Safari Lodges--Ngala Tented

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Aug 16th, 2004, 05:20 AM
  #1
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Safari Lodges--Ngala Tented

After reading all the excellent reviews and input - particularly from Safarinut and Rocco --I am questioning a booking go2africa made for my wife and I in late November. We are rather locked into dates 21st to 24th.

They put us in Ngala tented camps for 4 nights and I do not see anybody referencing any information bad or good on this location.

Can anyone vouch for Ngala tented camp or should I bail and try to get reservations at locations per the recommendations of all the fine posts I have read from Safarinut et al. (Ulusaba, MalaMala, Simbambili, Londolozi).

Thanks very much for any help or advice.

We will probably only go to S Africa this one time so we are looking more for the best experience rather than lowest price - not that the 2 are always mutually exlusive.

Thanks for any input.
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Aug 16th, 2004, 08:42 AM
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sandi
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Did you request any specific lodges in particular areas, or did go2africa simply select Ngala?

While I haven't stayed here, Ngala Tents are about 5-years old. And isn't it nice to know that Oprah Winfrey was one of their first guests - as told to me by a tour operator at that time! Just the information missing from my life! From the photos I've seen, the tents and facilities are lovely, but Ngala is located on the Timbavati Private Reserve versus most of the places you referred to that are on the Sabi Sands Reserve.

However, I believe those who go on safari should spend a few nights under canvas to get a real/better safari experience. But I don't believe you have to spend 4-nts here or elsewhere (especially if this is your first safari), rather have a combination of canvas and lodges.

Inasmuch as I'm not familiar with which lodges in the category of those you listed, are at Timbavati, I would inquire of go2africa for information of comparable lodgings here. The reason I mention staying on the Timbavati Reserve if you choose a few nights at Ngala is that the transfer from here to Sabi Sand is a long one.

If go2africa cannot come up with a satisfactory alternative, have them provide you with what you want - if you want to be on Sabi Sand, then ask for that.
 
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Aug 16th, 2004, 09:23 AM
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Ngala Tented camp is small (6 tents on platforms) but deluxe. It is located on the Timbavati River. Each tent is very comfortable and has has a porch with chairs and a tub, enclosed bathroom as well as an outdoor shower. We had a kingsize bed and enjoyed the experience of the night noises and hearing the baboons jumping on the canvas during the day.

Celeste the manager runs a tight operation. The food is exceptional and beautifully served. There is a lap pool next to the river.

Best of all were the game drives. Our ranger Marlon Dale was brilliant and fun driving the vehicle and tracking lions with the help of our Shangaan tracker, Adam. We spent 3 nights here and the highlight was seeing 14 wild dogs on two separate days along with the rest of the Big Five.

Ngala Tented Camp is very exclusive and you are fortunate to book it.
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Aug 21st, 2004, 12:11 PM
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Trisha is quiet correct, Ngala tented is a onderful wonderful camp, it is run by conservation Corporation who run Londolozi in the Sabi sands and it si fantsatic, you agent was very good with her suggestion and you will not be sorry. Besides the biggest herd of breeding elephant ?250 was seen at Ngala as I landed!
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Aug 23rd, 2004, 07:33 AM
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We stayed at Singita Boulders and Ngala tented on our last safari.

I loved Ngala. The accomodations were spotless - not at the level of Singita, but we also only paid $750 per night at Ngala as opposed to $2000 for Singita.

To be honest, I thought the food at Ngala was about as good as Singita. The setting was very intimate, and Celeste, the manager, does a great job of creating a jovial atmosphere.

Although game viewing was slightly better up at Singita, I will say that the Rangers at Ngala went above and beyond, and we saw the big five while at Ngala. The rangers were also able to get us a lot closer to the kills, if for sheer tenacity or something else, I don't know.

At night the animals come right up to the tents; I watched an enormous water buffalo grazing right outside my "window", and had a hyena walk right by me as I stood on the front porch. The couple in the tent next door had a bit of excitement in their afternoon nap when a bunch of baboons jumped on their tent and one side caved in.

Seemed to me that Ngala had more of a 30-40 something crows, and Singita had more of a 40-60 something crowd. I imagine the pricing has something to do with that. Anyway, would be interested to know what you decide, and what you think of Ngala if you do stay with the itinerary!
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Aug 24th, 2004, 09:26 AM
  #6
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Thanks to all for input.

Buffy -- I have narrowed down to 2 choices -- 2nights Singita Ebony (Boulders was booked for my dates in late Nov)and 2 nights at Singita Lebombo. Or 2 nights Ngala and 2 Singita. Do you know if the transfer is easy from either Singita location to Ngala? Also - would you have a recommendation --all 4 nights at the 2 Singitas or 2 in Ngala- 2 in Singita (which one?).

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Aug 25th, 2004, 06:08 AM
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Jrwood -

I wouldn't do Ngala after Singita. If at all possible, do Singita last. I know this is difficult as Singita tends to fill up fast.

They really are apples and oranges, and though I absolutely loved Ngala, there is no way it can hold it's own with Singita...kind of like comparing a St Regis hotel to a Sheraton. It'll be a hard landing back in reality.

Ngala is very rustic but more intimate than Singita-a great way to start a trip...yet nothing can compare with being utterly pampered and catered to by unseen hands.

If you absolutely have no maneuvering room, then I'd probably do both Singitas.
As for transfers, they're as simple as hopping on a plane from one lodge's airstrip and being deposited at the next lodge's airstrip. I used go2africa last year, and they did a fantastic job with arranging all transfers seamlessly.
If I'm not mistaken, Ngala and Singita Lebombo share the same territory, and Singita Ebony is a bit farther north, more lush and great animal viewing.

I'm currently working with them for our Oct/Nov trip this year. I'm switching everything around on our vacation just to try and make Singita our very last stop.

Either way, you will not be able to go wrong - sounds like you have an amazing trip planned! Let us know what you decide.
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Aug 25th, 2004, 01:12 PM
  #8
sandi
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I always believe in "save the best for last" and "Africa isn't Africa until you've spent some time under canvas."

I'd do Ngala first and then Singita (Ebony).

Ngala and Lebombo, both within Kruger Park are north of Singita Bolders and/or Ebony which are in Sabi Sand Private Reserve.
 
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Aug 26th, 2004, 04:31 PM
  #9
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Thanks again for the responses

Buffy --I think your apples and oranges got me to go to the 2 Singitas for all 4 nights --We most likely will only be in SA this once so we will go to Singita for 4 nights --visit friends in Fancourt 2 nights (near George) then spend the last 3 nights in Franschhoek/Capetown. I already wish we had more time but unfortunately I still have to work to pay for all this so back to Maine after only 9 nights.

Thanks again
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