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Help me decide between 3 itineraries

Old Apr 11th, 2007, 03:10 PM
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Help me decide between 3 itineraries

Just received 3 quotes and would love your thoughts on which to choose:

AFRICA ADVENTURE
Option 1: fly to Polokwane. Mashatu Tented Camp
Day 3&4 - Mashatu Tented Camp
Day 5 - Road transfer through Blythe Canyons etc
Day 6 - Drakensburg area, transfer to Sabi Sands
Day 7 & 8 - Djuma Bush Lodge
Day 9 - Djuma Vuyatela
Day 10, 11, 12 - Cape Town

OR

FISH EAGLE
Option 2: Day 1, 2, 3 Jock's Safari Lodge
Days 4, 5, 6 Tanda Tula or King's Camp or Pafuri
Days 7, 8, 9 Cape Town

OR

Days 1, 2, 3, Mashatu Tented

Days 4, 5, 6, Pafuri Camp

Days 7, 8, 9 Cape Town

Here is the 3rd proposed itinerary from CC Africa:

2 nights Cullinan Inn Hotel (Cape Town)
3 nights Summerwood Guest House (Cape Town)
4 nights Cavern Hotel (Drakensberg)
3 nights Phinda Forest lodge
3 nights Kirkmans Camp

Thank you!!!!
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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The Honeymoon if I remember...

Option 1: fly to Polokwane. Mashatu Tented Camp
Day 2 in Mashatu as well?
Day 3&4 - Mashatu Tented Camp
Day 5 - Road transfer through Blythe Canyons etc
Day 6 - Drakensburg area, transfer to Sabi Sands staying where?
Day 7 & 8 - Djuma Bush Lodge
Day 9 - Djuma Vuyatela
Day 10, 11, 12 - Cape Town

Nice contrast in areas. Mashatu offers walking, mountain biking for an active element. It is a real bargain for Botswana. Days 5 and maybe 6 could be seen as adding even more contrast and some lovely scenery giving you a better overall feel for the diversity of South Africa.
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Option 2: Day 1, 2, 3 Jock's Safari Lodge no knowledge, except itís in Kruger
Days 4, 5, 6 Tanda Tula or King's Camp or Pafuri heard good things about Kingís
Days 7, 8, 9 Cape Town

If this itinerary also had 12 days and the other 3 days were in something like Mala Mala, Iíd be all enthused about it. Seems too short.

----------------------------------
Option 2, alternative:
Days 1, 2, 3, Mashatu Tented

Days 4, 5, 6, Pafuri Camp

Days 7, 8, 9 Cape Town

Mashatu and Pafuri in Kruger would be a nice combo. Again Iíll take 12 days over 9 days. If these two 9-day itineraries were in your price range but the 12-day and 15-day were not, I would do the alternative with Mashatu and Pafuri. Or how about this? In the alternative itinerary, after Mashatu, either go right to Kingís Camp if that is possible, or if necessary, stop off somewhere in between. That would make the alternative a 10-day itinerary, and of course add the cost of one night.

Neither of the Fish Eagle ones take you to the Sabi Sands. A slight negative, unless you added that.

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Now you are up to 15 nights rather than 12 with 5 in Cape Town instead of 3. More time is better in my opinion

2 nights Cullinan Inn Hotel (Cape Town)
3 nights Summerwood Guest House (Cape Town)
4 nights Cavern Hotel (Drakensberg)
3 nights Phinda Forest lodge
3 nights Kirkmans Camp

This would be the most leisurely option and would offer variety in your activitiesócity (Cape Town), resort (Drakensberg), and safari (Phinda, Kirkmanís).

This option just seems the most honeymoon-ish becasue you have several places without scheduled activities so you can just relax if you want. Or you fill your days with stuff to do from sun up to sun down if that is your choice.

With so much to do in Cape Town another 2 nights is good. Youíll be able to experience this area more in depth at a relaxed pace. Cape Town will be more of an integral part of the trip and not just a whirlwind stopover after the animals.

I looked up the Cavern Hotel and saw it was more of a traditional resort. Thatís great if you wanted something like that for hiking, horseback riding, fishing, etc. The cave paintings would be fascinating. I would want to spend my Africa time in the bush instead of this place. But you may not feel that way. This looks very nice and would allow some serious hiking. Some interesting nightlife (I donít mean genets and civets either.) You could visit vineyards here, right? If that was important to you. These 4 days make this a more balanced holiday.

I canít argue with Forest Lodge since I am staying there also in June. Phinda has lots of activities such as rhino tracking, leopard tracking in a vehicle, aerial marine life safaris, boat rides, village visits. The reserve is fenced, just so you know.

You are coupling Phinda and Sabi Sands for your safari activities and so am I, so I have to agree with that move. Kirkmanís should be lovely and offer a great wildlife ending to your trip.

If you want a safari with a variety of really active activities, a cross section of what South Africa has to offer, and a leisurely pace, this looks like it would do all that very well and be a honeymoon to remember. Iíd go for this one, which is probably the most expensive.
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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First off, Atravelynn, I have to ask: what are genets and civets???

With the Fish Eagle and the Africa Adventure, we are still considering the 5 day 2 Afrika Namibia Nature's Purity. We are so tempted to run around like crazies!!!

The Fish Eagle divided by the amount of days, works out to be the most expensive per day. The CC Africa includes some self-drive rental cars from Joburg to the Drakensberg and from the Drakensberg to Phinda, so it isn't as high. Perhaps a tad higher than the Africa Adventure quote.

We do like to hike and are possibly considering adding an extra Drakensburg day to the Africa Advenure quote. However, they have us at the Coach House Hotel, which appears elegant, but doesn't seem to have hiking on property, as does the Cavern. I have no idea if they are nearby one another. If they are, I could ask Africa Adventure to put me in the Cavern instead.

Thank you for your thoughts, that's one vote for CC Africa so far!
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 10:21 PM
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Hi,

Personally I like the first itinery is the best. Can you change it a bit? What about Mala Mala instead of Djuma? I know the owner of Mala Mala also owns Mashatu. So you could possibly get a good discount if you stay at Mashatu and Mala Mala. Mala Mala will offer the best game viewing of your life. No doubt.

Regards,

Jacques-PIerre Joubert
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 01:42 AM
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Howdy tabascov - can't comment on your itineray but can answer a question

"What are genets and civets?"

They are nocturnal cat-like mammals but belong to the mongoose family. We saw both on our last safari and were excitied because getting to spot any nocturnal animal is such a bonus!

here are a couple of links - to explain

Ggenet http://www.awf.org/content/wildlife/detail/genet

civet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civet

good luck with the destination for your trip. So MUCH Africa to choose from - so little time!

Thembi
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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Tabascov,
So self driving is fine with you? That might also add some independence for you.

I picked Forest Camp at Phinda and Mala Mala in Sabi Sands for my next trip, so I would have to agree with the Mala Mala suggestion by JPhermanus. Don't know about availability and price on those, though.

Definitely inquire about the location of Coach Hotel. If you prefer hiking over elegant, let it be known. They may have thought that a honeymoon should kick off with elegance.

Sorry about name dropping the weasles.
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 06:30 PM
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Ha ha, I get the double meaning of nightlife now. My line of thinking was all focused around the nightclub.

I'm thinking that Mala Mala might put the trip over budget, but I will ask.That is a good comment about it being by the same owner as Mashatu. Fish Eagle had a Mala Mala option, but it was $$.

How far is Mala Mala from sabi Sands?

I asked Africa Adventure about the Cavern Hotel as a possibility instead of Coach House. The rep had not heard of Cavern and didn't know whether there was hiking on property at Coach House. He is finding out for me for tomorrow. He said that they go with Coach House, b/c they have a history of going with Coach House. I guess I'll know more tomorrow.

We are leaning towards trip #1, partly for price and partly b/c the rep at Africa Adventure has spent a lot of time talking with me. I think all 3 options would be great trips. We will then do the 5 day Nature's Purity with 2 Afrika, but if that for some reason doesn't work out (2 Afrika is a little harder to get in touch with then the other companies), then we will consider renting a car and driving to Phinda (is that possible from Joburg?)
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 06:32 PM
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Looking at the Wikipedia pics and I might have seen a bunch of civets in Costa Rica. I asked the ranger what the animal was and he told me a name in Spanish and so I'm not sure!
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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Hi tabascov,

Mala Mala is in the Sabi Sands. It is on the eastern boundry of Sabi Sands. The sand river flows through the whole property so it's a game magnet.

You will not go wrong with Mala Mala. It is truly a wonderful place. I've been there once. Last year July for 2 weeks. I saw 3 different lion prides, alot of elephants, many rhino, countless amount of buffalo. The one thing about Mala Mala that stands out is its leopard viewing. I saw 3 different male leopards and 8 different females. Truly amazing! The management and staff are of very high quality. The manager of one of the camps has even written and published a book on leopards. Very good book! I love Mala Mala and hope to go back there one day. It is paradise.

Cheers,

JP
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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gotcha. I was confused because Djuma is also in Sabi Sands. I checked out a map and it seems to be further north and east in the Sabi.
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Old Apr 24th, 2007, 06:07 PM
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Well, we have decided upon itinerary 1, which ended up being the best value (although the CC Africa quote was very close in price, slightly more). We will check back with a trip report and photos!! Bon Voyage to us!

Now, we are deciding between 2 Afrika and Island Safari to book a quick little jaunt to Namibia at the tail end of our trip. yay!
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Old Apr 25th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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So things are progressing nicely for you. I'll be very interested in your thoughts on the trip you picked. It should be wonderful. Good luck with your extension.
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