SAA vacations

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Jun 5th, 2005, 10:10 AM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2005
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SAA vacations

Has anyone worked with South African Airlines in terms of their vacation packages?
evahui is offline  
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Jun 5th, 2005, 05:54 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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evahui,

I would suggest that you share the itinerary and pricing so that we may advise you whether or not it is a good package on offer from SAA.

Personally, I am not a big fan of packaged itineraries. They serve their purpose for the inexperienced traveler, but for the traveler willing to invest a little time and do a little research, chances are that a custom itinerary for the same price or better, and at better lodges/hotels, is possible and very likely.
Roccco is offline  
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Jun 5th, 2005, 08:14 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I agree with Rocco here. You will probably do better (both quality and price) if you research and then put something together by dealing directly with the various vendors.
laguna92688 is offline  
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Jun 6th, 2005, 03:16 AM
  #4
 
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http://www.saaholidays.net/Package/C...TAIL=1#OPTDATA

This is just one example of a SAA Holiday package.

It includes economy class air from New York or Atlanta, 4 nights at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel and 3 nights at Sabi Sabi Selati.

High season pricing is $5,340 per person, including all transfers within South Africa.

No tours are provided while in Cape Town, and the price is based on two persons sharing. Therefore, the total price is $10,680 for a couple sharing.

I believe that for no more than $1,750pp, that a person could get the same air elsewhere, including the flight to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

For no more than $625pp, a person could book 4 nights at the Victoria & Alfred, including airport transfers.

3 nights at Sabi Sabi Selati would cost around $2125pp.

Grand Total = $4500pp

While this is not terribly marked up, I do think that the Victoria & Alfred and Sabi Sabi Selati are both terrible value for money. An upgrade to the Cape Grace and an upgrade to Singita would not cost much more if booked with the right agent.

Alternately, by staying at a great lodge like Simbambili, it would be possible to really save while not sacrificing an ounce of luxury. If anything, I think Simbambili appears to be nicer than Sabi Sabi Selati.

I would be very interested to find out which package you are considering evahui. I do not imagine that it will fare any better to scrutiny than this particular package did.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to get a reputable agent specializing in South African travel. Feel free to e-mail me if you would like a good recommendation.

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Jun 6th, 2005, 02:24 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Rocco,

(Hi everyone, I'm new here, so pls be nice.)

I am going to SA in February and am trying to tack on a qucik 2 night stay in Victoria Falls. How much should that cost me, and where should I stay?
lessthanzero is offline  
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Jun 6th, 2005, 06:18 PM
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lessthanzero,

Not enough information. You can spend $200 per night for basic accomodations or you can spend $800 per night for the very best accomodations.

I suggest you do a Google search on the following places:

I am attaching the approximate price per night per room (assuming you will be a couple sharing a room).

Zambezi Sun Hotel (3 star hotel) $250 per night

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge $300 per night

Royal Livingstone Hotel (5 star hotel) $450 per night

The River Club. $550 per night.

Victoria Falls Hotel (4 star historic hotel on Zimbabwe side of the falls) $350 per night

Matetsi Water Lodge (this does deserve a 3 night stay, as there will be game drives, canoeing and sundowner cruises included in your stay...and if you stay 3 nights you get a 4th night free, but you would definitely not get bored at Matetsi Water Lodge and in February it would be warm enough for you to enjoy your private plunge pool that looks out onto the Zambezi River). $500 per night, or 4 nights for $1500

Sussi Lodge, this is the closest luxury lodge to the falls. $600 per night.

Tongabezi. $600 per night.

Songwe Village. $500 per night.

Stanley Safari Lodge. $450 per night.

I honestly believe the very best value is Matetsi Water Lodge. I must advise you that in February, the falls are not going to be that impressive, as this is literally the middle of summer and it may be at well less than half its capability. Therefore, I do think a stay at Matetsi Water Lodge would be great, as you will have the opportunity to do so many other things.

Plus, to my knowledge, Matetsi is the only lodge that is air conditioned. The hotels will all be air conditioned, but I would never stay in a hotel when I could instead stay at a luxury lodge like Matetsi. It is a whole different experience at a luxury lodge.

If you absolutely only have 2 nights, I would still consider Matetsi, especially if you are not doing any other safari. With 2 nights at Matetsi you will be able to visit the falls, go on at least 3 game drives, go canoeing in the Zambezi with a Matetsi guide at the helm, enjoy a sundowner cruise (just a nice way of saying they will take you out on the river for a sunset will feeding you all the liquor you want), and if you are lucky, they may even hold a dinner in the bush during one of your 2 nights.

Although I have stayed at some pretty nice places, the best dinner I have had at a game lodge yet was at Matetsi Water Lodge. At the end of a game drive, they surprised us. While they had told us that we were going back to the lodge, instead we pulled into this area that was surrounded by torches, had tables with white linen, fine china, silverware, wine glasses, etc., all set up and waiting for us. Right out in the bush, they barbequed filet mignon, chicken breasts, corn on the cob, had very fresh bread that seemed like it was just out of the oven, wine, beer and a full bar setup. It was really quite amazing. Best of all, there were armed guards surrounding the perimeter, just to make the guests feel more at ease, as there are definitely a few predators and A LOT of elephants at Matetsi (Matetsi eventually turns into Chobe). Again, however, by the time you stay 2 nights, it will be $1000. For only $500 more you would be able to really enjoy yourself with 2 extra nights, making it a nightly average of only $375 per night.

Here are my choices:

1. Matetsi Water Lodge
2. Sussi Lodge
3. Tongabezi
4. Stanley Safari Lodge
5. The River Club
6. Royal Livingstone Hotel
7. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
8. Victoria Falls Hotel
9. Songwe Village
10. Zambezi Sun Hotel

If Matetsi is out of your budget, then I would likely elect to go with Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. This, in my opinion, will give you the best experience of the lower priced accomodations.

Best of luck.
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