Lion Sands Ivory Lodge and WHERE ELSE FOR SAFARI

Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 01:49 PM
  #21  
 
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cape town to phinda: cheapest way is to fly commercial to durban and then have a road transfer from there. the drive is about four hours. next cheapest is to fly to johannesburg or durban and take a charter flight from there. the daily shuttle leaves JNB at 1130 (i think). fedair does not keep their web site updated because the schedule changes frequently +/- 30 minutes. if you take a 0700am to JNB you will always be fine.

phinda to lion sands: the shuttle leaves around noon +/- 1 hour. final schedule is set within a week of the flight.

lion sands to johannesburg: there have usually been three charter flights per day AROUND 1030, 1230, and 1430. there is always the one commercial flight from AAM-JNB at 1230. AAM is 25 minutes from lion sands.

the flights should be nowhere near $4,000. like i mentioned on trip advisor and elsewhere on fodors, all the flights in south africa will be pretty cheap if you book them in conjunction with your trans-atlantic on SAA from JFK.

if not, here are approx costs for stand-alone flights:

cpt-jnb commercial $200
jnb-phinda shuttle $350
phinda-lion sands shuttle $700
lion sands to jnb commercial or shuttle $300

total = $1,550.

i recommend you get a US safari operator/agent to book this trip to consolidate your bookings, issue your tickets, and save you money on the exchange rate. since your entire trip is priced in rand, using an agent that charges in dollars should save you about 4%-5% versus booking direct because good/fair tour operators exchange rand to dollars at much better rates than the credit card companies. i have already suggested some good east coast safari companies to you in other forums.

good luck. i think you just need to make a decision and go! you are going to enjoy whatever you decide to do.

craig beal
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 02:57 PM
  #22  
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Craig...Thanks...that's a real help. Today my friend told me that we HAVE to go to Botswana. She spoke with a friend of hers who went to Africa last year. I asked if her friend went to Botswana on that trip and she said "no" but nonetheless, her friend said she was sorry she didn't go. I'm laughing as I write this because I am at my wits end and for someone to make such a blatant statement not having been there is ridiculous. Hopefully this will be my last question (I doubt it) but do you think we should go to Botswana for 3 nights and make our way to Lion Sands? Travel-wise, I would guess that we can't get from Cape Town directly to Maun very quickly and would have to stay over in Johannesburg. Will we really be able to survive without going to the Okavango Delta??? I don't know how I have ever made it til now. If you really think (and I trust your opinion) that life will never be the same if we don't go there, let me know. Seriously, is the difference more in the scenery than the animals? I'm going a bit crazy!!!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 04:55 PM
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fran,

you will have to reasess the budget if you go to botswana...

but, the okavango delta in botswana is my favorite safari destination on earth. this does not mean it has the best game viewing, but the overall nature experience cannot be beat. if this is your first safari, i still think you should go to the sabi sands up-front to see the big five and get them "out of the way".

also, if you go to botswana, the bare minumum i recommend is two nights each at two camps. three nights at one camp really raises the per night cost because of the flights and other logistics involved just in getting there.

you can get to botswana in one day from CPT. the 600am flight to JNB lands at 800am and you can easily make the 1010am flight on air botswana to maun. you can also take an early evening flight to JNB the night before and spend the night at one of many airport hotels. either way, your last evening in cape town is "shot" because you are leaving so early in the morning or leaving the night before.

many people enjoyed south africa only before botswana became a photo-safari destination in the mid-80s and it boomed in the mid-90s.

you cannot go wrong with either choice.

the least unique and interesting place in your plan is cape town. i would skip cape town and do 3 nights in sabi sands and 6 or 7 nights in botswana (if you want to go to botswana).

craig beal
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 05:22 PM
  #24  
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Thanks Craig, you're the best.

Now I will rethink the Botswana experience. I hear what you're saying about Cape Town but I think we'd all like to get our "sea legs" for a few days so that we'll be "roaring" to go!!!

I'm so happy to know that there's a flight that can get us into Maun in one day but your suggestion about taking an early evening flight and staying over in JNB is a good idea too.

Now I've got to look into Botswana again.

I'll be back!!!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 05:29 PM
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Franicfee, I am glad Craig has been able to answer your questions today. As what I paid before or think the current costs are, its only what you can do now is what is important and Craig has helped you there. I too would skip Cape Town, for reasons mentioned above and go to Botswana too if your budget and time allows for it. Whatever you decide, you will have a great trip since Ivory Lodge is at least part of it.

Thanks Craig for your detailed help so far. Remember that Lion Sands does have a package with a lodge in Botswana. I have not been there but from what I saw on the web site it does look nice.

Mike
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 05:34 PM
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hi mike - nice finding you here on fodors too!

i pasted a link to the lodge package lion sands has with nitani on this thread yesterday at 9:44 pm. the actual package is cape cadogan, nitani, and lion sands plus all flights and transfers.

craig beal
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 06:07 PM
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Craig I have been here a long time, nice to see you here too.

I did forget to answer a question that Francifee asked, which basically was is Phinda worth it. I think the answer is yes, but its impractical to combine with Cape Town and Botswana. Since the package for first class operations exist between between her 3 choices, I think that probably is the best combo so far. She gets the best of all worlds.

Mike
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