full trip report sabisands dec 2003

Reply

Jan 16th, 2004, 04:12 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407
full trip report sabisands dec 2003

SORRY for previous postings-new to this thread.We left for RSA end of november and was relieved to arrive in my beloved country.I have planned this safari for six months and could not wait to return to the bush.My parents still live in Nelspruit so this was my base for the next six weeks.The first leg of my safari took me to a much anticipated visit to the boulders lodge at singita.Arriving there the general manager-HOFFIN greeted us and after a lodge orientation checked into suite nr 2.ON OUR first afternoon game drive we saw buff,rhino,elephant-the highlight being a leopard stalking impala-unsuccessful.WE returned to the lodge for a beautiful supper served in the main building.We had one boma dinner and one in the formal dining room.Awakening in the heart of the bush at singita,walking outside onto the wooden deck and smelling the fresh air/while watching the african sunrise!-Does it get any better than this!.We had lunch one afternoon at Ebony lodge-highly reccomended.The rest of the game drives were ok but nothing special-we did however traverse into londo once for a good leopard sighting-a female leopard calling a male.To summarize-great food,accommodation,service,ranger-not enthusiastic enough ,all and all great experience.Londolozi tree was next a lodge i always wanted to visit.GREAT suites,I must recomend requesting a suite With a sala.The sand river has stopped surface flow as they are experiencing a severe drought at present-immagine these rooms if you have a river flowing in front of your suite.We saw the usual suspects in the northern section of londolozi property-most memourable large breeding herds of elephants.To summarize-great lodge.Well next it was off to the remote southern section of the property-londoz safari lodge.It was here that we had the pleasure of meeting one of the best tracker and ranger teams i have ever experienced.The ranger to me makes or breaks my safari.Jonothan harley and ZACK-what a team!They tracked lions and wildebeest tracks one morning refusing to give up for more than two hours only to be rewarded seeing the final minutes of the kill.We sat within two meters of lions crushing bones,fighting for the lions share.Another great leopard sighting followed that night during whitch a male leopard snatched a duiker kill from a smaller female-this happening in the treetops above our landrover.I can truly say this is one of the best kept secrets in the sabisands.Ask for breakfast in the dry river bed.Another thing to remember is that although londlozi safari has a small traversing area in the south [800 acres] they are allowed into Dudley witch gives them an additional 7000 acres.Well next up i went to my favourite-MALAMALA a game lodge that is not very popular on this thread I can not understand why!.If you visit main camp ask for suite nr 17 or THE LIONS DEN.Soon after arriving at mala we went for a swim as it was 40 degrees.We could hardly believe our eyes as a massive male lion walked right by us in the dry river bed not more than 20 meters from us-anyway this set the tone for my best stretch of game viewing ever.In the space of 8 days we saw 4 buffalo kills,8 different leopards-including the famous Tjololo[one who stands alone]from the movie stalking leopards-shot over a four year period on malamala.We saw a male lion chasing a leopard from a buff kill coming within inches of killing it,lion cubs feeding with the adults on buff kill,interaction between hyena and vultures at a buff kill,interaction between two leopards and hyena at impala kill.My favourite being charged by a lioness while she and her two month old cubs were feeding on a buff carcass-everyone in the land rover[including the ranger]hearts stopped for a brief second.MALAMALA once again delivered in terms of exceptional game viewing.Harrys camp is being renovated at present and local word has it that it is going to be an exclusive upmarket lodge upon completion.Once again my apologies for my previous postings I am new to this format
safarinut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2004, 04:26 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Safarinut,

Thanks for the report.

Just a tip...in future lengthy posts, it would be an easier read if there were separate paragraphs, rather than just one.

Just curious...were you able to get any preferential pricing due to your parents (and possibly yourself) being South African residents???
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2004, 04:43 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407
Hi Rocco
Thank you for the tip!
As you know mtbeds offer a variety of specials to RSA residents -However MalaMala,Singita,and Londolozi Tree never have specials for RSA residents.

I was however able to get a special rate at londolozi safari +-$250 a night
VERY EXPENSIVE Exchange at singita in dec $/R early DEC 6.09
safarinut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2004, 04:56 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
safarinut,

The way that currency exchange rates have fluctuated in the last two years is amazing. When I was there in March, 2002, the exchange rate hit 12 ZAR to 1 USD and everything was SOOOO INEXPENSIVE. I stayed at Singita, and although it was still expensive (about $1,150 USD per night for a couple sharing), it was not nearly as bad as it is now. I am thankful that I had the chance to stay there when it wasn't nearly $2,000 USD per night.

The exchange rates, even at about 8 ZAR to 1USD drove me to visit Zambia on my 2003 trip, and I did most of my buying for my South Africa portion on Luxury Link, with the exception of my three night stay at Vuyatela at low season rates of about $550 USD per night per couple sharing, at the time.

I really would be hard pressed to return to South Africa with the exchange rates the way they are right now. Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania are a bargain in comparison right now.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2004, 04:58 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
(By the way, I forgot to mention, I only paid $570 for a four night stay at The Twelve Apostles in a seaside suite and $600 for a two night stay in a Premier Suite at the Michelangelo in Joburg, through luxurylink.com).
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2004, 05:32 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407
The rand has started another free fall just upon my return.Two weeks ago +-6.3 now in the last week up to 7.4
To give you an idea if I had todays exchange rate including the special price at londo safari it would have been a free trip.

About returning to RSA for another safari-Although we have the best safari accomodations in Africa I can not justify paying $2000 a night.

I will however pay $1000 a night for MalaMala-Exceptional game viewing.
safarinut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2004, 07:50 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
safarinut,

You would be very well served to consider Zambia on a future trip. It is only a 2.5 hour flight out of Joburg and you can stay at some pretty great places for about $400 USD - $600 USD per night per couple sharing ($200-$300 each).

The Luangwa and Zambezi Rivers are absolutely magical, and don't forget that you can see Victoria Falls from Livingstove, Zambia, very conveniently.

Check out this website:

www.star-of-africa.com

I am absolutely positive that after my next trip to Africa, most likely Tanzania, that I will spend a considerable amount of time in Zambia beginning in South Luangwa, and working my way all the way down to Livingstone, before possibly moving onto Botswana for a few nights.

While the air transfers in Zambia are expensive, they are more than offset by the moderately priced lodges, that are usually not priced in Rand, but rather in USD.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2004, 08:22 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407





Rocco
I have been to Zimbabwe several times including Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba.I have always been interested in visiting the South Luangwa Valley though.The Head ranger at Ulusaba is a old school buddy of mine and had only magical things to say about the South Luangwa area .How much for a plane ticket from JHB to Livingstone?

My reason for my multiple sabisands visits are that it has always just been so close to home in RSA- a hours drive from Nelspruit.Please excuse my language as english is my fourth language!.




safarinut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2004, 08:42 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407
Attention Rocco

As an afterthought thank you for being nice and sharing African memories.I got some nasty replies when starting this thread earlier today.It has been difficult translating all my thoughts into ENGLISH.If and when you decide to return to Southern Africa be sure to make contact as I know many gamerangers and lodge managers and I am sure I can get you mind blowing staff night prices,again thanks for replying to this africanholics thread.
safarinut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 17th, 2004, 03:29 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,182
Safarinut
Very much enjoyed your report (though I'd agree with Roccco about the paragraph breaks).
Glad you had such a wonderful experience!
Kavey
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2004, 02:28 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Safarinut, I read your report with great interest because I also stayed at Singita Boulders. I had amazing sitings in 3 days. I would like to know who your ranger/tracker were - you can email me at [email protected]
Clematis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2004, 03:21 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407
Clematis

My ranger's name was Shaun and the tracker's Derrick.I can't describe my sightings as amazing at Singita.This wasn't due to lack of big five sightings but rather that the animals weren't active at the time.Having been on multiple safaries I know you can't order action;I just feel that Singita in times of drought is maybe not the best choice in terms of game viewing

Please don't get me wrong ,you will see the big five,my experience is just that there is generally more action at properties with more river frontage.

Singita's only access to the Sandriver is at their extreme northern border i.e. where the lodges are and this is maybe 3kilometers or so,so game drives generally head south of there.

The property to the north of Singita [Ottawa][on the other side of the river] is owned by a Mr Robson and whenever he is in camp[most Decembers] Singita isn't allowed into Ottawa theirby losing 9000acres of traversing rights.SINGITA'S property mostly consists of grassland and in times of drought sightings maybe poor.This is all relative though to one's previous safari experience.
safarinut is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:45 AM.