RSA: Tswalu vs Mashatu vs Phinda

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May 22nd, 2013, 01:06 PM
  #1
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RSA: Tswalu vs Mashatu vs Phinda

At a vaguely spur of the moment , as we say here in Yankeeland, we are consdeiring a Mid-late 2013 September trip to CapeTown, Londolozi, and one other game park, not self -drive, destination) (Or, perhaps just time in CPT and more in Londo)

I have been on one Southern AFrican visit (see incomplete report here); travel partner has never been to Africa at all and this is kind of a surprise.

So: What do you all advise about breaking up the time..I would like minimum of 6 days in Capetown, will have guide/driver, and perhps visit Winelands from there. Not too interested in wine, thus thinking of maximum one night in Winelands, wich I know are gorgeous....last time I stayed at Academie Suites which we liked quite a bit.

Then, more important:

Londolozi: Which camp? How many nights? How many in vehicle? Worth it to just spend the rest of the tie there, rather than adding an addition game reserve?

Animals more important than wine list, if you get my drift!!!

Please give opinions on Tswalu, Mahatu, Phinda, all suggested by locals who are in the know. --assume we will be in the more luxe of the options at each. Budget is generous as this is for a big celebration for partner.
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May 23rd, 2013, 03:36 AM
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Pleae also add Royal Malewane to the mix I listed above; one of these would be in addition to a reserve in the Sabi Sands.
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May 23rd, 2013, 08:54 AM
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I am leaving for a repeat trip for a week to Mashatu Tented camp. You will see more leopards and elephants than anywhere else. This is an amazing place. Small tented camp or stay at main lodge. Plenty of experience with 20 plus month long safari trips to Africa. My favorite of all Africa, but hard to get to. Hope you go. Junglenana
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May 23rd, 2013, 01:06 PM
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Cape Town is relatively small and the Winelands is just outside Cape Town so you don't have to do a night there, just do a day trip out.

There is also Groot/Klein Constantia in Cape Town that you can visit and then you don't have to do the journey out of the city and you will have the same experience.
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May 23rd, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Will take a serious look at Mashatu Tented Camp. Thanks and sorry for the necessary brevity here.
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May 24th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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Thanks again...I have already spent a week in CapeTown and a few days in the Winelends, so those were a repeat for my partner, although i would love at least 6 days in Capetown.

LOoking for comparisons betwween Madikwe, agentn suggested Jamala, Mashatu (tented or lodge ), Tswalu (meerkats!).


Phinda might just require too much traveling to mae it worth it when there are other places easier to reach.

What about a few nights in J'Burg????
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May 24th, 2013, 04:01 PM
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I haven't yet found a reason to recommend a stay in JNB except that it can be a convenient stop if a layover is required.
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May 24th, 2013, 09:57 PM
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I would thoroughly recommend Mashatu - I've stayed at the Tented Camp twice and will return next year for a third time. Mashatu is excellent for leopards, cheetahs are reasonably easy to see and there is a growing lion population. Its possible to do Ivory and Predator Drives with resident researchers. Photos from my 2011 trip are available at https://picasaweb.google.com/Treepol...UmkumbeMashatu

I've had some memorable sightings at Mashatu of smaller animals such as a pearl spotted owl with an ox-pecker kill, a Selous mongoose, leopard cubs, porcupine and African Wild Cat. Richard is a stellar guide.

I would caution you against Phinda in September - you are quite right in thinking that the travel time is excessive. I was there last September and the rains were early, during our 4 night stay we had 2-3 dry game drives. Even when the rain stopped our game drives were limited to small area around the lodge due to the boggy condition of the roads. Phinda has no covered or closed vehicles for game drives in the rain.

The highlight of our stay was a female cheetah with 3 cubs with manes, a sight I had been seeking for a few safaris now. I was impressed that &Beyond refunded the cost of the private vehicle in response to my customer feedback form which is a measure of the calibre of the company and an indication of how poor our visit was.

I agree with Femi, can't think of a reason to stay over in JNB unless its a transit night at an airport hotel. If you do have some spare time it may be worthwhile to stay over at the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Sanctuary near Hartebeesport http://www.dewildt.co.za/ and possibly combine this with a visit to the nearby elephant sanctuary.

Happy planning,


Pol
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May 25th, 2013, 04:44 AM
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This is great info, thank you!

Any comments on Tswalu or Madikwe Jamala?


http://jamalamadikwe.com/location/map-transfers/
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Jun 14th, 2013, 04:14 PM
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Just want to mention that we are planning a combination of a week in CapeTown, followed by Londolozi, Pioneer, followed by Tswalu. Any comments on guides or other tips, will be much appreciated.
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Jun 15th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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If not particularly interested in wine, it is still very much better to spend at least one night in the area, rather than a day visit from Cape Town, to enjoy the scenery, the Cape Dutch architecture and more. If you enjoyed Akademie in Franschhoek, why not this time round, look at Babylonstoren an estate privately owned with the most beautiful and interesting garden to explore, very comfortable accommodation and a good restaurant, it is unique and special. Have you decided where to stay in Cape Town yet ? There are some interesting new options depending on your personal taste and requirements.Johannesburg if overnighting does have some very interesting galleries and other points of interst, and here an absolutely charming owner managed property with character and comfort is Abbey Guest House, where you will be recommended to good restaurants in interesting and convenient neighbourhoods close by.
Lew - Cape Town
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Jun 16th, 2013, 04:07 AM
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Thanks very much, LR!! I had planned only a day trip to Winelands, since I spent a few days there last time and thought my partner could get the gist in a full day's touring. So we will not be overnighting in the area, as lovely as it is. So I hope to get an early start and have a full day in the area....maybe visit one winery but that is not a priority. I am a big Riesling fan so if there are any winerie doing good things with that grape, please let me know!!



For lunch, Bread & Wine and Rust and Vrede seem to be contenders at this early date. (Note that this trip is a splurge due to upcoming "big" birthday for partner). Would you have any comments on those two places, as far as food.

We are booked at Mt Nelson in CapeTown; last time stayed at Kensington Place, but chose Mt Nelson due to outdoor heated pool, as we will need to work off copious quantities of wine and food, and are both fairly rabid swimmers and the dream of swimming laps in the shadow of TAble Mountain is a fantasy for me.


In J'burg, the plan so far is to overnight at The Winston in Rosebank. I saw almost nothing of the city on my last one-nighter there, and hope to be able to get out and do a bit of exploring.....time permitting. For example, what would be a good dinner spot within easy ride of that hotel?

http://www.thewinstonhotel.co.za/

Can I safely stroll around the area of the hotel/Rosebank, or do I need to heed the advice of hotel staff who will surely tell me to travel only by radio taxi???



I should mention that, once again, we have left much of the planning in the hands of Liesl Matthews at WWW.SOUTHERN DESTINATIONS.com, in CapeTown, who was responsible for our "life changing" trip to SA, Botswana, and Vic Falls in 2007.



Does anyone have a recommendation for a particular guide at Londolozi Pioneer, or Tswalu. I believe the latter is not well documented on this forum, but perhaps someone reading this has been (???)
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Jun 16th, 2013, 08:17 AM
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For lunch I would go for the 'Bread & Wine' option where Tina and Neil Jewell provide excellent seasonal menus (Rust & Vrede more of an evening venue), and the Moreson range of wines (at Bread & Wine) satisfy all tastes, with a delightful bubbly called 'Miss Molly'! For Riesling visit the privately owned Thelema Estate outside Stellenbosch alongside the high-profile Tokara Wine Farm and close to the Delaire Graff Hotel. Thelema produces quality wines including Riesling. Southern Destinations do a splendid job and The Mount Nelson with its garden setting and 2 pools is a good choice, whilst The Winston in Rosebank is a good small full-service hotel. You can certainly walk in the Rosebank area and get a cab for dinner (you will need a reservation) and head for 'Bellagio' owned by Louise Castle, the hotel will assist you with that. Take a cab too from the hotel to the Kim Sacks Gallery for collectables and not far away, if you wish to view major art works, the Everard Read Gallery is close by too.I am more than happy to ask both the MD and Sales Manager of Tswalu who I will be dining with in Cape Town within the next 10 days on their preferred guide and will let you know.
Lew - Cape Town
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Jun 16th, 2013, 01:29 PM
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eks--is this before or after Japan and Spain? What a celebration!
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Jun 17th, 2013, 03:21 AM
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M; We took the trip to Spain last October, but have not yet returned to Japan...soon!! Soon!! I hope!!



http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...and-malaga.cfm
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Jun 17th, 2013, 11:40 PM
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Guides and rangers cannot be guaranteed, due to leave cycles and other factors, but the request can be placed in your booking. Its subject to availability, but for Tswalu, request Warren.
Lew - Cape Town
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Oct 3rd, 2013, 08:26 AM
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Please forgive the obligatory "what to bring with me" questions:

Trying to reclaim a semblance of order in packing for trip departing in three days time, and to get a sense of what kind of outwear to bring. Forecast seem to discount the need for a fleece-type jacket, as temps appear quite warm in both Capetown and in Kruger vicinity. (Also heading for Tswalu). Beieve game lodges have blankets in the cehicles in case of extremem chill (??)

Please comment on whether I can leave behind the black fleece zip up and bring, instead, a cotton poplin jacket with hood. Under that, I can wear heavy cotton jumper/sweatshirt if necessary....

Any comments on weather for next week in Capetown--we arrive late Tuesday. My bathing suits are packed!

We will be in Sabi Sands from 14-18 October, and in Tswalu from 19 to 22 October.

A million thanks!!
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Oct 4th, 2013, 04:42 AM
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Hi ekscrunchy

I would always take a very warm jacket. Would ignore forcast, one year in the Sabi Sands, September was the month, we arrived in 40 degree heat and the next day, it plummeted to around 15 degree, and in an open vehicle that was freezing cold. I have been cold in January in the Sabi Sands. A blanket from the vehicle doesn't really help if you are cold.

Being cold on a gamedrive is not fun, so be prepared would be my tip. In my part of the world, weather forecasts are pretty useless.

Will be interested to hear about Tswalu as probably heading there next July. I have seen some amazing sightings in photographs over winter, of unusual sightings, and in winter apparently you can stay out all day which is not really possible in summer.

Kind regards

Kaye
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Oct 4th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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Kaye: I have learned so much from your comments on this forum. I will take your advice under account, and certainly report back!
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