S. Africa Safari without Botswana?

Jan 14th, 2009, 10:07 AM
  #1  
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S. Africa Safari without Botswana?

I am planning a fifteen day trip to South Africa for next September. We are primarily interested in seeing wild life although we will go to Cape Town for a few days to see cultural/historical sites.
Iíve investigated staying in Sabi Sands then going to Botswana for a few days but lodges in Botswana seem to be about 30-40% more costly plus the extra costs for private planes.
Can I just stay in South Africa and see lots of wildlife without going to Botswana as well? This is likely to be a once in a life trip but Botswana seems really expensive.
Perhaps, just Sabi Sands for 4 days and Madikwe for 4 days or Sabi Sands and another part of Kruger area?
Any ideas?
Thanks,
K. Chan
KSC2003 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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You will see the big five in South Africa. You likely won't see the big five in Botswana. Save your money for Sabi Sand. Four days in Sabi Sand and four days in Madikwe or Phinda would be great. We also like to drive ourselves around Kruger. Here's my trip report from a year ago when we drove Kruger then stayed at two other private camps near Kruger. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35083850

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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We were in South africa in September and saw amzing animal viewing...3 nights Camp Jabulani with safari on Elephants 4 nights Ngala Tented Camp in Timbervarti, 2 nights Elephant Plains northern Sabi Sands and 4 days in Exeter Leadwood west Sabi Sands...saw all the big 5 many times, everything up close ....amazing trip. At that time of year it is low season in South Africa so can get great rates or in some cases stay 4 nights pay for 3. It is the end of the dry winter season so low vegetation meaning better visibility and animals concentrate at water holes and rivers.
barryozed is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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No you don't need to go to Botswana - the wildlife viewing in Sabi Sands will be spectacular, and if you want to add Madikwe or Phinda (overpriced IMO) into the pot, fine.

One thought is that Chobe NP in Botswana is noted for its elephant population (and it is indeed stunning) but if you wanted to see something of the diversity of SA's environments, September would be a great time to visit Addo Elephant NP on the Eastern Cape coast - self drive, affordable, gorgeous, fascinating. You could fly commercially into Port Elizabeth, hire a car, and after Addo, drive to Cape Town via the Garden Route.

For more diversity, add an extra day or two to your Cape Town stay and drive up to West Coast NP on the Atlantic coast an hour or two north of the city. September will also likely to be an excellent time for the wildflower viewing in that area - a great experience.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jan 14th, 2009, 12:08 PM
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KSC

in my opinion you have already posted a good safari:

sabi sands, fly fedair back to joburg and drive or be driven up to madikwe for the rest!

you will have wonderful wilflife and stunning scenery in madikwe plus the magnificent 7 (big 5 plus wilddogs and cheetah!

elephant plains in sabi sands or londolozi varty or ulusaba safari lodge.
the off to madikwe for impodimo (great value for money) or the most posh place in the safari-lodge-circuit: mateya in order to spoil yourself.

an absolutely fantastic trip!

go for it! it's a trip of a lifetime!

happy planning!

div

divine54 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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I love this website.
Thank you all for your wonderful and quick reponses...

KSC
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Jan 14th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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We did Phinda and Rattray's at Mala Mala last September. We also thought about going to Botswana but decided we would waste too much time traveling. We saw everything except serval and pangolin between the two camps. Phinda can be 2 separate experiences if one does a north camp such as Forrest Lodge then a south Camp such as Rock Lodge. They are very different. You can see some pics at www.pbase/scfphoto/galleries. I have not been to Botswana yet but we could not have been more wowed than we were in SA. Good travels.
scfphoto is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Sorry it should be www.pbase.com/scfphoto/galleries
scfphoto is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 01:23 PM
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"pangolin"

if you are called faaaaar toooooo demanding: it's appropriate ;-)

div
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Jan 14th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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I would stick to South Africa. You could visit several different game reserves if you wish. We went to Timbavati (King's Camp) and Sabi Sands (Leopard Hills) in September. We loved it. You may also want to look into Madikwe, although friends of ours gave us mixed reviews.
LuxuryCruiseBible is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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I agree-plenty to see in South Africa without stretching yourself too thin with travel to Botswana-and yes, cheaper for sure. We split our time between Phinda (north and south) and Mala Mala. Saw everything we could have hoped for, including wild dogs and black rhino. (pics at http://web.me.com/njwiggit

When you go to Cape Town consider adding a day for the whale coast (Hermanus) as the Southern Right whales will be migrating if you enjoy whale watching.

nj
nanciej is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 04:00 PM
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I have not been to Phinda but have been to Madikwe Reserve, Madikwe Hills Lodge. Also to four private camps near Kruger (and in Kruger). If you go to Madikwe, go there first. Save the better game viewing for last at Kings Camp, or Leopard Hills, or MalaMala, or other Sabi Sand camps. FWIW, here is my Fodor's trip report on my safari there in May of 2007. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35016274

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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South Africa alone can deliver your once in a lifetime trip very well.

4 Sabi Sands and 4 Madikwe should be a good trip. I too would suggest Sabi Sands last, as Cary999 did. My SA safari combo was Phinda and Sabi Sands. If you are a big cheetah fan, Phinda is a natural, as it is a cheetah sanctuary. The wildlife was not as prolific there as Sabi Sands, but the diverse 7 habitats were fascinating.

Here are links to Mala Mala photos in the Sabi Sands (4 days) and Phinda photos (week)

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...d&x=0&y=xaqwzq

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-chzkj4

If you'd like to see wildlife in Cape Town too, there are penguins at Boulders Bay, up close encounters with baboons on hikes with Baboon Matters, and Great White Sharks out of False Bay. All this could be seen in a day and a half from Simons Town, which is about half an hour from Cape Town.

Have a great trip.

atravelynn is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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Most of my trips are purely SA, Botswana is a special trip doe to cost.

I can recommend Makanyane in Madikwe personally.

I would choose Madikwe before SSGR every time, I did it the other way round and while not disappointed because I'd done my homework, the contrast was great.

One thing, either way you will not be able to transfer from one to the other in the same day without missing a game drive.

My suggestion would be

CPT
Fly to Joburg, transfer to Madikwe.
Back to Joburg, drive to SSGR enjoying the escarpment along the way.
Finish at Mala Mala (my favorite).

Matt
napamatt_2 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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I don't think you can transition without an overnight between Phinda and SSGR, at least not without avoiding great expense.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Re getting from Madikwe to SSGR. In May of 2007 I left Madikwe Reserve -after the morning game drive- on a Federal Air flight at 1230 hrs and arrived at JNB at 1330 hrs. Then had charter flights to SSGR and on to Kings Camp in Timbavati. Arrived KC just in time for the afternoon game drive. So, you can (or could) get from Madikwe Reserve to a camp in SSGR or Timbavati and NOT require overnight in JNB nor miss a game drive. Makes no sense getting to safari camp late for just dinner and a bed. Your TA has to look at charter flights and work this out. If they can't then get another TA.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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Sorry I should have been clear, you can't do Madikwe to Mala Mala using SA Airlink scheduled flights without a night in Joburg or missing game drive.
napamatt_2 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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fedair has great connections from phinda to SSGR now.
just check it out! with andBeyond they have great fares.

div
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