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South Africa & Singita in October

South Africa & Singita in October

Old May 25, 14, 11:31 am
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South Africa & Singita in October

Hi all - I'm going to spend a week in South Africa in October (land CPT / JNB Sat am and depart CPT / JNB following Sun pm.) I've never been before and never had time on Safari (and nor has the Mrs) - so we're not really sure what to do.

Singita has a stay 6 / pay 5 promo on for Boulders / Lebombo - and also a stay 2/2 and get a free flight promo. So Safari seems to be a toss up between:

3/3 in Boulders/Lebombo (which forces 2 days in CPT at the end I'd guess)
2/2 - followed by 2 in Bushmans Kloof and 2 in CPT I guess.
3 in Boulders followed by 3 in Bushmans Kloof and 2 in CPT I guess.

I'm very tempted to go to Bushmans Kloof and skip CPT entirely since no doubt we'll be back for it + garden route.

So my questions are:

1) Given the climate / time of year is there anything I'm thinking of doing that is stupid?
2) Are there better obvious Safari options / things I'm missing? (E.g. Royal Malewane)
3) Do people have views on how much time to spend on Safari (a bit of me thinks that the 3 in each place option might leave us a bit bored after 6 days of Safari.)

All advice/ criticism welcome.

Thanks.
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Old May 25, 14, 1:09 pm
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I havent stayed at the properties you mention, but I will give you my opinion on safaris: I think that for a first timer, 6 days is lots. It is a different vacation experience than any other I can think of--lots of time in jeeps, lots of time watching game. If you don't know you will really like it, it is a lot of money to spend (or can be, everything is relative!). I think 4-6 days is ideal for the first time, and I would definitely split it between two properties as long as travel time between them is not too great. I would also try to make them different properties in terms of style or geography so you can get a feel for what you do enjoy. Personally I love going on safari but can't imagine doing more than 10 days or so consecutively. But I have certainly met lots of people that will do 14-20 days; I just find that is too much sitting around, no matter how pampered you are and how great the game viewing is. So dip your toes in, figure out if it is for you, and if it is, you can commit to longer more remote trips in the future. That is just my $0.02.
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Old May 25, 14, 1:33 pm
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Personally, I never get tired of being on safari. Each outing is unique and you see different animals doing different things. And don't forget three nights does not mean three full days. Thee's travel time which eliminates one outing each day of travel.

I would advise Boulders plus a different camp other than LeBombo. I found Lebombo to be too out of place in the bush, much more form over function and nowhere near as organic as Boulders. I also loved Royal Malewane though the animal sightings were not as good.

If you can get yourself to Botswana I'd do three drays there at Mombo or Jao or Kings Pool and then three days at Boulders. Truth is these are all stunning camps.
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Old May 25, 14, 2:48 pm
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I love safaris but I'd never choose a Singita property because, to me, they are not what you want in the bush. Spa-fari is the phrase, I think. When you get websites that emphasise plunge pools, butlers, vintage wine, gourmet food, I think you're looking in the wrong place. All you need is a tent, a decent bathroom, a guide, tasty food and total wilderness plus all the creatures you can see. I'm not sure South Africa offers that anymore.

I think the situation with SA lodges can be compared to the Maldives. In the past, people went to the Maldives with one priority - to see the underwater world, whether a simple snorkel on the house reef or a dive. Nowadays people go to the Maldives for spas, private pools, plasma TVs, underwater restaurants. It's quite hard these days to find a resort in the Maldives that basically says, 'come and look at the fish.'

Last edited by Pausanias; May 26, 14 at 1:46 am
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Old May 25, 14, 4:50 pm
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OP - singita is extremely well regarded here (and malewane, while well regarded, is fenced)
also, when 6th nt is free, its kind of like planning for 5 nts, and 6th is just extra at no additional cost

Originally Posted by ridefar View Post
too much sitting around
some places offer walking/horseback safaris - might make a little difference

Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
decent bathroom, a guide, tasty food
"tasty food" and "decent bathroom" sound at least upscale? and for good guide
some private (exclusive / not shared) concessions are upscale/luxury
(also logistical aspects to guide/etc like medical)

in another thread, someone pointed out that wilderness safaris is a conservation company, and i can verify that conservation/etc is a huge part of wilderness holdings annual report.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 27, 14 at 7:26 pm
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Old May 25, 14, 6:14 pm
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Can you change countries? I don't think South Africa is good for a first time safari. I did not like the landscape - the bushveld isn't what is in your imagination of Africa. I wouldn't safari in Kruger again, regardless of the type of accommodation. It's been suggested already, can you go to Botswana? The Okavango Delta is fantastic. Or ideally, Tanzania, but this would probably require to much reworking of your flight itinerary.
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Old May 26, 14, 8:42 am
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What's the attraction of Bushman's Kloof? It's not really a safari experience. To me, it only makes sense as a breakaway from Cape Town, not as a destination in its own right.
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Old May 26, 14, 8:49 am
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Last October, we did three nights at Singita Sabi Sand and then three nights at Royal Malewane. Both were great but we preferred Singita. For us, six days was perfect.

I did a detailed trip report including pics from each.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...th-africa.html

Singita
Royal Malewane
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Old May 26, 14, 10:31 am
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Originally Posted by ThudAndBlunder View Post
What's the attraction of Bushman's Kloof? It's not really a safari experience. To me, it only makes sense as a breakaway from Cape Town, not as a destination in its own right.
I haven't been in ages but am inclined to agree. Unless you have a fascination with bushman paintings - of which the property has many, very fine examples.
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Old May 26, 14, 10:47 am
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I'm booked for four nights at Bushman's in September. I'm not at all interested in the rock paintings but the scenery looks rather special. We are also using the hotel as a base for daily expeditions to see the world famous displays of wild flowers which occurs at this time of year.
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Old May 26, 14, 11:36 am
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Since this board is devoted to luxury hotels I see nothing wring with seeing the bush from a luxury camp. It may not be as authentic as pitching a tent yourself but people who come to this board are interested in good accommodations, service, food and wine.
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Old May 26, 14, 2:07 pm
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This seems to have turned into a thread about Safaris mainly. Initially I was really asking - if I have 8 days in South Africa in October, what's the best thing to do with it? So if there are other things in South Africa that people think I / we should be doing I'd love to hear.

Bushman's Kloof- definitely wasn't thinking of this as a Safari destination. More that the scenery is lovely - we really like amazing landscapes (South Island of NZ has to be one of our favourites...) and that seemed the thing in South Africa most appropriate as a result - but as people say its a bit out the way and a random add-on.

Safaris - after all the chat about Wilderness Safaris in Botswana I spent a useful hour on their website - has anyone been to their camps in Namibia? Because they look spectacular. Really amazing scenery. Do people reckon I could do 6 days in WS Namibia/ Botswana followed by 2 days in Singita Boulders? Though the Mrs. isn't so keen on even more more flying time. But as I said this is sort of getting away from my main point of - what should I do with 8 days in South Africa?

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri
OP - no worries re singita, extremely well regarded here (and malewane, while well regarded, is fenced)
also, when 6th nt is free, its kind of like planning for 5 nts, and 6th is just extra at no additional cost
I do hear that - but I have 8 days so it does burn time even if it doesn't burn cash...!

Originally Posted by SFO777
Last October, we did three nights at Singita Sabi Sand and then three nights at Royal Malewane. Both were great but we preferred Singita. For us, six days was perfect.
Yup - its a fantastic trip report and I thought that it was so good that I showed it to the Mrs (risking her opprobrium for spending time on internet message boards...) - as long as I didn't focus too much on the small planes she seemed pretty keen. If you went back would you do Royal Malewane again? Or would you do another Singita? (And by extension, should I?) Also - your TR is a great ad for getting a camera that isn't an iPhone!
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Old May 26, 14, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
I'm booked for four nights at Bushman's in September. I'm not at all interested in the rock paintings but the scenery looks rather special. We are also using the hotel as a base for daily expeditions to see the world famous displays of wild flowers which occurs at this time of year.
Fair enough. But the OP is going in October so the flowers are not going to be an attraction. And, yes, the scenery is attractive. But worth a special trip on your first visit to Cape Town? It wouldn't even be my first choice for the flower season - though it is arguably the best (only?) luxury choice around there.
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Old May 27, 14, 7:09 am
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Everyone values different things, but I found the scenery at Bushman's Kloof pretty unremarkable. Cape Town, on the other hand, has scenery in spades and much else besides. If you haven't been to Cape Town, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Cuts down on travel too.
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Old May 27, 14, 8:23 am
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To answer your question....I think it would be a crime to have 8 days in South Africa and NOT go on safari. The question is more of where do you want to go on safari and if you want to be on safari the entire time.

We did 4 nights in Botswana (Wilderness Safaris) and 3 nights at Singita and loved every minute of it. But we were very much into wildlife viewing. You'll have to decide how much safari you can handle. And IF the properties you like even have availability. The good ones can book up over a year in advance.
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