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First time in South Africa. Please help with our itinerary!!

First time in South Africa. Please help with our itinerary!!

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Old Mar 24, 16, 6:27 am
  #16  
 
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Hi poohbear 0218!

First of all, incredible trip in the making and incredible establishments! Well picked! The trip will be truly incredible and will resonate with you long after you return home!

I do have a few comments on your itinerary.

I would shave some of your Cape Town nights down. I think 1 night in Hermanus is fine. You also could consider removing the 1 extra night after Hermanus in Cape Town. It's a lot of moving around, unpacking, packing, checking in and out of hotels. Instead, when you leave Hermanus, you can go directly to the airport and fly onward to Skukuza. So there's 2 nights available to you now. Also, fly to Skukuza. You don't need to go thru JNB and you will be there in time to have some food and your afternoon game drive!

Is there a reason why you are spending an overnight in JNB prior to your departure to the US? Perhaps I have misunderstood your itinerary. Typically, you leave the safari lodge sometime after your morning game drive. You are then transferred to the nearest airport, in which case this would be Skukuza, and then you fly direct to JNB from there. Typically flights to the US are in the evening so you don't need to do an overnight there. Do you have a flight in the evening? If yes, no need for an overnight and this would give you a third night to play with.

If you have already booked the 6 nights of safari at 3 destinations (yes, I agree with all posters who suggested a 3-3 split rather than a 2-2-2) then perhaps you could shift the trip by adding the 1-2 nights shaved off of Cape Town and add them to the end for a 2-3 night stay at Vic Falls. Just a thought. There is a flight that runs on certain days of the week from the Kruger airport direct to Livingstone airport. It's a 20-25 min transfer to Vic Falls. It's not clear from your itinerary if this would work since you don't reference specific days of the week. Something to think about as an option. There are some very lovely hotels in Victoria Falls that would be match the style of travel elsewhere in your itinerary. This only makes sense if you are keen to see Victoria Falls. It is beautiful and magnificent. Tons of adventure activities and some nice history of John Cecil Rhodes and his vision for the bridge creating the "Cape to Cairo" link.

The Kaza UniVisa mentioned by a previous poster has been indefinitely suspended so if you were to go to Vic Falls, you would, as of this writing and to the best of my knowledge, have to buy both a Zimbabwe visa and a Zambia visa upon entry. This would give you access to many more activities and things to do.

If you need any assistance with your itinerary, please reach out. Happy to help!

Best
Dianne
Africa Direct USA
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Old Mar 24, 16, 8:55 am
  #17  
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Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
Fine, it's in the KNP concession part of Lions Sands.
No it is not.

Skukuza airport is in the KNP, and not within the boundaries of any concession. That map you refer to is incorrect.

Johan
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Old Mar 24, 16, 9:39 am
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Can you fly to Lebombo a day early? Maybe move your reservation to Sweni (or spend the night there before moving to Lebombo if space permits, you can walk from one to another). I think you will prefer 3 nights at a lodge. We spent 2 nights at Sweni and 3 at Ebony. Three is preferable because the transfer time is set in stone due to flight schedules. We are spending two nights at sabora tented camp this year before moving to another nearby Singita lodge for a longer stay and the only reason we agreed to 2 was because the transfer is by car and takes less time.
You will have so much fun! We love Singita. We spent 4 nights in Cape Town at the Nellie (Mt Nelson) and did a day trip to the wine lands. I would have liked to overnight there. Probably 5-6 days would have been enough. We were short on time there.
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Old Mar 25, 16, 5:35 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Dianne_AfricaDirectUSA View Post
Hi poohbear 0218!

First of all, incredible trip in the making and incredible establishments! Well picked! The trip will be truly incredible and will resonate with you long after you return home!

I do have a few comments on your itinerary.

I would shave some of your Cape Town nights down. I think 1 night in Hermanus is fine. You also could consider removing the 1 extra night after Hermanus in Cape Town. It's a lot of moving around, unpacking, packing, checking in and out of hotels. Instead, when you leave Hermanus, you can go directly to the airport and fly onward to Skukuza. So there's 2 nights available to you now. Also, fly to Skukuza. You don't need to go thru JNB and you will be there in time to have some food and your afternoon game drive!

Is there a reason why you are spending an overnight in JNB prior to your departure to the US? Perhaps I have misunderstood your itinerary. Typically, you leave the safari lodge sometime after your morning game drive. You are then transferred to the nearest airport, in which case this would be Skukuza, and then you fly direct to JNB from there. Typically flights to the US are in the evening so you don't need to do an overnight there. Do you have a flight in the evening? If yes, no need for an overnight and this would give you a third night to play with.

If you have already booked the 6 nights of safari at 3 destinations (yes, I agree with all posters who suggested a 3-3 split rather than a 2-2-2) then perhaps you could shift the trip by adding the 1-2 nights shaved off of Cape Town and add them to the end for a 2-3 night stay at Vic Falls. Just a thought. There is a flight that runs on certain days of the week from the Kruger airport direct to Livingstone airport. It's a 20-25 min transfer to Vic Falls. It's not clear from your itinerary if this would work since you don't reference specific days of the week. Something to think about as an option. There are some very lovely hotels in Victoria Falls that would be match the style of travel elsewhere in your itinerary. This only makes sense if you are keen to see Victoria Falls. It is beautiful and magnificent. Tons of adventure activities and some nice history of John Cecil Rhodes and his vision for the bridge creating the "Cape to Cairo" link.

The Kaza UniVisa mentioned by a previous poster has been indefinitely suspended so if you were to go to Vic Falls, you would, as of this writing and to the best of my knowledge, have to buy both a Zimbabwe visa and a Zambia visa upon entry. This would give you access to many more activities and things to do.

If you need any assistance with your itinerary, please reach out. Happy to help!

Best
Dianne
Africa Direct USA
Hi Dianne,

Thank you for your feedback! They are very helpful! The reason we are flying into Johanesberg after Hermanus is because Singita only have flights to their lodges from either JNB or KMIA. They don't have flights from Skukuza.

Also, upon our return from safari, we are staying in JNB overnight because we are taking Cathay flight back to HK, which departs at noon and I don't think we will make it on the same day.

I am thinking if I cut a day in Wine Land and another day in Hermanus maybe I can add Victoria Fall or Mozambique beach into the itinerary? Which one do you think we should do?
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Old Mar 25, 16, 5:37 am
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Originally Posted by floridagal23 View Post
Can you fly to Lebombo a day early? Maybe move your reservation to Sweni (or spend the night there before moving to Lebombo if space permits, you can walk from one to another). I think you will prefer 3 nights at a lodge. We spent 2 nights at Sweni and 3 at Ebony. Three is preferable because the transfer time is set in stone due to flight schedules. We are spending two nights at sabora tented camp this year before moving to another nearby Singita lodge for a longer stay and the only reason we agreed to 2 was because the transfer is by car and takes less time.
You will have so much fun! We love Singita. We spent 4 nights in Cape Town at the Nellie (Mt Nelson) and did a day trip to the wine lands. I would have liked to overnight there. Probably 5-6 days would have been enough. We were short on time there.
Hi FLoridagal23! Unfortunately availability in all the Singita lodges are so tight we only got 2 days each at those lodges. Would love to stay longer if we can ><
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Old Mar 25, 16, 7:53 am
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Originally Posted by poohbear0218 View Post
They don't have flights from Skukuza.
Singita is only a short game drive from Skukuza, the airport has its own Sabi Sand gate. The reserve may, however, not allow commercial transfers by that route.

Johan
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Old Mar 25, 16, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
Singita is only a short game drive from Skukuza, the airport has its own Sabi Sand gate. The reserve may, however, not allow commercial transfers by that route.

Johan
Hi Johan, the lodge quoted me a 4-5 hrs drive from Skukuza to Singita Lebombo due to slow speed.
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Old Mar 25, 16, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by poohbear0218 View Post
Hi Johan, the lodge quoted me a 4-5 hrs drive from Skukuza to Singita Lebombo due to slow speed.
Yes, if you drive from the airport out of the KNP via Paul Kruger Gate, then west on the R536, and finally north through the communal lands to Newington Gate. The long way round, so to speak.

Private reserves such as Sabi Sand are associations of landowners, who have agreed upon rules on how each and every property can be accessed, i.e. which gates and roads may be used.

I've previously used the "backdoor" gate at Skukuza airport to get to and from various lodges in southern Sabi Sand, although the official gate for these is Shaw's. That was a few years ago, they may well have become less flexible since then.

Map of Sabi Sand with gates and access roads here.

Johan
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Old Mar 26, 16, 9:24 pm
  #24  
 
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First time in South Africa. Please help with our itinerary!!

I enjoyed my quick visit to Victoria Falls staying at Elephant Camp which was a pretty amazing tent with private pool and deck. We took the house cat Sylvester (a cheetah) for a morning walk and sadly I missed out on the Elephant morning safari (as full when I arrived so book ahead). They shuttled you to the falls where I explored on my own then took both a helicopter tour and Zambezi River sunset cruise. I have a section on philatravelgirl blog about my month in Africa with a Victoria Falls section.

To peek inside the safari tent at Elephant Camp which was such a surprise and made me laugh having come from a two person tent in the Okavango Delta http://philatravelgirl.com/elephant-camp-luxury-ten/
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Old Mar 27, 16, 8:16 am
  #25  
 
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Hi ppohbear0218!

Logistically with your itinerary, Victoria Falls may be the only possibility to add if you had 2 nights available from giving up 1 night in CPT and 1 night in Hermanus. Having said that, if you were to add it, I'd go in the beginning of your trip. Fly JNB - VFA. Stay 2 nights. Then fly from VFA - CPT (stop in JNB). Then do CPT then Safari.

For Vic Falls, Elephant Camp is a favorite of mine and I highly recommend it to clients who have more play in their budget. They do an excellent job on all fronts. Only rave reviews! It would complement very well your other choices for accommodation.

Best
Dianne
Africa Direct USA

Last edited by Dianne_AfricaDirectUSA; Mar 27, 16 at 8:22 am
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Old Apr 18, 16, 5:06 am
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Subscribing to this useful Thread - we need some ideas!

We're doing our first trip to ZA in December, but as a couple of OAPs we won't be doing too much rushing around. At this stage we just know we arrive at CPT on 6 Dec, and depart on 18 Dec ... the rest is a blank sheet of paper, although food and drink will eventually feature prominently.
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Old Apr 18, 16, 6:37 am
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T8191 - are you going to do safari? If so, I'd start looking as things tend to book up quickly!
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Old Apr 18, 16, 6:46 am
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Originally Posted by senzer View Post
T8191 - are you going to do safari? If so, I'd start looking as things tend to book up quickly!
Probably not, but thanks for the warning.

The only reasons we're going (strange as it sounds) is that BA launched a new route from LGW to CPT last month, and we were quick off the mark in getting some very rare reward seats in Business (they were all gone in 24 hours!). So, for about GBP440 each we can go somewhere warm during the UK Winter

The details are actually secondary to just being somewhere warm!!
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Old Apr 18, 16, 12:39 pm
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Got it - I started another post on here with a bunch of food/drink suggestions - so def check that out as well!
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Old Apr 18, 16, 12:50 pm
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Originally Posted by senzer View Post
Got it - I started another post on here with a bunch of food/drink suggestions - so def check that out as well!
I shall search ... thanks. We really need to get round to filling in something on that blank sheet of paper!

Family conference in front of the iMac, with sheets of coloured paper everywhere, and FT, TripAdvisor and Google Earth open in various windows ... been there, done that! Our 'blind' trip to SAV was just like that!
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