Total Neophyte, Help re Phinda

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Sep 27th, 2004, 12:28 PM
  #1
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Total Neophyte, Help re Phinda

We were just the fortunate winners of a 6 night trip to SA, 2 nights in Cape Town at the Cape Grace, then 4 nights in Phinda (2 at Vlei and 2 at Rock). We had never considered SA as a holiday destination, and never thought of a "safari" trip before. We are basically urban dwellers, and neither one of us is great with spiders! But we love luxury!

Suggestions as to the best time to travel? The trip is valid until September 2005. We would also like to extend the trip several days ... possibly finding a luxurious wineyeard near CapeTown?

Really appreciate any input any of you could give.
Thanks
Dave
DrDaveSmile is offline  
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Sep 27th, 2004, 01:48 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Hi Dave,
I can't help with the Capetown part but I can tell you that both Phinda Vlei and Rock lodges are very, very nice. You will have a great time and a great experience.

You may want to do a "Phinda" search to bring up some of the recent trip reports some of us fodorites had there.

Although I was at Phinda in Mar. of '04, I would probably recommend going sometime from June through August. The grasses are shorter and watering holes are more sparse so you should have better wildlife viewing. We still had exceptional viewing in March.

Needless to say, Phinda is an excellent reserve w/ great accomodations and a great staff. You will be treated like royalty. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Enjoy your trip
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Sep 27th, 2004, 07:44 PM
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DrDave,

Those are some horrible places...what do you say that I take it off your hands for $2,500 USD???

Seriously, that is a great itinerary, but if you don't want to go, let me know!

Here are some places that may be of interest to you near Cape Town.

www.birkenheadhouse.com (Hermanus, great for whale watching if you go in August or September)

www.laresidence.com (Franschoek, possibly the most upscale place in the Cape Winelands)

If you combine two nights at each of these properties, they should give you a complimentary night at either of the properties (rack rates for Birkenhead House are about $750 USD per night, so if you are going in August - September, that would be the wiser choice, compared to only about $550 USD per night for La Residence).

I am just suggesting the very high end places but there are a lot others that are a fraction of the price that others would be better able to suggest.

Some other interesting places in the Western Cape include the following:

Grootbos Nature Reserve (oceanfront property near Hermanus)
Lanzerac Manor, Stellenbosch (Cape Winelands)
La Grande Roche (Paarl, Cape Winelands)
Le Quartier Francaise (Franschoek, Cape Winelands)
Marine Hermanus Hotel (Hermanus)
Bushmans Kloof (Cedarberg)

I don't have the patience to write out the website addresses for each one but they will easily be found on Google's search engine.

For booking your trips, I would suggest that you use a local tour operator, as they are usually less expensive. Here are some good ones:

www.tagasafaris.co.za
www.e-gnu.com
www.cybercapetown.com

A lot of times, especially if you decide to go in low or shoulder season, the websites for the lodges/hotels will have some great specials.

Good luck.
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