Itinerary suggestions?

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Jun 26th, 2003, 07:11 PM
  #1
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Itinerary suggestions?

This is the trip we are planning for January 2004. How does this itinerery sound? This is our first trip to Africa. We will be using frequent flyer miles for our international flights.

4 nights Cape Town (the Commodore)
3 nights Singita/Londolozi (haven't decided which)
2 nights The Palace in Sun City ( I know alot of posters don't recommend going there but we really want at least 2 days where we just sit by the pool and relax)
2 nights Victoria Falls (Zambizi Sun resort)
3 nights Mombo Camp

Any suggestions or comments? Is there any difference between Little Mombo and Mombo except for the size of the camps? Are the rooms nicer/guides better at either camp? Also, will we have to dress up for any the places listed?

Thanks
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Jun 26th, 2003, 08:15 PM
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Lisa,

Here are my impressions at first glance:

Do not stay at such a second rate hotel as The Commodore when you are splurging on the rest of your trip. There are some wonderful hotels in Cape Town including the Cape Grace and The Twelve Apostles. I would go as far as suggesting that the Twelve Apostles could also serve as an excellent place where you could sit by the pool and relax with incredible views all around, as well as plenty of walking trails right behind the hotel.

Sun City does seem like kind of a waste of time. Personally, I would not find it relaxing to be in a crowded resort with families everywhere and casinos all around.

Ultimately, however, the biggest thing that stands out with your itenerary is the pairing of The Commodore Hotel with Singita and Mombo. It's like you spent $400 on a pair of shoes but then bought your outfit from Walmart.

I did hear rave reviews from a couple people in the Sabi Sand about Singita Lebombo, their newest camp, so that may be worth a hard look. It does seem to be in a more exclusive location than either Boulders or Ebony. I stayed at Boulders last year and really enjoyed it (but would not dare pay those prices again when the people a couple miles away that are seeing the same game are paying half the price or less).

Best of luck.
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Jun 27th, 2003, 05:22 AM
  #3
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The Twelve Apostles hotel looks beautiful. How is the location? Is it difficult to go into Cape Town? Does the hotel provide transportation? at a cost?
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Jun 27th, 2003, 05:42 AM
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Lisa,

The Twelve Apostles has been my favorite hotel to date. It is in a beautiful location, has great food, beautiful rooms (I stayed in a luxury sea-facing suite, room 103), has its own cinema and provides free transportation to and from the Waterfront and Camps Bay, often in their private cars (usually a Volvo or Mercedes).

I did not miss being in the middle of all the Waterfront action one bit. It takes 15 minutes to the Waterfront and 5 minutes to Camps Bay.

I cannot recommend the Twelve Apostles highly enough!
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Jun 27th, 2003, 05:50 AM
  #5
sandi
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Lisa

I agree with Rocco as to Sun City - if you've seen Las Vegas, or even if you haven't, it's not a "required must see" - my personal opinion.

While we stayed at The Cape Grace as we go a special price, friends did stay at the Commodore and we saw the rooms and hotel public space and they were wonderful, as was the staff. It was a 1-block walk to the waterfront. Be sure you get room facing waterfront and Table Mountain.

Also consider that you will be out touring all day, so you really only need your room to sleep. If you want to enjoy afternoon tea or dinner at The Grace, it's just as easy to walk over there.

While Rocco loves the Twelve Apostles, it is a bit away from the Waterfront and he had to take a shuttle bus or taxi to/fo. Since we spent our evenings at the Waterfront, I'd rather be there then to have to commute back to my hotel. While The Commodore is a 4*, it is the best in the class.

Instead of the 2-nts Sun City, why not go to Chobe in Botswana, we stayed at Chilwero, a beautiful lodge recently (3-yrs) rebuilt entirely by A&K and very large rooms, bed was nicer than Singita with lovely netting around bed, with own pvt garden out back, indoor/outdoor showers (best shower heads), bathtub, large bathroom (not as large as Singita though), and lovely colors. Great food and wonderful staff, rangers.

The transfer from Vic Falls is only 1-hr by road to border, border procedures (few minutes), then transfer to Chilwero about 30-minutes. From Chilwero you might be able to get a flight from Kasana (10-min) from Chilwero to Mombo - this way you get to see two environments in Bostwana.

Not familiar with the Zambizi Sun, as we stayed on the Zimbabwe side.

Generally, my feeling is - if I'm at an all-inclusive resort (where I'll be doing everything - pool, tennis, golf, etc.) I want it to be the best - however, if I'm going to be out during the entire day, I can go for a little less hotel if it's only being used for sleep. I just make sure I have clean room, soft linens, good blankets, plenty of a/c, hot water for showers.

Those are my thoughts.
 
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Jun 29th, 2003, 07:38 AM
  #6
Sly
 
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Lisa-I have stayed at the Commodore and it was wonderful! The staff couldn't have been more friendly, attentive and courteous. The Waterfront is just a short stroll away and the rooms were comfortable. More expensive isn't necessarily better! I agree with previous opinions regarding Sun City, that your time would be better spent somewhere else. You can relax by the pool at the Zambezi Sun between sights. Botswana was a good suggestion. A flight from Kasane (which will also provide you with an excellent arial tour of Vic Falls)is about 20 min. You will not regret it!
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Jun 29th, 2003, 04:58 PM
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We stayed at the 12 Apostles, too, and loved it. Small, intimate, comfortable, luxurious, gorgeous sunsets and the sound of the surf (also the sound of traffic but by evening there is little traffic). True, it is not as convenient as being in Cape Town but we liked staying away from the hub-bub.
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Jun 29th, 2003, 06:11 PM
  #8
 
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Lisa,

In a nutshell it is my opinion that what you want to do is spot on as far as your original itinerary is concerned.

If you are looking for a chill out place where you do absolutely nothing and just laze around in the sun then Sun City (as much as I hate the place for all other reasons) would be a good choice. If you want to visit Cape Town, unless you want to be away from the hub bub, then there is no question in my mind that you should locate yourself as centrally as possible in the city and if your are set on staying at a hotel then the Commodore is a fine choice. Sun City is a place to rest or chill out while Cape Town is not a city to visit so as to enjoy great hotels. (You can do that back home) It is a city to enjoy the city itself and if you can find a great hotel or guesthouse to stay at then that would be wonderful, however do not give up location of accommodation relative to the city for a the sake of a great hotel ? In my city that simply would be deemed as being crazy UNLESS you are coming to the city to simply chill out for a rest.

My take on the 12 Apostles varies greatly from Roccco in that he stayed at the venue over a public holiday when there was no traffic in the area and he visited the hotel in low season when the hotel was probably 20% occupied. On weekdays you will find huge amounts of traffic passing the hotel and the noise levels will be high. Forget about hearing those so called waves above the din of the cars. In the season this noise level will continue into the night too. If anybody who tells you that the hotel is well positioned then please take it from me he/she simply does not understand the value of being close to the city when you visit Cape Town.

Hate to say the following but I want to point out that I am telling you all of the above as a highly experienced tourism professional and not as a ?one or two off been to a city? tourist.

To summarise I repeat my opening advise of stick to your original plan as it is a good one.

Selwyn Davidowitz
[email protected]
Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa




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Jul 1st, 2003, 01:13 AM
  #9
 
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I booked my trip with greenlife and got an excellent rate. Try them for a second quote if your using an operator to make your arrangements.
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Jul 1st, 2003, 05:51 AM
  #10
 
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"Is there any difference between Little Mombo and Mombo except for the size of the camps? Are the rooms nicer/guides better at either camp?"

Tents are identical for both camps. They are huge - the larger tent has a bedroom and living room area which attaches onto a second tent (open plan into first) with the bathroom and toilet beyond that. A private balcony/ verandah runs the full length at the back and also houses an additional outdoor shower and a bed for outdoor lazing.

You'll need to ignore any feedback or reports from pre 2000 or perhaps it was 1999 when they moved Mombo and Little Mombo to a new location only a short way from original site and that's when they decided to make both camps accommodation the same.

Both camps have their own central hubs with bar area, dining area and pool. Of course the one at Main Mombo is larger in size but very similar. You can do as we did (staying in Little M) and walk along the raised walkway to the other camp for a look around. There is also a little souvenir shop half way in between.

Guiding when we were there was superb but B.K. has since left and recent reports from Fodorites on guiding have not been so positive.
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Jul 1st, 2003, 07:08 AM
  #11
LizFrazier
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Kavey-
Welcome back girl! Your opinions were sorely missed. How nice to see them once again.
Amazing how much a guide affects a camps reputation. On our last trip to Botswana, the prettiest camp we stayed at was overshadowed by a terrible situation with the guides. They had all banded together and were really awful. We would never visit that camp again because of that situation. It was hard to define and we didn't report it to the owners, but it was noticed by other guests as well. Liz
 
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Jul 1st, 2003, 08:10 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Thanks Liz
You're absolutely right that the guide one has is a crucial aspect of one's trip but sadly one that we have such little control over.
Even if we put in a request on booking for a specific guide it's only ever accepted as a request, not a guaranteed part of the booking - which is logical since guides resign, move on, or are transfered between camps for resourcing reasons...
I would say that, not including Jao and Mombo, the 6 paw camps, the other WS camps in Botswana are pretty much equivalent in terms of actual accommodation and food.
The differences lie in the camp staff, guiding staff, game and bird densities and other variables.
GOOD LUCK with your choices Lisa!
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