Need Advice on SA Safari!

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Mar 5th, 2005, 11:17 AM
  #1
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Need Advice on SA Safari!

Hi All -

I was delighted to find a forum with so many experienced travelers. I would love your advice - I am going to a week-long conference outside of Cape Town (Stellenbosch) the third week of June. I would like to stay an additional few days and do a safari. I have found CCAfrica online and was quite keen on their walking safaris (I'm a biologist and love to camp!). They offer one in Phinda and one in Ngala (Kruger) and I can't decide which area to visit. I hope to come back many times in the future and for longer stays. Do you all have any good/bad experiences with CCAfrica? Are there any other companies, short-term safaris you can suggest? Being a biologist, I am on a bit of a budget, and furthermore will probably be traveling alone on this trip. Thanks for any advice you can give!!!

Tracey
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Mar 5th, 2005, 11:40 AM
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Last year two people posted here that they took CC Africa trips to Botswana. Both sounded very pleased with the product.
If you do a search using the search box above, you can get some information. I tried it once by putting in CC Africa and checking South Africa and once by putting in CC Africa and leaving the country blank. Both provided previous discussions on the subject. Good luck. I haven't personally used CC Africa, but I sure do think they have some very lovely looking camps. I wouldn't hesitate to use them. Liz
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Mar 5th, 2005, 02:11 PM
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tkblizard,

Here are more choices from CCAfrica that are buried a little deeper in their website and not so easily found:

"Pioneer" Safaris:

http://www.ccafrica.com/expeditions/pioneer-1-type-2-2

"Great Explorer" Safaris (pricier than the Pioneer safaris, but still mobile camping in different areas)

http://www.ccafrica.com/expeditions/...rer-1-type-2-1

I have only stayed in one CCAfrica lodge, Matetsi Water Lodge near Victoria Falls. I would love to return to this lodge the next time I am in Victoria Falls, whenever that is.

CCAfrica is a very well regarded company.
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Mar 5th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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I've stayed at three of the CC Africa camps. The Crater Lodge in Tanzania and Phinda and Londolozi in S.A.

All the camps and staffs were top notch and we were treated very well. In fact, when our plane was delayed in Senegal for 30 hours en route to S.A., I called the folks at CC Africa and they were very understanding and helpful in rearranging our itinerary.

Because of the delay, we lost a couple of nights in Ngala but added a night in Phinda and it turned out to be just as great of a trip.

Phinda and Londolozi are both great places. I'm sure Ngala is just as nice. I plan to get there too...one day!
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Mar 5th, 2005, 03:44 PM
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I've stayed at both Ngala and Phinda. CCAfrica was wonderful. Although we took bush walks in the afternoon, most of our game drives were in regular vehicles and we stayed in normal rooms (not camps). Here are my impressions of both lodges:

Ngala: Comfortable, cozy rooms. Beautiful public spaces. Best boma I've ever seen. The game was plentiful, but we drove extensively to find it. Lots of lion and leopard. We were there in late August (end of winter). It was very brown with little foliage on the trees and shrubs.

Phinda: We stayed at Phinda Forest. The rooms were unbelievable -- glass walls. The sand forest is creepy, yet cool. We saw a ton of wildlife just walking to our rooms - snakes (forest cobra), lion, birds. The public areas weren't as special as Ngala, but still very nice. The great thing about Phinda is that it has a variety of ecosystems. We went to Phinda a few days after Ngala and were excited to see the lush green fields. There was also scrub like in Ngala, a river for canoeing (and crocs and elephants), and a beach. We saw plenty of lion, cheetah, and rhino.

If I could only choose one place, I think I'd pick Phinda, but it's a close call.
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Mar 5th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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Thanks to everyone so far for your advice and to Rocco for the additional links. The CC Africa website is quite elaborate! I also have look at other companies but it seems as if they often are just really booking CC Africa tours.

I also would love your advice on whether or not you took anti-malarial medication. I realize it depends on where you go and most of the lodges and camp tents seem to be sealed. I have heard the side-effects can be unpleasant?
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Mar 5th, 2005, 04:53 PM
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Yes, we took the meds. No one in our party had any side effects. I'd still rather take the pill than get malaria.
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Mar 6th, 2005, 03:22 AM
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Re malaria meds - the formerly recommended med, Larium, did have weird side effects for some peope. However, for about 5-years now, Malarone is the recommended malaria med, and there are little if any side effects.
 
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Mar 6th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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The side effects of most anti-malarials affect only a very small minority of takers but the effects of malaria are one of the most common souvenirs the risk-takers come home with...

Malarone is a newer drug and well known for less side effects and better efficiency (in the areas for which it's recommended) than the rest.

We were recommended it for South Africa and neither of us had any problems at all.

It IS more expensive than other options and not usually available on prescription/ insurance.

I am sure you'll have a great experience in either the Phinda or Ngala areas so it's just a case of which landscape appeals the most, how much of a difference it makes to travel time and costs...
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Mar 7th, 2005, 06:46 AM
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I've always taken the old Larium and would never even know I am on it. But I don't take it for more than a month or so a year.

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Mar 7th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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Malarone gave us no serious side effects..except that my husband had good dreams!! Blue Cross Blue Shield covered it this year...but not in the past. malarone also only has to be taken once a week.
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Mar 8th, 2005, 07:24 PM
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Thanks for the Malaria advice all! I have Blue Shield, so hopefully I can get the Malarone this year - still need to make that Dr.'s appointment.

I think I am going to try Phinda for my first time. I am planning on staying at the lodge for one night so I can go on a canoe/riverboat (i.e. Mosquitos!) ride before heading out to the tents.

Thanks again for your suggestions. Tracey
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Mar 8th, 2005, 10:03 PM
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Mincepie, I think you're confusing Malarone and Mefloquine.

Malarone is the newer drug and is a daily dose. Mefloquine is branded as Larium in many countries, and Mefliam in South Africa. It is the one that has the possible side effect of dreams for some, and is the one that is a daily dose (but a much cheaper tablet).

If you take a look at www.malaria.org.za/Malaria_Risk/index.html you'll find a .pdf doc titled DoH (S.A. Dept. of Health) Prophylaxis Guidelines 2003. As well as links to "risk maps" and other info.
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Mar 8th, 2005, 10:05 PM
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Oops. I meant to say that Mefloquine "is the one that is a WEEKLY dose".
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Mar 8th, 2005, 10:10 PM
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In any event, you'll see from those "risk maps" that June is not in the period (Oct-May) when anti-malarials are recommended. During Winter I don't think any or very many locals bother with them.

But it's a "risk call". And I'm not dispensing advice, I'm not a medical practitioner.
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Mar 9th, 2005, 04:18 AM
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We travelled in May and June in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. We didn't take drugs whilst in Cape Town or Garden Route but started malarone treatment 2 days before hitting KZN and for the rest of the trip until Namibia.

Although May IS in recommended anti-malarial period and June is not it's a only a rough indicator. Our climate is changing (winters are warmer at the moment than a few years ago) and some mosquitos are surviving into winter a little longer.

I certainly got LOTS of bites even though camp staff were reporting no or very very few mosquitos during the time I was with them.
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