe and asked us when he should come back. We suggested after 2 hours. He did come back, and he waited until we were ready. Mr. Adams is usually based at The Mount Nelson Hotel.

At the hotel, all the staff knew us by name, which was special. They were all very friendly and genuinely cared for how you were doing.

Dining

Every morning we had a room service breakfast (one day I called 15 minuets before the desired time and asked if it could be delayed 1 hour – no problem). If you are on a bed and breakfast package, you can have breakfast in the main restaurant, or pay the tray charge (US$4), and have it in your room. It was a very good breakfast, and well delivered and presented.

We ate at the Azure restaurant one evening. Food was not amazing, but service and the ambience was good.

We had room service one evening. Again the food was not exceptional, but good, and well presented.

There is a plethora of restaurants in and around Cape Town, so the hotel makes a good gastronomic base.

Facilities

The hotel has a spa, outdoor pool, and walking trails, as well as a movie theatre, gym, bar, conference facilities, and helipad.

The spa was good, but not great. The common areas are not huge. There is one Jacuzzi with little pressure, and not very hot. One small cold plunge pool. One very small Dead Sea pool. One sauna, and two open showers. There is a relaxation room (you can hear the pool pump). The treatments were good, although my treatment lady tried to sell me products after a massage (I just dazed at her and she left me alone). I have seen better spas in South Africa.

The walking trails are great. The hotel can organize a picnic for you up a trail. The pool was heated, but it was too cold for us to use it. They provide mini bottles of sunscreen, magazines and lots of towels by the pool.

Check out

The evening before we left, we were asked if we wanted a picnic breakfast (we were due to leave the hotel at 6:30 am), a gourmet food box for our flight, box of moist towels, and a whole host of other things, if we had our own car.

Check out was very quick, and we had an excellent car service to the airport. There was a porter waiting for us, who took us to the check in desks very quickly.

Verdict

An excellent hotel. What makes it exceptional is the service. It is very genuine, and warm. There is not enough that the staff can do for you. I would definitely go again. This was the second visit in winter. I am not sure what the hotel would be like in summer (it would be a lot busier). I would recommend it to my friends as a great place for a pampered get away.
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 06:52 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 294
Warrior - less of the old and birds
napamatt_2 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2009, 06:53 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 260
Duba Plains sounds truly wonderful. When I get back to Botswana, it will be on my list. 9 days seems like a fantastic amount of time to be in one place.

While I am glad that on my first trip I got to experience a wide variety of Botswana, not moving around sounds like it definitely has its attractions.

Thanks for all the detail.

amy
amycyma is offline  
Jul 8th, 2009, 01:41 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 174
Will we get to hear about your Cape Town activities?
agswimmer is offline  
Jul 8th, 2009, 10:04 PM
  #34  
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Posts: 290
agswimmer

All we did in Cape Town was eat, shop and relax. We have been there many times before and done all the touristy things.

We did some shopping at the Waterfront.

We dined at The Roundhouse, Myoga, Cape Fish Markets, La Colombe and Azure.

RWA
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 05:32 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
RoadWarrior, or in this case maybe CharterFlightWarrior,

Your Duba report should send bookings through the roof, or the tent posts, or whatever, disturbing the snoring and urinating baboons up top. Tremendously exciting.

Femi,
Funny you should mention being worn out after 4 days. It was a good kind of worn out, but so was I after 4 days. However I "put in" 12 hour days in the August heat. Not as hot as Oct, but still requiring a short snooze midday, stretched out on the seat of the vehicle.

Back to RoadWarrior,
After about 5 days, I'm sure you did feel like you lived at Duba. That's a nice part about extended stays. You get into the rhythym of things and start to see the area from the animals' viewpoints.

I got a kick out of the comments you shared about diverting the delta and the impala in the tree. I appreciated your account of pride dynamics even more. So much cub killing going on there and from your comments it appears that Silver Eye is not the sole culprit. Glad to see some Skimmer blood coming into the pride.

How lucky you got to see one of the very rare giraffes at Duba!

On to your next stop...
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 10:51 PM
  #36  
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 290
South African Airways – Business Class
JNB-CPT 20 JUNE 2009
Boeing 737-800
J CLASS: 12% Y CLASS: 60%
SEATS 2A 2C
Flying Time: 2 hours

Check in:

The driver from 12 Apostles dropped as off at a very eerie looking Cape Town Domestic Departures terminal, and immediately called for a porter. The porter took us in to the check in area. For SAA there are two premium desks, and about 15 domestic desks. We were checked in, in less than 5 minutes, and off through security to the lounge.

The SAA domestic lounge is large, and very similar to the one in JNB. There was a choice of tea/coffee, and cappuccino’s. Food offerings were muffins, crisps or fruit. Again, a very bare lounge. There is a separate smoking room within. We were in the lounge for 15 minutes, before our flight was called.

Boarding:

Boarding was via buses. Jammed on a very full bus, we headed out to our plane, on a very crisp and fresh morning. They were only using the front door, so it was a mess getting on board. We were soon seated, waiting push back.

Flight:

This morning, we were served a hot breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, tomato and hashbrown, as well as bread, and fruit. It was a good Economy class meal. The usual comedies were shown on the overhead screen with no audio. Service was acceptable. The flight was smooth, and we landed on time.

Arrival:

We parked at a remote stand and were bused to the terminal. We waited around 15 minutes for our bags to appear, and we were out soon.

Verdict

As I said before, a very average J class service. I would not pay money to do this again, nor would I recommend it to anyone. The flight is a glorified economy trip.
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jul 17th, 2009, 04:40 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
I learned about ear candles from your report. You may be the only person who has ever put ear candles and vintage cars in the same sentence. The concierge is probably still reeling.

Again, thanks for your detailed and glowing account of Duba. I don't want to seem like I am dwelling on the negative by mentioning this one fact you gave, but here goes because it was such an eye popping fact:

Only 20% of Duba was accessible during your visit? 80% inaccessible, if I do my math right? I had always known that parts of the concession were often not reachable by vehcile, but 80%? Did they say this was unusual due to the rains? Regardless of the percentage, you had plenty of time with great lion buffalo activity. Thank you for any light you can shed on the 20%.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 17th, 2009, 05:53 AM
  #38  
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 290
Hey atravelynn. Thanks for the feedback. We were told that they had unusually high water levels which left large areas inaccessible. Both Dardley and Rueben mentioned access to around 20% of the concession. There was no movement (less then 1 km) behind the airstrip.

Last year I remember traveling longer and farther distances. Trying to again next year
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Jul 17th, 2009, 02:34 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
You've been designated the role of Duba Historian. Thanks.
atravelynn is offline  
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