help with modifying itinerary?

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May 26th, 2010, 12:13 PM
  #1
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help with modifying itinerary?

Hi all,

So, I've been planning out our honeymoon itinerary for May/June 2011, and I thought I had everything worked out great:

Phinda Forest (4 nights)
Elephant Plains (3 nights)
Ngala Tented Camp (4 nights)
Garonga (3 nights)

...until I started exploring the transfer logistics/costs. It looks like the flights to/from Johannesburg/Phinda don't run on one of the days we would need it to, and the direct flight from Phinda to Sabi Sand is prohibitively expensive for us.

So, I think we may need to forgo Phinda for another time. Can anyone suggest an alternate place/area to add to the itinerary, or a recommended modification to the nights breakdown?

Or, does anyone know if there are any flights from Richard's Bay to Hoedspruit?

Thanks for any assistance!

Karen
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May 26th, 2010, 12:52 PM
  #2
 
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Karen,

When I have clients on a budget or traveling on days when the Phinda shuttle from JNB is not operating, I have them fly into Richards Bay (RCB) on SAA from Jo'burg (JNB). The road transfer from RCB to Phinda is 60 minutes. You can even rent a car and drive yourself very easily. I have done it that way myself.

If you are going to Cape Town during the trip, you can avoid the approximate 6,000 rand per person charge for the Phinda-Sabi Sands shuttle by going to Cape Town inbetween the two safaris. After Phinda, drive to the new Durban airport, drop your rental car, and fly to Cape Town. The new airport is 30 minutes north of Durban (I was there ten days ago) so it is not that bad of a drive. After Cape Town fly to Hoedspruit via JNB to visit Ngala. Ngala tented camp is much more expensive than Ngala main camp. I have been to both and they drive on the same land. The only thing I did not like about main camp is that the rooms are close to each other. I also went there with a male friend of mine and the beds do not seperate.

I like Vlei better than Forrest. Maybe consider Exeter instead of Elephant Plains if you are sticking with &Beyond properties.

There are no flights from RCB to Hoesdspruit (HDS).

Craig Beal
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May 28th, 2010, 04:30 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Hi Karen

No!! You can't forgo Phinda...it is a magical place and I love Forest Lodge. I've spent a number of holidays there for between 4 and 6 nights at a time and I will always return. I agree with Craig in flying to Richards Bay or even Durban and driving up to Phinda - I've done it more than once. You can also consider flying from Durban to Nelspruit (at reasonable prices), but that would involve a bit more driving.
Kind regards
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Jun 3rd, 2010, 01:49 PM
  #4
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Thanks guys! I will definitely look into the alternate ways to travel. An additional question now (and please let me know if i should make this a separate thread)...I'd love everyone's opinion of 2 different possible itineraries (well I'm listing four but really it's just 2 and then a question about camp order):

option 1a:
Phinda Forest (4 nights)
Elephant Sands (3 nights)
Ngala (4 nights)
Garonga (3 nights)

option 1b:
Garonga (3 nights)
Ngala (4 nights)
Elephant Sands (3 nights)
Phinda Forest (4 nights)

option 2a:
Johannesburg (1 night)
Phinda Forest (4 nights)
Elephant Sands (4 nights)
Ngala (4 nights)

option 2b:
Johannesburg (1 night)
Ngala (4 nights)
Elephant Sands (4 nights)
Phinda Forest (4 nights)

You'll notice the option 2s are one day shorter, forgo Garonga while adding an addt'l night at EP, and include one night in johannesburg to help combat jetlag. but if someone has a better idea other than these options please let me know!

would really love to hear peoples' opinions on these!
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Jun 4th, 2010, 05:41 PM
  #5
 
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Hi Karen

No!! You can't forgo Phinda...it is a magical place and I love Forest Lodge.

My comments too.

12 nts on safari or 14? If time and budget allow, go for 14, so that's your #1. If option a or b works best logistically or cost-wise, I'd let those factors dictate. If everything is equal, then the flow of 1b looks best to me.

Consider rhino tracking one of your mornings at Phinda. I've done 3 and all were superb. You have to be at Forest Lodge or Vlei to do it.
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Jun 7th, 2010, 12:30 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 73
Hi aestuo

After having had a look at your itinerary again, I would like to make some suggestions. The reason for this is that you are planning your honeymoon and it should really be one of the most awesome experiences of your entire life.
There is nothing wrong with any of the itinerary suggested by you, however, I don’t feel that you have maximised your time and the money you will be spending to get an awesome experience rather than just a very good one.
With that in mind: seeing that you are going to Phinda as well as Ngala which are both lodges run by ‘AndBeyond’, it would make sense to me to cut out Elephant Plains and instead go to Kirkmans Camp. The reason for this is not because there is anything wrong with Elephant Plains, on the contrary it is a very nice lodge. If you go to Kirkmans however, the game viewing is just as good and it is situated on a beautiful part of the Sabi Sands AND it is also a lodge run by AndBeyond, which means that the service you will receive as well as the quality of ranger will be of the best in the industry. If you make use of a good tour operator who specialises in safaris, they will be able to get you the maximum number of nights at each of those places, simply because they have built up relationships with the lodges over time and they have connections that you and I do not have.
Being a very independent and rather strong willed person, I was all for making my own honeymoon arrangements (thinking that I was doing a really splendid job). A friend of mine then recommended that I contact a tour operator just to see what they were able to come up with given the same budget and amount of – and they blew me away. I got more nights for the same amount of money, they worked out an itinerary that just flowed so well and I can really not say that I would have wanted anything at all to be different (except maybe for spending another month in the bush! )
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