Mashatu Tented and ??

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Dec 27th, 2011, 06:38 PM
  #1
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Mashatu Tented and ??

Have finally narrowed down a few choices for my next safari in 2013 however am stuck on a good pairing with Mashatu.

Background is - Travelling solo, looking for mainly cats and then eles, don't need a lot of luxury.

Plan so far is:
Mashatu Tented Camp 3 to 4 nts
3 to 4 nts classic tented camp or mid range lodge (insert suggestion here)
Vic Falls Zimbabwe llala Lodge 3 nts day trip to Chobe
Cape Town Parkers Cottage 4 nts

Am looking for suggestions for the 2nd camp (max $500 pppn) that will transfer easily with the above spots, provide great feline sightings and a different eco system to Mashatu. MalaMala was suggested but is a bit pricey for me.

Also not sure of the best routing other than I'd prefer to do CT last. Does it make sense to fly into Joburg, make my way north then back to Joburg and onto CT?

Would like to travel in shoulder season to keep costs down but it seems each country has a different shoulder season. Would appreciate advice with this also.

Thanks!
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Dec 27th, 2011, 09:39 PM
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Mashatu is not easily combined with Vic Falls. But I would start in Sabi Sand at one of the less expensive options. Then get a guided transfer to Pafuri in northern Kruger, then another road transfer to Mashatu. Transfer to Polokwane or JNB or a charter (!) and fly to Vic Falls. I might stay at Chobe and do a day trip to the Falls instead of the other way. I preferred doing CT first so it doesn't feel like kind of a letdown after safari. For options in Sabi Sand:

http://www.sabisand.co.za/

I know this adds a few days to your trip, but adding Pafuri reduces the number of flights. You can skip Pafuri and fly Sabi Sand/Mashatu. I did the SS (chose Arathusa), Pafuri, Mashatu trip in 2009. Loved it.

Or stick with your plan and try Entabeni Wildside, an inexpensive tented camp three hours north of JNB - transfers are available. Then a four hour transfer to Mashatu, fly Vic Falls...
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Dec 28th, 2011, 05:44 AM
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Entabeni Wildside

Let's hear more about this!
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Dec 28th, 2011, 11:06 AM
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Kathy you will need a double entry visa for Zimbabwe if you visit Chobe and for us Canadians it has to obtained before we leave Canada and at the high cost of $200.US. Did you look at Imbabala Camp which borders Chobe or Muchenje in Botswana.
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Dec 28th, 2011, 11:19 AM
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atravelynn - Wildside is the place went to in June for the golf.

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/SPORT/go...9th/index.html

The golf course is attached to a 22,000 hectare big 5 private reserve and is the location of a highly regarded guide training school. It exceeded our expectations by a long shot. We had our best cheetah sighting ever there and the best "social life" on safari. Not everyone's cup of tea, and likely our experience was not normal, but we had lots of fun. Drinking, dancing, up too late. But the reserve is beautiful, we didn't see many other vehicles, got up close to lions and rhino and the guides/rangers were good. And the Land Rovers were open with stadium seating (the good ones). And it is an excellent value at about $200/pp/pn. There is also a cat and culture centre, quad riding and walks. Golf. I wish we'd spent one more night - three with a round of golf was not enough. The reserve is on two levels - the upper and lower escarpment - which I assumed was like the upper west side/lower east side in NYC. Well, it's not. The upper escarpment is an insane vertical climb from the lower. It was really a gorgeous setting, with all the fun animals to boot!! I'd go again in a minute - truly affordable, good experience. Good option between Mashatu and JNB. And we had electric blankets - perfect with the cold temps we experienced. Malaria free.

There are other options in the Waterberg region, including a park attached to Marakele NP. It's a beautiful area and SA seems to be making some investment in tourism in the region. I am also interested in Venetia and the Mopane Bush Lodge, just across the river from Mashatu. They have a wild dog research project and San Art and the de Beer conglomerate is involved in another transfrontier wildlife protected area. Some day. So much to do. Sigh.

Sorry KathBC. Didn't mean to hijack.
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Dec 28th, 2011, 03:57 PM
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Cats and Elephants--you are on the right track! I visited during Summer (December). I traveled to CT, MalaMala, Mashutu, Moremi, Chobe and Zambia (Vic Falls). I started at Cape Town, ended at Zambia and flew back to Jo'burg for the return flight to the United States. My rationale for traveling to CT first was: (1) I assumed I would be exhausted after visiting 3 different game reserves and Vic Falls and (2) I wanted to be able to enjoy all CT had to offer while I was fresh and still cared about my appearance. By the end of the trip, I didn't care what my hair looked like or if I remembered to put on lip gloss.

I saw all of the Big 5 plus 4 Cheetah brothers at MalaMala. It was so perfect that If my trip had to end at that point, I would have been completely satisfied. At Mashutu, I witnessed the most amazing Elephants. My Safari Guide, who I called the Elephant Whisperer, took my group to the top of a hill for breakfast tea. He told us we would wait there for the Elephants to make their daily pilgrimage to the water. After waiting approximately 40 minutes, literally hundreds of Elephants walked right by us. They were so calm and loving to each other. It was beautiful to watch. There were also many Elephants near the waters edge at Chobe National Park.
The eco systems at each of these places were very different. MalaMala was lush and green and full of beautiful trees; whereas, Mashutu was a bit drier and brown and more open. At Moremi, which was very dry, we witnessed more bird sightings and hippos. This was also the only game reserve that was not privately owned and therefore, there were more driving restrictions. At MalaMala and Mashutu, both private Game Reserves, we were able to drive off-road and get as close to the wildlife as possible.
I cannot comment on the price. I traveled with National Geographic and everything was bundled--Cape Town, lodges, private planes,Vic Falls. It was a bit pricey, but in my opinion, well worth it. It was an awesome experience and perfect for me. I also traveled solo.
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Dec 28th, 2011, 09:04 PM
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Stopping in CT first would be much better. Being a bit of a shopaholic I was worried about lugging all that Diana Carmichael pewter on safari while stressing about weight restrictions on flights. However lots of places carry her stuff in Joburg.

christabir yes I can see how a camp between Joburg and Mashatu would be helpful and break down the transfer time. With these private reserves and staying for 3 or 4 nts is it best to look at a larger reserve so you have more area to search for wildlife?

Raelond are you saying that it'll cost me $200 for a visa just for Vic Falls & then if I take a day trip to Chobe another $200? Don't like the sound of that at all.
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Dec 29th, 2011, 08:48 AM
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According to the Zimbabwean Embassy website for Canada, the single entry visa is C$100 and the multiple entry visa is C$200. If you plan to go to Vic Falls and the Chobe River, perhaps you could fly into Vic Falls and out of Kasane, or vice versa. I don't think you need more than one night at Vic Falls, but a couple of days on the Chobe in an Ichobezi safariboat would be great! The Kasane - Jo'burg flights on Air Botswana aren't daily, so you'd need to time that correctly.
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Dec 29th, 2011, 09:15 AM
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The cost would be $200 total. You could save the hassel of getting your visa in advance if you see Victoria Falls from the Zambia side ( Livingston) and go to Chobe from there.

Kathy if you want to email or phone me, contact Lynda as she has my number.
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Dec 29th, 2011, 11:23 AM
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Kath - you can shop til you drop and store luggage at JNB while you safari. It's convenient to leave "Cape Town clothes" too.

You could also do Mashatu, then Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Bots with their black maned lions, then head up to Vic Falls/Chobe. I don't have any idea how pricey transfers would be, though.

Isn't bigger always better? I'm surprised that Entabeni and Mashatu are the same size (22-25,000 hectares). We had more time at Mashatu and it felt bigger. (?) Consider Mopane Bush Lodge as a stopover on the way to Mashatu. It looks interesting to me with walks, San Art and the de Beers park access. Almost as cheap as a JNB hotel - I'd rather spend a night (or two) there than the airport. As a bonus you get an activity in the AM and it's a quick trip to the Pont Drift border crossing. You can fly into Polokwane and get a transfer or get a transfer from JNB.

Your trip has me thinking about how much I want to do/see!! No big trip for me in 2012 .
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Dec 29th, 2011, 07:21 PM
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chrisabir does JNB have storage lockers at the airport or are you thinking at a hotel?

I'm not going anywhere exciting in 2012 either, all this planning is for 2013 which feels like forever away.
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Dec 29th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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Thanks Raelond, I'll give Lynda a call.

Will have to re-think that Vic Falls/Chobe day trip idea. I'm surprised so many do the re-entry if the visas are so pricey or is it just us Canadians that pay so much?
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Dec 29th, 2011, 07:42 PM
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Luggage storage at the airport. It was cheap in 2006. I only take carry on now so don't know how much it is these days.

The view from Zim is better. You might want to see from both (we saw it almost empty in Sept from only Zim).

Another possibility is Banoka Bush Lodge, a new Wilderness Adventure camp, in Bots. More affordable than their Classic camps.
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Dec 30th, 2011, 12:21 AM
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Have you thought of staying at one of the private reserves bordering Kruger before Mashatu?

Umkumbe, Nkhoro, Nottens, Arathusa, Elephant Plains and Shindzela would all fit your budget I think. Its about an hours flight from JNB to Hoedspruit to access these lodges after which a road transfer would get you to Mopane Bush Lodge, although I'm not sure of the travel time.

Alternatively, I like the suggestion of some time in the CKGR, although the transfers could take up most of a day.

Happy planning,


Pol
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Dec 30th, 2011, 07:24 PM
  #15
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Treepol I've been looking at Elephant Plains and Arathusa so thanks for adding a few more in that area.

Those black maned lions in CKGR really got my attention.
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Dec 30th, 2011, 08:53 PM
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I was in CKGR during July 2008 on a mobile safari with Ewan Masson of Masson Safaris and have posted my photos here, https://picasaweb.google.com/Treepol/Botswana2008.

I suggest you contact him regarding CKGR at http://www.massonsafaris.com/safaris.htm and have a chat about the wildlife rhythms in CKGR as these can vary. The game viewing is dependent on rainfall and when the prey animals, followed by predators move out of the valleys.

Alternatively, you could look at a few nights in St Lucia and have some time on the coast, visiting the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park and the galleries and restaurants in town. There are a number of quality guest houses including Kwazulu, Kingfisher Lodge and Lalapanzi - some offer transfers from Richards Bay Airport.

Kian Barker of Shakabarker tours at Hornbill House B&B runs scheduled game viewing trips to the surrounding area that include a night Chameleon Drive.

Regards,


Pol
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