Greeting South Africa Forum. Some of the Africa regulars may recognize my username from the Kenya/Tanzania forums. Long story short I was planning a perfect 19 day trip to Kenya/Tanzania for September of this year…but my BF and I broke up last year so I lost my travel partner, and the Kenya/Tanzania trip is now on hold. I definitely WILL be taking that trip though, once I find a new travel partner.
My mom travels a lot for work and it’s looking like she will be traveling to South Africa this year for work. She has a good bit of leeway in choosing when she travels there. The plan is to do 3-4 nights in Sabi Sands…and maybe 2-3 nights at Phinda (cost and time depending).
My first question is when is the best time to go to Sabi Sands/Phinda for game viewing purposes? One of my books lists the peak months in Sabi Sands as November-February. Then Frommers says “May to August are considered the best months for sighting big game in and around Kruger National Park…yet many of the private game reserve lodges drop their prices substantially.” If those are the best months for game viewing…why would the game reserves lower their prices?? I’m not complaining if that is the case…it just doesn’t make sense.
My second question is about availability. I realize that we’re kind of late on the draw here. I was planning to have my Kenya/Tanzania trip booked a year in advance. This South Africa thing sort of came out of the blue. If we were to book for sometime between May to August (if that really is the best time for game viewing), does anyone know if the more affordable places (Elephant Plains, Inyati, etc) have any availability left, or are they fully booked for the year?
My last question is about Travel Agencies/Tour Operators. During my Kenya research I think I had a list of about 50-60 tour operators that were recommended on this forum. I’ve read all the threads in the Sabi Sands and Phinda sections and the only operators I’ve seen recommended are Go2Africa, RhinoAfrica, and posts by Africa Direct. Are there any other Travel Agencies I should reach out to about this trip?
1. What are the best months for game viewing in Sabi Sands and Phinda?
2. Is there still availability at the more affordable lodges for summer 2012?
3. Are there travel agencies in addition Go2Africa, RhinoAfrica, and Africa Direct I should reach out to?
Thanks in advance for any feedback!!