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HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

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india
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HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Hello all,

We plan to visit SA four our honeymoon in July this year. We plan to include a safari for two nights and are very keen on seeing the Big 5.

1. We will be at Jo'burg after which we want to do the safari for two nights and move on to Sun City. Do you think its worth travelling up to Kruger as we have only two nights planned? If yes, what is the best way to get there keeping the time we are visiting in mind? Any Recommedations of game reserves appreciated too.

2. Will other game reserves near Jo'burg provide a similar experience and can Big 5 be viewed in these places? Please suggest.

We would really appreciate any help as we are confused!

Thanks all!

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Sun City
Sun City
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Weybridge
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1. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Hi,

If you want to go to Sun City, then I would probably suggest going to the Madikwe Game Reserve for your safari, as it is all in the same area - Kruger is totally in the opposite direction !!

Madikwe is about 5 hours from Johannesburg, or only 3 hours from Sun City. It is 76,000 hectares, so it is one of the largest game reserves in South Africa.

It is home to the Big 5, as well as cheetah and a thriving population of endangered wild dog, as well as gemsbok, springbok, zebra and giraffe, and over 340 species of birds. I have been on safari here, and it really is superb game viewing.

AND ... it is malaria-free, so you don't have to worry about malaria tablets !

A winner all round, really !!

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Sun City
Sun City
North-West Province, South Africa
Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Greater Johannesburg, South Africa
india
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2. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Thanks, you definitely make it easy..

I like Madikwe already but was a little unsure if it would be a compromise to Kruger... You dont think I should consider the other ones like Bakubung, or Shamwari or Mabula right? Madikwe would be the best thing,isnt it?

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Weybridge
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3. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Hi,

Bakubung is at Pilanesberg, which is a National Park, so you are restricted to the road network as you drive around, whereas because Madikwe is a private game reserve, the rangers can take you offroad to track the wildlife through the bush ... I have sat in a Land Rover there with 2 lionesses literally a few feet away !

Shamwari is a great reserve, down near PE in the Eastern Cape so you would need to fly down there and back again - but leopard sightings in this area are very rare, I will admit, but you will see lots of other game. It is about 25,000 hectares, so it is one of the larger reserves in the region alongside Kwandwe, which I would also highly recommend.

I don't personally know Mabula, so I can't really comment on this as a reserve.

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Eastern Cape
Eastern Cape
South Africa
SOUTH AFRICA
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4. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Between Mabula and Madikwe, I would definitely choose Madikwe. Beautiful reserve, with excellent game viewing. I have stayed at all of the lodges in Madikwe, and many of them are excellent. Rates vary considerably, from moderate to the higher priced more luxurious lodges.

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

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The Africa Cafe' Restaurant
The Africa Cafe...
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5. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Hello there,

I agree with Travel Butlers and Tanya. Trying to fit the Kruger National Park and Sun City into the short time frame you have will make the Safari experience seem quite rushed. Your options to get to the Kruger Park are either to drive or to fly. If you drive it will take about 5 hours, but in the opposite direction of Sun City, a flight will take about 1 hour but will mean precious time hanging around Johannesburg Airport.

Out of the options that you mentioned Bakubong, Madikwe or Mabula, Madikwe is definitely the best. It offers good game viewing and has the "Big Five" so it will give you a great all round safari experience.

I would suggest hiring a car at Johannesburg Airport and then taking a drive out to Sun City, spending a few nights there before heading onto Madikwe Game Reserve. Perhaps stay at Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge which is a 5 star game lodge with only 8 suites, so it is intimate and romantic for your honeymoon.

Just remember July is winter in South Africa, so it will be quite cold on the early morning and evening game drives, so make sure you pack warm clothes and a good jacket.

Also, between 11 June and 11 July 2010 is the FIFA World Cup, so just make sure you avoid those dates.

Good luck with your planning!

Simone - Owner - African Sands

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Sun City
Sun City
North-West Province, South Africa
Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Greater Johannesburg, South Africa
Ottawa
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6. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Hello Divya10,

I thought I would throw my 'two cents' in since I traveled with a couple of my colleagues this past November and had the privilege of staying at Buffalo Ridge as well as a few other places.

Buffalo Ridge is pretty laid back, community owned and operated, great food, rooms are nice, lovely amenities and easy to get to from the Abjaterskop Gate. I also recommend doing the self-drive (that's what we did!) and it was great fun to have that flexibility. By the way, they have these flannel lined blankets to keep you warm for those cooler game drives.

I would suggest going to a couple of different lodges within Madikwe to get a different perspective. Another camp/lodge that was a favourite of ours was Jaci's Tree Lodge (adults only). Great setting, funky creative design, 'tent's are beautiful, lovely outdoor shower, food, rooms and staff all divine. Worth checking out. For game drives, Jaci's won best 'cape' award for us (it rained while we were there) ... waterproof/windproof and lined with wool. Cozy!

If you wanted to indulge ... Highly recommend Madikwe Hills Honeymoon Suite. Wowzah! Food, rooms all had that 'wow' factor. The rooms have fireplaces, heated floors, indoor/outdoor showers, private plunge pools. The honeymoon suite, the bath was outside with this incredible view. The staff prepare a hot bath for you when you get back from your aft/eve game drive which was a really nice touch. Blankets and rain coats provided for game drives. It could've been all about timing but the game drives were particularly good while we stayed there. The Guides were excellent.

During our time in Madikwe (four nights, four lodges), we were very lucky to see a pack of wild dogs and an incredible number of lions (amongst other game of course!). I wouldn't expect to see an abundance of cheetah though (if that is of particular interest). We were informed that there is just one, very crafty cheetah, that has survived due to the intense competition that developed in Madikwe between lion/leopard/cheetah. The leopards are pretty scarce (but do exist) since the lion population is quite large in Madikwe.

A really nice surprise was a glimpse of a brown hyena. Very cool!

Hope that this has been helpful! Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Pam - Travel Consultant - Travel Beyond

india
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7. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Thanks all of you for your wishes!

So it is going to be Madikwe for us!

Now, can anyone suggest budget to mid range lodges in Madikwe? We should visit post FIFA world cup, around 20th July for about two nights.. We would like a comfortable, romantic and staying in the wild experience..

Thanks all.. Keep the posts coming in! :)

SOUTH AFRICA
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8. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

Madikwe Safari Lodge is an excellent mid range lodge to consider. an additional benefit is that they have a pay for 2 nights, stay for 3, special offer, valid for days of travel between Sunday - Thursday nights. I have stayed at this lodge about 5 times, and have always been very satisfied with accommodation, food, service, quality of rangers - good value for money!

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

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The Africa Cafe' Restaurant
The Africa Cafe...
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Weybridge
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9. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

I agree wholeheartedly with the Madikwe Safari Lodge recommendation - I have also stayed here and cannot fault it at all.

You can also try Impodimo ? My colleague stayed here, and loved it. The rooms are spacious, the staff good, and it is definately towards the lower end of the price scale when looking at all the lodges in Madikwe.

Tau is, I think, the least expensive lodge in the reserve - it is also the largest, but again, my colleague stayed here and enjoyed it - it has a great waterhole / dam just full of game when she was there.

10. Re: HELP Needed On Safari Itinerary

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