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Is it preferable to stay at two different game reserves for 3 nights each or a single lodge for 5 nights???

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Feb 28th, 2003, 02:17 PM
  #1
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Is it preferable to stay at two different game reserves for 3 nights each or a single lodge for 5 nights???

I am struggling with this choice. I am considering a 3 night stay at Inyati followed by a 3 night stay at Vuyatela.

However, such a stay requires flying into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and flying out of Hoedspruit. Plus, there are a lot of road transfers that really start to add up in cost.

Have those who have split their trips into two separate game reserves a rewarding experience or would you have preferred a single longer stay at one lodge???
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Mar 1st, 2003, 12:54 AM
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You could consider combination of Garonga Safari Camp (www.garonga.com) and Kapama Game Reserve (www.kapama.co.za). My freinds tell me Garonga is very small and friendly and have recently added a therapuetic spa. Kapama have just started elephant backed safari plus offer a chance to visit their wildlife research center. Both are in the Hoedspruit area so you would save on transfers, etc. Am not sure of the rates though but I am pretty sure they are both half the price of Singita - and you will be able to experience a safari from the elephant's back!
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Mar 1st, 2003, 07:49 AM
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Rocco:

I can't give you advice for South Africa but can tell you my recent experience in Kenya this past month. I have traveled there for the past three years and truly loved Ol Tukai Lodge at Amboseli. I had almost decided to spend two full weeks there and forget my Tsavo East extension (because it would have been cheaper). Then I watched my videos from prior years and saw that the elephants at Tsavo acted much differently than Amboseli, so in the end I decided to go to both places again.

How glad I am!! In Amboseli, where I stayed for one full week, everything was lush and green and we saw hundreds of elephants and lions up close. In fact Echo's family (Echo of the Elephants movie) was right in front of my room one evening when I came home from my game drive! I really hated to leave. It would require flying from Amboselii to Nairobi - switching planes and flying to Mombasa, staying there one night and then driving to Tsavo East.

However, on my arrival at Satao Camp at Tsavo East I found Tsavo was in its dry season. They put me in a super tent directly in front of the borehole (waterhole) and I was able to sit on my veranda and see up close hundreds of elephants coming twice a day for their drinks of water, mudbathing, swimming and mating. During the night one would often hear a trumpeting sound as the elephants passed right by the tent on the way to the borehole and I would be awake in a flash standing on my veranda watching. I even tried night video this year and it worked (even though the picture was a little grainy). I stayed in Tsavo for five days. It couldn't have been more perfect. In fact, on two days I cancelled my game drives just so I could sit and video the antics of the elephant families. It was well worth the inconvenience of the travel day getting there and the added expense. On my last day at Tsavo I did go for an afternoon game drive and we saw two bull elephants (one about 25 and the other about 15 years old) both with broken legs (old injury - supposedly hit by a train - but they were able to walk slowly even though their leg was deformed). I realized their futures would be limited because they would be unable to fight or mate without the use of both rear legs. I am now contacting veterinary schools here in the US to see if they know of anyone who has done orthopedic surgery on a wild elephant to see if we can get some help for these magnificent animals.

In talking to some visitors this year I found that many people try to see as much as they can very quickly. Some indeed try five parks and camps in six days. I feel you really can't do justice to your safari this way. I have found that each and every day you go out at either Amboseli or Tsavo East you see something different, so my personal feeling is that it is better to spend more days in fewer camps than to rush to as many parks as possible, but this is just my personal preference.

I know that whatever you decide you'll have a marvelous time. Please be sure to write a trip report when you get home. We'll all look forward to it.

Jan
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Mar 1st, 2003, 08:23 AM
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Jan,

Wow...that sounded like an amazing trip!

While I enjoy the bush, I get a little anxious after too many days out of a city. I would love to spend 5 days each at two separate reserves, but for my wife's sake (she loves the tranquility of the bush but gets even more anxious than I do when outside the city for too long) I will either limit it to three nights at each place or five nights at a single place.

The more research I do, the more I miss Africa. It doesn't help that some of these places add the sounds of beating drums, roaring lions and trumpeting elephants to their websites!

While last year was no problem to stay at Singita, Victoria Falls Hotel, Matetsi (private game lodge 50km outside Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe), Table Bay Hotel and the Mount Nelson, THIS year I am making sacrifices to return to Africa at slightly less expensive, but still very upscale, places.

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Mar 2nd, 2003, 06:02 AM
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Jan what wonderful wonderful feedback on your trip! I am wishing we could return to Africa this year too, but the trip is booked for 2004 and we have so many non-African destinations on our wish list that it's their turn this year...

Is any of your video footage online by any chance?


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Mar 2nd, 2003, 12:51 PM
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I would vote for 2 different places. There is only so much to see in one area, and there is more variety at different places.
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Mar 3rd, 2003, 01:38 PM
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Jan, that's an amazing travelogue, but I disagree with you on your noble desire to assist the wild bull elephants. Broken legs are part of the natural world, and I'm sure these two dead elephants will go a long way in feeding prides of lions, leopards, hyenas, vultures, etc. Its sad, but its necessary. Tsavo is not a zoo, and while of necessity human involvement is necessary, veternary assistance on an individual basis should be resisted.
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Mar 4th, 2003, 03:54 PM
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Kavey:

Thanks for your reply. No, I haven't done anything with the video yet other than transfer from 8 mm. (nondigital) to VHS. I don't know how to upload to the web -- otherwise I would be most happy to do so. I have 5 1/2 full VHS tapes of some wonderful wildlife (as well as some where I thought I had turned my camera off to take snap shots and ended up videoing the floor of the vehicle)!! My next step will be to edit out the undesirable sections. If anyone out there could tell me how to upload to web I'd be most happy to share my safari with you all.

I guess I have the "Africa bug" worse than you -- Got home less than a month ago and already want to go back!! Will just have to wait until I can save some money. I wouldn't think of traveling anywhere else now. In fact, I am looking into apartment rentals in Kenya with the thought that in a year or two I might want to spend months at a time there. It is not only the wildlife, but the people and the food. I am still dreaming of the marvelous fruits and vegetables I was served while there. Nothing from the grocery store here can come close to it.

There is a small town outside of Amboseli National Park right at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro named Loitokitok. I asked my driver to take me there on market day so I could see what a typical village/town was like. It was a wonderful experience to see the many truly fresh vegetables and fruits everyone brought to sell from their gardens. We even got to watch the men selling their goats, donkeys and sheep. It was a day I'll never forget.

In the meantime, until we can return, we'll have to be content with our memories, videos and dreams.

Jan
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Mar 4th, 2003, 04:16 PM
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Thit Cho:

Thanks so much for your reply. I under-stand your feelings completely. They are not zoo animals, thank God. Once you have seen elephants in the wild, you would never want to see a zoo elephant again. It is such an unnatural life.

However, 80 poached elephants in Kenya this year have already created food for the predators (see sheldrickwildlifetrust.org - newsletter for 2002).

My personal feeling is that if an animal is ill or injured from natural causes then it should be left to nature. However, when the injury/ illness is caused by humans - then perhaps we need to get involved.

These two bulls were hit by the Nairobi - Mombasa train approximately 2 years ago. They are getting around but must be feeling severe pain. It would be nice to think that without euthanizing them, some relief could be given.

This past year there was a news story about an Indian elephant in Burma whose foot was almost amputated by stepping on a landmine. The elephant and her mahout walked for miles to get to the elephant clinic in Thailand where the veterinarian was able to finish the amputation, but the elephant today is doing well!!

Would just like to think there might be some relief for these two young bulls.

Jan

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Mar 5th, 2003, 01:06 AM
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Jan

I am not sure how to convert video to digital format. Once its in digital format and reduced in quality enough to be small enough to load I know how to get it onto a website!

Don't know about having that bug worse: As soon as we got back I suffered the most awful pangs to go back - I thought they would fade but we got back 20 months ago!

We're not returning till June 2004 because we need to save up for the big splash trip I've just recently booked.

That's a gap of 3 years!!!



I keep trying to persuade my husband that we could do a short and cheap hop to somewhere in Africa - perhaps SA, perhaps East Africa - in the meantime but he quite rightly points out that we do both have a lot of other destinations on our wish list and that we shouldn't forget them!

He has a point - I do want to get to France for a 2 week intensive language school - Pete would be a complete beginner, I was once very very fluent but now sound fluent only to those who don't speak french, those who do can hear how inaccurate my babbling is!

Anyway... we've just bought a DVD writer and some DVD-r disks and are finally transferring the full footage (8 1 hour tapes) to the DVDs. Our camcorder is a digital one so at least the footage is already digital. I just wanted it on a more robust medium. Once the full raw material is safely saved we'll start editting it down into short clips of the best footage.

Sigh...
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