Transfering between the Sabi Sand & Phinda?

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Apr 16th, 2005, 05:36 AM
  #1
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Transfering between the Sabi Sand & Phinda?

I am just toying around with the idea of possibly finishing up with 3 nights in Phinda after I stay at Simbambili.

How hard is it to transfer? If I could fly between the Sabi Sand directly to Phinda I would consider it further, but if I had to go back to Joburg first, then I would probably pass.

Another dealbreaker would be if I had to charter my own plane (I will be solo at this point of my trip).

Mostly for photographic reasons I am considering Phinda, although I am not too crazy about the looks of Phinda Forest or Phinda Mountain. These are the only two camps that offer low season pricing, while Phinda Vlei, Phinda Rock and Phinda Zuka are all non-seasonal (always high season price).

Another major thing is that I counted up all the rooms between the lodges and it amounts to 52 guest rooms at Phinda! This makes it twice the concentration of guests, for example, than Mala Mala, considering that Phinda at 38,500 acres and Mala Mala at 40,000 acres are roughly the same size.

Speaking of Mala Mala, I did check their reservation system and it shows that the single room is available for my nights. Would I be crazy to pass this up? From what I have learned from other Fodorites, the single room is no different than the other rooms, but the single supplement is waived. May anybody verify this?

If that is the case with the single room, it would make it about 15% less expensive than Londolozi.

Sorry to sound flippant...it is just that I don't really form my questions or perform my research until I actually start writing these threads.

I would say that my choices would be as follows:

1. Mala Mala (only if I could get a room that is no different than the others and at no single supplement)

2. Londolozi Bateleur

3. Phinda Forest

Considering that I will be coming from Simbambili, it sure would be a lot less expensive to visit Mala Mala or Londolozi afterward. Phinda, originally, sounded like a good idea, but not so much anymore.
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Apr 16th, 2005, 06:07 AM
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THIS is my concern, whether I am staying at Mala Mala or Phinda:

http://www.malamala.com/photo8.htm

What a beautiful photo that could have been if not ruined by the vehicle in the background.

I suppose the same is almost just as likely at Londolozi, but I do think Londolozi will be a bit more exclusive. I mean as much as I follow things, even I thought that it was much more expensive than it actually turned out to be. Only Londolozi Tree is now priced in the same neighborhood as Singita, while until recently all of the Londolozi camps were similarly priced with the exception of Londolozi Safari Lodge which is situated much closer to Lion Sands than to the other Londolozi camps.

I suspect that the revised pricing is a result of the weakened dollar.
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Apr 16th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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I have no answers to your logistics questions, but appreciate the comparisons you have made, and will be interested in the feedback you receive, as I think it will be useful in my own future plans.

But here is a commnet on the photo. This picture was probably carefully composed to include the vehicle so prospective guests see how close they can get to animals. A professional photographer acquaintance of mine always tried to get some wildlife photos that included other people or vehicles. He said those photos were good sellers because it allowed viewers to put themselves in the place of the people captured on film, making a more personal connection.

In fact National Geographic (one of his clients) would specifically request some of these people-animal photos for their magazines.

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Apr 16th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Rocco-
There are direct flights between Phinda and Sabi Sand without going through J'burg. We did it in reverse going from Phinda to Londolozi. Although they were both CC properties I believe the charters can be worked from any camps w/in Sabi Sands and Phinda.

And don't worry about running into too many vehicles while in Phinda. We very rarely saw another vehicle when out on safari. Same as in Londolozi.

Really the only time we saw more than a car or two together in Phinda was when a bull ele was in musth and cornered three vehicles while showing us he was the man of the forest, so to speak. He didn't want to let any of the cars get by. And who were we to challenge him?
And don't forget Phinda also has recently acquired more acreage.

Talk w/ a CC Africa rep about discounting Vlei or Rock. They may work with you knowing you're going to spend a minimum of three nights or if combining two different camps such as Phinda and Londolozi. We got a little bit of a discount so it never hurts to ask.



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Apr 16th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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atravelynn,

You know, as I woke up a little bit ago, I was thinking how dumb that comment was by me, as the photo was probably planned that way to get another Mala Mala vehicle (and logo) in the photograph. I was falling over unconscious by the time I had done my proper Mala Mala / Phinda research, but now that I have had my 2.5 hours of sleep, at least some of my brain cells are functioning!

---------------

Divewop,

Thanks for the suggestion.

Although I am currently scheduled for 12 nights in Zambia split between three camps, I could pick up a couple nights with the following itinerary:

Kasaka River Lodge (3)
Kutandala (4)
Luangwa River Lodge (3)
Westcliff (1)
Simbambili (3)
Londolozi Bateleur (2)
Phinda (3)

My family would spend a second night in Joburg, and then have 7 nights in the Western Cape. 5 nights in self catering luxury Waterfront apartment plus 2 nights Bushmans Kloof or 2 nights Le Quartier Francais or 2 nights Marine Hermanus.

Still, the best possibility may be to stick to the current plan:

Kasaka River Lodge (4)
Kutandala (4)
Luangwa River Lodge (4)
Westcliff (2)
Simbambili (3)
Londolozi Bateleur (2) or Mala Mala (2)

I am kind of partial to Londolozi Bateleur for their private plunge pools. Being solo at this point, I may just soak in their all afternoon without a care in the world.

I just want to reiterate that Londolozi Bateleur and Mala Mala are separated by no more than about 4 miles. For comparison sake, that is nearly 5 times closer together than Mombo and Chiefs Camp (since it seems many people visit Chiefs Camp because it is in close proximity to Mombo). Furthermore, on the opposite side of Londolozi is Singita, where I personally had my best gameviewing to date.

Yeah, too much flying with Phinda. The only thing that keeps eating away at me is that I will 90% likely not see Wild Dogs again. However, if I flew up to Madikwe for 3 nights, there is a 99% chance that I would see Wild Dogs if I stayed at Jaci's Tree Camp, and a 90% chance I would see them if I stayed at Madikwe Safari Lodge (CCAfrica).

I have pretty much seen most of what I have wanted to see, but I have yet to see Wild Dog or Black Rhino.

Kasaka River Lodge (3)
Kutandala (4)
Luangwa River Lodge (3)
Westcliff (2)
Simbambili (2)
Londolozi Bateleur (CCAfrica) (2)
Madikwe Safari Lodge (CCAfrica) (3)

By staying at least 4 nights at two different CCAfrica nights, I get one night free. Already, Madikwe Safari Lodge is only $400 pp per night, and Londolozi Bateleur is only $575 pp per night, meaning that beside transfer costs, I will be able to stay two nights at Londolozi and 3 nights at Madikwe Safari Lodge for under $2,000.

The Wild Dogs would just complete this trip, but I don't know if it is worth rushing Zambia over. ???????
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Apr 16th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Rocco,
BTW...since you've got all your new camera gear, if you do decide to do a Londolozi camp and you want a great guide who's also into photography, ask for Gavin and his tracker Matt (if they are still there).

Gavin is very knowledgeable about photography and rest assured he will get you into the best position for some great photo opps. He brought his DSLR with him on all our game drives and shoots right along with you.

You'll have a great time with those two.

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Apr 16th, 2005, 03:41 PM
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I would love nothing more than to stay at Londolozi Bateleurs, but providing it is not too much more, I think that I have to lean towards finishing up with 3 nights at Jaci's Tree Lodge in Madikwe.

I am a total "dog lover" with 10 of my own dogs, and I really, really, really NEED to see & photograph Wild Dogs.

I would consider other Madikwe lodges if Jaci's was not available for my dates, but for a single visitor, no matter where I stay, the most variance I am looking at is probably about $150 per night, with Jaci's definitely on the high side, although still lower than Madikwe Hills.

Other camps I would consider, however, are Etali (heated plunge pools) and Madikwe Safari Lodge (it's hard to go wrong with a CCAfrica camp).

My itinerary would be as follows:

Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi (4)
Kutandala, North Luangwa (4)
Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa (4)
Westcliff, Joburg (1)
Simbambili, Sabi Sand (3)
Jaci's Tree Lodge, Madikwe (3)

I could shorten each Kasaka and Luangwa River Lodge by 1 night, and that would allow me two nights at Londolozi Tree or Mala Mala, but I just think it would be rushing things too much. Zambia has a different vibe to it than the more commercialized places in South Africa, and I think 4 nights offers a much more meaningful experience than even one night less.

I know that Madikwe is totally commercialized, as is the Sabi Sand, but I do think the game viewing will be excellent in each of the two destinations. Perhaps Madikwe cannot compete, overall, with the Sabi Sand, but for Wild Dog, it is superior and sightings are virtually guaranteed with a 3 night stay, especially at Jaci's.

Ever since I saw this excellent photo gallery, I cannot get Madikwe and Jaci's Tree Lodge out of my mind:

http://www.pbase.com/vwbt/day3
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