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Please critique this Western Cape / Eastern Cape itinerary...

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Mar 29th, 2005, 07:53 AM
  #1
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Please critique this Western Cape / Eastern Cape itinerary...

Should I, in fact, visit Botswana in January, I will more than likely be sending my wife and a guest for about a 11 night itinerary in the Western Cape & Eastern Cape.

I am thinking of something along these lines:

Cape Grace or Twelve Apostles, Cape Town (3)
Le Quartier Francais, Cape Winelands (2)
Tsala Treetop Lodge or Phantom Forest, Knysna/Plett Bay area (2)
Kwandwe (CCAfrica private reserve in Eastern Cape) (3)

Meanwhile, I hope to do something like this:

Savuti (2)
Jao (2)
Duba Plains (2)
Vumbura (2)
Mombo (2)

I know it is a lot of jumping around, but I have been told that transfers in Botswana are a matter of 30 minutes maximum, in most cases. Plus, without my better half, I will probably grow restless in each place and not want to get too comfortable!

So, how does the Western Cape/Eastern Cape itinerary look. My only concern is whether or not it will be too far to get from Tsala or Phantom Forest to Kwandwe. It doesn't appear like it should be more than a 3 hour drive, at least on paper. Kwandwe is a non-malaria lodge which would be nice for her guest not having to get all the injections, etc.
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Mar 29th, 2005, 08:33 AM
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My impression (which may well be wholly inaccurate) is that Alexsandra doesn't mind safari but isn't really into it either. Depending on the interests of her guests I might therefore reduce Kwande to two nights and give her an extra night elsewhere. Where would depend on their joint interests in terms of city break, winelands tasting and shopping, landscapes, caves/ natural environment etc. I don't know much about what Tsala offers so can't comment on that stop.

As for your itinerary, 2 night stops are definitely not only perfectly doable but also enjoyable. We did nearly all 2 nighters on our first Botswana and Namibia safari (with the exception of Mombo where we spent 4 nights) and the trip was wonderful. Whilst we knew as we left each camp that we'd have enjoyed one or even two more nights there we didn't find the moving around too tiring or interrupting and the short travel times, as you have mentioned, mean you're not losing out on game viewing. Even from the transfer planes you'll be doing some great sightseeing as the views are incredible. Can I ask whether Jao is included JUST for the accommodations as I thought you weren't hugely into the mokoro activities? If so, I don't know that I'd personally include it, I'd suggest Tubu Tree instead which is not far from Jao. That said it's still an excellent itinerary.

Personal preference, we enjoy having Mombo early on in our itinerary because having such superb game viewing early on in the trip allows one to really relax at other camps in terms of what you search for/ view and that works best for us. That said many people prefer to leave the best till last, so either is good!
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Mar 29th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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Roccco,

You jump around like a jack in the box when it comes to Africa travel. What is happening to your September jaunt if you are now also planning a January trip? No matter what I like the excitement that you create when you do all of this on this board.

I cannot comment about Kwandwe because I have never been there however with that said I have spoken to many visitors who have been there and they all seem to enjoy the place. Hopefully I will be going on a recognisance on the gamefarm before the year is over. The drive from Tsala to Kwandwe will be slightly more than 3 hours and it is not a hard event to cover.

Having met STD I am going to stick my neck out and make a very personal comment viz. DO NOT send her to Phantom Forest. I really dont want to go into why I am saying this because I have said my say over and over on this board re the venue so simply run a search and you will see why. With that said immaterial of what I have said in the past I am making a very personalised statement when I say dont send Alexsandra to the establishment because I know that she likes her creature comforts and what she expects from places of stay she will NOT find at PF.

Tsala - Oh well as I got to know her on the day that we met in Cape Town she will rave over and over about the place.

Please note that the above is a prediction (nothing else) based on the person that I got to know when you were in Cape Town with me.

She will love the Grace and as you know she loves the 12 Apostles. Grrrr She will also enjoy Le Quartier however a fair warning is that in Summer Franschhoek can become very hot and bothersome.

Hope this steers you in the right direction.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa



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Mar 29th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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Selwyn,

My September trip is right on track...but I will not allow 15 months to pass inbetween visits! Instead, with a little luck, I will shorten the time frame down to about 3.5 months, and visit at the beginning of January to take advantage of the low season Botswana pricing, as well as the more reasonable airfare going from LAX - London - Dubai - Joburg.

Ideally, here would be the itinerary:

5* Hotel TBD, London (2)
Westcliff, Joburg (2)
Botswana for me, Western & Eastern Cape for Alexsandra (8 - 10)
5* Hotel TBD, Dubai (3)

Or, if Alexsandra prefers, I could leave her to brave the winter in Europe or she could go somewhere warmer like Morocco or Israel? But, I think she will at least want to be within a couple hours flying distance, and who knows, maybe she can come up to Sandibe in the Okavango Delta for her final 3 nights instead of Kwande.

I just cannot stay away, and, God willing, I will need to up my dosage of Africa to at least 3 times every 2 years!
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Mar 29th, 2005, 03:47 PM
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Roccco,



I think the time has come for you to seriously consider buying a plot of land, slap bang in the middle of South Africa, where you can have a house and two of every kind of animal surrounding you. To top this an investment in an aircraft that could cross the Atlantic would also be a shrewd buy. If you intend doing 3 trips a year to Africa you could well find that my above suggestion is a good one financially. Your might however have 2 problems with all of the above viz.

1. In the middle of South Africa if you are right in the bush you might not have an internet conection and we all know that this would be equivalent to you leaving the good earth in a very painful manner.

2. Your second poroblem would be what Alexsandra would think of this all?? I believe that she will be changing her Fodors name from "scared to death" to "Wonderful to be divorced"

I think I have come full circle and conclude that you had better stick to your 3 African trips a year!

Happy African dreams.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
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Mar 30th, 2005, 12:29 AM
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Selwyn,

Don't worry...we will be neighbors before you know it! Then I will have the opportunity to drag you, kicking and screaming, all the way over to the Twelve Apostles for high tea.

While 3 times a year to Africa sounds great, I actually said 3 times every 2 years (an average of once every 8 months). That seems like a perfect timeframe.

My first visit was in March 2002. Then came a gap of 15 months, which wasn't so bad because Africa did not yet have the power over me as it does now, despite a wonderful trip that included Singita, Matetsi, Victoria Falls Hotel, Table Bay Hotel and the Mount Nelson.

My second visit was in June 2003. While I was really warming up to Africa, I was still not completely bitten by the Africa bug, although I was curious enough to want to return again very soon. This second trip was a more modest trip that included the Michelangelo in Joburg (a Luxury Link special for only $550 for 2 nights in a 1,000 sq. ft. Premier Suite), 5 nights at Kafunta in South Luangwa, 4 nights at the Twelve Apostles in a wonderful 750 sq. ft. oceanview room (another Luxury Link killer deal for $570 total), and 3 nights at Djuma Vuyatela in the Sabi Sand. This was like the poor man's version of my 2002 trip, but the luxury hardly suffered, although the price was less than half what it would have been had I repeated my 2002 itinerary.

Then it was exactly 12 months until my June 2004 visit. Last year I really had no business visiting Africa, as it really was not affordable, but I stuffed in my 11 night Zambian safari after first spending about 11 nights in Italy. Only through some great deals at the beginning of high season in Zambia, and frequent flier seats from London - Joburg - Lusaka, was I able to pull this one off for $2,750 per person, including all my Zambian air transfers.
Kulefu Tented Camp in Lower Zambezi, Kaingo in South Luangwa and Chichele Presidential Lodge were my visits on this trip.

I am currently at 10 months since my last visit, and I am in bad shape! I still have 5 more months to go, but good thing, since it will take me every last one of those months to pay off the balance.

So, that brings me to 2005 where I am just scrounging around, paying whatever I can each month towards what will hopefully be my "trip of a lifetime" until next time! While at times I feel like I bit off more than I can chew, I am on track for the following itinerary with my wife, and I am also bringing along my mom and younger sister. This will be the first visit to Africa for my mom and sister and they are being thrown right into the fire with this itinerary:

Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi (4)
Kutandala, North Luangwa (4)
Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa (3)
Puku Ridge, South Luangwa (3)
Westcliff Hotel, Joburg (2)

From there, I will send them to, more than likely, the Twelve Apostles for their final 3 nights, while I spend my final 3 nights in the Sabi Sand at Simbambili. The Twelve Apostles is the only 5* hotel that features rooms large enough (700+ sq. ft.) to comfortably accomodate three people, making it much more cost effective than a couple rooms at even more modest accomodations.

Sorry to blab on and on...just getting excited about this trip. Went and saw the Canon 20D camera tonight, as well as the Canon Digital Rebel XT camera. Talk about intimidating! All I know is that I have a birthday coming up next week and I have left about 100 hints that I expect nothing other than the Canon 20D camera. It is just amazing at how fast it shoots pictures (4 frames per second). My camera shoots about 1 frame every 4 seconds!

This next trip is what all the other trips have been building up to. Without the other trips, this one would have never have been possible, because I would have received somebody else's dream itinerary, while this is MY OWN dream itinerary!
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