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Kruger Park private reserves: help me choose amongst the cheaper!

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Apr 13th, 2004, 11:03 AM
  #1
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Kruger Park private reserves: help me choose amongst the cheaper!

Sorry if this question was answered elsewhere, I've been reading with interest all the posts about Kruger private reserves...

We are two couples- one never been on safari, another (including myself) who've only self-drived it. We are now going for the first time to a 'private lodge' - we just now have enough money to splurge for a few nights. But still only in the 'least expensive' reserves: Elephant Plains, Indube, Chitwa Chitwa Safari Lodge, Honeyguide...I live in Africa, so hardship is not the problem, just want the best camps to see the most variety of game.

Can anyone give me some advice on these 4 lodges? Also, I've read about tipping guides, choosing guides. How much do you normally tip a guide?

Thanks!
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Apr 13th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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No personal experience but my agent (who I have become friends with and really do trust) has said that Tanda Tula is lovely - and on my recent holiday I met a traveller who had also enjoyed a stay there.

As I said, no personal experience, no commercial interest... just passing on these comments to add to whatever else people report back.
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Apr 13th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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safari newbie,

As an African (South African?) resident, you should be able to get some really great last second deals at www.mtbeds.co.za

Good luck.
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Apr 13th, 2004, 12:45 PM
  #4
sandi
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We stayed at Honeyguide which is a tented camp on the Manyeletti Private Reserve. Great hosts, great food, outstanding bed linens, wonderful guides and great game viewing. They are reasonably priced, and understand they've recently refurbished all the tents. You don't, however, mention when you'll be traveling, which might impact prices.

Check the following site:
www.e-gnu.com

lists most of the camps/lodges in Kruger area (listed under Mpumalanga region) to get an idea of prices for the time of year you plan to visit.

As to guide tipping, most camps/lodges provide a "suggested tipping list", but it depends on service provided and can range from $5 - $12/$15 day per person. Mostly though in the $5/day range. So for the four of you that would be $5/ea or $20/day. However, in SA you also have a tracker in addition to the guide (called a ranger here); so there is a tip for this person. Also for the camp/lodge staff - porters, waiters, housekeeping - usually a shared tip between these people, also an average of $5/person/day.

Hope this helps with your budgeting.
 
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Apr 13th, 2004, 01:06 PM
  #5
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I would also suggest mtbeds.co.za, we got some great last minute deals there last year. For a not-too-expensive reserve I would suggest Tangala, we really enjoyed our stay there. The other couples there were all repeat visitors who had been to the more expensive camps but preferred Tangala.
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Apr 14th, 2004, 01:30 AM
  #6
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Thanks everyone for their answers...I just looked at the mtbeds website and practically fell off my chair. Unfortunately, I'm not an SA resident (I'm an American living in the Congo....) so I can't cash in on most of the deals.

I will check out Tangala, and thanks for the tipping tips- tipping always stresses me out. I think Tanda Tula is out of budget range.

Has anyone experienced Elephant Plains or Chitwa (the Safari Lodge)? My friend just told me she doesn't want to sleep in a tent in the winter no matter how good it is....we're going next month...

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Apr 14th, 2004, 03:46 AM
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It doesn't hurt to ask if you can get the price offered to South African residents, especially if it is close to when you are going. We kept several nights open and then booked about 2 weeks out. I don't remember who I worked with at mt.beds but she was very helpful.
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Apr 14th, 2004, 06:42 AM
  #8
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Thanks, I will try and call mtbeds to see if I can get anything- we're looking to book somewhere for the beginning of May.

This is probably a pretty basic question- but what is the difference between Sabie Sands, Timbavati, Thornybush, Manyeleti....Are they all open to Kruger? Do lodges have the rights to drive thru the whole reserve, or only their little bit?

Thanks!
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Apr 14th, 2004, 11:56 AM
  #9
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Have you considered MalaMala (Kirkman's Kamp)? Exceptional, and not pricey (compared to others in the vicinity). Look at their website - reports on game sightings.
 
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Apr 18th, 2004, 01:49 AM
  #10
 
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My family also stayed at Honeyguide and were happy with our choice. We saw everything but leopard (though others staying at the same time did see one). There is another concession sharing the reserve. You might check on that one too.
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Apr 20th, 2004, 02:27 AM
  #11
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Well....just wanted to say a big thanks for all your help on this board!

As our travel qualified as pretty "last-minute" (going to South Africa in 10 days time) we were able to get the rates advertised on MTBeds....and while I've read on this board about purists pooh-poohing the Sabi Sands lodges, I am quite pleased to be staying at Londolozi Safari Lodge for an amazing rate (less than what we were prepared to pay at Elephants or Chitwa).

Living in central africa myself, i hope i'll be able to help out others on this board as well....

Thanks!
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Apr 20th, 2004, 03:46 AM
  #12
 
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Well done on your recent booking and I hope you have a marvellous time!
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Apr 20th, 2004, 03:58 AM
  #13
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How lucky for you; do have a great time and report back to us on your return. Safe Travels.
 
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Apr 20th, 2004, 05:08 AM
  #14
 
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safari newbie

Great choice,stayed there in december and loved every minute!

They have great rangers there,ask for Jonothan or Francois.

I would also request a dinner in the dry riverbed in front of the lodge-nothing beats having a meal by candlelight in this gorgeous setting!

Game viewing is exceptional here,enjoy your trip!
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Apr 20th, 2004, 07:31 AM
  #15
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thanks for all your best wishes....

safarinut: at risk of ruining the surprise of arrival, what were the chalets like? do you have any views? what kind of sightings did you have? i decided on londolozi on reputation and price alone (and fact that they seem to have a lot of land....) and it's hard to tell what the Safari lodge is like from their website....it seems to be the most smallest part of their holdings...

i wonder if it will be too cold for riverbed dining? we will be there the first week in may...

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Apr 20th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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safari newbie

The chalets are very nice,they are located on the dry riverbed with beautiful views of the surrounding bush.

You have an expansive wooden deck and probably the best outside shower in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve,it actually feels asif you are standing in the riverbed while having a shower!

They have a wonderful pool that you can only access by walking through the riverbed.

Although Safari Lodge is located in the southern section on only 428 hectares,they have traversing rights over Dudley[located directly north of them,privately owned,non-commercial],so theoretically you have traversing rights over Safari Lodge 428 hectares,Dudley+- 5000 hectares and then the main Londolozi property +- 10 000 hectares.

We had magical sightings in December thanks to a great ranger Jonothan Harley and probably the best tracker I've ever had Zack[the king].

We saw the final stages of a wildebeest kill[200 meters from the lodge] and spent two days watching the lions feed-great sighting!

Two different leopards in three days,one feeding on an impala in the treetops!

Rhinos and buff every day and multiple elephant sightings.I just focused on the big five for you but we saw lots of general game as well.

The riverbed may be cool at night but then you could have a breakfast instead as they generally do in the winter months.Don't worry the temperatures are still nice in May however during early mornings and late night it's rather chilly!

The tribal dancing at Londolozi Safari Boma was the best performance I've seen to date at gamelodges,James will have you in tears with his snake dance!

All and all I have to highly recommend this lodge and I am sure you will have a wonderful experience here!
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Apr 20th, 2004, 11:38 AM
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We were at Londolozi in March of this year and as Safarinut says, you should have a wonderful time.

Even though it was right after the rains and the grass was head-high in some places, the game viewing was great. We saw leopards on five out of six game drives.
The big five was usually seen on most game drives without even trying. We also happened upon a wild dog chasing an impala and then he was being chased by a leopard. Made for an exciting morning.

The staff is great and and our guide and tracker, Gavin and Milton, were also excellent. We could not have asked for better guides.

On our last day there (we didn't get to see it) one of the leopards was spotted with a cub, so you may get lucky and happen upon them.

We also got to view the tribal dancing and it was quite the show!

Have a great time. You'll enjoy it.
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 06:52 PM
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Safari Newbie:
I was just wondering what sort of work you do to be in Congo. I have some friends there and being a minister myself, I was wondering if you were a missionary?
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