Too much safari???

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Jan 31st, 2005, 01:34 PM
  #1
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Too much safari???

The more I crunch the itineraries, the more I am tempted to maximize my itenerary time on safari.

I would love to do the following:

Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa NP, Zambia (4)
Kutandala, North Luangwa NP, Zambia (4)
Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi, Zambia (4)
Victoria Falls Hotel, VF, Zimbabwe (1)
Makalolo Plains, Hwange NP, Zimbabwe (4)
Westcliff Hotel, Joburg (2)

I just am finding it hard to justifying a visit to Cape Town over Makalolo Plains.

Two nights in Joburg at the luxurious Westcliff Hotel would be a perfect chill-out time and would allow a couple days for shopping, spa treatments, etc.

Staying at Makalolo Plains, even in high season, is not much more than staying at a nice place in Cape Town.

What do you think???
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Jan 31st, 2005, 02:06 PM
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In your previous posts when I saw something like 5 days in Cape Town or whatever city it was, I thought to myself, "I'd never spend that much of my limited time in Africa out of the bush. But to each his own." I even figured maybe you had some friends to visit or business to attend to in the city, or that you were doing some kind of lengthy makeover spa stuff.

Comparing this itinerary to the other ones with all sorts of city days is no comparison. This one is a winner, hands down. Of course that is coming from a person who would also answer the question in your title with "Not possible."

This is wonderfully crafted itinerary and can include the biking safari.
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Jan 31st, 2005, 02:54 PM
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Is there such a thing as too much safari? I am pretty much in agreement with you on maximizing safari time - besides, it looks like some nice spa treatments at Kasaka!

However, am I correct in remembering from past posts that STD really needs the quality Cape Town (non safari) time?
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Jan 31st, 2005, 03:29 PM
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Dreaming,

I think that as long as Kasaka River Lodge has their bush spa up and running that may be enough to hold over my wife.

Plus, my mom and sister will be with us, and I think they will keep my wife stimulated, as she really enjoys their company and cannot get enough of them.

Kasaka River Lodge and Makalolo Plains are just way too reasonable to overlook. We are talking about under $300 pppns for each of those excellent lodges. The same price can be had at Chikwenya, Wilderness Safaris camp in Mana Pools (just opposite Lower Zambezi NP), but I think I will stick with Kasaka River Lodge.

The night at Victoria Falls Hotel will hopefully help rejuvenate everybody for the final 4 nights of safari at Makalolo Plains. In all honesty, I think that Makalolo Plains may prove to be the best gameviewing of all the places, so I don't want to miss out. Plus, it will be my only opportunity to see rhino (both black and white rhino). I have yet to see black rhino, so if I did, it would definitely be one of the highlights of my holiday, especially if it were a quality encounter.

I wasn't really expecting Makalolo Plains to be so reasonable in high season (mid September) but it is really about the same price that (fellow fodorite) Bigcountry recently paid for his January safari to Makalolo Plains.

I cannot wait to sit in that swimming pool and test my nerves as the jumbos approach and drink from the pool! If you have never seen a picture, this is a very small pool, and the elephants trunks are probably within 6 feet of the person brave enough to remain in the pool at the far edge, and the elephants themselves, are probably within 10 feet!
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Jan 31st, 2005, 04:04 PM
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Here is a link to a photograph of the elephants drinking from the swimming pool at Makalolo Plains, while human is inside!

http://www.vacationtechnician.com/x/zimbabwe.htm

Here is an article with more information about Hwange National Park:

http://www.vacationtechnician.com/x/Hwange.htm



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Jan 31st, 2005, 04:52 PM
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rocco,
sitting beside the pool when it was pitch black and only listening and barely seeing teh shadows of the eles drinking at makololo may be the most impressive thing i have done on safari. with makalolo being so cheap, i encourage u to go and help the people their. plus i guarantee in september u will get your fill of elephants. they have not only the swimming pool but plenty of hides as well including a woodpile and a bunker hide. plus it is a very unique environment there. it is a combination of south africa and botswana. their are long patches of thick brush and then as you arrive at the pans they open up to large amounts of space and wildlife. we had so many elephants i felt a little uneasy driving back to camp after dark bc we kept seeing herds passing by and they can be a bit scary in the dark.
unfortunately you arent very likely to see black rhinos in hwange. they have very few if any at all left but white rhinos are not super uncommon. and the birds there were the best i've seen anywhere especially when it comes to eagles. they have every kind.
you can visit cape town anytime and they have plenty of tourists. places in zimbabwe may not be around for much longer so take the time and enjoy, you will not regret it and you will feel good about the money you spent.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 07:54 AM
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Rocco -

In regards to the Westcliff. Last year I booked a rear facing room (no view) from Expedia for the equivalent of $134 per night for a stay in August 2004. When I checked in, they upgraded me to a view room. Don't know if you would want to take the chance on waiting for the availability of a winter promotional rate and hoping for a view room, but thought I'd mention it.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 09:40 AM
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Dreaming,

Thanks for the feedback. As a result, I am budgeting $750 for 2 nights worth of hotel for 2 rooms.

I cannot believe how reasonable this entire trip is turning out.

Just got a great price of about $625 including taxes, etc. for my flights in late August from LAX - LHR on Air New Zealand through a local air consolidator.

All in all, the following itinerary is turning out to be about $5,000 per person total! This does include 3 frequent flier flights from LHR-JNB-LHR, but still it is a great overall price. Had I been visiting South African and/or Botswana, the price would be nearly double!

Luangwa River Lodge (4)
Kutandala (4)
Kasaka River Lodge (4)
Victoria Falls Hotel (1)
Makalolo Plains (4)
Westcliff Hotel (2)

For those unfamiliar with these places, they are TOP NOTCH places, all of them.

Just have a look at their websites:

www.luangwariverlodge.com
www.kutandala.com
www.kasakariverlodge.com
www.wilderness-safaris.com (Makalolo Plains)
http://www.westcliff.co.za/web/ojnb/ojnb_a2a_home.jsp

15 nights of safari, 3 nights of 5* hotels at an unbelievable price. Why would anybody go anywhere else but Zambia and Zimbabwe right now?!
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Feb 1st, 2005, 10:34 AM
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Perhaps I should have furthered my education!

First I miscounted my safari days...it is actually 16 days of safari, not 15.

Next, I gave myself about a $4,500 discount on the lodging, as I failed to double a couple numbers to account for two couples instead of one. It was a nice thought, though a short lived one!

In any event, the total price for this itinerary, from doorstep to doorstep in Los Angeles works out to about $350 pppns and that includes everything from lodging to all air transfers to frequent flier taxes, etc.

Honestly, I couldn't even get mediocre lodging in South Africa and Botswana for even 135% of that price, yet less all the international air, regional air and other charges.

GO TO ZAMBIA AND ZIMBABWE NOW AND HELP SAVE THEIR WILDLIFE.

Also, anybody who I have helped save money in the past (and if I have helped save anybody money, it is likely in the thousands of dollars), please consider making a small donation to one of the following organizations if you cannot visit Zambia anytime soon:

http://www.southluangwaconservationsociety.com

http://www.zambiatourism.com/welcome.htm

http://www.chipembele.org/sponsors.htm

Thanks.
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Feb 1st, 2005, 10:37 AM
  #10
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Lastly, I just came across this for the first time and it looks like all the more reason to support this organization:

http://www.chipembele.org/orphans.htm

Not to discount the Tsunami tragedy any, but somebody has to look after the wildlife, and only through supporting organizations like the above one do the animals in Africa stand any chance of survival.
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Feb 2nd, 2005, 11:12 AM
  #11
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Unfortunately, it is way too expensive on the air charters to include both North Luangwa AND Makalolo Plains within the same itinerary while trying to do it all while starting and ending in the same city (either Lusaka or Victoria Falls). It would cost me $2,500+ for a charter flight between Hwange NP and North Luangwa NP, about a 3.5 hour flight!

As a result, I am considering the following:

Luangwa River Lodge (4)

Kutandala (4)

Kasaka River Lodge (4)

Westcliff Hotel, Joburg (2)

Simbambili, Sabi Sand Game Reserve (3)

Exeter River/Exeter Dulini/Lion Sands Ivory Lodge or whatever topnotch place I can book at last minute discount (2)

I do think that five nights in the Sabi Sand in luxurious surrounds with so much game around will be a nice way to round it out, although I wish that Makalolo Plains would have fit in my budget for this year.

One day after undoing a JNB-LUN-JNB flight, it looks like I may be scrambling to get those flights back for the exact same dates!

This is not fun anymore.
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Feb 2nd, 2005, 11:27 AM
  #12
 
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Never can be too much safari and luckily my other half agrees.

On our last trip we did 33 nights in a row (with one night in the middle in Johannesberg because we couldn't do the flight trip from South Africa to our first Botswana lodge on that same day). Actually you can add 4 nights to that as we then went directly to Namibia and spent some time in Wolwedans Dune Lodge where we also did game and scenery drives.
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