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itinerary - think I got it worked out but could use some advice

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Nov 9th, 2005, 08:13 AM
  #1
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itinerary - think I got it worked out but could use some advice

We'll be traveling from Atlanta next July or August.

Arrive Jo'burg, rent car and drive to Pilgrim's Rest or Hazelview for the night

Enter Kruger thru Phalaborwa gate and over nite at Olifants. Hopefully get there for the evening drive.

Next day travel to Satara for two nights.

Then on to Londolozi Tree Camp for one night. (Would like to spend more time there but just to $$$$)

From here we drive back to Jo'burg and spent the night at a hotel outside the airport.

Next day fly to Seychelles for 10 days.

Back to Jo'burg and on to Altanta.

I know there are people on this board who will say we should spend less time in the Seychelles and more time on safari, but this is my wife's trip (TO THE SEYCHELLES!!) and I'm trying to add on a safari. The flights to Mahe from Jo'burg are quite limited. (Tues and Sat I believe) It is our first trip to Africa. We do however travel a good bit. We probably will not use an agent (nothing against them at all) because our dates we can work around are so restricted. We also will be using FF miles for our flights and hotel points for place in Mahe.

Could anyone please help me with the safari part of this trip? Night drives?? Self-drive-- is it a good thing?? Londo -- one night there??? Other camps???

Thanks

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Nov 9th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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Kruger is an excellent place for self-drive, and I stayed at Satara, and had amazing sightings, and I've heard excellent things about Olifants. I'm sure you'll get conflicting advice, but, frankly, I would add a day to Kruger and skip Londolozi if only for one night. I find the self-drive a lot more fun than being driven through the private reserves, especially for one night. It will take you a while to drive to and find Londolozi. I'd save the $ and use it to fly from Kruger back to JNB to avoid the drive in both directions. Or, better yet, use the savings to fly from JNB to Kruger in both directions.

The Kruger camps can be booked on-line, but I think you'll need an agent if you decide to book Londolozi, but I could be wrong.

You could book night drives at some lodges in Kruger, and I did one from Skukuza and saw lots.

There is A LOT more game in Kruger than the private reserves, and you can spend much, much more time on safari in Kruger (all day) as opposed to morning and afternoon drives at Londolozi. Plus, to me, its much more fun to use a map and binoculars to find animals instead of driving from sighting to sighting in the private reserves (often the guides use radios to alert each other to sightings so a lot of the thrill and surprise are removed).

Some have had great times at the private reserves, but I don't think many on this site have also experienced Kruger.

Michael
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Nov 9th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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Self-drive in Kruger is a wonderful thing. Take a good animal ID book with you. Even the small sheet they give you at the park gate is very useful, but I like to have something with more detail as well. Don't think you have to keep to the more remote dirt roads to see a lot of game. You will see lots there, but the animals also like the tarred roads -- they're warm, and there is often water runoff at the road's edge.

Night drives with the ranger are also fantastic. Their knowledge will increase your enjoyment hugely. I've never done an early morning drive with them, but plan to on our next trip in February. I think these real early morning drives are a fairly new thing. I'm really looking forward to that.

Have a wonderful time!
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Nov 9th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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Thanks for the quick response. Will it be too late to reserve in Olifants and Satara in Feb? We would like to have a perimeter place in each camp. I've read a few posts here on which cabin or bungalow to get. But unfortunately can't know our exact travel dates until Feb-Mar. If I dropped Londolozi and added a night at a bushveld camp, which would be the best? I actually don't mind spending $$$$ for just one night there (Londolozi) but is it a good idea to do this if you can only afford 1 night?

Thanks again

Wes
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Nov 9th, 2005, 09:59 AM
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If you intend to use FF miles for flights, you better do so very soon. I booked a ticket to Johannesburg for next July, and I booked it exactly 331 days before departure. The tix to Africa go very quickly.

As to availabilty, you can check
http://www.sanparks.org/
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Nov 9th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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Salf drive is great. Go for it.
As for other camps, my favorites-
Shingwedzi, Balule, Maroela(if not try Mopani), Biyamiti

The restcamps are open to the public if you need a break and to buy anything. The smaller camps are just fabulous to get away from the crowds and go game viewing.

July and August is the dry time of year, so best game viewing around water supplies and perennial rivers which are usually quite close to game viewing roads.
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Nov 10th, 2005, 02:49 AM
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Wesmma11,

You may want to read the posting of "Lodging Report - South Africa" as the travelers loved Londolozi. I was there years ago, and felt the same, so best is probably if you check with Londolozi when the drives are, how many drives you can fit around one night there, and what you can expect to see that time of the year. May be worth it!

Have a ball!
Roly
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Nov 10th, 2005, 04:33 AM
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Wesmma11,

Spending time at Londolozi is really a wonderful experience so I would be hesitant to suggest that you don't go. The rangers and trackers are exceptional, and night drives are usually pretty productive. You have a good chance of seeing leopards here (which of course, LZ is well known for). However, I'm not sure if it is worth one night to try to drive there (I have no idea how long the drive would be since we flew in from JNB).

There are also chalets at 3 of the 4 Londolozi camps that are about 60 percent as much cost as the suites (only suites at Tree Camp). I have not seen the chalets, but believe they are basically smaller rooms and don't have their own sala (they do have a deck or patio), and may not have an outdoor shower. However, the food and the game drives would still be the same, so you may want to consider that. If you want to experience a private camp, then really 2 nights would be much better. Afternoon game drives in July/Aug will start at 3:30. You can book directly with CCAfrica or use an agent.
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Nov 10th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Thanks so much for all your help. I'm going to try and budget 2 nights at LZ to the trip. Unfortunately we'll have to cut something else out, probably in the Seychelles. Or maybe stay one night in a regular room and one night in a suite at LZ.
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Nov 14th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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If I decide to self-drive AND visit a private lodge, which should I do first? I was thinking of doing Kruger first (Olifants and Satara) then finishing with the luxury of Londolozi, but perhaps if I did LD first I may pick up a few pointers (on spotting wildlife) from the guides that would help our self-drive. What did you think???
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Nov 14th, 2005, 09:30 AM
  #11
Dot
 
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Hi! We drove from Jo-burg to Kruger and overnighted at Graskop. http://www.graskophotel.co.za/default.htm Then we stopped at Pilgrim's Rest on the way to Thornybush (we stayed at Motswari 1 night) then we drove to Sabi (Simbambili 2 nights). Maybe it is just me (obviously, it is, as so many people do 2 week safaris), but IMHO, 3 days on safari is enough. I've woken up at the crack of dawn and seen enough animals by the 3rd day. So, don't beat yourself up over spending a lot of time in the Seychelles...missing Cape Town & its wine region, well that's another story...

I would do the self-drive first, then the fancy lodge...otherwise you'll be wishing that you were at Londolozi the whole time you are on the budget portion.

check out http://www.mtbeds.co.za/index.xml if you haven't already, as you might consider leaving a few nights open and booking last minute into a really nice place at a discount.
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Nov 14th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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I think you'd be better off visiting Kruger first, and Londolozi second, since the drop off in comfort is dramatic, and you may not appreciate Olifants and Satara as much after the luxury of Londolozi.
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