Help Wanted for a Budget Traveler

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Nov 27th, 2003, 07:26 PM
  #1
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Help Wanted for a Budget Traveler

I have received quotes for a 15 night trip itinerary consisting of Cape Town (4 nights), Kruger (4 nights), Victoria Falls (4 nights) and Chobe (3 nights).

The cost of the trip, which consists of land accomodations and intra-Africa flights only plus daily excursions, came out to be approximately $4500/per person for double occupancy.

I was wondering if this was a good deal or if I can do better booking it on my own.
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Nov 28th, 2003, 07:54 AM
  #2
 
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Jet Setter,

Check out www.luxurylink.com

In my opinion, they offer the VERY BEST opportunities to stay at high-end places for very low prices. On my last trip I was able to stay at The Twelve Apostles for four nights in an ocean view suite for the mere price of $570 USD total. Usually this room would go for nearly that price per night.

Also, recently there has been auctions for the Royal Malewane in the Kruger/Sabi Sand area. Although I have not been to the RM, I met a couple at Singita, accepted as the very best lodge in South Africa by many, last year whom had preferred the RM to Singita. It is definitely amongst the top three lodges with Singita and Londolozi being the others.

Luxury Link usually sells their trips by auction, so the prices are not fixed. On my last trip I also won an auction for four nights at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton Square, Johannesburg, the very best location to be, in my opinion, in Joburg. Because I didn't really want four nights, I negotiated with the hotel to allow me to upgrade to a full suite and to include free pay per view movies and free internet access during my stay. I paid about $600 for this winning bid, and saved 50% over what I could have booked for otherwise.

Other good websites include:
www.safarinow.com
www.attractiveafrica.com
www.tagasafaris.com

Another good lodge with very favorable pricing is Nkorho Bush Lodge. It is located very close to a much more popular lodge Djuma Vuyatela, where I spent three nights last June, and shares almost the same traversing rights as Djuma. Nkhoro Bush Lodge appears to be very nice...not a Singita, Royal Malewane or even a Djuma Vuyatela, but nice enough, and I believe if you go in low season, May or afterward, that you can go for about $150 USD per person per night. If I ever treated family to a trip to South Africa, I would likely stay here.

If you book your trip yourself, and research it extensively, I promise you that you will save a substantial amount of money.

I have a few pictures from my last trip, including a couple from the Twelve Apostles Hotel (bought on Luxury Link) and Djuma Vuyatela (bought on www.attractiveafrica.com). Remember, the pictures taken at Djuma Vuyatela are taken on the exact same driving routes open to Nkhoro Bush Lodge.

Here is a link to my online photo album, if you are interested:




There is currently a pretty good looking 10 night itinerary available on Luxury Link that includes 4 nights in Cape Town at the Mount Nelson Hotel, 4 nights split between two different camps in Botswana, and two nights in Johannesburg. The price is pretty good and you could always add a side-trip to Victoria Falls. I do think that four nights at Victoria Falls is a little too much, unless you are staying at a place offering game drives, such as Matetsi Water Lodge.

Best of luck and feel free to ask 20 questions, as I have done HUNDREDS of hours of research on Southern Africa recently, having visited in March, 2002, and June, 2003.

Personally, I think that you can get the itinerary you want, including all transfers for about $3,500 per person. If you use Luxury Link and the other websites, I would say that you the following is possible:

Twelve Apostles Hotel, Cape Town, 4 nights - $700 and will include free transfers to Waterfront, breakfasts and even a dinner and high tea, the BEST high tea in Cape Town.

Royal Malewane, Kruger Area, if you are lucky enough to find it on Luxury Link, 4 nights, $2,000. Includes transfers to and from local airport, all game drives, all meals and all local drinks.

Otherwise, Nkhoro Bush Lodge is a great bargain and you should be able to get it for no more than $1,300 for your desired four nights, including transfers.

Just for the opportunity to be on the banks of the Zambezi River, have day and night game drives, and free transfers to Victoria Falls, I strongly suggest Matetsi Water Lodge. If you are able to book at a 50% discount, as I did, you will pay only about $1,450 for your four night stay, including transfers. Even at the full price of $660 per night, it is still worth considering. Each chalet is huge, features its own plunge pool and your own personal butler (ahh, what fond memories I have of Martin, my never-sober butler that dutifully attended to my wife and I whenever we rang the bell provided by the lodge, and dutifully downing each drink that we did not finish!).

I do not know much about Chobe, but I don't think that you will pay more than $2,500 for your three night stay, including transfers from Victoria Falls. Matetsi Water Lodge is actually on the way to Chobe, so should make for a simple transfer.

Throw in an extra $1,500 for your air transfers and you are done.

Cape Town: $700 USD (Twelve Apostles)
Kruger: $1,300 USD (Nkhoro)
Vic Falls: $2,100 (the median between full price and discounted price)
Chobe: $2,500 MAXIMUM, probably lower.
Air transfers: $1,000. Cape Town-Hoedspruit, Hoedspruit-Johannesburg-Victoria Falls.

That comes out to $7,600 USD, or $3,800 USD, but I am willing to bet that the places I have in the above itinerary are superior to those offered in the itinerary that you have in front of you.

If you wish to receive feedback on your places, please list them and I will tell you if they are quality places or if they are places to avoid.
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Nov 28th, 2003, 07:56 AM
  #3
 
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That link to my online photo album is:

http://www.ofoto.com/BrowsePhotos.js...1&sort_order=0

You may have to register to view the album but registration is free and will ultimately save you a bundle on your online photos if you go through www.ofoto.com.
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Nov 28th, 2003, 08:16 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Roccco, are you sure this address is correct? Every time I tried I got this message "The page you're looking for is not available".
I would like to see your pictures. Is there any other way?
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Nov 28th, 2003, 01:33 PM
  #5
sandi
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jet_setter

The $4500 for 15 days including intra-Africa air and daily tours) is very good, but where will you be staying in these places. And I agree with Roccco that 4-nts Vic Falls, is way too much.

Trying to do it on your own, can work sometimes but more often, you can run into bottlenecks.

Now Roccco has gotten very good with bidding on auction sites, but it's not for everyone and if I recall, for his first trip, he didn't bid.

So it comes down to individual preferences. But do let us know what accommodations you have in CPT, Kruger, VFA and Chobe.
 
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Dec 1st, 2003, 04:16 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Wildflower,

Try this link and let me know if it works:

http://www.ofoto.com/I.jsp?m=4604239...05&n=456003369
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