First Trip to Africa- how does this itinerary sound?

Jan 3rd, 2010, 02:03 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2
First Trip to Africa- how does this itinerary sound?

Hi,
This is my first post to this website although I have read the great advice that has been given by others. My husband and I are planning our first trip to Africa for December 2010. Due to our professions this really is the only time of year that we are able to get away for a few weeks at a time. We are both 27 years old and have always wanted to travel to Africa. This will probably be a once in a life time type of trip. We have decided on spending our time in South Africa. I have been researching different travel companies and I have found an itinerary with Eyes on Africa that my husband and I really are happy with. I was wondering if anyone else has worked with this company and if they were happy with them? Also how does our itinerary sound? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!! Thanks in advance.
Dec. 4th :
Land in Johannesburg International and transfer to Mpumalanga Airport Scheduled road transfer to Hippo Hollow Estate
Dec. 5th:
Full day trip of Panorama route
Dec. 6th:
Transfer to Elephant Plains for three nights
Dec. 9th:
Light air transfer to Garonga for three nights
Dec. 12th:
Flight to Cape Town and one night spent at Four Rosmead
Dec. 13th.
Road transfer to Bushmans Kloof for two nights
Dec. 15th
Road transfer to Four Rosmead for 3 nights
Dec. 18th
Leave Cape Town for Chicago.
drrx2006 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 05:00 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 313
We were able to combine a visit to Chimpanzee Eden (the Jane Goodall sanctuary / Animal Planet show) on our Panorama route day (its in Mpumalanga) and really enjoyed it, having watched the show and been familiar with some of the chimps.
kak113 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 06:06 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Hi dr

Here my comments:

Dec. 4th :
Land in Johannesburg International and transfer to Mpumalanga Airport Scheduled road transfer to Hippo Hollow Estate

>> Excellent! A very good choice for a smooth yet interesting introduction to SA and its lifestyle!!

Dec. 5th:
Full day trip of Panorama route
Dec. 6th:
Transfer to Elephant Plains for three nights

>>> WONDERFUL choice! Particularly staying there for 3 nights is a wise choice!

Dec. 9th:
Light air transfer to Garonga for three nights

>>> Also excellent! Here you will enjoy the game but also the very different bush lifestyle in the bush compared to EP - incl. the Spa!

Dec. 12th:
Flight to Cape Town and one night spent at Four Rosmead


Dec. 13th.
Road transfer to Bushmans Kloof for two nights

>>> I think 2 nights at BK is sufficient particularly as this is not the whale season. You will love it!

Dec. 15th
Road transfer to Four Rosmead for 3 nights

>>> Very nice GH and good location for both visiting the waterfront as well as doing all the other sights in and around CPT!

Dec. 18th
Leave Cape Town for Chicago.

>>> I think you have chosen a wonderful itinerary, the right durations of stays in each venue/location with only highlights throughout!

I am sure you do some sightseeing as

- Cape Point
- Penguins/Boulders
- Table Mountain (do it as soon as there is no tablecloth! Don't postpone whaever your plans might have been!)
- Robben Island (I would do it only if I can jump on tickets on sight. Remember flexibility in view to Table mountain!)
- Wineland CONSTANTIA
- Kirstenbosh Gardens
- Bookap


etc etc etc

Happy Planning!

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 12:36 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
The itinerary is good. Matt from my office was at Elephant Plains a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. The lodge is quite simple and the property is small but it has traversing rights with Arathusa so you have some more land to drive on. It is in the highly productive Sabi Sands. Some of the reasons it is less expensive than its southern neighbbor Londolozi and MalaMala are:
1. No river - less of a factor in the wet season.
2. Much less luxurious - no china plates, crystal stemware, etc.
3. Much smaller rooms - some of the rooms at EP are rondevals.
4. Very small parcel of land - this is mitigated by the traversing.

Just be aware that you are going from simple 4-star at Elephant Plains to ultra luxury at Bushman's Kloof.

Spassvogel - I do not understand your comment on Bushman's Kloof and Whales? BK is four hours north of Cape Town (by road) in the Cederburg mountains. It is not near the coast. I think perhaps you are thinking of a different place. No worries!

Eyes on Africa - a great company and also one of my companies biggest competitors in the US. I am sure you know they are based in Chicago so you can meet face to face. James Weis, the owner, is on Fodors from time-to-time as jweis. I'd book with them if I was not in the business myself.

Good luck!

Craig Beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 01:08 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Craig
You are perfectly right - Bushman's Kloof has nothing to do with the Southern Right season. Of course not. I bet you knew that I mixed it up with Grootbos ;-) How could I? No idea..... mea culpa!

SV

Ah dr.

Craig has pointed out the Elephant Plains' advantages/differences to other Sabi Sand lodges
Additional to the "regular" rondavels they have also a few "luxuriouy suites" which might be of interest. These are much bigger than the regular rondavels and more private.
You should also know: If EP is entirely booked it puts 3 people in one row of the vehicle. So not everybody has got a "window" seat on game drives. This is of importance to serious photographers. You should evaluate whether this means a dealbreaker for you. If you are a leisure photographer it should be fine. Otherwise the photographer should try to get the seat besides the driver/guide.

I have a dentist-dr-friend who visits EP once a year for at least 3 nights and he is a serious photographer. He always gets great pics (particularly leopards!) - and he loves the place!
Another friend has spent 2 consecutive weeks et EP in 2008 and also loved it. Also a keen Photographer. She as well took great leopard pics!

This is just to provide you with some confidence regarding EP !

Further happy planning!
spassvogel is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 01:35 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
Thanks SV. I think Elephant Plains sounds good for drrx.

Craig Beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 04:14 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 294
Big thumbs up for Eyes on Africa.
napamatt_2 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 06:28 PM
  #8  
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2
Thanks for all of the advice!!! We are really excited about our trip. Does anyone have any reviews of Garonga? I was a little nervous at first about this safari camp because they are not as focused on the safari (or so I have read). However, Eyes on Africa assured me that safari is still their main business, which does make a lot of sense!
drrx2006 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 11:10 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,943
we loved our two days at elephant plains last october....another day or two would have been even better....we saw 6 leopards in 24 hours, btw...

the accomodations were very good....we had a rondoval---ask for #5.... the food left something to be desired but it was ok....

the drives were fantastic and so were all the staff...

we also did 2 days of self-drive with overnites at olifants in kruger.....we saw tons of game, but of course you are not able to leave the road, but honestly it was not necessary...

we did it all on our own and would do the same another time...

cape town is ok but not fabulous....but the area surrounding it and up the coast is fantastic...
rhkkmk is offline  
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