Makalolo Plains & Matetsi or Madikwe & Londolozi?

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Apr 18th, 2005, 04:51 PM
  #1
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Makalolo Plains & Matetsi or Madikwe & Londolozi?

My scheduled itinerary just took a major blow when my sister dropped out of our trip (she just got engaged and the safari will interfere with her wedding planning).

As a result, I will more than likely have to drop North Luangwa from the schedule. It just doesn't make sense to visit with just my mom and my wife. It is upwards of a $2,000 air charter from the Lower Zambezi to Kutandala to South Luangwa. This was barely tolerable before, but to now have to add single supplements to some of the lodges, it just puts it out of reach.

So now that leaves me with a big gaping hole in my schedule. I am tossing around a couple possibilities.

Out of all the lodges in Southern Africa that may fit into my itinerary, Makalolo Plains is the one I want the most.

However, out of all the animals that I have never seen before, Wild Dog is atop my list. While they have been spotted in Lower Zambezi lately, I do think they will disappear into inaccessible areas long before September. Therefore, that puts Madikwe as another strong contender, and most likely Madikwe Safari Lodge (CCAfrica) since there is no single supplement.

So here are a couple itineraries that I am playing with:

(Fly into Victoria Falls)
Makalolo Plains, Hwange, Zimbabwe (3)
Matetsi Water Lodge, Matetsi, Zim (2)
Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa, Zam (3)
Kasaka River Lodge, Zambia (3)
(Fly back to Victoria Falls)
Twelve Apostles, Cape Town (4)
Londolozi Bateleur, Sabi Sand (2)
Simbambili, Sabi Sand (2)

The bonus to this itinerary is that it includes each Makalolo Plains and in Matetsi Water Lodge, an opportunity for my mom to visit Victoria Falls. This itinerary would qualify for the CCAfrica special, Pick 2, Stay 4, Pay 3 special, where I would get one of my nights at Matetsi Water Lodge or Londolozi free.

The drawback to this itinerary is that it is a lot of hopping around. Even so, however, the flight costs are pretty reasonable and relatively short (the longest would be the flight between Livingstone to South Luangwa).

The other itinerary I am considering is as follows:

Kasaka River Lodge (3)
Luangwa River Lodge (4)
Twelve Apostles (4)
Madikwe Safari Lodge CCAfrica (3)
Londolozi Bateleur CCAfrica (3)
Simbambili (2)

This does seem like a more relaxing trip. It will nearly guarantee me a sighting of Wild Dog at Madikwe Safari Lodge and it does also qualify for the free night at CCAfrica. With a 3rd night at Londolozi, I do think each cheetah and rhino are a near lock.

The only downside to this itinerary is not having Makalolo Plains and Victoria Falls. Ultimately, however, I do think Victoria Falls is the least important. I will, however, miss the opportunity to test my courage, or lack thereof, by sitting in the plunge pool while the elephants at Makalolo Plains come to drink.

I am absolutely committed to Luangwa River Lodge, Kasaka River Lodge, Simbambili and probably to Londolozi (as it makes a wonderful complement to Simbambili).

Also, I think the Twelve Apostles is the way to go in Cape Town. I toyed around with the idea of getting a luxury self-catering apartment in Cape Town, but who wants to wake up and go out for breakfast or cook breakfast? Instead, I know there will be a wonderful breakfast buffet waiting each morning at the Twelve Apostles that I can enjoy while eating on the outside patio not more than 100' away from the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Very likely, in September, I will see whales swimming by!

While I am disappointed about North Luangwa, I do think that it may have been a bit too much to subject my 63 year old mom and my wife to 12 straight nights of safari to begin the trip. Instead, I have the opportunity to really split things up with a 4 night break in Cape Town in the middle of it all.

"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
Henry Ford (1863 - 1947)

So, what do you think of the two above proposed itineraries?
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Apr 18th, 2005, 11:46 PM
  #2
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I just happened to find this excellent photo album from someone that visited Simbambili in the Sabi Sand last year:

http://www.pbase.com/ptagle/safari2004

Between Londolozi & Simbambili I do have high expectations.

I am really weighing whether or not I want to do 4 nights Londolozi & 3 nights Simbambili or if I want to do 3 nights Madikwe Safari Lodge, 2 nights Londolozi & 2 nights Simbambili. If the Sabi Sand had more Wild Dog, the choice would be simple!

Possible itinerary:

Kasaka River Lodge (3)
Luangwa River Lodge (4)
Twelve Apostles (4)
Madikwe Safari Lodge (3)
Londolozi Bateleur (2)
Simbambili (2)
Westcliff (1)

ALTERNATE

Kasaka River Lodge (3)
Luangwa River Lodge (4)
Twelve Apostles (5)
Londolozi Bateleur (4)
Simbambili (3)

Although I want to see Wild Dogs desperately, I am a little hesitant to give up the possibility of 4 nights at Londolozi Bateleur, although the difference in price between Londolozi and Madikwe Safari Lodge will likely cover the cost of the air to fly to Madikwe, making Madikwe a more attractive option.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I think all these decisions help keep my brain from turning into jello.
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