Our trip is planned for November 2013 and will take about 16 days. We are making progress slowly. Our plan is to spend 5 nights in Cape Town and exploring the city, the penguin cove, (I see the tour of diving with sharks is offered, but I am not sure I am brave enough), Cape of Good Horn, take a cable car ride up to the Table Mountain, and do a day tour through wine country. We were not able to book the Steenberg Hotel, but we will try to have at least Lunch there one day.
Our next stop is the Vuyani Safary Lodge for 4 nights. This lodge came highly recommended by Travel and Leisure magazine. The Lodge is small, only 5 bungalows and also came highly recommended by Kyshell. Kyshell came up with a number of good suggestions. Her experience in this region is invaluable.
After the Vuyani Lodge, we will come back to Johannesburg spend one night there and try to catch a city sightseeing tour. The next day we'll fly off to Kasana/Chobe reserve and spend 2 nights at the Muchenje Lodge which will, besides the game drives, also include a canoe ride on the Zambezi River to watch the animals from the water.
The last 3 nights we are spending at the LL property at Victoria Falls River Lodge before taking SA back from Victoria Falls, via Johannesburg and Dakar to Washington DC.
I looked at the Game Reserves you mentioned and they look very nice, but they were no longer available on Luxury Link. As it is, the Victoria Falls River Lodge is the only LL property we are staying at on this trip.
That sounds like an excellent itinerary. We spent around 21 days there and we just loved it. I am sure you will also fall in love with South Africa. I wish we had done Victoria Falls and explored more of Joburg but as I said it was already a 3 week trip! Mateya was also a small lodge-only 5 bungalows and it was great. I still stay in touch with some of the other guests that we met there. Also with a smaller lodge, the game drives were more private. My husband and i had our own vehicle, driver and tracker whereas at Sabi Sabi we had to share with some other guests and it just wasn't as special. I would love to do the Zambezi River Canoe trip. I can't wait to read your notes after your trip. If I think of anything to help you, I will be sure to mention it!
Thanks for your reply. Please send me a note, if you think of anything, any tips, or do's and dont's.Would greatly appreciate any little titbits, etc.
Good to see you again, betsyv! We have such fond memories of our stay at Mateya--the most special lodge EVER (Kapama Karula is pretty darned close but only because it's very different)
We've never toured Joburg--just the drive to The Westcliff, passing Nelson Mandela's home. We've been to the northwestern area at Muldersdrift twice now--we have a hour or so t get to the hotel there before it gets too dark. I think we'd try a tour of a township if we stayed at our favorite guesthouse by the airport. I loved the local experience there and the owners are the pinnacle of SA hospitality.
Is Muldersdrift near the JNB Airport? and what is your favorite guesthouse? Is that something you would recommend for a one night stay?
Muldersdrift is about one hour from the airport. You would need a car. Taxi is a bit pricey, I think. It's Misty HillsCountry Hotel and it is unique. Their spa is awesome! Rooms "look" like huts but they are much more! Check TA for pics.
It's a major conference center and has lovely grounds you can wander. I'd recommend it for 2 nts unless your flight is late in the day. They have one of the Carnivore Restaurants--an experience not to be missed if possible. Eat local meats until you can't--game like kudu, croc, impala, warthog (YUM!) and so many others. FYI--MH is close to Lanseria airport--about 15 minutes, but we've never flown thru there.
If you want more Joburg experience, check out Sun Rock Guest House by the airport--free RT transfers, better than average rooms and charming hosts. They include bfast, too. Price is around $90 for double. You can't go wrong adding their braai (grill dinner for about $18, I think)
They have a nice small pool, lounging area and a large pavillion and honor bar where you write down what you take--boxed wines were decent--beers and all the usual licensed public house offers.Owners Ina and Arthur can arrange township tour, etc. They are so gracious! Read the TA reviews. # 1 guesthouse in JNB.
I'm adding a place I just found at tripadvisor--only one review, but I would be inclined to check it out on our next trip.
Riverview Spa, Muldersdrift. Looks quite nice and very interesting. Some of the recent reviews for Misty Hills aren't that great.
Thanks for your informative post. The Sun Rock Guest House by the airport sounds like the way to go. We will get in to JNB airport from HDS around 1:00 PM and only have the afternoon and the next morning in JNB. It would be good to be near the airport, especially if the Gues House could arrange an afternoon Joburg city tour for us. Also, having a restaurant on the premises is a plus.
I will check out your suggestion on TA.
It looks like we will be stuck in Victoria Falls another 3 nights since all ff flights are already booked out or not released yet from Victoria Falls - JNB to the States. I could book another 3 night Victoria Falls River Lodge package from LL, thinking it looks like there is enough to do at Vic Falls for 6 nights. What do you think?
Also having trouble with flight from HDS to JNB on Nov. 23,(SA says sold out) but we are locked into Vuyani Lodge on Nov. 19-23 and flight on Nov. 24 JNB - BBK and Muichenje River Lodge Nov.24-26 and Victoria Falls River Lodge Nov. 26-29. Are there any other way to get from HDS to JNB, other airlines, bus, train, car renta (last resort)
don't use ff for VCF/JNB--buy tkts, keep JNB/US. I'd suggest staying 2 nts JNB.
you can drive from HDS, breaking it up to go south to visit Zulu battlefields for a night . I think it's only 5 hours or so and roads are pretty good in most touristed areas. Another option is to transfer to Kruger airport and try flights out of there. Either way, you can consider staying 2 nights at Sun Rock and enjoy the place on arrival, then do a longer tour the next day.
Wouldn't spend 6 nts at VF--I think it will be a good experience for 3.
Can you change any of the hotel dates (you say you are locked in)? I have to print "scribble" calendars to move stuff around--kinda like cutout furniture on floor plan diagrams! I write one scenario, then another and a third and mess them up and finalize best I can, then prepare to change them as needed.
K - thanks for your ideas.
I was able to purchase via Matrix Search and their toll free number our tickets HDS-JNB for $204 pp for 11/23. I did make reservations for us all at the Sunrock Guesthouse which gives free airport transfers to and from JNB airport for one night 11/23. When time gets nearer, I will contact Sunrock Guesthouse to see if they can organize a half day JNB City tour for us. I know it is not very much time in JNB, but this one night booking allows us to keep our Botswana Air flight to go on the next day, 11/24 to Kansana (BBK) to Muichenji River Lodge and then on to Victoria Falls River Lodge.
I agree, 6 nights might be too long at Victoria Falls. I was thinking of flying from Victoria Falls back to JNB and maybe partake in another Krueger Park Safari for 3 nights and then fly back from JNB to the US. Maybe 3 nights at Mkuzi Falls River Lodge might be a a good fit.
The other alternative would be to sit on my current reservations and keep on calling United every other day to see if something opens up so we can fly back on the 29th of Nov. with the rest of our group. I did a Matrix Search for them and they made their reservations for the entire trip today and have their confirmed ticket. They got a pretty good price. That Matrix Search works like a charm.
Sounds like you're on the right track for adjustments. I use matrix for our connection flights almost anywhere in the world.
When you get to Sun Rock, say hello from us and make sure you pet Fatty, one of their dogs! He followed us around (like he does with everyone) and just basks in his popularity!! They don't have a menu restaurant BTW, but make arrangements w/Ina if you need lunch or pizza, etc.
If you can add Mkuze, it would be a plus but you still need to drive.