South African Safari - National Geographic

Old Apr 14th, 2010, 08:19 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 66
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
South African Safari - National Geographic

Has anyone taken the Southern Africa by Private Air Safari offered by National Geographic? I'm planning a December Safari as well as a 3 day pre-trip to Cape Town. Any recommendations would be much appreciated
PureLuxury is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2010, 09:08 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Do you have a link to what they're offering?
So we can see the itinerary. First guess is that it will be expensive $$$$. South Africa is pretty easy to do on your own, pick the places/camps you'd like to go to and a good travel agent sets it all up for you. Usually not -private- air but if that is what you want, private charter flights go everywhere/anywhere. Again, give us the link to what your are interested in.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2010, 02:05 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 66
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tom,

Below is the link. Thanks!

http://www.nationalgeographicexpedit...nafrica/detail

Expedition Details
Southern Africa offers some of the world's most spectacular wildlife viewing and breathtaking scenery. On this unforgettable journey by private air, set out on safari in search of elephants, cheetahs, lions, buffalo, giraffes, and rare white rhinos; see the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls; and stay in luxury safari camps.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trip Highlights
Enjoy game drives in South Africa's MalaMala Private Game Reserve and a wildlife river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park. Discover Pete's Pond, the watering hole in Mashatu Game Reserve where National Geographic established a WildCam to capture footage of the area's animals. Explore the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve by land and water. Visit spectacular Victoria Falls — a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the great natural wonders of the world.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Itinerary - 11 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Johannesburg, South Africa/MalaMala Game Reserve
Depart this morning and arrive in Johannesburg the next day. Upon arrival, board our private charter flight to the famed MalaMala Private Game Reserve in Greater Kruger National Park. The distinctive habitat of the Lowveld Region is full of big game, including lions, leopards, and white rhinos. Our classic thatched-roof safari camp is situated amid shady trees on the banks of the Sand River. Take your first game drive in the afternoon, followed by a welcome dinner.
MalaMala Main Camp (D)

Day 3 — MalaMala Game Reserve
Set off on an early morning safari with naturalist guides in open, four-wheel-drive vehicles. Later, take a bush walk with an expert ranger or enjoy time to relax at the camp before lunch. Embark on an afternoon game drive and stop for sundowners in the bush. As night falls, search for nocturnal species and predators on the prowl. Gather for dinner in a reed-enclosed boma around a large campfire.
MalaMala Main Camp (B,L,D)

Days 4, 5, & 6 — Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana
Fly by private charter to Mashatu Game Reserve, home to seven of Africa's giants — the elephant, giraffe, eland, ostrich, kori bustard, lion, and the baobab tree. Located in the remote eastern corner of Botswana, this enormous tract of land comprises a diverse wilderness of savanna, riverine forests, marshland, open plains, and sandstone outcrops. Go on a bush walk and morning and afternoon game drives accompanied by expert guides. Stop to see Pete's Pond, a watering hole where lions, elephants, zebras, and giraffes converge during the dry season. National Geographic established a remotely operated WildCam here to capture around-the-clock footage of wildlife. Pay a visit to a local village and its school, and stop to see the finds at an archaeological site. Optional mountain bike safaris and horse safaris can also be arranged.
Mashatu Main Camp (B,L,D)

Days 7 & 8 — Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta
Fly by private charter to our luxury tented camp in Moremi Game Reserve. Our camp offers us the opportunity to discover the Okavango Delta's untamed habitat by land and water. Take a trip to Gadikwe Island by flat-bottom boat, and see hippos and fascinating breeding colonies of herons, egrets, pelicans, cormorants, and storks.
Xakanaxa Camp (B,L,D daily)

Days 9 & 10 — Chobe National Park/Victoria Falls and Livingstone, Zambia
Our private aircraft takes us to Chobe National Park, known for its large concentration of buffalo and elephants. On a wildlife river cruise, watch for elephants frolicking at the water's edge. Then continue on a short flight along the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers to Livingstone, Zambia, and check into the Royal Livingstone Hotel, just steps from Victoria Falls. On a sunset walk through the rain forest, look for bushbucks and vervet monkeys. Explore the falls with a local guide the next morning, venturing along suspended walkways into the mists. This afternoon, you may choose to visit a local village, stop by the Livingstone Museum, or browse the Maramba market. Enjoy an optional cruise on the Zambezi River, or experience the falls from a thrilling perspective on an optional flight-seeing excursion. Gather tonight for a festive farewell dinner on board the historic Royal Livingstone Express steam train.
Royal Livingstone Hotel (B, L; B, D)

Day 11 — Johannesburg, South Africa/U.S.
Fly to Johannesburg and connect with your return flight home.
(B)
PureLuxury is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2010, 04:49 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PL -

You can do that trip for a lot less $$, but you won't have the NG guide with you. December is also not the optimal wildlife viewing season. June - Sept is better IMHO. You can compare the costs between an independent tour and the NG trip and decide if it's worth the extra cost. But I'd LOVE to do an NG trip someday! The guides at the lodges are excellent in general.
christabir is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2010, 06:45 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So, $10,000 for 9 days (maybe closer to 8 and half). They call it 11 days but they count a travel day on each end. That is expensive but hey for a "PureLuxury" bon vivant sounds fine!!! I'd guess you could do same itinerary though a travel agent for around $3,000 less. For instance, standard rate of MalaMala is $575 per night (in 2010). And like above post I'm not sure about December being optimal for those countries, may be rainy?

I have been to MalaMala three times (in Sep each time) and wish they/you would spend more time there. Like another two days. Of course one reason NG goes there is because about half of their famous African TV shows were made there!!!

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2010, 07:29 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 66
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the feedback. Initially, the price seemed a bit high; but once I realized everything was included I didn't let price be a determining factor (other tour operators were less expensive for the safari but charged additional fees for the flights between camps or you had to drive hours between camps--I've learned to read the fine print). You are correct in that I want a bit of luxury as I am not interested in "roughing it". I chose the December timeframe to accommodate my work schedule (3 weeks away from the office is not frowned upon during the holidays). I was hoping that someone in the forum had actually traveled with NG and could assure me that I would get the maximum Bang for my Bucks.
PureLuxury is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2010, 07:41 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 66
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tom,

I just read your latest trip report and viewed your Safari 2009 photos---awesome!


Robin
PureLuxury is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2010, 09:11 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Robin. My last time at MalaMala was in Sep of 2007. Was special since the Eyrefield lion pride had 9 cubs of 2-4 months age. I was at MM 6 nights then.

I can't recall off hand anyone here reporting on their NG safari. Did you do a search here?

Yes, I realized the NG cost included internal air (flying better than driving) and still think it is high compared to what you could do. But not outrageously so, sure, I'd go for it. Have you looked at safaris by A&K or Micado? They are also very high end. My best suggestion is to spend more time in Africa. You from USA? (I'm from CA). When I safari I like to do 2-3 weeks to make it worthwhile for me for the air cost and general travel rigors of getting there and back . Of course PureLuxury would have the pure luxury of flying business or first class .

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2010, 05:54 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 66
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tom,

Thanks for the Micato reference. I just downloaded their brochure. At first glance it looks very nice. I'll let you know what I decide. You stated that you would spend more time on Safari--have you ever visited Cape Town prior to or after safari? Should I extend Safari and visit the city on another trip? BTW, I live in New Orleans.

Robin
PureLuxury is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2010, 11:35 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well PL, I go to Africa only for safari. I have not been to Cape Town and no plans. CT is a city founded by and based on European culture. Not that I have any problems with European culture. I am one . It's just that I've seen many cities in Europe and all of the big ones in USA, including New Orleans. So I don't have desire to see another similar one, e.g. CT. But if you really like cities, sure go to CT. Lot of people like it. Me, I really like safaris

And please do let us know what you decide.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2010, 04:20 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
These are outstanding places. I agree not enough time at Mala Mala.

I'd call an Africa specialist such as The Africa Adventure Company or Eyes on Africa (both of which I've used successfully) or similar and ask them to put together the same itinerary with at least 3 nights at Mala Mala, or even 4.

While you would not have a private charter for your own party, all flights would be included and looking at these camps, there would not be drives between them. You'd be met at each airport/airstrip, guided throughout your stay, and dropped of at the next airport/airstrip. You could even choose the exact days you wished to travel.

If luxury is important and you appear to be flexible with your budget, you could ask for another improvement to this Nat Geo itinerary and stay at Mombo in Moremi for 3 nights instead of Xakanaxa for 2 nights.

That would make this itinerary even better and you would be getting more bang for your buck.

See what you think of such an itinerary/costing from an agent that deals exclusively with Africa.
atravelynn is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2010, 04:30 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just read on the post by mkdude that you are going alone. My suggestion above still stands because you'd be joining other people at each camp/lodge and sharing game viewing activities with them.

I almost always go alone and the setup in Southern Africa is great for solos who want to interact with others. Your vehicle-mates are a ready made group. And if some are not ideal, then you meet new ones at the next place, unlike a group trip with the same people throughout. Though there are advantages of a longer timeframe to build friendships on a group trip.

If you book far enough in advance at Mala Mala, you can get the no single supplement room. I did that.

You can see what type of reduction you may be able to get in the SS with Nat Geo or with the other properties. However, around Christmas time, prices can be at their highest all year.

Either of these companies I mentioned, could help you with your Cape Town plans, whatever those might be. Otherwise, you could contact a Cape Town guide directly, such as Take2Tours, which I was very happy with. There are lots to choose from.

Good luck.
atravelynn is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2010, 06:48 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 66
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
atravelynn

Thanks for the suggestions. So many choices. It gives me comfort knowing that you travel solo on safari and are very comfortable doing so. I will research both companies you recommended. I know Christmas is the festive season and prices tend to be a bit more expensive, but it's the best time to be away from the office for such a long period of time. In regards to Cape Town, I spoke with the concierge at the Cape Grace hotel and was informed they provide guided tours to just about anyplace you want to go.

You mentioned not paying the single supplement at Mala Mala. Did you make the reservations or was everything done thru one of the companies you recommended?

thanks again and I'll keep you posted

robin
PureLuxury is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2010, 07:53 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Didn't notice you were traveling solo. NG will add $2,500 to that $10,000. You can easily save $5,000.

I travel solo safari about half the time as does atravelynn. It's easy. What she says is spot on. You fly alone, big deal. You are met at airport by the camp and you join in a camp group. Nice, as lynn says.

And again, you need an Africa travel agent like lynn suggests above. (Don't go to the local one who does mostly cruises). The TA will make reservations for you at MalaMala, all other safari camps, hotel in CT, Victoria Falls, etc. and all flights in country. There will be a "meet and great" representative at JNB or CPT airport after you get through customs and you just flow with your arranged program!!

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2010, 06:11 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You can ask for the no single supplement direct. I did it through Eyes on Africa. I think The Africa Adventue Company could do it too. The difficulty is the availability. Best to have one company book the whole thing. AAC can even do international flts and Cape Town Joburg.

Traveling solo in Africa, at the type of places you are mentioning, is probably easier than traveling to a city 100 miles from your home. That's because you do so little alone.

Looks like you've got Cape Town covered at the Grace Hotel. I'd recommend putting Cape Town up front.

I understand about work dictating when you travel.
atravelynn is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 12:53 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Such a beautiful trip & yet not one mention of watching a loving meerkat family as they emerge from their burrow in the early morning, standing with their bellys to the sun to warm themselves...a memory forever, so unbelievely beautiful.

Your trip sounds marvelous, but perhaps there might be room for one more excursion...you will not regret it.
wyldefawn is offline  
Old May 1st, 2010, 12:40 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I Agree not enough time at malamala.Been their four times december was the best but you never know.
mikefeablecorn is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
RIC4001CS
Africa & the Middle East
17
Jul 28th, 2017 06:37 PM
Horoko
Africa & the Middle East
4
Dec 15th, 2015 06:18 AM
bzetraveller
Africa & the Middle East
6
May 19th, 2012 01:09 PM
Roccco
Africa & the Middle East
6
Mar 14th, 2004 11:47 PM

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


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:17 PM.