family summer 2009 SA itinery

Old May 9th, 2008, 05:52 PM
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family summer 2009 SA itinery

we're a family of 4 (with 21 and 18 yo's) planning a special occasion 2 week SA trip june '09. hope for a bit of exposure to the local cultures and wildlife viewing. trip includes 3 days in cape town at radisson waterfront hotel (plan to visit wine country, the island of mandela's confinement, cape of good hope); 3 days in sossusvlei at the Mountain Lodge; 2 days in okavango at the nxabega safari camp; 2 days near victoria falls at matetsi water lodge on the zambezi river; and finally 2 days in sabi at the ngala tented camp. the trip is arranged through cc africa. i was wondering if anyone has stayed at any of the above places, or would suggest alternatives to this itinery. from what i can gather, many of the camps are rather luxurious and cc africa has a good reputation.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 08:09 PM
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First impression seems to be that there is too much shuttling around all over the place. If you are keen on the wildlife, two nights are very insufficient and given the fact that the transfers are not cheap, there is too much shifting around and some of your destinations are pretty far away from each other!
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Old May 9th, 2008, 08:10 PM
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Hi watabup1

I have stayed at both Nxabega and Matetsi. I liked both - though for me, the gameviewing was average. The tented camp of Nxabega was nice though I would not call it super luxurious. The staff at both camps were wonderful. Matetsi was also nice though in need of a few repairs, nothing big, but just looking a bit worn. I especially went there to see Sable and that was disappointing as I am told they are usually there in numbers, not when I was there, so I hope you are luckier. I did a day trip to the falls, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was by myself and was not really wanting to go by myself, but the tracker said he would be happy to go with me, and we both had a good few hours, catching their shuttle bus into town and back again and not missing a gamedrive. At Matetsi, I really enjoyed the river gamedrives. It was also one of the best views I have had for breakfast and lunch.

If you want to ask anything specific, please don't hesitate to ask me.

Kind regards

Kaye
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Old May 10th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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My first reaction is the same as Hari's. Does your itinerary show the number of travel hours or can you get that? You can compare the travel time, adding a few more hours for waiting around airports, to your hours doing cultural and wildlife viewing activities. See if you like that ratio.

You have concluded correctly about CC Africa. I used one of their properties for a week--Phinda. Outstanding accommodations, food guiding, service, and very good wildlife. It is a fenced reserve of 55,000 acres with actively managed wildlife. More on Phinda in the last paragraph.

If you want wildlife and culture, as you stated, will Sossuvlei provide you those? I have not been there but wildlife is not a highlight in the desert. I'm not sure what the cultural opportunities are. Other parts of Namibia are known for interactions with Himba or Bushmen. Sossuvlei does have stunning landscapes and 3 nights there will give you plenty of time to appreciate them. But that is 3/14 days for landscape emphasis, not wildlife and culture, which you mentioned you wanted. It is also the time and money to fly to Namibia, probably into Windhoek, then take a charter. If you are into wide angle photography, landscapes, dune boarding with the kids, or deserts in general, then this makes perfect sense. If not, then eliminating this stop will allow for more wildlife and culture and less travel time and money.

KayeN's comments on Nxabega and Matetsi are about what I've heard in general. If you mainly wanted to experience the water aspect of the delta with a mekoro, then Nxabega is good. There are better delta game viewing options. The very lovely Little Vumbura or the really fancy Vumbura Plains have water activities and great wildlife. I saw a lion kill there and others saw cheetah, and leopard. Nice lechwe, a water antelope, huge buffalo herds, sable, and the typical zebra, ele, giraffe, etc.

I think Matetsi would be a good choice for falls and wildlife.

If Sossuvlei Mountain Lodge is high on your list, I'd forget Ngala and add another day in the delta at Little Vumbura. I'd spend 4 days in Cape Town if you wish to visit (1)wine country--almost a day to really enjoy it I would think (2) Robben Island, the prison where Mandela was--takes 1/2 day or so (3) Cape of Good Hope, which is a full day.

You might want a day just to wander around Cape Town by yourselves without structure, visit a township since culture was a goal, go up Table Mountain, see the penguins (there's wildlife) in Simonstown--about 20 or 30 minutes away, go on a Great White Shark viewing trip (more wildlife), do a baboon (more wildlife) walk also in Simonstown.

For wildlife and culture, a perfect CC Africa option is Phinda. I was there last June. There are about 7 activities you can do there from visiting the local homesteads and village psychic to tracking rhino on foot. I did both of those, plus a beautiful afternoon guided canoe trip. Phinda is a cheetah conservation area and your best chance of the trip to see these. There are 4 lodges. Forest Lodge (moderate)in the sand forest where I stayed and it was beautiful. Vlei (high end). You must stay at these to track rhino on foot and an 18 and 21 year old would love this. So would mom and dad. Other lodges: Mountain--different from Sossuvlei (moderate) and Rock (high end).

If you did not do Sossuvlei or Ngala, I'd add 1 day to Cape Town and spend 4 at Phinda. Two nights in north, either Forest or Vlei and two nights in south either Mountain or Rock.

After all this advice, if you did what you have proposed, you'd get a great overview and have a wonderful time. You'd just have more time than I'd want to spend in transit.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 11:47 AM
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One more thought. For a heavier wildlife emphasis.

Cape Town 3
Okavango 3-Little Vumbura
2 Matetsi
4 Sabi Sands but not at Ngala, which allows walking but is not known for as abundant wildlife as other places in Sabi Sands. CC Africa sometimes has deals on places like Kirkman's or Exeter or one of Djuma's properties. Otherwise Mala Mala is legendary for wildlife viewing in the Sabi Sandss and my experience supported that. Other Sabi Sands locations that have gotten good comments and are less expensive include Idube and Elephant Plains.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 10:14 PM
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Lynn has given you good tips - but, I wouldn't recommend going all the way to Maun to just do 3 days in the delta.

Alternatively, you could find other options in SA to fill up those 3 days. Or, if you are keen on Bots - go for a bit longer and cut back on SA!
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Old May 11th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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to all who have responded, thanks. everytime i visit this site i am evermore impressed! i will eliminate namibia from the itinery--agree that this will add a lot of travel time. i will ask ccafrica to arrange something like the following:
4 days capetown (table mtn; simonstown; wine country;robben island)
4 days phinda (cheetahs and rhinos should amuse the kids and scare the wife sufficiently)
2 days matetsi
3 days little vumbura or chobe
it seems that little vumbura and chobe are frequently mentioned as very good places to go.
i will re-post the new itinery, with additional details. i can't wait to return to the continent (i was an exchange student to kenya while in high school--1975!).
again, many thanks!
watabup1
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Old May 11th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Watabup1,
I like your revised itinerary much better. Your original basically had you going to five countries (since youíd be going back to SA for Ngala at the end of your trip). The country-country transfers would have eaten up way too much time since they are not nearly as simple as flying camp to camp.

You might be able to fly from Cape Town directly to Richardís Bay (which is where I think you fly into for Phinda), which makes this order more logical.

Giving up Namibia is a wise choice. I havenít stayed at Mountain Lodge, but I did go to Soussesvlei Wilderness Camp last year, and while the dunes are amazing I would not go to Namibia for only three nights. I was in Namibia for a week, and that didnít do the country justice.

My feelings are the same about Botswana. You canít do the Delta justice with just a couple of nights. I havenít stayed at Matetsi, but since itís in Zimbabwe, I wonder if you could do a day trip to the falls from a camp in Botswana. I think that would make transit a little easier. You might even consider 4 nights in the Delta and only one at Vic Falls.

I have stayed at a number of CCAfrica camps and all were excellent. I was at Phinda Forest Lodge several years ago, and loved it. Walter was my guide, and he was excellent.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 02:24 PM
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You certainly could do a day trip to Chobe from Matetsi or even stay overnight. That would give you a nice river experience.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 12:06 PM
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hi watabup,

we did a 12 day trip to SA with our kids then aged 16 & 19 last summer.

like you we weren't sure how to divide our time, but ended up with the following:

4 nights CPT Radisson

5 nights on the garden route

3 nights eastern cape safari.

we didn't go for the type of safaris that you have chosen mainly because we didn't know how much we would enjoy the game drives - and we wanted to do other things like whale watching, and DS was keen on the the bungy jump at bloukrans, near Plett.

we were very glad that we had we full days at CPT - the first day we started off by going up table mountain, which is about a 15 minute drive from the Radisson [as soon as you see that the mountain is free from cloud you should go up] then we drove round the Kirstenbosch gardens.

Because of the short day length, that filled our first day.

the 2nd day we did our own tour of CPT - the castle, the slave museum, company gardens, then back to the hotel - if we'd been better organised, we could have fitted in the acquarium or the district 6 museum, but the latter was shut.

Day 3 - we headed for the cape via simonstown to see the penguins, and back via chapmann's drive.

you'll be lucky that time of year to fit much more into each day!

I'm sure you'll have a great trip, whatever you decide to do.

regards, ann
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Old May 18th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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thanks to all! the itinery is coming together with your insightful comments:
-fly into OR Tambo Intl AP and on to Phinda Forrest Lodge (4 nights).
-fly via Durban AP to CPT AP and on to Radissson Waterfront Hotel (5 nights)
-fly to Vic Falls AP and to Matetsi Water Lodge (3 nights)
-fly from Kasane AP to Vumba and to Little Vumba Camp (3 nights).
-fly to Maun AP, then Johannesburg.
This is through ccafrica. It seems like each of the game reserves offers something unique and we will have enough time in CPT.
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