Recommendaitons for South Africa camps and Chobe

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Jun 26th, 2012, 10:11 AM
  #1
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Recommendaitons for South Africa camps and Chobe

My trip is changing and I am now considering Kampala Buffalo Tented camp , savanna Lodge in savanna Preserve, VF for 2 nights, adn a 2 day stay in Chobe.
This is versus
8 nights safari divided between Pfinda, ngala tented camp, and Kirkland. The trip would continue to 2 nights in JB, 2 nights in Victoria falls, with a day trip into chobe Park.

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mtonio is offline  
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Jun 26th, 2012, 01:15 PM
  #2
 
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I'm guessing you mean Kapama. It's 13,000 hectares with 222 beds. That's 30 - 40 vehicles out per game drive in a pretty small reserve.

I like two. But if there is availability, I would do Kirkmans or Ngala Tented, not both.
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Jun 26th, 2012, 10:07 PM
  #3
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Thank you.
it sounded very commercial and touristy.
I am sitting here reviewing my many itineraries7 costs and am definitely leaning towards the Pfinda and Kirkman & ngala.( it has taken me this long to go to Africa I might as well 'go for it". We have enough days to go to pfinda for 3 & move to Kirkman & ngala tented camp for 2 nights each. My disappointment is not going to Botswana, but the good camps are full.
The other opiton of mala mala only works if then we go to Zimbabwe.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 12:19 AM
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I'm confused about how many safari nights you want. But first, do not stay only 2 nights in a camp. It is a waste of time, money and energy to be moving around.

If 3 or 4 nights go to MalaMala. End of story. If 7 or 8 add Kirkmans. Easy transfer between the two camps, short drive by one camp to the other. (Do you know that both are in the Sabi Sand reserve?).

Picking camps is fine but not like deciding on which museums you will visit in London. You also need to look at the reality of transferring between camps. Transfers can be costly in both $$$$ and wasted time.

regards - tom
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Jun 27th, 2012, 04:34 AM
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What do you mean by "good camps"? Botswana doesn't have any "bad camps". The investment the operators make is too high. What's available? Just about any Wilderness Safaris, Sanctuary or &Beyond camp is good. I actually prefer the mid priced camps (for Botswana prices) than the high end. Too stuffy for me. Although WS won't work with you directly, &Beyond will let you know where there is availability.

I don't understand why you can't mix MM with Phinda. Lots of people do it. You might need a different agent if they won't do that.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 04:47 AM
  #6
 
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Weirdest itinerary ever, mtonio

I count 12 nights. Why stay two in JB? Absolutely nothing to do there (that's as good as the other drawcards in SA).

My first tip; get a red eye flight to JB. Lufthansa and Air France have them daily with an A380. KLM and SAA have a 747 doing the same. From JB, you got connecting flights (over noon) to Hoedspruit, VF, and so on. You might even be in time for the afternoon game drive (I always am, when going to Timbavati/Klaserie reserves - ic where your Ngala is).

My second tip would be to not move around too much. Stay at least 3, preferably 4 nights in one camp. You don't see more by flying around more. You see more while not in transit. ;-)


As for the choice of camps;

- if you want to go to VF, I'd choose a hotel on the Botswanian side, not the Zim side. Because you will only need one day to visit the falls. But you can (and should) use more days in Chobe, doing game drives and boat rides.

- In Kruger's private reserves, you should pick 2 reserves (so; 2 lodges) in different areas, and it's best to chose these keeping the most important parameters in mind, which are; traverse size, price, and exclusivity. Have a look at the map of Sabi Sands:

http://www.sunsafaris.com/south-afri...abi-sands-map/

As you can see, some places have got a huge traversing area, and since there's not that much beds the exclusivity is quite high as well (not a lot of vehicles around). But... prices there can be very high.

Other camps share traverse, and by doing so have a decent size area to drive around in too. There, prices may - on average - be lower. Or at least you can filter out the properties that are too expensive, or not in the best location, etc... For example; you speak about Savanna, but it sits on the edge of the reserve and far away from the river. Well; it can even be worse; Ulusaba is much more expensive and looks out over the unspoilt lowveld on one end ...and shanty towns on the other (sorta). So what I'm saying is; choose wisely. In that western area of Sabi Sands, Exeter is the most popular. In the south, it's Lion Sands, and in the north it's Elephant Plains.

- for a 2nd reverse, you can opt for Timbavati or Klaserie. Maps here:

http://www.sunsafaris.com/south-afri...uger-reserves/

(just click on their names).

In the north of Timbavati there's a cluster of lodges that are sharing traverse as well, and that offer very similar quality as Sabi Sands. But on average the lodges are cheaper as Timbavati is less known. Very popular there is Simbavati River Lodge. You can also opt for Ngala, but other than a higher exclusivity in return for a higher price, the game viewing will not be different than at that cluster of lodges up north.

In Klaserie, traverse is still changing every month, so there's no map (yet) showing this. But I've been there three years in a row now and I can definitely say that by now the lodges in the south have enough traverse to compete with those in Timbavati. Two months ago I did the calculation with a guide, while I was there, and we came to 8500Ha. Top camp in Klaserie is nThambo. Klaserie is a bit wilder than the other reserves I mentioned, and far less landscaping is done. As a result, guides really need to work for their sightings (and almost always succeed), but prices are much lower as well.

Both Klaserie and Timbavati have the advantage of Hoedspruit airport being very close.

There's more reserves, but not as good:
- Some are fenced, do not have open borders with Kruger, such as Thornybush and Kapama.
- Some have open borders, but are further away from Kruger, leading to less sightings on aveage. Like Balule.

If you really think your safari in the Kruger reserves is too long, then just take one lodge, and spend the other days exploring the Drakensbergen to the west, with a rental car. Can be arranged from Hoedspruit airport.

Ciao,

J.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 10:13 AM
  #7
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I greatly appreciate your suggestions, this is more information than I have received from any agent.

Putting safari aside for a moment I will explain why I want to go to Jb- to visit apartheid museum, constitutional court, soweto, and 2 print workshops(we are quasi art historians). I need at minimum of a day and half to accomplish that.

Thank you pixiepower for the maps, now i fully get why mala Mala is great, it has more land.

I booked ngala because we want to stay in one tented camp, and that is not offered at pfinda or Kirkman.
But i now see we should stay in either Kirkman or Ngala for 3-4 nights, and not do both camps.

In Botswana -Wilderness safari, &Beyond lodges are fully booked. I do not know about safari. The guide( from wilderness safari but works with other camps) who has helped me is unable to book a camp in Botswana and is why he booked Zimbabwe which we do not want to do.

We have 15 days in Africa, are taking red eye from London.
4 nights Cape Town( to recover), 2 nights JB, 2 nights VF
( because of flight times) so that leaves me 7 for safari.
Due to lack of availability in Botswana it looks like we will do are safaris in SA and a day trip to Chobe from VF.
We are going in late August.
I greatly welcome any other suggestions.
Thanks again.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 12:18 PM
  #8
 
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I would contact Sun Safaris. EVERY bed in Botswana can't be booked. They will be able to find you 3 beds somewhere in your timeframe, given some sort of flexibility over your availability. Add three nights Botswana, 4 nights MM or other eastern part of Sabi Sand.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 02:17 PM
  #9
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thank you christabir.
I just spoke with the guide and they are checkin . mashatu is available but not work to go to VF. . My group wants to go to VF I would have to return to JB. I would cut CT to 3 but need the time to recover from flight.
Greatly appreciative of your help.
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Jun 27th, 2012, 04:36 PM
  #10
 
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Why not a camp easier to get to from VF in the Okavango Delta or Linyanti? Mashatu, as much as I love it, is inconvenient unless you get the charter that only runs a couple of days per week to/from MM. I'm a bit confused by your plan.

Why are you using a "guide" and not a safari agent/operator?
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Jun 27th, 2012, 10:08 PM
  #11
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I phrased that incorrectly. One partner was a guide but owns a company that designs safaris, they work mainly with wilderness safari but also book other camps.
I also received quotes from &Beyond and worked directly with an agent in their JB office.
Yes, you are right. We would not be able to go to Mashatu and VF. They are looking for a Botswana camp near VF. If it doesn't work We will do our safaris in SA( Mala mala & Pfinda or Pfinda and Kirkman) and go to VF for 2 days.

Thank you.
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Jun 28th, 2012, 03:45 PM
  #12
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The Botswana camps with availibility are
XIGERA CAMP, OKAVANGO DELTA & SEBA CAMP, OKAVANGO DELTA.

Xigera looks beautiful but more about bird watching and landscape than animals since they do not have drives unless the water level is low. It does not sound like a good option.I am not a walker so that will make it too physically challenging.
They also run 3000 per night for family. It is too high.

The other option is Chobe Game Lodge. It seems way too touristy.
With these Botswana opitons I will stay in SA or combine SA with Zimbabwe if we are comfortable with Z.
Thank you
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