Need Help with South Africa Safari

Reply

Sep 9th, 2005, 06:39 PM
  #21
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 445
I assumed it is the best because it ranks the highest in all of the rankings I have. I think Mala Mala is not going to be luxurious enough for what I am looking for even though the game will be good.
Dr_Andrea is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 02:49 AM
  #22
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello Dr_Andrea,

From one doctor to another, I think you need to do a little triage...

Decide which factor is most important: luxurious accommodations; food; game-viewing. Rank lodges based first on Factor 1, then on Factor 2, and then on Factor 3. That should enable you to come up with the best lodge for you.

I'd also spend some time on the websites of the various lodges. Londoz Tree Camp, for instance, is quite comparable to Singita Ebony, though the design aesthetic is a bit different. CCAfrica's food is wonderful -- a gourmet in the bush experience. I'm a foodie, and I really enjoyed the food I had there. They're also excellent at catering for any dietary requirements or preferences.

If you want a 'safari-moderne' experience, like Singita Lebombo, the options are pretty limited, because most lodges opt for a more classic safari look. Personally, if I want accommodation with cutting-edge modern design I go to Italy, not to the bush -- to me, the 'modern' designs clash rather painfully with the environment. I believe good design complements the environment and doesn't get 'in your face', but other people prefer a very striking contrast. All a matter of taste.

Hope this helps you make up your mind.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 02:55 AM
  #23
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Just for context -- when I'm traveling in Europe and Asia, I'm an Oberoi/Relais and Chateaux person (though the only Oberoi properties I've stayed at are the 'Vilas' in India -- I don't like their more standard hotels).

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 03:03 AM
  #24
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Another thought: unlike on other types of holiday, on safari you spend relatively little time in your room. Game drives take place twice a day, and last 3.5-4 hours. Meals usually take place in the lodge dining room, or sometimes out in the bush. You're really only in your room to sleep and for brief period between meals. This might be an important factor in your decision-making.

In case you're curious, my personal triage system is:
1. Game-viewing
2. Food
3. Accommodation

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 03:04 AM
  #25
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Sorry, that should be 'Game drives take place twice a day, and last 3.5-4 hours EACH (7-8 hours total).

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 04:09 AM
  #26
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I also prefer more "classic" then "modern" accommodations, the reason we selected Ebony over Boulders at Singita. Except for the photos of Lebembo and Sweni which are very modern in design - I'd like to see them, but not necessarily have a stay at either.

Granted game viewing is a prime reason when visiting the safari locations in any of these countries and we enjoyed ours tremendously, we also wished we had an extra day to "just enjoy our house" - the deck the stretched around the entire house, facing the river where we could easily enjoy water game and those on the far bank; but also the plunge pool, outdoor shower, arrange a pampering massage, just have one day of decadent pleasure in our private world - where no one could see what we were doing, 'cept the four-legged or flying critters ... and they wouldn't tell!
 
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 05:17 AM
  #27
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
You may want to look into Richard Branson's place, Ulusaba, which is very expensive.

I would never stay there because its on the westernmost fringe of the Sabi Sands, but its supposedly very luxurious, with a spa and gym.
thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 06:24 AM
  #28
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 445
Ok...Good call with the triage. However, I am a psychologist and not a medical doctor!

I don't care about the decor as long as it is luxurious. So it could be modern or safari-esque. Either is fine. We had a plunge pool before at the Oberoi in Mauritius. Frankly, we did not use it once. But maybe on safari the heat will drive us to the pool.

Food is super important! I need to have good food. It doesn't have to be really fancy, just very tasty.

Game Viewing is obviously important. However, its my first safari. So I don't even know what I am looking for in this category. I think if I see some baby animals I will be thrilled. I would also really love to gain some knowledge on how they track the animals and animal behavior in addition to seeing them.

I am sort of leaning to Londolozi after I read everyone's comments. Leopard Hills seems too small. Londolozi seems the closest to Singita. Right? I was also considering Grand Malewane. Gosh, you people are helpful!!

Dr_Andrea is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 06:45 AM
  #29
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Andrea, why South Africa?

In January you will see thousands of Zebra and Wildebeest babies in the magnificent Serengeti. With predators everywhere. And then some!

Eben
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 10th, 2005, 07:19 AM
  #30
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 445
I don't know anything about the Serengeti. I guess I also want to visit Cape Town.
Dr_Andrea is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2005, 12:13 AM
  #31
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 51
Dr Andrea: I have posted somewhere above already, but would still wholeheartedly recommend 2 of Exeter's Lodges - Dulini and Leadwood Lodge - Dulini has that classic African safari look, but incredibly beautiful rooms - I have stayed at Londoz Tree lodge and Ulusaba Rock Lodge and neither compare i.t.o accomm to Dulini. The food and game-viewing there are also fantastic. Leadwood, on the other hand has a more retro feel to it and was voted 3rd most luxurious lodge in Africa - only way to describe it is pure exclusivity - also fabulous - takw a look at www.exeter-lodges.com.

Another option that might interest you is Ivory lodge at Lion Sands - check out www.lionsands.com - very exclusive and brand new - biggest rooms available anywhere as far as I am aware. Hope this helps somewhat!!

bushmad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2005, 10:05 AM
  #32
bwanamitch
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've enjoyed reading this nice book, "A Kitchen Safari: Stories & Recipes from the African Wilderness" - a good appetizer for CCAfrica places such as Londoz.
http://www.safari-shop.de/CoffeeTabl...#1-77007-127-X

Mitch
 
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2005, 12:01 PM
  #33
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,766
Mala Mala has a new small camp called Rattrays which may satisfy some of the luxury requirements.
napamatt is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2005, 12:10 PM
  #34
sandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Dr_Andrea -

There are just too many choices and as soon as you think you've found the right one, a new even better camp/lodge opens. One can find something better or worse with any number of the camps/lodges posted here on your thread. Hey, if you make a mistake (I doubt it), there's always another trip - next year. We've all been where you are, but return again because we've all been bitten.

Some prefer modern, some classical, some larger, some smaller, some only for game viewing, some for food, some for culture, some for pampering, and on and on.

Is your Protravel agent suggesting any accommodations other then the "big" names that appear in Conde Nast? And from whom he/she gets a nice commission? I sure hope so. Has he/she been response to you when you suggest different accommodations?

At this point with so much coming your way - as I mentioned above, wait a week or so until Roccco returns and see what comment he has on some of the many camps mentioned. Not that Roccco is the be-all/end-all on these (all) accommodations, but he has an interesting view that I think you should have. But ignore anything he mentions/suggests about Zambia - that's for a completely different trip! LOL!
 
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2005, 07:52 PM
  #35
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 100
Dr Andrea

I have been to Singita Boulders and all 3 -gameviewing/accomodation/food are fantastic. Paying in Australian dollars does make me stay there for 2 nights only, and if it wasn't for the great staff, I do not think I would go there.
I am a huge fan of MalaMala as gameviewing is my top priority by a long shot and the only reason to be returning to Africa. If super luxury accomodation & food were my only priorities, I would not need to fly that distance. MalaMala's accomodation is very comfortable and the food suits me, but I think that it is food, not cuisine. I understood that their new camp Rattrays would have the accomodation, but the food would be similar to the main camp.
In december I am off to two new camps for me, Ivory Lodge at Lion Sands which does look beyond belief and Founders Camp at Londolozi which I have tried to change but unable to now after someone mentioned that is was a kid's camp!
In january it will be very warm so you do have a lot more time in your room than in winter.
I have been to Ulusaba (not the rock one) and I found the accomodation nice but way too small! Unless things have changed dramatically since May 2000, Shamwari was not luxurious, in fact in our room we has bore water which was most unpleasant, and the gameviewing was disappointing as not enough time has passed for the animals to be relaxed around vehicles. I do think the lions are no longer enclosed but still the animals cannot roam free like the Sabi Sands. Thornybush has the same problem.

Have a look at Lions Sands as it has had some great comments here in the past. You can call these up by running lion sands in the search for area.

Kaye
austkaye is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2005, 08:07 PM
  #36
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 445
Thanks everyone for your help! I decided on Grand Malewane!! I am going to book it during the next couple of days after I finalize some things. Any thoughts on Grand Malewane?
Dr_Andrea is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2005, 08:56 PM
  #37
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407
DR Andrea

You meant to say Royal Malewane...right?

In my opinion Thornybush Game Reserve is nothing more than a huge zoo.

I have been to most reserves in the SSGR and Mala Mala is without a doubt my favourite.

I am sure that Ratrays Camp will satisfy your need for luxurious accommodation.
safarinut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 12th, 2005, 10:15 PM
  #38
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,501
Hello,

Royal Malewane is located in the Thornybush Reserve, a different area to the Sabi Sands -- it's further north. Thornybush is very small and has a high lodge density. There also seems to be more emphasis on 'spa' activities at Malewane rather than game-viewing. I've stayed in the Timbavati Reserve neighbouring Thornybush, and found that while the game viewing was good it wasn't as good as that in the Sabi Sand.

One thing you need to keep in mind is that a safari lodge is quite different to a hotel. At a hotel like the Oberoi or the Ritz, you are paying for posh accommodation, excellent service, and location. At a safari lodge, you are paying for all of those things PLUS a few more -- guiding (the quality of your guide makes a huge difference in your experience) and exclusivity (having a large area of land and its animals to yourself, shared with a small number of others -- so you can stay as long as you like at a sighting and sightings don't turn into a traffic jam in the bush).

I can't vouch for the guiding at Royal Malewane, but the emphasis on 'spa' activities implies that guiding is not a priority. The Thornybush area is certainly less exclusive than MM, Londoz, or Singi -- there is a very high lodge density, which means that you are more likely to have to share your sightings with other vehicles and are more likely to see other vehicles.

However, if luxury is the priority, you will certainly find that at Royal Malewane.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Sep 13th, 2005, 06:13 AM
  #39
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 445
Its my first safari, so I think I will be happy with the game viewing. But you definitely gave me something to think about.
Dr_Andrea is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:42 PM.