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Late March/Early April Western Cape/Madikwe/Sabi Sand Itinerary

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Aug 22nd, 2004, 10:16 PM
  #1
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Late March/Early April Western Cape/Madikwe/Sabi Sand Itinerary

After researching Eastern Africa more, it is evident that it will cost nearly $20,000 USD for the safari I want. Hopefully that will be possible in 2006.

So, meanwhile, Award Planner already has my business class airfare waiting for me for my late March requested dates to South Africa.

I am thinking about the following itinerary:

Day 1 - Arrive to Cape Town. Rent car and drive to Bushmans Kloof. 2 nights Bushmans Kloof.

Day 3 - Drive back to Cape Town, 3 nights at Twelve Apostles Hotel in Sea Facing Luxury Room.

Day 6 - Transfer to JNB in time for noon flight to Northwest Province for 3 nights at Impodimo Game Lodge. While I would like to stay at Jaci's Tree Camp, it is about 50% more expensive and now upwards of $1,100 USD per night. Meanwhile Impodimo looks very nice, is only about $700 USD per night ($350 pps), and should also virtually guarantee me some nice sightings of wild dog and rhino.

Day 9 - Air charter to Mala Mala for three night stay.

Day 12 - Transfer to Simbambili for three nights.

Day 15 - Transfer to JNB for evening flight home. END.

Summary:

Bushmans Kloof (2)
Twelve Apostles (3)
Impodimo (3)
Mala Mala (3)
Simbambili (3)

There is a very good special on Bushmans Kloof website (www.bushmanskloof.com) that features the following package for only $117.50 pppns using current exchange rates of 6.555 ZAR to 1 USD. Here it is, as listed on their website:

2-nights Bushmans Kloof/3-nights Twelve Apostles R1097 per person sharing per night (for 5 nights).

With Mala Mala being as reasonable as it is, and with Simbambili still being somewhat reasonable, this 14 night package is really not such a bad deal. I definitely do not want to freeze in the Sabi Sand as I did in June, 2003, at Djuma Vuyatela, so for high season rates, I am very satisfied. It should come in just over $10,000 USD, which is still a big number but probably $8,000 less than what an acceptable East Africa package would cost me right now. By just hanging low and having this as my only big expense for the next 24 months, I am confident that in 24 months I can do East Africa the right way, with about 18 nights on safari spent half in Kenya and half in Tanzania.

For now, however, I think I may have to pull the trigger on this package before I lose my business class seats that Award Planner helped find for me. For anyone still unfamiliar with Award Planner, it is a great service in which for a $39 one time fee or $99 yearly fee they will do all the searching for you to help you find frequent flier seats to the destinations of your choice. They helped me get to South Africa this year, and even found me a free add on flight to Zambia. It really is a tremendous service. www.awardplanner.com

So, how does the itinerary look??? I realize it will be my third trip to the Sabi Sand, but if I don't take this trip, I may not get a chance to travel to Africa until late 2005, and by then I really expect to have my hands full with business concerns.

Madikwe looks like a really nice place but I really have no idea if its location is as good as Jaci's Tree Camp. I do expect a ton of great photos from this trip with 9 full nights on safari in prime game viewing areas. Although my last safari was 11 nights, to be honest, I feel like 4 nights were nearly a complete waste at Kulefu Tented Camp, as far as photographs go (but I really loved the opportunity to go canoeing in the hippo infested waters, risking life and limb all along the way each time).

The main goal on this trip are as follows:

1. Leopard
2. Wild Dog (which is why I have decided to include Madikwe)
3. Rhino (present in both Madikwe and the Sabi Sand)

Anybody with any experience in Madikwe, I would love to receive some feedback on either the camps/lodges you visited or if you have any feedback on Impodimo.

Thanks.
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Aug 22nd, 2004, 10:19 PM
  #2
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Correction:

>>>There is a very good special on Bushmans Kloof website (www.bushmanskloof.com) that features the following package for only $117.50 pppns using current exchange rates of 6.555 ZAR to 1 USD.

The ACTUAL conversion works out to about $167.50 pp per night sharing and that is still an excellent deal for Bushmans Kloof and the Twelve Apostles.
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Aug 23rd, 2004, 12:31 PM
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What flights did you get on? Are you taking SAA via Atlanta or are you doing via Europe.

Sorry, no info on your lodges.
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Aug 23rd, 2004, 11:58 PM
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Thit Cho,

I will be going on a direct flight from LAX - London Heathrow, on my own dime, and then use my frequent flier miles for London Heathrow to Cape Town. Although I would likely be able to get a flight from Atlanta or New York, it is not worth it for me to have to fly to New York or Altanta and spend 40,000 extra ff miles pp.

It is nice to break up the long flight home in London, as I just did a couple months ago, and to just hang out in the Business Class lounge. SAA has an ARRIVAL LOUNGE at London Heathrow, and it is great, with beautiful private bathrooms with GREAT showers, a different section with a big screen television and very comfortable chairs and loveseats, computers with internet access and plenty of refreshments.

I don't think I would go through London if I lived in New York or Atlanta but it is an excellent option for those of us on the west coast, or for those individuals wanting to spend a few nights in Europe combined with Southern Africa.

About that itinerary of mine...it is a challenging one. Ideally I would be able to visit Jaci's Tree Lodge in Madikwe for four nights, Phinda Forest for three nights, Mala Mala for three nights and Simbambili for three nights, but they are just too spread out from each other. It would be like dividing time between Lower Zambezi (Zambia), Okavango Delta (Botswana) and Etosha (Namibia).

I really do want to save Bushmans Kloof until after Cape Town, just in case I do actually attempt the ultramarathon rather than flake out and settle for the half marathon. Bushmans Kloof has an excellent spa, and would give me a chance to do some light walking which would help me recover faster.

Twelve Apostles (3)

Bushmans Kloof (2)

Sun City (1) I will have to get here anyway for road transfer to Madikwe.

Cape Town - Sun City. 2.5 hour road transfer to Madikwe.

Jaci's Tree Lodge (4). I love the looks of this lodge and the reports that the past guests have provided, as posted on their website. For the opportunity to see wild dogs and rhinos, I am willing to spend four nights here. From what I have read, wild dog sightings are very regular. While there are not too many leopard spottings, I will see plenty of leopards at Mala Mala and Simbambili. Anyway, the wild dog is much less common than the leopard, which still numbers over 250,000 in the world, according to the recent Time magazine featuring Big Cats.

This is the very tricky part, in getting from Madikwe to the Sabi Sand, at least without using an expensive chartered fligth. I don't know how I am going to do it. May have to settle for one night in Joburg inbetween.

Michelangelo Hotel, Joburg (1)

Simbambili, Sabi Sand (3) Did anybody else happen to see the link that I posted of the wild dog kill of the buffalo that is up on Taga Safaris website right now?! It is amazing stuff.

Mala Mala, Sabi Sand (3) Definitely staying in the Sable Unit where no children are allowed. I do wish the rooms were a bit nicer but if that were the case, it would surely be as expensive as Londolozi and Singita.

17 nights is longer than I wanted to stay, but South Africa is just too far to spend any less time. I am pleased that will be seeing a few new parts of South Africa that I haven't seen before (Bushmans Kloof, Madikwe, and even Sun City, although I will probably go straight to my room or to a show since I do not gamble).

I have good reason to believe that this will be my best photosafari yet, if I stick to this itinerary. It is unbelievable that in 17 nights there is still so much of South Africa that is not covered...the Garden Route, Phinda, the Cape Winelands). One day I will take a five week trip in September/October and really take it all in on the same visit.
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Aug 24th, 2004, 12:12 AM
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I just received a quote on chartered flights from Bushmans Kloof - Madikwe, Madikwe - Sabi Sand, Sabi Sand - Phinda.

Total price for the above flights...$5,650 USD. Move over Donald Trump...NOT!

I knew they would be high, but I was expecting about an average of $1,000 USD per flight, estimating from my experiences in Zambia where a two hour twenty minute flight to South Luangwa is only $180 pp each way. Even with four passengers, that is only $720 for a four seat plane.

The most I would be willing to pay for these charters is $3,000 USD, and even then, that is a lot more than it would be in Zambia for the same product.

If I can get Madikwe to Sabi Sand for $1,000 USD, I will take it so that I don't kill my safari high with an interruption of one night in Joburg.
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