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Sabi Sands question: which lodge ?

Old Apr 14th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,149
Sabi Sands question: which lodge ?

I have never been to a safari lodge and I am wondering what really makes the price of a lodge: just the luxury of the property or also the quality/quantity of gameviewing ?
Coming to Sabi Sands I have checked the famous Mala Mala, Exeter etc... all above $500/person/day, while others like Elephant Plains or Chitwa Chitwa are much cheaper !

My motto is:
less money for lodging = more money for gameviewing.

So in terms of gameviewing how much do I loose if I pick a cheaper accomodation in Sabi Sands, or is just a matter of accomodation itself with similar gameviewing ?
Fabio is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2007, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 39
Check out each of their sites and dig into what they offer. For example some include all drinks while others don't. Not a big issue for non drinkers though. Some have more clients per vehicle. Pay enough and you can have your own vehicle.
See how convenient it is to get to the lodge...via air or driving.
Rates may vary depending on the time of year. Consider this as well as you may not be able to get in when you want too due to their limited availability.
We spent the last several months checking on most of the lodges in Sabi Sands as well as other places before settling on one and making the reservations and flights. Our wants were different from most.. as we wanted to go directly to one place, stay 7nites, enjoy as many games drives and walks as we could then fly directly back. We wanted 5 star accomodations without going crazy with the price. We also wanted to feel that the rangers and trackers were going to be well trained and would take an interest in our stay as well as our safety and well being.
Good luck in your quest, it is alot of fun doing the research and well as a great education but it does get confusing after awhile with all the choices and differences.
Just our 2 cents worth though.
theras is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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Search this board for references to the various camps, you should find lots, that will give you some first hand reports, particularly from people who have visited several locations.
napamatt is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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thank you !!

june is considered as low season in SA. I did already some homework on the web during the last hours. It seems to me, but maybe I am wrong, that the most luxurious and expensive are those located right along the Sand River: Mala Mala, Londolozi, Singita, Exeter, Inyati.

Among the most affordable (for me of course), in addition to the already mentioned Elephant Plains and Chitwa Chitwa I found Djuma, Arathusa, Nkoro, Notten's.

I will further reserch in the forum and in their website for further information. I would appreciate to know if any of you had experience at these properties and how was the gameviewing in june. We were in Etosha, Namibia last year; lots of wildlife including lions, but we did not see the big cats and hippos !
Fabio is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2007, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Dear Fabio,

What is your maximum budget per day?

My first choice will have to be Mala Mala. Although the rooms are a bit older than other lodges, the game viewing certainly makes up for it(accommadation is great, just imagine how good the game viewing is!). If the accommadation is very important to you, I'll opt for Rattrays obove Main Camp. It is truly a BEAUTIFUL lodge. You will not get better game viewing anywhere in the Africa!

Londolozi is situated to the west of Mala Mala. It has 4 camps: Varty, Pioneer, Founders and Tree. All different and different in price. Londolozi also has superb game viewing but Mala Mala just nips it.

Exeter and Inyati are in the Western Sector of the Sabi Sands. It can get a bit crowded while on a game drive. All the lodges share the land there. You actually queue up at a sighting!

Elephant Plains is much cheaper but is a very nice camp. Food and accommadation is on a good standard and game viewing is very good.

Mala Mala still my favourite and will always be my favourite!


JPhermanus is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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as we are going to spend 5-6 nights (2-3 nights at each lodge) for gameviewing in Sabi Sands, we cannot afford Mala Mala ! Having already cut the most expensive lodges, these are my provisional options, divided among North, West and South, but please give comments:

- Inyati (W)+ Elephant Plains (N)
- Inyati (W)+ Notten's (S)
- Elephant Plains (N)+ Notten's (S)

I read many posts saying that in the western part (Inyati)it might be crowded and vehicles just stay on queue waiting for their turn, when game is seen, but would this also be at mid-june ?

Then, how could I transfer from one lodge to another ?
Better to have our own rented car from/to Joburg and within the reserve ?
Fabio is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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I am a big fan of Lion Sands, especially the Ivory Lodge. Its also family owned and operated.

mytmoss is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Notten's is quite small, but I think they specialize in walks, so a couple of days might be good there. Then you should spend more time at the other lodges mentioned. Some people have been to Simbambili and Djuma and enjoyed them. I wouldn't worry too much about the potential for it being crowded, just be thankful you can be there.
napamatt is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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that's me again !

I received an offer also from Thornybush (Serondela and Chapungu), managed by the Simbambili team !
Please comments and help me to decide:

5-6 nights Sabi Sands
3 nights Thornybush
3 nights Kruger

or ?
Fabio is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2007, 11:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I have tried one of the 'expensive' lodges -Lion Sands- and another of the 'cheap' lodges -Notten's- and there is no difference in terms of game viewing. If budget is a question you should try Notten's, it is run by a family, accomodation is very good a game viewing superb. Seeing a hyena cross the lodge while you are having dinner is exciting enough, isn't it?
xisco is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2007, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Hi everyone,

Does anyone know if Kirkman's Camp can accommadate someone that wants to go on a whole day game drive?


JPhermanus is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:20 AM
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thanks to all

yes budget is a question as we definitely do not need luxury accomodation, but we are now reconsidering to try to afford 2 nights at Mala Mala main camp, if it's really worth and 2 nights at a cheaper one. Then the next step is to determine if it is really statistically recorded that southern and western part of Sabi Sands have the best game viewing, with specific interest for leopard and possibly cheetah, compared to the northern part. This is an issue in order where to pick the second lodge. Please comment following options for 2 nights each:

Mala Mala + Inyati
Mala Mala + Elephant Plains or Nkorho
Mala Mala + Nottens

or all 4 nights at Inyati or Notten's ?

Fabio is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2007, 02:01 PM
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well I think I have come to a final decision, which I think it is a good compromise between budget and quality game viewing

2 nights at Mala Mala main camp
2 nights at Inyati
2 nights open for short term deals to compensate the Mala Mala costs !

yr comments or critics are welcome !
Fabio is offline  
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