Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > LIN'S TRIP REPORT: LITTLE MAKALOLO,SAVUTI,TONGABEZI,SAUSAGE TREE,TAFIKA,PUKU RIDGE

LIN'S TRIP REPORT: LITTLE MAKALOLO,SAVUTI,TONGABEZI,SAUSAGE TREE,TAFIKA,PUKU RIDGE

Reply

Aug 5th, 2005, 07:13 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
Rocco, great multi-country trip for your siblings-in-law (I'm not sure if that's a word, but it works). My only Botswana experience is with Wilderness (and Chobe Game Lodge, which is large, but great location, and four game drives per day -- two by vehicle and two by boat), but Kwando has a great reputation and locations.

I'll be on safari in July 2006 (Mana Pools and Kgalagadi). I'll likely be at Chikwenya in Mana Pools for a few days.

If its only one night and you really want to go high-end, you may want to check out the Saxon (its where Hillary stayed and where Mandela wrote some of his book after release). Its more pricey and much more exclusive than either the Westcliff or Michelangelo. I haven't stayed there but I've looked into it for when I have a full day layover. For next year's trip, I have short evening layovers so I'm going to use the Holiday Inn Airport to save the travel time.

Check out the Saxon and let me know what you think. If its just you and your wife, it could be a special end to a great trip.

Michael
thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:26 AM
  #22
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
Michael, we saw an aardwolf at Wolwedans on our latest visit.

Pete saw a honeybadger during our 2004 Little Mombo stay though I missed that drive so I missed that sighting.

Other memorable smaller animal sightings include porcupine at Ndumo and genet at Tubu Tree. We also just loved the meerkat experience at Jack's Camp.

It's these sightings that I get most excited about.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:28 AM
  #23
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Oh Roccco,
You've just insulted me and so many others on the board!! I guess we're not experienced Africa travellers after all...

In any case, the guide and tracker system is undoubtedly a plus, no question about THAT.
tashak is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:38 AM
  #24
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Lin,
wonderful trip report that will be very helpful to those planning the logistics for a good trip.
That elephant experience, extremely thrilling!
This may seem like a strange question, but you mentioned the burnt out moonscape in Luangwa...was this the case in both the Nsefu sector and the actual park? I know it was done extensively in the game management area/hunting area near Puku Ridge. There is a real issue about the local habit of setting fire to the bush in this area. I was told that it can only be done as a controlled burn in the park itself, so it is not overused there, but in the areas outside the park, the locals burn stuff without control every year. The fires were extremely noxious in May and June. And in a drought year, it seemed extremely stupid.
Where did you see these burnt out areas, and as a tourist, what did you think about them? Did it diminish your enjoyment of the area in any way?
tashak is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:42 AM
  #25
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Tasha,

Oh, stop with the drama!

I am just saying that I believe a newbie is more likely to end up at WS than at Kwando. I am not saying that WS does not also atract the most experienced travellers.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 12:17 PM
  #26
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Roccco,
Good point. I do believe that most US travel agents believe that WS pretty much owns Botswana, and more newbies land there than anywhere else. Some of the folks then return to WS again and again, others chose to mix it up.
tashak is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 12:48 PM
  #27
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
And some think about mixing it up only to find out that Jack's Camp has put itself onto the WS marketing wagon!!! ;P
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 01:12 PM
  #28
bwanamitch
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
kavey,
regarding Jack's: that was one of my biggest surprises at all in 2003, when I arrived and saw all those people in WS shirts. Nevertheless I had the luck to meet Ralph and Catherine. (My trauma: try to imagine how Jack's would look like with wooden walkways.) Q: Do they now wearing WS at Selinda, too, or still the old shirts?

tashak,
I saw the same burnt out moonscape in Lumimba GMA around Tafika. Bryan mentioned "look's like after WW 3".

Mitch
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 04:05 PM
  #29
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
I was at Jacks pre-WS. It was my first camp in Africa. One of my first big thrills was the journey from my warm (relatively speaking) safe tent to the loo during the middle of the night. Each tent had their own shower/loo, but it was about 10-15 meters behind each tent. There were no rules about staying in the tent at night there.
So: Middle of the night...remarkably icy wind after scorching daytime temps...inky sky blazing with stars...and a nervous first journey outside the tent. The night was so heartbreakingly beautiful I considered staying out there under the stars.
But it was just too damn cold!!

I was really sorry to hear that they upgraded that camp. I thought it was perfect the way it was. Perfect.



At that time, there was no running water either. Each tent got one large pitcher of warm water at wakeup, and about 5 gallons for a bush shower in the afternoon.
tashak is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 5th, 2005, 05:17 PM
  #30
bwanamitch
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Exactly that was what I'd expected!

Unfortunately they upgraded it two months before my stay - and my agent didn't tell me.

However, I must admit, the new loos have style:
ftp://www.podszuck.de/po/podszuck.de...Tent5.Loo.jpeg
(sorry for the bad scan)

Mitch
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2005, 08:21 AM
  #31
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
The new loos do have style but we too didn't know it had been updated - although we visited in June 2004 we booked the trip 18 months in advance (yes really!) and would have been happy in the previous tents too - the older Jack's tents have been used to upgrade San Camp so you could always opt for that one if you preferred that style?
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2005, 08:42 AM
  #32
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Yes, I think that San Camp is an excellent option. Does anyone know is San Camp activites are the same as at Jack's?
tashak is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2005, 08:52 AM
  #33
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
I believe so but best check directly?

Oh and the guides are well happy about the Jack's upgrade btw - when San got the old Jack's tent the old, small dome tents that the staff were in were replaced with the old San ones! They still have shared bathroom facilities but bigger tents now!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2005, 02:22 PM
  #34
bwanamitch
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'm not quite sure, but I think I've heard that they are planning an upgrade for San Camp, too. Makes sense to me, at least for a WS camp. ;-)
Does anyone know more about this?

Nevertheless, San is still on my list for the next BW trip.

Kavey,
I booked Jack's three months in advance (as I normally do for all my safaris), but even then my agent didn't know about it.

Mitch
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2005, 02:42 PM
  #35
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
Mitch, this trip was a special one, a second honeymoon now we knew more about what kind of trips we loved most and I wanted to be able to book just what I wanted when.

Even 18 months out we initially weren't able to get the camps in our preferred order and booked an equally acceptable alternative order but a few months later WS came back to our agent and offered us the original order which was great.

I wonder why they are upgrading San - I thought they wanted to keep the traditional bucket shower feel in this one so they could still offer that option. I guess they can't charge as much for that and since demand is high they want to be able to increase prices. I would guess, anyway.

The guides at Jack's were PHENOMENAL, absolutely BLEW me away.
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2005, 02:44 PM
  #36
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
I wonder if Classic Safaris (or whatever it was called-- Ralph & Catherine's company) still does mobile safaris. If there are still more upgrades that might be the way to go.
Can't wait until Jack's grows another paw, oh yeah.
tashak is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 6th, 2005, 02:49 PM
  #37
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,153
Tash they did when we were there last June - one of the cheekiest guides, I forget his name, was mostly out doing those but happened to be in camp to help our own guide tease heck out of us all!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 7th, 2005, 04:22 PM
  #38
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Great report and well organized. I liked your food comment. I'm with you on that, the food is always great with very few exceptions.

I was getting scared reading about your elephant encounter at Sausage Tree. I know those brick bathrooms you are talking about and remember thinking it was odd they were not more "ensuite," at least in my tent. Did the guide attribute the must to a time of the year or just age of the elephant? Truly frightening!

You did seem to have more tent troubles than average with the baboons and elephants delaying your return in Savuti too. And the hippo mud hole too! Lucky you.

Enjoyed your account of drinking with the elephants.

The Chifungulu Channel was a highlight for me too! Very peaceful, no scary hippo encounters. I went in late July, 2004. When were you there? Your comment about putting one guide with each canoeing guest was interesting. I too had a guide with me. How many of you canoed the channel? I'd consider doing this again if I knew my canoe partner would be a guide.

Can you elaborate on the sable you saw in Hwange? Was it a herd? About how big? How close? How many viewings?

This has turned into a Bryan Jackson stories post. I was very impressed with him and his photographs at Tafika. He occasionally visits one of my friends in Texas when he is in the US! She may have to experience Africa through him and his visits from now on as she is getting older and not as keen on international travel anymore. They met at Tafika.

If you are able to answer these questions, would you mind emailing me personally also? I'll be gone (to Africa!!) and may not find your response for several weeks.

atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 7th, 2005, 07:54 PM
  #39
Lin
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 330
Hi Rocco, your questions first.

The massage was called the 'African Signature Treatment'. It was 90 min and cost R550. We added a facial right afterward. You can request the double treatment room.....gt;
As someone else mentioned, it's about 20 min to the Westcliff from the airport.
The Savuti elephant hide was at the top of our highlight list, but I loved the camp, the staff, and the game experiences there and would recommend Savuti with or without the hide. I wouldn't count on the hide anyway because other Fodorites have been there and not had the numerous elephants. I wish I could compare it to Lebala for you but can't! By the way, every other guest at Savuti was a returning safari-er - no newbies at all.

At Sausage Tree we saw a vehicle from Chiawa twice in 3 days.

YES, we did have a full moon, and YES the predators were hard to find! I have never heard this mentioned before, please explain!

Lin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Aug 7th, 2005, 08:08 PM
  #40
Lin
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 330
Napamatt: At Sausage Tree they provide a regular whistle for emergencies. I would have DEFINITELY blown it, but it was on the dresser next to where the elephant was doing his thing! Blowing the whistle/air horn is controversial. Most camps will tell you it is only for a health emergency, animal encounters don't count. I was scared enough not to care about that rule. But also, I don't know how the elephant would have reacted to that noise, and his reaction would have come a lot quicker than any help from the camp staff. The additional people however would have been helpful since they know how to interact with the animals and would probably have been able to scare him away or at least could have given us some verbal reassurance!

Tasha,
I'm sorry, I don't know exactly what area of the park we were driving through when we saw the 'blasted landscape'. It was around Tafika though and not Puku Ridge. Also, we were told the fires were due to lightning, not set by humans. I don't think we were near the public hunting sector. Sorry I can't be more helpful about the location. I can say that as a tourist the landscape did not affect my experience. After seeing Hwange NP, Savuti and LZNP, I simply considered it another variation on a bush eco-system and found it very interesting to learn how the mopane trees survive basically anything and were sending up green shoots in spite of the season. The view of all the lone tree trunks at sunset offered a stark beauty. There were zebra and puku in the area so it wasn't void of life.

Lin 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



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:16 PM.