Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > So. Africa April 2005-need help with lodges etc. in Cape Town and Safaris

So. Africa April 2005-need help with lodges etc. in Cape Town and Safaris

Reply

Oct 17th, 2004, 03:22 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6
So. Africa April 2005-need help with lodges etc. in Cape Town and Safaris

Hello to all;
I am new to the site, but am throughly enjoying all the stories, and ideas that are posted. We are looking at booking a trip with University Travel out of Bloomington IN. Wondering if anyone has worked with them? They have a trip on Apr 21 05 that we like, including airfare at a good price.. The itinerary looks like this:
3 nights Cape Town at the Dale Court Inn
3 nights at Treehouse Safari Camp in Balule Reserve& Kruger Natl Pk (they use either Marc's theehouse or Treemisana lodge)
1 night A'Zambezi River Lodge
3 nights at Chobe safari Lodge
1 night at Emerald Guest House in Johannesburg
My questions are:
Has anyone stayed at any of these lodges?? and if so what did you think? Or should we put a package together ourselves? We are interested in game viewing of course, and are looking for Africian ambiance, not necessarily deluxe.
I believe we can upgrade hotels in Cape Town, if anyone has suggestions.
Also, what do you think of the timing? Is April a good time to visit?
We are so looking forward to visiting this wonderful area, and appreciate any help you can offer.
Thanks
cattery is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 17th, 2004, 05:20 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Cattery,

I consider April to be a good time of year to visit Southern Africa.

The Dale Court Inn is located in Green Point, which is a convenient area. It's situated between downtown Cape Town and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront area on the one hand, and the Atlantic seaboard (the suburbs of Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, etc.) on the other hand. I'm not familiar with the Dale Court Inn itself, but there is a Fodors post dated 2000 that says it's good value for money.

At the other end of your trip, in Johannesburg, Emerald Guest House is near Jan Smuts Airport. Again I'm not familiar with the property itself. The accommodations near the airport are considered to be okay if you have a late night arrival or an early morning departure and want to be conveniently situated with respect to the airport. However, the Sandton and Rosebank areas have more charm, better variety of shopping, greater choice of restaurants, etc.

The idea of splitting your safari time between South Africa's province of Mpumalanga (Kruger Park area) and Botswana is not a sound one, IMO. The distances between them are too great to be covered in such a short time. You would spend too high a proportion of your vacation in transferring amongst the proposed areas. You would be better off going to EITHER Botswana OR Mpumalanga, but not both. If you want an affordable safari experience, I think you have a better chance of finding that in Mpumalanga.

Here is a previous thread that discusses Balule Reserve and Marc's Tree and Tremisana lodges:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34498635

I went to Victoria Falls in what supposedly was the summer rainy season, but was lucky enough to get a good view of the falls nonetheless. However, I've heard that some people have been unable to see the falls during the rainy season. If the Zambezi River is too swollen, the volume of water going over the falls apparently creates so much mist that the falls are invisible. The rainy season usually lasts till the end of April. May through October typically is the dry season. I don't know how important a factor that is in planning a trip to Vic Falls.

You really need 3 full days (4 nights) to do justice to Cape Town and its environs. The nearby winelands also are lovely. You can visit them during a day trip from your base in Cape town, or you can go on an overnight visit to the winelands, so it's nice to have 1 or 2 more days to do that.

As for the safari portion of your trip, it would be nice to have 5 days (6 nights) to do that.

Although the Vic Falls area offers some optional, additional activities, you can see the falls by way of a quick visit. One or two nights would suffice.

So, the long and the short of it is that I think you have a good chance of being able to put together a better trip than this prepackaged tour would give you.

Taga Safaris, based in South Africa, is a reputable, reasonably priced company that helps people to create custom vacations. If I were you, I would check what Taga could do for me before I committed to a prepackaged tour.

Some US or UK-based travellers do not feel comfortable dealing with a foreign travel professional. They feel they have better recourse if they deal with someone in their home country. For example, if a certain portion of the trip goes sour, they have a better chance of getting a refund from someone in their home country than someone in a foreign country.

However, one can shave some of the cost off one's trip if one deals with a travel professional in the destination country. So, if one is serious about sticking to a budget, that route can be helpful.

I believe that a newbie Africa traveller, with the advice of other Fodorites, can design a successful trip through an Africa-based company.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 18th, 2004, 08:33 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
I can vouch for Taga Safaris, which is recommended by Judy_in_Calgary. Mark, at Taga, booked two safaris for me (2000 to South Africa, and then 2001 to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi), and he did an excellent job both times. I really recommend him.
http://www.tagasafaris.co.za

If you send him your proposal, he could put some meat on the skeleton by adding prices.

Have fun,

Michael
thit_cho is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 15th, 2005, 11:50 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 48
Cattery: We are considering a University Travel (Bloomington IN) also. What do you know about them? I see by BBB that they are only about 2 years old. Do you know of anyone who has used them? Any reference info would be appreciated.
Thanks
jrretired is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 16th, 2005, 12:31 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 81
Jretired: I and some friends have signed up with Univ Travel for a trip to Southern Africa in June '05. It is called the "majestic southern africa" trip. I, too, called the BBB since one of the employees indicated that UTravel is relatively new, and there has been no negative report re UTravel so far. I would like it if someone out there who has travelled with UT would post their experience. The itinerary looks good, and the price is good for us esp since it includes rd trip air to and from the US. Our trip was originally scheduled to stay at Dale Court, but now we have been told we will be at Villa Rosa. And originally we were going to be in Marc's Treehouse, but that has been changed to Treemisana Lodge. The last 3 places are the same as yours. Have you heard anything new since your Oct posting? Susan
birder57 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2005, 03:41 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Hmmm, the sa-venues web site makes my head spin.

There is so much information yet I don't see listings of any of the top places in my home towns of Stellenbosch and Mossel Bay!

I also think it is way out of date unless I am stupid trying to find things. Let's see - where is Singita or Mala Mala? Or Botlierskop?

ColinCola, what is the purpose of this site? Who gets listed and who doesn't?
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:13 AM.