Feb 28th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Check out their new website!!

Loads of new info!

safarinut is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 03:35 PM
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Isn't this interesting?

Singita reserves the right to amend their rates once the rand starts to fall?

Will they be just as generous if the dollar remain weak!!!!?

Why not just quote in dollars or is playing the currency game just too much fun?

Well read the following from their website and tell me what you think:

Please note that these accommodations tariffs are quoted in Rands (ZAR) and are subject to change. The Singita Group reserves the right to amend tariffs in the event of currency fluctuations, at the time of publication the rate of exchange is ZAR 7.20 / US $ 1.00 and is subject to review should the exchange rate rise above ZAR 9.00 / US $ 1.00.

Very interesting!
safarinut is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Just a little food for thought. To see Singita this year the same way that I originally saw it, I would need to cough up $5,975 USD for a three night stay with a charter flight from JNB-Singita on Fed Air. My reaction...ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND?!

That will not only cover my 11 night safari in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi but all my air transfers and even my return (r/t) flight from LAX - London!

Even more disturbing is that the Rand is weaker right now than it has been in months, at 7.3 ZAR to 1 USD. Not too long ago it was 6.3, meaning that the $5,975 USD amount would have been about 15% higher or about $6,800 USD for a 3 night stay at Singita and Fed Air transfer, which I will add was THE SINGLE WORST FLIGHT that I have ever experienced...we honestly thought that we may die on the way back to Johannesburg on a four passenger plane, which is mostly responsible for STD's apprehension to fly small planes.

More power to those that can afford to stay at Singita, but it was about 40% less when I went, and I will gladly have my 11 night safari, air transfers and even air from LAX - Europe for the same price (with my air from Europe - Africa nearly free, taxes only, with frequent flier miles).

If nothing else, grab the 5 night stay at Hamilton's Tented Camp on Luxury Link for $2,300 USD instead, and use the extra money to treat yourself to 8 or 9 days in Cape Town and either Victoria Falls or the Garden Route!

Roccco is offline  
Feb 28th, 2004, 04:22 PM
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I just feel it is unfair that Singita quotes in Rand and then covers itself either way.

I don't know of any other lodge in Sabi Sands that does this.

safarinut is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 109

Would you please elaborate on the the horrific plane ride. My family of four will be flying from JNB to Skukuza, and then later to Phinda, and I think both flights are on Fed Air. So my specific questions are:

1) What kind of plane did you fly? Was it a four-seater including the pilot? Or four true passengers?

2) How was the weather?

3) What exactly was so bad about the flight?

I'm hoping that because there are four of us it will compel them to use a larger plane, but who knows? Please tell me what you can so that my family can kill me now rather than waiting until we're in SA.
Steveboy is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 08:14 AM
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My flgiht over to Singita was perfect on an eight passenger Fed Air plane. The pilot was very nice, they passed out tasty little sandwiches and soft drinks/bottled water and it was as smooth as any flight I've ever flown.

However, on the way back, it was a different story. One thing that comes to mind is that it was a warm day returning (March, 2002) and there was the worst turbulence that I have ever experienced. The pilot was an obnoxious young man in his mid to late 20's and he never gave the four passengers one word to reassure us that everything was fine.

I mean it felt like the plane was dropping 50' feet at a time (within two second spans) and this must have happened 20 times during the flight.
The thing that really pissed me off about the pilot was that after the flight when my wife asked him why the flight was so rough, he looked at her like she was an idiot and that this was a perfectly normal flight.

I guess it all depends on the weather and the pilot. We would have felt a lot better had the pilot just offered some words of encouragement that we were just experiencing turbulence and that everything was fine.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 109

Thanks for the info. This is a real dilemma for me. My wife gets easily air sick and my kids are not the best flyers either. Yet I want to minimize the travel time between camps, particularly between Lion Sands and Phinda where I will lose most of a day if we fly into Durban and then make the three hour drive to Phinda. The kind of flight you describe could ruin at least the day, if not the trip. There's never an easy answer.
Steveboy is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 02:31 PM
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That is a tough call. The only way to be safe may be to spend one night in Johannesburg between Phinda and Lion Sands. Personally, I would not think of that necessarily as a drawback, as Sandton Square is really a fun place with plenty of restaurants/shopping/entertainment. The Michelangelo Hotel would be your best bet.

Good luck.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 15
As A pilot and one who has flown throughout South Africa to various camps including Singitas Lebombo, I can assure you that the planes are modern, well equipped and professionally flown. The so called bumps are normal thermal activity caused by the heating of the earth and are of no more concern than driving over a bumpy road. Rocco's pilot may have not had the best bedside manner but I would hate to see you alter your plans for fear of flying as this should be the least of your concerns during the trip.
B_Eames is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 07:09 PM
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I agree that Steveboy should probably stick with his original plans as the chances for a "flight from hell" are probably not the 50/50 percentage that I encountered. However, out of respect for his wife and children, he really should consider the possibility that there may be a lot of turbulence, although I have not flown the same route that he will be flying.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 1st, 2004, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 686
Just a small correction to Roccco's quoted exchange rate of 7.3. The Rand/US$ "interbank" exchange rate has been below 7 since October, except for mid to late January. At present it is between about 6.47 and 6.74, depending on whether you are buying or selling. (The easiest way to tell which figure to use, is that it is the one that will give you the worst answer!)

But the issue is that by making that disclaimer, Singata makes it obvious even to a non-economist such as me, that they reserve the right to milk the tourists who are visiting S.A. with foreign currency. Because their costs are not linked to foreign currency, they are surely all Rand based. That really is sad for the industry in general.
ArthurSA is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2004, 01:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Turbulence is a lot more noticable in small planes but doesn't worry many of us at all - I am not sure what Rocco is implying with his reference to consideration to wife/ kids but this wife found all the small plane flights exhilarating, including the one with severe turbulence.
Kavey is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2004, 11:10 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Yes, in my case I can handle the flights (I concentrate on looking for animals below) but the husband has a hard time. However we flew in and out of Singita (and other camps) and never had a flight as bad as Rocco's. The pilots were very capable and sensitive, always looking back to ask us for a thumbs up. Some of the planes can be small though (once we were in a 5 seater) and it's hard to guarantee the exact plane ahead as these are more like taxis. It helps to have medicine if you tend to get airsick.
Clematis is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 06:30 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 48
To Steveboy, with love--

Re: Fabulous Fed Air

Don't you think you should have posed the Fed Air question to me???

I will, this one time, overlook this apparent oversight and take the time to some very helpful information.

1. The pilot we had on the 8-seat was VERY nice--about 6'2 brown hair and looked like a more handsome Hugh Grant. He was very comforting indeed. In fact he is the boyfriend of a gal that works at Singita, although I forget in what capacity.

2. If your family is the LEAST bit queasy about flying in terms of nervousness and motion sickness, I highly recommend using Dramamine 45 minutes prior to flying. The quality of life with this little yellow pill is absolutely riveting. Without it I COULD NOT FLY. PERIOD.

2. On the way back, however, our pilot was equally handsome. 5'11 Blond, Blond hair, blue eyes--Hitler's quintessential Aryan (sp?) He was basically non-responsive, didn't say a word and was flying the plane and chowing on a mayonaise sandwhich as if he were playing fighter-pilot Nintendo. If you get this pilot, refuse to go on the plane.

When it comes to technical issues like these, involving wives, know that my dear Roccco will always give you the watered-down version.

scaredtodeath is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 109
To Scaredtodeath, with deepest apologies:

Of course I thought first of you when contemplating the endless amusement of turbulent air and brooding Aryans. However, wishing to spare you the memory, I posed my question to your beloved Roccco. Having now been duly chastened, I shall not so err again. As for the Dramamine, it ascends to the top of the list, just above underwear and digital memory cards. An excellent suggestion indeed.

Steveboy is offline  

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