Help us choose a lodge!

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Jul 22nd, 2005, 05:23 AM
  #1
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Help us choose a lodge!

Hi

My fiance and I are going to SA on Safari for our honeymoon in September. We have a choice of staying at Simbambili for 4 nights, or spending 2 nights at Exeter River Lodge and 2 nights at Exeter Dulini?

How do we choose?!

Any advice would be very gratefully received (the price for both options is roughly the same)

Thanks!
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 07:51 AM
  #2
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Please?
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 05:51 PM
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email Roccco [email protected] (or search on his name as his email is also posted) He's going to Simbambili this Fall as well --
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Jul 22nd, 2005, 06:04 PM
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DrGinger,

Honestly it is a hard decision between the camps you have selected. Personally, for your honeymoon, I would select a single camp for your four night stay. Chances are better than not, that you will really grow attached to your guide and the camp staff after a couple days and will not want to leave them to start anew with another guide and staff.

Regarding the camps, each of them are very small properties, but Simbambili is in a much more exclusive part of the park, while Exeter is in the busiest part of the park.

I do think that each Dulini and River Lodge are beautiful and have a bit more style than Simbambili, but that Simbambili is very nice in a more traditional way. As you likely already know, each of these camps features its own private plunge pool, although I am not sure if September will yet be warm enough to put them to use, as they are unheated.

I am visiting Simbambili in mid September and it was my first choice, largely due to its value for money, but also, obviously, because it is a very nice place and is reputed to be amongst the very best lodges for its leopard viewing.

If you would like my recommendation for a tour operator that may help you get in the most preferred rooms and other little extras that not all agents will do, then feel free to drop me an e-mail and I will be happy to help. Trust me, not all chalets/rooms are created equally! Some have amazing views and others have views of the kitchen! It is the equivalent of being at a posh restaurant and having a nice elevated table with a great view or being seated next to the toilet or kitchen in the back of the restaurant (or too close to the front and getting all the noise from the bar!

Personally, I would go with Simbambili, but do not let it stop there...make sure that you book it with the right operator. Don't eat at the best restaurant but then be seated next to the Ladies Room, unless you are into that sort of thing!
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Jul 24th, 2005, 10:36 PM
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Thank you very much for your replies - much appreciated

Rocco, I'll give you a mail later today!

G
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Jul 25th, 2005, 12:03 AM
  #6
 
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Hi Dr Ginger,

Having just returned from Dulini, and having seen River Lodge, I have the following comments:

Dulini is an absolutely fantastic lodge with great staff and more of an open feel to it than other lodges I have visited. I have in the past visited, Londolozi Tree lodge, Ulusaba Rock Lodge and Lion Sands River Lodge, but I can say that unequivocally the best accomodation I have seen is at Dulini, the rooms are out of this world with wonderful plunge pools. As usual the game viewing in the western sector of the Sabi Sands did not disappoint either - 8 leopard sightings in 3 days, plenty lion and all the rest of the big 5 in abundance. We did manage to take a look at River Lodge, which is really nice too but more family orientated than Dulini. For a honeymoon, you cannot go wrong with Dulini. Re Simbambili, I unfortunately have not been there as yet but have always heard good things about this particular lodge, especially their famed leopard sightings. My brother recently visited Simbambili and found it great although not as upmarket as some of the others. If it were my choice, I would go for Dulini for sure. Good luck and let me know how you get on!!
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Jul 25th, 2005, 10:27 AM
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Definitely do four nights at one lodge, thats much more relaxing.
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Jul 25th, 2005, 02:16 PM
  #8
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Thanks for all your comments!

We'd kind of decided to go for the Dulini/River option - but then we found out that Simbambili was booked up for one of the nights we wanted to go anyway! So, Dulini and River it is.

I'd love to stay at Dulini for 4 nights, but unfortuntately its booked up on one of them - we've opted for 2 nights at dulini and 2 at river, but reading bushmad's comments, I'm tempted to go for 3 nights at dulini and only 1 at river - what do you think?!

Thanks guys & gals
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Jul 25th, 2005, 03:55 PM
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Dr Ginger,

You may want to consider 3 nights at Dulini and then use the Panoramic Route tour as a road transfer back to Joburg, spending the night somewhere along the way on the Panoramic Route. There are some fabulous landscapes between Kruger NP and Joburg, and if it were me, I would find it disruptive to spend only 1 night at a particular lodge. 3 nights safari will be okay for your first time to Africa...you will be back!

Here are some links for the Panoramic Tour. You would fly one way to Dulini and then schedule the Panoramic Tour with a stop somewhere interesting for the night and then continue on into Joburg the following day. Are you flying home at this point or going to Cape Town or elsewhere?

You would basically be doing the last day of this tour here:

http://www.imagineafrica.co.za/kruge...amicsafari.htm

However, you will be able to find better accomodations for your night along the Panoramic Tour, although others would be better qualified than I to recommend accomodations in this area.
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Jul 25th, 2005, 11:30 PM
  #10
 
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Hi Dr Ginger

Why not try 2 nights Dulini and 2 nights Ulusaba Rock Lodge - might be a good option. I agree, better than 3nights Dulini and 1 night River. Ulusaba is absolutely fabulous too with awesome views of the Sabi Sands.
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Jul 29th, 2005, 01:59 AM
  #11
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Thanks for all your help!!

We've decided to go for 2 nights at River and 2 nights at Dulini in the end - we figured only one night at one lodge would be too disruptive as suggested. Panoramic route is out as we were flying into Sabi Sands - so no car!!

Would have loved to go to Ulusaba, but they were fully booked. Ulusaba is also quite expensive - I think we have a good deal with the Exeter lodges (just under R10000 pp for 4 nights)

One final question - do you have to "dress for dinner"??! We are not really formal types of people so I would probably have to go shopping for suitable clothing (whatever that is) if this were the case.

Thanks!
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