Interested in a Cruise and an African Safari

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Jul 2nd, 2004, 02:43 PM
  #1
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Interested in a Cruise and an African Safari

I have always had a dream to go on an African Safari. Ideally, I'd like to tie this in with a cruise and then do the safari post cruise. I've seen that Silver Seas cruiseline has a 14 day cruise which begins and ends in Cape Town. Any opinions on this?

Someone else recommended staying at a place called Singita. Any opinions on any of this?? We'd ideally like to do a post cruise for approximately 4 nights in a nice location (no campgrounds) with excellent wildlife viewing options. What is the best location and time of the year? I'm not sure where to even begin! I'd really like to make this a trip of a lifetime! ALL HELP is very appreciated.
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Jul 2nd, 2004, 03:50 PM
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Singita is a great place but is, in my opinion, overpriced at about $1,900 USD per night ($950 per person per night sharing). I stayed at Singita in March, 2002, and had an excellent time.
Singita does have four different lodges to choose from with the original two being Boulders and Ebony and the newer two being Lebombo and Sweni.

Other top notch South African places would include Londolozi, about $1,700 USD per night, and the Royal Malewane, about $1,500 USD per night.

If you want excellent wildlife viewing, and good, but not over the top lodging, Mala Mala or Simbambili may both be excellent choices at about $1,000 USD per night.

Simbambili (as well as the entire Sabi Sand Reserve) is excellent for leopard spottings. There is an excellent series updated every few days on www.tagasafaris.co.za (Taga Safaris is a very reputable local tour operator in South Africa, guaranteeing the best prices on its website). If you go to the website you will see a wide option of choices to choose from both in South Africa and in other South African countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

Best of luck...you will LOVE South Africa.
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Jul 2nd, 2004, 04:05 PM
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Correction...with the current exchange of 6.12 South African Rand to 1 USD, the current price of Singita 13,600 ZAR translates to $2,222 USD per night!

Ouch!

Personally, if you don't mind a flight or two, I would recommend a lodge in Zambia that I just visited that is every bit as good as Singita at about 40% of the price. Chichele Presidential Lodge is ONLY $900 USD per night and I rate it every bit as high as Singita. Plus, you won't get nickle and dimed to death since the airport transfers are included in the tariff.

A person may expect to pay about $300 USD per person for a flight from Johannesburg to Lusaka, and then another $300 USD per person from Lusaka to Mfuwe. Still, for a 4 night stay at Singita, with airfare you are likely facing a cost of at least $9,500 USD. If you were to stay at Chichele, you would likely need a night in Lusaka at a hotel such as the Intercontinental Hotel since you wouldn't arrive to Lusaka until the afternoon. However, I estimate that 1 night at the Intercontinental Hotel, 4 nights at Chichele Presidential Lodge, and your flights would not cost more than about $5,000 USD, a savings of $4,500 USD.

Zambia is a VERY safe country and the Zambians are the friendliest people that I have ever encountered.

Good luck.
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Jul 2nd, 2004, 06:14 PM
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sandi
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Cruise and Safari is a good idea, but not having done this combination myself, I have learned from friends who have, that it's best to do the safari first and then have the cruise to relax.

The prices Roccco quoted are what they are, expensive, but are also dependent on season (what time of year is the Silver Seas cruise scheduled) and availability, as most of these camps are small with capacity of about 20 people. In addition, if you are beginning and ending in Cape Town, know that in order to get to Kruger where the camps Roccco lists are located, you will have to get to Johannesburg and from there take either a scheduled or charter flight to the camps.

Would Silver Seas be arranging the airfare to CPT? If so, you can figure the connection to JNB and return will run about $350/person + the scheduled or charter flights. Unless, you can have SS arrange to fly you into JNB, do the flight to Kruger, Safari, then fly down to CPT for the cruise.

Have you checked with Silver Seas whether they have any safari land packages available in conjunction with their South Africa cruise? For this destination, I'm sure they've had requests for add-on safaris and might have I special safari prices.

Hope this post and those above gives you an idea of things to consider.
 
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Jul 2nd, 2004, 07:09 PM
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Sandi,

Actually, there are now flights directly from Cape Town to Hoedspruit. Most of the flights were about $500 USD, but in the grand scheme of things (Silver Seas, Singita, etc.), that seems to be a negligible price.

It is a 2.5 hour flight from Cape Town to Hoedspruit, and I would imagine about a 1.5 hour drive from Hoedspruit to Singita.

And just a parting word of advice to petlover, www.vacationstogo.com, seems to have some pretty nice discounts on Silver Seas. Also, if you are thinking about the December 21st cruise from Cape Town, I must warn you that the Kruger National Park / Sabi Sand Reserve area will be VERY HOT during your stay. Perhaps you would be better off waiting for one of their March cruises, although I did not see any that do a loop from Cape Town back to Cape Town (but rather it goes to or from Cape Town to or from Mauritius, on an 11 night sailing).

I was at Singita in March, 2002, and the weather was perfect and the gameviewing was excellent. Here is a link of some photos from my stay at Singita, as well as a couple other destinations:

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

Good luck.
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Jul 2nd, 2004, 07:58 PM
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Thanks! You guys are the greatest. This gives me a good starting point. Singita sounds a bit out of our league! I guess I'd better lower my sights, nice but maybe not that nice.
Thanks so much!
P.S. It sounds like March is a great time to visit...any other good months?
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Jul 3rd, 2004, 02:05 AM
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We had to change our spring 04 plans but we had planned on going to MalaMala.I have heard great things about the place.
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Jul 3rd, 2004, 03:45 AM
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Roccco - thanks for the reminder re flight from CPT direct to HDS; recall seeing this mentioned in a previous post or two. Pricewise, it appears to be in the same range as the combined CPT/JNB and JNB/HDS.

petlover - not familiar with cruises as mentioned above, but friends did a combined safari/cruise using Princess Lines which departed from Mombassa (Kenya), cruised the entire east coast of Africa with stops at the Seychelles, Mauritius (in the Indian Ocean), Durban, then down to and ending in CPT. You might consider flying into Nairobi Kenya - do a 7-day safari, fly to Mombasa to board ship, cruise and end in CPT, spending about 4-days there before returning home. You might want to check out something like this, though believe the Princess boat isn't in the same category as Silver Seas.

As to air you can probably fly via BA out of London to NBO, local Air Kenya to Mombassa, and then BA from CPT home.

More food for thought!
 
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Jul 3rd, 2004, 11:25 AM
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mgmargate, yes, I have also heard the best things about Mala Mala in terms of exciting game viewing. I've been to Singita Boulders and several Botswana camps (and one Zambian hotel) and Mala Mala is on my list for future trips.
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Jul 3rd, 2004, 01:14 PM
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I heard that Serengeti is excellent (in Tanzania right?) Any opinions on this? Viewing wildlife is our primary concern The cruise (if we even do it) is secondary. My husband does want nice accommodations, no roughing it.
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Jul 3rd, 2004, 02:14 PM
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The Serengeti, yes, in Tanzania, is an excellent safari option, as is the Masai Mara in Kenya - right next door. Time of year is a good determining factor as to visiting the Serengeti or Mara. But you can do an itinerary that can include both countries, and various areas within each.

As far as accommodations, you can get whatever you want, from roughing it in pup tents to lodges, to semi-permanent tents, mobile tenting, to permanent-tented camps; with as much comfort and luxury you want, especially in the permanent-tents.

So if you want a safari, this is the place to get plenty of information for either country. Just let us know when, and we'll all chime in!
 
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Jul 4th, 2004, 04:29 PM
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First let me thank you so much for your help.

Here is our update, it looks like we're going to go with at least one other couple. They have been to Kenya 12 years ago and would like to experience South Africa (or Botswana or Namibia maybe) this time. Since this is our first time to the continent, it doesn't matter to us...it's all new to us. I read on the Fodor page of this web site that if you can afford it, a private game reserve is the way to go for safaris. I think this is what we're going to try to do and splurge..any suggestions for a private game reserve and nice/luxury tents?

Our plan looks to be spend a couple of nights in Cape Town, then about 4 nights at a nicer luxury Tent on a private game reserve. The hotel in Cape Town will be easy but knowing which private reserve and tent lodging is the tough part????????

As always, thank you for your help!
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Jul 5th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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petlover - You still haven't mentioned when you wish to travel. The weather in the southern hemisphere is the opposite of that in the north and different countries have various weather environments that can be a determining factor.

Do a search on this board looking for "weather in" or look for postings from "Judy-in-Calgary" who has posted some good information as to weather in South Africa. Most guidebooks that specialize on Southern Africa will also provide such information and all can help you and your friends decide when you will travel.

As to lodgings in private game reserves in Kruger, Roccco provide some information re the top-end places in his post below your initial post.

You may want to check the following site: www.e-gnu.com
that lists lodgings throughout Africa, just select the country you wish and you will find details of particular hotels, lodges and camps throughout with prices. For your information, those located in South Africa in/around Kruger are listed under the Mpumalanga district. Enjoy your research.
 
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Jul 5th, 2004, 02:00 PM
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This is a great website! Thanks!
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Jul 5th, 2004, 02:34 PM
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petlover,

Here is another link that should serve you will:

http://sabi.krugerpark.co.za/sabi-sands-map.html

Click on the red highlighted area and it will open up another more detailed map. You would probably be wise to choose a camp with river frontage, as this will increase the diversity of game that you are likely to see. Notice how the very best camps (Mala Mala, Londolozi and Singita) all have major river frontage?

Mala Mala seems to be the very best bet, given that I believe their pricing is set at $1,000 USD per night, a relative bargain in comparison to Singita and Londolozi.

Good luck.
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Jul 14th, 2004, 01:38 PM
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Does anyone happen to know if you do a 3 night pre or post cruise safari to a region such as Sabi Sands, do they drive the guests to the reserve or do they fly you in??

I can't imagine the cruiseline puting the guests on some type of bus for such a long drive...I'm curious to know. IMO, flying in from say Johannesburg is the only way that would make sense.
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Jul 14th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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If the cruiseline is offering a pre- or post- trip option of safari, they will provide whichever type of transport they wish, whether bus or air. But air from JNB to Hoedspruit will run about $300-$350 per person plus the transfer to/from the lodge/camp in Sabi. However, if the pre- or post- the cruiseline is offering is from CPT, then I doubt they'd do it by bus as way too long a trip. Check with Silver Seas for what they offer - to which lodging, mode of transport, cost versus booking on your own.
 
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Jul 21st, 2004, 11:39 AM
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We are Boarding the Royal Princess in Bangkok which does stop in Mombasa, Kenya (departs Dec 10th) and arrives Cape Town Dec 17th.
I started out looking at Holland America in March, but when I researched 2 months ago the balconies and mini-suites were all filled from Hong Kong to Cape Town. Then I found this trip. I am investigating, too as we will be doing almost 3 weeks in SA, Botswana, etc before heading home.
We did not want a short Cape Town RT otherwise Silver Seas is to die for.
If you want any details, please feel free to contact me.
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Jul 21st, 2004, 11:53 AM
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FORGOT: ROYAL PRINCESS HAS A POST CRUISE 5 DAY SAFARI. Can't remember exactly, but I know they go to Vic Falls, I think Chobe and then fly home from Joberg.
As I said, if you want to know more..
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