Lion World

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Jan 30th, 2016, 10:14 AM
  #1
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Lion World

Has anyone taken a trip with Lion World to South Africa? Capetown and Kruger National park in particular. If not any suggestions on other travel companies.
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Jan 30th, 2016, 05:18 PM
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I know the company quite well. A good friend of mine used to be their top safari consultant (he works for Alluring Africa now). I also know Lucille Siv, the CEO and we have met several times. Lion World is a division of Travel Corp, and in that regard, they are backed by a massive travel conglomerate so your money should be safe! I think your decision if/if not to work with them may come down to the safari planner they assign to you. Is that person knowledgeable and do they communicate well and give you lots of options? Have they been to Africa 10+ times or are they mostly trained by webinars etc?

You asked about another option. Where do you live? Perhaps I can recommend a safari expert you could meet with face to face for your "option 2".


Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Jan 31st, 2016, 05:25 AM
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I know someone who went to East Africa with them for a first trip to Africa and had a great time.

IMO, it is a good idea to check out a couple of companies when planning to compare offerings and pricings. It also helps get you educated.
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Jan 31st, 2016, 08:53 AM
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I'm traveling from the US and looking for a 9 or10 day trip. 3 or 4 days in Capetown and maybe a night in the Winelands Stellenbrosch/Franschhoek and then 3 or 4 nights in Kruger National Park. Sounds like Sabi Sands is popular?
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Feb 1st, 2016, 07:30 AM
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Lion World has many 9-day trips, inclusive of international flights.

For many of us, 9 days (about 40 hours of those 9 days occupied with international transport, if coming from North America) is insufficient time to enjoy a vacation.

But if 9-10 days is what you have, then # of days is not negotiable.

You may be looking at this one from Lion World?

https://www.lionworldtravel.com/safa...lute-style-air

If so, then there are 3 wildlife areas to consider based on your comments and this Lion World itinerary.

Kruger National Park: Public park where self drivers are allowed. Excellent value for self drivers. Paved roads, which vehicles must stay on. Can get more crowded.

Sabi Sands is indeed popular. It is a conglomeration of private concessions bordering Kruger, no fences in between. Fewer people and off roading is allowed. It is generally considered the consistently finest viewing in the Kruger area. Prices tend to reflect that.

Thornybush (in the linked itinerary): Private reserve west of Kruger.

Africa Travel Resource always has interesting comments on lodges. They can be critical and biting. Here is what ATR says about Thornybush--the area and lodge. ATR is just one of many sources to consult.

http://www.africatravelresource.com/...eserve-safari/

Here is a map of the Kruger Region for perspective
https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=m...ruger+area+map

And a series of maps.
http://www.krugerpark.com/maps/

Those prices for Lion World have always been hard to beat for a package trip. I see they are now using South Africa Airways for the international carrier in the itineraries I just looked at. They used to use Ethiopian Air, I think.

If you like the time frame, the pricing, and want an introductory overview of South Africa on a group trip, I think Lion World would be a reasonable choice.

Do check on various dates for weather conditions. For example for the Cape Town Whale watching, Aug-Sept is peak, with the nearby months offering very good opportunities too.

Also check the South Africa school holidays to try to avoid them. Here is one source.
http://www.gov.za/about-sa/school-calendar

Enjoy your South Africa holiday.
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Feb 1st, 2016, 11:09 AM
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It seems an inappropriate has been removed.

Unfortunately, due to some policies it has chosen to continue, Thornybush is fenced off from Kruger. Sabi Sand is popular, but Klaserie and Timbavati also gave excellent game viewing and are unfenced adjacent to Kruger and many of the lodges are a bit less expensive. I would choose any lodge in your price range - they all compete against each other so the level of service in each price range is similar. Undoubtably you will see lots of wildlife no matter where you choose. We have stayed in very high end, mid range and affordable lodges - all have been excellent, each a bit different. Don't feel pressured to stay in high end lodges if you are not comfortable with that budget. Use an agent that will arrange a trip in a budget you are comfortable with - it doesn't have to break the bank (and it can!!)

You can even stay in Kruger NP and drive yourself around and see lots of wildlife. We do both - private reserves and the park. We love both experiences. Nothing better than hanging out with a creature that is doing something fascinating and not worrying about anybody else.
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Feb 1st, 2016, 03:30 PM
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Thank you for your advice, first trip so probably going to opt for the private lodges and maybe self drive in the future. Budget is mid range, accommodation with a view of a water hole or river, no more than 6 in the 4x4 and option for bush walk are more important than a spa treatment !! Tabletop Mt, Robben Island and some free time in Capetown would be ideal.
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Feb 1st, 2016, 04:26 PM
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A mid range budget and just 6 per game vehicle can be difficult. Try Kirkmans - that might be the lowest cost option with that criteria. Few have a river or waterhole view. Very few. There is also a terrible drought, so even the major rivers are very low or dry. Call ahead if you want to do game walks - they require specially trained rangers so they might have to make sure one is available during your stay. Or choose Africa on Foot which does real game walks daily, with excellent rangers.
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Feb 1st, 2016, 09:36 PM
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Howzit tricky2 and christabir,
I just thought I'd offer my two bob's worth and suggest you look at both n'Dzuti Safari Camp and Senalala Luxury Safari Camp. We almost exclusively use just these two camps as they both provide a very affordable yet exceptional wildlife-bush experience thanks to expert manager-guides Bruce and Judy, and James and Corlia respectively. They are both located in Klaserie Private Nature Reserve within "Greater Kruger" (and unfenced on the eastern, Kruger side...as christabir wisely advises), which is easily accessed by Hoedspruit-Eastgate Airport. There are two direct daily flights from Jo'burg (1 hour) and one daily direct flight from Cape Town (2½ hours), which then offers you your desired itinerary of 3-4 days in Cape Town followed by 3-4 days in Klaserie. When are you going? We have experienced a rush of bookings this past couple of weeks and June through to October is beginning to get busy (accommodation-wise).
Hope this helps and doesn't confuse your plans
Darren Humphrys
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Feb 1st, 2016, 10:01 PM
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nDzuti is next on my bucket list! But doesn't guarantee 6 max (8 max in camp, I believe?) or have a waterhole, although in that price range is close to impossible. I really can't think of any besides Singita, at almost $1500 pppn (at current ridiculous exchange rate) that has both. Ngala Tented? Motswari?

Until recently, I'd never heard of Senalala. Darren, please share more info. The last private lodge we visited was Shindzela, and they changed hands and expanded/upgraded since. They have a seasonal river, but I bet it's dry now. Not sure of max/vehicle since expansion.

I love S African expressions! Two bob's worth. Holding thumbs. I need to learn them all.
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 08:37 AM
  #11
 
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Howzit my China christabir, and all Fodorites and fellow travelers,
n'Dzuti has a small waterhole in front of the camp - see their Facebook post here https://www.facebook.com/ndzutisafaricamp/posts/852625214856294?comment_id=853124008139748&comment_tracking={%22tn%22%3A%22R%22} - as well as a larger waterhole close by...both 'waterholes' are man-made. You are correct in that the camp can accommodate 8 adults and therefore the game drive could also include that many.

Senalala Luxury Safari Camp is a new-ish lodge and is managed by James and Corlia Steyn. James is a renowned and highly regarded wildlife guide (and presenter on the local 50/50 wildlife TV program) and thus the camp offers exceptional game walks. Corlia is both beautiful and friendly and is just a great person. Speak to anyone who has been to Senalala and I would be very surprised if they weren't overflowing in their praise. It's a slight step up in standard (and cost) from n'Dzuti.

Cheers and beers,
Darren
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 03:55 PM
  #12
 
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Hello tricky2!

Well, it looks like I should throw in my two bob's worth too!!! LOL!!

I think it's great to have a waterhole or a river view but most lodges aren't that lucky. I'd not make that a priority. Besides, you will be enjoying most of your game viewing from your game drives and not from the lodge itself.

With regard to number of people in the jeep, unfortunately the lower the level of the lodge tends to mean more people in the jeep. AndBeyond is pretty good at restricting the number in their jeep so Ngala and Kirkmans would be good options for you. Mala Mala and Londolozi do as well but now you are talking more money.

Senalala is great! James is superb. My head office, Africa Direct, based in South Africa hosts the annual Safari Guide of the Year contest and James is one of the judges. He runs a wonderful lodge and certainly hires good rangers. He is unbelievable in the field and well known for his bush walks. Superb!

Have you indicated time of year you are planning? Perhaps I missed it in the thread..

Best
Dianne
Africa Direct USA
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Feb 6th, 2016, 01:41 PM
  #13
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Visiting during the US summer, probably July. Ngala tented would be fine, anyone with experience staying there?
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Feb 6th, 2016, 04:15 PM
  #14
 
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Hi there!

Ngala Tented.. Absolutely amazing from the accommodations to the food to the service. Staff are very warm. Great place all the way around!

Best
Dianne
Africa Direct USA
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