One step closer to South Africa.......

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Feb 18th, 2003, 06:02 PM
  #1
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One step closer to South Africa.......

I am worse than a crack addict lately when it comes to Africa. Although I was considering skipping South Africa, after reading a review of the City by a longtime resident on epinions.com, I changed my mind.

I couldn't resist the opportunity to book 4 nights in a junior suite at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton for a mere $600 USD in a junior suite. The package includes all breakfasts, a single dinner, flowers, fresh fruit and, I believe, champagne in my room. Additionally it includes R/T transfers to and from the Johannesburg Airport.

Well, there goes Europe, as I do not enjoy a flexible enough schedule for a three week vacation and must get my whole trip done in 15 nights or less.

I would have preferred the Westcliff Hotel but I did not have access to that hotel for less than a minimum of $275 USD per night and for anything but a standard room with the same amenities that I am getting at the Michelangelo, it would be over $350 per night. Apples and oranges between the two hotels but I think my wife will prefer the shopping areas available in Sandton to the natural beauty (?) of Westcliff.

So now I just need to book my game reserves and maybe a night or two in the Cape Winelands. I was bidding on a 4 night package to Ngala that has closed anywhere from $1300 - $2100. I was willing to bid up to about $1400 but that's it.

Although Ngala appears to be a very nice game reserve, I did not care for the CCAfrica policies imposed on the rangers that I experienced at Matetsi. For the unfamiliar, Conservation Corps Africa either owns or sponsors a variety of different private game reserves in Southern Africa.

While at Matetsi, my ranger rarely drove off the dirt road in pursuit of game and attributed his actions to the rules of CCAfrica. However, at Matetsi, the ranger was very aggressive in his pursuit of game...not to the degree that he was going to injure the game or the humans but definitely enough to make ones heart race. This really allowed for some very good photographs and longtime memories.

I am considering a three night stay at a combination of two game reserves in the Sabi Sand Reserve such as the ones available on www.mtbeds.co.za at a nice discount, including Savanna, Simbambili, Inyati, and Exeter.

Alternately, if I can find a second good game reserve in the North West Province near Jaci's Safari Camp, then I would consider coupling a 3 night stay at JSC with another 3 night stay elsewhere within decent driving distance (within 1 hour transfer by vehicle).

Likely I will begin my trip with Cape Town, fly directly to Hoedspruit and then finish with four nights in Johannesburg. Any tips on good day trips in Johannesburg will be appreciated.

Likely I will go in early June after I run the Rock N Roll Marathon for a second year in a row in San Diego. Would like to go sooner but in all honesty my wife is already going to kill me as it is.
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Feb 18th, 2003, 06:03 PM
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Correction in my second sentence...I was considering skipping Johannesburg, NOT South Africa. See, this is worse than crack!!!
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Feb 19th, 2003, 04:28 AM
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Rocco, I don't think that going off road is a restriction imposed by CC. I think it is rather set by the Game reserve or the country you are in. When we were at Londolozi in the Sabi Sand Reserve,(one of CC's properties) we went off road (they can go in search of the big 5). At Chobe in Botswana, we could not go off road.

Enjoy your trip.
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Feb 19th, 2003, 07:06 AM
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I agree with Waverley that the off-road restrictions are likely imposed by national parks. We stayed at Nxabega, a CCA property in Botswana, and the rangers went off-road quite frequently.
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Feb 19th, 2003, 07:15 AM
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Many of the websites I've used (and listed on the URL thread) do have notes about when off-roading is permitted and when it isn't.

As mentioned above, national parks in many countries discourage it but private parks (where visitor numbers are generally lower) often allow it.
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Feb 20th, 2003, 09:31 PM
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Hello Rocco,

You had mentioned a web site that quoted lower prices for game reserves then on the reserves own sites. Could you please tell me the web site? Thanks a lot
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