Singita, Seychelles, Mauritius

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Jul 7th, 2004, 05:02 AM
  #1
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Singita, Seychelles, Mauritius

Am just beginning to plan our trip this year - hubs said to pick anywhere in the world. So many places to see still, but I can't Singita out of my mind.

I'm thinking of doing a week at a beach, then flying over to Singita for a few days. What are the nicest beaches in reasonable proximity? How do the Seychelles compare to Maruitius? Mozambique?

Finally, are Singita's prices absolutely fixed? Does it benefit at all to book through a travel agent vs booking directly?
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Jul 7th, 2004, 05:46 AM
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sandi
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First of all you have to figure out into where you are flying? Into South Africa, Johannesburg or direct to the Seychelles or Mauritius. Then you have to figure out what day there a re flights to the other. There aren't flights daily. Also, what time of year are you planning your trip, can determine weather, quality of game viewing and price of accommodations.

Haven't been to Mauritius, but have to The Seychelles and loved it. The islands are so pristine and non-crowded. If you decide on The Seychelles, consider spending 4-5 days on Praslin from where you can do great day-trips including a ferry trip to LaDigue Island (no cars allowed here), then 2-days on Mahe. There are hotels at many price ranges on both of these islands. If you really want to splurge you can try for North Island or Fregate, but these are very expensive in the range of $1500-$2000/nt.

As to Singita, their prices are currently running about $1,000/nt/person (maybe a bit higher). Their four properties are small, accommodating about 18 guests each, so you must book early as they always seem to be full.

There are many posts on this board about game lodges in Kruger (Singita being only one) that are comparable to Singita, but in most cases less money, though not always that much less. On the first page of this board just type in "Singita" or "Kruger Park" and you'll find the posts appearing on the left where you can read plenty of information.

You can also do a search for the "Seychelles" and "Mauritius" and decide which better suits your needs.

You might want to check the following site:
www.e-gnu.com
where most lodges/camps in the African countries are listed and shown with photos, details, and prices. To find camps in Sabi Sand at Kruger, the area to select is "Mpumalanga" district.
 
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Jul 7th, 2004, 08:20 AM
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Krystan,

I am also a Singita veteran, but if you are not interested in spending $2,200 USD per night, I would suggest that you consider going to Chichele Presidential Lodge in Zambia. Other than the room, Chichele surpasses Singita in every department, in my opinion. The room at Chichele is still a very spacious 800 sq. ft. and comparable to a hotel suite.

www.star-of-africa.com

Chichele is only $900 USD per night and the service is incredible, as well as the game viewing and the dining.

I would strongly suggest a 4 night stay at Chichele and it is well worth the 5 hour transfer from Joburg (2.5 hours to Lusaka, 1.25 hour layover, 1.25 hour flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe).

4 nights at Chichele, with flights would cost around $2,400 pp.

4 nights at Singita, with flights would cost around $4,800 pp.

Just think of it as getting Mauritius for free.

As for as travel agents go, the best priced one that I have come across is Taga Safaris (www.tagasafaris.co.za) and they now offer a low price guarantee, offering to beat any other price out there. More than likely you will save off the rack rates.

I have a photo album from my stay at Chichele last month posted on this forum. If interested, just do a search for "Rocco" and you will see a link to my photo album posted.

Zambia is a totally different experience than the much more commercialized Sabi Sand, and well worth the visit.
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Jul 7th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Krystan,

I also wanted to point out that www.luxurylink.com has a 5 night package in a Hillside Villa at the Banyan Tree Seychelles for $4,675 (about a $2,400 savings over rack rate).

5 nights at Banyan Tree in Seychelles
2 nights at Michelangelo Hotel in Joburg
4 nights at Chichele Presidential Lodge

Grand Total = $11,000 USD? + air to Africa.

Good luck.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Thanks for the responses and the websites, guys - I remember perusing those websites last year wishing I'd found them sooner. I've got them bookmarked now.

Sandi, we'll be going in mid-October, dates flexible. I'd prefer to do the island first to sleep off the jet lag before arriving at Singita. I have an inquiry in to the Luxury Link re: Banyan Tree Seychelles. Is it difficult to fly into Seychelles? How tough is it to get from the islands to Singita? My husband loses patience with too much time spent traveling/charters/etc.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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We were (are still, I guess) looking into combining the Seychelles with our Singita stay next year. As I understand it, all major flights are out of Johannesburg. So you would fly from Johannesburg to Mahe (Seychelles) notstop for about 5 - 6 hours. Seychelles Air prices these flights at $600 coach. If you are not staying on Mahe, you would also need to catch another flight to the island of your choice.

Then, you would fly back to Johannesburg to get your charter flight (one and a half hours) to Singita.

It would be a great combination! And one that we are still considering.

We are torn between seeing more of Africa (Botswana, etc.) or going onto the Seychelles.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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P.S. If you find out more about the Luxury Link package, please post for us.

Thanks!
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Jul 8th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Ha, Ericka! I just posted an inquiry for you before I read your response to this thread. I will share info as I find out more.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 10:13 AM
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I was intrigued and found what looks to be the same as the luxurylink package at Seychelles Magic for $4500. 5 nights in a hillside pool villa with breakfast, taxes, service charges. Seems to be identical to me. I called them and it appears real. Airfare from J'burg they quoted at $535.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 03:38 PM
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NoFlyZone,
Did you happen to notice how long the package is good for. We would not be traveling until Sept. of next year.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 03:52 PM
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Nevermind. Just saw for myself. The offer is good until mid-December this year. Still, The Banyan Tree seems to have good offers quite often.
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Jul 8th, 2004, 05:15 PM
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Krystan - you don't mention from where you're traveling - the States or Europe? And if you prefer to do the Seychelles first, then that's fine, but 4-days is nowhere enough time to enjoy the islands. Also, as regards the luxurylinks package for the Hillside Villas, do a search on this board as last year someone, maybe Babette, stayed there and mentioned something about the Hillside Villas. Believe it had something to do with the fact that the Villas were way too far from anything and you had to walk down to the beach. Also, Banyan is located on the southern point of Mahe, which tends to be very windy and if you're into snorkling and scuba, the coral is in sad shape. Check for all postings regarding the Seychelles going back about a year and read all of them for details.

Then after spending, at minimum a week in the Seychelles - 4-5 Praslin, 2-3 Mahe then you can fly to JNB. The reason I mention more time on Praslin is that from there you can do more day trips, than from Mahe. Though I mentioned this to Babette when she was planning her trip, she stayed only at Banyan and every day that had to spend big bucks to do anything. I'd never say "I told you so," but she had to admit she should have listened to me.

Both Banyan on Mahe and Lemuria on Praslin (the newest properties) are rather large hotels and very expensive. There are some smaller more intimate hotels, with better locations, so you should inquire about these. Do make sure that wherever you stay, they have air conditioning, as it is hot and very humid in SEZ.

Also, a lot is going to depend on flight schedules. Air Seychelles does fly from Paris to Mahe, Maybe Air France also flies. BA flies from London and also flies from JNB back to London. To/from London, assuming back to the States, the carrier of your choice or BA; in Europe, your choice also. Then you have to check who flies JNB/SEZ if other than SAA. Your entire trip will be dependent on flight schedules.

Remember the flight is about 12-hrs to/fr London/SEZ, maybe 1/2-hr shorter from Paris. And as Erika mentioned, about 5-hrs from JNB/SEZ.

If you want a tour operator to handle at least the Seychelles portion, check with Seychelles Tourist Services or Masons Tours, both in the Seychelles.

Check www.seychelles.com - in addition to hotel specif information, you'll find a listing for both of the above tour operators somewhere on that site. Also check www.airseychelles.net for flight information. And Banyan Tree has their own site, so check for details about the Hillside Villas, but do ask specific questions of the tour operators after having read Babette's comments.

It's also probable that the names of the in-country SA operators I provided earlier can help with everything - SEZ and Singita.

Hope this stream of information isn't too confusing. Keep us posted.
 
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Jul 8th, 2004, 06:50 PM
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Note that Air Seychelles is pretty much the only game in town these days. Air France, South African nor British Air fly to Seychelles any more. Kenya Air does from Nairobi, Condor from Germany, Air Mauritius and Aeroflot have a few flights. A good US tour operator is at www.sey.net as mentioned above.
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Jul 9th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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Sandi, I inquired about the exact location of the poolside villas as you suggested, and I received a bit of hem-hawing with a "get back to you on that". Luxury Link states that one can upgrade, and I requested quotes on all upgradeable rooms. So far Luxury Link has been very good about returning calls on a nearly daily basis, yet each call is to say that they are still waiting to hear back from the property as to availability and prices. SO...no firm answers as of yet. I will post as soon as I hear in case anyone else out there is interested.

Also, after reading other threads on this board I have checked on Mauritius as well. Am I missing something? The lowest price I have found for a 4+ star property is approx $800 per night (USD), going up from there. Does this sound right?

I cannot get over the expense of travel these days. I never thought I was overly frugal, but once you add on the airfare and transfers...how do people afford to take nice vacations anymore?
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Jul 9th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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>>>how do people afford to take nice vacations anymore?

Tell me about it...it's horrible! That is the reason why I chose Zambia for the last two years, because it is one place in Africa that is not yet overly commercialized and good deals are still available.

For next year, I am just considering a two week trip to India that will likely only cost about $2,250 per person at the VERY BEST hotels (plus air that I will hopefully get through ff miles) and then maybe a 10 night trip to Cape Town and the Sabi Sand. After not much luck with leopards this year (but still the best safari I've experienced) I am left with an unquenching thirst for leopards that only Mala Mala and Simbambili will likely resolve.
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