Rocco Help! Luxury in Southern Africa

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Sep 5th, 2004, 05:47 AM
  #1
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Rocco Help! Luxury in Southern Africa

Rocco (and others),

I have been following your posts as you attempt to put together your next luxury safari in southern Africa. I am encountering many of the same issues you are - seeking both luxury and excellent game viewing - without having to empty my savings account!

My problem is that every itinerary I put together is further terrifying ($$$) my husband, to the point where he is now pushing for India (in spite of it's 3-poopie rating!)

Here are my goals for a southern Africa trip:
- maintain luxury
- limit air transfers to keep costs down
- maintain diversity of game viewing (want big 5 and husband loves elephants) (also want to experience water viewing)

Do you have any sugestions for us? I feel I must include Singita (if only for 2 nights). What could we combine with it? I've read many postings about other great lodges, but it's difficult to put them into perspective when I don't know where they are located.

Also, if we could include a Cape Winelands visit, that would be wonderful. Do you think we could drive there? Would the drive be pretty? Are there any great safari lodges in that area?

Thanks in advance for the advice. I don't know how people ever planned safaris without the help of ALL of you fodorites!
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Sep 5th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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Ericka,

Going back through some of your old posts, I believe that you intend to travel in September, 2005. If possible, I strongly suggest that you move up your time table by a couple weeks, as many lodges offer low season pricing until August 31st.

For example, take Leopard Hills, one of the nicer Sabi Sand lodges. High season rates are 5,400 ZAR pppns but if you visit by August 31st, they drop down to 4,200 ZAR pppns, about a $180 USD pppns difference. The savings alone for even six nights in the Sabi Sand will pay for your time in Cape Town & assumedly in Hermanus for whale watching.

Also, I don't know if you are absolutely committed to Seychelles or not, so please let me know the priority places you wish to visit on your holiday.

I do suggest that you wait a bit before you book anything. If you are absolutely committed to Singita, you may want to lock that up, but leave everything else open on your calendar, and you can fill in the blanks later once you find the right deals.

If you are open to Madikwe, email me and I may have some good suggestions ([email protected]). (Please do not solicit me for this info unless your name is Ericka or unless I know you from this forum...no cold calls).

Lastly, you need to take advantage of sites like Luxury Link and Andrew Harper's Travel (www.andewharpertravel.com). Although it is too early to find deals right now for September, 2005, they will surely be there in due time.

If all else fails, consider a visit the very beautiful Zambia, spending about four nights in each Lower Zambezi National Park at Sausage Tree Camp and at Chichele Presidential Lodge in Zambia. You will NOT be disappointed, and these lodges, even in high season, will not cost more than $400-450 pppns. Your airfare to Zambia will cost about $350 pp and once inside Zambia will be another $900 pp for a total of $1,250 pp.

However, with six nights at an average of $400 pp per night, you are looking at only $3,650 pp and it will still be a cheaper option than the true luxury lodges of South Africa.

www.sausagetreecamp.com
www.star-of-africa.com
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Sep 5th, 2004, 08:36 AM
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Correction, your inter-Zambian air will be $900 total ($450 pps), making your entire visit $4,000 pps for an eight night stay in high season at possibly the two finest lodges in Zambia.

8 nights x $400 pps = $3,200 USD pps
JNB - Lusaka air = $350 USD pps
Inter-Zambian air = $450 USD pps

In my heart, I honestly believe that Chichele Presidential Lodge is a better experience than Singita, and you have not really visited Africa until you have spent time on the Zambezi River. There is no finer camp on the Zambezi River than Sausage Tree Camp.
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Sep 5th, 2004, 09:15 AM
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Ericka,

Ever since I received an e-mail from one of the lodges I visited in South Luangwa, I cannot get Zambia out of my mind. The prices are just too unbelievable. Although late March may not be possible for you, if it were possible, something like the following would be possible:

ZAMBIA EMERALD SEASON, CAPE TOWN & SIMBAMBILI

Wednesday, March 16th - Depart LAX (substitute your home city)

Thursday, March 17th ? En Route

Friday, March 18th ? Arrive Cape
Town. 3 nights at Twelve Apostles.

Saturday, March 19th ? Twelve Apostles.

Sunday, March 20th ? Twelve Apostles.

Monday, March 21st ? Le Quartier Francais, Franschoek, 2 nights.

Tuesday, March 22nd ? Le Quartier Francais.

Wednesday, March 23rd ? Early morning flight to Lusaka (via Joburg). Transfer to Mfuwe. 3 nights at Nkwali.
Nkwali is a Robin Pope Safaris camp, and RPS is very highly regarded. I have friends that visited Nkwali and Tongabezi last year and they put together an incredible online photo album of their visit. Do have a look:
http://africa.estelleandalfonso.com/album0.html

Thursday, March 24th ? Nkwali

Friday, March 25th ? Nkwali

Saturday, March 26th ? Mfuwe Lodge, 2 nights at Mfuwe Lodge

Sunday, March 27th ? Mfuwe Lodge

Monday, March 28th ? Transfer to Livingstone (Victoria Falls). Tongabezi, 2 nights at Tongabezi

Tuesday, March 29th ? Tongabezi

Wednesday March 30th ? Transfer to Joburg. Westcliff Hotel, 1 night.

Thursday, March 31st ? Transfer to Simbambili, 3 nights.

Friday, April 01st ? Simbambili.

Saturday, April 02nd ? Simbambili.

Sunday, April 03rd ? Transfer to Joburg. Depart Joburg ? your home city

Monday, April 04th ? Arrive Home


RECAP

Twelve Apostles (3) = $1,000 USD

Le Quartier Francais (2) = $650 USD

CPT ? JNB one-way air = $250 USD
(If you are using ff miles on SAA, you will be able to get a free add-on flight from JNB - Lusaka)

Nkwali (3) = $1,500 USD

Mfuwe Lodge (2) = $1,000 USD http://www.mfuwelodge.com/

Tongabezi (2) = $1,000 USD

Westcliff Hotel (1) = $ 250 USD

Singita (3) = $6,600 USD including transfers
(if you are willing to spend more for 3 nights of Singita than you will spend for the preceding 13 nights)

For a less expensive option, you may want to consider Simbambili, Exeter River or even if you want to save $1,000 the Royal Malewane or Exeter Dulini.

However, even with Singita, you can keep this 16 night package at $11,500. With the Royal Malewane, you can cut the cost down to $10,500 USD, a mere $650 USD per day ($325 pppns) for an amazing package that includes South Luangwa, Victoria Falls, Cape Town, Cape Winelands and either the Sabi Sand (Exeter Dulini) or Royal Malewane nearby.

Just take a look at that online photo album that I posted. This was taken at the exact same time of the year as I am suggesting at the same Zambian lodges.

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Sep 5th, 2004, 11:26 AM
  #5
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Rocco, as usual, you do not disappoint. I will review all of these options and get back to you with questions. We are looking at Labor Day week, so startng our trip a little earlier is possible.

As for the Seychelles, we have given that up altogether. Too much additional cost, I'm afraid. Plus, we have our "island" trip planned already for this December.

More soon! I can't thank you enough.
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Sep 5th, 2004, 12:47 PM
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Ericka,

If you or any other Fodorite is interested, my wife and I are potentially looking for another couple to share the Presidential Suite at Madikwe Hills, that is if both private bedrooms in the Presidential Suite are the same. It would be for a 3 or 4 night stay. We are in our early 30's and are both pretty outgoing and flexible.

Here is more detail on the Presidential Lodge:

Little Madikwe
(Presidential Suite & Private Camp)
LITTLE MADIKWE HILLS consists of the Presidential Suite with 2 x bedrooms, and two additional suites which form a completely private camp. Little Madikwe Hills can therefore accommodate a maximum of 8 guests.

Dates Presidential Suite per night (Max 4 Adults) Additional Inclusions:
Private Landrover & Game Ranger
Personal Butler
All meals served in the Presidential Suite
Satellite TV & DVD collection
Stereo System with a collection of CDs

Opening Special:
14 February 2004 to 31 August 2004 R 11,960.00
1 September 2004 to 30 April 2005 R 17,600.00
1 May 2005 to 31 August 2005 R 15,600.00
1 September 2005 to 31 October 2005 R 17,600.00

* Rates for the additional suites are the same as the MADIKE HILLS MAIN CAMP rates above.

---I have a strong feeling that I can do even better than the low season pricing of 15,600 ZAR (7,800 ZAR ($1,175 USD per couple sharing) per night rate, and this would entitle the foursome to a private Range Rover, butler, satellite TV, etc.

www.madikwehills.com

Dates would be at the very end of August (in the last four or five days of August). This would also create less expensive road and air transfers.

If anybody is interested, please e-mail me so we can take it off the board.

Thanks.
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Sep 5th, 2004, 01:26 PM
  #7
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Rocco,
This sounds interesting. Let's talk about it. I've got an email in to you. Timing sounds very good, too.

Ericka
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Sep 5th, 2004, 09:01 PM
  #8
Lin
 
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Dear Ericka, If you end up traveling to South Africa, besides the safari lodges I strongly recommend the Rocktail Bay Lodge. You seem to be interested in sea activities. This place has a superb beach (EMPTY), good snorkeling, and swimming with sharks, besides being very exotic. Just a thought!
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Sep 7th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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Lin,
I have heard of Rocktail before. But where is it? Is it anywhere close to Joburg. We're trying not to stray too far in light of time contstraints. (and if it is nearer to Cape Town it probably won't work for us
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