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how far should we move around on a 6 day south african safari

how far should we move around on a 6 day south african safari

Jun 4th, 2008, 07:47 AM
  #1  
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how far should we move around on a 6 day south african safari

we have 6 nights late march early april for a safari as part of our honeymoon and we are narrowing down the choices with everyones help...

following advice from this forum we have decided we will spend all of the time in south africa at that time of year.

we will spend the last 3 nights at singita boulders and want to decide on another area/ accomm to go to for the first 3 nights that wont go to exactly the same areas as singita boulder drives.

we want to
-see as much wildlife as possible (its our first time so doesnt have to be specific).
-limit travel time between places
-stay in beautiful place that offers privacy. we prefer african design ... lots of wood as open as possible etc.

we were thinking of Ngala Tented Camp but we had fodors feedback that the wildlife/experience would not be much different here. does this mean that it would be much the same as driving somewhere closer than flying to Timbivati?

if we went to two different camps within sabi would the drives be in the same places and be a bit 'samey' or would they be fine for first timers?

if we were to go outside sabi where would people go that wouldnt take long... would it be different at the kruger singita sweni... other suggestions welcome.

once we have decided on these three nights we can book!

thanks for all the help
HoneyM is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 07:54 AM
  #2  
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another option would be 2 nights londolozi and 4 nights singita.... would the drives be in exactly the same areas?
HoneyM is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 05:04 PM
  #3  
 
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These are adjacent properties, as you can see on this map.

http://www.go2africa.com/south-afric...me-reserve/map

--as much wildlife as possible
The SSGR is a good place for this, especially Big 5 that you mentioned before. So the 3+3 or 2+4 at these properties is fine. I like 3+3, seems more relaxing.

--limit travel
Then stay in SSGR. You cannot limit travel time and have variety of environments.

---beautiful w/wood
don't know

Ngala would not be that different, but the walking activities would offer variety.

Whether you stay in adjacent properties or the same property the whole time, the terrain will be similar. The wildlife species that lives in that area will be the same. But the beauty of nature and wildlife is that it is always different. You'll see different animals, based on luck, and the animals will be doing different things. It is not like going to look at the Mona Lisa every day for 6 days.

The only SSGR concession I stayed at was Mala Mala. I thought it was great at the Main Camp. I don't think that was wood. Rattray's is a notch up from Main Camp. The place has an excellent wildlife viewing reputation and I witnessed it first hand. Don't know if you would consider throwing that into the mix. This is a large concession so there are different areas in it, open savanna in the north; the river; kopjes--rock formations.

If you want different places, I could suggest CC Africa's Phinda near Durban, but I don't know how that works with your logistics of flying Mnemba to Joburg. Phinda has 7 distinct habitats and is a cheetah sanctuary, with the Big 5, but leopards are rarely seen. There are 4 beautiful lodges. I stayed at Forest, an award winner, with cottages of wood and glass. The whole area and setup was beautiful. It is a fenced reserve of 55,000 acres.

If your budget can withstand the charter direct from Phinda to SSGR, then this might work for variety. Otherwise you have to overnight in Joburg, which is what I did. If that meant 5 nts on safari instead of 6 for you, then I'd stay in the SSGR.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 08:06 PM
  #4  
 
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HoneyM,

Splitting time between two different lodges in the Greater Kruger area - will be more or less the same kind of area.

The only difference would then come down to the lodges you pick and their schedules and mode of operation.

I have found Lion and Leopard viewing to be consistently good at the properties I have stayed at within the Sabi area.

In terms of plains game - pick an area that has more traversing space ........ For instance, in the Western SSGR I was deeply disappointed with the lack of plains game and it seemed almost un-natural to find the leopards around all over the place!

HariS is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 02:17 AM
  #5  
 
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if i were in your shoes - i would spend the entire time in one of the sabi sands lodges!
i am not a camp or lodge hopper as i like to spend my time game driving instead of moving from one venue to the next especially so if the camps are in one location.
divine54 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 02:19 AM
  #6  
 
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either in mala mala, sabi sabi earth preferrably) or lion sands.
if budget doesn't allow these venues i would stay in elephant plains but there the luxury suits which are quite affordable in sabi sands terms.
divine54 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 03:53 AM
  #7  
 
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I have not yet stayed at either but we are doing 3 nights at lonsolozi and 4 nights at Phinda later this year. I was interested in seeing cheetah which Phinda is known for. The transfer between them does not require an overnight for us in Johannesburg. The advantage of spending 4 nights at Phinda is that the fourth night is free. They do have the Exeter lodges in Sabi Sands and if you did 3 and 3 you should still be eligible for one night free. That could help offset the airfare between the two.
mpkp is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 04:00 AM
  #8  
 
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You probably wouldn't want to do Singita Boulders and Londolozi as they share some of the same tracks.
Ericka is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 07:04 AM
  #9  
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ok- this is really helpful. it sounds like we would get a lot out of staying in SSGR for all six nights given its our first time and we dont want to move around.

so now we just need to choose the lodge for the first 3 nights (the last 3 nights are at singita boulders). ericka mentioned londolozi has the same traversing areas as singita and we would really like somewhere that is going to have different drives even if its similar vegetation.

we checked out atravelynn's suggestions of Rattrays - that seems like a great option for wildlife viewing & accomm. from what i gather the drives will not be in the same area as singita and there is a big land mass to cover. can anyone who has been to both confirm this?

would be very grateful for other suggestions for a great lodge in SSGR that will cover different areas to singita boulders (as well as being private and luxurious for honeymooners!).

as a wild card- would singita lebomobo be worth the short flight for something different?

thanks- almost there!
HoneyM is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 07:49 AM
  #10  
 
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Honey

On our last trip we spent time at both Rattrays (our personal favourite) and Singita Boulders. While both are in SSGR, they do offer some quite different terrain and we saw animals at one that we didn't see at the other. For a honeymoon I would recommend a combination of the two, maybe going to Rattrays first for a more concentrated animal experience then you could (if you chose) kick back a little more at Singita, where there is more emphasis on lodge activities like the spa. I really recommend a tasting with Francoise the sommelier, you will learn a lot, and he will pick out some great wines for you to enjoy during your stay.
napamatt is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 08:07 AM
  #11  
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thanks napamatt - i read your trip report and am definitely planning to follow your lead with the tastings, i already have your wine recommendations written down to take with us.

do the rattray drives take you across the whole mala mala reserve or just areas closer to the lodge? are all the suits really private or would you suggest certain ones at rattrays and/ or singita?


HoneyM is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 08:12 AM
  #12  
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oh, and how long does it take to get to singita if we went there second? did rattrays organise the transfer for you? i assume you drive there late morning?
HoneyM is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 10:10 AM
  #13  
 
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As a bi-annual visitor, NapaMatt could give you details on your questions. You could also contact Mala Mala directly.

http://www.malamala.com/contact.htm

Because you mentioned there was no availability for one of your choices, you may want to move quickly even though it is almost a year out.

I am sure Rattray's allows access to the whole property, not just around their lodging.

atravelynn is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 08:52 PM
  #14  
 
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Don't know if it's already mentioned on this thread - max of 4 passengers in a Rattray's vehicle. No idea about Singita and other places ......
HariS is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 08:54 PM
  #15  
 
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Shouldn't take you long to transfer from one property to the other - you wouldn't miss any of the drives by doing so!
HariS is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 07:15 AM
  #16  
 
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Rattrays is max four per vehicle, Singita is the standard 6 - though in my experience you will likely not have a full vehicle that often.

Transfer can be done by MM and takes around an hour - if your TA says they dont do it, they're wrong as we found out.

Rattrays vehicles use all of MM, and are well placed to explore the interesting southern portions of the property.
napamatt is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 07:31 AM
  #17  
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thanks for the help- after what you have said about the game viewing at mala mala we are pretty sure we are going to go there for 3 nights- hopefully have amazing viewing then relax a little more at singita as suggested. we hadnt even looked at rattrays before and we are now set on it.

i assume the one hour transfer is a drive?

is it best to book places like rattrays/ singita and flights through agents for better prices or will it is much the same as just doing it ourselves?

napamatt-
given you did more or less the same trip recently, how do you normally book?

HoneyM is offline  
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