South Africa in Two Weeks- Help Please!

Dec 5th, 2001, 01:21 AM
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South Africa in Two Weeks- Help Please!

My husband and I are planning our first trip to South Africa over the Christmas holiday. We are flying into Johannesburg and driving to Kloppenheim Country Estate in Machadodorp (halfway to Kruger), then onto Mala Mala, then Singita, then heading back and staying at Walkersons Country Lodge in Dullstroom/Mpumalanga. Has anyone stayed at any of these places and if so, what did you think? Also, I am a vegetarian, do you think it will be difficult in that regard?
Any tips and comments would be extremely appreciated!!! Thank you!
Dec 5th, 2001, 04:37 AM
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Sounds wonderful. I have not stayed at any of these places, but I have no doubt, they will all bend over backwards to accommodate any requests that you have.

It is a pity though that you will not be seeing Cape Town, the most beautiful city in the world.
Dec 5th, 2001, 09:55 AM
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Angie, I'll be at Mala Mala in 2002, and almost decided to stay at Singita. I have friends from the UK who have stayed at both, and they liked them very much. Both are first rate, and you'll like them. Also, search on "Kavey" - she has excellent reports on various lodges. She may know these places as well.

As far as being a vegetarian: we were at some SA lodges two months ago, and they handled this issue very nicely. It will help you immensely if you or your travel agent contact the lodges beforehand and inform them of your needs. I can assure you they will accommodate you if they know. The food will be very good, as will the service. My experience is they take very excellent care of you at the better lodges, and certainly you are going to two of the best. I am not familiar with the other places you mention.

Since you are drivng, have you leased a cellphone? You need to do that. And plan to have the car delivered to your hotel, if that fits your needs. And have the phone brought by the car people, complete with a phone manual. Test the phone before you accept it - be sure it works!!! And be sure you know emergecy numbers in case you have car problems. On highways, be careful of people walking across the road and along the sides ... you'll be using shoulders at times to permit faster cars to pass. Plan to stop driving well before nightfall ... do your driving in excellent light. Doors locked, windows up, no hitch-hikers, of course.

Look at past postings on what clothes to bring, especially for game drives. And cameras, lens and film. And if you can open an e-mail link with the lodges where you'll be staying, so you can communicate any questions you have.

Also, I assume you've contacted your medical folks or CDC in Atlanta about malaria meds. I believe you'll be in that area in Kruger.

Finally, be sure to get clear directions from J'Burg to your camps in Kruger, including which Park gate to use, and the driving times. And take a good map with you.

Take your trip paperwork with you, and frequently check with SAA, if that's your ailrine, to make sure they have not messed up your seat assignments. It's a long trip, and if you want aisles, be sure SAA gives them to you. They are a decent airline, but unreliable when it comes to seats.

I hope this helps. Have a great trip - you'll love it!! Ciao, Leone
Dec 6th, 2001, 01:42 AM
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I haven't been to the camps you mention, but was in the Kruger about 4 years ago, and am also (almost) veggie ... I eat some fish. The food was wonderful - so many different veggies, etc., and the staff were so friendly and helpful. We never felt threatened or frightened - just be careful, and be sensible, and you will have a wonderful time!

Dec 7th, 2001, 02:02 PM
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I am also planning a first time trip to South Africa.I would love to hear about your trip when you return. I am planning on going to Mala Mala and staying at either Harry's Camp or Kirkman's Camp. I would love to get as much info on these two Camps and the game drives as I can.
Thanks alot, hope to hear from you when you get back.
Dec 10th, 2001, 11:52 AM
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Will be at Kirkmans' early October 2002 ... probably too late to do you any good. But I hear it's quite nice. Ciao
Dec 13th, 2001, 07:12 AM
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We drove from each airport (Joberg, Kruger, Capetown, but NOT Vic Falls-too dangerous) using Avis. You are staying at VERY expensive places and there are other places much less expensive, where you will see exactly the same things. Holiday Inn provides all you need...4 star hotels at a fraction of the cost. One right outside gate at south tip of Kruger...Malelane--very nice. We like to do things on our own and not be "herded" with the pack. We listened to Nelson Mandela's autobiography on tape in the car as we looked at lions out the window...not at the mercy of the high-class tour guides and their dictates. Wonderful trip! Beautiful country! Take plenty of film. My scrapbook overflows! Be sure and go to Robben Island. We had the same boat and same Captain that brought Nelson to freedom. Quite an experience! Have fun. You can get any kind of food you want. No worries! Cheap too!
Dec 22nd, 2001, 04:27 PM
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I have just returned from a trip to South Africa, and I have to say that it was the most wonderful trip of my life and I have traveled quite a lot!

MalaMala is amazing. The ranger-guides are extremely knowledgable, enthusiastic and just plain fun to be with. I hope that Chris and Raymond and Leon are still there when you go. A tracker rides in the back to spot the game. My guys were Raymond and Jim. They are wonderful!! The BEST game-viewing of my trip was at MalaMala. I have a certificate showing that I have seen The Big Five to prove it! We saw a leopard with an impala she had just brought down, only moments after the kill. Also saw elephants, Cape buffalo, lions, rhino, wildebeests, zebras, impalas, hyenas, and more.
In addition, the accommodations and the food and service are wonderful. It's a beautiful place.

No less beautiful is Singita. It is more luxurious than MalaMala, and the food is even better. I'm not familiar with Walkerson's. We went to Botswana and stayed in a few of the Wilderness Safaris Camps. What an experience! The finest of these is Mombo Camp, which is so beautiful that you feel like you are in a movie. The only access is by private plane. This was, by far, the best place we stayed, with the incredible game viewing from the veranda of our "tent."

We also stayed at The River Club in Zambia, about 45 minutes from Victoria Falls. This place has to be seen to be believed -- right on the banks of the Zambezi River. Dinner, presided over by our excellent host, Peter Jones, a fantastic character and raconteur extraordinaire, made me feel that I had gone back in time to colonial days in Africa. It was superb.

About being a vegetarian, I don't think you will have a problem as long as you let them know in advance of your arrival. These people are incredibly accommodating.

Feel free to email me for more information. Have a wonderful time!

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