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RuthieC Jul 28th, 2005 03:02 PM

Withdrawal Symptoms!
After reading so many wonderful trip reports recently I'm definitely getting withdrawal symptoms.

We are booked to go to Cape Town / Franschoek / Hermanus at the end of September and I'm really excited about this as it will be our first time in South Africa.

But........... it's not a safari :(( hence the withdrawal symptoms.

I have, in previous threads, confessed how impatient I am and I really need to get a fix of safari early next year. So the reason for this post is to ask for recommendations for a safari destination for a Feb / March 2006 trip where we can hope to see reasonable amounts of game without having to spend the whole time looking for shelter from the rain (remembering that we were in N Tanzania earlier this year so don't really want to go back there this soon).

Interested to hear any suggestions / views on this - if nothing else, it's a way to keep feeding my habit! :-d

Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 02:23 AM

I have these so strongly it's starting to become painful...

No Africa trip in 2005 and none intended for 2006. Not even sure whether we'll be doing on in 2007.


jasher Jul 29th, 2005 03:19 AM


I started having symptoms on the plane back from Joburg...

I find that buying books on the places I've visited and reading them helps alleviate some of the pangs...and planning my next trip always helps.


Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 06:32 AM

I buy too many books - including the expensive hard back photo-filled wildlife photography books.

I subscribe to magazines.

I watch every Africa-based wildlife documentary.

I spend far too much time on this site reading and talking Africa.

I DREAM that I'm on safari.

And there's no chance to plan a trip soon.

Anyone got any ideas how I can retain my sanity?

napamatt Jul 29th, 2005 06:39 AM


None, none at all, well maybe having the next two planned is a start.


I have visited Mala Mala any number of times in February and March and while we do usually get some rain, it really isn't that bad and usually doesn't affect more than one or two drives out of 8. Sometimes we have had no rain, but once in March we had almost three days of cool, overcast weather with two game drives seriously affected. But you do have a room with heating and a shower which seems to help immeasurably, I'm not sure I would want to be doing the Botswana tent thing in such circumstances.

jasher Jul 29th, 2005 06:40 AM


It sounds as if your condition is terminal, and may require extreme measures...

Supposedly IMAX is about as three-dimensional as cinema gets, and there are two Africa-based IMAX films being shown -- have you tried this? One is a South African safari, and I believe the other is from the Mara.


Roccco Jul 29th, 2005 06:46 AM


I don't know what your situation is, but maybe even just a short and inexpensive trip like Ruthie's last Emerald Season trip to Zambia would be possible. I envy those of you in London! Direct flight to Lusaka. Man, if I had a direct flight from LAX - Lusaka, I may just end up at the airport one day without telling anybody and be on a plane to Zambia! ;)

Emerald season pricing is so very reasonable and it is the best time to see wild dogs.

I mean you could go to Puku Ridge for $300 pppns or to Luangwa River Lodge for only $280 pppns for your first three nights and then $230 pppns for your additional nights. If you had to do it solo, Puku Ridge doesn't even charge a single supplement in low season.

Plus there are specials offered that will take you to both South Luangwa and Victoria Falls. Once in Victoria Falls, Makalolo Plains is a short transfer away and also has excellent rates.

You would probably be able to find air from London to Lusaka for $1000 or less and then just plan on spending a maximum of about $350 pppns or $400 single per night, including your regional air transfers.

The Taj Pamodzi in Lusaka appears to be a beautiful hotel that you would need for 1 night upon your return to London (early morning flight from Lusaka to London) and is under $200 per night.

Zambia is calllllling you Kavey!!! :)

Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 06:47 AM

Sorry, was also meaning to post some stuff on Cape/ Garden Route but I'm getting senile and forgot:

* You can abseil down the side of Table Mountain. We chose not to but my sister, who went a few months before us, did and loved it.

* Madame Zingaras is a fun and funky restaurant with nice food, friendly staff and a nice ambience. We really liked their signature chilli chocolate steak dish.

* The Nelson Mandela Gateway, where one boards the boat to Robben Island, is a good place to purchase prints of artwork by Nelson Mandela. The prices range from about 3000 Rand for a small size (bookplate) limited edition print (which is what we chose) up to 120000 Rand for larger prints and books.

* Tides restaurant in Camp's Bay offers good food at reasonable prices. We particularly enjoyed a quiet drink in Trader's Bar within the same hotel before dinner looking out over the view. Ask for a window table for dinner.

* Mooiberg Farm near Franschhoek/ Paarl (ask Selwyn) sells some GREAT dried fruits as well as some unusual liqueurs. The dried fruit was wonderful to have in the car for the rest of the self-drive trip across the Garden Route and into game parks in KZN/ Kruger.

* If you can visit a township with someone who has personal connections and friendships with the people there, allowing you to meet the people as people I think you'll have an eye-opening and rewarding day rather than feeling as though you're treating people like zoo exhibits, as some tours may do.

* The food at Moyo may not be great (though it's certainly acceptable) but it's a fun place to go for dinner with friends. Reserve a table on a tree top platform or underneath the trunk of the large tree. Lanterns and fires and candles decorate the entire area and performing artists wander between the guests too.

* Greenpoint Market (Sundays?) has a much larger range of stalls/ items than the permanent market in the town centre square (forget the name) and the prices are keen, especially if you haggle.

* The Wang Thai chain of restaurants offer good Thai food at good prices.

* Being able to walk on Boulder's Beach with the penguins is fabulous - head for the Southern end (opp end of long walkway to the end where the visitor centre is located) to be able to get off walkways and onto the sand.

* On the road back from Cape Point to CT (when taking the West route back) you'll pass a HUGE market of immense stone carving art pieces - not far from Cape Point. Best selection of large size pieces we saw anywhere.

* Baia is an excellent seafood restaurant at the waterfront. They do great non-seafood options if required, though not many. Pete's meat dish was fantastic. Their seafood is so fresh and their dishes so delicately flavoured that you can't fail to enjoy it.

* Harry's Pancake House next to the Robben Island Gateway serves a GREAT selection of thick pancakes filled with wonderfullly tasty options and is very inexpensive too. A great lunch stop.

Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 07:04 AM

* Cotage Fromage (in the Vrede en Lust estate) does a lovely lunch - it's essentially a deli that does lunch. The cheese boards are great as is rest of what we ate.

* Another Deli for a meal the same evening as Cotage Fromage - Delicious is run by the same people who run Le Quartier Francais and is only open for dinner one night a week (or was last June). Very nice meal in a nice, casual environment.

* Views from the Franschhoek and Du Toit Passes are breathtaking.

* Le Bon Vivante is a fabulous restaurant and our meal there rates very highly indeed. Fantastic food, beautifully and innovatively presented, excellent prices, friendly staff and you can ask for a table next to the window into the kitchen and watch the chefs at work.

* Topsi of Topsi & Co restaurant is quite batty but charming and the main attraction of a meal here is being able to chat with her. The food was nice but not as nice as other meals in Franshhoek. BYOB.

* The Faerie Sanctuary is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Kitch to the extreme. If you're in Swellendam drop in for the fun of it.

* Swellendam's Old Gaol is a great bet for lunch or dinner.

* The Cango Caves offers two tours - the standard one which we took plus an extreme one where fit (and small) visitors can follow guides into narrow pot holes and crevices and get right into the heart of the cave complex.

* The Cango Wildlife Ranch is a zoo/ breeding centre and you can pay extra to go into the cheetah enclosure and pet them.

* If you're booked into rest camp accommodation at Addo you can enter as early as you like on the day of arrival (and tour the park until you can get into the accommodation) and stay until closing time on the day of departure. Chalets are huge and comfortable.

* Central Knysna is backpacker heaven. Outer areas are more appealing. Views in the area are beautiful.

* Le Leorie restaurant was named (by previous owners who were poor at spelling) after the famous Knysna Lourie bird. Excellent food at great prices. Selwyn will vouch for how tasty the crepes gateau is.

* The Tree Tops Canopy Tour in Storms River Village is just incredible. Even I did it and I'm scared of heights. You need reasonable strength in your arms to do this as you'll brake your motion on each slide from tree to tree by pulling down with your strongest arm.

* We stayed in the Storms River Guest Lodge which offered us great winter rates and was very pleasant but really liked the look of the rest camp chalets in the Tsitsikamma Forest park. Would stay in these next time around.

* Book an Eyethu guide to accompany you in your own car for an afternoon or morning at Addo. This initiative helps local people break into the guiding profession.

Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 07:06 AM

Zambia has been calling me even before your very first trip there but I just haven't got to it yet. The last trip in 2004 we really wanted to go back to Botswana and see it in more detail. The next trip will very likely include Zambia, whenever it might be.

But even a green season special isn't going to make a trip for 2 (including flights) something we can do just like that.

But when we do, I'll be counting on your advice and assistance in tracking down deals and all the options!


Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 07:12 AM

I'm looking up Imax stuff right now!

Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 07:19 AM

Wild Safari 3D
at The BFI London IMAX Cinema

Thursday 11 August 2005 at 12:30

2 seats allocated
A Seated Layout G18 - G19 at £7.90 (ADULT)

Thanks Julian!

RuthieC Jul 29th, 2005 07:28 AM

I knew that I wasn't the only mad woman on this board when it comes to Africa Obsession!

Thanks very much Kavey for all the suggestons on Cape Town & area - we'll certainly take some of these up while we are there.

Roccco - If you remember we did the Zambia Green Season earlier this year so I would like to save our next trip for the dry season - maybe next October with good shoulder season rates.

Napamatt, thanks for the suggestion on Mala Mala. How was the game viewing at this time of year? I would love to hear from other people who have been to Sabi Sands / Kruger during the Feb / March period.

Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 07:36 AM

You're welcome Ruthie!

The Mara film is no longer being shown at the IMAX. I do recall reading about it (and the South African one I just booked) some time ago but forgot completely so at least Julian's reminder was in time for me to catch SA one as it's not on for much longer.

lisa Jul 29th, 2005 07:38 AM

Waaah, it's not playing in DC yet :(

Roccco Jul 29th, 2005 07:43 AM


Is your name Kavey?! ;)

Yes, it is for your very safari from a fellow countrywoman of Kavey that I suggested she visit Zambia during the Emerald Season. :)

Kavey Jul 29th, 2005 07:46 AM

I am wishing. But I think I need a magic lantern genie or something coz it's not working.

Lisa, was hoping to get in touch with you, can you drop me an email please? Thanks.

jasher Jul 29th, 2005 07:54 AM

Hi Kavey,

Glad I was able to help. I'm hoping to get into London to see it myself before it goes away (though I'm sad I missed the Mara one -- I think it was called 'Prides' and was about a year in the life of one of the Mara lion prides).

Maybe some of us London area Fodorites can meet up sometime -- I have an article from Travel Africa about 'getting your Africa fix in London' which might be fun to try...


RuthieC Jul 29th, 2005 07:55 AM


Sorry - I scanned your post rather than reading it properly - wonder who I picked that habit up from :S-

napamatt Jul 29th, 2005 08:14 AM


Search for my last trip report from February, posted early March, that has five days worth of Mala Mala sightings. We have always had good sightings at this time and of course the birds are better.

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