off topic

Aug 29th, 2004, 05:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
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off topic

I have the rare oppertunity, to have a 14 day trip paid for, first class. I am looking for destinations anywhere in the world. I post here, because I was recently in kenya and learned alot on this board. I am looking for vacation advice. We like history, but don't want to spend all our time in musuems. We love the coast, but aren't sun bathers. We have also done France, Spain, England, Kenya, and all of Mexico, most of the USA and Costa Rica. My parents told me to pick a place for my 40th birthday, the sky is the limit. However, they want a destination by Sept.24th. Any ideas?
katj232 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 01:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Well, let us see if the sky is truly the limit, or if, in fact, your parents do not really understand the unlimited height of the sky!

If I had the opportunity for an all paid for trip for 14 nights, I would spend EVERY SINGLE NIGHT on safari, and then I would pay for the hotels on my own dime for the city portion. It would go something like this:

Days 1 - 3, Cape Town, Twelve Apostles Hotel in Luxury Sea Facing Room (at your own expense).

Day 4 - Early flight to Joburg for connecting flight to Maun. Transfer to Little Mombo for 3 nights at parents expense, 11 nights remaining for your parents to cover.

Day 7 - Transfer to Kings Pool in Linyati region of Botswana for 3 nights. 8 days remaining for your parents to pay.

Day 10 - Transfer to Victoria Falls (possibly flying to Chobe and then a 90 minute road transfer) for 3 nights at Matetsi Water Lodge. This will allow you to visit Victoria Falls and canoe the Zambezi River, all while staying in style at Matetsi Water Lodge. Use your own dime for this one, as it is only about $250 USP per person per night sharing, an excellent bargain considering you get two game drives per day, canoeing, free transfers accompanied by your guide to Victoria Falls and even bush walks.

Day 13 - Transfer to Joburg. 2 nights at either Westcliff Hotel if you want to be away from the action in an exclusive setting, or 2 nights at Michelangelo, if you want to be around the action of Sandton, surrounded by plenty of shopping, great restaurants, etc. This will help you not burn out to spend a couple nights in Joburg after nine straight nights on safari...nine nights of 5:30AM wakeup calls, busy days and late dinner and drinks each night. Plus, while in Joburg, you should do a half day tour of Soweto.

Day 16 - Transfer to Madikwe. 3 nights at Madikwe Hills, staying in Presidential Suite at your parents expense. (5 nights remaining for parents)

Day 19 - Transfer to Singita Ebony for three nights (at parents expense, 2 nights remaining).

Day 22 - Transfer to Singita Lebombo for grande finale of 2 nights.

Day 24 - END


Twelve Apostles Hotel, 3 nights = $900 USD if purchased on Luxury Link ( Otherwise, the same room, a sea-facing luxury room, will cost you $2,000 USD for rack rates, as will other top Cape Town hotels such as the Cape Grace, Mount Nelson and Table Bay Hotel.

Matetsi Water Lodge, 3 nights = $1,500 USD plus possibly another $500 USD for your air and road transfers from Kings Pool.

Michelangelo Hotel, 2 nights = $750 USD. I have not stayed at the Westcliff Hotel, so I must recommend the Michelangelo which features a great restaurant, Picolo Mondo, a very good spa and a great location if you wish to explore Sandton, the best place for shopping and dining in Joburg.

So, your total cost is $3,150 USD, but don't waste these nights by giving them to your parents. You have something much more "special" in mind for them.


Little Mombo, 3 nights = $6,000 USD?

Kings Pool, 3 nights = $5,500 USD?

Transfers from Cape Town to Botswana and between camps and back to Joburg = $1,750 USD

Madikwe Hills, 3 nights in Presidential Suite = $7,750 USD + $750 USD for transfers. For a regular room, cut it down to about $3,875 USD for the room.

Singita Boulders, 3 nights = $5,750 USD + $750 for transfers.

Singita Lebombo, 2 nights = $3,950 USD + $400 for transfers.

Of course your parents will foot the bill for the international air, but I suspect if they are in such a position to offer you this trip, that they probably have unlimited frequent flier miles that they may gift you to cover the air. Air expense = ZERO?

Grand Total for parents = $32,600 USD (if you stay in Presidential Suite at Madikwe Hills, or deduct about $3,800 if you stay in regular room getting your parents expense down to $28,800 USD).

Either way, combined with the $3,150 USD that you should contribute to get the most out of this trip, you are looking at nearly a $35,000 40th birthday present.

Websites for lodges:

Twelve Apostles Hotel

Little Mombo & Kings Pool

Matetsi Water Lodge

Michelangelo Hotel

Madikwe Hills

Singita Boulders & Singita Lebombo

While this does not include any time in the Cape Winelands or along the Garden Route, my thoughts are why waste your time on these places when your parents are willing to foot the bill for the best places in the world. If you want to see these places, return on your own later and spend the $350-500 USD per night for the best accomodations that are on offer in the Winelands and Garden Route.

You will need a really good agent to put this together for you, and I suggest Taga Safaris (

Request a price from Mark at Taga and I am sure that he can divide it up between your portion and your parents portion. Please let us know your parents reaction when they see the itinerary and especially when they see the pricetag.

You will have the most amazing holiday ever if you do the best that Botswana and South Africa has to offer.

Good luck.
Roccco is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 02:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Everybody put your hands up, this is a threadjacking!!!

For my 34th birthday, with nothing more than a ride to the airport supplied by my parents, IF I AM LUCKY!, here is what I am planning for a lot less money:

Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, 3 nights
Matetsi Water Lodge, near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 3 nights
A Room With A View, Joburg (Melville), 1 night
Simbambili, Sabi Sand, 3 nights
Londolozi Tree Camp, 3 nights
Madikwe Hills, 3 nights

I am trying my best to be a stowaway on Taga Safaris filming game drives, and I think my visit will coincide with their filming, possibly enabling me to stay out all night on the prowl for leopards, lions and whatever else lurks in the darkness of the night. While this will be an added expense, it will be well worth it for me to really witness the action of the night (lions and leopards hunting) rather than to just see the aftermath the next morning. Just one more benefit of having an excellent local tour operator. Please don't try this at least not with your American or European tour operators!

Just have a look at this amazing footage captured by Taga Safaris recently of wild dogs making a kill of a buffalo, and then fighting off a dim-witted hyena that thought it could steal the kill from TEN wild dogs. The expression on the hyenas face is ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS!!!

I can hardly wait!!!

And this concludes this threadjacking...thank you for your cooperation.


On second thought, you may want to consider a few nights at Simbambili. I am sure that if you booked through Taga Safaris that you may have an opportunity to accompany them on their filming game drives, and they will stay out there until they get something spectacular.
Roccco is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 04:46 AM
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Roccco's itinerary is a dream but is all away from the ocean. I would pick a similarly luxurious adventure to Tanzania (serengeti, selous) with a side trip to Zanzibar (which has history and beach and a fascinating cultural mix.) This presupposes you didn't visit Lamu on your Kenya visit.
Can't recommend exact trips/lodges as I travel strictly budget!

The other place that springs instantly to mind is Turkey - or Greece. I guess you could combine the two, but 2 wks not really long enough. Each country has PLENTY of history and some fantastic beaches. Greece, and eastern Turkey also offer fantastic landscapes. Or Thailand, or Malaysia, if you want to travel further. A lot depends on the time of year you will be travelling.

Is a beach element a must? I could bore you with lots of other suggestions but maybe need to know more about your interests in general. Specifically - how adventurous do you want to be?
alice13 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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If interested in Africa, I would consider the souther circuit of Tanzania - The Selous, Ruaha, even out to Katavi & Mahale to enjoy the habituated chimps. There are luxury accommodations at all of these reserves. Then end in Mnemba Island off the coast of Zanzibar with is tres private and expensive. If you enjoy diving, then I'd head to Mafia Island from Dar-es-salaam. Or you can add on a trip to The Seychelle Islands, instead of the islands off Zanzibar.

You can always consider Morocco with private guide/driver and stay at some of the most amazing Riads or other lux accommodations. Being on the coast of Africa, there are beaches at Essouira (sp).

And I can vouch for Turkey with such warm and welcoming people - history everywhere and great accommodations - probably one of our best holidays (even if we did this with a group). There are great beaches along the Med, but even better might be renting a private gulet to cruise the various ports of the Aegean (the western coast).

There are some choices - pick one. Don't believe any of these would disappoint.
Aug 30th, 2004, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 686
Alice, Cape Town is "away from the ocean"?!

On the contrary, many Capetonians even claim that they have TWO oceans! (Although not true, the best they can claim is two currents.)
ArthurSA is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We are also taking a trip this year courtesy of my parents - it's a gift to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We didn't get the choice on where to go but we would probably have chosen this trip anyway! My dad, who has a darn good idea of what our travel dreams include, was chatting to Jonathan Scott who mentioned that he and Angie were going to be guest experts on an another Antarctica trip later in the year (they love it and have been several times) and my dad, knowing how much I admire them and enjoyed chatting to them on the Kenya trip, offered Pete and I places on that particular trip.

Anyway, what I'm wondering is whether a trip like that would appeal?

Our 3 week trip starts in Ushiaia where we board the ship. It takes in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and of course goes right down to the Antarctic. Feel free to email me for more details.

Other ideas would include a luxury trip in South Africa. The game parks of Kwa Zulu Natal offer wonderful diversity and you have the Indian Ocean coast right there. Combining that with a cape itinerary staying and eating in all the best places... how could it get any better.

A trip to East Africa that included Zanzibar would also appeal to me as would a trip to a tiger reserve in India staying in one of the new luxury camps that have sprung up recently.

The world is your oyster, Kat!

PS When are you planning to take the trip?
Kavey is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I'm hijacking Rocco's hijacking as my question is off-topic like kats. (BTW, I don't think it's wise to mix in part of "I'll pay for this myself" when your parents are offering you a 14 day trip). We are doing the reverse and offering my mother-in-law a trip anywhere in the world she wants to go for her 75th b-day. We hoped she'd pick Africa (we even said, "like Africa...") but she ruled it out saying she didn't want the vaccinations. We were also worried she might not like the small planes as she has a fear of heights. So now we have the rest of the world to consider. She has been to several countries in Europe already and to the Caribbean. Any place where you have to drive roads that are the slightest bit hilly don't work for her. She loves wildlife. She doesn't want to "hike" but she is pretty fit and can walk. This is meant to be her dream trip although she's not the type to tell us what she wants - so we have to kind of guess. Kavey, can you tell us more about your trip - or email me.
Clematis is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 11:48 AM
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My trip does require a certain minimum physical mobility as one has to take the tenders (small power boats) to and from the main ship and landings. But you know I have arthritis in my hip and yet I am sure this trip will be fine. There are a couple of times where one lands and gets a choice between a more demanding hike up to some viewpoint or a gentler and shorter walk on level areas. I'll choose the latter.

The itinerary (from London) is as follows but it's also sold without international flights and apparently travellers tend to be quite an international mix:

Day 1 Fly to Buenos Aires.
2 Arrive Buenos Aires; transfer to domestic airport for flight to Ushuaia.
3 Board the Mariner and sail the Beagle Channel.
4 Sail east towards the Falkland Islands.
5-6 Falkland Islands.
7-9 At sea sailing towards South Georgia.
10-12 South Georgia.
13 At sea sailing to the South Orkney islands.
14 South Orkney Islands (ice conditions permitting).
15 At sea Sailing south to Antarctica.
16-18 Antarctic Peninsula.
19-20 Drake Passage Sailing north towards South America.
21 Disembark in Ushuaia, fly to Buenos Aires.
22 Morning sightseeing tour of BA, afternoon free, evening flight to London.
23 Arrive London.

The ship is the Peregrine Mariner, much smaller and more intimate than the ships used by most companies that offer Antarctic cruises.

This link has pictures of the ship plus a link at the bottom of the page to deck plans etc.

Let me know if I can tell you more. We happened to book through Exodus, a UK agent, but the trip is not organised by them and there are other agents.

I agree that it's wiser not to try and add to the pot by throwing one's own money in for an extra week. It may imply that the original gift is not sufficiently generous when it's anything but... and it just doesn't sit right with me.
Kavey is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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You are all right. It would be terribly selfish to accept a gift but then add on cheaper portions at ones own expense while passing along only the most expensive portion to the benefactor who is making it all possible.

Taking that into consideration, may I suggest the following:

Days 1 - 3 Arrive Joburg in morning in time to connect with flight to Maun, transferring to Little Mombo.

Days 4 - 6 Transfer to Kings Pool

Days 7 - 8 Charter a flight to Singita Boulders

Days 9 - 10 Transfer to Singita Lebombo

Days 11 - 14 Transfer to Joburg and connect to flight to Seychelles, staying four nights at North Island which should satisfy your craving for the coast at one of the most exclusive lodges in the world.

If you would like to be a little more gentle on your parents, just let me know and I can suggest an itinerary that would be incredible for half the price of this likely $30,000 holiday.

Roccco is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 05:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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ArthurSA - most humble apols. Didn't read thoroughly enough. After Sydney - Cape Town has the most beautiful location in the world (OK haven't been to Rio yet) - but not sure I would want to swim at any of your beaches any time of year. Too cold!!

But then I am just a wimp.

The city, though, is a delight.
alice13 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 06:52 AM
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Posts: 686
I'm with you on the cold water Alice! On visits to CT I used to get painful tootsies just putting them in the water, while my young daughters happily immersed themselves totally! And that was on the so-called "warm" side.

OK so I'm also a wimp! And originally from Durban, where the water temp is usually in the 20's.
ArthurSA is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 07:05 AM
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Roccco, great second itinerary, but do you think she sent us on a frolic and detour. She's solicited a lot of responses, and I see no comments/questions/etc. from original poster.
thit_cho is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 07:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
sorry I have not thanked all of you sooner. I was taken out of town for 2 days. I do appreciate all the suggestions.
katj232 is offline  

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