southern africa itinerary--suggestions?

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Mar 15th, 2003, 04:07 AM
  #1
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southern africa itinerary--suggestions?

all,

i am about to book 2 weeks in southern africa in my '04. itinerary is as follows. any changes anyone would make? is 4 nights in capetown too much? if so, where would people add an extra night?

Capetown--4 nights @ ellerman house
Xigera--2 nights (okavango delta water camp)
Mombo Camp--3 nights (okavango delta land camp)
Vic Falls--1 night
Jo'Burg--1 night txfr
Singita--3 nights

thx

jr98
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Mar 15th, 2003, 09:47 AM
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Sounds expensive! If this is your first visit to Southern Africa and if this doesn't put a dent in your pocketbook, I would say that would make a nice itenerary.

I would consider staying more than one day in Victoria Falls or skip it altogether if you cannot afford the time allowance. You may see the Falls in one day but you will NOT get a full appreciation for the Zambezi River.

There are some great looking lodges on the Zambian side, including The River Club, Tongabezi, Sussi & Chuma and others.

I stayed on the Zimbabwe side last year for four nights at Matetsi Private Game Reserve right on the banks of the Zambezi River and while the service was nowhere near what I experienced at Singita, the accomodations were still very nice, with each chalet featuring its own private plunge pool just like Singita. The game drives were not nearly as nice at Matetsi as at Singita (too much vegetation, a ranger without a tracker, not allowed to pursue animals offroad) but the water activities including mokoros (dug-out canoes) and sundowner cruises helped make up for it.

I have heard that Mombo and Little Mombo are possibly the finest in the world for game viewing.

Your itenerary does seem challenging in the respect that you will be crossing so many borders. I guess you can get around it with private charter flights.

One question...why would you book a full year in advance???
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Mar 15th, 2003, 11:07 AM
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For Mombo one must book at least a year in advance if not 18 months.

We recently booked our Botswana/ Namibia return trip (2004) 18 months in advance and already there were several dates which were booked out at Little Mombo (the smaller of the two Mombo camps). With only a one year lead time even the main Mombo camp will have some periods of unavailability.

Incidentally, we are including Little Mombo again - although it is undeniably expensive we did indeed find the game viewing unparalleled.
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Mar 15th, 2003, 05:38 PM
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Kavey,

Wow...you have to book a year in advance for Mombo/Little Mombo???

I need instant gratification and if a place cannot book me within a couple months of my arrival then it is probably not the right place for me.

I am pretty resourceful though and I do think that when I am ready to see Mombo/Little Mombo that I can pick up a cancellation and just plan the rest of my trip around it. Maybe I can do Mombo/Little Mombo in 2005 if I don't do Botswana this year.

2002 - Singita, Matetsi
2003 - Tena Tena and Nkwali (both are Robin Pope lodges in South Luangwa)
2004 - Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Matusadona and Mana Pools (basically the same itenerary I have been speaking about but an extra night at Hwange and Mana Pools).
2005 - Botswana. Little Mombo and possibly King Pool or other land based lodge. Possibly use this trip to finally do Garden Route drive as I likely won't spend more than six nights total at these camps.

Dreams cannot come true if we do not dream, right???
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Mar 15th, 2003, 11:17 PM
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Rocco,

On this continent and at this end of the continent, dreams that should come true, often do not because the advice to book early is left unheeded. A part of the pleasure of going on a safari is that you are not going to a concrete jungle with unlimited accommodation. The competition for cancellations is huge - every agent in South Africa vies for them as well as private citizens who make their own travel arrangements and foreign agencies who have the need to book here. When something extra comes up that draws people here, such as this year's Cricket World Cup has done, the shattered dreams become countless. African holidays for many are a once in a lifetime, long dreamed of holiday. They do not get cancelled lightly. Booking early is good advice.

golfer
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Mar 15th, 2003, 11:35 PM
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Golfer,

Thanks. Somehow, though, I always manage. I am sitting in a new house right now that I have had four months to customize upgrade, etc., although the house I was supposed to get is barely closing escrow. How did I get it? By being persistent and calling and calling the realtor for this housing development and then grabbing my house when it fell out of escrow. Not only did I speed things up by four months but I saved about $10,000 USD by getting a house in an earlier phase than the house I was supposed to have.

Now I don't think that I will save a dime at a place like Mombo/Little Mombo but I do think that I could snag a booking three or four months prior, AS LONG AS I was willing to plan the rest of my holiday around it and not expect a certain date to open up.

The same thing happened to me last year at Singita. The place was completely booked but I persisted and kept checking and checking and sure enough, a spot opened up.

There is no way that I want to be locked into anything besides my marriage, my businesses, my mortgages and my four dogs more than a year from now.

I am sure that sometimes I will lose these gambles but if I win them 2/3 of the time, then I am doing very well.

Here I am, less than three months away from my African holiday and I don't yet have airfare or my safari portion picked out, but it will all work out for the best. Perhaps Bush's war will begin shortly, specials will begin to appear and if anything I will save a few hundred dollars. After the 9/11 WTC attacks, airfare was dirt cheap as were hotels, at least in North America and I probably booked three little getaways at about 30% savings.

Perhaps it sounds cynical to take advantage of unfortunate events such as war or terrorist attacks, but in the end, I am just trying to live my life the way that I choose.

Some people need the security of knowing for sure that their reservations are in place but I actually feel more secure knowing that I am free to do whatever I like up until a couple months prior to my travels.
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Mar 16th, 2003, 02:45 AM
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hate to break into the discussion--but any more suggestions about MY itinerary?? (boy do i feel selfish)

jr
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Mar 16th, 2003, 04:37 AM
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Lol JR

Well I think you're absolutely right to balance Mombo with a water camp like Xigera. It was a tossup between Xigera and Jacana for our next trip and there was really very little in it to the extent that both were favourites to one or other agent I talked to.
In 2001 we did Little Mombo, Little Vumbura (loved both) and Chitabe Trails (OK but wouldnt choose or recommend it myself).
From what I read 4 days in Cape Town should be easy to fill - haven't been there though.
I do think 1 night anywhere is very little unless it's in airport town like Jo'burg because of how flight times fall.
Will 1 night in Vic Falls be enough?
That said I would not not not lose a night at Mombo or Xigera.
Do you need that night in Jo'burg or can you do two in Vic Falls and then go to Singita?
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Mar 16th, 2003, 05:57 AM
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i cannot fly directly from vic falls to singita without using a private charter that would be several thousand dollars. i have been struggling with the one night at vic falls and 1 night in j'berg. . .could i skip vic falls completely? seems a little nuts to be that close and not see it.
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Mar 16th, 2003, 07:04 AM
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I don't know.
I know that I'd also like to see it and yet I have planned my second trip to Botswana and Namibia (a 3 week duration) and not included Vic Falls once again.
For me this is because I do intend to visit Zambia and Zimbabwe in the future and it will be easier to include the Falls then.
Also because including it would mean sacrificing something else and adding a lot to flight costs so...
But it IS a natural wonder and if you think you may not return to the area one night is better than none...
I am not helping am I?
Sorry!
Kavey
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Mar 16th, 2003, 07:32 AM
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jr98,

Sorry for the hostile takeover of your thread!

In one years time, don't you think you can find one extra day to spend in Victoria Falls???

I would not dare cut Cape Town, Singita or Joburg one day shorter. You are going to be beat up after flying all the way into Joburg and you don't want to add more flying time and a potentially late arrival to any of your next destinations, especially if it is Singita or Mombo.

I do not know if the trip sequence that you have shown is your actual sequence or not.

Whatever you do, do not end your holiday in Cape Town unless you are looking to add a few hours to your already long flight home (doesn't matter if you are European or American, it is still a long flight home from Joburg...deathly long if you are from Los Angeles like I am).
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Mar 16th, 2003, 07:52 AM
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what i posted is the actual sequence. i now realize that you cannot fly nyc-atlanta-capetown on a friday--, so it will be nyc-jo'burg-capetown to start the trip. the important thing there is that it means the first day is wiped out (we get in around 7 pm and will be crushed). so i cannot see cutting capetown at all.

i guess the question is whether i am better off cutting vic falls and adding another night to xigera, mombo, or singita?

jr
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Mar 16th, 2003, 10:48 AM
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Again, I would suggest that the best solution would be to find an extra day that you can add to your trip.

Maybe by going on a holiday weekend like Memorial Day, it may add a day that you wouldn't otherwise have free.

It would be a shame to miss Victoria Falls or to try and stuff it in within a single day.

You may want to book Mombo/Little Mombo and Singita now and then just play around with the rest of your schedule. I don't think the other places will require nearly the advance booking.
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Mar 16th, 2003, 01:33 PM
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As Rocco says, book Mombo if you can.

If you can afford it you certainly wont resent an extra night there - we were there for 4 nights in 2001 and wanted more - we're there for another 4 nights in 2004.

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Mar 16th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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unfortunately, i do *not* have flexibility to add an extra night to do 2 in vic falls. at this point i'm seriously thinking of skipping vic falls to add a fourth night in mombo. any opinions on mombo vs. little mombo?
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Mar 16th, 2003, 11:43 PM
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Both are absolutely identical - down to the last detail - it's only a matter of size.

In Little Mombo there are 3 tents and therefore a maximum of 6 guests. This means dinner is a more intimate affair.

At the main camp, only a few minutes walk away, there are 9 tents, meaning up to 18 guests to talk to in the bar and to share dinner with.

In both camps you may share your game drive vehicule with other guests to a maximum I think of 7 per vehicule though usually no more than 6. The vehicules actually seat 9.

I imagine that even in main camp you will get the same game drive experience since I doubt that different vehicules/ giudes stick together.

Both camps have a small pool. A gift shop is locatee between the two. I bought a scarf and gloves set there having failed to believe my agents advice to pack my own!

Really the only difference is in number of guests so I'd pick your preference and go with whichever actually has availability...
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Mar 17th, 2003, 08:51 AM
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ok--i think i have set things. vic falls in may just sounds too amazing to skip. and the travel/transfers aren't as bad as i feared. biggest concern now is just safety in zimbabwe/vic falls, although we won't be anywhere except 2 airports and the vic falls hotel
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Mar 17th, 2003, 09:17 AM
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JR
I am sure you'll be fine as long as you don't go walking out of the lodge and main tourist areas late at night without the lodge guide.
It'll be a great trip.
Which Mombo did you opt for?
Kavey
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Mar 17th, 2003, 10:59 AM
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went for little mombo. heard it was a bit nicer and more intimate. probably a coin toss either way
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Mar 17th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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That's where we stayed in 2001 and will be again in 2004.

As per my post above, yes, it's a bit more intimate.

Tents are identical, literally and style of dining room and bar are too. It's just a case of scale.

We really liked just having a few other guests to get to know...
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