So Africa Trip Report

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Apr 14th, 2005, 10:04 AM
  #1
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So Africa Trip Report

I want to thank Selwyn, Sandi, Kavey and the others for so generously sharing their knowledge, enthusiasm, recommendations and insights to this forum. I have been "lurking" for over a year and printing out comments which helped form our itinerary for the trip of a life time.
We had a wonderful 22 days in SA feeling the warmth and friendliness from faces of all colors embracing us in their smiles. We have a Dutch last name but didn't realize that it's also a familiar name in SA...we were treated to room upgrades, and greeted like long lost family. My husband's father was born in Cape Town and so at each turn we found ourselves explaining how this Afrikaans name was living in the USA. I don't know why the USA media portrays the crime rate in SA as bad; we saw nothing to give us any thing other than total comfort and safety...and then got home to find a dear friend was mugged in NYC. We left the USA on March 5 and started our SA journey in Port Elizabeth, spending 2 wonderful days and nights in Schotia Safaris Private Game Reserve (www.schotia.com) We had cool,rainy weather but it was great. We stayed in one of the rondvel lodges...the ultimate African experience...no electricity (and we loved it). The kerosene lanterns made the experience very authentic and the ensuite facilities were fabulous. We were very impressed by the knowledge of our ranger Gary and felt the value of staying there was very high. The wonderful staff,etc., makes staying there a great value for a first time experience. We went to Addo with this 2 day program and saw only ONE elephant as there was just too much water; roads were closed in the park and the elephants were scare. We weren't disappointed as we had been warned that the rain would alter the normal viewing availabilities. We picked up our Avis rental car and a cell phone (both suggestions from this board)at the PE airport and started our 1000 mile journey through the Garden Route; staying at: 1 night at Storms River Guest Lodge (wouldn't recommend that as we had mold in our bathroom), 2 nights in Knysna at Overmeer Guesthouse([email protected]), 1 night in Oudtshoorn at Rooderant Hillside Lodge([email protected])dinner at Jemimas was as A+ as everyone on this board has said, 1 night in Cape Agulhas at St Mungo B&B([email protected]), 2 nights in Camps Bay at The Bay Atlantic Guest House([email protected]). We loved all of these settings very much and recommend all. Note: Overmeer is has it's view of the Knysna Heads altered as there is a new house being built below the lodge grounds that is now blocking the view! But the free internet, easy laundry service and location was great although I can sure see what poster Kavey means by the noise of the road....it's hard to escape. We have a new "find" that I would strongly suggest: those seeking a quiet retreat in Knysna stay at Elephant Hide of Knysna Guest Lodge(www.elephanthide.co.za) A brand new(open 4 months)accommodation high on the wooded slopes overlooking the Western part of the Knysna lagoon and sunsets. Fabulous 4 star setting with individual pine sided lodges, pool, gourmet chef. An absoulutely divine location and totally quiet! Check it out! After 2 nights in Camps Bay in the penthouse apartment with views of the 12 Apostles, we started a 13 day independant "tour package" that was just the 2 of us organized by a NYC travel agent(awful) and land operated by Springbok Atlas.
We spent 3 nights in Cape Town at the Cape Grace, 2 nights in Stellenbosch at D'Ouwe Werf Country Inn (www.ouwewerf.com), 2 nights on ROVOS RAIL (www.rovos.co.za)traveling from Cape Town to Joburg..an amazing experience in luxury, 2 nights at Mala Mala (www.malamala.com) which was 4 game drives..we did see the Big Five; had a great time with Alex our ranger, 1 night in Joburg at The Westcliff Hotel (www.westcliff.co.za), 2 nights at Victoria Falls, Zambia at The Royal Livingstone Hotel (www.Ihw.com) What can I say?? Everything was fabulous and magical. We did organized Springbok Atlas tours in Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Vic Falls all included in our package. We saw it all and did everything that Selwyn and you all have recommended over the past many months.
I'd be delighted to add details if any of this interests others considering such a journey...don't wait...do it now and experience the beauty of So Africa and it's peoples!


azmngal is offline  
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Apr 14th, 2005, 12:24 PM
  #2
 
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Thanks for the trip report. Glad you enjoyed Mala Mala, Alex is a great ranger, just one question, how many poisonous snakes did he pick up to show you?
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Apr 14th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Dear napamatt,
Well, now I'm disappointed...Mala Mala ranger Alex didn't show us one snake! Good, an excuse to go back and experience MM all over again!
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Apr 14th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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azmngal,

Happy that you had a wonderful trip to South Africa. Now you probably can understand why I call SA our great country and Cape Town my wonderfiul city.

Elephant Hide in Knysna really looks great and I am definitely going to go take a look at the establishment when I travel to Knysna in 4 weeks time. Thanks for the tip.

You are correct about Overmeer recently losing its view of The Heads to another building however with that said it still has a magnificent view of the Knysna lagoon and no matter how many times I visit the establishment this view still entrances me over and over.

All in all I am truly thrilled that you enjoyed our country so much.

Now you should start saving for the return journey so as to do all the wonderful things that you could not do this time around.

Thanks for the interesting trip report.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Apr 18th, 2005, 04:21 AM
  #5
 
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So glad you enjoyed your trip and that anything I shared was able to help! Any photos online?
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Apr 18th, 2005, 06:10 AM
  #6
hut
 
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If you don't mind me asking...what was the rate at Schotia? They are not listed on the website.

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Apr 18th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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We selected the 2 night all inclusive option at Schotia which meant all meals, 4 game drives, private secluded rondavel, Addo Elephant Park fee and tour, plus they picked us up and took us back to the Port Elizabeth airport...R2000 per person. Other options are Schotia half day at R500 pp,and a one day Schotia-Addo R1000pp
Email them all your questions as they are so accommodating and responsive to any request. It was great for we first-timers.
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