Two honeymoon options

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Feb 20th, 2006, 05:05 AM
  #1
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Two honeymoon options

Hello,
We are a british couple getting married in Cape town in November and we want to honeymoon in Africa / Indian ocean combining safari and a beach to relax at the end.
We have been given two different itinerys as starting points and just wanted to gather as much feedback as possible.
Botswana / Zambia / Mozambique

3 nights Kwara Camp
3 nights Xakanaxa Camp
2 nights Tongabezi
7 nights Benguerra lodge

Kenya / Zanzibar
1 night Ngong House Nairobi
2 nights Shompole Lodge, Magadi Game Reserve
3 nights Naibor Camp, Masai Mara
2 nights Bedouin Camp, Samburu Game Researve
1 night Emerson & Green Stone town
6 nights matemwe Bungalows

We are hiring out a whole guest house for the wedding and guests in Cape town so we do not need help with that bit & flying ex UK to Cape Town.
We are experienced travellers but first time safari people & have stayed in all types of place from backpackers to 5* Maldives.
We do not mind sacrificing comfort for wildlife on safari. We are concerned with choice & quality of food on both island retreats.
Could anyone give any feedback on the above, we get married 6th November 2006 so will be taking this itinery 8th November onwards. We have been quoted GBP 9000 for both of us including all flights international and within Africa & all transfers. If I can clarify any bits then please ask - I just need some impartial advise!

Thanks

Liz

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Feb 20th, 2006, 01:38 PM
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Hello Liz,

You will not sacrifice any comfort at your accommodations in Kenya. I’d say that at Shompole, Naibor and Bedouin the focus is more on luxury and seclusion than being in the best wildlife area. Though that doesn’t mean they aren’t in good wildlife areas, just that there are so many other choices.
For example:
1 night Giraffe Manor, Nairobi
http://www.unchartedoutposts.com/afr...affe_manor.php
5 nights Rekero Tented Camp, the Mara http://www.rekerocamp.com/
4 nights Elephant Watch, Samburu http://www.elephantwatchsafaris.com/ewstemp/camp.htm
2 nights Salama and Azania House, Lamu http://www.lamuhouse.com/
3 nights Manda Bay, Manda Island http://www.mandabay.com/

Personally, I’d skip the wedding and spend all the money on safari in East Africa.

Congratulations!

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Feb 20th, 2006, 02:06 PM
  #3
sandi
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Interesting Kenya itinerary. Being November, less tourists and better prices. However, I'd double check that Shompole and Naibor are open in November - in fact check all, even Bedouin. November is the "short" rains season and many properties close during this month.

In Nairobi, you can check out House of Waine (www.houseofwaine.co.ke), with only 11-rooms, it's the newest, exclusive, internet in every room, pool, lovely grounds - costs less than Ngong House, even Giraffe Manor.

Shompole is lovely and you have the opportunity to visit both at Magadi and Lake Natron on the border with Tanzania. Likewise, Naibor in the Mara, on private conservation land with no nearby neighbors. At Bedouin, all tents face the river. Elephant Watch is an option here, but honestly the decor scares me... way too eclectic. There's also Joy's Camp.

So how are you getting between all three of these areas? You should have a scheduled flight to Samburu, but for Shompole and Naibor, it's private charter all the way, yes?

You sure can't beat the price at 5* props including even the Int'l flights. Who's the tour operator?
 
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Feb 21st, 2006, 04:34 AM
  #4
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Nyamera, you just confirmed what I thought re luxury over wildlife & we wanted this part of the honeymoon to be all about the wildlife which is why we are leaning towards the Botswana trip over Kenya - thats not to say the operator will not be able to change.
Sandi - I'm glad you mentioned the short rains - I've seen this mentioned and I'm unsure what that means - heavy downpours for an hour or so in the afternoon? BTY the operator is a web based company called toescapeto dot com, they feature heavily in UK Bridal magazines and are a UK company but source prices from SA - hence the cheaper prices I think. The Kenya itenery put together with the top UK companies such as Carrier or Abercrombie & Kent are coming out around the GBP 13 - 13K. I'm assuming we have charter flights between - I've cut & pasted the below from our quote for the flights included.

London Heathrow – Cape Town
Cape Town – Johannesburg
Johannesburg – Nairobi (JKIA)
Nairobi (Wilson) – Magadi return
Nairobi (Wilson) – Mara return
Nairobi (Wilson) – Samburu return
Nairobi (JKIA) - Zanzibar return
Nairobi (JKIA) - London Heathrow

Also one thing for both - my other half is an Elephant obsesive - we've trailed all over Asia to spend time with them. Will he get a good fix with huge numbers with either of these? Once again thanks for the feedback so far..
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Feb 21st, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Confusedbride: Since you will already be in Cape Town I personally would skip the long flight up to east Africa and see the wonderful wildlife in Southern Africa. It will be pretty hot that time of year but it also makes for great wildlife viewing as everything is dried up.

I would consider cutting your Benguerra time down to 5 nights and adding a 2 or 3 night stay at (Kwando) Lebala or Lagoon. One of those will add a different type of habitat and tremendous wildlife that compliments well with your other 2 camps.

Benguerra is paradise and I know you will love the lounge time there but I think you will be very happy to trade 2 nights for a little more safari if you want to emphasize wildlife viewing.
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Feb 21st, 2006, 09:13 AM
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Liz,
The suggestions I made are my own wish list – though I would leave out the coast – and all very expensive. You could probably go on a private road safari staying at less expensive camps that would still be quite over the top. Or, as you don’t mind roughing it a bit, a camping safari with your own driver and cook. Even though I don’t know how much of the £ 9000 is for the safari I’m sure you could pay considerably less for an incredible honeymoon.

Last year the short rains meant, “not that much rain at all” and in parts of Kenya “catastrophically little rain”. Generally I’d say it’s a lovely blooming time with fewer tourists. Patty went to East Africa in November and in the East Africa Trip Report Index http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34725679 you’ll find more reports from November.

As your husband to-be is elephant-obsessive – not an uncommon disorder on this board – Elephant Watch would be perfect. There are elephants in the Mara as well and Tsavo and Amboseli are famous for their elephants. Check Jan’s trip reports. And you’ll have to visit Sheldrick’s ele orphanage http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/index.asp.


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Feb 21st, 2006, 12:50 PM
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Hello,

I'd second the suggestion to reduce your time at Benguerra in favour of 3 or 4 nights at Kwando Lebala or Kwando Lagoon. The environment in these areas is quite different to the Okavango where your other camps are located, with correspondingly different wildlife. Kwando is known for their proactive approach to game-viewing so you should get plenty of animals there.

Another plus is that if you spend a long enough time with Kwando Safaris, who run Kwara, Lebala, and Lagoon, you should qualify for a long-stay discount.

If your other half loves elephants, there are opportunities for up-close and personal interaction with orphaned ellies in Botswana. Abu Camp is the most famous option (and rather budget-breaking for many people). Stanley's Camp offers a less expensive option. You may want to take a look at these.

At Tongabezi, ask for the Honeymoon House -- it's been described as 'worth getting married for'!

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 09:29 AM
  #8
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Thanks for further suggestions - we are leaning towards the Botswana trip - we can see good in both the safari elements but I feel better about Mozambique than Zanzibar - plus less travelling.
So with that in mind - if I cannot extend my safari dates any longer - would any of the alternatives mentioned ( mostly other Kwando Camps) be worth changing Xakanaxa camp for? I'm worried adding a third camp will just up the cost more due to more transfers. My other half is home tonight from business so I'll put that to him. Also looked again at the Kwando sight - does anyone have preferences out of the remaining two? I'm feeling Lebala due to their mention of high concentrations of elephants. I'm worried about Stanleys elephant interaction though...anyone any experience & also can you do it if your not staying at that Camp?

Thanks again for all your valuable information

Liz
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Feb 22nd, 2006, 11:26 AM
  #9
mv
 
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Liz

the elephant activity at Stanleys is pretty good. For that particular activity the only other camp would be Baines (same owners as Stanleys)
In my mind one of the best places to see elephants is along the Chobe River (provided that the rains have not arrived yet). In a typical afternoon/evening you will probably see app 1000 elephants. Take a look a Ntwala camp www.ntwala.com which will be a perfect place for Honeymooners.
Add a couple of nights at Kwando Lebala and Kwara and you will have varied scenery and perfect wildlife.
Michael
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Mar 11th, 2006, 04:20 AM
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Hi Liz

I have just read through your suggested itinerary and thought you should know that Bedouin has been going through a number of problems lately and may be taken over by a new owner. possibly Elephant Watch would be a better option for you esp as your husband is an elefanatic.

Shompole is always great and should be a little cooler in November, great place to relax, take in the masai experience and soak in the pool. Andrew is a fabulous guide to go with all i hear about him is positive. As with Pius at Serian in the Mara. Naibor, beautiful miniamlist decor but is not really a prime wildlife area but a fabulous wilderness. Perhaps you should look into Serian on the Mara river. www.serian.net (great Baths and a real homey feel, not so well known but worth it) I believe Rekero, Richards, and Elephant Pepper camp will be closed at this time of year. The afternoon rains are actually magnificent and dont hinder any game viewing experience. The skies are masterpieces in themselves.

Emerson and Green is great as is matemwe but the suggestions of Lamu and Manda Bay are both great. Dont write off Kenya it has views that Botswana finds hard to match and November i reckon is the quietest time to go.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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mzeetembo,
Can you go into more detail about the problems at Bedouin camp? Thanks.
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Mar 11th, 2006, 10:56 AM
  #12
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confusedbride2b:
If you do not rule out the Kenya-Zanzibar itinerary, I recently stayed at Emerson & Green and Matemwe Bungalows (recommend both of them). You can read my comments in the last section of my report.
http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...searchText=bat
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Mar 12th, 2006, 10:45 PM
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mzeetembo, just a few little questions.. Serian looks like a great place.. is it an open shower (i'm looking for a place where I can see wildlife from my shower)? how did you book this place and is it affordable ?
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Mar 13th, 2006, 03:08 AM
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Patty;- ref Bedouin, apparently they have not paid the landlords and park fees are outstanding. Apparently is on the market and may have a new owner soon. Am trying to find accurate info and currently this is hearsay though from usually reliable sources. Will ask for definitive answer.

Janischa;- Serian not cheap but definately worth the money around $450 a night. I booked through Liberty Africa Safaris who did a great job with our whole programme as they have for many years. Annie & Richard assure attention to detail and friendly service. But assume you could also book direct too, though most properties of this nature are very strict about protecting the agents commision structure.
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Mar 13th, 2006, 03:36 AM
  #15
 
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mzeetembo, thanks for the info.. i've in the meantime sent a mail, and alex has already responded. you're quite right on the price.. and looking at it, I completely agree it must be worth that just not sure I'll be able to manage.. but if I can, it's gonna be a tight battle between Serian and Shompole...
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Mar 18th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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Forget Bedouin. We have just returned from Safari and spent 3 terrible night there. The camp is falling apart and the owner, Craig Griffiths, was present. Ran out of food, fresh water, and cold drinks after first day. No Coffee and the tents were shabby. The only bad experience after three weeks on Safari. You can do better.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 03:09 AM
  #17
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Hi All,

You will be pleased to learn that we have gone with the Botswana / Zambia / Moxambique option , however with one slight change to the Botswana element in that we are now staying at Kware Lagoon / Kwara Island / Xakanaxa - 2 nights each. I understand Kwara Island is a new camp & wondered if anyone had stayed. It is not mentioned on the Kwando website anywhere & have taken a gamble based on the good word of all this outfits camps.
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Apr 10th, 2006, 12:56 AM
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Hi there

I stayed at Kwara in Dec 2005 - it was fantastic! I can only imagine that a smaller Kwara would be of the same standard if not better...

What a fab trip !

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Apr 10th, 2006, 02:57 PM
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confusedbride: I was just at Kwara in March and Kwara Island is under construction so no one has stayed there yet. Be advised that the original location was not allowed to be built and it is now very close to Kwara Camp thus your drives will be in the same area and your experience will be roughly the same in both camps. I would recommend staying at Kwara Island as the new camp should be a little nicer and then change from Kwara to Lebala or Lagoon (both also Kwando Camps). This will give you more variety in a different habitat area complimenting your Kwara Island and Xakanaxa stays.
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Apr 12th, 2006, 03:25 AM
  #20
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PredatorBiologist - thanks for the info - do you know when Kwara Island is opening? I'll be able to check back here for reviews- we had to move to there because Kwara was full.
I've checked our itinery again and we are now 2 nights Kwara Island, 2 nights Xakanaxa, 2 nights Lebela so I think we've made a good choice. Also anyone out there I'm still worried about our Mozambique bit - I've just seen posted in the last few weeks realy bad reports on Benguerra lodge ( not on this forum)based on the food. With the lack of information out there it's hard to get a balanced viewpoint. Also very glad we did not go for the Kenya trip not only the feedback on this forum but would have serious reservations about going to a country struggling to feed itself yet staying in a camp with gourmet food.
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