S.A. game park - need some advice!

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Nov 29th, 2003, 04:20 AM
  #1
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S.A. game park - need some advice!

I've been in the midst of organising a dream trip to Africa for June '04. It'll be to celebrate my 35th birthday, and our 17th anniversary. This is a continuation from another thread.

So far (not yet finalised), the itinerary appears to be as followsbr />
3N - Duba Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana
2N - Xigera, Okavango Delta, Botswana
3N - Duma Tau, Linyanti, Botswana
2N - River Club, Victoria Falls, Zambia
2N - Palace of Lost City, Sun City, SA
4N to 5N - Cape Town & Winelands (self-drive)
3N - Fancourt, George SA (self-drive along the Garden Route)
2N - Jo'burg (transit days).

Whilst we are going on safari in Botswana, I'm seriously considering adding another game reserve in South Africa (you can never have enough, right?).

Been corresponding with Mark from Taga Safaris (got his details from other Fodorites), who suggested either Simbambili, or Chitwa Chitwa (the Boulders honeymoon suite, even though we are way past that stage). I noticed that others have raved about Phinda Forest. Given a choice, taking into account the Botswana camps that we are planning to visit, which would you choose of the 3 in order of preference? Also, does anyone know if it would be too cold to use the private plunge pools in June? Hoping that I can get some good advice from those in the know!
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Nov 29th, 2003, 04:59 AM
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Got another question. There is a possibility that we might have another couple joining us for the last leg of our trip (ie. Vic Falls, Sun City, Cape Town, George). One of them is a particularly bad flyer and gets violently ill to the point that can't function for the next 24 hours, if flies in anything less than a jet plane (737 at least). Is there a game reserve close to any of our stops that we can drive or get driven to, or even close to a large airport so could get a road transfer? We would already have visited Botswana by then, so would not want to duplicate that. Any suggestions would be appreciated, preferably malaria free (another concern for them).
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Nov 30th, 2003, 06:46 AM
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Gus11 -
From Roccco's posts while on Safari this past June, the weather will likely be too cold for the pools at the camps.

I cannot comment on the Delta camps in Botswana, but I'm sure there is plenty of input on these.

Do a search on "Roccco's posts from June and the Camps in Botswana" for actual comments.

If you've been to Las Vegas or similar, I'd pass on Sun City, but one can drive here if they wanted. Likewise you can drive to Kruger to the Private Reserve where Simbabili is located, but once onto the Reserve, the roads "suck".

Most flights will probably be in 19- or maybe 30-seaters; not likely a 737, though the airstrip at Hoedspruit (near Kruger) was at one time a military base and certainly has a very very long runway, SAExpress doesn't run large planes. So your friends may be out of luck, but I'd rather pass on Sun City and do a game park in Kruger or over to Phinda.

That said, if you decide to drive to Sun City, there is a game park nearby Philanesburg (sp) where you can spend some safari time, even for one-day.
 
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Nov 30th, 2003, 08:14 AM
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If you are considering Chitwa Chitwa, you should also consider Nkhoro Bush Lodge, probably equivalent in terms of comfort but likely less expensive.

I have never done the Garden Route, but 3 nights in George appears to be too long, and I agree that there are better things to do in South Africa than go to Sun City.

You should consider adding Chobe to your list, becuase then you could transfer by road from Victorida Falls to Chobe. I believe Chobe has one of the highest concentrations of elephants in all of Africa.

You may want to consider adding a day in Joburg if it will allow you to visit Soweto. It is nice, afterall, at least for some, to experience culture while in Africa, rather than just seeing the game and going to a resort like Sun City. I mean it is almost unbelievable that just 10 years ago that South Africa was literally a warzone but now has been transformed into the fastest growing tourist destination in the world.

If you really want to get off the beaten path, take a four night trip to South Luangwa, Zambia, where I believe you will be able to fly into from Victoria Falls, Zambia. Personally, I would much rather spend four nights in South Luangwa than in the Sabi Sand/Kruger area. You will find that if you are going in June that you will be able to find last second rates at no more than $125 per person per day to stay at a place like Kafunta or Kaingo, both very good lodges. Even full price is only $200 per person per day, and in South Luangwa, the lodges pick you up at the airport, free of charge, instead of charging $40-50 per person each way, as is done in Sabi Sand/Kruger.

Kafunta has a great natural hot spring full sized jacuzzi tub, overlooking a great view where you can sit back drink a beer, glass of wine or cocktail during the day and just watch the baboons, hippos, elephants, numerous birds, impalas and even occasional giraffes stroll by.

I do think that doing South Luangwa and Botswana is a bit ambitious, but so is your existing itinerary if you choose to go to a South African game reserve, Cape Town, the Garden Route, Sun City, and three different lodges in Botswana.

With the amount of time that you have allotted, you should be able to have an incredible trip. I suggest that you do take a look at this itinerary, as I think it offers the best that Southern Africa has to offer, including Botswana, Victoria Falls, the Garden Route and Cape Town, all at the top lodges and hotels, at a very reasonable price:

http://www.onsafari.com/onsafaritrip...ip_code=MCSSPL

I really think that this trip would cover all the bases, less Sun City. As a test you could have your current tour operators quote the same itinerary to compare.

Good luck.

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