Tick tock, tick tock...

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May 28th, 2003, 06:20 PM
  #1
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Tick tock, tick tock...

Is there any harder time than the final week leading up to a return trip to Africa???!!!

If given the opportunity, I could go home tonight and pack and be on the redeye flight to Johannesburg! I have absolutely NOTHING going on between now and my trip. The original plan was to run the Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego on June 01st but I got a little too carried away with my African holiday planning and forgot to train for my marathon!

I stuffed in a little 2 night getaway to San Francisco after doing a little 8.6 mile trail run up Mt. Wilson (here in the Los Angeles area San Gabriel Mountains) and now it is just wait and wait and wait for my trip.

The first time going to Southern Africa the wait isn't nearly as bad because you don't realize yet what an amazing experience you are in for. The second time is extremely difficult, however, because you know the magical experience that awaits, even if 99% of those around you don't have the first clue and cannot comprehend a visit to Africa.

As far as filling up my time until I leave, all I can say is too bad I don't drink!!!
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May 28th, 2003, 10:03 PM
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DE
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Hi Rocco,

I agree that the waiting can be difficult and I have a little longer to go before our departure. The anticipation just mounts as the time gets closer, even for first time visitors and I have tended to feel this way prior to most of our trips.
Each destination is unique to explore and experience and I'm sure that Africa will offer us a very special adventure.
Enjoy and have a safe journey. DE
 
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May 29th, 2003, 12:07 AM
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LOL
I understand what you're going through---but I can tell you waiting 18 months is hard too!
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May 29th, 2003, 11:01 AM
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I leave for Africa in two days and I'm mostly nervous. It's great to hear you and others are so excited about your return trips. Reading the postings on this site gives me great comfort that I will have a wonderful trip....but I'm still nervous. Here is my itinerary:

Johannesburg 2 days (we are doing a "self-fly" safari, so my boyfriend has to have his pilots license validated in South Africa before we take off)
Mashatu 2 days
Duba Plains 2 days
Sandibe 3 days
Susuwe 2 days
River Club 2 days
Tuli Lodge 1 day
Chitwa Chitwa 2 days
Return to Johannesburg and then back to San Francisco via Frankfurt.

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May 29th, 2003, 11:16 AM
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LizFrazier
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Dina-
Your trip sounds wonderful. Good luck! I will be anxious to hear about Mashatu. Will you be staying at the Lodge or Tented Camp? We were going to stay there in April but the trip was cancelled.
I am guessing this is your first safari? You will probably go on many more if you're like most of us here. The first is wonderful and then it gets better and better and then you're hooked.

Rocco-
I figured this was your posting. I will be very interested in hearing all about Zambia. If you check out the 'Okavango lovers' thread here, there is a good website that carries lots of updates on the different camps in Zambia during the different seasons. I do hope you love it and I too hope to see it one day. We will await your return. Especially good luck to your wife and hope she falls in love with Africa too on this trip. Liz
 
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May 29th, 2003, 11:32 AM
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, Liz
 
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May 29th, 2003, 01:30 PM
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That isn't Dina Costume Goddess from DC is it?

Regardless, have a great trip Dina and let us know all about it when you get back!
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May 29th, 2003, 01:41 PM
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No, sorry, different Dina, but the Costume Goddess sounds like an interesting person.

I will definitely write when I return, hopefully with many fond memories.

Thank you Kavey and everyone else out there for providing such valuable insight through these postings. I've been keeping up for the last few months and used lots of your advice!
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May 29th, 2003, 02:16 PM
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I also know how you feel. Our first trip is three months away and I find the waiting very hard.Reading all your posts makes me want to go NOW.

I have to Thank everyone for all the help you have given me on this board over the last several months.Alot of great info has been posted here.It has been a very valuble resource for us first timers.

I am looking forward to reading all your trip reports when you return.
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May 29th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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Dina, yes I met her and her husband in London at the start of their 7 week European tour - lovely couple.

I am sure your trip will be wonderful!
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May 29th, 2003, 03:06 PM
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Oh, I just got it!
 
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May 29th, 2003, 06:29 PM
  #12
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Just got word from my agent that my tickets are on his desk and that he will send them out for Saturday delivery.

It is hard to belive that in only six more days that I will be at home packing at this time.

Now I am just down to trying to find a good Soweto tour for Joburg and deciding what I will do each day in Cape Town. If the weather isn't too bad, I think I would like to hike to the top of Table Mountain. Last year I took the easy way up and I was in a spinning capsule with about 30 octogenarians who were in town on a cruise. If I can convince my wife to attempt the climb, then I would really enjoy hiking to the top.

I really want to stay active on this trip. Last year I didn't care because I was so beat up from just having run the Los Angeles Marathon. This year I FAILED to do my prescribed marathon and NEED to compensate for it with activity, whether it is with the walking safari in South Luangwa or hiking in Cape Town.

Any other recommended active things to do in Cape Town in the winter?

The only other MUST DO for Cape Town this year is a trip to Robben Island.

Anyway, I just wish I could go into a trance and stay online for the next six straight days until somebody shook me out of the trance and said..."YOU BETTER HURRY UP AND PACK BEFORE YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT!!!". At least I have the benefit of the approaching weekend and I am only looking at four more work days.

How I wish I could work four straight days and add my two weekend days to the length of my African trip. With two more nights I would have likely cancelled my night in the Cape Winelands and flown to Phinda for three nights. Phinda is really not that expensive at all in winter. I saw rates as low as about 2,300 ZAR per person sharing. That is only about 200 ZAR more per person per night than Djuma Vuyatela.

Such an incredible looking country, South Africa, and this year the only new part that I will have managed to see is the Cape Winelands! However, I am thankful to be going to South Luangwa for five nights.

It will be a little difficult to get used to Cape Town in the winter, especially while the weather in Southern California has been so warm lately. I just kept warning myself that how the weather was in San Francisco last weekend (cold) was how it was going to be for Cape Town. At least the weather should be a little warmer in Joburg and South Luangwa.

Six days and counting.......
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May 29th, 2003, 09:37 PM
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Roccco,

Quick point.

Do remember that the cableway is closed from this Monday till 22 June. That means that if you hike up Plattekloof Gorge you will also have to hike down. 99% of folk who hike up the mountain cablecar down. Furthermore if you do hike up the mountain you will more than likely find that you have the whole mountaintop to yourself which would be kind of eerie but awesome in my opinion.

The decision remains your, oops, I mean your wife's.

Enjoy.

Selwyn Davidowitz
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May 30th, 2003, 03:51 AM
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When I saw the title I knew it had to be Roccco! I hope you pick this message up before you leave. Thought I'd mention that I was at a function at The Michelangelo yesterday, it is really a fantastic hotel with wonderful service. I'm sure that you will enjoy your stay. I wanted to mention that (in case you have not decided on a dinner venue for one evening) Bukhara has opened almost right next to the hotel reception. It's Indian cuisine and the Cape Town branch has been consistently recognised as one of the top restaurants in SA. Great for something a bit different from the melting pot of SA culture. And the next bit is for your wife: My apologies if I am totally wrong but, from your previous posts I get the idea that the prospect of the retail fest in Sandton City/Sandton Square is really appealing...? If so I have a recommendation of something truly South African. Be sure to buy a pair of Tsonga shoes. They are 100% South African designed and made, and are by far the most comfortable shoes I have ever found, and really gorgeous too! A number of stores in Sandton carry the range, I can think of Carnaby off-hand(on the lower level opposite Stuttafords). Sorry Roccco - they don't have a men's range.
;-)
(I love these smileys!)
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May 30th, 2003, 05:25 AM
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Thanks Traci and Selwyn!

So, Traci, what you are saying is that I am going to be stuck wearing womens shoes the entire time?

Five more sunrises and then I am off.
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May 30th, 2003, 10:28 AM
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Soweto Tour -- I am sure the Michalengelo can recommend a tour operator. I stayed at the Westcliff and they recommended a tour operator, and I did the half-day Soweto tour. See if they'll take you for lunch at Wandie's within Soweto.

Cape Town -- one most highly recommended trip is out to Gansbaai to cage dive with white sharks. Check the website for White Shark Ecoventures -- its an early start and a long day, but it was tremendous.
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Jun 2nd, 2003, 05:51 AM
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Well Roccco - whatever footwear floats your boat
I see from another thread that you have taken up the Comrades challenge - good for you. I suggest that you hold over the shark encounter for that trip and go off the KwaZulu-Natal coastline. The water is warmer (the water around the Cape is stuff you mix with scotch - not to swim in!), and the sharks are plentiful. The Natal Sharks Board is also world renowned.

At around the same time as the Comrades is also the annual sardine run off the KZN Coast. The huge shoals of sardines are impressive enough, and then add to that hundreds of dolphins pigging out on the little silver fish. It's quite a sight.
You must be bouncing off the walls by now. I know what I've been like in the last few days/weeks leading up to a trip. Colleagues threated to sedate me.
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Jun 2nd, 2003, 08:22 AM
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Traci,

Thanks for that great info. The destinations and events that you mentioned sound great and would surely be coupled with Phinda Forest.

OK...I have two years to whip myself into shape for the next Comrades (downhill). The course alternates between an up course and a down course each year, so I will take every little advantage I can when running 88 Kilometers!!!
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 12:50 AM
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About 44 hours before I leave for LAX.

South African Air played a dirty trick on me by cancelling my flight out of JFK. I now will be going LAX-Atlanta-Cape Verde Islands-Cape Town-Johannesburg instead of the originally planned LAX-JFK-Johannesburg.

The only way that South African Air could have allowed me to fly LAX-JFK-JNB was if I left a day earlier or later. That would have completely screwed up my schedule, either way.

So now, instead of leaving at 8:20AM Thursday morning, I leave 11:45PM Wednesday night. I prefer to leave at 11:45PM rather than fear not waking up in time for an early morning flight, but I DO NOT prefer having two extra stopovers! Despite leaving 8.5 hours earlier, I will only arrive in Joburg, 3 hours earlier than my original flight would have.

Had I been given more notice, I could have juggled my schedule to extend my stay by a night OR I may have decided to begin my holiday in Cape Town, although I think that having Kafunta (South Luangwa), Joburg (including Soweto) and Vuyatela (Sabi Sand Reserve) all back to back would have been too much for my wife.

Anyway, I just have to roll with the punches and be thankful that I even have an opportunity to be going to Southern Africa so soon after my first visit. I just hope that for such a LONG flight that the international flights are not too full. At a minimum if my wife and I have three seats for the two of us, we will be fine.

The one thing that I cannot believe that I forgot when booking this time around was to request the Emergency Exit row seats that offer much more legroom. I can still check with the SAA counter if they are available, but I doubt that they will be.

As my trip draws nearer, my only second thoughts are about my stay in Cape Town.
I had a great time in Cape Town last year, but it was March, the weather was perfect, and I was right in the middle of all the action on the Waterfront at The Table Bay Hotel and right in the middle of the City Bowl at The Mount Nelson Hotel. This year when I was booking my different hotels and bidding on different auctions, the future was so uncertain, with a pending war, a terrible U.S. economy and not such a great personal economy at the time.

If I could do it over again, I likely would have opted to either stay at The Table Bay Hotel for an extra $100 per night, the Cape Grace for an extra $125 per night or possibly even skipped Cape Town entirely this year, staying an extra night in Joburg (for my wife's sanity) and going the other four nights to Phinda Forest.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned with the location of the Twelve Apostles Hotel. It seems to be in a very beautiful location, but it is also one that is far away from either the action of Camps Bay or The Waterfront. It seems like it is better suited for summer when you can just sit around by the pool and soak in the atmosphere. I have ZERO concern about the rooms or the quality of the hotel, as again, I firmly place my trust in Conde Nast Traveler's opinion that it is a very high quality place.

So, ultimately, it looks like all this Phinda Forest talk has gotten into my head and has me second guessing a couple parts of the itenerary. I do not second guess my decision to stay at Vuyatela. Vuyatela just talks to me for some reason and I cannot wait for my 3 night stay at Vuyatela that will conclude my Southern African holiday.

I don't figure I will be getting more than about six hours sleep between now and the time my flight departs. 3.5 hours tonight, if I get started now, and tomorrow will probably be worse. Tick tock, tick tock.......
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Jun 3rd, 2003, 01:59 AM
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Roccco,

You have done your homework for this trip as best you can....

You are genuinley very excited out your trip which makes me envious of you...

You have been turfed around like a rubber ball in the past couple of months with ideas of hotels, game farms, airlines etc etc....

All that you could have done has been done.....

So..........

Put your nose down, relax and go with the flow because if you worry about what is going to happen tomorrow then the whole trip will fly past you and you will look back and say "hey what happened, its all over"

I will never forget a scene out of the movie "Somebody up there loves me" with Paul Newman taking the role of the boxer Rocky Graziano. Ater he wins the world title he is given a ticker tape parade through New York and as he and his wife are driving through the parade he says to her" enjoy this now because it wont happen again in your lifetime"

So once again Roccco dont worry and enjoy the whole adventure now and who knows you might even have a chanc for this to well happen again and again in your lifetime.

Travel well.

Selwyn Davidowitz
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