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Kruger National Park: Safari at Djuma Vuyatela Lodge, Sabi Sands Private Game reserve

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Oct 31st, 2004, 05:05 AM
  #1
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Kruger National Park: Safari at Djuma Vuyatela Lodge, Sabi Sands Private Game reserve

Hi

My wife and I are going to South Africa during Christmas to visit her family in Joburg. While we are there we would like to go on a safari and we have looked at a place called Djuma Vuyatela Lodge which is a part of the Sabi Sands Private Game reserve (http://sabi.krugerpark.co.za/Luxury_...ela-lodge.html). I would like to hear from people who has been there to see if it is worth the money

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Gard
Stavanger, Norway
http://gardkarlsen.com
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Oct 31st, 2004, 05:40 AM
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I have spent 2 separate visits at Djuma Bush Lodge and enjoyed it immensely (Rocco's snotty comments to the contrary) It is cheaper than Vuyatela and certainly not as posh, but nice just the same and the safari viewing is of course the same.I see it as excellent value for the money.
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Oct 31st, 2004, 08:01 AM
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Gard,

(and now for my snotty comments)

I stayed at Djuma Vuyatela last year. While I loved the aesthetics of the lodge and the overall staff was very nice, I didn't care for either the other guests or one of the owners of the lodge. Our guide, Chris, was very nice and more resembled a California surfer than an African guide.

Regarding the owner, I just think she was rude and didn't even make eye contact with my wife and I during our first meal together, making me think that she was just a rude fellow guest who probably did not speak much English. It wasn't until later that she introduced herself as one of the owners, by then all smiley faced.

I was there at the beginning of low season in early June of last year. The days were nice but the early mornings and especially nights were very cold, about 40 - 45 degrees farenheit.

We were banished to our room that night for dinner to have a "romantic dinner for two" on the deck of our room. Well, it wasn't quite "romantic" considering that we both froze while the owner and her friends & family enjoyed the comforts and warmth of the dining room all to themselves.

The gameviewing was pretty good, and I was able to get some really good leopard and lion photographs.

However, I found the curb appeal of Djuma Vuyatela to be less than appealing, about one or two minutes after you arrive into the Gowrie Gate of the SSGR. Plus, in order to pass through the Gowrie Gate, you actually go from the Hoedspruit Airport through a city that must have at least 10,000 people in it (complete with mini-malls and sidewalk vendors). The previous year I flew directly from Johannesburg Airport to Singita, and although within a few miles of Djuma Vuyatela, the direct air charter gives you the idea that you are in the middle of nowhere, adding to the magic.

I cannot give enough praise to the rooms at Djuma Vuyatela and the cleanliness of the entire lodge.

It was the other guests and that owner that made it a less than memorable experience. There were two large groups in camp while I was there, and the only other guests were friends and family of the owner. So, for our three nights we were placed with a group of six others (four adults and two children, all in the same group). I thought that it was petty to have us with a group of six. THEY should have been provided their own vehicle, even if that meant that an extra vehicle had to be used for my wife and I.

The other group was a group of about seven stewardesses, mostly from Texas. Well, I will leave it at there is quite a cultural barrier between Texans and Californians and another cultural barrier between stewardesses and those of us born with a brain in our head!

I only wished that I had known about Simbambili by then. Although Simbambili neighbors Djuma Vuyatela, it seems like a much more intimate lodge. If you haven't already seen this, here is an excellent link that features an exciting little internet documentary following the leopards that reside in Simbambili, "The Leopards Of Simbambili."

Here is a link:

http://www.tagasafaris.co.za/african...est-events.htm

Also, here is the link for Simbambili, which is otherwise hard to find:

http://www.thornybush.co.za/msimbambili.html

Lastly, for the best agent, I would strongly suggest that you contact Taga Safaris:

www.tagasafaris.co.za

Mark at Taga has been extremely helpful in helping me plan my upcoming trip and has demonstrated an excellent knowledge of all areas of Southern Africa (I have bounced around ideas of where I want to go, from Zambia to Zimbabwe to Botswana to South Africa and even remotely considering Namibia).
Although I compare pricing against other agents, I find that Mark's are usually the best or at the worst equal to other agents.

You seem to be going at the very busiest time of the year, so I would not waste another moment before making a decision and wrapping this thing up.

Have a great time!
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Nov 1st, 2004, 09:11 AM
  #4
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Hi

What about the Elephant Plains Lodge? That is another option that we have been looking into

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Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com
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