Package Tour/Safari question... Newbie here....

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Apr 28th, 2005, 05:19 AM
  #1
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Package Tour/Safari question... Newbie here....

My husband and I are interested in doing a South Africa/Safari trip in 2006. I was quoted $10,000 pp for the following trip. It includes everything in the camps and all transfers/airfares but does not include AIRFARE from JFK/NY:

Day 1: One night Jberg Holiday Inn
Day 2-4 Singita
Day 4-6 Rovos Rail Pretoria-Cape Town
Day 6-9 Bay Hotel Cape Town
Day 9-11 Jao Camp
Day 11-13 Mombo Camp
Day 13-15 Victoria Falls Hotel

Does the price seem right and is this even a good itinerary? Thank you.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 05:30 AM
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I don't know about the pricing, but if my wife sees this itinerary she won't sleep for a week!

Romance, luxury, wildlife, waterfall, train ride, Cape Town!

You and your husband will have a blast! Wow!

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Apr 28th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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The places mentioned are all top notch, but I do think that one should look at this itinerary, as follows:

Holiday Inn (1)
Singita (2)
Rovos Rail (2)
Bay Hotel (3)
Jao (2)
Mombo (2)
Victoria Falls Hotel (2)

It doesn't look so wonderful now, does it? Rest one day, travel the next day, rest one day, travel the next day.

And what is up with the Holiday Inn being included on the same itinerary as Mombo & Singita?

It is a bit difficult to comment on the pricing with this limited information, as I don't know if you are flying on chartered flights or if you are sharing a plane with others.

The biggest issue, again, is all of the hopping around, basically 7 places in 14 nights. The only time in this entire itinerary that you will enjoy 2 consecutive days of NOT traveling will be with your 3 nights in Cape Town, but even then, it is a very early morning up to get to Jao after Cape Town.

I have a couple recommendations for an agent who I think will do much better for you than this itinerary. This itinerary seemingly tries to do too much at the expense of what should be an amazing holiday. If you are interested e-mail me and I will be happy to give you a couple leads.

Lastly, out of curiosity, which month are you planning to visit? The weather can be tremendously different and this should also dictate which areas you are planning to visit.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 06:58 AM
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At first glance it looks great. Like Roccco, that Holiday Inn "jumped" out at me - it's lost in there, unless that's the only place you can save a few pennies because you can't save at any of the other accommodatios. The rest are all top- of-the-line.

Time of year would be important to know - whether the season is right for these stops.

As most people know my thoughts, I prefer to save the best for last - in other words "Singita*" and I'd do 3-full days here - it's worth every $$$$.

*which one - Boulders, Ebony, Sweni, Lebombo, Castleton?

I'd consider:

Day 1 - Arv. JNB - o/n (other than HI)
Day 2-3 - Rovos to CPT (believe this is only a 2-day trip?)
Day 4-6 - CPT 3-full days
Day 7* early flite 6:30 CPT to JNB, connect to Maun for Mombo or Jao - I'd do one or the other, prefer Mombo - 3-days. *Someone - Is there a flight from CPT direct to Maun?
Day 10 - Fly to VFA - Vic Falls Hotel
Day 11 - morning Falls tour is all that is needed - believe there is a 12N flight to JNB, connect to pvt charter flight to Singita - 3 full days
Day 14/15 - back to JNB - homebound.

At least with the above,you have time to catch your breath and not feel you're spending all your time in a flying machine.
 
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Apr 28th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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The other thing I forgot to mention is that I need to keep the trip to 13 full days (work related).

Not sure if I can do that.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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AND... we are very flexible with dates. We can go anytime except late July/Early August and late September.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 08:30 AM
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Here's what I came up with:

Westcliff Hotel, Joburg (1)
Savuti Camp, Wilderness Safaris (3)
Jao Camp, Wilderness Safaris (2)
Mombo Camp, Wilderness Safaris (3)
Victoria Falls Hotel (1)
Cape Grace (3)

The above would be an absolute dream package, in my opinion. Trains are cute, but it will not compete with Savuti and an extra night at Mombo.

The Cape Grace will be a better Cape Town choice and the Westcliff a better Joburg choice.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 10:02 AM
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I can think of many words to describe the Rovos train. "Cute" is not one of them.

I happen to be a train lover and this is one of the great romantic train rides in the world. And you get to see the great South African country.

Granted, if you are rushed then it is certainly not the best option.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 10:21 AM
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Wow, those are all deluxe places, so should be wonderful. (Except, like everyone else, wondering how the Holidy Inn got thrown in).
Are you thinking about early Sept 2005, as that is not far off, and some exclusive small camps like Mombo and Jao may already be booked full. Has your agent verified that all these camps are available? Is this really a package tour-with what company?

Also, you later state that you have only 13 days, even though the orginal itinerary looks longer. If the 13 days includes travel days, then I would think that you definitely have to cut out something.

As far as the train goes, it depends how important the luxury train is to you or your husband. Many people on this board would rather have an extra night at Singita or Mombo than on a train. Also, have you checked on the Blue Train, since that is a one night trip rather than a 2 night trip. (Rovos is a steam engine train and slower). The problem with the trains is that I think they only run on certain days, and therefore can possibly be the governing factor in organizing a trip.

Good luck with your planning!
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Apr 28th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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Oops, sorry hc11238, I see that you are talking about 2006, that's much better.
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Apr 28th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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Brandywine has a good point. The train will force restrictions.

While I am obviously biased, I completely agree that the train decision is something YOU really want to do as opposed to "it's part of a package, so let's do it".

Those who love it come back year after year for that old Orient Express romance.

Rovos stops during the night to allow for better sleeping which is one reason why it takes longer. It is more luxurious than the Blue Train.

Many people dress up for dinner (some REALLY dress up) which is also a consideration if you plan to pack light!

Under the right circumstances it is magic.
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