Malaria free safari

May 25th, 2006, 06:14 PM
  #1  
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Malaria free safari

Our plans for our South Africa trip were almost finalized and we were very excited that part of our itinerary would include 4 days of safari divided between Singita Boulders and Singita Lebombo. Then I began to read about malaria precautions and started to worry. I spoke with our doctor who recommended Malarone but also pointed out that no drug is 100% effective.

I'm now trying to weigh the pros and cons of doing a safari in a malaria free zone in lieu of Singita. Luxury and quality of game viewing is very important to us. Has anyone been to Kwandwe Ecca Lodge? How does it rate for luxury, game viewing and other activities? We are traveling with a 10 year old and the Ecca Lodge is the only Kwande property that allows children.

I really appreciate any advice. We will be traveling at the end of August.
dandimere is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 08:12 PM
  #2  
santharamhari
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Dandimere,

Most of us on these forums........travel thru some of the best game viewing areas of Africa every single year. I would doubt if any one of us have actually come down with malaria!!!

Nothing in life is a 100% guarantee......however, if you take the medication, and do all the right things......you reduce your risk substantially. Also, a place like Singita would take all the appropriate measures, like mosquito nets etc etc.,

It would be hard to compare Kwandwe with Singita.......i strongly recommend sticking to your singita plans.........

Hari
 
May 26th, 2006, 06:45 AM
  #3  
 
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dandimere,

Another option for luxury would be Mateya located in Madikwe. Madikwe cannot compare to the Sabi Sand for gameviewing but it does still feature the Big Five and has pretty reliable spottings of wild dogs, as well.

www.mateyasafari.com

However, I do say that Singita is an absolutely heavenly place and should be your first choice, if it is available for your dates.
Roccco is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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I was going back and forth like you wanting a luxury camp but preferred malaria free zone if possible because We are going to be there in February during the wet, hot season. We had Singita reserved but after reading such wonderful reviews of Mateya, we switched. I've personally talked to 3 people who have been to both Singita and Mateya and all 3 feel they're very comparable (both out of this world!), but when pricing we got a better price on Mateya so it became a no brainer to switch, especially with the higher elevation and cooler temps. Madikwe Hills is also suppose to be absolutely wonderful and only 4 minutes away from Mateya.

If you google Mateya reviews you may find some of the same reports I read so you can make up your own mind. There has also been discussions on tripadvisor forums. I am under the impression that as wonderful as Singita is, there are a handful of other luxury camps with excellent game viewing that are now in the same league as Singita but quite a bit less $$. I guess I'll find out for myself in February.
petlover is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 09:29 AM
  #5  
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Thanks to all who replied! Your information is so helpful. I've read through the posts on Madikwe and it appears the options for us would be Madikwe Hills, Madikwe Safari Lodge (which I think is ccAfrica) or Jaci's Safari Lodge. Mateya looks fabulous but their site says they don't accept children under 12.

Between the 3 properties which allow children, which is the most luxurious? Will the game viewing be any different?

Thanks!
dandimere is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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Definitely Madiwke Hills. Had friends that recently returned from Jaci's and were a bit disappointed in the lodge itself. It sounds like M.H. is your best bet with children. Suites are HUGE!
petlover is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 12:36 PM
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dandimere, I found this older posting from Roccco that may be helpful. (you hadn't mentioned if plunge pool or spa were important to you or not):

Author: Roccco ([email protected])
Date: 08/26/2004, 05:15 am
http://www.etalisafari.co.za/Default.htm

Other than Jaci's Safari & Tree Lodge, I did not even know that Madikwe existed before a couple nights ago! Now, it appears as if there are at least a half dozen great looking places. As a matter of fact, I haven't seen any AVERAGE looking places, only top notch venues.

I do like the fact that Etali has a Wellness Center (cannot believe that I have turned into a Yuppie, while still retaining a lot of Anarchist tendencies), offers private plunge pools, a great looking location (I do not care for views of "plains", as to me that only means that they were not able to secure a better and higher placed location with views for miles or a riverfront location) and great looking cuisine. I am concerned that there price is going to be higher than Jaci's Tree Lodge and 40-50% higher than CCAfrica's Madikwe Safari Lodge. Etali is one of these sexy lodges that does not like to place their tariffs on their website, but by visiting tour operators websites, Etali is listed at 3,950 ZAR pppns, and that is a full 1,200 ZAR ($180 USD) pppns more than CCAfrica's lodge. I will try to negotiate, but I doubt they will drop more than 10%.

So far, here is the list of very nice looking lodges that I believe are worth consideration in Madikwe:

1. Mateya (looks on par with Singita)

2. Madikwe Hills (also looks on par with Singita, from the good people that also brought you Leopard Hills)

3. Etali Safari Lodge (not as fancy as the top two mentioned, but with a Wellness Center and private plunge pools, it is not far behind)

4. Jaci's Tree Lodge/Jaci's Safari Lodge (this place seems to really have an excellent rapport with their guests, and I can appreciate that, as that is really a crucial part of an excellent safari experience. Unfortunately no private plunge or wellness center)

5. Madikwe Safari Lodge (CCAfrica). This lodge may very well leapfrog ahead of the next two and the price is incredible considering that the rest of South Africa is out of control. Not too many nice lodges are left for what amounts to under $375 pppns. I do love the fact that they have a separate camp for adults traveling with children. I'd rather have Puff Adders in my camp than children!
I also like that fact that there is a pizza oven, private plunge pools, internet access and I am pretty sure that CCAfrica uses the guide & tracker system, while I get the impression that Jaci's camps only use a guide on night game drives...great if you have four eyes and three hands, but not so good, otherwise!

6.Impodimo Game Lodge. This place looks very nice and the price is very good at only 2,250 ZAR pppns ($336.60 using current exchange rates). However, no private plunge pools, wellness center, internet access, and other amenities that the top lodges are featuring. I do like the fact that the owners are onsite managing the lodge, as I think this makes a big difference in service.

*For extreme bargain hunters, there is a place that is under $225 pppns, and it looks nice enough: http://uyaphi.com/NWthebushhouse.htm



petlover is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 01:10 PM
  #8  
 
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Dandimere,

We were at both Sabi Sands (at Londolozi next to Singita) and at Madikwe Safari Lodge last June, and found the game viewing in Sabi Sands much better and also the off-road driving ability (that is, more restrictions on off-road driving at Madikwe), so unless you have a certain fear of malaria for some reason, I would personally stick with Singita. Also, I believe that the end of August is still the off season for mosquitos. I don't remember any mosquitos in June at Londolozi.

That said, Madikwe lodges are very nice, and totally malaria free area, and also better prices at many of the lodges there compared to Sabi Sands if that is a consideration.
brandywine is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 05:12 PM
  #9  
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I truly appreciate all of the feedback which I find immensely helpful! My concern is about exposing my husband to the possibility of malaria. He sadly has late stage cancer and is on an oncology drug. He is in remarkably good health despite having a terminal illness which is why we are making this trip now. I have consulted his oncologist who said that the drug company is unaware of any adverse side effects of the oncology drug and the anti-malarial drugs. However, he may be the first patient to have tried the combination.

I hesitate sharing all of this personal information but perhaps it puts my concern about malaria into context.


dandimere is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 05:21 PM
  #10  
santharamhari
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Dandimere,

I am very sorry about your husband's condition. I'm sorry about my previous post on this thread.....had no idea about his condition.

Good luck

Hari
 
May 26th, 2006, 06:01 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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hello dandimere,
I'm not sure what kind of meds. your DH is on but I was taking (still am) anti tumor meds. by infusion. These meds. temporarily suppress my immune system. I took these along with other meds. prior to my Feb. trip to Tanzania without any ill effects. After much research my docs. and I decided that b/c malerone doesn't seem to cut off the immune system, and that I shouldn't have a problem with it. The meds. they were concerned with were the innoculations that contained live virus's. Those were either eliminated or given in a non live formula. My biggest challenge was keeping the malerone down. If you do go that route, I would advise you to try a test run with any of these meds. prior to leaving to see if your DH can hold them down or if he'll have an adverse reaction.

I will tell you that going to Africa was the best medicine I could have taken. I was amazed at how well I felt while there. Everyone told me I was nuts to go but I'm not one to ever listen to nay sayers. The fresh clean air, the stunning beauty, good food and amazing wildlife are perfect for one's state of mind and body - very heeling.

Thanks for clueing us in on your DH's condition. Please don't hesitate asking this fine group any further questions.

I wish you and your DH all the best.

Sherry
cybor is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 06:09 PM
  #12  
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Hari, there is no need to apologize. I completely agree with your earlier comment about the uncertainties of life and took no offense whatsoever.

I have to admit that I was completely naive about malaria until I read through the posts on this forum and then looked at the malaria web sites (which can be quite frightening). I'm trying to balance the fear with the reality (we will be traveling in the cool, dry season and will be taking precautions).

I have always wanted to visit Africa and I became enchanted with the idea of Singita when I first read about it a few years ago. And, the posts on this forum confirm that Sabi Sands is the place to see wildlife. I know that my family would feel disappointed if they went on a safari and didn't see much wildlife.

Brandywine, what type of wildlife did you see in Madikwe?

Thanks again for your help!
dandimere is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 06:16 PM
  #13  
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Hi Sherry,

Thank you for your note which was so encouraging! My husband is on an anti-angiogenic drug called Sutent (which basically cuts off blood supply to tumors). His immune system is just fine and the drug doesn't impact it.

My husband is totally up for the trip. He has a wonderful attitude and is living life to the fullest.

I think your suggestion about testing out Malarone before hand is a great idea.

dandimere is offline  
May 26th, 2006, 07:25 PM
  #14  
 
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Dandimere,

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband, but glad to hear that he is able to make the trip to Africa, as it is a very beautiful and amazing place.

Definitely your further information does bring into focus the issue of malaria and malarone.

Some of the major animals we saw at Madikwe:
elephants, zebra, giraffe, rhino (white), impala, springbok, jackals, lions, wildebeast,cheetah, wild dogs.
Madikwe is one of the few places in South Africa that you are most likely to see wild dogs. The main difference for us is that there was more time in between sightings while in Madikwe compared to Sabi Sands, and the night drives were better at Sabi Sands. But there is plenty of wildlife at Madikwe, I didn't mean to say it was bad. We stayed at Madikwe Safari Lodge, which has a very good rate, nice new suites (but not huge or over the top), lovely deck with plunge pools(but may be too cold in Ausgust), and the food was excellent. However, I believe that Madikwe Hills has larger and more luxurious suites. Also, as of last June anyway, Madikwe Hills was using a ranger (guide) and tracker/spotter, whereas Madikwe Safari Lodge uses a ranger only.
Another regular poster was at Madikwe Hills a few months ago and here is the link to his very favorable report:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...chText=madikwe

Make sure you bring warm clothes (coat,gloves, hat) for the early morning drives at Madikwe, it was quite cold in June for several hours in the morning and also at night after the sun goes down.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be very much information on this board about Kwandwe.

Good luck and I wish your family the best.


brandywine is offline  
May 27th, 2006, 02:46 AM
  #15  
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Brandywine,

Thank you for the information and for referring me to Predator Biologist's trip report!
dandimere is offline  
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