Sabi Sand To Victoria Falls Air Transfers?

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Feb 4th, 2006, 12:44 AM
  #1
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Sabi Sand To Victoria Falls Air Transfers?

I know this subject has been approached in the past, but I could not find it in a search. Anybody have more information on whether or not there are any scheduled air transfers? If not, has anyone priced out a charter flight from the Sabi Sand to Victoria Falls?

Also, same thing for Madikwe. Any scheduled air transfers between the Sabi Sand and Madikwe? If not, again, has anybody priced out how much a private air charter would cost?

Thanks.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 06:29 AM
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As far as I am aware there is no scheduled flight between the Sabi Sands and Vic Falls/Livingston. When Nationwide started flying that was supposedly a route they were going to fly, nothing yet.

In my years back in SA a guy called Evan Bailey was most helpful with charters for a family member. Today he operates under the banner of Bateluer Air, but regret that I don't have his contact details at hand. I will send an email to some friends back in SA to see if they know how to reach him.
I suspect that the cost of such a charter is around R15 000. But thats a guess.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 07:02 AM
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My informed guess is that it would not be possible to charter a flight for an international flight out of the Sabi Sands since there are no immigration facilities in the Sabi Sands and, hence, if you were able to depart, there would be no way for South Africa immigration authorities to check whether or not you have overstayed your visa, etc. I expect that such a flight would only be possible with a transfer in JNB.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

Maybe it is possible to fly from KMIA (I.A. does stand for INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, after all) to Victoria Falls.

I have the opportunity to visit Sabi Sabi (in Sabi Sand), Leopard Hills (in Sabi Sand), Madikwe Hills (in Madikwe) and hopefully Mateya (in Madikwe). However, I am desperately trying not to shave off my time from my Namibia (Caprivi Strip) properties. I am trying to force in an itinerary like this:

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge (3)

Leopard Hills (3) (it will be liberating to go from the confinement of the underground feel of Earth Lodge to being perched high at Leopard Hills)

Madikwe Hills (2)

Mateya (2) (recognizing that Madikwe is not yet at the same level, gamewise, as Sabi Sand, I would like to spend 6 nights in Sabi Sand and 4 nights in Madikwe)
Susuwe Island Lodge, Caprivi Strip,

Namibia (3) (I would have a 2 hour or less drive to the Bots border at Gaborone, and then I would fly up to the Kwando Lagoon area, and from there a Namibian border station is very nearby, as is Susuwe Island Lodge)

Kwando Lagoon & Lebala (4) (It sounds so much less rushed when I group them together and call it four nights, although I am really staying two nights at each)

Kwando Kwara & Kwara Island (4)

Ntwala Island Lodge (2)

This is really pushing things at 23 nights, but I would be a fool to skip any of the above properties, in my opinion. I am just sorry that I do not have the luxury of time to add a couple nights in Joburg at the beginning, another night at Ntwala, and a couple more nights in Joburg at the end. I would not, however, consider sacrificing time on safari for easier transfers from/to home.

If not for the Tanzania trip coming up in, oh, about 18 days, 18 hours and 14 minutes, I would push this trip to four weeks to get everything in, but with the Tanzania trip, I am looking at two separate 23 night working vacations. Hard work, but somebody's gotta do it!

One of my trusted sources on the ground in South Africa has told me that each Sabi Sabi and Leopard Hills are outstanding, and I will take this source's word on it.

If I WAS able to connect KMIA with Victoria Falls, it would give me the option of saving the Sabi Sand and Madikwe until the end, flying from Ntwala to KMIA and onto the Sabi Sand reserves.
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Feb 4th, 2006, 07:04 PM
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Rocco,

For Sabi Sands and Madikwe, it should be easy if you're at any of the camps using Fed Air (Leopard Hills, Londolozi, Singita, etc) since the Fed Air flights are set to leave Sabi Sands in the morning, get to JNB about 11:00 and leave JNB for Madikwe at 11:30 or noon. At least that's the way it worked for us last June, unless the schedules have been changed or messed up so it doesn't work. I believe that it was set up to work the other direction also, so fly Fed Air from Madikwe to JNB and get to JNB in time for the 1:30 flight out to Sabi Sands. I' not sure if Fed Air serves all the Madikwe lodges, but it serves the new lodges on the "eastern side" like Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Hills, Jaci's,(and Mateya I assume).
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Feb 5th, 2006, 01:22 AM
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As of 01 September 05 the schedule for Federal Air to and from Madikwe has changed and are now as follows: Depart Johannesburg at 11h15 arrive Madikwe at 12h15 and depart Madikwe at 12h30 and arrive Johannesburg at 13h30.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 05:08 AM
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Dear "travel agent" Rocco

An important part of planning a trip is about Logistics.
Making it from Madikwe to Susuwe will probably take you a full day.
Madikwe - Gaborone 2hrs
Private charter to Kwando
950 km (will be expensive) 3hrs+
ransfer to Border
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Feb 5th, 2006, 05:15 AM
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ooops hit the send to quickly!

Dear "travel agent" Rocco

An important part of planning a trip is about Logistics.
Making it from Madikwe to Susuwe will probably take you a full day.
Madikwe - Gaborone 2hrs
Private charter to Kwando
950 km (will be expensive) 3hrs+
transfer to Border 15 min
border crossing 15 min
transfer to Lianshulu
lodge in Namibia 45 min
Border crossing 15 min
Road transfer to Susuwe 1,5 hrs
Grand total 8 hrs

cheaper option
Madikwe - Gaborone 2hrs
fly Air Botswana from
Gaborone to Maun 1 hour
fly Maun to Kwando 1 hour
transfer to Border 15 min
border crossing 15 min
transfer to Lianshulu
lodge in Namibia 45 min
Border crossing 15 min
Road transfer to Susuwe 1,5 hrs

Total 7 hours assuming no waiting time
and that Air Botswana flies at the perfect time.
Michael
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Feb 5th, 2006, 08:20 PM
  #9
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Michael,

I appreciate the feedback, but next time save it if you cannot do so without sarcasm. Does it make you feel better about yourself to speak to others in a condescending way? Do you think that just because someone is in the travel industry that they have ALL the answers? The point of this trip is that it is an EDUCATIONAL so that I may point clients in the right direction in the future.

Why even answer if you cannot be a nice person about it? But, thanks anyway.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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Roccco,
I can't see how you can be a knowledgeable safari travel agent having never been to Mala Mala. I know, I know, you just answered this (my) question a couple days ago. Just thought I'd remind you
regards - tom
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Feb 5th, 2006, 08:56 PM
  #11
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Tom,

I have been to the Sabi Sand three times, each time to lodges more luxurious than Mala Mala. Unless my client specifically requested Mala Mala, I would not send them there out of fear that they would not be pleased with the accomodations.

I will be making my fifth trip to Africa in as many years in just a couple more weeks. I have been to Zambia three times, and I doubt that too many tour operators who are sending clients to Zambia have been there as often.

So, if a travel agent has been to Mala Mala but not been to Singita, are they not knowledgable enough to be a tour operator. Tom, Mala Mala is one of about 20 lodges in the Sabi Sand. Hopefully Mala Mala will refurbish its main camp, even if it means raising prices. At that point, I would be happy to pay a visit and then hopefully I would meet your narrow standards of being qualified.
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Feb 5th, 2006, 09:18 PM
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By the looks of things, I may be best off with an itinerary as follows:

(early morning arrival in Joburg and morning flight to Victoria Falls and onward to Ntwala)

11/11 Depart LAX @ 12:30AM - JFK - JNB
11/12 Arrive JNB @ 10:45AM. 1:30PM Light Air Transfer To Sabi Sand.
11/12 Leopard Hills (3)
11/15 Joburg (1)
11/16 Ntwala Island Lodge (3)
11/19 Susuwe Island Lodge (3)
11/22 Kwando Lagoon/Lebala (4)
11/26 Kwando Kwara/Kwara Island (4)
11/30 Joburg (1)
12/01 Madikwe Hills (3)
12/04 Depart JNB - New York - LAX
12/05 Arrive LAX @ 1PM

I hate losing two nights in Joburg, but that's the way it goes when wanting to visit hard to reach places like Susuwe and Ntwala.

(Tom and MV...I can figure out all this on my own and with the help of my people in Africa, but I just prefer to think things through online, hoping that past travelers will be able to add their own experiences without the snide remarks)
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Feb 5th, 2006, 09:36 PM
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Another option, allowing for a brief rest upon arrival

11/14 Depart LAX @ 7AM - JFK - JNB
11/15 Arrive JNB @ 5:50PM. Overnight at Joburg Airport Inter-Continental.
11/16 Depart JNB - Kasane - Ntwala Island Lodge (3)
11/19 Susuwe Island Lodge (3)
11/22 Kwando Lagoon/Lebala (4)
11/26 Kwando Kwara/Kwara Island (4)
11/30 Joburg (1)
12/01 Madikwe Hills (2)
12/03 Mateya (2) (What better place to celebrate my wife's birthday, than the only place ever to reportedly receive a perfect score of 100 from the Tourism Grading Council. This place is super luxurious)
12/05 Leopard Hills or Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge (3)
12/08 Depart JNB - Atlanta - LAX
12/08 Arrive LAX @ Noon



(Obviously I am still annoyed...there is much more to this whole thing than just knowing how to get to a brand new lodge in the Caprivi Strip where there are none others I see worth investigating...how about timeliness in responses, pricing, open communication and honesty to start with? I am not going to get into a debate here...I just know that I am confident in what I am doing and know that I belong more than many. Cheers.)
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Feb 5th, 2006, 09:40 PM
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Roccco,
I guess I have a different perspective on this. If the prime criteria for safari is the most luxurious accomodations, then I must agree with you. And if your clients employ a chauffer, their own Learjet, private secretary, etc. then they would certainly prefer Singita over Mala.
regards - tom
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Feb 5th, 2006, 10:10 PM
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Tom,

Some people enjoy to spoil themselves while on holiday. I certainly did not have a learjet on my first visit to Singita...not like now, of course! (yeah, right)

In the past and now, I will spend every available dollar to travel the best way I am able. I will not go into debt to do it or refinance a property, but I will push the envelope as far as possible, and at 34 years old, I have not yet had time to accumulate as much wealth as many travelers.

Life is too short for cheap hotels and less than stellar game lodges!
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Feb 5th, 2006, 10:47 PM
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Roccco,
At 63 years, I say "Amen".
regards - tom
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Feb 6th, 2006, 02:24 AM
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Dear Rocco! Not only am I interested too in these connection (we want to do it in opposite direction from the falls to Sabi sand, may I take the opportunity to ask some advise; We are 3 couples from France (I am Dutch myself) and we go back to the sabi sands.
We were in Londolozzi tree camp (by the way the'tired' accomodation is not worth such a moreorless ridiculous amount of money _ but our drives have been more than fantastic every day!)
We are considering the a bit lesser known lodges of simbambili or savanna;
can you tell me something of the quality of the drives , I know that the accomodations are really nice?
Also I must say that I too received negative feedback on Leopard Hills, from 2 different persons, one of them in travelindustry, having lived in Africa for 10 Years.
Also I was told recently that at the moment in Sabi Sands owners are less inclined to 'share' their property - obviously there have been some problems;what do you think in that case would it be a problem to choose a loss with not so much land.
I know some people who were in Lion Sands Ivory and while the lodge was magnificent they sometimes were queuing like on the Champs Elysées. Rocco may I have your opinion on the above. Thanks!
Ivee
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Feb 6th, 2006, 02:26 AM
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of course I meant lodge and not loss!
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Feb 6th, 2006, 05:19 AM
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Rocco.
I admire your appetite for the destination, that is a mammoth trip...At the end of the day the $$$$'s will mount, and this you do for your own pleasure, but driven by the desire to learn more about the destination, you go boy, I am travelling with yoou next.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 05:57 AM
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Mkhonzo,

Thank you for the support...it really means a lot coming from a straight shooter like you.


Ivee,

Simbambili is a fantastic lodge with incredible leopard sightings. The lodge, itself, in the common areas is every bit as luxurious as Singita. The rooms are very luxurious...luxurious enough to make anybody happy even if they are not as huge as Singita's rooms and do not have an additional half bathroom (toilet and sink) as does Singita.

Simbambili is about half the price of Singita or Londolozi Tree, but like each of these properties, it features a huge private outside deck with private plunge pool.

I found the cuisine at Simbambili to be excellent, especially breakfast with a wide variety of fruits (pineapple, star fruit, passion fruit, papaya, grapes, oranges, bananas and more), a variety of fresh baked breads (my favorite being the chocolate filled croissants) and hot breakfasts cooked to order. The french toast was excellent, and I am a big french toast fan and find it hard to find it up to my standards at most restaurants.

For dinner, there were alwasys three choices for the main course and three choices for the dessert. No matter what the choices, guests were always looking over at other guests plates, impressed with whatever the other guest had chosen, while also being happy with their own meals.

I have many photos from Simbambili posted on this photogallery. Feel free to have a look:

www.kodakgallery/rocco/2005_favorites

Cheers.
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