Zambia / Cape Town Itinerary Completed?


May 27th, 2005, 11:20 PM
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Zambia / Cape Town Itinerary Completed?

I think this is it.

I just bought my economy class air from LAX - London. I will fly on Virgin Atlantic but I did use to help me locate the most comfortable seats on the plane.

I waited and waited and waited, but the price of flights was only going higher so I ended up getting my seats for $901 pp, carefully selecting a partner airline of Delta so that I would have miles to deposit in my Delta Skymiles account (10884 miles per person, to be precise).

I did decide to fly all the way through to Southern Africa without an overnight in London. Honestly, I think the overnight would have proved disruptive, but with an 11:45AM arrival in London, we will have a 9.75 hour layover, allowing for possibly a 7 hour custom tour. This should exhaust us into submission once we are on our 11 hour business class flight to Joburg, hopefully arriving well rested.

All of my Zambian lodges are now confirmed, as is Simbambili in the Sabi Sand.

As far as Cape Town accomodations go, I think I am going to go with Atlantic House in Camps Bay.

It is one of the only places I came across with a heated swimming pool. It is not a private house but rather a 5* B&B. However, with only 5 rooms, I am guaranteed a relatively exclusive experience...chances are there will be a maximum of one other room occupied in mid September.

I will be at Atlantic House for my 4 nights in Cape Town, before finishing up my own holiday with 3 nights in Simbambili. Meanwhile, Alexsandra and my mom will stay one more night (Saturday night) before finishing up with two pampering nights at Le Quartier Francais in the Cape Winelands. What better way to finish up for the two of them than with fine cuisine, spa treatments and plenty of South African wine!

Final Itinerary (once Atlantic House confirms)

Kasaka River Lodge (3) (Thank God for bush spas)

Chongwe River Camp (3)

Luangwa River Lodge (3) (another bush spa opportunity, along with an impressive champagne list, I may add!)

Puku Ridge (3) How I will love doing a walking safari in such a strong wildlife area...just hope I don't run into any lions!

Atlantic House (4) for me / (5) for others

Simbambili (3) for me / Le Quartier Francais (2) for others

Wow...I am actually excited about my upcoming trip and have been able to put Botswana out of mind temporarily.

The Lower Zambezi is going to be amazing in early September. Not too hot yet but hopefully with the elephants already in the river daily.

South, I cannot wait. It was an amazing experience in early June for my last two visits and I can hardly wait to see it in September high season.

Cape Town...four nights at Atlantic House should be the perfect amount of time for me and I will surely appreciate that glorious ocean view each day.

Simbambili...although I will be there during the full moon, I am still hopeful to see plenty of leopards, whether during the day or at night hunting. With this long weekend, I think I will track the last few full moons and then compare them to the reports from Taga Safaris LEOPARDS OF SIMBAMBILI series. It would be very encouraging if I saw that the sightings and the leopard kills did not diminish during the full moon.

As amazing as I believe this trip to be, I fully intend to raise the bar further for next April in Botswana!
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May 27th, 2005, 11:31 PM
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Well, in a limited sampling, if the September 18th full moon at Simbambili is anything like last month's full moon of April 24th, then Simbambili will be just fine.

April 23rd - 26th Leopards Of Simbambili Report (with photos)
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May 28th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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I wanted to bring this great special at Le Quartier Francais to the attention of my fellow Fodorites:

Two nights at Le Quartier with a 4 course dinner in The Tasting Room, 2 massages , breakfast and a bottle of Moreson MCC R3000 (valid from 1 May - 30 September 2005-terms and conditions apply)

---With current exchange rates, this is only about $460 total ($230 pp sharing).

Le Quartier Francais was recently voted "Best Small Hotel In The World" by the Tatler magazine in the UK.

My only regret is that I will not have a chance to experience LQF this year, but I am happy that I will be able to send my wife and my mother there for their final two nights (while I spend my final 3 nights at Simbambili in the Sabi Sand).

For anybody visiting Cape Town this year before September 30th, this is definitely an offer at LQF that may be too good to pass on.
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May 30th, 2005, 11:34 AM
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I fly between San Francisco and England several times a year normally at Chrismas and in the Spring or Autumn.

This year I was shocked by the cost of flights when I went to buy a flight for my motherto come and visit me...they were almost 700 pounds in August! Eventually we settled on June but the ticket was about the same price as yours.

We've stayed at LQF and I would definetly recommend it, I'm sure your wife and mother will enjoy it. The pool is tiny but I don't think they'll be using it because of the weather.

However, even the standard rooms are hugh and the food is superb...but I think Tatler's suffering from hyberbole to call it "The Best Small Hotel in the World".

Have a great time!

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May 30th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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Hyperbole or not, it will make for nice sibling rivalry when my mother tells that besides the incredible safari lodges/camps that I took her to, she also finished up her Southern African holiday with 5 nights at a 5 Star Guesthouse (Atlantic House) and 2 nights at the "Best Small Hotel In The World."

Honestly, I now laugh at many of the places that I see voted onto these "Best Of" lists. I don't know if the authors of the articles are treated to free visits or what the motivation sometimes is for the selections. But, whether or not LQF is amongst the very best small hotels in the world, it definitely appears to be one of the very best places to stay in the Cape Winelands.

I did price out LQF for a 2 night stay, and even excluding the four course dinner, two massages and bottle of wine, the price was more than double through even a so-called discount website like E-Gnu. Sites like E-Gnu are good for reference but there are always better deals out there either directly from the lodge/hotel or from a really good agent.

I am a bit jealous that I will be unable to join the two of them at LQF, but I will enjoy every second at Simbambili instead!

And here is the safari meter, tracking how much time I spent on safari vs. at hotels while on safari:

2002: 9 nights hotels / 5 nights safari
2003: 7 nights hotels / 8 nights safari
2004: 10 nights hotels / 11 nights safari*
2005: 4 nights hotels / 15 nights safari

*The hotel nights for 2004 were actually spent in Italy prior to arriving in Zambia. Once I was in Southern Africa, I was not going to waste one precious night on a hotel. But, as you see, the safari time has basically tripled since my first visit.

Exactly 3 months until departure!
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