Realistic Pricing For These Properties?

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Sep 17th, 2004, 08:40 AM
  #1
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Realistic Pricing For These Properties?

Hi everybody-

I have always been an independent traveler, so I always find my own places and book myself rather than giving a dollar amount to a travel agent and saying "book me here," so perhaps I am barking up the wrong tree posting this here, but I am having a hard time determining what the "best" price is to visit some of the popular safari places.

Is there some sort of base price (in US Dollars or ZAR) that you would say is average per night for a mid level experience?

I ask because I received a quote from one of the recommended SA agents that amounts to $500 USD PER NIGHT per person - $1,000 a night for a Kruger REST CAMP.

If this is the norm, thanks for telling me.
If there is some sort of resource for finding discounted rates on various properties, thank you for telling me that, too.

Is there one country that is know to have better rates than another among Botswana/South Africa and Zambia?

Thank you for your help.
Kerikeri
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Sep 17th, 2004, 09:20 AM
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I think Kruger restcamps are around US$60 a night, depending on comfort level, so perhaps your quote includes airfare from J'burg to Kruger. You can book Kruger lodging directly via the website, I believe.

mtbeds.co.za has discounted rates, but they typically must be booked within a short window before travel
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Sep 17th, 2004, 09:26 AM
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wow !
i am so glad i asked...

thanks for that. the web site is exactly what i was seeking and i always go last minute. perfect!
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Sep 17th, 2004, 09:38 AM
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Kerikeri
Let us know your itinerary plans and any specific accommodations you're considering and I'm sure we can, between us, provide feedback and ideas.
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Sep 17th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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well,
as long as you are asking...

i am just going through more posts now but for practical reasons (my flight arrives in j-burg late afternoon and departs j-burg as well), i was thinking of a trip that began the second morning from j-burg.

i was thinking of flying to livingstone and spending three nights somewhere nice (i am celebrating that night- even if logistically it makes more sense to drive to kruger right away). i was thinking of river club which clocks in at $300 something usd a night which is fine for a special place and a special occasion. i chose that because i want to be close enough to get to town on my own to see the pretty architecture and wander the streets and then also want to be able to gaze out at something pretty from my room or from the pool. white gloved service isn't necessary, just the natural scenery. so if there is another choice, lay it on me!

and this is where it gets murky: i want to go from there to some sort of tented safari camp and i figured it would either be south luangwa or mana pools or botswana. and that's where the prices start creeping up and i get confused and then waste entire work days surfing the internet trying to figure out if what i want even exists. all the names sound alike and i can't tell a preserve in south africa from a delta water camp in botswana.

but that is also the fun of it .

i have never been to africa, but i have been on a lot of nature trips to central and south america and se asia so some of the experiences are not "must-do" for me. for example: in high temps i have ridden elephants, camels, tiny boats, etc. sitting in a mokoro i can do without, but those water camps look pretty...can you do game drives from them?

the idea of watching a waterhole from some sort of mosquito-free environment has much appeal, but i am unsure where this would be. and what about the mozzies? i see all of those people around the boma at night in the photos, and then see those open air luxury accomodations right over the water and all i can think is "malaria!"

having been to other malarial regions i know rule number one is "don't sit around outside at night" followed closely by "sleep in an enclosed room, preferably with a fan of some sort" and yet the photos contradict this. do they spray? how are clients kept bite- free?

anyway, those are the hard parts. i am reading and digesting as much as i can, but i wish there was some web site organized with the words "african looking accommodation" "pretty tents" and "modern building" then i would know where to start.

i would like to sleep in one of those fancy tents, i guess. if i were given a free night at a singita, i'd take it, but not if it meant feeling as though i was in a hotel and not a camp in africa...i also am not a do it yourself camper either.

i'm going in november - yes the worse time, yet curiously prices go up according to the web sites i've seen.

thank you again! all suggestions most welcome.

(i will have roughly 10-12 days total, but we'll only spend 2-5 nights "on safari". i am traveling with someone who wants to avoid long drives and would rather fly places. and that expense is fine with us, it's just the $1,000 a night that is really a problem.)

whew! thanks!

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Sep 17th, 2004, 10:28 AM
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Well, now you're presenting some different facts b/c lodges in Botswana approach US$1,000 per night, and lodges in Zambia and Zimbabwe are several hundred dollars a night. I thought from your original post that you were being quoted US$1,000 for a Kruger restcamp, which is at least 10 times what you'd pay to stay in Kruger, but now I don't see you traveling to Kruger in your more detailed post.

But, yes, Botswana is very expensive, and so are the private concessions in Zimbabwe. You'll only find the inexpensive lodging in the national parks in park-run lodging, like in Kruger and Etosha.
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Sep 17th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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Last year I spent a couple of nights at Mashatu Tent Camp. It is about 5 hour drive (or a short flight) from Johannesburg just across the border in Botswana. It is a tented camp. It is owned by Rattray which also owns MalaMala (bordering Kruger Park in SA). The last time I looked the prices were $140 pppn. You might want to check them out if you are staying in the SA area. A couple of pictures of the tents are at http://www.pbase.com/cjw/mashatu_tent_camp_botswana

This is not a high end camp but I really enjoyed my stay there. (We did have hot water bottles in our bed each night.) You will definitely feel like you are in a camp in Africa. They had great managers, staff, drivers, spotters, food etc. Great game drives and they also have a "hide" behind the camp at a waterhole. I spent all of my time there when not on game drives. Many photo opportunities there. I was there in August and no mosquitos.

Good luck with your planning.
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Sep 17th, 2004, 04:01 PM
  #8
sandi
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New pricing for the coming 2005 year go into effect as November 1, however, November to December 14 is actually a shoulder season, with lower prices then say over Christmas/New Years, or high-season June - August. So November isn't all that terrible a time to travel. In fact that is when we travel.

However, November povides lovely weather in Cape Town; does bring amazing thundershowers in Kruger, Zim, Zam and Bots - but these rarely last a full day. Maybe half-day, more likely half-an-hour, depending which country you're visiting.

As to the temperature - you'll find the Kruger area, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana to be close to hot (hi-80s, maybe even 90s, and humid - the rain!!!) And if it's hot and humid - mossies will abound. So malaria meds and repellent are necessary.

Mtbeds is a good site, with bookigs able to be made 14-days max. to 7-days prior arrival. Those very high priced accommodations in the $1,000/nt range are not likely to be found here. So if you're comfortable waiting till last minute, just keep an eye on the mtbeds site and pounce when you see something that works with your budget. Then you'll have to arrange transportation to/from JNB whether by air or car rental (5-6 hrs depending on where lodging is located).

Keep us posted as your plans come together or if you have questions re specific lodgings.
 
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