Lodging Report - South Africa

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Nov 7th, 2005, 12:26 PM
  #1
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Lodging Report - South Africa

We just returned from an amazing South Africa vacation.

Here's a rundown of our experiences with each lodging we stayed at:

Cape Town: Atlanticview Guest House in Camps Bay. The guest house and rooms were very nicely furnished. We were in the Rock Room for 2 nights, then moved to the penthouse. The rock room has NO privacy at all - even if you have all the blinds closed, there are still very large uncovered spaces where people at the pool can see you. The penthouse room was beautiful - no complaints on this room. The only thing about the guest house is that is has a snobby air to it (unlike any of the other 5* guest houses we stayed at). The woman who runs it looks down on you if you take a normal taxi as opposed to having them call a "luxury" car for you. Every thing you touch is charged at an ASTRONOMICAL rate, including a bottle of water. I connected to a wireless network in the guest house, and I got an email saying, "it looks like you used the wireless - we are going to charge you." Having thenm call a restaurant for a reservation felt like you were asking an enormous task from them. Even though the rooms were nice, I wouldn't stay here again, for the hospitality wasn't very South African.

Franscchoek: Akademie Street Guesthouses. http://www.aka.co.za/
A gem of a find! Each room is it's own freestanding house. They are all connected by elaborate gardens and pools. Each room is plush with super comfy beds, and every ammenity you could dream of. The owners, Katherine and Arthur, are genuinely friendly people. It's only 2 blocks from the main street; we walked everywhere. We passed by a lot of other guesthouses in Franschhoek that don't come close. Plus they are so reasonable priced. We wouldn't dream of staying anywhere else in Franschhoek.

Kiepersol (near Hazyview): Plumbago Guest House http://www.plumbagoguesthouse.co.za/ Ilara and Robbie were so helpful in the planning process, we felt like we knew them already. The guesthouse is situated on a working avocado plantation, so you are in the country with views for miles. It's only 5 minutes outside of Hazyview (very glad we chose not to stay in Hazyview). The rooms are plush and cozy with an eye for detail. The linens were the best we've ever slept on. There are gorgeous fresh flowers everywhere in the rooms and on teh tables. Robbie and Ilara are unbeliveable hosts. One of my fondest memories of the trip is playing scrabble, sitting out on their porch, having a cup of hot tea (while the rain is pouring down) late at night talking with them about the latest goings-ons with the country. It was like leaving friends when we had to go. We'd come back to Kiepersol just to see them again!

Londolozi: Bateleur Camp: worth every penny we spent on this. I struggled with spending so much per night on a place, not really knowing what to expect. We saw animal after animal after animal. The tracker and ranger (Alfred and Bennett) were an amazing wealth of knowledge and each had about 20 years of experience. The staff is incredible. It's polite, courteous and thoughtful without a hint of snootiness. Rooms were ridiculous, but we're not really there for the rooms. We were robbed there....by monkeys! They broke into our outdoor cabinet and took water and threw the bottles everywhere. So naughty!
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Nov 7th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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paloaltotraveler

pleased to hear you had mainly wonderful experiences.
I am staying at Londolozi in December for Xmas so I am really pleased to hear that you had great gameviewing.

I am wondering what you mean by, "the rooms are ridiculous".

Kaye
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Nov 7th, 2005, 03:06 PM
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Hi Kaye!
The rooms are beautiful! Our bathroom was the size of most hotel rooms. What camp are you staying at? We stayed at Bateleur camp, but walked through all the other camps. I am sooo jealous you're going - you should request to have Alfred as your ranger. He's simply amazing - him and his tracker, Bennett, work really well together and will have you constantly laughing with all their stories. Alfred has been a ranger for 25 years, and Bennett has been a tracker for 19 years.

Ruth
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Nov 7th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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Ruth,
That is really good news! I am going with a 22 year old niece and we are booked into Founders Camp, waitlisted for Bateleur, although I do not think this will happen now, as just over a month before we leave.

I have actually booked into leopards @ londolozi for our first 2 nights, in which I believe we can stay out all night, I have been told I must let the ranger have some sleep. We were advised to ask for Maxine Scott, but she is leaving end of this month, so she suggested I ask for Cameron Appel, which I have done. Not all rangers can be a part of this adventure. It certainly sounds as if you had a great ranger, and to me, they can be a big part of making the trip what it is, as you do spend a fair bit of time with them. This will be my first time to Londolozi, but my 7th to Sabi Sands. So I cannot wait, and I am so jealous of me myself! We leave Sunday 11 Dec and I will be gameviewing Monday 12 Dec in the afternoon. Does not get any better than that!

Kaye
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Nov 8th, 2005, 05:39 AM
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Kaye

You said Maxine was leaving? Is this for good or just for a holiday?
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Nov 8th, 2005, 07:36 AM
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Tell me more about the Leopards @ Londolozi thing... I just saw it on the CC Africa website, but it was sort of vague. You track them at night when they are hunting? How neat!

We were really lucky to see leopards on almost every drive. One was nicknamed "The Butcher" -he had a different kill in a tree every morning - at the end of 4 nights there were 4 trees next to each other with kills in them, and one very plump, happy leopard nearby.

We had also requested Maxine, but was told she was running Tree Camp at the time.
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Nov 8th, 2005, 03:41 PM
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wesmma11,
Maxine and Ryan are setting up a ranger training camp in Tanzania, at Klien's I believe and will leave Londolozi at the end of this month.

Hi Ruth,
I agree the whole thing is a bit vague, but for R11000 for 2 nights, unless someone else is doing it at the same time, we shall have the vehicle to ourselves. I am told that the ranger must have some time for sleeping etc, but I think if I can go out about 4pm then return for breakfast then have the day of and go out again at 4pm. I am a regular visitor to MalaMala, and I love having the history of the cats, both leopards and lions. Needless to say, some have their territories over both properties, sometimes they use the same name and for some cats different names. You also receive cca ecological journal, a safari cap, and some sort of leather bound journal that includes the genealogical tree and profiles of Londolozi's leopards - and this is what I would love to get, plus to be out all night with no-one else around.

It does sound really fantastic, expensive but fantastic.

Kaye
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