Singita, Kings Pool, Mombo

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Apr 25th, 2004, 08:40 AM
  #41
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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divewop:

Charging residents less may be unfair but you have to remember that people living in Africa are generally paid third world salaries and would never be able to enjoy their own country's wonders.

A great example I've encountered was on a visit to Victoria Falls in 2000.
Standing at the entrance to the Falls I noticed an information board spelling out the tarrifs.

A Zimbabwean resident was charged $5 to see the Falls and I as a RSA resident$30,UK resident was charged $60.I am not sure about my figures but the bottom line was that people were charged different rates.

Seeing a Zimbabwean man bringing his whole family to the falls was a great picture.Imagine they were to charge this man $60,probably a months salary,I don't think he or his family would ever be able to see the falls.

Same thing in RSA ,even at these ''special'' rates I promise you it is still very expensive for them and only a few could afford it anyway.

Also remember to qualify for these rates you have to be a resident thus
enjoying every other bonus in RSA:

Financing cars at 17 percent,house loans at13percent interest etc.

Please let them enjoy their special rates.


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Apr 25th, 2004, 12:08 PM
  #42
 
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Wow, I guess in order to go to South African lodges right now, I need to take a South African with me, at least for the first couple nights, allowing the South African resident to book the whole itinerary to get SA resident pricing. The SA's bonus is a couple free nights stay before I boot him/her and carry on with the rest of my itinerary at a great discount!

Too complicated. I will be staying out of South Africa until these prices come back down to earth.

Safarinut, wow, I am sorry that your last safari was SO expensive. While I have no doubt that Londolozi and Singita are two of the finest lodges in the world, I still do not think that their prices are justified.

Regarding Zambia, it is really not that difficult to get there and only spend a few nights. It is possible to fly direct from London to Lusaka on British Airways, and then it is only a one hour or less air transfer to wherever you want to go, be it Lower Zambezi National Park, Kafue National Park or South Luangwa National Park.

I believe in future years that I will go the LAX-London-Lusaka route, but for this year I had to start in Europe since I am vacationing in Italy before going to Zambia this year. I will use future opportunities to spend a little time in London or other closeby European cities.

I know that if I do have a great time in Zambia this year that I will have a hard time justifying $13,000+ for 14 nights of Botswanan and Livingstone lodging and transfers when this year I am only paying under $5,000 for 11 nights of Zambian lodging and transfers.

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Apr 25th, 2004, 01:56 PM
  #43
OSC
 
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Rocco - I stayed at Singita in 2002 and am going back again next year despite the higher rates ... so it's inaccurate to say that no one returns to Singita.
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Apr 25th, 2004, 07:58 PM
  #44
 
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OSC,

I stand corrected. Where else do you plan on visiting on your next African trip?
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Apr 26th, 2004, 04:14 PM
  #45
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Rocco-
Our itinerary for next year is as follows:
5 nights Cape Town - Table Bay Hotel or Twelve Apostles
2 nights Hermanus - The Marine
2 nights Knysna - Phantom Forest
2 nights George - Fancourt
1 night Jo'burg
4 nights Singita
1 night Jo'burg
3 nights Jack's Camp
4 nights Little Mombo

Combining Mombo and Singita at their current rates is a bit ridiculous, but I'm not sure if I will be able to convince my husband to visit South Africa again. We fell in love with Singita during our first visit, but we were only there for 2 nights. We haven't been to Mombo before, but have heard amazing reports on the game viewing, especially big cats.

Enjoy your upcoming Zambia trip. I look forward to reading your trip report when you return.
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Apr 26th, 2004, 04:39 PM
  #46
 
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OSC,

I just have one question about your upcoming trip...CAN I COME WITH?!

That is one amazing itinerary! If your husband doesn't want to go back to Africa, I am available for hire as your personal bodyguard, but I will require lodging.
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Apr 26th, 2004, 05:27 PM
  #47
 
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OSC,

Just in case you are not aware of this place, Tsala Tree Lodge may be a nice alternative to Phantom Forest. I have heard one travel agent go as far to tell me that Tsala Tree Lodge is Singita without the animals.

Here is the link:
http://www.tsala.co.za/Gallery.htm
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Apr 27th, 2004, 06:02 AM
  #48
 
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Your agent is right about Botswana but you are in off season and going to one of the most expensive (and best properties in Africa) you need to find out how the wildlife movement will be during this time of the year. It is low season..so your rate will be great but not necessarily your wildlife viewing. I believe that game will be better in Singita in December.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 06:18 AM
  #49
 
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alana,

While I have you on the line, just let me note that my Alaska comment was a joke. I, too, am a business owner and believe that you have every right to take a break wherever you choose.

I think that you and Born Free are to be commended for promising a refund to Divewop. Has her refund been mailed out already or credited to her credit card? Also, is there any truth that the guide was given the home address of Divewop, your customer? That would be very disconcerting for me, if I had a bad experience, complained and now my address has been given to the guide I lodged the complaint against.

Please let us know when Divewop's refund has been provided and if it was for 100% of her trip, 50% of her trip or whatever was the amount that you ultimately thought was fair. I think that will go a long way in restoring how Born Free is viewed on this board.

Thanks.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 08:02 AM
  #50
 
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Roccco - thank you for your words. Part of Sandy's refund is being processed today. The refund for the Selous portion will be forthcoming.

There are many things I would like to say to you but will not on this board. Remember there truly are 3 sides of a story.

I would never never give out a clients address - it is not in our best interest as a company or for our clients privacy plus I know the nature of most guides. It is my understanding that her husband gave the guide the address. If this is not the truth then maybe the guide took it off the luggage tag - that is the only way I can think of. We put in our documents not to put your home address on luggage tags. This is a good general policy.

Must get to my current travellers at this point.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 08:22 AM
  #51
 
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Excuse me folks, I'm a little perturbed right now.

Alana,
Enough is enough. My husband DID NOT give our guide our home address. How dare you say that he did! Why do you continue to assume things and accuse my husband of things without having anything to base it on? I had asked you via email long ago how he got our address. And it certainly was NOT from our luggage tags.

How do you think we felt when we received the letter from K? Why don't you try to put yourself in our shoes for just a minute?

If you had ever picked up the phone to call us after the trip, you would have found out everything you needed to know. You decided to only communicate via email. That is not very comforting considering we counted on Born Free and hoped you would be there for us in the end like you were in the beginning when you eagerly took our money.

So now there are 3 sides to the story. That is quite interesting. I do not believe you were with us. Or the owner of the sub-company. If you would have been you would been appalled at the situation.

You are free to email Rocco or anyone else you want and tell them the 3 sides to the story. Matter of fact, I'd like to know what those 3 sides are as well.

You admit that Born Free did not serve us well. Why don't you leave it at that and quit accusing my husband and I of doing things that we had no part of.

By the way, it's nice to know that you tell everyone on this forum that you are processing the check to us without even having the courtesy to contact us to let us know. How's that for being considerate.

I will be waiting for the check as I've done for now for several months.

If you have anything more to say on this matter, I would appreciate it if you would send it to me at my email address and leave the rest of these folks out of it. If you continue to post on this forum, I will continue to reply on this forum.




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Apr 27th, 2004, 04:30 PM
  #52
 
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At the risk of sounding like a complete hypocrite, I must say that Singita Lebombo and the neighboring Singita Sweni look absolutely fabulous. They are each included in the latest U.S. edition of Conde Nast Traveller in the "100 Hottest" new properties.

However, it does not change the fact that even with the Rand declining slightly against the dollar in recent days/weeks, that it would still cost $931 per person per night sharing and an additional $241 per person just for an airport transfer by road! The transfer alone is more than I am paying for any of my nights at the Zambian lodges I am staying.

So, for three nights, airport transfer included, it will cost $3,034 per person sharing.

What I find very peculiar is that a road transfer is $241 but as an incentive to stay at Singita Boulders or Ebony, as well, it only costs $95 USD for a FLIGHT!

I will agree that Singita is the most beautiful lodge around, especially Lebombo and Sweni with their location high up overlooking whatever river that is below. However, until I am pulling down mid six figures, I will resist the urge to stay at Singita, instead opting for more reasonably priced lodging.

For a holiday that included Singita and other top notch lodging, I really think that a budget of $20,000+ would be required, double what I am paying this year. I guess that would be fine if I had limited time and unlimited funds. Otherwise, however, with a few weeks to spare I do think that I would prefer a longer time in the bush at very nice (but not $900 pppns) accomodations.

I do strongly recommend that anybody going to Singita and another game lodge save Singita for last, otherwise everything else is a letdown.

Never thought I would have to budget for a special holiday, but I do think that Singita's new lodges (HYPOCRITE!) definitely fall in that category. Not an every year destination for me, but I sure would like to visit Singita Sweni and/or Singita Lebombo, especially since they are seemingly completely separated from the rest of Kruger and definitely from Sabi Sand. If I am correct, I believe that these lodges nearly border Mozambique.

As if I wasn't salivating enough after seeing them in Conde Nast Traveller, I need a sponge after reading this on Singita's website, describing Lebombo and Sweni:

Singita Lebombo is enchantment in a savage setting, a glimpse of wildest Africa. Rangers say it?s the largest concentration of game they?ve seen in the Kruger National Park.

The area is marked by its diversity, from the leopards and lion that own the open spaces to the herds engaged in the ebb and flow of an archaic migration. Each creature is an intrinsic part of a precarious cycle, from the hundreds of species of birds to the flora and intriguing insect life. The days and nights here are shared with the animals, the sounds and smells of the African bush.

It's not too early to start dreaming, is it???

Late September?, 2006 --- Rand = 13.5 to 1 USD!

Cape Town, 4 nights at Cape Grace or Twelve Apostles.

Hermanus, Whale Festival, 3 nights at Marine Hermanus Hotel. Perhaps a great white shark cage dive is also possible during this time of the year?

Johannesburg, 1 night at Michelangelo.

Mala Mala, 3 nights.

Singita Sweni or Singita Lebombo, 3 nights.

Johannesburg, 1 additional night at Michelangelo.

Total cost of this trip if Rand is not at the desired 13.5 to 1 USD but instead at say, 7.5 to 1 USD:

4 nights Cape Grace = $1,500 USD

3 nights Marine Hermanus = $1,000 USD

1 night Johannesburg at Michelangelo in Junior Suite = $375

3 nights Mala Mala = $3,000 USD

3 nights Singita Lebombo/Sweni = $5,000 USD

1 final night Johannesburg at Michelangelo in Junior Suite to soak in all the details of my amazing trip = $375 USD

Air and road transfers = $1,250 USD

Total price of 15 night South African luxury = $12,500 USD + international airfare.

Somehow I think that scaredtodeath would much rather spend $12,500 on 15 nights in South Africa than $5,000 on 11 nights in the Zambian bush! Ultimately, this is only $2,000 more than my holiday this year, although it is six nights shorter and doesn't include time in Europe. Still, it is completely possible, even this year if I was not going to Italy.

Jeez, I feel like I am late to the party and now want to see Lebombo/Sweni. Did I bump my head or am I just such a slave to Conde Nast Traveller that because I saw them there, now I must go?! That is what happened the first time around. Wish they would just throw Puku Ridge in there so I could call it a day!

Perhaps I can leave 10 nights ahead of time and enjoy Zambia solo, before making my way to South Africa. Now THAT would be an amazing trip!

Perhaps I should change my name from Roccco to Selllout?!

2004 - Zambia

2005 - Botswana

2006 - South Africa

Boy, I need a vacation!
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Apr 27th, 2004, 04:50 PM
  #53
 
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(And) Mid September 2006 (SOLO?)

3 nights Tena Tena (Robin Pope Safaris), South Luangwa NP, Zambia

3 nights Chichele Presidential Lodge, South Luangwa NP, Zambia

3 nights Chiawa, Lower Zambezi NP, Zambia

2 nights Old Mondoro, Lower Zambezi NP, Zambia

And then onto the following meeting up with my better half:

4 nights Cape Grace

3 nights Marine Hermanus

1 night Johannesburg at Michelangelo in Junior Suite

3 nights Mala Mala

3 nights Singita Lebombo/Sweni

1 final night Johannesburg at Michelangelo in Junior Suite

I figure the time in Zambia would not be more than $364 per night including transfers, adding $4,000 to the price, and allowing me to die happy until next time I need to outdo myself.

We only pass through this earth once, right?

The really sad part of this all is that once I put my mind to something I usually make it happen, even if I neglect everything else to do so. So, now that the seed is planted, I am in trouble!

Sorry for the rambling and monologue. Hopefully I will get to the airport before I get to the sanitarium.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 06:46 PM
  #54
 
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Rocco, you are TOO FUNNY!!!
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Apr 27th, 2004, 06:51 PM
  #55
 
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Rocco, please schedule a complete physical and possible a full body scan...what has gotten into to you?!!
I almost fell off my chair reading about your fascination with Singita Lebombo and Sweni. I am in full agreement that visiting one of those properties would be close to heaven. Let's hope the dollar strengthens a bit.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 07:17 PM
  #56
 
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Christo - please tell me about Duma Tau. We are going there in two weeks.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 07:23 PM
  #57
 
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Girlpolo,

I had taken glimpses of Lebombo before, but had never really thoroughy scoured the website the way that I did today. Before last night, I was not even aware of Sweni which looks like a more intimate experience with only, what?, five chalets.

Then, magically, when performing the calculations, I discovered that I would really not be paying much more at all to go to Cape Town/Hermanus/Joburg/Mala Mala/Singita Sweni than I am paying for a very average guided tour of Italy and my 11 nights in Zambia. While I know I will love Zambia (just received word from Fodorite friends that returned from Robin Pope Safaris and Tongabezi and had the trip of a lifetime and these people have been everywhere), and I will have fun in Italy, I am prepared to just accept the fact that I will be staying in 3* accomodations in Italy. Not my thing, but this is for scaredtodeath so that she may enjoy herself with her family before we make our way to Zambia.

Hey, with stupid lodges like Djuma Vuyatela charging $530 pppns in high season, may as well splurge and stay at Singita Sweni for $930 pppns. In the end we are talking about $1200 USD pps to ensure an incredible time.

Oh how I would love to spend ten nights in Zambia before beginning the trip of a lifetime (jeez, I am even becoming cliche) to South Africa. Both would be in the perfect seasons, allowing for the very best game viewing in Zambia in mid-September, then nice enough weather in Cape Town in late September, followed by the very fun sounding Whale Festival in Hermanus, and ending with Mala Mala and Singita Sweni. I can just imagine jumping on that treadmill one day and just going non-stop until the endorphins and runners high kicks in while I enjoy Africa right in front of my very eyes! I do wish I could copy and paste a picture of this amazing looking gym but I cannot.

I really do think that I will miss South Africa this year, but it just wasn't in the cards as Italy took up the time that I would need to also visit South Africa.

Really, I am just struck by the beauty of both Lebombo and Sweni. I mean they make Boulders and Ebony look sad in comparison, although in reality Boulders and Ebony are in a class all their own.

Has anybody here yet been to Lebombo or Sweni? If not, when are any of you going?

Sometimes all it takes is an open mind, and apparently I was pretty closed minded about the Singita that I thought I knew, but this is a different Singita altogether. As long as I am able to visit Zambia for a few nights before I go to South Africa, I think that this would quite possibly be the best trip I have thought up yet.
I just feel like there has been some sort of revelation and that a great secret has been exposed to me, knowing both about the beauty of Zambia and then to be able to ride it right into the South Africa itinerary I have in mind would just be mind-blowing.
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Apr 27th, 2004, 09:58 PM
  #58
 
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Roccco:

Now you're talking!!!!

What a great itinerary that would be.
At the end of this year the new Harrys camp at Mala Mala will be completed and management said it's going to be super luxurious with spa's,plunge pools etc,but very small and intimate.

I will be one of their first visitors,cant wait!

Singita Lebombo/Sweni is also an absolute must in my plans.I have driven through this concession numerous times and the one thing I remember is the large herds of animals that we always saw there,just a pitty KNP didn't allow Singita to build plunge pools at the suites due to water restrictions.

Anyway my next Safari will definitely
be a RSA and Zambia combo.

6 nights Mala Mala [new Harry's]

3 nights Singita Sweni/Lebombo[probably Sweni]

3 nights Chiawa Camp

3 nights Sausage Tree Camp

Leaving The Luangwa Valley for a second trip maybe to combine with Botswana.
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Apr 28th, 2004, 08:26 AM
  #59
 
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went to lebomba last june. Absolutely fantastic. Not only was the accomadation, service and food excellent, we also had excellent game sightings, particularly a pride of 21 lions. We would all happily go back there
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Apr 28th, 2004, 09:58 AM
  #60
 
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Safarinut - have you been to MalaMala? I am thinking of going this year and staying at Mashatu for 4 or 5 nights and moving over to MalaMala for 2 or 3 nights. Is the game viewing good there?

Roccco - I wish I knew someone with half of your enthusiasm for Africa so I'd have a travel partner and not have to pay the single supplements! I don't really mind travelling alone but the single supp at MalaMala is $250 per night - so stay two nights solo for the price of three nights pp double.
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