What to do? South Africa in a hurry...

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Oct 24th, 2005, 09:34 AM
  #1
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What to do? South Africa in a hurry...

Am to travel to JNB for business in three weeks (4 days in country) - have extended my stay for an additional 4 days, now what? Should I stay in JNB? Cape Town?

I'd really like to go on a safari while in country, but don't know where to begin planning itinerary - this trip just fell from the sky, I'm completely unprepared - help!

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Oct 24th, 2005, 11:16 AM
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If you are in Johannesburg and have the four nights to play with AND you do forsee yourself returning in the near future I would urge you to take the safari option.

You have a number of cjoices, however the easiest and most accessible game reserves are located in Mpumalanga province and the North west province.

Both these areas are well serviced by air from Johannesburg. The least expensive are the reserves around the hoedspruit airport, which is also the least expensive flight.

The Kruger itself is inexpensive and is a great option if you care to drive yourself. Visit the South African National Parks website for iinfor on rest camps and so on.

If you have the spare $$$ and want to treat yourself, consider the Sabi Sands, a private reserve divided up into small sections managed by individual companies. There are many choices to suite your tastes, let us know what they are and I am sure that you'll get as many subjective opinions as you may need to help you decide.

The Madikwe is in the North west, so is the Pilanesburg. The former has daily charter service that feeds many of the camps located there. Again if you share your interests you'll get opinions on where rest youor head between game drives.

Otherwise I think that going to the Cape for four nights is really too short, leave that for when you have more time to play with.
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Oct 25th, 2005, 11:05 PM
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jmcovin,

You have a few choices here, but I would say that a safari should be your final choice.

November will be high season for safaris in South Africa so if you are looking for a luxury lodge, it could potentially get pretty expensive.

There are different parks to consider but for South Africa my #1 recommendation would be the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, a 65,000 hectare reserve that has about 25 different game lodges, most of them luxury game lodges in the neighborhood of $500 - $700 per person per night, plus single supplement. Also, from Joburg, you must allow about another $500 for your transfer from Joburg to the Sabi Sand and back to Joburg. Therefore, a 4 night safari, even at a reasonably priced Sabi Sand lodge would cost about a minimum of $3,000 ($625 per person per night for your lodging and $500 per night for your air transfers).

On the other hand, if you were open to going beyond the South African border for a safari, a flight from Joburg to Lusaka (Zambia) is 2 hours long and is about $375. From Lusaka, it would be a 75 minute flight to South Luangwa National Park at a cost of $300. Next, you may enjoy 4 nights at a place like Kafunta River Lodge for $245 per night (INCLUDING single supplement).

Therefore, a 4 night safari at Kafunta River Lodge would only cost you a total of $1655, a savings of $1345 over a luxury lodge in the Sabi Sand.

If you were to upgrade to a luxury lodge in South Luangwa to Luangwa River Lodge, it would cost you $1,070 + single supplement of I am guessing about $320 (30%) for a total of $1,390 for your lodging, plus $675 for your transfers. At a total of $2,065 it is still a $1,000 savings at an excellent lodge that in terms of luxury, food and guiding matches up next to nearly any South African luxury lodge.

KAFUNTA RIVER LODGE
http://www.luangwa.com/riverlodge.htm

LUANGWA RIVER LODGE
www.luangwariverlodge.com

I do think that you are much more likely to enjoy a more personalized safari experience in Zambia than you would in the Sabi Sand. Also, if it is a concern, I do believe that there is a much lower chance of there being families with children in Zambia than in South Africa.

Take a look at this thread as you will likely find it very helpful to planning your safari with such short notice. As you will see, another Fodorite was planning on visiting the Sabi Sand in South Africa and Cape Town but is now leaning towards doing her entire safari in Zambia. I really believe the only reason why Zambia is not more popular is because it is an undiscovered gem that is not as commercialized as South Africa. Anyway, have a look:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34694279

Let me know if I can help you further.
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