Well, it's finally done...my trip is booked 100%!!!

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May 9th, 2003, 08:21 AM
  #1
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Well, it's finally done...my trip is booked 100%!!!

I just booked my one night in the Cape Winelands at the Lanzerac Manor. I booked it through Cybercityguides.com and paid 1,345 ZAR for the room including breakfast.
I tried to book it through another operator but I gave up after I had trouble faxing the credit card authorization to South Africa and instead went with an operator that had secure online credit card payment.
The other operator had the room for 1,200 ZAR but I don't believe that included breakfast, so I consider it about equal to pay 1,345 ZAR with breakfast.

The good thing is that Cybercityguides arranged it so that I will be picked up from the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town, be provided with a full day wineland tour (not included in the above price) and be dropped off at the Lanzerac Manor. I will then be picked up the next morning and transported to the Cape Town airport to fly to Hoedspruit to spend my final three nights at Djuma Vuyatela. So, my final itenerary is as follows:
June 05 - Depart LAX
June 06 - Arrive Joburg. 2 nts at the Michelangelo Hotel.
June 07 - Joburg. Soweto Tour.
June 08 - Depart JNB-Lusaka-Mfuwe (South Luangwa). 5 nights at Kafunta for a walking / driving safari. Kafunta River Lodge first two nights.
June 09 - Kafunta River Lodge.
June 10 - Kafunta Island Bush Lodge
June 11 - Kafunta Island Bush Lodge
June 12 - Kafunta River Lodge
June 13 - Mfuwe - Lusaka - JNB - CPT. Very long day of travelling and will not arrive in Cape Town until 11PM. 4 nights at Twelve Apostles Hotel.
June 14 - Cape Town. Robben Island Tour, Waterfront. Either Mama Africa or Drum Cafe for a nice Saturday night out on the town.
June 15 - Cape Town.
June 16 - Cape Town.
June 17 - Cape Winelands. All Day Winelands Tour. 1 night at Lanzerac Manor, a 310 year old estate.
June 18 - CPT - Hoedspruit. 3 nights at Djuma Vuyatela. This will allow me to add some great rhino photos, as I will not see rhinos in South Luangwa since they have been poached to extinction in Zambia.
June 19 - Vuyatela.
June 20 - Vuyatela.
June 21 - Hoedspruit-JNB-LAX. A short 33 hour trip, or so, from Vuyatela to my front doorstep! I'll be catatonic after the first 15 hours and it will all feel the same after that until I have to jarred from my comatose state after touchdown at LAX.

So that is my 2003 Southern Africa trip. I must say that I am very pleased with the itenerary and looking forward to this trip greatly. 27 more days to go!!!!!!!!
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May 9th, 2003, 09:27 AM
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Sounds absolutely marvellous to me and I am sure you'll have a blast.

Hoping you'll be able to remember (or note down) all the details to share with us when you get back!

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May 9th, 2003, 02:57 PM
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Rocco, I could have warned you about the charges to SA - I've just been through this myself. You have to alert your bank to pre-authorize a charge from SA esp if it is large. Did you book your Robben Island tour yourself on the website? How does one best reserve the CT restaurants, via email?
It's really coming together, isn't it?!
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May 9th, 2003, 04:09 PM
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Clematis,

We are both so close!!! I am really excited for you since it is your first trip and all. I am so grateful to be going back so soon after my first trip.

I really thought I blew my chance to go back this year after I went to Chile in December but fortunately it is all working out and with my June departure I have an opportunity to see the South Luangwa Valley that I would have otherwise missed out on.

I cannot wait to hear your reports of Singita and Mombo. While I may not return to Singita, as great as it is, I definitely want to go to Mombo. Although they are about the same price, the big difference is that you cannot stay at other quality places bordering Mombo for 1/3 the price like you can at Singita.

One thing that really excites me about South Luangwa is its isolation. While South Luangwa is roughly half the size of Kruger National Park, I would be surprised if it received more than 5% as many visitors as Kruger National Park. Kruger reached 1 million visitors for the first time last year and I would be surprised if more than 50,000 tourists went to South Luangwa last year (and that is probably a huge overestimate).

Anyway, while I was at Singita last year I would not have realized that there were so many visitors just a few miles away.

I am really looking forward to reading your trip report and looking forward to writing my OWN trip report!!! If my wife and I are not too lazy, we may even write a newspaper article for the Pasadena Star News or dare I say the Los Angeles Times???!!! My wife has a few front page stories that have appeared in the Star News and that was when she was just messing around and did a few freelance stories for them. Not bad for someone that isn't a "journalist" but has plenty of hustle and drive!

Best of luck on your fast approaching trip. You are going to love it!
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May 9th, 2003, 04:33 PM
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DE
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Rocco,

I am sure you will have a fabulous time on your soon to be trip. It's funny that I recall our first comments back and forth occured on the Latin America section when you told me about the Atacama. I remember you suggesting a trip to Africa instead which we are now doing. I'm sure we will be more than thrilled with all aspects of our adventure. I will still get to the Atacama as we still want to see this area of the world. Have a safe journey. DE

 
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May 9th, 2003, 05:47 PM
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DE...hehe...I was just scrolling through the Latin America board the other night and I came across a post where someone responded to you about your upcoming trip to Chile! Although from this board I already knew that you were going to Africa, it made it all the more delightful to see you write on the Latin American board that you were going to Southern Africa instead!

I remember thinking when I was advising you not to stay at Explora due to its price...this guy doesn't realize that I just stayed at the nicest place in the world (and one of the most expensive)!!!

Anyway, I think you are going to have an amazing holiday in Africa. One month of Africa at the very best places...incredible!!! I cannot wait until I have the flexibility to see Africa for a full month at a time.

Your trip should be coming up pretty soon also, right???
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May 9th, 2003, 08:32 PM
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Hi Roccco, I must commend you for sharing all this and so many other people as well. I shared a lot with someone and when I asked this person who they were going through,they would not share it but everyone else on this has been extraordinary. I look forward to seeing you in california and exchanging information.
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May 9th, 2003, 09:13 PM
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Rocco,
Yes it will be taking place in the next while and we are all keyed up for this trip. It's definitely going to be one of our more expensive excursions but seeing as I don't know when we would get back to Africa ( still have those other destinations to visit as well, ha ha! ) we wanted to do and see as much as possible on this jaunt and I'm sure it will be just wonderful. DE
 
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May 10th, 2003, 04:13 AM
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Pattysue - what are you looking for exactly? From your post above it seems you are disappointed that someone didn't give you an agent recommendation? But I thought you'd booked your trip already. Are you looking for advice in another area?



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May 10th, 2003, 06:58 AM
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LizFrazier
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Rocco, I'm so happy for you and your trip sounds like a real dream trip. You worked hard and shared along the way like no one else has done. Before you think I am blaming anyone, I'm not. Since you came to this thread it has changed. I think your dynamics had a lot to do with it. I know one time Kavey posted the cost of something and got flamed for it. So sharing costs was kind of avoided. Thanks for opening that door.
I am especially anxious for Zambia info. You may actually change some ideas about the country and get them a few more visitors.
We were away on a cruise and just returned so I missed some of the excitement, but I am thrilled for you and I know you spent a lot of time on this. I also know the frustration of emails back and forth to Africa. It seems to take forever, then everything falls into place and its done. What a relief, right? Liz
 
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May 10th, 2003, 07:43 AM
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Rocco,

Am seeing alot of conflicting info on the board about immunizations so I went to CDC, which sort of lumps SA alltogether. What shots did you end up getting last time? We are considering Hep A, B, but is polio really necessary? (They also mentioned yellow fever was not).

Thanks!
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May 10th, 2003, 09:27 AM
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Dear Melissaom & Kavey,
Melissaom-as per what to take and if you're just going to SA-I was just there and this is what I took: Hep.A is a must;Hep.B-not necessary,yellow fever-not necessary,polio-I took without the advice from anyone as I feel everyone should be immunized against polio;I also took typhoid as a precaution and of course the malaria tablets malarone;it doesn't hurt to bring ciprofloxacin with you although I didn't need it. Hope this helps you-I had also gone to zimbabwe and "that" is all that I took just 6 months ago.

Kavey-as usual you are always a tremendous help-to sum it up I spent a fair amount of time and "all" my contacts to help someone and when I had asked a very simple question as to whom that person was booking it with ,they absolutely would not say(and this after giving reams of information merely to "help")so unfortunately not everyone is like you which I appreciate-no,in answer to your question,I am not going yet but can't wait to go back and will certainly require your wonderful advice. But you are so helpful!!!
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May 11th, 2003, 06:10 AM
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Liz,

Thanks for the kind words. I just did not see what the point of having an open forum was if we could not be...OPEN! Only by opening sharing ideas and even prices that we are being charged can we truly make informed decisions about our African holidays.

I made the decision this year that I was not going to be denied Africa just because I had recently taken an expensive vacation to Chile. In order to accomplish this goal, I had to forget about staying at a place like Singita this year and really work hard to find some nice places that were within a certain budget.

It was only through hard work and perseverance that I was able to stay at some nice city hotels such as The Michelangelo in Johannesburg and the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town. Although many here reject the awards given by some travel magazines, I was very relieved to see the Twelve Apostles Hotel named to the U.S. version of Conde Nast Traveler as one of the 75 "hot" new hotels in the world.

The thing that I like about South Luangwa is that it seems like it is largely virgin territory to tourism. I know that walking safaris have been going on for decades there, but there is nowhere near as many visitors to South Luangwa as Kruger. I do know that South Luangwa (about 3,500 sq. miles) is roughly half the size of Kruger National Park. Kruger National Park received 1 million+ visitors last year and I don't have the number for South Luangwa, but I would be surprised if it was more than 50,000 and that may be double or triple the actual number.

Anyway, Liz, I hope you had a great time on your cruise and welcome home. I am trying to whip myself into some sort of shape prior to my walking safari! Last weekend it was a 10K race, yesterday it was a 4 mile trail race in Malibu Canyon, next weekend will be a half marathon in Palos Verdes, a beautiful part of Los Angeles with incredible views of the ocean and I will finish it all off with an 8.6 mile trail run to the top of Mount Wilson, one of the San Gabriel Mountains overlooking L.A.

While I may not outrun a leopard or a lion while on my walking safari in South Luangwa, I at least want to outrun the poor sucker next to me!!!
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May 11th, 2003, 06:38 AM
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Hi Roccco

We are near the end of putting the finishing touches to our SA trip for this August.

Just a quick one you were looking at one of the train journeys blue train etc what made you decide not to take one? How are you traveling down to cape town

Anyway have a fantastic time and look forward to reading your holiday report when you arrive home.

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May 11th, 2003, 07:24 AM
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Bacardi,

I would have liked to have taken either Rovos Rail or the Blue Train but I passed for a couple reasons. The biggest reason was the price (about $1,000 per night) but the second reason was that I already had limited time in Cape Town and didn't want to use a whole day on the train journey.

As it is, I will only have four full days in Cape Town and one of them will be in the Cape Winelands, leaving only three full days for Cape Town.

I just could not justify spending double the amount on a train ride than I am spending even at Djuma Vuyatela per night. Had this been last year, and I was staying at Singita, the Mount Nelson, Table Bay Hotel, etc., then I would have more strongly considered a trip on the Ble Train/Rovos Rail, but for this trip, I don't think it was appropriate or would have matched the flavor of the trip. This trip was more designed to see the "Real Africa", as opposed to exclusively the European Africa, although I will get doses of both.

Regarding how I am travelling down to Cape Town, I will be flying to Cape Town after South Luangwa. It will be a treacherous day of travel as I need to go from Mfuwe (South Luangwa) to Lusaka to Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Best of luck with your upcoming travels.
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May 11th, 2003, 08:31 AM
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LizFrazier
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Thank you Rocco-The cruise was to get over the blues from cancelling our trip to Africa. It worked! It was wonderful and although it was only 5 days, we ate, ate, ate, and did the exercise programs and really enjoyed it. The trip to Kenya came together just before we left, so we really just put everything aside and enjoyed the trip.
What I had wanted to do was to visit Zambia from the Falls on our next trip to Botswana. So I will be anxiously awaiting your report on the details, etc. I also wanted to work in Sossusvlei in Namibia and you know the rest, the cost just keeps climbing. haha. So that is probably 3 or 4 years out. Just take us all along mentally as I will do on the Mara, and it will help. Liz
 
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May 11th, 2003, 03:30 PM
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To Roccco:

Your itinerary sounds incredible. Thanks for sharing the 'journey before the journey.' I look forward to reading your impressions and hope to someday visit South Luangwa. Travel safely and bring back lots of good stories!
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May 13th, 2003, 10:10 AM
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Roccco-
Have a great time on your trip. I've been following your posts, and have been encouraged by your experience and advice. I'm finalizing my own itinerary for a three-week southern Africa trip, and even considered Luangwa based on your posts (it turned out to be too expensive as a detour). I, too, appreciated your inclusion of costs, particularly when you mentioned your experience with luxurylink and other websites. I'll be very curious to hear about Twelve Apostles, and I hope you see rhinos at Vuyatela. (I stayed at Djuma Bush and saw a rhino my first night!). Robben Island is great, too, and let me know if the penguins are still plentiful. I visited in 2000, but there was an oil spill shortly thereafter, killing some of the penguin population. there's a surprising amount of wildlife on the island, and you should see antelopes running around. Have a great time!
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May 13th, 2003, 10:30 AM
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Girlpolo...Thanks and I look forward to posting every detail about my trip, especially regarding South Luangwa.

Doyung...I can assure you that there are still plenty of Penguins in the Cape Peninsula. I was there last year and there must have been at least a couple hundred. I got some nice pictures of a mother Penguin hatching her eggs!!!

The Twelve Apostles Hotel was just recently named to Conde Nast Travelers "Hot 75" list of the 75 hottest new hotels. Not sure if it is a new hotel, but it is apparently the first time that Conde Nast Traveler felt that they were worthy of inclusion amongst the best of the worlds hotels.

Sorry to hear that South Luangwa was too expensive. I found it to be quite reasonable, at least by staying at Kafunta. The airfare wasn't more than $500 pp to go from JNB-Lusaka-Mfuwe and Kafunta was only $200 per person per night sharing. Combined it cost me about $1,500 pp for the air and accomodations. Robin Pope Safaris and The Bushcamp Company were much more expensive (about $150 per person per night more).

I look forward to Robben Island since I made the mistake of missing it last year.
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