KwaZulu Natal Trip Summary (Trip Report To Follow)

Reply

Jun 16th, 2014, 11:15 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
KwaZulu Natal Trip Summary (Trip Report To Follow)

I've already written my trip report on the long flights home (JNB - LHR - LAX) but I could use a recommendation on somewhere to type it up (a free blog or someplace where I can attach photos easily rather than putting Imgur links to photos).

But, in a nutshell, it was a 15 night trip consisting of 3 nights in Durban, 2 nights in Rohrke's Drift, 3 nights in Zululand Rhino Reserve, 4 nights in Mabibi and 3 nights in Mkuze Falls Game Reserve.

Durban Private North Beach Apartment - Thumbs Down
Isibindi Zulu Game Lodge - Big Thumbs Up
Leopard Mountain Game Lodge - Thumbs Down
(Isibindi) Thonga Beach Lodge - Big Thumbs Up
Mkuze Falls Game Lodge - Thumbs Down
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2014, 11:40 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,463
The trip reports at safari talk allow pics. Here's mine from Ethiopia http://safaritalk.net/topic/7566-ethiopia/
sundowner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2014, 02:59 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Sundowner,
Thanks...and looks like Ethiopia is an incredible destination!
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 17th, 2014, 02:00 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Sundowner - looked and read most of you report on Ethiopa. Excellent report and photos. But I can't help wondering if the painted natives are going to any extreme they can think of to please tourists/photographers? In that sense, they become only a halloween face mask? Thus, FWIW, such "theatrics" do not appeal to me.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 24th, 2014, 10:09 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
Roccco - just got home and was hoping you'd done a trip report. Sounds like you had some "not great" experiences. We LOVED iSimangaliso - it was so beautiful, peaceful and just very nice. We weren't at Thonga, but the area was really great.

Looking forward to your TR, especially why some got thumbs down. We had some odd experiences, but mostly very good.
christabir is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 24th, 2014, 12:02 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 742
christabir, some comments please on iSimangaliso! How exactly do you pronouce that? We have several days in KZN this September, I've posed some questions on TA and haven't gotten a lot of response.

I'm leaning towards a self drive up to Cape Vidal. We'll be staying in St. Lucia for 2 nights, then on to Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe for 2 nights, then Tembe for 2 nights. Plus, I found some horseback riding with Bhangazi Safaris, a choice of the beach or a game ride out of St. Lucia! I just could use some advice on how to budget our limited time.

FYI, after KZN we are going to Kruger for several days so we will have loads of animal time!
gigib is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 24th, 2014, 06:01 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
gigib - so happy to hear you are going to Tembe. You'll love it - it is community owned and when we were there three years ago they were just figuring it out. But the game drives were great, even with a mediocre guide. Hilltop had nice accomodations, but we found we had better game viewing in the south (ImFolozi) of the park. We did not do the KZN game drives from the camp - maybe we should have.

We did Kruger first, then headed to KZN this time. We drove through Swaziland and missed a turn because the sign was down, but made it to our b&b in Mkuze at dusk (really scary location, but nice place).. Where are you staying to break up the drive? You can't make it in one day and hope to make an afternoon game drive or take the chance on gate times in Kruger. We stayed in Swaziland last time at the Royal Swazi in Mbabane. We did a quick game drive through Mkuze NP before heading to Rhino River Lodge - which we love.

We did the horse ride. It was nice - we did a two hour game ride (no beach, I live near the beach. We don't have zebras!) It was fun - the guides were fun, so it was just nice to chat during a leisurely ride with impala, zebra, buffalo. The rides don't go in the wildlife park, so no dangerous things - even the buffalo were on the other side of the fence. Expensive ride, but I think I'd do it again (R700 pp). It was windy while we were there, so we didn't do the anticipated kayak hippo/croc safari. Maybe we should have done the boat. Do the whale watching if you can fit it in. We wish we had more time to go to Sodwana and/or Kosi Bay - you might be able to between St Lucia and Tembe. The area is beautiful - what an estuary should look like! We did the drive twice to Cape Vidal - some great views and game viewing. Give yourself much, much more time than expected, and do all the turn offs. We had lunch with buffalo and hippos at a waterhole (the first pan turnoff from the south), saw two white rhino and many antelope species. It was tons of fun, and wow, the views!! Where are you staying? We stayed at Ndiza and it was perfect - we had a kitchen and braai so I could cook. We had dinner at Ocean Sizzler in town (excellent choice!!) but the crowds were at the pub by the beach outside town. There is a Spar right in town where we shopped for lunch stuff and lamb for the braai (YUM!!)

We had no expectations of St Lucia. I wish we had more time. We liked it so much we are considering it for our retirement (if I can get enough solar panels to run air conditioning when Eksom turns off the power, and we can leave during busy times). Anyone know how to grow strawberries and blackberries in a more tropical climate?

I can't tell you how difficult driving can be. There are speed bumps that aren't always well marked, cattle and goats on the N2 and all secondary roads, insane passing vehicles at insane speeds and children walking with no shoulder on the road. Yikes!! If you are looking for a place to shop, there is a craft market south of Hluhluwe on the west side of N2. It might be a little expensive, but there is so much to choose from it is worth a try.

I can't even spell it, much less pronounce it. I hope you love it, too. Have a great trip. I just got home and I'm jealous!!
christabir is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 25th, 2014, 07:09 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
It still needs photos and needs to be cleaned up, but here is my preliminary trip report:

http://safaritalk.net/topic/12845-tr...ze-falls-more/

Also, I ended up with Tick Bite Fever I most likely picked up at my final destination, Mkuze Falls, but that was my own fault for getting lazy and wearing shorts (with plenty of layers above the waist) for the duration of my stay. I've never felt more discomfort than I did for about four days starting from the day I left South Africa...felt like a bullet was lodged in my head or that Michelangelo was carving his next masterpiece into my skull with a chisel. Antibiotics and plenty of Ibruprofen did the trick and I'm ok now but I will not get lazy again on future safaris.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 25th, 2014, 08:31 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 742
Gosh Roccco, how long was the tick in you?!? Congratulations on Comrades. I enjoyed your report, what an experience taking your little girl along!

This will be our third trip to SA, the first two were only Sabi Sands and Kruger, self driving all the way, so this time we want to see a different area.

Sorry to hijack your thread a bit, but Christabir, we are staying at Lodge Afrique in St. Lucia. I'm glad to hear you liked the area so much! I think we need to get to Tembe by around noon, so I'm not sure if we can check out anything on the way.

We are overnighting in Swazi, so far I have a res at Mantenga Lodge near Ezulwini, but I want to change to Ndlovu in the Hlane reserve. This would make for, what looks like anyway, a somewhat shorter and simpler drive up through Big Bend then exiting Swazi at the Mananga border post then on to Komatipoort (we are staying at Lower Sabie in Kruger). I am rather nervous about this stretch. Are the speed bumps in the villages or just randomly out there? How much of the driving is through open space or farms compared to passing through villages? On google, there don't seem to be a lot of villages.
gigib is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 28th, 2014, 12:58 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
Gigib - that's the route through Swaziland we took in the opposite direction. Well, we tried but got a bit lost. It turned out fine. There is construction going on between the Swazi border and Crocodile Bridge. Allow for lots of extra time, as they only have one lane of traffic at times, so the traffic is stooped in one direction, while they allow cars to go in the other. Good news - they built new immigrations/customs buildings at those crossings, so that took no time at all! Just be incredibly aware of the road conditions. There were some signs missing (maybe the same ones we saw being used for siding on homes!!) and the speed limit varies from 40 - 120 kph. Remember, it's an adventure!! It's not really villages but anywhere that people may be - a sugar plantation or factory, a school, a bus stop - that may have speed bumps. And, as I saw on a very funny travel blog today, there are suicidal goats!! We only tried to break the car a couple of times, but luckily failed. Too bad you can't spend more time at Hlane. I'd like to take a game drive or two there. I wouldn't put all of my trust into gps. Invest in a very good map or two and all the online map sites.

Ask at Tembe if you can do a trip to Kosi Bay between game drives. They may be able to work it out - looks stunning.

Have fun. Really, it's not as bad as I'm making it out to be. Just be careful. And always use bug spray, although it was getting pretty chilly (too cold for mossies) when we left late June.
christabir is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:01 PM.