OUR ITINERARY-WE ARE ABOUT TO BOOK-YOUR THOUGHTS?

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Jul 11th, 2004, 02:02 PM
  #1
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OUR ITINERARY-WE ARE ABOUT TO BOOK-YOUR THOUGHTS?

ok...we've been reading messages on the boards for the past few weeks. We are about to put a deposit down for December 2004 and wanted to get everyone's thoughts. Here goes:

3 nights Cape Town @ the Bay Hotel
3 nights Mala Mala (Main Camp)
2 nights Xigera (we also have the option of Kwetsane or Chitabe Trails, but not Chitabe Main Camp)
2 nights Kings Pool
1 night Zambezi Sun

In Zambia, we have limited time (1 day/night). Has anyone been on the Zambezi River Cruise or the Elephant Safari?

Thanks for your comments -- we appreciate them and they have been immensely helpful to us as we plan our trip!

anissrob
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Jul 12th, 2004, 06:36 AM
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One more thing I forgot to mention. I e-mailed Mala Mala to see what the story is with Harry's Camp. Please see reply below:

"The new camp will be open mid to late 2005. As yet we do not have a name
for it, rates or accommodation information to give out! The plans are still
being finalised and could change several time before a concrete decision is made.

What I can tell you is that the new camp will be the most exclusive in the
Sabi Sands Wildtuin, if not Southern Africa."

Does anyone have any thoughts on the itinerary posted above? Please help!!!
thank you!!
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Jul 12th, 2004, 07:05 AM
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anissrob,

Are you booking this vacation as a package or are you booking each venue seperately.

Making the assumption that you could be booking each venue on a seperate basis could you tell me what prompted you to choose the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay during your Cape Town stay.

If you are in a package deal is there a possibility of changing your venues?

Just asking

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa



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Jul 12th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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Selwyn, We ae booking each venue separately. We chose The Bay Hotel because it's right across from the beach and our travel agent told us it is more of a resort feel than the hotels in the waterfront area. do you think we are making a mistake?
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Jul 12th, 2004, 02:41 PM
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Sorry for responding so late.

If you haven't already booked, I would suggest, if possible, an extra night in Cape Town (The Bay Hotel should be fine). There is really a lot to do in Cape Town, and I don't think three nights does it justice.

I do think that you may regret not spending more than two nights at Kings Pool and Xigera. If possible, I would at least suggest extending Kings Pool to three nights, OR finding a less expensive lodge (Kwando Lagoon?, for example) in order to extend your stay to 3 nights in what may be your best gameviewing location in Botswana. Xigera, a water camp, may be okay to leave at 2 nights, but for your prime game camp, 3 nights seems a lot more appropriate.

Best of luck.
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Jul 12th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Roccco - thanks for your advice. What do you think of this option - extending King's Pool to 3 nights, getting rid of Xigera completely and then staying at one of the lodges such as Sussi or Tongabezi in Zambia? I am hesitant about Xigera b/c I am more interested in large animals and I'm concerned that Xigera is mainly for bird lovers. Is there good game viewing at the lodges in Zambia? I definitely want to see the falls so I think its worth going up there for at least one night. What do you think? THANK YOU!!!
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Jul 12th, 2004, 03:31 PM
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Annisrob,

Yes, I think that would be best. I was a bit concerned about the Zambezi Sun, but now that brings about a new issue.
With a nicer place such as Tongabezi, Sussi Lodge or Songwe Village, one night will not be sufficient. Perhaps you can stay 3 nights at Kings Pool, do away with Xigera, and 2 nights at Sussi Lodge, Tongabezi or Songwe Village? That would be best.
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Jul 12th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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I'm thinking maybe thats a good idea, but will I be missing out if I get rid of Xigera? Is there equal game viewing opportunities at Sussi, Tongabezi or Songwe?
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Jul 12th, 2004, 03:52 PM
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anissrob,

I would guess that whatever game viewing is missed in 2 nights of Xigera will be more than made up for with just a single night extra of Kings Pool.

It is possibl to do water activities in Livingstone, and by staying at Songwe Village, you will allow yourself a cultural experience that you otherwise will not have had the opportunity to enjoy.

http://www.kwando.com/campsongwe.asp

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Jul 12th, 2004, 04:24 PM
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Anissrob,
I have stayed at Tongabezi and while it is a unique and wonderful detination it isn't strong on game. You'll probably see hippos, crocs, perhaps small gazelle on the islands.

However that having been said it is a great plce to stay. We went caanoeing and the set up a wonderful meal for us and the guide on a private island for lunch.
We had sundowners on a small island in the Zambeziand in the evening we ate out on a floating pontoon on the river and our meal came out course by course in a kayak!

It was very small, romantic, with very personal service we greatly enjoyed it.
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Jul 12th, 2004, 06:29 PM
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anissrob, i'm curious how you are transfering between and mala mala and botswana. did you charter a plane? my 2 cents but if your looking for large animals, i would do your original plan and switch Chitabe trails for Xigera. between 3 days at mala mala, 2 at kings pool and 2 at chitabe you will get more than your fill of large game. my preference for going to all three as opposed to staying an extra day at kings pool is that dec. is during the rainy season and sometimes the game up in the kings pool area can be a little dispersed during that time. chitabe has had great game recently with many prides of lions around and i would guess that at least one if not both of the camps would have great viewing opportunities. i visited botswana this past jan. and heard good things about chitabe at that time. (we stayed at duba plains and mombo) but other guests had been to chitabe.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 07:18 AM
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bigcountry: we are stopping for one night at the westcliff hotel in johannesburg in between mala mala and botswana. i wish i had the money to charter a plane

Thank you everyone for all of your helpful advice. One more question though - since it will be very rainy in December, do you think the mekoro experience will be unpleasant due to the amoung of bugs? My travel agent thinks we should stay at Xigera over Chitabe Trails (partly because I'm scared about staying in a tent that is not raised off the ground away from the animals and parly because she thinks that we should experience a water camp). In any case, I'm thinking we might be unhappy at a water camp with all the bugs around during that time of year. Any thoughts?
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Jul 13th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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There are more bugs at water camps and I don't like them too much either. Even in June they are prevalent when out on the water. However I simply purchased and used a mosquito head net during our mekoro trips and found that solved the problem for me.

I don't know how much worse it might be in December though.

Before going to Africa the thought of tents on the ground worried me, though I ignored that fear. Once there, I realised that the predators do not enter tents at all and that tents on platforms are just as vulnerable to the nuisance of inquisitive and acquisitive monkeys and baboons as those on the ground. Hearing the large animals such as hippo, elephant and buffalo munching just outside the tents at night was actually quite exciting and not scary at all!

It's hard to know your preferences but I adore water camps and love the contrast between game drives and boat/ mokoro trips. The water camps, to me, are more about the tranquillity and the incredible beauty than about game viewing though birding is great and one can see good game too (we got close to eles, hippos and lechwe).
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Jul 13th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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Kavey - what about snakes? I know you must think I'm crazy, but being that the tents are on the ground, doesn't it make it easier for large scary snakes to get into the tents? Am I being completely irrational? I'm from NY and this is my first safari so I'm a bit nervous about these things!
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Jul 14th, 2004, 04:18 PM
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anissrob -
Up to this point I believe there has been but one person, who regularly travels to Africa, to has come into personal contact with snakes - are you out there JanGoss?

After 5 trips to Africa, I've seen only 1-small snake being handled by a ranger at Singita; the other a dead puffader lying in the middle of the road in Kenya. I've never given a thought to snakes, but still remember to turn the bedding completely down before getting into bed and shaking out my shoes before putting my feet into them. Guess we've been lucky, but never forget where I am and do what one does in these surroundings.

If anything can be annoying, but still so humorous, is the Vervet monkeys that get into everything, steal food from your plates, open zippers of your tents and whatever other trouble they can. We just laugh and realize they're just there to piss us off, but hey, why not, we're treading on their turf.

I'm also a NYC person, and feel safer out in the bush in Africa then back at home, yet don't have a care at home. With the exception of two tent camps, all the others have been on the ground, built on a slab of concrete - besides the vervets, have seen a geeko in the tent. Now who's afraid of a geeko? So I guess, I'm just not a scary-type person.
 
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Jul 15th, 2004, 01:10 AM
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Anisrob
Not crazy, no. I HATE spiders, truly, some of the managers and guides at various camps think I'm slightly unhinged...
One of the reasons we choose to travel to Botswana in June is that most snakes are hibernating and even those that aren't for some reason are still sluggish when out. We came across one large and beautiful rock python but we were in the car, he was on the ground near us, having just been bothered by a large water monitor lizard and we were under no threat. We also saw a tiny sand snake, no threat at all. Neither was near the tents.
But given that snakes climb trees and all I can't imagine walkways would be a challenge.
If you're worried don't feel bad about asking the guide who walks you to your tent to check (thoroughly) for snakes when they take you to your room. They won't mind, truly.
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Jul 15th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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anissrob - We didn't run into any snakes in camps ever. We did see a viper (don't remember the type) while out on a drive. We did have a scorpion in the shower once. It was very small, just over an inch long, easily dispatched with a folded piece of tissue. We always checked - though we never found anything in our boots, clothes, towels, or bedding.
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Jul 15th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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I took two of the clear shower caps (of the kind that you find in the complimentary toilet baskets in many hotels) and I pulled them over my boots each night so I didn't have to bang them around for scorpions each morning. I was worried that the banging may not dislodge a tenacious scorpion whereas the elasticated showercaps would stop them getting in at all!
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Jul 15th, 2004, 06:02 AM
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Kavey - Disposable shower caps over your boots, that's a great idea! I always slam my boots together quite hard - but in the way far back corner of my mind I still wonder if there's something in there that didn't let go.
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Jul 15th, 2004, 06:49 AM
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I'm a genius
LOL Yeah this is far less stressful - for me, anyway!
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