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Need help trying to decide on Lodge - Sabi Sands Area

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Feb 6th, 2015, 08:03 AM
  #1
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Need help trying to decide on Lodge - Sabi Sands Area

Hi. I have made a change to our vacation itinerary and we have decided to go to South Africa for a short Safari in June. Here is the background - There are 5 of us - Myself, Husband, my dad, son and daughter both age 13. We have traveled as a family a lot and have previously been on Safari in Kenya. (Elephant Pepper, Shampole, Sabuk). I am a little worried what to expect after being spoiled on the Masai Mara.

I have spent a couple of days doing research trying to figure out which lodge is the best for us and based on price and location. My main goal is to see a leopard, that is why I narrowed it down to the to Sabi Sands area.

Here are the ones I have narrowed it down to, but I am open to suggestions. I am also willing to spend a little more if it is worth it.

Nottens Bush Camp
Elephant Plains
Idube Private Game Lodge
Kirkman's Camp
Lukimbe
Rhino Post
Hoyo Hoyo

I am planning on spending 3 nights. Not sure what our plans are after that.

Thanks for your help!
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Feb 6th, 2015, 04:56 PM
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For this coming June, check availability first and take it from there. Are your flights booked already?
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Feb 6th, 2015, 05:54 PM
  #3
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So far there does seem to be availability, so I am just trying to figure out which lodge to finally book. I am planning on getting the plane tickets, but have held off because I have a little play in days depending on lodge availability. Thanks
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Feb 6th, 2015, 06:08 PM
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If budget allows I'd recommend Mala Mala Main Camp- incredible animal sightings and lots of leopard.
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Feb 6th, 2015, 06:49 PM
  #5
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Thank you for your suggestion, but it at close to $4000 a night for 5 people, it is out of our budget. I have heard many good things about it though.
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Feb 7th, 2015, 03:31 AM
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Of that list, I would say Elephant Plains and Kirkman's. Very exciting family trip!
Best
Dianne
Africa Direct USA
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Feb 7th, 2015, 04:42 PM
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Arathusa has a waterhole in camp, so the animals come visit during the day. We were there in 2011 and it was very nice. It has since been updated. Request a room on the waterhole. We saw leopards often on night drives.

Look into lodges that have a river through their property. You will have the best wildlife viewing opportunities. Choose the one you think best meets your needs. There isn't a bad one in Sabi Sands.

We had our best leopard viewing last June in Kruger!! Hyena tried to steal leopard's lunch, bit of an argument, both chased each other away. All the other cars left, we returned to the scene. Hyena limped into a mud puddle right next to us, pretty badly injured, leopard came back to keep an eye out. Leopard to the right, hyena to the left for about 30 minutes. The leopard got bored and laid down just out of our sight. It was mid day, no other cars. Gotta love safari - you never know what's next!
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Feb 7th, 2015, 04:59 PM
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Maybe have a look at Umkumbe in Sabi Sands or try Mashatu Tented Camp. I have enjoyed multiple leopard sightings (of different leopards) on each of my 3 visits to Mashatu.

If you are loking at road transfers to Sabi Sands or elsewhere in South Africa Rob Bentley can do these at a very reasonable rate,
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Feb 7th, 2015, 07:43 PM
  #9
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Thank you for all of your suggestions. I am waiting to hear back from Elephant Plains, Lion Sands and Kirkmans. We have also decided to so some self drive in Krugar so more research. Right now I am thinking of Satara and trying to decide on one more.

Christabir - The Hyena story sounded exciting. I can't wait to see everything.
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Feb 7th, 2015, 08:17 PM
  #10
 
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Satara is fantastic, we were last there in early Dec. Saw lions every day, sometimes 2 or " different sightings. We also saw on 2 different occasions lions on a buffalo kill. There are currently 2 different white lion cubs in the area (we did not see them just missed one) an older one and another quite little.

I would look at Lower Sabie as well if you can get in, a really nice camp in a great game viewing area. Have a wonderful trip !
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Feb 7th, 2015, 10:27 PM
  #11
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That sounds great! Reading all of these posts gets me very excited to go. I think I have almost as much fun planning and researching these trip as I do going on them.

I will definitely look into Lower Sabie.
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Feb 8th, 2015, 08:05 PM
  #12
 
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We love the area around Satara and south. The SANParks online reservation system is really good now - you can make reservations, modify them and add to them. Just be careful if you change them - they will charge you if you do it in the wrong order. We try for perimeter sites, even though we barely get to enjoy it. Lower Sabie perimeter tents are great. Always get "utensils included" so you don't have to buy/bring everything. Any of the camps are good - if you aren't comfortable cooking on your own, make sure you choose a rest camp that has restaurants. Cooking is easy, but takes some planning. We leave camps as soon as the gates open in the morning - gate times are posted on the SanParks website - so we have to bring breakfast and lunch to eat on the road. A small cooler for lots of cold drinks and snacks is necessary even if you don't cook. Kruger is just an amazing place. Rent a high clearance vehicle for both the higher sight lines for the wildlife and higher clearance on some of the less maintained dirt roads. We like a 2x4 SUV as 4x4 is unnecessary and expensive. I hope one of you is ok with driving a manual on the left.

I love the planning too. I can't wait to go back! That leopard was gorgeous - and we had him to ourselves for a long time, if you don't count the hyena! Have fun.
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Feb 8th, 2015, 09:11 PM
  #13
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Thanks for the great info. It is very helpful.

Next up on the agenda -

Rental car- What rental car agency did you use what kind of car did you get. I would prefer an automatic but I know this may not be possible. Have done the left hand drive manual before in London. I have a tentative reservation with Budget for a 5 seater but I am still on the look out for a 7 seater so my Dad isn't squished in the backseat with the kids.
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Feb 8th, 2015, 10:09 PM
  #14
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Happy to report that I was able to make reservations for Satara 1 night and Lower Sabie for 1 night. I have been waiting to hear back from the Lodges, but the rooms as the camp were disappearing so I decided I needed to get something nailed down. Thank you again to everyone for the suggestions!
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Feb 9th, 2015, 08:01 PM
  #15
 
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I would try for two nights (or longer) at either Satara or Lower Sabie. I am not a fan of all of that moving around. You can change the reservation at no cost if there is availability - and that changes often! I love Kruger. We use Avis for our rentals in SA and get med/evac insurance that includes car rental insurance as our credit cards don't cover SUVs (read the very small fine print!). We rented a Toyota Avenza with 3 rows of seating, but it hated highway driving!! Whined badly over 100 km/hr and that's very slow for SA. It went much faster, it just didn't like it. It was less expensive than an SUV and was just as high for wildlife viewing, but not as comfortable for some reason. If you need a three row automatic SUV, you might have to rent from a specialist - not sure how available they are in SA. But honestly, I have no idea, I've just never seen one at JNB. If you call Avis they might be more help than the website.

One issue you may have in Kruger is finding restrooms. Plan your day a little so you will pass a rest camp or one of the very few WONDERFUL!! picnic areas where you can get out and stretch your legs. Nothing is worse than being out in the middle of nowhere and having to rush to use the facilities very far away. Unlike when with a guide in a reserve where you can stop anywhere. Just something to consider with kids and a senior?? adult. I almost decided to use Depends - and should have!!

Have fun! Keep asking questions - we may be able to help, or just make it more confusing! Sorry if I did that.
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Feb 10th, 2015, 07:46 AM
  #16
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Hi. No you have been helpful. I have finally gotten a little familiar so it makes sense. It took a few days though it took a few days to sort out all of the different areas and rest stops, lodges etc.

I will have to definitely go online and find a map of all of the rest stops and picnic areas so we can plot them on our route. Are there books out there with the best routes to drive or do I just keep reading Fodors to figure out the best routes to take in Kruger. Thanks again for your input!
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Feb 10th, 2015, 11:34 AM
  #17
 
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Kruger forum!
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewf...fe1bdd8037bdb5

Lots of info about the various roads.
and more.

I am drooling...
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Feb 19th, 2015, 08:28 AM
  #18
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Thank you for the helpful link! Sorry it took me so long to reply
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