Help: Trip Reports for Different Accommodations

Old Sep 25th, 2007, 01:40 PM
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Help: Trip Reports for Different Accommodations

Hello everybody!

We're running a small feature regarding some various categories of safari lodging. I'd like to point to some Forums posts (probably trip reports) to highlight the diversity of the accommodations that travelers here opt for on their trips.

I browsed the trip report index earlier but as my knowledge of the various lodges is limited I felt that it was a bit of a stab in the dark. Perhaps you could help? The four categories that we mention include:

Luxury Lodges
National Parks Accommodation
Mobile Tented Camps
Permanent Tented Camps

Could you post here any recommended (your own included!) reports dealing with any of the above? I realize that this is a bit of a broad request but I just thought I would throw it out there. I'd feel silly overlooking a report that you all collectively recognize as being really helpful.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 11:32 PM
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Lynne's report on Phinda Forest Lodge is not only excellent but also hysterical: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=35037046

Dennis's report, especially the part on Somalisa (though the part on Susuwe had me in stitches): http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34898513
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Thanks hills--- I'll check them out.

Any others?
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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I can remember a couple of trip reports about mobile safaris. Mine at
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34701244

and Mike59's at
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34684546

and panecott's at
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34821348

Lillipets at
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34867092

I know there are others I've missed.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Kavey's with National Parks accomodations: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34511049

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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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Katie,

It hasn't been kept up-to-date this year, but here's a link to the Southern Africa trip report thread:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34858382

CW

The last post is my link to reports of Ngala Tented and Phinda (I'm sure the Londolozi report is out-of-date after their renovations this year).
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for the links; these look good.

Just curious.. do you think there's a certain category of accommodation that posters here typically choose. Which of the four for instance would you say is the most popular among the Africa forum here?
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 12:38 PM
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As each of the traditional safari countries are different, offering safari, city and beach options, the choice of actual safari lodging with vary often based on total safari vacation and budget.

Some countries, i.e., SA offers lodging within the national parks (Kruger) where visitors do their own game drives and options for budget to mid-price ranged accommodations. Botswana is generally low-impact accommodations, especially in the Delta, so these are mostly small (4-8/tents) and tend to be the most expensive. Namibia is often a self-drive holiday, also low-impact and various offerings depending whether you're in Etosha (national park where you can self-drive) or down south at the Souss with a dune/desert environment. Kenya and Tanzania find few people doing self-drive, rather packaged safaris, though many who post here do independent travel setting their own schedule and choice of lodging; can be lodges, permanent or luxury mobile camping. And, in all countries you'll find the budget and/or backpacker crowd.

For as many visitors who want a roof and 4/walls, there are as many who want to get at close to the land/animals.

As many countries, as many choices, for as many different kinds of travelers and budgets.

I'm sure you've noticed this in the various trip reports you've read. A bit of everything for everyone.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 12:51 PM
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Hi Katie:

Here's the link to my trip report - luxury lodges and mobile tented camps. Hope it's helpful.

http://tinyurl.com/2ual3v

Cyn
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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This is a good chance to promote my favorite camp! I believe it is taken down during the rainy season and put up again for the dry season. So might that be a yet another category? I think Permanent Tented Camp is the most fitting since it remains throughout the dry season.

I've never posted this as a Fodor's report. I just gave it to the travel agent.

<b>Kutandala Camp in North Luangwa, Zambia</b>

I always enjoy the variety of distinct and wonderful accommodations in the bush, but Kutandala (which means something like come stay with us and relax a while) has a charm and an appeal that makes it stand out, even among the wonderful.

Just getting there is a unique experience. After an hour’s game drive from the airstrip, you have to roll up your trousers to cross the knee-deep, slow-flowing Mwaleshi River.

The design of the tents, all done traditionally without nails or screws, is elegant and functional with a nice view of the river during the day and the stars at night--all right from your bed. The tents have a dried mud floor and the ensuite bathroom has a sand-bottom floor. Warm water is provided each morning through a flap in the bathroom wall and early morning coffee/tea is served through a flap in the main unit. The tents are beautifully decorated with shells, tree stumps, seedpods, and other natural materials.

The umbrella shaded lounge chairs along the river are very inviting during afternoon siesta.

The common areas for breakfast, tea, lounging, and dinner have all been designed to be completely open air. The surrounding trees provide the shelter for an appealing natural setting.

All of the camps have great food, but I have to say Kutandala has an extra special gourmet touch, which would be the work of Guz. I can actually remember how good the food was at Tafika when I was there back in 1998 and Guz was the caterer; I found that her culinary skills continued to flourish at her own camp. So even though this camp is one of the most remote, the dining was some of the very best.

There is a mature atmosphere of dedication and commitment at Kutandala with the Tethers as the owners and managers. Rod does the guiding and Guz performs the miracles in the kitchen. Their staff is also top notch. The quality of the people behind the operation has as much to do with the camp ambiance as the physical aesthetics and the cuisine. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with both Rod and Guz.

Kutandala is more than just a special place out in the wilderness. We saw great game and almost all of it on foot, thanks to the skill and effort of Rod. Highlights were:

Seven species all within a panoramic view, interacting with each other (and us): impala, puku, Cookson’s wildebeest, warthog, zebra, waterbuck, and 3 lions. There were 2 male lions and a female. We actually saw the lions before the other animals did, so it was interesting to see their delayed reaction.

A herd of about 300 buffalo stampeding past where I was drying my feet after crossing the river and putting on my boots—-at a safe distance.

An encounter between a buffalo walking down the riverbank and a croc sunning itself on the back that refused to move. The croc opened its mouth really wide right in the buffalo's face and the buffalo retreated.

Interesting bird of prey activity: a fish eagle with a rodent, a snake eagle with a snake, and a martial eagle’s failed attempt at flock of flying guinea fowl.

Getting growled at by a bush pig—not oinked or grunted—but growled.

A big bull elephant and a young male crossing the Mwalesi, picking up our scent running into the forest.

We did a little bit of traditional game driving to and from the airstrip, plus one afternoon when we completed an errand (delivering rifles) for the park staff who were in charge of the boma for the newly located black rhinos. On those drives we saw a nice herd of Cookson’s Wildebeest, a herd of about ten elephants, kudu, a pair of lions at the end of their honeymoon, and a beautifully fluffed lilac breasted roller.

My visit was in July 2003 and I’ve been wanting to return. This summer I will.


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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 04:24 AM
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we have not been on safari yet, but in our original preparations, one thing that I was looking for was a diversity of accommodations. I don't know when we will be getting back to Africa - want to go to India, Japan, and now the Pantanal - so I was trying to squeeze in as much as possible. Also, we are traveling with kids - older ones, but I had their needs in the back of my mind. It is so expensive to travel to Africa that not many folks bring their kids, or can afford it in that stage of life, but I insisted on staying in at least one Kwando camp because they have kids programs.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 05:04 AM
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If I did it all over again.

It would be all luxury.

Kirawira (again - more nights)
NCL (again - more nights)

Instead of Serena's (3 in total). I would have substituted all luxury camps/lodges.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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Thanks for the input everybody. Lynn....Kutandala sounds pretty amazing. I love that you take a probably pricey flight in and then you end up &quot;rolling up in your trousers&quot; to wade through water to get to this little slice of heaven. I love the extremes of that...sounds adventurous.

dssxxxx--- Luxury all the way, hey? Curious as to whether you found the luxury spots at all sterile---that probably doesn't make sense. I guess my question is--- some luxury lodges are more intimate than others, correct? Which ones overwhelm their surroundings or complement them? Does that make sense? Just a thought.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 05:21 PM
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I just got back a month ago from an all luxury safari, and I actually understand your question thoroughly. I spent 6 days at Phinda (3 at Rock and 3 at Vlei) and 2 nights each at Singita Ebony and Lebombo. I enjoyed Phinda, at nearly half the price, so much more because of the intimacy of 6 rooms versus 12-16.
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 06:57 PM
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I hope I don't open a huge can of worms here, but I hope you take a look at another thread running:
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...p;tid=35072739
on traveling eco-style. That might be another feature, or an add on to the different types of accommodations. It would be great to educate folks so that they can make an informed decision about the types of lodging available.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 04:24 AM
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&quot;Curious as to whether you found the luxury spots at all sterile---that probably doesn't make sense. I guess my question is--- some luxury lodges are more intimate than others, correct? Which ones overwhelm their surroundings or complement them? Does that make sense?&quot;


Absolutely. NCL - interior.....the best. Food....the best. Service.....the best.

When not in the Crater, breakfast/lunch was served outside on the veranda where we watched the adult zebras munch the grass and their babies frolic. This took place each time we ate for the duration of our meal. The buffalo/buffalo's were always watched by the lodge personnel and all guests were immediately warned of their presence and were told to keep at least 50-100 ft. away. Sometimes you had to walk within 30-40 feet to get to your rooms or dining...pretty exciting and up close and personal.

Kirawira was just pure relaxation. Food.....great. Service....great. Blended in with the surrounding mountainside and was the perfect ending to a already great safari.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Hi!

Here are some reports I've found really helpful and interesting:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34844345

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...mp;tid=1305130

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...p;tid=34595009

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34844345

Moira
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 07:06 AM
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bump
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Old Oct 1st, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Just thought I'd top this one last time (before I post the actual article on Thursday).

Hope everyone had a great weekend!
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