Two Weeks in Capetown, want to add a safari

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Apr 23rd, 2015, 12:00 PM
  #1
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Two Weeks in Capetown, want to add a safari

We are two senior citizens from the USA. Definitely NOT into camping, but not into luxury travel either. We tend to be travelers of B&B accommodations in Europe and La Quinta/cheap but clean hotels in the US. We spend our money on local food, wine and experiences. We are not history buffs. We do not expect to get back to Africa again.

We do home exchanges, and have the opportunity to do 2-3 weeks in Cape Town. We will have a vehicle and do organized tours in CT, but we do NOT want to drive ourselves significant distances. I think 2 weeks in CT will be plenty, so we would like to add an animal safari to our trip. Approximate dates for our CT accommodations are Nov 13-Dec 4 but flexibility exits at either end for the safari portion.

It is possible for us to arrive or depart in a different city than CT (like Jo-Berg). Can someone suggest how we might arrange for a safari of 4-6 days that will NOT involve us driving anywhere? Recommended safari companies or even a travel agent much appreciated - but please remember that we ARE senior citizens.
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Apr 23rd, 2015, 06:45 PM
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Be prepared for sticker shock. Safari cost $$$ and they are not in the same league as LQ. Of course that can vary but realistically, you are looking at a cost of several hundreds of dollars per night. I am not talking about high end luxury safaris either. Our cheapest safari is in the vicinity of close to $800 a night for the 2 of us in September. And you need to work on this now, as we found that many/most places had limited availability 6 months out, having been booked up many more months in advance.
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Apr 23rd, 2015, 08:09 PM
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jkgourmet - how about you fly from Cape Town/CPT non-stop on South African Airways (or Airlink) to Hoedspruit/HDS and go on safari from there? There are many nice "budget" safari lodges on private land in the Timbavati Game Reserve adjacent to the open Kruger ecosystem that can be accessed by an approximate 45 minute road transfer from the HDS airport. The lodge will collect you. Check out the following:

Ngala Main Camp
Shindzela
Kambaku
Honeyguide (in the Manyaleti)
Tanda Tula
Hamiltons (on a concession in the Kruger).

Where do you live? I may be able to recommend a safari expert for you to meet with face to face.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Apr 24th, 2015, 07:11 AM
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Thank you Craig. We are in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Any suggestions you have would be most appreciated. But I must admit the "sticker shock" (especially with the airfare from Cape Town to JoBerg) is starting to make me cringe. (But I keep remembering that we have free housing in a lovely home in Cape Town, with car.)
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Apr 24th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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The airfare from Capetown to Jo'burg is the least expensive part of your proposed safari.

https://www.flysafair.co.za/

RT JNB - CPT - JNB with all added extras, US $227. And you could fly home from JNB and therefore only need 1 way.
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Apr 24th, 2015, 08:25 AM
  #6
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DebitNM, you are correct. I looked up incorrect information.

If you have any information on trips that are considerably less than $800/night/couple, please share.
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Apr 24th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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This is the least expensive place we are staying.

http://www.thegardenlodge.com/rates.html
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Apr 25th, 2015, 03:35 PM
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My husband and I enjoyed Addo Elephant Park, not too far from CapeTown. Accommodation ranges from well equipped permanent tents to more expensive chalets. This is self drive, so you will need the car. Two days there is enough.
Knysna is also a great town.
Jean
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Apr 25th, 2015, 09:26 PM
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I don't spend that much on safari any more. There are more affordable options around Kruger like Arathusa, Shindzela, nDzuti, Gomo Gomo. There are many, many more, and remember the exchange rate right now is GREAT! Take advantage of it! There are lots of lodges we in the U.S. don't hear a lot about because they cater to a different customer than a high end safari traveler. You have to really search the Internet for the less expensive options. You can arrange a flight and road transfers, usually the safari camp can be very helpful with this. No need to drive yourselves. Or contact an agent like Wild Wings or Sun Safaris for more help - both are highly regarded.
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Apr 25th, 2015, 09:47 PM
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We usually self-drive but as christabir says their are more affordable options out there. I have stayed at Umkumbe in Sabi Sands and highly recommend it.

http://www.umkumbe.co.za

It is currently about 222 USD per night per person. It is not luxury but it is a small, intimate camp and we had excellent sightings (including all of the Big 5).

Friends stayed at Cheetah Sands and had great sightings and really enjoyed it:

http://www.cheetahplains.com/
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Apr 26th, 2015, 06:08 AM
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"My husband and I enjoyed Addo Elephant Park, not too far from Cape Town."

I love the concept of a 500 mile, eight hour drive as "not too far"
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Apr 26th, 2015, 09:28 AM
  #12
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"Or contact an agent like Wild Wings or Sun Safaris for more help - both are highly regarded."

I have already contacted Wild Wings (as well as a few others) and will add Sun Safari's to the list. Other recommendations are appreciated. I'll also look at some of the camps mentioned above.

I agree - Addo Elephant is definitely too far for us to self-drive! These days, we barely drive that far on a USA based road trip!
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Apr 26th, 2015, 09:56 AM
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I must confess, I saw the "Not far" comment and laughed, but failed to fully digest the whole post.

I know you don't want to drive long distance - but that said it is worth at least considering. It is quite an easy drive (I've done it many times). The roads are good, not a great deal of traffic, and you would stay on the same road for 90% of the trip.

There are some excellent places that would work as stopovers on the way George, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay to name but three. You could vary your route and go out on the coastal road, back on the inland route.
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Apr 27th, 2015, 02:50 PM
  #14
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The owners of the home we are using in Cape Town are recommending a safari in the "Eastern Cape." Can anyone comment on what we might expect if we take their advice? Remembering that we are senior citizens and do not expect to return to Africa, is the Eastern Cape going to give us a good experience?
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Apr 27th, 2015, 03:16 PM
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We stayed at Shindzela in Timbavati. If you ever visited the old Curry Village at Yosemite, it would be similar. Not camping, but not a motel either. Tented camp--permanent raised wooden platform with tent on top. Inside is bed; outside (but attached and enclosed with bamboo fencing) is flush toilet and shower head. No air conditioning.
Price about $300 per night for 2, which includes the tented cabin, 3 meals + nonalcoholic beverages, and 2 game drives. www.shindzela.co.za/tented-camps/information/

My nephew and wife stayed at nDzuti in Klaserie --air conditioned bedrooms in what is like a B&B with only 4 rooms, so very personal attention. About $400 a night for 2 same inclusive.
www.ndzutisafaricamp.com/

Many competitors offering private transfers from airports.
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Apr 27th, 2015, 11:35 PM
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The Eastern Cape is normally used to describe the area around Port Elizabeth/East London and the areas inland from there. Addo is the most well known of the National Parks. There are others such as baviaanskloof, but if you are looking for a Safari like experience, then you are going to see far more animals at Addo.
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Apr 28th, 2015, 02:27 AM
  #17
 
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A safari in the Eastern Cape is a good idea. You fly from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and either collect and car and drive yourself (less expensive option) or get the safari lodge to arrange a transfer (more expensive option). There are many excellent lodges around 1 hour drive from Port Elizabeth, the best known being Shamwari, which has several lodges on their large game reserve. A good agent will give you other options according to your budget, but I say "Go For it!"

Failing that....you can have a very good 'soft' safari within a 3-hour drive of Cape Town. It has to be a 'soft' safari as the reserves are not big enough to support huge amounts of animals, so lions can't roam completely free or they'd eat all the wildebeest and zebra! As a Safari Tart having visited over 200 safari lodges, I can honestly say I enjoy Aquila Safari Lodge (they have transport from Cape Town - taking about 2.5 hrs) and and also Garden Route Game Lodge (about 4 hours drive along the Garden Route). They don't try and compete with Kruger or the Eastern Cape but they are good options if you don't want to travel far out of Cape Town and are beautiful reserves with good guides.

Carrie at Fair Trade Safaris, non-profit operator
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