Leaving in 7 days! S. Africa & Botswana

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Sep 1st, 2005, 03:44 PM
  #1
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Leaving in 7 days! S. Africa & Botswana

I can't believe it's almost here. We leave a week from tomorrow!! This is our first trip to Africa, the itinerary is:
Fly Houston-Amsterdam-Capetown
3 days, 4 nights in Capetown. Welegelen Guest House.
-- One day guided tour of wine country
-- One day guided tour of the peninsula
-- One day on our own. Thinking about a visit to Robben's island. How far in advance do we need to book? Should I call now, or can I book a day or two in advance once I get there?

Fly SAA from Capetown to Nelspruit. Transfer to Singita Lembobo for 2 nights.

Stop in Jo'burg for one night. Holiday Inn Airport. Our travel agent suggested Moyo's for dinner. Has anyone been there? Is it fun or is it too tourist-y? (I know, that's really subjective).

Fly to Maun. Transfer to Vumbura Plains for 3 nights.

Then on to King's Pool for 3 nights.

Then back to Maun, to Johannesburg, overnight to Amsterdam, and back to Houston.

So far, everything has come together pretty smoothly except for one thing. Two weeks ago, my husband and I found out that we were 5 pounds over the weight limit for two people on a light aircraft transfer. We thought about crash diets, but were worried about a last minute weight gain in Capetown. So, we bought an extra seat on our transfers. The good news is that now we can have more luggage We are going to try to pack everything for the entire trip into 3 12-kg bags and that way we won't have to worry about bag storage or anything. Has anyone done this sort of thing? Does it work OK?

I think this weekend will be devoted to practice packing and several trips to the store to pick up whatever I've forgotten. And maybe some last-minute photography practice. This forum has been invaluable in helping me get prepared for the trip, so thanks to everyone.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 04:45 PM
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weight limit on people? that's new to me. what is it if i may ask?
Dennis
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Sep 1st, 2005, 05:08 PM
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For our light aircraft transfers, the passenger weight limits are no more than 220 pounds for an individual. Two people travelling together cannot have a combined weight of 390 pounds or more.

The air transfer company is Sefofane, Wilderness Safaris is the safari company. Maybe this restriction is unique for these companys????
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Sep 1st, 2005, 05:12 PM
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thanks dlemma- we'll be on airwaves in zambia and did not see anything about that on their webpage, but we can pass the 390 limit (barely!)
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 03:36 AM
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Hello,

Sounds like a great trip, Dlemma!

Do go to Robben Island. I would advise booking in advance just to save some time when you get there. A day or two in advance is fine.

Moyo is fun but is a bit touristy -- sort of like Carnivore, if you've ever been there. It's sort of an 'Afro-chic' version of a traditional meal. The food's not great, but the entertainment isn't bad. If your main goal is great food and a more 'neighbourhood' vibe, I'd recommend going somewhere else -- like Greenside or Melville.

The weight limit on people is common on light aircraft flights -- it's primarily for safety reasons because they want to limit the amount of total weight on the plane.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:03 AM
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Does this weight limit include your baggage limit or is it separate from that?
J
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Ooops hit the return key too quickly. Forgot to say have a GREAT trip!!
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:20 AM
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Hey, I can't answer any of your questions. Just wanted to wish you a wonderful trip. Have lots of fun!
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:14 PM
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Julian: Thanks for the Johannesburg restaurant info. I suspect that I would enjoy someplace with good food and more of a neighborhood ambiance. I think you mentioned a nice French restaurant in an earlier post, that sounds interesting.

Jules39: The human weight limit is separate from the weight limit on baggage. I guess it makes sense - what good does it do to require 12kg bags if the people weigh more than the plane can handle?
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:25 PM
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wondering how they know how much you weigh before you get there?
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:49 PM
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To avoid problems with my heavy luggage I always tell them my total weight: body weight (;-)), soft bag (20kg) and photo backpack (14kg).

Up to now that worked at every bush flight - no additional cost or extra seat.

Mitch
 
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 01:04 PM
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Great idea, Mitch!

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 01:15 PM
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There is a nice French place called Dino's in Bedfordview, but it's in a mall (surprisingly common for even upmarket restaurants in SA).

For more of a neighbourhood feeling, try Soi in Melville or Chaplin's (also in Melville). Yum in Greenside is, well, yummy...

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 3rd, 2005, 10:17 AM
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Dennis, we filled out an information form that included questions about weight. That's how they knew. When our travel agent saw that we were over the limit, she advised us that we should buy an extra seat. Being total newbies to safari, we felt it was better to be safe and buy the extra seat rather than risk a problem at the airstrip.

Julian, thanks for the restaurant ideas. They will come in handy.
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Sep 3rd, 2005, 11:10 AM
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Thanks Dlemma, Have a GREAT trip!!
Dennis
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Sep 4th, 2005, 12:10 PM
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We also saw the weight limit on people in the documentation we received from Wilderness Safari. I don't think they enforce it at all. No one on any of our Sefafone flights (I think we had a total 5) were ever asked about their weight. The planes were also never completely full. Usually there's an employee or two on the flight and I'm sure they'd bump these folks if they really got close to the weight limit.

Have a great time! I'm envious. Wish I were there now...

Judy
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Sep 4th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Hello,

When I travelled with Sefofane, no one was weighed or asked their weight (at least within my earshot), and the same was true for Federal Air in SA. One of my planes was completely full. If they had a 'passenger of unusual size' and a full plane, they might discreetly enquire, i suppose.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 4th, 2005, 03:05 PM
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Dlemma,
Beginning last April, I believe, Wilderness has changed their weight limit (in Botswana anyway) to 20 kg per person, not 12 kg per person. However, unlike Judy, our luggage was weighed in Maun before boarding the small planes. And at least once, if not twice, the small Cessna 206 was filled, the pilot, 4 passengers and all their luggage (which did not all fit in the luggage bin and had to go inside the plane). We were allowed to carry on a small camera bag or small size backpack without it being weighed as part of the 20 kg (but niether of us obviously stretch the person weight limit). We were at Little Vumbura and Kings Pool in June and loved both, so have a great trip!
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Sep 5th, 2005, 01:29 AM
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Really no need to book Robben Island - there are trips every hour so if you cant get on the first boat you will certainly get on the next one. While you are waiting there are plenty of things to do at the Waterfront.
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Sep 5th, 2005, 01:39 AM
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From a conversation I had with one of the pilots - they very seldom ask people their weights because they often don't have a completely full flight - but the logistics team need to know in advance if they have any particularly heavy individuals so that they know not to book that flight to capacity (numbers wise) which would be overcapacity (weight wise).

I think Sesofane apply these limits precisely because the weight of the people is just as important (more so, since it accounts for a higher part of the total) than the weight of the luggage.

Dlemma
Have a GREAT TIME!
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