Proposed SA game viewing itinerary

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Feb 28th, 2006, 10:32 AM
  #1
cw
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Proposed SA game viewing itinerary

I've read all recent posts, past posts, and guidebooks, and have come up with the following itinerary for 9 nights.

4 nights, Phinda
2 nights, Londolozi
3 nights, Ngala Tented

The extra time at Phinda is to take advantage of some of their optional tours. I have been in touch with CCAfrica, first with one itinerary, then with this one.

We are hoping to travel this year in late August or September. We can be flexible with our dates. We chose the camps for (what I think is) the variety of habitat, game-viewing and accommodations.

I welcome any comments or suggestions. Is going to three lodges sensible in that amount of time, or should we just choose two?

And thanks for all of your posts. When I started with the planning, I knew nothing. From my reading I've been able to sort things out and learn things that don't always come through in guidebooks. This started as a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but after reading your reports and comments, I'm thinking that this may be our introductory trip! There's so many wonderful places to go.

CW
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Feb 28th, 2006, 11:25 AM
  #2
safariguy
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I haven't been to the camps you are going to, but from what I have read about them it sounds like you are doing it up right. Generally, we really enjoy the variety of going to different camps, where you will experience different topography, dfferent styles, different accommodations, different game, and especially different people. We have found that to visit different types of camps (some luxury, some rustic, some in between; some tents, some lodges; some on the plains, some in the forest, some in the wetlands) to be very interesting and enjoyable, so I think three camps will be preferable to two (so long as you are moving every day). Frankly, the excitement of seeing a new place makes up for moving every two days.
 
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Feb 28th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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9 nights of game viewing--great!

Since I'll be doing something similar and have never been to SA, here are a few questions for you:

What are the other optional activities you are doing at Phinda?

Where are you staying in Phinda and why did you choose that place?

Was it a better deal with CC Africa to do Londolozi than other Sabi Sands accommodations?

Was Mala Mala ever in the running for you in Sabi Sands stay?

Thank you. Respond here or my email.
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Feb 28th, 2006, 01:03 PM
  #4
cw
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Safariguy: Thanks for you input. You make some good points, I had thought of the variety of viewing and lodges, but not about the people! Excellent suggestion.

Atravelynn: The pictures of the beautiful Indian Ocean beaches made me want to see them. I had looked at Rocktail Bay Lodge, which looks wonderful, but I wanted more game-viewing in the trip. Phinda seemed like a great alternative. It is close to the St. Lucia wildlife sanctuary, and you can take a short flight to the beach, where you can snorkel. There is also a scuba trip option.

In addition they offer a trip to a cultural village.

Seemed like there was a lot to do there.

I had originally focused on Mala Mala but when Phinda came into the picture, I thought that it would be advantageous price-wise to stay at another CCAfrica camp. So that's why I focused on Londolozi, after reading the comments here.

Originally thought of going to Botswana after that but we would have lost one night staying at the Johannesburg airport. That seemed ok, until I read some of the comments here on the experience of staying in a tented camp (it all sounds so luxurious). So then I came up with Ngala.

Botswana will have to wait for the next trip(!), I hope.

Where are you thinking of going?

cw
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Feb 28th, 2006, 05:41 PM
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cw,

I love your approach of planning the next Africa trip before the current one is finalized.

My trip won't be until June 2007 so I'll be able to read your Phinda report. I'm planning on Phinda also, Mala Mala and Mashatu in southern Botswana, another Rattray property like Mala Mala. Also a few days in Cape Town. Nothing in stone yet this far out.
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Feb 28th, 2006, 06:25 PM
  #6
cw
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Well then, I'll rely on you to do some of the Botswana scouting . . .

Will definitely write a report. I am becoming very fond of the general good feeling on the Africa board. Very different from some others here. Am I getting hooked, before even going?

cw
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Feb 28th, 2006, 07:14 PM
  #7
santharamhari
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CW,

I might bump into you at Phinda.....this is a last minute thing, as i won the CCafrica auction on safariasap.com.........i think i will be there 5 nights starting August 16....before i depart for Botswana.....doing 10 nights at Kwando camps........
 
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Mar 1st, 2006, 09:46 AM
  #8
cw
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Hari,

Sounds like a wonderful trip for you. And winning the auction was terrific!

Haven't finalized dates yet, but maybe our paths will cross.

CW
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Mar 7th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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santharamhari -- can I ask how much you bid to win the auction? Looks like they have another one going
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Mar 7th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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Wow -- what a wonderful itinerary. I'm sure you are going to have the best time!

You'll love Phinda, its one of my favorites, and be sure to take the river cruise -- nicest in the evening. Once, while we were there, as a special surprise, they arranged for us to arrive for the 45 to 60 minute cunset river cruise, which goes with about 15 to 20 people, only to discuss the hostess from our lodge on a smaller boat, with a chef! Off we went, hostees, ranger shef and the two of us for an entire evening on the river, along iwth a delicious diner. A real treat -- perhaps if you ask they can arrange something similar for you.
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Mar 7th, 2006, 07:33 PM
  #11
santharamhari
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Hello, yes, i did notice they are running a Phinda auction again.......however, they are doing Phinda vlei and the walking safaris at this time.

My bid was for Phinda forest and the walking safari.....my winning bid was for Rand 10,000 for two ppl (5 nights). It's basically a pay for 1 and get another free deal!!!
 
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Mar 8th, 2006, 03:01 PM
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Hello,

Vlei is my favourite Phinda lodge -- highly recommended! Forest is my second-favourite and also very nice.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 8th, 2006, 04:07 PM
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jasher,

Why are these lodges #1 and #2 for you? Is there a wildlife difference between them?
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Mar 9th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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Hello Lynn,

Yes, it's mostly because of the habitats Forest and Vlei are located in and the resultant game-viewing, though there are some other factors as well.

Vlei overlooks a very well-populated vlei where herds of antelope can often be seen. The dry sand forest is very unlike the usual bush environment and is home to some unusual species like suni. You start your game-viewing right from camp, unlike Mountain where you need to drive down first. It's also a very small camp (only 6 room), which I prefer, and has private plunge pools which are another favourite of mine.

Forest is wonderful for seeing wildlife right from your room (you can often see nyala grazing outside). The environment is more like the bush forests found on other reserves than that around Vlei, which offers great game-viewing but is not as different to what I've seen before. The camp is also bigger (16 rooms).

I really love Forest and think it's a great camp, but I prefer Vlei just that little bit more.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 9th, 2006, 07:23 PM
  #15
santharamhari
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Julian,

Have you done any walks at Phinda? Have you seen much on these walks?

Thanks
Hari
 
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Mar 10th, 2006, 11:17 AM
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Thank you Julian for clarifying your Phinda lodging picks.

Hari, that's what I want to know too. How much wildlife viewing do you miss by doing the walking at Phinda? Are the walking safaris always 3 nights?
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Mar 10th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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Hello,

I didn't do one of the extended walking safaris, though I did do a walk during the afternoon break. For me, walks are less about seeing animals than learning about the environment. We were out in the worst part of the day for game-viewing, but I did see some antelope (which look a lot bigger when you're on foot). I'm sorry I can't comment on the walking safaris.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 10th, 2006, 06:58 PM
  #18
santharamhari
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Atravelynn,

Hi! The scheduled walking safaris is for 3 days........however, if you wanted to just do a lodge for a few nights, then you can go for an entire morning walk....

Since you are only going to Phinda in 2007, i will let you know how my walking safari goes in August......from their website it says, on the 3 day morning safari, it is 4 hr walks every morning.....a short afternoon walk combined with the evening drive. Knowing me, i am going to push for a drive every evening to spend as much time with and photograph the cheetahs of Phinda.......

Honestly, the cheetahs are the sole reason for me to hv entered their auction.
 
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Mar 19th, 2006, 06:28 AM
  #19
 
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Have one of you heard of Thanda Private game reserve? I ve read great things and apparently some who visited both Phinda and Thanda prefer the latest.http://www.thanda.co.za/
I would love to hear more on Thanda
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Apr 2nd, 2006, 06:13 PM
  #20
cw
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Thanks for all the information on this and the other posts (Phinda, et al.).

I'm about to book for the original itinerary: Phinda 4 nights, Londolozi 2, and Ngala Tented 3, in early to mid-September.

I have to stop second-guessing everything. There are so many things to see and do, and different ways to do so.

I'm hoping this will be a good first(!) trip plan.

Thanks Mike for the info on the boat ride at Phinda.

Atravelynn, keep up your great questions. Hari, I hope you'll have a brief report before I leave. Julian, thanks for your feedback on this and many other threads about CCAfrica camps.

CW

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