July Honeymoon in South Africa?

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Jan 11th, 2005, 01:20 PM
  #1
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July Honeymoon in South Africa?

My fiance and I are hoping to go to South Africa for our honeymoon this July. I've searched these boards and have found a great deal of helpful advice but am still feeling overwhelmed. We'll be using airmiles and it looks like our options are 6 nights or 11 nights (flying in and out of cape town).
First question: is 6 nights too short? We would do 3 nights Capetown, 3 nights in a Sabi Sand lodge. (We're going from Boston via London to Capetown and would spend two nights in London as well).
For 11 nights, we'd do 4 nights capetown, then hopefully split 6 nights between two lodges before returning to Capetown for our flight home.
We were given a price quote for Tanda Tula and Singita and also for Ngala and Singita (different travel agents). Both are very expensive (obviously)... We're torn because on the one hand, it's our honeymoon and we want it to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and on the other hand, Singita is just amazingly expensive, especially with the dollar being so weak. It seems like Londolozi and Ulusaba are also expensive. What about Lion Sands Ivory? Would anyone suggest combining a more expensive lodge with a less expensive lodge? Mala Mala seems great.
If we split our time between two places in the Sabi Sand, I think it would ideal to stay at a tented camp first and then at a lodge.
Thanks so much for reading.


Lily622 is offline  
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Jan 11th, 2005, 05:00 PM
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First of all congratulations!

My Fiance' and I visited S. Africa last year, and really enjoyed the trip. I'd suggest you check out Honeyguide tented camps. This place was our favorite safari experience, and the guides and staff are all incredible. Very casual and fun, and Sam and Richard were the best guides we had.

I'd also suggest Kensington place in Cape Town... absolutely amazing. Marble floors, killer views of the town and Table mountain, and again - excellent staff.

Also be sure to have dinner one night at Ginja (121 Castle Street, Cape Town -- +27(21) 426-2368) Awesome food, and again great service. One of the best restaurants I have ever been to.

Enjoy your trip, and I hope these suggestions help!
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Jan 11th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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Congratulations, Lily622.

I would strongly recommend the 11 night option over the 6 night option. That's a LOT of flying time to and from the destination for 6 nights there.
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Jan 11th, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Gravity-thanks so much for the suggestions! I can't wait to try Ginja and your lodge and hotel recommendations are appreciated.
Judy -I agree- my fiance and I discussed it again and ditched the 6 night option. So we'll have 11 nights... Keep the suggestions coming! Of Royal Malewane (as expensive as Singita?), Lions Sand Ivory, Mala Mala... which one? We really want the best honeymoon experience - great game viewing but also nice rooms and good food (not too gourmet) and more of an adult crowd than families...
Thanks in advance!
Lily622 is offline  
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Jan 11th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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If you are considering MalaMala you can read my trip report here http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...start=0&screen. It also has a link to pictures of some of the game I saw. It was definitely great game viewing and the rooms/food were very nice. There were a number of couples on their honeymoon while I was there.

Good luck making your decision!

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Jan 11th, 2005, 10:36 PM
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Hi Lily622

Just thought that I would add my 'ten cents worth'. As you are going on honeymoon, you obviously want this to be an experience of a lifetime - whilst Singita is probably tops, I would suggest that you can get something just as special but for a far better price. Ivory lodge at Lion Sands is absolutely mind blowing - in my opinion the next best thing in the game lodge industry in S.A. Other realy attractive options include Exeter Game lodges (either Dulini or Leadwood Lodge). Royal Malewane (Thornybush Reserve) I believe is fantastic too but from what I have heard the game viewing is not as great as in the Sabi Sands. Simbambili is another that always seems to get very high reviews on this forum, so check that out too - you might like to take a look at the daily Leopard diary that is ongoing at Simbambili at the moment (check out www.tagasafaris.co.za). Of course Sabi Sabi is an old favourite and always dishes up great game-viewing. Although the game-viewing at Mala Mala is superb, I believe that the accomodation is a little outdated and this would not be my first choice. OK, after having said all this, which would be my choice? I would have to go with Lion Sands Ivory Lodge or Leadwood Lodge at Exeter!! Another suggestion - have a look at www.mtbeds.co.za they offer great specials on a lot of game lodges - speak to Samantha Stegmann, she is very good and very helpful too. One last thing, bear in mind that from the 1st May a lot of game lodges drop the prices in accordance with the winter season so that may assist you too. Hope this helps and please, if you have any other questions, feel free to send them.

A very proud member of the rainbow nation that is South Africa
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Jan 12th, 2005, 03:25 AM
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Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
If you decide to spend 6 nights on safari, then remember that you may be able to get some kind of discount in July (wintertime in South Africa).

For example, CCAfrica gives about a 15% discount for six nights in their lodges so you could combine Londolozi in Sabi Sands, and then Ngala, Madikwe or Phinda. I believe that Leopard Hills gives you 6 nights for the price of 5 nights if you stay at Leopard Hills and Madikwe Hills. Obviously the cost is still great, but every little discount helps.

If you change reserves, then there is the added cost of small plane transfer, but you will be able to experience two different areas. You lose part of one day making the transfer between reserves. Others on this board may know how the transfers work if you stay at two different lodges in Sabi Sands, or in the reserves close to Sabi.

If you want to check about the CCafrica price, I would suggest that you check with CCAfrica directly, then check with an African based agency (like Taga Safaris), then check with Bert at Fish Eagle Safaris in Houston and see who gives you the best price. Make sure you are comparing the exact same thing (that is, whether flights and transfers
are included).

Good luck with your planning.

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Jan 12th, 2005, 05:32 AM
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Bushmad,

It looks like Ivory Lodge at Lion Sands is very expensive. How does one reserve Ivory at a much better rate than Singita? Are some agents offering great deals at Ivory? (besides mtbeds, which requires a last minute reservation.
Thanks
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Jan 12th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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Sundowner-excellent trip report (and photos!) Thanks so much for posting the link. Mala Mala looks amazing.

Bushmad-thank you for your suggestions! Our possible itinerary currently includes Simbambili - the leopard diary on tagasafaris is terrific - and Thornybush. From your post Lion Sands Ivory sounds first rate, and I am curious about Royal Malewane.

Brandywine-thanks for the suggestion re: price discounts and CCAfrica. I'll have to look into that.

If we did Lion Sands Ivory and Simbambili, would that be alright in terms of location? MalaMala Sable and Simbambili? Too close?
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Jan 12th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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Lily
listen to me, if you are on a tight budget and you want luxury this should be your plan.
You mentioned that you are using miles for your air portion. this can be to your benefit.
Wait till 3-4 weeks before your departure date and contact mt beds(www.mtbeds.co.za), trust me they will have something available for you, you are going in july that is not high season, i am going in 2.5 weeks from now which is high season, and unfortunatly i did not have the courage to wait till the last minute to book. boy am i sorry because i spoke to mtbeds just to see what would have been, i could have stayed at dulini for 1600r i could have stayed at lion sands for 2800 tinga for 1800 almost all the top notch lodges that are offered on the site were available. Now if this is for january - feb. I am sure you will get something great during july. But you got to be strong and dont flinch!!
Lets disscuss worse case scenario, mt bed has nothing (they will but lets suppose) You can then still pay rack rate at any lodge but chances are since it is last minute if you ask them for a discount they will give you a large one. What if there is not a single luxury lodge available for your dates?? (just hypothetical) you are using air line miles, so for 50 or 100 dollars (depends on airline) you can redeposit the miles into your account. Then get yourself a ticket to hawaii and stay at the grand wailia or whatever you fancy. Better yet if you have enough miles already reserve a ticket now to hawaii and hedge your bets. It will only cost you 50 -100 dollars to redeposit the one you arent using. But trust me that will all be unnecessary. Take it from someone who just learnt the lesson the hard way (i got a grat deal but nothing compared to if i would have waited).
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Jan 12th, 2005, 02:16 PM
  #11
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mhron-ahhh I wish I could do that! If it were just a normal vacation I would definitely do it but whereas it's our honeymoon I don't know if I have the nerves of steel that it requires.... I've noticed that there are amazing rates on MTBeds though.... Thank you for the suggestion!
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Jan 25th, 2005, 12:39 PM
  #12
 
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Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! The eleven night itinerary is definitely the one to take. You will be sorry is you only do six. A wonderful lodge to consider in SA is Tintswalo. We were there in the fall, and can't say enough nice things about it. Very luxurious and "only" US$419 per person/per night. If interested, see my post on this lodge.
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