Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Africa > Africa
Reload this Page >

Safari- Luggage Help!

Safari- Luggage Help!

Old Nov 27, 17, 11:48 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: ABE
Programs: AA G, UA, HH G
Posts: 141
Originally Posted by vbnet View Post
Cheltzel's wife here. Who are you going to use for the private road transfer? I know of Ashton's but that's a group shuttle service and would like to have options for the next time in case I bring different equipment. My longest lens was a 70-200 and I think I'd bump it up next time. (Although there are lodges you can rent lenses).

I know the prospect of drive is not appealing to my dh, but if you add in the time dealing with the luggage, check-in, and other pleasantries of waiting for another flight a private transfer could have it's own appeal.
Hi, vbnet. We haven't made a final choice yet, but Transfer You Shuttles and Shuttle King get good reviews on TA and both offer private drivers from JNB to the entire Kruger area. (Transfer You shows a rate of ~2500ZAR for 2 from JNB to Nelspruit one way which I've been using as a data point. One we finalize our lodge choices, I was going to ask the lodges for their recommendations and then compare the 3-4 price-wise. It really does pay for us in flexibility for both luggage and schedule, and I don't mind spending the extra time on the road.
vbnet likes this.
isabeloh is offline  
Old Nov 27, 17, 1:29 pm
  #17  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 83
Originally Posted by isabeloh View Post
Hi, vbnet. We haven't made a final choice yet, but Transfer You Shuttles and Shuttle King get good reviews on TA and both offer private drivers from JNB to the entire Kruger area. (Transfer You shows a rate of ~2500ZAR for 2 from JNB to Nelspruit one way which I've been using as a data point. One we finalize our lodge choices, I was going to ask the lodges for their recommendations and then compare the 3-4 price-wise. It really does pay for us in flexibility for both luggage and schedule, and I don't mind spending the extra time on the road.
So that's about $182 for the two of you, one way. Is that for only 2 of you being transported, or they can fill the van? I picked a date in March and on SAA it would be about $115 each.

When we flew SAA, my dh, had a carryon which was checked on the tarmac. I had a large catchall purse (with tablet, ereader, wallet & sunglasses) and my camera bag (tenba 13 - carrying two Sony A6xxx, a 70-200mm, 85mm, 16-70mm). It wasn't a problem putting those things in the overhead but I had to be super watchful as to other people jamming in their bags. I'm 5'8", dh is 6'2" and we both are far from skinny. The seats were VERY compact. The only thing that got me thru the flight is it was only an hour (we went to HDS). Flying HDS to CPT for 3 hours was obnoxious but unfortunately necessary.

Can't wait to hear who you settle on and get the review afterwards =)
vbnet is offline  
Old Nov 28, 17, 6:06 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: AA, UA, GE
Posts: 3,658
We used Shuttle King for our airport-hotel transfers at JNB and as transportation from our hotel to the De Wildt Cheetah Centre.

We were underwhelmed by both drivers. I shudder at the thought of getting one of these drivers for a long term transfer between JNB and one of the lodges in the Kruger Park area. The driver who took us to the De Wildt Cheetah Centre got lost and I had to fire up Google Maps on my phone to bail him out. BTW this was my first trip to ZA so I had no local knowledge whatsoever.

It could be we were just unlucky with the drivers from Shuttle King. But personally I would be hesitant to book them for something bigger. And they are just about the highest reviewed transfer company on TA (and one of the more expensive as well), Who would I book as an alternative?
cheltzel is offline  
Old Nov 28, 17, 3:36 pm
  #19  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Redwood City, CA USA (SFO/SJC)
Programs: Last 1K flight 1/21/11; fun while it lasted, 1P in 2011, Plat for 2012,13,14,15 & 2016. Gold in 17 &
Posts: 8,507
Originally Posted by cheltzel View Post
We used Shuttle King for our airport-hotel transfers at JNB and as transportation from our hotel to the De Wildt Cheetah Centre.

We were underwhelmed by both drivers. I shudder at the thought of getting one of these drivers for a long term transfer between JNB and one of the lodges in the Kruger Park area. The driver who took us to the De Wildt Cheetah Centre got lost and I had to fire up Google Maps on my phone to bail him out. BTW this was my first trip to ZA so I had no local knowledge whatsoever.

It could be we were just unlucky with the drivers from Shuttle King. But personally I would be hesitant to book them for something bigger. And they are just about the highest reviewed transfer company on TA (and one of the more expensive as well), Who would I book as an alternative?
If possible, I would recommend booking through the place you're staying. The fewer people pointing fingers at others, the better. And in all likelihood the place you're staying has a lot more to lose, from bad reviews, than the people transporting you.

My experience with the transport from Kruger (Nelspruit area) to JNB was perhaps a bit underwhelming as well, but not terrible. Just a large and fairly-comfortable van driving a long distance over roads that weren't terribly interesting. But might have been different on the way in, when we might not have been so tired and willing to engage the driver in conversation. Except that this particular driver's Afrikaner accent was so extreme his English was barely intelligible. He had good command of English, just spoke it in a way my ears had a real tough time deciphering.
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Nov 28, 17, 5:14 pm
  #20  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: AA, UA, GE
Posts: 3,658
Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
If possible, I would recommend booking through the place you're staying. The fewer people pointing fingers at others, the better. And in all likelihood the place you're staying has a lot more to lose, from bad reviews, than the people transporting you.

My experience with the transport from Kruger (Nelspruit area) to JNB was perhaps a bit underwhelming as well, but not terrible. Just a large and fairly-comfortable van driving a long distance over roads that weren't terribly interesting. But might have been different on the way in, when we might not have been so tired and willing to engage the driver in conversation. Except that this particular driver's Afrikaner accent was so extreme his English was barely intelligible. He had good command of English, just spoke it in a way my ears had a real tough time deciphering.
I think the question to drive or fly between JNB and the Kruger Park area is largely a situational one. Basically there is no right vs wrong with that decision.

In the case of @isabeloh and her husband, it sounds like a van transfer makes sense. They have a lot of expensive photographic gear and they might be forced to at least gate check it if they fly. It might be a bit more than flying but as long as they get a private vehicle with plenty of room for them and their stuff it probably will be a better solution.

If I were arriving after the connecting flights had departed (the last flight to HDS departs 13:00), I would likely do a van transfer as I would get to the Kruger Park area the same day and I would avoid a JNB airport hotel stay. But if I were arriving JNB on an early morning flight (before 7:00 AM), I would probably fly as all I would have to do is clear South African immigration/customs and possibly recheck my bags, especially if I could do it one one ticket.
cheltzel is offline  
Old Nov 28, 17, 6:37 pm
  #21  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Redwood City, CA USA (SFO/SJC)
Programs: Last 1K flight 1/21/11; fun while it lasted, 1P in 2011, Plat for 2012,13,14,15 & 2016. Gold in 17 &
Posts: 8,507
Originally Posted by cheltzel View Post
I think the question to drive or fly between JNB and the Kruger Park area is largely a situational one. Basically there is no right vs wrong with that decision.
I wasn't questioning whether to fly or take a van. My point was that, if you chose the van transfer, it could make sense coordinating it through the resort you'd be staying.
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Nov 28, 17, 6:59 pm
  #22  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: AA, UA, GE
Posts: 3,658
Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
I wasn't questioning whether to fly or take a van. My point was that, if you chose the van transfer, it could make sense coordinating it through the resort you'd be staying.
Sorry if I misread your post.
cheltzel is offline  
Old Nov 29, 17, 11:55 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 53
Just more for reference reall for future readers.

I have just returned from my second visit this year to Kruger. Alone, 5ft nothing, and female, with a camera bag (Lowepro mini trecker AW) and handbag. Between the handbag and camera bag, they contained Canon 7D and 80D bodies, (brilliant in low light by the way) 1 x heavy 2.8 70-200mm lens, 1 x heavy 100-400 Mk II mm lens, and 2 small lenses, plus full size Zeiss binoculars that are also heavy and a handbag with ipad mini and pocket camera. (I actually put the binoculars and one camera body in my 'handbag' and 'distributed the weight').

My experience with this flight, and a similar one flying to Swaziland, is that the cabin baggage destined for the hold, tends to be the small suitcase type with wheels), or the very large back packs.

Both my camera bag and handbag came inside the cabin with me on Airlink from JNB to Skukuza and easily fit into the overhead storage with handbag underneath the seat. The flight was full with the exception of one empty seat. It's a cracking flight, beautiful flying over the bush too. The flight is 45 mins, and check in etc, is really no problem as it's a small regional flight, on an Embraer 135 (or is it 145?). Anyway, lots of people carried they hand luggage to the steps of the aircraft, and they just loaded it in the hold. I would have had no problem doing this with my camera equipment. There are a lot of people with some serious photographic equipment going to KNP, and I know from reading TA, that some of them are checked into the hold with no apparent problems. Interestingly, on my next trip, I think I'll leave the 70-200 at home, most of the photos were taken with the 100-400mm lens! But I digress....
HGOLI is offline  
Old Nov 29, 17, 8:29 pm
  #24  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Redwood City, CA USA (SFO/SJC)
Programs: Last 1K flight 1/21/11; fun while it lasted, 1P in 2011, Plat for 2012,13,14,15 & 2016. Gold in 17 &
Posts: 8,507
Originally Posted by HGOLI View Post
Just more for reference reall for future readers.

I have just returned from my second visit this year to Kruger. Alone, 5ft nothing, and female, with a camera bag (Lowepro mini trecker AW) and handbag. Between the handbag and camera bag, they contained Canon 7D and 80D bodies, (brilliant in low light by the way) 1 x heavy 2.8 70-200mm lens, 1 x heavy 100-400 Mk II mm lens, and 2 small lenses, plus full size Zeiss binoculars that are also heavy and a handbag with ipad mini and pocket camera. (I actually put the binoculars and one camera body in my 'handbag' and 'distributed the weight').

My experience with this flight, and a similar one flying to Swaziland, is that the cabin baggage destined for the hold, tends to be the small suitcase type with wheels), or the very large back packs.

Both my camera bag and handbag came inside the cabin with me on Airlink from JNB to Skukuza and easily fit into the overhead storage with handbag underneath the seat. The flight was full with the exception of one empty seat. It's a cracking flight, beautiful flying over the bush too. The flight is 45 mins, and check in etc, is really no problem as it's a small regional flight, on an Embraer 135 (or is it 145?). Anyway, lots of people carried they hand luggage to the steps of the aircraft, and they just loaded it in the hold. I would have had no problem doing this with my camera equipment. There are a lot of people with some serious photographic equipment going to KNP, and I know from reading TA, that some of them are checked into the hold with no apparent problems. Interestingly, on my next trip, I think I'll leave the 70-200 at home, most of the photos were taken with the 100-400mm lens! But I digress....
OT concerning luggage, but agreed about the lens choice. I had initially thought to leave my "Africa" lens (Tamron 150-600) at home this trip, since I'd read that, at Kruger, you were relatively-close to the animals. VERY glad I brought it. I found myself using it almost exclusively, despite being a lot tougher to handle than the 55-250 I brought. Canon T6i body, nothing special.
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Dec 7, 17, 12:41 pm
  #25  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 11,622
Originally Posted by HGOLI View Post
Anyway, lots of people carried they hand luggage to the steps of the aircraft, and they just loaded it in the hold. I would have had no problem doing this with my camera equipment. There are a lot of people with some serious photographic equipment going to KNP, and I know from reading TA, that some of them are checked into the hold with no apparent problems.
There have been more than a few instances of luggage left at the steps being stolen. This is a JNB issue, it is not a problem flying to JNB from the smaller airports.

When I leave a bag at the aircraft steps (place it on the Sky Check trolley, actually) I wait on the apron and watch them load the bags. Only then do I board the aircraft, as the last pax if necessary.

Johan
johan rebel is offline  
Old Jan 3, 18, 7:58 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 83
how was the road transfer?

Originally Posted by isabeloh View Post
I've made the decision to get a private road transfer to the Kruger area from JNB for a few reasons, not the least of which is the husband is an amateur photographer with extensive and heavy camera bodies and lenses he doesn't want to pare down (and that he himself is 6'4", 275lbs and not crazy about the ides of the smaller planes.) The downside is the 6+ hour drive that by all accounts isn't very interesting. I understand this isn't really an answer to your question, but if you have the time to spare perhaps this is an option if you're worried about the luggage weight.
Isabeloh

Isabeloh, I was wondering if you booked your transfer yet and used it. Can you report back when you do so we can add to our notes for the next trip? Were there other travelers in your transport and how did it go?
vbnet is offline  
Old Jan 3, 18, 9:04 pm
  #27  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: ABE
Programs: AA G, UA, HH G
Posts: 141
Originally Posted by vbnet View Post
Isabeloh

Isabeloh, I was wondering if you booked your transfer yet and used it. Can you report back when you do so we can add to our notes for the next trip? Were there other travelers in your transport and how did it go?
Hey there vbnet, Iím sorry to say that an issue with my husbandís health has pushed this trip out to 2019, either spring or summer. Sorry not to be of more current assistance!

Last edited by isabeloh; Jan 3, 18 at 9:04 pm Reason: Fat fingers
isabeloh is offline  
Old Jan 4, 18, 7:21 am
  #28  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 83
Originally Posted by isabeloh View Post


Hey there vbnet, Iím sorry to say that an issue with my husbandís health has pushed this trip out to 2019, either spring or summer. Sorry not to be of more current assistance!
Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that! I'm hoping for summer 2019 (if we don't opt for Australia instead). Hoping you get to do at least a little trip to have some R&R. If you start planning 2019 or 2020 ping me. If we ended up going same time we might be able to cross paths at some point. Here's to a speedy rebound for your husband!
isabeloh likes this.
vbnet is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread