Opinion of which safari

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Feb 25th, 2013, 12:49 PM
  #1
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Opinion of which safari

My Mom would like to go on another safari. She's 83 so we need easy. She's in great shape and sharp as a tack, but gets pretty tired sometimes. I figure transfer days would be the hardest, so I'm trying to decide which one of these really easy trips would be better. (It's not for me - I would do longer and less expensive!!) They are both eight nights, plus one night in Joburg when she lands to recover from long flight. Charter flight from Joburg to first reserve. Both are priced about the same, or not enough to be a deciding factor at all. I'm torn, so I need your opinions. She went to Botswana in 2006 and I don't want her to be "disappointed" because they are both very different than her past experience. She will be going with a companion significantly younger than her.

1 - Mala Mala three or four nights, charter flight Mashatu Main three or four nights, road transfer Joburg (about six hours). I think a road transfer is easier and more interesting instead of the flight change in Polokwane, which takes about four hours.

2 - Kirkman's three or four nights, charter flight Phinda three or four nights, road transfer Richards Bay (1.5 hours) for flight to Joburg.

Opinions please! I know both will be great. Is one greater?
christabir is offline  
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Feb 25th, 2013, 06:47 PM
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If your mother really likes cheetah, #2. If she'd like to do some of the other activities offered at Phinda for variety, that's another vote for #2. If the transfer will likely be the hardest part, that points to #2.

Without the issues raised above, I'd toss a coin.

I can only hope I'll be contemplating a couple of safaris at 83. Good for her!
atravelynn is offline  
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Feb 25th, 2013, 07:25 PM
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#1, no contest

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
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Feb 25th, 2013, 08:02 PM
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Thanks!! It's still a coin toss?? Or does tom's no contest win? A little help here, tom!! Why?! MM over Kirkmans? Mashatu over Phinda? Good points, atravelynn. I will ask her what's important (her response was "I want to see animals like last time".) She only saw two rhinos - I know Mashatu doesn't have any, but MM does. She didn't see dogs, so I will have to look into the latest sightings. But I've been really unlucky with them, too.

Availabilty might be the clincher. She just told me she'd like to go in June or July. Yes, 2013. Time to send a couple of emails!!

Thanks again!!
christabir is offline  
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Feb 26th, 2013, 07:21 AM
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We did MalaMala and Mashatu in 2008, driving the whole trip. What a great combo and we really enjoyed the scenery of the drive.

I've been to MM 3 times (2004, 6 & 8) and would very happily return. I've been to Mashatu twice (2003 & 2008) and would love to go again. We stayed 6 nights at Mashatu in 2008 and could have stayed longer.

I can't compare with Kirkman's and Phinda because MalaMala gives me everything I'm looking for (wildlife) and I haven't tried anyplace else.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 07:36 AM
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sundowner - we did Mashatu (tented) in 2009 and loved it!! We would go back in a minute, too. We combined it with Arathusa and Pafuri, getting drivers between camps. It was great. I'd love for my Mom to experience it, too. Still undecided, though. Thanks for the great insight - 2 for #1, 1 lean #2.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 07:26 PM
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Won't be at MM & Mashatu till this June so can't really comment but last I heard there were still 3 seats available on the 4 seater plane from Masahtu to MM.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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I put a reply post yesterday but it did not seem to make it onto forum, think Fodors was having problems.

I've been to MM 2005, 2006, 2008(9?) but never to Mashatu.
Been to Kirkmans 1 time but never to Phinda.

Wild dogs are iffy anywhere.
If you want to see the big5 three ways - up close, personal, and often, go to MM.

But if you want the classic African savannah grass plains, go to Kenya.

regards - tom
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Feb 27th, 2013, 05:10 AM
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"If you want to see the big5 three ways - up close, personal, and often, go to MM."
Agreed.

Depending on your Mom's goals for the safari and her distaste for transfers, have you considered just one place? I suppose the interests of the younger traveling companion must be considered as well. That person would likely prefer the variety of two places. YOU want your Mom to see Mashatu but do you think she would prefer Mashatu over the other options?

Is Mala Mala and Phinda a possible combo? I combined those. Many spotted cats in that itinerary. It required an o/nt in Joburg, though a charter between the two is possible for a price.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 06:23 PM
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Funny Kath! Have a great time. Please let us know how much you loved it when you come back!

I believe a MM/Phinda combo would be possible, but the logistics become more difficult (no direct charters). Pafuri, in northern Kruger, which is the perfect stopover between MM and Mashatu is closed indefinitely due to flooding. I looked for alternatives for an overnight and found a couple in case it becomes a driver-transfer trip. MM/Phinda is easy - overnight in Mbabane, Swaziland. If it becomes a driving trip, any camps in Sabi Sands are possible combined with Mashatu or Phinda.

So Mom decided to start inviting the whole family (again). I can't go due to health concerns, so I am passing the planning torch to others. I think #1 is my winner, but if more people go it is unlikely there will be availability, so it will depend on what they can get. It is too complicated now for too many (who will bail at the last minute). I tried. Thanks for the help! I really appreciate the feedback.

(tom - you know I'm a Southern Africa girl!)
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Feb 27th, 2013, 06:48 PM
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The big thing in all this is your health. Hope you are fine and ready to travel soon.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 07:37 PM
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christabir - I know you are Southern Africa girl, you and hubby have explored on your own a lot of South Africa. You've seen much more of it than I have or ever will.

Still think mom and family might enjoy Kenya with its classic Africa look. They could fly into Nairobi and I'm sure our Sandy could work up two nice easy-to-get safari camps.

regards - tom
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Jul 18th, 2014, 06:35 PM
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Christabir- With with 8 days in February (not including travel days) where would be your suggestion for a safari without super hot temperatures and less rain? Is it possible to do a Safari and see Capetown in this amount of time?
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Jul 18th, 2014, 06:51 PM
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deladeb - you might want to start a new thread for more responses, but to answer your question - I think the only option I would look into is the Garden Route from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town with a few days/nights in/around Addo. Not a lot you can do about hot and rainy in summer in S Africa. This is a very old thread!
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Jul 18th, 2014, 07:04 PM
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thanks
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