Exeter, Kirkman's, Ngala: Same wildlife?

Jan 19th, 2009, 02:27 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Exeter, Kirkman's, Ngala: Same wildlife?

Hi,
it has been suggested that I visit Exeter River Lodge, Kirkman's Kamp, and Ngala Safari Lodge on my two week trip to South Africa. they look very close together.

Is the wildlife viewing different at each place or should I go to one of these and try another part of South Africa?

Thanks,
KSC
KSC2003 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 02:32 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,232
i would definately go to ngala tented instead of lodge.

i haven't been to the others so cannot comment on the wildlife - but supposedly it's very similar.

div
divine54 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 02:40 PM
  #3  
 
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Exeter and Kirkmans are in Sabi Sand Reserve. Ngala Lodge is in the Timbavati Reserve. Here is map showing both reserves and these camps and their relationship to Kruger - http://tinyurl.com/2dvbs2
In general, big five viewing is better at Sabi Sand.

I have been to Ngala (8 nights, Sep 2008), but not to Exeter nor Kirkmans. Will however go to Kirkmans Sep 2009. I was not impressed by Ngala Lodge, it was just ok. In the Timbavati much prefer Kings Camp. In Sabi Sand I've been to Leopard Hills and MalaMala and recommend both.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 08:01 PM
  #4  
 
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I went to both Mala Mala and Exeter Leadwood in October 2007, same areas as Kirkman's and River. There are pros and cons to splitting time between lodges or moving around - how many nights at each are you thinking? And how many in your group, also look into how many in each game drive vehicle at your two camps.
wildcatzoo is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 10:04 PM
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WCZ - re MalaMala and Exeter, how many days/nights each and how do you compare them? You were able to make a vehicle transfer without missing a game drive (or meal ), didn't you?

regards -tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 10:57 PM
  #6  
 
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KSC,

I've been to River lodge and Kirkman's Kamp but not to Ngala.

I've heard mixed reviews of Ngala's game viewing but both KK and Exeter River lodge are wonderful game viewing lodges. The only game viewing difference between the two Sabi Sands lodges is the amount of time spent at sightings. There is a time limit of 25 minutes per sighting at Exeter River lodge because it shares traversing rights with so many other lodges (10 others I think). At Kirkman's however, only 6-7 vehicles go out on 6500ha. That means that the rotation of vehicles at sightings are very slow and you therefore get to spend a lot of time with ex. hunting lionesses.

The maximum number of people on a game drive vehicle at Kirkman's Kamp is 6. Max number at Exeter River lodge = 8. So...

Tom,

I've found the perfect ranger for your photographic devotion! Her name is Stephanie Mast. Excellent ranger! Hopefully she'll still be there in September.

The drive between Exeter and Mala Mala takes about 3 hours.

Regards,

KL
Krugerlover is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 12:01 AM
  #7  
 
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Thanks KL - Does S. Mast take a camera with her on game drives?

Surprised takes 3 hours to drive from MM to Exeter. But I know roads, even dirt ones, don't run everywhere. Wonder if you can fly (charter) between the two? (Not that I want to).

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 12:13 AM
  #8  
 
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Tom,

Yeah she does take her equipment with her. She's got a Canon 40D and a Canon 100-400 L IS USM. She is THE most enthusiastic ranger I've come across! If you want to go out an hour earlier, she wouldn't even think twice! She is so keen!

I don't think there is air transfers between MM and Ulusaba... I could be wrong, though...

P.S 90% of Mala Mala's staff are on strike at the moment...

Regards,

KL
Krugerlover is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 12:21 AM
  #9  
 
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Thanks again KL - gonna look for her for sure!!! Now if I can just get the other vehicle guests to go out early

COME AGAIN - 90% of MM staff out???? Kindly explain some please. Are they paying them in Rand instead of USD ???

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 12:34 AM
  #10  
 
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Tom,

Mr. Michael Rattray negotiated with the staff's labour-union about better payment, work hours etc etc and they came to an agreement. Staff and union was happy with this and everything was fine.

The next day the staff contacted and new union and this labour union said that they could get the staff even better payment etc.

Mr. Rattray rightly refused to negociate with this new union. Staff started striking, dancing infront of Main Camp etc. Mr.Rattray hired a few busses to come to Mala Mala and escourted approxx. 90% of Kitchen, trackers and housekeeping staff out of Sabi Sands. Court date is on teh 26th of February.

That means that there are no trackers on any game drive vehicles until the 26th of Feb. Rangers have to work in gardens, wash game drive vehicles and shine the spotlight at night while driving! Shame!

Conclusion: Mr.Rattray was 100% correct in what he did. The staff was just greedy and naive.

Regards,

KL
Krugerlover is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 10:39 AM
  #11  
 
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We were in a rental car, just drove between the two after the morning game drive. Maybe we missed a meal but that's a good thing, certainly didn't miss any drives! You drive along the edge of several properties, you might have a great sighting all on your own.

I enjoyed both, as long as you have at least 2 nights at each you could consider doing both. That way in case you dislike one of your rangers or vehicle mates you're not stuck with them overly long.
wildcatzoo is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 11:37 AM
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WCZ- do you recall how long the drive took you?

FWIW, on rare occasion I have been not satisfied with my assigned ranger or vehicle mates. I simply tell the ranger that I'd like to change vehicles, not making a big fuss about it, and the next drive I'm in a different vehicle.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 06:39 PM
  #13  
 
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"dislike one of your rangers or vehicle mates you're not stuck with them overly long."

does that really happen?

in 20 years of safaris being out for almost 1 thousand nights in the bush that did not happen once.

div
divine54 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 08:43 AM
  #14  
 
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We had both at the same time - a women who "was tired of looking at leopards" as we followed one through the bush and wanted to see zebras and giraffe, and a ranger who bitched about management and all the other rangers. We were only there one night, thankfully (a last minute addition). This was Mala Mala main camp.
wildcatzoo is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 05:41 PM
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"tied of looking at Leopards"? Put her out of the car and see how tired she is then! >
rickmck is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 09:29 PM
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I've been to Exeter, Ngala and Mala Mala.

The drive from Exeter to MM takes 2-3 hours as they have to stick to agreed routes. They are also not allowed to stop at ANY sighting. MM do all transfers as they will not allow a vehicle from any other lodge to enter their land for any purpose(even on access roads).

When I transferred from MM to Londolozi (about a 15 minute drive as the crow flies) we had to drive all the way to the southern gate before entering on the Londolozi access road - took over an hour.

If you go to Ngala make sure you stop at the tented camp. It's by the river and there is no drive to and from the main game viewing area. It is also small by SA standards (6 tents).

I enjoyed Ngala and Exeter. Mush less so MM. More detail here - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35087812


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