July Honeymoon Africa

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Feb 18th, 2005, 07:43 AM
  #1
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July Honeymoon Africa

We are planning our upcoming honeymoon at the end of July and are having a hard time trying to decide between SA/Seychelles and Tanzania/Zanzibar The itinerary for both trips are:

SA
3 Nights at Kensington Place Hotel in Cape Town
2 Nights at Londolozi Bateleur Camp Chalet
2 Nights at Singita Lebombo
4 Nights at the Hotel LíArchipel Praslin, Seychelles

Tanzania via a short stop in Dubai
3 Nights at Kleinís Camp
2 Nights at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
4 Nights at Mnemba Island

We have both traveled extensively however this would be our first trip to Africa. Any advice insight would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.



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Feb 18th, 2005, 10:18 AM
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A tough choice! My wife read this as well and the two of us disagree so I don't have a lot of confidence in my opinion here.

Since this is a honeymoon, I would go with the SA itinerary.

Despite winter, Cape Town is a very romantic place and you're not going there for the beach anyway. I probably would not have chosen Kensington Place.

Lebombo & Bateleur are both very romantic. I visited (not stayed) at L'Archipel and the views must be the best in the Seychelles - but it is not exclusive IMO.

Kleins camp is not on the same level in terms of romance. The chalets are rather ordinary and the little pool is really all you have between game drives.

Crater Camp is romantic with the fireplace and bathtub, etc. but everything considered the level of pampering is less Singita and Bateleur.

Mnemba is really nice and more exclusive than L'Archipel. It is true island-style romance.

But for me the pendulum swings a bit towards SA.

I am very interested to hear other opinions here!
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Feb 18th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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Thanks for your insight. I agree that Cape Town even in the winter is worth seeing. I chose Kensington because of cost and that applies to LíArchipel in the Seychelles as well. I can stay at Banyan Tree instead but then I would have to cut out Singita Lebombo and spend my entire four nights at Londolozi. Do you think that is a better way to go?

Thanks again for the info
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Feb 18th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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If it were not for the fact that I did not like FREEZING MY *** OFF, I would vote for South Africa.

I do, however, think that stays of 3 nights at each lodge would be more appropriate, as 2 days is rushing things along too much.

Also, I have never been a fan of mixing a short safari with a short beach stay. Choose one or the other, take off your shoes and stay awhile!

Another possible option would be to consider staying at Phinda in KwaZulu Natal, combining it with a beach stay nearby. The weather should still be pleasant in this part of South Africa, even in late July. At least then it wouldn't mean flying all the way to Seychelles.

One last option, that will probably not go over well with someone considering Singita and Londolozi would be to really experience Africa by going elsewhere, such as Zambia and Malawi for your beach stay. Sure, it is Lake Malawi, but there are a couple really beautiful places.

Kaya Mawa Lodge looks like an incredible destination, and it is a Wilderness Safaris lodge.

http://www.wilderness-safaris.com/ca...sp?map_id=6424

This could easily be combined with a visit to South Luangwa, which will be in high season, yet not nearly as cold as the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Something like this would be possible:

Kensington Place, Cape Town (3)
Chichele Presidential Lodge, Puku Ridge or Luangwa River Lodge (4 or 5)
Kaya Mawa Lodge, Malawi (3 or 4)

The other websites are as follows:

www.star-of-africa.com (Chichele Presidential Lodge and Puku Ridge)
www.luangwariverlodge.com

I personally preferred my time at Chichele Presidential Lodge over my time at Singita Boulders, but that is not to say that Singita is not an amazing place with incredible gameviewing. Plus, Chichele is less than half the price, while Luangwa River Lodge is actually ONE THIRD the price. At Luangwa River Lodge, you would be hosted by a very nice, younger European couple, Barry & Tara, who came from Europe and built their own luxury lodge in South Luangwa, Zambia.

I will be visiting each Luangwa River Lodge and Puku Ridge in September, and I could have stayed nearly anywhere I wanted in any country, but I chose these two places for the luxury portion of my safari.

It is not as complicated as it sounds. doing the above itinerary.

You would start out with your 3 nights in Cape Town (although I would also consider adding this time to Zambia or Malawi, rather than possibly 3 rain soaked windy, cold days in Cape Town).

From Cape Town, you would take an early flight to Lilongwe, Malawi (catching a connecting flight in Johannesburg). You would be able to arrive in ample time for a short 40 minute flight to South Luangwa National Park for your safari.

After your safari, you would fly back to Lilongwe (40 minutes) and then transfer on another short flight to Kaya Mawa Lodge. The weather would be great and you would be in a totally exotic location where few have gone before. Every person with the financial wherewithal has Seychelles on their list, big deal.

If you chose to save Cape Town for another time when the weather is more agreeable, then I would suggest the following itinerary:

Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa National Park (3)
Puku Ridge or Chichele Presidential Lodge, South Luangwa National Park (3)
Kaya Mawa Lodge, Lake Malawi, Zambia (3)
Westcliff Hotel, Johannesburg (2)

This would make the ride home a lot easier, by finishing with a couple nights in a 5* hotel in Johannesburg. You will have great shopping and dining opportunities in Joburg and if you travel in style, Joburg is actually worth visiting.

If you didn't need the beach, then another good option would be the following:

Luangwa River Lodge (4)
Sausage Tree Camp or Chiawa Camp (4)
Stanley Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls (2)
Westcliff Hotel (2)

My personal favorite body of water is not any ocean but rather the Zambezi River, and you would have 6 nights of the mighty Zambezi River split between Lower Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls.

www.sausagetreecamp.com
www.chiawacamp.com
http://www.stanleysafaris.com/lodge.htm

The only reason I am not suggesting Kasaka River Lodge (www.kasakariverlodge.com) is because I think Sausage Tree Camp and Chiawa Camp, with their lower capacities, would be more intimate for a honeymoon.

The honeymoon suite at Stanley Safari Lodge looks incredible, and it would be a shame to miss Victoria Falls since you have not yet been there.

Had you been honeymooning in October, then South Africa would have been an excellent option, but at the end of July, I just don't think shivering in the back of a cold open-aired Range Rover is anybody's idea of fun!

Hope this helps, even if it wasn't the answer you were expecting or wanting.
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Feb 18th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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Thanks for the info on Zambia, I have checked out the lodges you recommended and they do look great. I will have to save them for another visit my other half has agreed on either SA or Tanzania for our honeymoon and the beach portion is for her enjoyment. Learning to compromise already! The thought of freezing in an open rover has ZERO appeal to me. Is Tanzania in July that much warmer that Sabi Sands/Kruger Park and isn't suppoused to warm up during the day? The other option besides the Seychelles was to go to Bazaruto-Iím not so sure that we will have beach weather there? Thanks for your insight
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Feb 18th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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Roccco and my wife think alike! Those early morning game drives under the blanket is still fresh in her mind!

Anyway, I was given two options and had to pick one!

David are you designing your honeymoon from scratch here or how does it work? We could come up with hundreds of ideas but is that what you want?

A tented safari in Kenya followed by Mnemba Island can be very simple and wonderfully romantic. There - now my wife is happy!
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Feb 18th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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David,

I have not been to Eastern Africa, but given that South Luangwa is about half the distance to Eastern Africa, and is much warmer than the Sabi Sand, then I would guess that the Serengeti would be even warmer than South Luangwa.

Yes, it is true that things will be comfortable during the day in the Sabi Sand, but I don't think it will be warm enough to enjoy your plunge pools at Londo and Singita, but I could be wrong. Meanwhile, I did swim in the middle of the day at Chichele Presidential Lodge's swimming pool, and it wasn't cold at all.

Again, however, take a look at Phinda, as it should be a lot warmer than the Sabi Sand.

http://www.phinda.com/
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Feb 18th, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Just 19 miles away from Phinda is Sodwana Bay, a nice place for beach/ocean activities.

http://www.phinda.com/Attractions/sodwana.aspx
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Feb 18th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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Gentlemen,

Thanks for the info. Iím doing this on my own so I am not set on anything but would like to plan a trip around using miles on Delta. I will look into Phinda if it is warm enough to swim in the winter. Iím also open to Kenya and then Mnemba. I can fly via Dubai into Nairobi and then over to Zazibar on Emirates. Is Kenya a good place to be at the end of July. Where would you suggest staying?

Thanks,

David
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Feb 18th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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David,

I am also using Delta Skymiles. I am spending 80,000 miles to go from London - Johannesburg on South African Airways, with a free add-on flight of Johannesburg - Lusaka, all business class flights.

Alternately, I could have flown for the same amount of miles on Air France (also in Business Class), but then I would not have been provided a free flight to Lusaka, Zambia, as Air France does not fly regionally within Africa.

Where are you and your wife from? (Where will your trip start from?)
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Feb 18th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Air France would have been Paris - Johannesburg.
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Feb 18th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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Indeed

You can get to Nairobi on KLM, Emirates, etc. Then safari, then on to Zanzibar then depart via Dar (or back to Nairobi).

In late July the spectacular Migration should be in the Masai Mara. This will be a fly-in safari.

For a honeymoon, I would opt for IllMoran, Little Governors, Bateleur or Olenana. The wildlife will be spectacular. I may get a private vehicle and certainly do a balloon ride.
I would arrange private dinners in the tent, a bush dinner or two, a bush breakfast or two, and private sundowners in different areas.

And then it's on to Mnemba which I thnk you know already.

With this itinery you won't travel around much, the wildlife will be AAA+, the weather excellent and you have basically a private island (almost).




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Feb 18th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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david - wow, such decisions. However, have to say that even in November when it's actually hot in the Kruger area of SA, those early morning and late afternoon/into evening game drives require hats, scarves, gloves, thermals. I wouldn't even consider going in July, though the game viewing is supposed to be better. The vehicles are open which is wonderful, but as they pick up speed the wind picks up and it's downright COLD! Sure they provide blankets, but you can't wait to get back and warm up at the fireplace in your room/cabin/house!!! Sure the days warm up, but you won't forget the cold. As to the pools - forgetaboutit! You might actually find ice floating on top!

As to Tanzania, you'll have much better weather, though here too the mornings are chilly, but nowhere near that of SA. From what you've indicated, apparently you're working with someone who is pushing CCA properties and haven't taken into consideration that end July is Migration time in the Mara in Kenya. So, being in Tanzania isn't really ideal.

For the money you'd be spending at CCA properties, you can consider a Kenya itinerary, using other 5* properties for safari. As to ending with a beach resort, Mnemba is excellent and can be added onto a Kenya itinerary. But you can also stay in Kenya and end on Lamu island, at Manda Bay.

I'd consider Kenya as follows:
Arv NBO, o/n on arrival unless you arrive early morning. If early morning, connect to a flight to Samburu and spend 2-nts at Elephant Watch. At least you'll get the ellees into your itinerary and Samburu is a lovely area for many species not seen elsewhere - reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra, gerenuk. An alternative would be to fly to Nanyuki then private charter to Loisaba which is also ideal for elephants, camelback safaris and encounters with the local Samburu and Laikipia Masai people who are close participants in activities here.

After 2-days you can fly to the Mara and try for CCA's Kichwe Tembo-Bateleur, or Governor's Il Moran, or Saruni, Mara Explorer or even Cottar's 1920 - all camps and all 5*. The reason I'm providing choices is that many places may already be booked.

Spend 3 or 4-nts in the Mara.

But I have a question? Why do you allow 11-nts for SA/Seychelles and only 9-nts Tanzania? If you have 11-nts, you have a bit more flexibility.

From the Mara you can head to the beach at Manda Bay, or fly to ZNZ and then to Mnemba.

It is, however, important to understand that 5* in SA is different than 5* in East Africa. And personally, I believe that CCA doesn't compare in service at Klein's or Crater Lodge as one gets at Singita - much different. However, that said and having visited and stayed at both, and absolutely loving our time at Kruger, at Singita - give me East Africa in a NY minute. To me and a personal feeling only, SA's high-end properties actually seemed too "canned." Besides, the prices in East Africa are easily half what you'd spend at Singita or Londolozi.

As example, in Kenya at a 5* property as Loisaba in Laikipia - you the guest, set the schedule - when, where, what time, for how long. If you want to eat alone down at the river, you do; if you want to eat in your room you do; want to eat with others, you can. As to your safari time, it's your choice the mode - vehicle, walking, camel, mountain bikes, even helicopter and ultra-lites. And consider the "starbeds" here - oh, so romantic sleeping in a four-poster, draped in mosquito netting under the African sky. Your security assured by the local tribes people, nearby but discretely distant!

Choices, choices - but at least the beach weather will be better in East Africa

However, if you decide on SA, then I'd do 3-nts Lebombo, then 3-nts Phinda - two different eco-environments. And if you'd fly to the Seychelles, you can as easily fly to Dar-es-Salaam or Kilimanjaro for ZNZ and Mnemba.

Whichever, remember it's high season in both areas, so you're going to have to make a decision soon.
 
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Feb 18th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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I like the idea of Kenya and then off to Zanzibar. Of the lodges that you suggested any that you feel strongly about? Are any CC Africa lodges? They run Mnemba so I will be booking through them. Thanks for the advice on the Sky Miles. We live in NYC so will be flying out of JFK direct to JoíBurg if we do SA or JFK to Dubai (spend a few days there with friends) and then off to Kenya and then Zanzibar.
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Feb 18th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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david - the only CCA property in Kenya, is in the Mara and is Kichwe Tembo-Bateleur. Don't confuse it with the regular Kichwe Tembo - a different animal altogether - 40-tents versus 8- (or is it 9-) - 5* versus 3-1/2*, often groups versus individual travelers. Go for it!
 
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Feb 18th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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Thanks for the heads up. I just took a look at the website and it looks amazing!
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Feb 18th, 2005, 03:17 PM
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Interesting to see the Southern African clique, followed by the Eastern African clique!

Tug o' war for David's honeymoon destination.

Most of us definitely seem to belong to one or the other.
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Feb 18th, 2005, 03:31 PM
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To answer an earlier question I would cut my time shot in Tanzania or Kenya because I would be coming in via Dubai and I plan to spend a few nights there with friends to jet lag before safari. In SA I would jet lag in Cape Town before heading on safari. I have to say after reading two posts about the cold morning on safari in SA I am really leaning towards Kenya. The Kichwa Tembo Bateleur looks amazing. How so you think that compares to Lodges in SA? If we did end up going to SA I might opt for 4 nights at Londolozi, there is special there for 4 nights at R13,250 per person choice btwn the chalets at all the lodges except Tree Camp. Versus spending R23,000 for two nights at Londolozi and two at Singita Lebombo. The $$ saved will allow me to spend 4 nights at Banyan Tree in Seychelles. But like I said Kenya sounds great (warm) and I do like the idea on Mnemba island. Will take your advice and check out beach location in Kenya. Thanks for everyoneís insight, itís really helped us out!!

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Feb 19th, 2005, 02:31 AM
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Kevin,

Although you already seem convinced that South Africa's weather will not be very pleasant in July, here is further evidence in the form of a climate chart from Singita's website:

http://www.singita.co.za/site/about/climate.asp

You will see that July is amongst the coldest months and that temperatures dip into the 40's. Imagine riding around in a convertible on an elevated seat when it is 45 degrees??? This doesn't only affect morning game drives, but also night game drives once the sun goes down, especially towards the end of the drive.

I visited Singita in March 2002. While the bush was a little thick, everything was nice and green with beautifully warm weather during the day and comfortable early morning and nighttime temperatures. Even with the thick bush, it was still the best gameviewing I have yet experienced but at $2,200 per night, twice the rate I paid with a strong dollar/weak rand, I will pass.

Congratulations on your East African honeymoon.
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Feb 22nd, 2005, 09:22 AM
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I think that the concensus is that SA is out. We are leaning towards Kenya over Tanzania and are considering either Kichwa Tembo Bateleur or Il Moran. Is four or 5 nights too much time? They said that a trip to Lake Nakura can be arranged during that time as well as the balloon safari. My only other question/concern is safety. We might have to overnight in Nairobi our first night, and travel within Kenya is it safe? I have traveled extensively though out South American and the Middle East but the State Department warning last Nov. with regard to Kenya makes me wonder if itís a good idea
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