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SA/Bot/Zambia..Sept/Oct..Comments on these hotels/lodges?

SA/Bot/Zambia..Sept/Oct..Comments on these hotels/lodges?

Feb 16th, 2007, 12:17 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2005
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SA/Bot/Zambia..Sept/Oct..Comments on these hotels/lodges?

Working with a SA travel agency, three of us have planned a luxury trip for this fall. I have been "lurking" here for a while and would love it if the experienced travelers here would comment on the following plans:

Day 1-6 CapeTown..Kensington Place ( we arrive at night and are planning one day to recuperate from the flights from US.) (recommended day trips?? Hermanus??)) Comments on location of the hotel?

Day 7-9 Winelands. Akademie Suites Guesthouse

Day 10 Blue Train.

Day 11-13 Lion Sands Ivory Lodge (Earth Lodge was full)

Day 14 Jbg.Ten Bompas

Day 15-16 Zambia. Islands of Siankaba

Day 17-19 Stanley's Camp. Moremi.

Day 20-21 King's Pool.

Day 22 King's Pool-Maun-Jbg-Amsterdam-NYC

We will have a car available for much of the time in Capetown/Winelands.

Thanks for any and all comments on what I hope will be a "trip of a lifetime."
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 12:53 PM
  #2  
 
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ekscrunchy: looks like a fabulous trip that you will no doubt treasure.

I have stayed at Kensington Place -- we loved it, it is wonderful. Comfortable and private, small and intimate with great service and we really liked the location. It is tucked into a very nice and quiet neighborhood and in a 2 or 3 block walk that is safe (even at night) there is an area of a couple blocks of restaurants and shops that are filled with locals, not touristed like the waterfront. That said it is a short 10 minute drive on a nice, not busy road to reach the waterfront so its easy to get to tourist attractions.

There are lots of posts with things to do in Cape Town. For sure try and do the Robben Island tour and a tour of Cape Point including the penguins at Boulders Beach. Township tour and the top of Table Mountain are other highlights. It sounds like you will be there before the whale season ends in which case you should definitely go to Hermanus area and see the southern right whales. There are also tours to see great white sharks if that is of interest.

I also stayed at the 10 Bompas. Not quite as nice as Kensington Place but it is a funky little boutique hotel. Each room is decorated by a different designer, mine was a little wierd while our friends had a great design but the furnishings etc. were very comfortable and well done. We liked it (but not to die for like Kensington Place) and for your one overnight it is a good option, make sure you check out the unisex bathroom by the lobby/restaurant -- it is bizarre (not nearly as risque as it sounds) and great for conversation.

I have not stayed at any of your safari choices but I have stayed nearby King's Pool at Duma Tau in the same concession. I had outstanding game viewing there with a wild dog kill being the highlight and I'm pretty sure I saw more different mammal species there than any other camp I have been to. Be sure and do a night drive, that area can be very productive. Beyond that I have read that the camp is ultra-luxurious and I'm sure you will love it.

Your other choices putting you in Moremi and Sabi Sand is fantastic, two of the richest wildife viewing areas around so it should all be great!
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 01:04 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 97
Looks like a fabulous itinerary! I will be at Islands of Siankaba in two weeks and will post a review.
MisterAviator is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 02:23 PM
  #4  
 
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Eks

Kensington Place is brilliant, I just booked four nights there for next April. Much cheaper than the Cape Grace, and far nicer due to its size. Last night I had a suite at the SF Ritz-Carlton (tough life) and would definitely take Kensington over it. Kings Pool is probably my favorite Botswana camp - but I think two days is not enough, try for three. You will spend one afternoon in the sunken hide, that doesn't leave much time to actually enjoy the wonderful rooms.
No other experience.
napamatt is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 05:52 PM
  #5  
santharamhari
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I stayed at Kings Pool in 2004. Hopefully, your trip is late in the dry season i.e.,Sept-OCt thereabouts that's when the area is at it's best in terms of game (especially, elephants). However, i recommend a minimum of 3 nights......if you like camps like Kings Pool....you may prefer Mombo or Vumbura plains over Stanley's camp. Check with your travel agent for availability...

Hari
 
Feb 17th, 2007, 08:23 AM
  #6  
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Join Date: May 2005
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To the four of you, a big thank you for the vote of confidence! This is such a big trip for me, both in terms of time and in terms of the huge amount of money, I am reassured to read your positive comments. The hotels in SA appear to offer such high standards that I did not think it was necessary to go for the very top range, price wise. I also wanted to be able to walk to shops and restaurants from the hotels, so I nixed the Klein Genut in favor of Akademie Suites, which gets such great reviews on Trip Advisor.

I think we were lucky to get rooms in the game-viewing areas; a few places were already booked for our time period.

The Blue Train might not have been my choice, the prices are high, to say the least. But this is the dream of one of my traveling partners so it looks like I am going along for the ride, so to speak.

When I do further reading, I will be coming back here to solicit more details from all of you. Thanks again! I have to say that I really enjoy reading along on this board and dreaming about future trips to this part of the world.

MisterAviator, I can't wait to read your report about Siankaba. Have a wonderful trip!

Oh, Predator B (love your moniker!), Do you happen to remember your room number at Ten Bompas, or rather, which rooms I should request?

Napamatt and Santharramhari: King's Pool did not have availability on the third night but maybe we can be on a waiting list... Mombo was also full for our nights. As Botswana is our last stop, we will be there the second week of October.

What kind of outerwear do I need to bring? Weather is CapeTown sounds like it might be cool; would a light windbreaker-type jacket do the trick? Wool sweater underneath?

ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 08:48 AM
  #7  
 
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Hello,

Looks like you have a great trip planned. I agree with what others have posted about lengthening your time at King's Pool if at all possible. Ask your TA to put you on the waitlist for the third night -- cancellations aren't common but definitely do happen, and you might get lucky.

If you want an experience similar to that at King's Pool at a Delta camp which offers both land and water activities, I'd recommend switching to Vumbura Plains in the Delta. This area has very good game-vieiwing as well as a full range of water and land activities.

If your main reason for choosing Stanley's was the elephant activity, you may want to consider moving to Baines, its much more luxurious sister camp.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 11:02 AM
  #8  
 
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ekscrunchy: I am not sure of what our room number was but on the website they have small pictures and descriptions of each room and having double checked my own picture it looks like they have redone the room I had because there is no match for it.

They all look good on the website, and even when our room was tacky it was very comfortable and we had fun talking about the strange design. I think you will be fine in any of the rooms. Julian stayed there too so he may have a good room recommendation.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 01:00 PM
  #9  
 
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Hello Bill,

The room you stayed was still there when I visited (that giant pink globe reminded me of a piece of bubble gum) but apparently you and I are not the only people who didn't care for it. In general, it looks like several of the rooms have been re-done in a more traditional style, as there was one room I saw with deep red walls which is no longer there.

I stayed in No 5, which turned out to be much more traditional looking than I thought it would be. Personally I rather liked the modern one, No 9 which is much warmer and more welcoming in reality than it looks on the site.

The best advice is to go on their site and take a look and pick one that appeals to you. All of the suites are very spacious as they were designed for long-stay corporate guests before the building became a hotel.

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 08:08 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 309
Hi ekscrunchy

If it's any help, my wife and I stayed 4 nights at LS Ivory Lodge back in Sept '04 as part of our Wedding/Honeymoon Safari.
Fantastic rooms, good game viewing also, if possible ask for Courteney as your guide ;-)
Cheers
Marc
africaddict is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 08:36 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Julian: that's what I thought when I looked at the site. It looks like some redecorating has taken place, they all looked pretty good now but not nearly so edgy.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 08:54 AM
  #12  
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Wow..I am so impressed by the knowledge of many of the people on this site. I will look into adding another night to King's Pool. But that would mean changing our flights home so I am not sure how that would play out (KLM to AMS and on to JFK). Of course I should have asked all of these questions before booking the flights but let's not go there....!!

Julian, I will ask about Baines Camp but these places all seem so luxurious, I am not sure I can take much more luxury! Not to mention the money that this is costing!!

Thanks again..I will be posting many questions in the months to come and am grateful for your help.

Oh, about the weather in Capetown...?? (see my earlier question above)
ekscrunchy is offline  

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