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Safari in Kruger Nat'l park or surrounding areas - HELP req'd

Safari in Kruger Nat'l park or surrounding areas - HELP req'd

May 17th, 2011, 11:29 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 18
Safari in Kruger Nat'l park or surrounding areas - HELP req'd

Hello,

This is for 2 couples ( mid 60's), they will be travelling to South Africa next week and now want to add a Safari. No planning has been done.

My parents and their best friends. I contacted Tintswalo( as per Fodor recommendation) - no availability.

They want luxury and are strict vegetarians. I'm so confused. Kruger, Sabi Sands, Sabi Sabi, Timbavati... I realize most people plan this out at least one yr. in advance, but now I'm trying to pull something together last minute and could really use some guidance.

Thanks,
Sang
SangeetaD is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 12:06 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
Sang

First of all, you can relax. You can easily pull this off – no worries. One time I had a Delta airlines employee fax me a credit card number from the Atlanta airport as they boarded a flight to Jo’burg on an employee pass that they got that day. They had been on standby for the flight. By the time they landed we had a hotel in Cape Town booked and by the next day their entire trip.

What do you have already booked? In other words, where will they be the morning they can start safari and where are the booked the night they are done with safari? By this I mean do they go back to a hotel somewhere or fly home from somewhere.

The Kruger is a massive national park. The Sabi Sands and Timbavati are collective names for private land on which there are many private safari lodges. For example, Sabi Sands is about 20-25 lodges all adjacent to the Kruger National Park with no fence separating it from the park. The Sabi Sands is also a trade organization of all the reserves inside the Sabi Sands. Sabi Sabi is one of many reserves in the Sabi Sands. Examples of others are Lion Sands, MalaMala, Londolozi, Singita, Ulusaba, Cheetah Plains (to name a few).

You will not be able to “pull this off” tomorrow as Wednesday is a national holiday in South Africa so no res offices are open. But any safari tour operator worth their salt could fan out an email to the reservation offices of 5-10 safari lodges and see who has space for the dates you have in mind. Then they can give you the options on Thursday. They could have a reservation in place for you by mid-day Thursday and then book the flights and transfers needed to get to your lodge. Easy as Sunday morning!

I have been to South Africa 28 times and I have been to most of the lodges in the Sabi Sands and several in the Timbavati. They are mostly all fantastic so you can't go wrong with the private game reserves. Price range from about $300 per night per person at Elephant Plains to about $2,000 per night per person at Singita.

Good luck.

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
Safari_Craig is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 12:29 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Here is a map of Sabi Sand and Timbavati reserve to give you some starting info. From it you can get the names of safari camps next to Kruger, about 30 of them. Like Craig says, get an agent to make multiple inguires. I'd bet you/they can still work something out (with enough $$$).
map with names - http://tomgraham.smugmug.com/MAPS/Ma...7_HnkFD-XL.jpg

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 12:46 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,003
Sangeeta,

As Craig says, you can pull it off. What Craig doesn't say is that you really do need the services of an agent to help you find places with availability and to coordinate the trip.

You would need to find an agent who is knowledgeable about the area. Craig isn't allowed to suggest that you contact his company, but he has demonstrated a good knowledge of southern Africa, and I wouldn't hesitate to use his company. I don't have his e-mail address, but I'm sure that if you go to www.travelbeyond.com you could find a way to contact him. (Or, if you know another knowledgeable agent, contact them.)

Don Topaz
DonTopaz is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 02:44 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
Contact mtbeds.co.za. They'll find availability last minute and should be able to get you a good deal plus can help with transportation. Or contact any of the other camps you are interested in and ask for help. All have email and will get back to you ASAP. Or contact Craig. How much luxury? Singita/Londolozi ridiculous (the Ritz) or Mala Mala a bit over the top (waldorf)? Or would something nice and comfortable but no hot rock massage? All are available at all price points.

Elephant Plains has availability online for next week. I just checked. You won't have any trouble finding someplace.

As long as you tell them there are vegans in the group, it will not be a problem.
christabir is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 03:27 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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christabir,

Normally I'd agree with your suggestion of contacting the camps directly or contacting mtbeds. The problem that I'd see in this case is the logistics, especially in terms of getting to, from, and between camps, especially if any air travel is involved.
DonTopaz is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 03:57 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Agree with DT, the logistics, the many details on this short notice are best handled/packaged by someone with lots of experience. I'd contact Craig B. ASAP.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 04:27 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
mtbeds does that.So do some camps. Just giving the option because it can be a great deal.
christabir is offline  
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