itinerary and flight suggestions

Jan 29th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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itinerary and flight suggestions

My husband and I will be traveling to SA in late April. Our tentative plan is to fly into Cape Town, spend a couple of days there and a couple of days in the winelands (which area is best?), then head to Elephant Plains Lodge for 3 nights, fly back to Johannesburg and then back home. Does this sound reasonable? Also, what's the best way to get to Sabi Sabi from Cape Town? Does anyone know how much the charter flights are from Johannesburg to Sabi?
mad is offline  
Jan 29th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Hello Mad,

Your route sounds fine, though note that Elephant Plains is not a Sabi Sabi property (it is in the Sabi Sands, which is probably where the confusion comes in). There is a non-stop direct from Cape Town to Kruger Mpumalanga airport (KMIA), where you can either catch a short flight to your lodge or do a ground transfer. Personally I'd fly -- the ground transfer is about 2.5 hours and I'd rather spend that time in camp. The flight is about R800 pp one way.

Alternatively, if the timing of the non-stop flight doesn't work for you, you can route via Joburg and fly direct from Joburg into your camp. The flights are about R3500 per person return.

Is there any reason you've chosen Elephant Plains? The only reason I'm asking is that you might want to take a look at some of the other lodges in the Sabi Sands, such as Mala Mala or Londolozi. I've stayed at both and the game-viewing is superb, particularly for leopard.

April is a great time to be in Cape Town -- the weather will be ideal! If you haven't chosen a place to stay yet, I'd recommend looking at some of the places on the coast, If you prefer modern decor, I'd recommend Ezard House or Les Cascades:

If you prefer something a bit more traditional, take a look at Ellerman House or the Twelve Apostles:

Personally I really love staying in Franschhoek when I'm in the Winelands, as there are so many great restaurants there. Franschhoek is midway between Paarl and Stellenbosch so it's a nice midpoint location. I've stayed at Le Quartier Francais and really enjoyed it, but some other people here have said it can be a bit too busy if you want a quiet place to stay.

Even if you don't stay there, I'd encourage you to eat there at least once -- the food is outstanding.

If you're into serious wine-tasting you may want to get a copy of the Platter Guide (available online at and decide where you want to stay based on your wine tasting plans. The Platter guide is the SA wine 'bible' and has tonnes of great information about the wines produced by different wineries and the opening hours of their tasting rooms, etc. Note that the winelands are pretty dead on Sundays as many of the wineries close down, so try to avoid that day if possible. And if you love champagne, try to catch the Saturday morning tasting at Haut Cabriere, where the winemaker will demonstrate the art of sabrage (opening a bottle of champagne with a sabre -- a skill every true gentleman should have). I've done sabrage myself (at Singita) and it's a lot of fun.

jasher is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 04:33 AM
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Posts: 316
Thanks so much for the valuable information. I chose Elephant Plains because the price is right- $400 a day for 2 of us. It looks like it's gotten good reviews- have you heard otherwise?
Do you recommend safari at the beginning or end of the trip- or does it matter?

mad is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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I have read good reviews here previously. Go for it!!!

Jan 30th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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Hello Mad,

I think whether you do the safari at the beginning or the end of the trip is a matter of choice -- personally I prefer to do it at the beginning, as game-vieiwing can be really intense, and then to relax in Cape Town and the Winelands, but some people prefer to start off at a more relaxed pace.

I've heard good things about Elephant Plains, and for the price it's hard to beat. Sounds like you've got a great trip coming up!

jasher is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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Six of us are planning a very similar trip next Feb/Mar 08. Originally we planned a Kenya safari and all the weight restrictions for luggage were critical. Do the restrictions still apply if we switch to this itinerary? If they don't kick in until you move to a small plane flying directly into camp, is there a place at the Jo'burg or Mpumalanga Airport to store excess luggage? I
lexia is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Julian, We are flying into KMIA and onto Ngala Reserve via road transfer. Should we be checking into travelling via air as well? I don't want to be spending precious time in a car if I can get there quicker! Thanks, Dana
Dana70 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 01:40 PM
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Hello Lexia,

The luggage restrictions only kick in for light air transfers, so there would be restrictions on this itinerary if you opted to fly from KMIA or JNB to Elephant Plains.

However, if you route through Joburg there is a left-luggage facility in Joburg -- I've left luggage there many times with no problems. KMIA does not have a left-luggage facility, though it may be possible to arrange for your luggage to be stored with Federal Air, the charter airline which does the transfers. Definitely enquire in advance if you want to do this.

In my experience, the light air transfers in South Africa are not as restrictive on luggage weight as those in Botswana or Tanzania. However, I did see a couple with two enormous Samsonite hard cases left on the runway.

Hi Dana,

I'd definitely recommend that you fly. Ngala is further north than Elephant Plains, so you're looking at three or maybe even four hours in the car. At that distance flying may be comparable in cost to driving.

BTW Ngala is a lovely place -- I've stayed at the Tented Camp and highly recommend it!


jasher is offline  
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