South Africa Rescheduled

Jan 31st, 2009, 10:33 AM
  #1  
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South Africa Rescheduled

We are now very happy to be replanning our South Africa trip, which was originally set for October 2007! We had to cancel due to serious illness and surgery; but thankfully now all is well. We are planning to go in mid-April 2009. We will depart from JFK airport, NY. Our itinerary is as follows:
5 nights in Capetown
2 nights in Ngala Tented Camp
2 nights in Mala Mala Main Camp
1 night in Jo'burg airport hotel
2 nights in David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa (Vic falls)

Does anyone know about the drive from Ngala to Mala Mala, as opposed to the flight? Right now we are scheduled to be driven. Has anyone stayed in the newish David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa?
We are again very excited!! Thanx so much!
Carole

wkwb42a is offline  
Jan 31st, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Ngala is in the Timbavati Reserve and MalaMala is in the Sabi Sand Reserve. I think (not sure) that you have to exit Timbavati back onto SA highway then into Sabi Sand. This would likely take 3-4 hours camp-to-camp. This sound like what you were told?

What I watch out for when doing such camp transfers is missing a game drive. If doing this drive causes you to miss the MM afternoon game drive, then you have paid $1,500 for dinner and room at MM for that night. FWIW, I would opt to fly between camps if cost less than $400 for two people. Charter flight, General Airways (Genair).

Another 2 cents worth. I would stay 3 nights at each camp. Even if it meant leaving out the Vic Falls visit. Also, your flying a long long ways to spend only 12 days in Africa. Can't you make it more like 15 days?

regards - tom

cary999 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2009, 12:42 PM
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I would also opt for 3 nights in each safari venue.

You say you will be driven; sounds like a limo service which takes you there and picks you up again.

Have you check yourself whether this is the best option time wise as well as financially.

If that comes out much cheaper and you insist on being driven than your driver should pick you up not later than noon (with packed lunch) at Ngala so that you reach ala Mala around 15.30hrs. In this case your TA should inform Mala Mala beforehand so that they know you are coming right on time for the afternoon activity. As a high-end lodge Mala Mala for certain will set apart a vehicle for your afternoon game drive in order to make sure you do one if you are a bit late and the others have already left - in order to not interfere with their departure.

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 09:23 AM
  #4  
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Thank you very much for your prompt and helpful replies! We are now considering omitting Vic Falls, as suggested, and adding more nights of safari. (I wonder how much we'll be "missing" by not going to the falls?) Is it better to add in a 3rd safari lodge experience, or do 3 nights each at Mala Mala and Ngala? (If so, is there a good place that works well into this plan?) Or perhaps more nights at just one of these two places, and leave the other one at 2 nights?
This is our 1st trip to Africa. I will also be checking into driving vs. flying between M.M. and Ngala. (We are spending 5 nights in Capetown prior to this part of trip). Thank you so much.
wkwb42a is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Glad to see you are again in good health. That's most important.

As to how much you'll miss by not going to the falls, no one can really answer, especially you if you don't go. (Yogi-ism)

If I had a choice between falls and safari and could not reasonably do both, I'd do more safari time because those activities are more unique IMO. Your original itinerary had 2 nights at the falls. You could spened one night at the falls and still see them. That would not allow spa time, though.

If you think you may return to Africa, then Vic Falls may work better with another trip that includes Zambia, Zimbabwe, or Botwsana.

Is the Cape Town segment set in stone? What do you plan on doing while there?

If there was anyway you could mix up the order of your trip to avoid the Joburg night, that would give you another day to work with.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Thanx for your good wishes for good health, and of course for your very prompt reply. Right now, I guess we are leaning toward omitting Vic Falls, but with some hesitation. In Capetown, we plan to do the usual 1/2 day and full day tours (our 1st 2 days there) and then do the wine country on the 3rd day. That will give us some free time on the last (4th) day there to explore.
It seems like alot of time and effort to go to the Falls, when perhaps we would enjoy putting that toward more game drives. Have to decide where though. We may not return to Africa, who knows; so we are trying to prioritize our activities. Is there in fact a way to comfortably plan the itinerary, to eliminate the Joburg overnight?
Again, many thanks for all your help.
wkwb42a is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 12:33 PM
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Joburg overnight. The SAA flight (Daily, SA 8862, AAM/JNB, 12h30/13h35) from MalaMala arrives JNB 1:35pm. This is very convenient for several later international flights out of JNB. Of the several times I have flown back to JNB after a safari camp I have never had to stay overnight JNB before heading home.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 01:02 PM
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The Joburg overnight was after our stay at Ngala on way to Vic Falls. However, now we are debating whether to omit Vic Falls, and then add more nights to MM, Ngala, or perhaps an additional safari. Can't decide which might be better. Don't know if I'd feel I missed something if I omit the Falls; but then we'd have more game drives, as suggested. Thanks!
wkwb42a is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 01:12 PM
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I'll say again, you're flying from USA, I fly from California. For me it is not worth making 30 hours travel time, door-to-door, each way, and $2,000 air, to stay only 12 days in Africa. 12 days as per your original itinerary. I stay least two weeks. In Sep of 2009 we will be there (South Africa) 20 days on safari. But that's just us, YMMV

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 01:28 PM
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As you say you might not return to Africa I would slighty change plan:

I would include Cape Town - but would cut it to 4 days max

then i would include Livingstone 2 nights. The Falls will be FULL in April. So i would also cross to the ZIM side for a wonderful sight towards the falls.

And the rest goes to one lodge in Sabi Sands - being it Mala Mala, Sabi sabi, Londolozi.

I hope I have not confused you now - but under the impression this might be a one and only trip - the above itinerary would be mine.

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Or, how about starting with the Falls. Then to CPT, then to safari Sabi Sand? Easy end to JNB and home. (Not sure about the beginning )

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 09:31 AM
  #12  
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Again, thank you all very much for your very helpful input. Looks like we are eliminating Vic Falls and adding those days to safari lodges. Would like to divide the 7 nights between Ngala and Mala Mala, after our 5 nights in Capetown. We are working on the details. Thank you!
wkwb42a is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 10:32 AM
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If you're going to Ngala why not go Kirkmans instead of Mala Mala? Then you'd be able to take advantage of &BeyondAfrica's 6 nights for the price of 4 offer, saving yourslef quite a bit of money.
Tanky is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 12:05 PM
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Good deal (3 for 2, or 6 for 4) at Kirkmans, but you have to be within certain days of week, Sun-Thr, to do it.
http://tinyurl.com/aa3prp

Kirkmans daily rack rate of $360 pppn (at 10:1 exchange) is significantly lower than MalaMala at $675 pppn. Which is the "better" camp?? I'm not sure, I've been to MM three times but not to Kirkmans - until Sep this year.

Also, Kirkmans is permitted to use the MM airstrip so flying in/out of Kirkmans would be as easy as MM.

regards - tom

cary999 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 05:52 PM
  #15  
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Again, many thanks to all. This is our latest itinerary, although we haven't actually committed to it yet. Planning on doing so on Monday.
5 nights in Capetown
3 nights in Mala Mala
4 nights in Ngala Tented

What is the best malaria medicine to take?

Carole
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Feb 5th, 2009, 06:24 PM
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MalaMala then Ngala. Is that the best/easiest sequence (vs Ngala then MM) for getting back to JNB? Or , no significant difference?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 5th, 2009, 07:31 PM
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cw
 
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We flew from Ngala Tented to JNB after our morning game drive, and arrived with plenty of time for our evening flight.

Can't think there is more than a 20-30 minute difference from flying from Mala Mala.

wkwb--ask your doctor about malaria meds. We took Larium but most people favor Malarone.
cw is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 02:04 AM
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If Ngala is your last camp, you might consider taking the scheduled SAA flight from Hoedspruit to JNB rather than a charter from Ngala. There are 2 flights daily, at 12.30 and 14.00, which gives you plenty of time to have a full morning game drive and still get to JNB for afternoon or evening flights. The transfer from Ngala to Hoedspruit is by land and takes less than an hour; your agent or &Beyond can arrange for it. They can also arrange the SAA flight, though it's extremely easy to do it yourself online, and the cost of the flight is much less than the typical charter flight price. Also, if your ongoing flight is on SAA or a Star Alliance partner (Lufthansa, SWISS, Singapore, Thai), then you'll be able to check in for your entire trip in Hoedspruit.
DonTopaz is online now  
Feb 6th, 2009, 04:39 AM
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Just wanted to chime in re: your original itinerary. We did 5 nights CPT, 4 nights MM (broken up between main camp and Rattrays), one night JNB, then 2 nights Royal livingstone. We took a Zambezi river cruise from the David Livingstone and it's a beautiful property. Even with the extra travel, I was glad we saw the falls and had some relaxing time at the end of the trip, and I found I was not disappointed with 4 nights in MalaMala (though I could easily stay there for weeks on end).
kak113 is offline  
Feb 6th, 2009, 06:14 AM
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We did Cape Town, Mala Mala, Vic Falls, 2 camps in Kenya and gorilla trekking last summer. If I was going to cut out anything from our itinerary, it would have been Vic Falls. It was nice but (with the added airfare) expensive. There will be more water over the falls in April than we saw in August, but that's not always a good thing if heavy mists obscure the view. I'd take more days with the animals (rather than waterfalls) any day!
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