Family holiday

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Feb 19th, 2006, 06:29 AM
  #1
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Family holiday

Hi:

Our family will be travelling to SA in December 2006. We have two boys, ages 13 and 15. We arrive in Jo'burg on the 26th of December and leave from Capetown on the 4th of January. We were thinking of doing a safari for 4 nights and Capetown for 4 nights. We were originally hoping for a longer trip, but are flying on points from Toronto and this is what we could get.

We are hoping to keep our budget around $15,000 - 18,000 CDN. We do realize that we will need two rooms/tents on the safari.

Any suggestions on safari accommodations would be greatly appreciated.

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Feb 19th, 2006, 09:36 AM
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Hello Kirby,

December 2006 is high season in South Africa, so it's good that you're planning your trip now. You'll have a good choice of accommodation options at this point.

South Africa is unique in having a large number of malaria-free options for safaris, which are often preferred by people who don't want their children to take anti-malarial drugs. How do you feel about this issue? You will be travelling the South African summer, when mosquitos are more prevalent and the risk is higher, so if you went into a malarial area taking anti-malarials would be a must.

The drugs are not without side-effects, but the vast majority of people take them without any problems. The main concerns relate to very young children, so your boys will almost certainly be fine.

If you and your family don't mind taking the drugs, I would recommend the Sabi Sands near Kruger National Park. Of all the game reserves I've visited, I've had the best and most consistent game-viewing at Sabi Sands, which is almost certainly the best place on earth to see the otherwise elusive leopard.

During the time you're travelling, the bush will be lush and green, which will make seeing some of the predators more challenging. However, you'll also have the opportunity to see many baby animals, as that's when many of the antelope give birth.

The Sabi Sands is a private game reserve where the number of visitors is limited, you are guided by expert rangers and trackers, and you can drive off-road in search of wildlife. The lodges, while not inexpensive, are very good value for money, and often include A/C and plunge pools (essential for coping with the heat and humidity of a South African summer).

There are many options in the Sabi Sands which can fit a variety of budgets. Londolozi, Simbambili, and Mala Mala have all been highly recommended by regulars on this board.

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 19th, 2006, 12:32 PM
  #3
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Thanks for the info Julian. Taking anti-malarials is not an issue for us. We have had Lion Sands River Lodge recommended to us - have you stayed there or do you know anything about it?
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Feb 19th, 2006, 03:36 PM
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Hello,

Lion Sands is in the Sabi Sands. I haven't stayed there myself, but I've read mixed reviews about it on this board -- the rooms are quite nice (NB the more expensive Ivory Lodge is the focus of most of the rooms comments), but the game-viewing was mediocre. With two teenage boys who are unlikely to be impressed with a posh room, you may want to look somewhere else.

With wild animals there are never any guarantees, but the three lodges I mentioned in my last post have received very good reviews for their game-viewing. I've stayed several times at Londolozi and had superb game-viewing every time. CCAfrica is also known for the quality of their young people's programme.

www.londolozi.com

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 20th, 2006, 01:15 AM
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Kirby

It's high season in SA but low season in Botswana. Cape Town to Maun (Botswana's safari hub) is just 7km further than Cape Town to Kruger International (Kruger's airport hub) and they have similar climate.

All Julian's points are valid, but for genuinely remote safari I suggest you have another choice in Botswana.

Richard
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Feb 21st, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Hello Kirby,

I've been to Botswana as well as SA, and agree that it offers a more remote experience. The Okavango Delta is like no where else on earth -- the only word for it is magical. It's often seen as very expensive, but offers very good pricing in the off season, which is when you would be travelling. In addition to game drives, you could fish, boat, or glide through the reeds in a mokoro, activities which your boys might enjoy.

However, if comfort is a factor, few of the camps in Botswana have air conditioning (though many have fans and/or pools). Unless you come from a very hot and humid area and enjoy that type of weather, I'd highly recommend staying somewhere with fans in the rooms and a pool if you choose Botswana. My guides told me about temperatures in the range of 40+ C (104+ F) in December and January, and extreme humidity.

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 21st, 2006, 05:17 PM
  #7
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Thanks for the heads up on Botswana - we had not really considered going there. I will have to do some research into some camps there - any suggestions?
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 03:01 PM
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Hello,

Wilderness Safaris manages a large number of camps in Botswana. I've stayed at several of their camps and really enjoyed my time there.

www.wilderness-safaris.com

Kwando Safaris offers a more intensive game-viewing experience, which might appeal to your boys.

www.kwando.com

Kwando offers some particularly attractive specials at the time you're planning to travel.

If you want to do Botswana, I would advise doing the safari part first and then finishing up in Cape Town, as the easiest access to Botswana is out of Joburg.

Cheers,
Julian
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