Where to stay?

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Feb 28th, 2016, 08:35 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Where to stay?

I am going with my family in the spring 2017 along with SA. I am trying to figure out where to stay at what camps. We are willing to spend $$$ but still want to of see all we can see.

So I am trying determine if we can do that in 1 location in Bostwana given we are doing Sabi Sands in SA. I have been told the Delta and then other regions too. Suggestions?

Duba Plains has come up as a good choice, Vumbura Plains. Some sound like they are both land and water and others land only. Given we have land at Sabi Sands the blend sounds like the better way to go. We want to try to see all animals of course.
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Feb 28th, 2016, 10:17 PM
  #2
 
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I've commented on your other thread, but if you are only going to do one camp, then I think Vumbura Plains will give you the best variety of game viewing and activities. Or Little Vumbura, which is a less expensive option in the same concession.

Duba Plains is a lovely camp and a beautiful area but I wouldn't choose it if it was the only camp I was visiting in Botswana. Mainly because the game viewing is very much foussed on lions, they don't have that much in the way of other predators. I think there is a possibility of leopard if you are really lucky, but Duba is all about lions. As far as activities go, I think they may offer a boat trip but no mokoro.
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Feb 28th, 2016, 11:37 PM
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Personally, 1 camp in Botswana is very impractical. It's a flight to Maun and a charter - to just do one for all of that time, cost and effort doesn't make sense to me. There is not one camp that will tick off all the boxes. As above, Duba is all about lions. I loved it, but we visited three other lodges on that trip.

Botswana is great but you since you have a short time, S Africa on its own might make more sense this time. Or a Mashatu/Sabi Sand lodge combo might be perfect. Two different ecosystems and excellent wildlife at both. I did a Mashatu/The Outpost/Sabi Sand trip as our first S Africa safari that was just about perfect. We are thinking about doing a similar trip again next time, it was so great. Or Kirkmans in Sabi Sand and Phinda in Zululand for two very different ecosystems and better possibility of cheetah and excellent service/game viewing. If I was planning a trip for my family, both would be excellent options.

For an unbelievably great experience you can do a rhino conservation project in Zululand Rhino Reserve. Very rewarding and incredible experience. Best day of my life. I can give more info if interested.

It's really too bad that we believe safari needs to be very expensive. It doesn't have to be. Right now the S African Rand has almost collapsed against the usd, it can be quite affordable. It's almost half of what it was a couple of years ago. Wildlife doesn't care how much you spend.
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Feb 29th, 2016, 08:46 AM
  #4
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Thank you for the insight. Something to definitely keep in mind. If we did 2 regions, which two do you recommend?
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Mar 1st, 2016, 03:40 AM
  #5
 
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Hi chitowntraveler!

You should really consider Phinda and Sabi Sand. Phinda, with its 7 different ecosystems, is such a wonderful reserve and the lodges there are all so beautiful yet different. We had great Cheetah sightings and also great hippo sightings at their waterholes. I'm particularly fond of Vlei and Forest Lodges, but truthfully, they are all incredible, just different.

When we stayed at Vlei, the elephants would come and drink the water in the pool! It was quite fun to wake up to this! Forest Lodge is located in one of the last sand floor forests of the world which is simply amazing in and of itself.

We did a day trip to Sodwana Bay to experience the pristine yet wild and rugged coast. One of the only places in the world where such large sand dunes grace a border of evergreen forest. We had a jeep permit to drive on the beach. Only a handful of permits allowed per day at that time. If you'd like to see the photos, please contact me via my profile and I will send the link. Both my husband and son are photographers. Pics are stunning.

I'd pair one or more of Phinda's lodges with any of their sister lodges in Sabi Sand, such as Kirkmans, Exeter River or Leadwood. You could also consider Ngala or Ngala Tented Camp in Timbavati Private Game Reserve. AndBeyond makes it easy to combine lodges in these 2 areas by offering a flight for guests out of Phinda's airstrip. Discounts are available for longer stays.

All these lodges are beautiful and have a different feel depending upon your travel style and your family's needs. Some are more child-friendly than others. All though have incredible food, service and lovely accommodations. Their guides/rangers are excellent and their jeeps max at far fewer people than most other lodges. Being on private reserves gives you the added flexibility for night drives and driving off road, both of which is not allowed in national parks.

You didn't indicate the number of days you are thinking of traveling, nor the ages of those in your family. Are you considering Cape Town? That info would be helpful for further recommendations.

Happy to help!

Best
Dianne
Africa Direct USA
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Mar 1st, 2016, 02:56 PM
  #6
 
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I just set up our third (or could be termed 4th, I suppose) safari trip to South Africa -- primarily because of the exchange rate of ZAR to US$. It will cost us half of what our last trip did, and we will visit both Kruger and Hluhluwe as well as the coast and Zulu battlegrounds. I think you will have a brilliant safari experience if you chose something similar -- you can probably go to more expensive camps, as recommended above Sabi Sands and Phinda. Once bitten by the Africa bug, you can plan your next safari in Botswana, and maybe combine it with Namibia. Wow. That would be a trip!
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