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Wonder what it takes to be considered a resident of South(ern) Africa when booking at game lodges/hotels???

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Aug 15th, 2004, 03:03 PM
  #1
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Wonder what it takes to be considered a resident of South(ern) Africa when booking at game lodges/hotels???

Just browsing through www.mtbeds.co.za, and although it is all old news to me, I am just reminded just how much extra most of us have to pay as foreign visitors.

Some of the very best lodges are available, usually for a 50% discount, but sometimes even more.

For example, it is possible for a native South African to stay at Phinda for as little as $200 per person per night sharing.

Londolozi may be had by the native South African for about $250 per person per night sharing.

Lion Sands IVORY LODGE may be had by the native South Africa for only about $325 pppns, while the rest of us would have to pay about $1,125 USD pppns!!!

(Safari Nut, when are you going next? I want to hang onto your coat-tails, assuming that with your South African wife that you are paying local rates)

Hey, I'll take a hut in a shantytown...errr, informal settlement, as long as it has an address.

On a serious note, if I were to purchase real estate, like a 1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom apartment, would I then qualify as a South African resident??? The savings would literally be in the mid five figures each year, possibly enough to make the payments on the apartment, and definitely if rented out, enough to show a healthy profit.

I don't mind one bit that the locals get good rates, but, hey, let me join the party, as well, at least if I am willing to make a real estate investment once the U.S. economy recovers.

With local South African rates, I imagine that I can take the most amazing South African holidays for less than what I pay in Zambia.
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Aug 15th, 2004, 03:06 PM
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I got a little too emotional there...the savings would be in the mid FOUR figures (not five figures), but if I could save $4,000 - $5,000 a year, that would be tremendous.
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Aug 15th, 2004, 03:17 PM
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For about $160,000 USD, there are still some decent places out there, despite the weak dollar.

http://www.pamgolding.co.za/property...rComplexTypes=

3BR, 2BA condo in Claremont Upper, a pretty nice neighborhood that should be attractive to prospective tenants, and secure for when it is vacant.

It's a pity I didn't set my sights a little lower like this on my first visit when the ZAR was 11.5+ to 1 USD. For shame, for shame.
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Aug 15th, 2004, 03:23 PM
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Another interesting fact when talking rates, while at Phinda, we met two S.A. couples from Durban who told us how S.A. residents can buy "shares" of CC Africa and thus cash them in when wanting to stay at one of the CC Africa lodges. As a shareholder they can get the camps/lodges pretty doggone cheap compared to what we have to pay. Unfortunately, outsiders cannot purchase the shares.

They were pretty taken aback when we told them how much we paid to stay at Londo and Phinda. But...what can ya do? We still had a great time.

I keep telling my hubby we should look into some type of property there as well but I don't know if that will get us the bargains or rates that the S.A.'s can get.

I would also like to know how an outsider does establish residency in S.A. if it is at all possible. Can any of you S.A. residents shed some light on this one?

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Aug 15th, 2004, 03:47 PM
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Contact the embassy and find our what the rules and regs are.

Friends who visited SA on holiday two-years back, absolutely fell in love with the country. Returned 6-months later to investigate areas in/around CPT. Settled in the area of Wilderness about 4-hrs north of CPT, bought a piece of property overlooking the Indian Ocean and built an absolutely beautiful house.

Bear in mind that here in the States they were living in Naples, FL, renting whatever - and just up and chucked it all and off they went to SA.

It's now coming up to a year that they've been in SA, their house has doubled in price - they say prices are skyrocketing everywhere - but are still considered "resident aliens" and are technically on a visa as a visitor to the country and have to leave and return, I believe yearly, even if just across the border, to renew.

I'm not quite sure what they have to do to establish permanent residency and whether that would even consider them qualified for MTbeds or any like reduced price services.

Whether you would be able to buy property and rent it out (absentee landlord) and be considered "whatever". But remember the words "time-share" - people who plopped down $$$ and then got bored. You have to be serious enough to put in what is required and hope you don't for some reason, at sometime, not get tired of the place. If you have to live in residence, how would you feel being away from your comfort zone, family, friends, etc. Will you be able to work????, open a business???

My friends love living in SA, have made wonderful friends, and are regularly in contact with family and friends back in the States, but only recently were ready to shuck it all - kind of homesick - so returned to the States for a months' vacation, since returning and still aren't certain whether it's "stay or go."

But if you're seriously interested, check with the appropriate authorities.
 
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Aug 15th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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I bet the prices are skyrocketing in S.A. Beautiful places don't go unnoticed for too long.

With my husband being a native New Zealander we found that out quickly. Ever since Lord of the Rings came out three years ago, the prices there have skyrocketed as well.

It has been unreal watching the influx of tourists and buying of land since the first movie was released. A relatively off-the-beaten-path country has now become so popular.

I thought I was in heaven when I first went to N.Z. but since being bit by the Africa bug (with a HUGE bite mark!) if I had my choice, it would be S.A. over N.Z.



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Aug 15th, 2004, 04:19 PM
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Roccco

I am a RSA resident myself living in Canada now.It's funny though that my first 3 years of visiting the SSGR I wasn't even aware of mtbeds and paid full rack rates.

You have to remember that the following lodges don't have special prices,even for RSA residents:

1)Singita
2)Londolozi Tree Camp
3)Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge
4)Leopard Hills
5)Mala Mala
6)Ulusaba
7)Djuma Vuyatela

So if you want to visit these pay up!
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Aug 15th, 2004, 04:27 PM
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Safarinut,

I think it would be difficult but that I could survive, if just barely, on a dosage of Lion Sands Ivory Lodge!

Ivory Lodge (resident rate) for half the rack rate of Djuma Vuyatela (nonresident rate)??? You have got to be kidding!
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Aug 15th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Roccco

I looked at mtbeds.I see that the Lion Sands Ivory Lodge special doesn't exclude non South Africans,the only prerequisite being that you have to book 7 days in advance!

If I were you I would leave 3-6 days open in my itinerary and book whatever lodges are on special in the week before you go.

You have to remember that R2000pp/night is very expensive for people earning their pay in a currency that is 6-times weaker than yours!
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Aug 15th, 2004, 06:11 PM
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Rocco: Interesting topic. Considering you develop 3 or 4 itineraries a day it would be a lot cheaper for you to open a travel service then buying a property and then take inspection tours for your safaris. The inspection rates for agents can be amazingly cheap. For the type of prices you have been paying for a trip you could probably go for 2 or 3 months. And your costs would be tax write offs.
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Aug 15th, 2004, 06:50 PM
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Predator Biologist,

Don't go putting crazy ideas in my head...the voices in my head are already telling me the same thing!

After just seeing "Bourne Supremacy", the spy thriller starring Matt Damon, I do think that I may just be best off with a fake passport and a South African post office box!

These rates are really hard for me to swallow. I consider myself an ambassador for Southern Africa, yet I must pay 2 to 3 times the amount as a native South African. If I were able to get Lion Sands Ivory Lodge for $300 per person per night sharing and Phinda for $200 per person per night sharing, as well as the other available deals at places like Ngala and Londolozi, I would honestly be able to go on safari for an entire month.

Plus, the deals don't stop at the game lodges. A native can stay at The Twelve Apostles for $125 USD per night pps, while it will cost me double for the same room if I am unable to get it on Luxury Link.

This will be the last year that I pay non-native rates. Someway, somehow, I WILL get local rates next time around. I don't expect foreign visitors to the United States to pay higher prices for lodging, and if they did, I would encourage them to find a way around the system.

This year, my solution was to boycott South Africa and spend all 11 nights of my Southern Africa safari in Zambia, not stepping foot outside of the Johannesburg Airport.

Next year, despite this price fixing policy, I will spend all my time in South Africa, but I will stay at the very fairly priced Mala Mala ($500 pppns) and only because I cannot get over just how many leopards there are at Simbambili, I will be visiting Simbambili, along with Bushmans Kloof which I don't find to be such a bad deal at $300 pppns, all inclusive, as well as stay at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, but only because Luxury Link has the rooms for about 40% of rack rate, and lastly I will stay at Le Quartier Francais, hopefully finding a good deal on Luxury Link, but if not, biting the bullet and paying full non-resident rack rates.

This practice is so ridiculous, that I could actually take a South African along with me, or even a South African couple, assuming they will be given local rates for the four person party, pay for their entire stay, and still pay less than what I would if I booked the trip myself! There is something definitely wrong with that picture.

Is it going to come to this:

WANTED: South African resident who wants to go to Leopard Hills Ivory Lodge, Londolozi Safari Camp, the Twelve Apostles Hotel and perhaps Phinda. Will pay for entire room and board!!!

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Aug 15th, 2004, 06:56 PM
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P.S., I do see a golden business opportunity for an enterprising South African person that is able to tap the market of disgruntled travelers, such as myself, and somehow book them with other South Africans!

Excuuuusssse me, but do any South Africans want to be my new best friend?!
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Aug 15th, 2004, 06:57 PM
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P.S.S.

Predator Biologist,

Taxes??? What are those???
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Aug 15th, 2004, 10:21 PM
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Roccco: I like your thinking now. Set up the saftey deposit box in Cape Town and then have the in-country/out-of country matching traveler service. All tax free of course.
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Aug 17th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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Rocco, as an (ex)-South African with an American pasport, I have to agree that this practice sucks. I am not sure if it would be enough to have an address in South Africa.When we traveled to Zim and Zambia 2 years ago, we had to give passport information and consequently had to pay the highway robbery prices. Having a South African address and my ever so charming South African accent were not good enough.
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Aug 17th, 2004, 11:41 PM
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Waverly,

It is really a terrible system...perhaps it is justified in extreme third world countries, but it is not as if any South African that is staying at Phinda or Leopard Hills is exactly starving. I am now reminded why I spent all my time in Zambia last year.

It is really annoying that I cannot get a top notch South African holiday for under $10,000. Besides quality game lodges being over $500 pppns, the best hotels are nearly $250 pppns.

South Africa is about as expensive as ANTARCTICA! I love South Africa, and it is a very special place, but should it really be priced as much as a cruise to Antarctica, complete with Zodiac explorations, etc.???

I am relieved to see that the USD is back at 6.5 Rand. It had actually dipped below 6 for a moment, but has since corrected itself. I can only hope that it shoot to 7 Rand to the USD prior to any deposit on a trip, and especially prior to any final payment on a trip. Just the difference between 6 and 7 is about a 16% savings, or a $2,000 savings off a trip that is currently $12,500 (and it is not hard to put together a $12,500 itinerary).

To see how easy it is to get to $12,500 USD just for the ground package, have a look at my own itinerary that I have been considering:

Twelve Apostles, 3 nights, $1,500 USD (if Luxury Link is not an option)

Bushmans Kloof, 2 nights, $1,250 USD

Le Quartier Francais, 2 nights, $750 USD

Simbambili, 3 nights, $3,500 USD

Mala Mala, 4 nights, $4,000 USD

Rental Car, 5 Days, $300 USD

Air from CPT-JNB-KMIA-JNB, $1,200 USD

Grand Total = $12,500 USD.

I realize I am staying at proposing some excellent establishments, but it is not as if I am staying at Singita or the Leopard Hills Ivory Lodge ($1,100 USD per person for a foreigner or about $300 USD per person for a resident South Africa).

If I am unable to visit as early as March, I may have to reconsider East Africa. I just know that I can do the very best Northern Circuit itineray and add Zanzibar for well under $5,000 pps. Whatever extra time I have left over, I would gladly spend in Amsterdam, a major gateway into Tanzania.

Honestly, which non-resident here is not annoyed when sharing a camp with native South African tourists, knowing that they are likely paying less than half for the exact same product. Isn't it already bad enought that airfare is now up to nearly $2,000 per person from the Western United States?
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Aug 19th, 2004, 10:21 PM
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roccco,
with all the forged passports I hear about on tv we should be able to find someone in socal who would provide this service
marilyn
ps.
congrats on the new job next year
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Aug 19th, 2004, 11:12 PM
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Mzcurious,

Thanks, but I think I need a job with the department of the South African government that issues passports!

It is very unfortunate that this dual pricing practice continues in South Africa. Who benefits from spending only $600 USD per night to stay at Leopard Hills Ivory Lodge, a camp that is more expensive to the rest of us than even Singita? The wealthy South African residents!

It is not as if middle-class South Africans are able to take advantage of the dual pricing at anything more than a 3* establishment.

Personally, I am having a hard time justifying doing any future safaris in South Africa while this practice is so prevalent. While it is true that this is also a practice in Zambia, it is still possible to deal directly with the lodges while in Zambia. I will not specify numbers all over again, but I was able to get local prices, or very close to local rates on my last Zambian safari. For my 11 night safari, I would have been lucky to get 4 nights in South Africa at similar quality lodges. Even if paying rack rates, I would have likely been able to get 8 nights instead of 4 nights in South Africa.

Until you have really spent more than a few nights in the bush, you cannot really appreciate it. 11 consecutive nights was the best, and continues to have me literally dreaming of Africa on a weekly basis.

As has been pointed out on this board by others, Zambia is really coming up. This is no accident. It is an amazingly beautiful country. I shared my game rides at Chichele with a couple animal trainers from the San Diego Zoo. These two women had each been to Africa an average of about seven times, and they counted South Luangwa amongst their very favorites.
Despite it being early June, these two women said that the game viewing was on an equal level with what they had just experienced on a 10 night mobile tented safari in Botswana.

Anyway, looks like I will be again passing on South Africa, mostly due to this outrageous dual pricing policy, and this despite the fact that I have free business class air already secured from London to Joburg, as shown by this email from Award Planner:

Dear Mr. xxxxxxx,

Below is the reservation I have on hold, if you would like to confirm this
reservation please transfer 80,000 American Express points to your Delta
account.

If you have any questions, I can be reached at 800 xxx xxxx

Thank You
xxxxxx
AwardPlanner



Passenger(s):

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Day/Date Flight Status Carrier City Time Seat
Class Meal
--------- ------ ------ -------------------- --------------- ----- ------
------- ---------
Tue 22MAR 221 OK South African Airway LV LONDON-HEATHROW 815P
Wed 23MAR AR CAPE TOWN 950A

Wed 30MAR 342 OK South African Airway LV CAPE TOWN 140P
AR JOHANNESBURG 340P

Wed 06APR 234 OK South African Airway LV JOHANNESBURG 805P
Thu 07APR AR LONDON-HEATHROW 625A

Honestly, in March, I can probably get a direct flight from LAX - London for about $400 USD per person, yet I am not very motivated to visit South Africa, at least for the purpose of safari, each time I visit www.mtbeds.co.za.

Here are some of the price differences for residents vs. non residents, as shown on www.mtbeds.co.za:

Ngala - 1,250 ZAR ($190 USD) pppns for a resident, 4,125 ZAR ($625 USD) pppns for a nonresident.

Londolozi Safari Lodge - 1,550 ZAR ($235 USD) pppns for a resident, 5225 ZAR ($792 USD) pppns for a nonresident.

There are too many others to count that are all similar to the above. If this doesn't bother potential visitors to South Africa, it should.

The only game lodges that I would personally consider right now in South Africa are Mala Mala (always priced out in USD and not subject to the weakening of our economy), Simbambili (have you seen the leopards on Taga Safaris websites) and Phinda Forest, a very reasonably priced and highly esteemed lodge.
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