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Is anybody familiar with Makakatana Bay. It appears to be in the same area as Phinda but with better pricing...

Is anybody familiar with Makakatana Bay. It appears to be in the same area as Phinda but with better pricing...

Sep 12th, 2004, 05:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Is anybody familiar with Makakatana Bay. It appears to be in the same area as Phinda but with better pricing...


Best of all, there does not appear to be a low season and high season at Makakatana, making their rates half of Phinda's "high season" rates.

Like Phinda, it appears to be all-inclusive.

I did just find this very nice map, showing the location of Makakatana Bay in relation to Phinda, along with some other places even closer to Phinda:


My question to any past visitors of Phinda:

How far away from the lodge, be it Phinda Forest, or other Phinda lodges, did the gameviewing of the Big Five start taking place? Also, did you ever come across other safari vehicles, and if so, do you remember where they were from?

While I would like to visit Phinda, I am not willing to pay their high season pricing. Since I will now likely travel to the region early next September (right after a late August visit to Madikwe in time for their low season pricing, followed by the Sabi Sand and then possibly moving down to this area around Phinda), I would be in "high season" for Phinda, but since Makakatana Bay does not charge for a high season, it makes it an attractive option.
Roccco is offline  
Sep 12th, 2004, 07:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Thank you, for the interest you have shown in Makakatana Bay Lodge!
Herewith, the answers to your questions:

1. No, the safaris are not conducted in the same area as Phinda, as Phinda
is an hours drive away, and they concentrate on the "Big 5', but we focus on
Wetlands i.e Birds, Hippos, flora & fauna, having the largest salt
water lake in Africa. Please see details below, regarding our activities:

ACTIVITIES (Included in fully inclusive Rate)


Afternoon Safari Drive & into the wetlands watching Hippo, crocodile &
birds. Set on the banks of the Mpati River mouth where hippo pass through
in the late afternoon. Focused on viewing Hippo of which 15-25 hippo.

En-route, animals that can be seen include Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra, White
Rhino, Waterbuck, serval, porcupine, genet, Leopard, Elephant and Black


After Breakfast depart Lodge. Guests Enjoy a leisurely safari drive to the
Eastern Shores through the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park Reserve. Guests
reach a Private Beach for swimming & snorkelling. Enjoy a picnic lunch in
the sand dune forests followed by a game drive back to the Lodge by 15h00.
Afternoon siesta or leisure time at the pool on lakes edge.
This is a combination safari which includes a game drive and beach
experience. Kwz-Zulu Natal Summers are gloriously hot and we have combined
a full morning out within the World Heritage Park and left the hot
afternoons for guests leisure time at the lodge. 16h00 - Afternoon Tea.

BOAT TRIP (OPTIONAL) These trips must be requested in advance.

A boat trip can be booked on a commercial boat operating in the St Lucia
Estuary. A Makakatana Ranger will host our guests on the boat trip en-route
to the beach. This is a 2 hour trip (generally 9am - 11am) & guests time on

Early Wake up & depart Lodge - 40 minute drive in an open Safari vehicle 9or
closed vehicle if prefered) to Hluhluwe or Umfolozi Game Reserve. Brunch is
served at a shaded picnic site & Game veiwing searching for Big 5 continues.
Return back to the lodge in the early afternoon for a Light lunch.
Afternoon siesta or leisure time at the pool on the lakes edge.
(In summer the best game viewing is done early in the morning & evenings).

Visit a Cultural Village & watch Zulu Dancing. Thereafter visit ILALA
WEAVERS where you will be given insight into the Zulu crafts, and get an
opportunity to purchase some of them.


1: WETLAND WALKING SAFARI - 06h00 - 08h00
Early Wake up - Tea/ Coffee & muffins served in Lounge. Depart Lodge for a
walking safari into the Wetland Narrows. The Wetlands have incredible
numbers of bird life, hippo, crocodiles & other wildlife. - Breakfast
served after the Walk. (We recommend walking early, however should guests
prefer to go a bit later we do try our best to accommodate these requests).


Breakfast is served at 07h00 & Canoe departure is generally at 08h00.

An incredible 2 hour Canoe trip down a tropical Narrow River leading into
Lake St Lucia. A birders paradise! The Nyalazi River is home to a few
Crocodile, Hippo and many bird species.


These Safaris are contracted out & must be booked in advance

* Scuba Diving * Whale Watching
Safaris (June - Nov)
* Horse Safaris * Deepsea Fishing
* Turtle Tours (November - January) * 1 Hour AIR TOURS over the

* Mbonise Cultural Amble through a Zulu Village (not a commercial village)

LAKE ST LUCIA - Water Levels

The water levels of the lake are currently too low to operate the Lodge Boat
or the Mokoro Canoes. Makakatana Bay Lodge have however, restructured
Safaris which still allow one to experience the wonders of the Greater St
Lucia Wetland Park World Heritage Site.


The Lodge has a closed, airconditioned vehicle, should guests prefer.

RATES FOR 2004 & 2005

1 OCTOBER 2003 - 30 SEPTEMBER 2005
R2150pps per night - Fully Inclusive
R2800sgl per night - Fully Inclusive
R2650pps per night Honeymoon suite - Fully Inclusive
R1795pps per night - DBB
R2445sgl per night - DBB

Transfers from/to Richards Bay Airport: R790-00 per trip
Transfers from/to Durban R1620-00 per trip
Transfers from/to Phinda R790-00 per trip


Full deposits are required on confirmation of bookings.
PLEASE NOTE: Bookings cannot be confirmed until deposits have been received
deposit slips faxed through: (035) 5504198.

50% Cancellation Fees will be charged if bookings are cancelled within a
month of the arrival date.
100% Cancellation Fees will be charged for bookings cancelled within two
weeks of the arrival date.
In the event of premature departure the full extent of stay as originally
booked and confirmed will be
December bookings require a deposit 2 months prior to arrival and the
cancellation fees are effective
two months prior to arrival. Early check outs are not refundable.

Please advise of estimated times of arrivals.

Should I be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park
P.O. Box 65, Mtubatuba, 3935, South Africa
Tel: ++27 (0)35 5504189
Fax: ++27 (0)35 5504198
[email protected]
Roccco is offline  
Sep 12th, 2004, 01:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Here is a good looking place that borders on Phinda:


It appears that there are plans to join the areas of Zuka and Phinda, although I don't know if the fences have come down yet. I believe that the operators of Zuka were formerly part of the Phinda team.

This part of the Kwa Zulu Natal does seem to be fascinating with a plentitude of different activities possible. Some of the activities include:

Big Five game viewing

Diving and snorkeling

Horseback riding


Riding all-terrain vehicles

Watching loggerhead/leatherback turtles lay their eggs late at night

Bush walks

Whale watching

Cultural experiences with local Zulu population

Just lazing around the beaches of Maputaland

Roccco is offline  
Sep 12th, 2004, 08:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 244
Hello Rocco..
Alas I am not familiar with the the area and planning my first SA trip.
I was originally just considering Botswana for our first trip in May 2005 but your posts have me rethinking the whole trip.
The possibilities seem endless..so I must quiz you. Given your travel exprience in africa, where would you suggest we travel in late May - early June 2005.
wallybrenda is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 12:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

My suggestions would all depend on what kind of budget and what kind of timeframe you are allowing for your holiday.

Although I have heard 99% positive things about Botswana, I just find it hard to justify Botswanan prices when there is so much available in South Africa and Zambia. Zambia offers the most bang for the buck and I have to believe that it is almost as exclusive as Botswana as far as the limited amount of other tourists that you will encounter. However, it is definitely 50% or less the price of Botswana, and I think the only thing you are giving up are rhinos. South Luangwa is such a beautiful park and even the very best lodges only average out to about $350 USD pp per night sharing.

I have also been pleasantly surprised by some of the prices I have found in South Africa, especially in Madikwe, a newer game reserve featuring not only the Big Five, but the newly dubbed Super Seven (Big Five plus Wild Dog and Cheetah).

Also, with South Africa, I am amazed at all of the diversity to be found in a single country. Of course, the Kruger NP/Sabi Sand area is a must, but then you have Madikwe and Phinda and its surrounding areas to be found in the Kwa Zulu Natal, besides the wonderful city of Cape Town.

Personally, I will save Botswana for a time, even if not until five years from now, that I can visit with a true safari lover, as even the very best camps such as Mombo and Kings Pool are still the luxurious permanent lodges with all the amenities that are found in South Africa.

I do like the fact that I am able to break up perhaps a two week South African safari with my choice of Cape Town, the resort areas of Kwa Zulu Natal, Sun City or even a luxurious hotel such as the Westcliff or Michelangelo in Joburg. I find too many consecutive days of safari to be hard work...up at 5:00 AM every morning, a heavy dinner and drinks, often out at the campfire until after 10PM each night, a minimum of 6 - 7 hours on gamedrives often with a piercing sun, sometimes spending those 6 - 7 hours with other guests that you are not exactly going to invite over to your next dinner party!, etc.

For a late May/early June visit, I suggest that you definitely include Phinda, as it will still be considered their low season at Phinda Forest and it will not be nearly as cold as Botswana, Madikwe or the Sabi Sand (Botswana probably being the coldest of them all). However, I would still try to include both the Sabi Sand and if time permitted Madikwe. You will also be in low season for these areas.
Because Madikwe is full of brand new lodges, a lot of them have heated swimming pools and heated plunge pools. Plus, the best ones all have wellness centers, and there is nothing wrong with being completely pampered with massages/facials/etc. during the downtime during the day.

Here is a sample itinerary for what I think would be a great trip for late May/early June (although admittedly on the cool side in Madikwe and the Sabi Sand, but again, not as cold as Botswana).

Because Cape Town will already be entering winter by late May / early June, you may want to skip it entirely and just head right into your safari. Don't even worry about wasting a night in Joburg to rest up/recover from your flight. Once you are at a nice game lodge, surrounded by all of the wildlife, that will be enough to quickly get you over the long journey.

Take advantage of low season pricing at a camp that really offers great pricing like Inyati in the Sabi Sand. 1,900 ZAR per person per night sharing and only Mala Mala, Sigita and Londolozi have more Sand River frontage than Inyati. You may elect to use some of your savings to hire your own private vehicle that will cost you an additional 1,300 ZAR per day or so. www.inyati.co.za

Then move onto a more upscale Sabi Sand/Kruger NP game lodge such as Londolozi Tree, Singita Boulders or the Royal Malewane for a minimum of two nights, but if your budget allows it, for three nights.

From there, you will be able to fly back to Joburg and immediately connect with a flight to Madikwe directly or Sun City, followed by a 90 minute road transfer.

Makanyane, Madikwe Game Reserve, 4 nights. The worst thing you can do to start a holiday is to jump all around, in my opinion, so four nights seems appropriate. Here, at Makanyane, you can enjoy very good low season rates of 2,800 ZAR per person per night sharing, and enjoy the heated swimming pool, and perhaps with the aid of a couple hot water bottles, you may elect to "sleep under the stars" in their treetop hide once during your stay. www.makanyane.com

From there, I would recommend a break for a night or if your schedule allows, two nights, in Joburg or Sun City.

Finish up with four nights at Phinda Forest and engage in not only morning and night game drives but also in some of the various daytime activities such as horseback riding on the nearby beaches, microlighting, diving/snorkeling, etc.

Really, with a minimum of fifteen nights this is all possible.

Inyati (3) ($2,500 USD total with private vehicle and transfers from Joburg)

Royal Malewane (3) ($4,750 USD total including transfers)

Makanyane (4) ($4,000 USD including transfers)

The Palace Of The Lost City, Sun City (2) ($1,500 USD including transfers)

Phinda Forest, Kwa Zulu Natal (4) ($3,750 USD including transfers)

Total package = $16,500 USD excluding international air. 14 nights on safari and 2 nights at most over-the-top hotel in Africa.

If this is too expensive, you can save money by doing some of the following things.

Cut out one night in the Sabi Sand

Stay two nights in Joburg at the Westcliff or Michelangelo instead, possibly picking them up for about $500 total finding winter rates, a savings of $1,000 USD. Otherwise, you can probably find more reasonable Sun Ctiy accomodations for half the price of Palace Of The Lost City.

If still out of budget, sacrifice either Madikwe or Phinda, and spend the additional nights, time permitting in Cape Town at a 5* hotel, saving possibly $2,000 USD. I would advise a minimum of 10 nights of safari, however, spent in two different areas (Sabi Sand & Madikwe or Sabi Sand & Phinda).

There are just really too many possibilities to imagine. Ultimately, you must create the trip that is right for yourself. The above is just one possibility.

Good luck.
Roccco is offline  

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