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Trip report - Arathusa in Sabi Sands, Pafuri Camp and Mashatu Tented Camp

Trip report - Arathusa in Sabi Sands, Pafuri Camp and Mashatu Tented Camp

Old Aug 16th, 2009, 10:54 AM
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That blog would be great to check out. Thanks.

We are doing some special package deal between Mashatu & Pafuri next fall.
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 04:47 AM
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I stand corrected. It's not a blog, but a discussion forum he has set up on Facebook. I'm not familiar with Facebook so I am not sure if a link would do you any good or not?
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 05:48 AM
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Hi Christabir, I've just read the account of your recent trip to Sth Africa and it sounds like you had a great time. I've travelled there frequently as well as most other Southern & East African countries. The best of all in my opinion is Uganda and if you ever feel like travelling there just let me know as I am a partner in a small family safari company there. I also have a couple of very good contacts in Sth Africa and Namibia (another fantastic country). Enjoy your next trip to Africa.
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 05:21 PM
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Hold on- they can only off road if they have a big sighting - like a lion. We didn't off-road at all. The SanPark rangers will be coming in annually to make sure they are not going off road too much (soil compaction tests will be done). If they find too much soil compaction, they will shut them down.

Statefan- It's Crook's Corner. Beautiful. Which guide is your wife staying in touch with? I met a few of them, and all were sooooo nice. I'm assuming someone from Makelule?

We could have stayed at Pafuri for just two nights. And ask to go to Lanner Gorge on your AM drive. We went on the PM drive, and it was dark by the time we got there. It's funny - everyone has such different views of Pafuri!!

The overnight option seems like a good idea to drive Pafuri/S Kruger. But going out of the park and driving around was easy. Don't miss your AM game drive - you can make it for your PM game drive if you drive (quickly) around. As for rest rooms - the ones at the entrance at Punda Maria was excellent if you can wait that long. The gas stations on the way were a bit iffy.

There was a bit of an "incident" in Pafuri not too long ago. The roads cross are parallel to the river, so the elephant "roads" cross them. This got pretty dangerous one time when a group in their landrover was stopped checking out something, and an elephant was just walking on his trail. Well, the landrover was in his/her way, so it just stuck its tusks through the side of the vehicle and tossed it to the side. Luckily everyone was OK, but quite frightening and could have been disastrous. The landrover flipped, but it had the structure to hold up a roof, so they weren't squished. I can't say it's anyone's fault, just something that happened. It's not a zoo. But knowing the logistics of roads and ellie trails, it seems like there was a bit of bad planning.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 06:06 AM
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christabir -

Ok, that makes much more sense re: offroading. In our case, that meant we would have been able to get much closer to mating lions! We had to stay on the road a few hundred yards with an obstructed view since we could not get off the road.

I think the general consensus is that Pafuri is ok. We're the only ones I know that absolutely loved it.

Our guide was Callum and he was absolutely perfect for us. He really focused on the kids, had them riding shotgun with him, ate elephant poo, licked some nasty stuff off a tree, etc. He taught them all about the animals, had them tracking them on their own by the last day of our stay and all sorts of other fun stuff. The kids, even today, still think he is the coolest person they have ever met. He just has a way of making learning fun for kids (or at least ours).

We liked everyone at the camp, especially the older gentleman behind the bar. I can't believe I've forgotten his name. He loves children.

I'd never get my wife in a safari vehicle again if I let her read your incident above. The ellies scared the bejesus out of her. It took a LOT of coaxing on my part to get her to agree to ride trained Asian elephants this year in Thailand.

One of the stories on Callum's facebook site involved he and a partner tracking a rhino on foot when all of a sudden an elephant started charging them out of nowhere. Callum was about to have to shoot the elephant when the rest of his herd crossing the river distracted the charging ellie and caused her to back off.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 06:07 AM
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Forgot the say the incident I mentioned above involved a walking safari with guests!
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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The guides are amazing. You got really lucky with Callum. I think the Makelule people are in general very nice. Mating lions - OK, one more reason we have to go back to S Africa.....
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 06:45 PM
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great pics, thanks....can't wait for our first SA visit in october...
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 08:59 AM
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Such variety. Your lion cubs were indeed too cute. Great luck with rhinos, including calves. I'm guessing Cape Glossy Starling for the beautiful bird in question.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 11:35 AM
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Thanks Lynn. This trip definitely exceeded our expectations. How was the Pantanal? That might be our next wildlife trip.

Christa
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:12 PM
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Pantanal was outstanding. This is the link to that report. Photos are in the July 17 9:15 pm post.
http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...n-and-ilha.cfm

I hope the giraffes from the giraffe truck overcame their trauma and are browsing on acacia right now.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 05:14 PM
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I am now dreaming of the Pantanal. What a treat to be get the Bill Gates treatment. We got lucky at Mashatu, too. I bookmarked your trip report so I can refer to it when we begin the planning stages.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for those giraffes. There are so many places they could have wound up.... We were really lucky on this trip, I think. Planning the next trip to Africa, too. Wish we could go to Gabon to see the lowland gorillas and surfing hippos. Are you back from seeing the mountain gorillas yet?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Never been to Gabon, but from my investigation and research, surfing hippos is an anomaly that occurs in only a short time frame, maybe Oct, if I recall correctly, and is rarely actually seen. Even seeing the lowland gorillas is very tough. To enjoy Gabon I think you have to set yourself up to look forward to great jungle scenery, some new birds, with any wildlife as a bonus. I hope Gabon continues to grow in popularity as a desitination to help protect the wildlife that lives there.

I'm back from the mountain gorillas and they were fabulous and so was everything else in Rwanda and Uganda. A report will be coming.

It's fun pretending we are Bill Gates whether during 3 private Mashatu drives or being alone (except for the ghost) at Caiman Lodge. In these economic times, I think the private treatment has become more common. But gorilla permits were sold out and all groups had the max 8 visitors.

Scary incident you recounted at Pafuri, Chritabir!
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