We left germany in a fairly good summer's climat in order to get to south africa which had been hit by a cold front!
25 may 07 we touched down in JNB around 08.00hrs, got our south african simcard and the rental car and off we left towards krueger NP.
we stop over in white river (close to the numbi gate) at a wonderful country hotel: JATINGA country lodge! wonderful kap-holland style chalets (20 of them spread out within a wonderful landscaped garden). very comfortable and really good vegetarian meals! through out the day tee and coffee is available to hotel guests and 06.00hrs sharp champagne and canapees are delivered to your room! decadence in a very nice style! we could have stayed there forever.
26 may we leave after breakfast, travel through krueger towards SABI SABI - this time we stay at the new bush lodge instead of earth lodge which is out of this world - in the sabi sands reserve adjacent to krueger NP.
stunning large chalets (highly shiny tiles all over, great furniture, extremly large bathroom, large bedroom and large lounge - extremly comfortable!) and great views! we settle in, go to the lounge area where afternoon tea is served prior to game drive in the afternoon around 16.00hrs.
very good game(besides others a lioness with 2 cubs approx. 2,5 month old) are walking a lugga. the cubs were ambushing each other and playing around which we watched for more than 30 min. what a great start in to our southern african trip!
sabi sabi bush lodge has got 24 chalets and a spacy dining lounge, a boma and a swimmingpool!
next morning at 06.00hrs we meet in the lounge respectively around the fire for a light breakfast and off for the morning game drive. it's ice cold and we see frost in top of the gras! we wear everything warm which we brought with us plus we get blankets and hot water bottles in the car!
around 10.00hrs it's warming up so that we have around 25°C at noon.
very little game activities until 07.00/07.30hrs! obviously it's too cold also for the cats!
get back to the lodge around 09.30h for engl. breakfast.
01.00hrs is lunch; after lunch is siesta time!
15.30hrs teatime with cake and snacks
around 17.30hrs sundowner with G+T and snacks in the bush and night gamedrive back to the lodge.
19.00hrs back to the lodge.
dinner around 20.00hrs in the boma - extensive salad buffet, vegetables, potatoes and meat for the carnivores.
27 may the same procedure: ice cold in the morning and heating up by 10.00hrs.
we had a great stay and sabi sabi bush lodge is a great experience and affordable in south african terms
28 may we say good bye to sabi sabi bush lodge and drive to lion sands - also in the sabi sands reserve.
we were upgraded to IVORY lodge which is also one of the most luxurious lodges in south africa - comparable to earth lodge/sabi sabi and the singita lodges and mala mala but a very exquisite contemporary style.
safari routine here the same as sabi sabi.
our suite was 165 sqm and offered living room with open fireplace, dvd player, dimmed lights etc., plunge pool and bedroom, bathroom and also a second outside shower.
luxury as its best!
frequented mostly by honey mooners - which is suitable as we celebrate our silver anniversary this august
meals etc. simply wonderful.
they have an open restaurantdeck and a restaurant for rainy days. dinner can also be served in the own suite which we also tried. great experience!
game was good and also very comfortable open safri vehicles.
30 may we stopped over again at JATINGA country lodge in white river which will definately become one of our most frequented hotels when visiting krueger.
31 may we stayed at Clic-o guesthouse in johannesburg/rosebank. wonderful 7 room guesthouse in a great cap-holland building. very good dinner and cooked breakfast. honesty bar at afordable prices.
i especially loved "verve" the 3 month old kitty which they found when it was only approx. 3 weeks old.
01 june we left for zambia after we exchanged our sa-simcard and got our sat-phone in order to make sure we can reach home and can be reached!
Very nice chalets and wonderful spacious houses like treehouse, dog’s house etc.
Very attentive “valet”
Poor meals (presentation and variety should be improved urgently so that the “luxury” standard of which the rates are based on can be maintained)
Poor “activities management” (one couple from Netherlands was left behind for the lunar rainbow; they planned the whole safari around lunar rainbow!). We ourselves got aware of the Lunar rainbow (full monn - months febr-june when the zambesi has got lots of water!) just by accident but were taken far too late to the falls so that we could not see the lunar at all! We left TONGABEZI at 20.20hrs for vic falls but when we finally reached the falls the lunar was gone – but they charged for thos activity!!!
Advise to wear decent walking shoes for vic falls was also false! Flipflops are the shoes for such a walk! The heli ride was due when we were on the way to the falls so that this had to be postponed till the afternoon. Overall impression of the activities management: rather poor!) I would rather book activities with a local tour operator in order to make sure my clients get what they want!
Very nice open accommodation and very good meals!
1 night there is perfect as activities have to be done from tongabezi.
Very good accommodation, excellent staff and delicious vegetarian meals!
Activities from there are rather very expensive. No activity included in the rate. But this shouldn’t be a problem at all!
The cottage we stayed in should be only booked for clients with a rather high level of tolerance because there the guest might face a staff or visitor entering its room while he can be clearly watched while using the toilet as there is no door and the toilett faces the openness of the room! my bookings clearly state that this cottage won’t be one for our guests!
Very simple but somehow nice rustic chalets. The extremely friendly and communicative hostess Helen makes up for the lack of comfort.
Very nice location!
Very good meals and nice game drive.
Very good for walking safaris because of the open space only dotted mainly with winterthorn trees!
Spacious tents (reed walls with tent roofs) but based on the reed walls extremely high concentration of small flying insects after the lamps are on.
The walkway which leads parallel to the river along the honeymoon tents MUST be cut off for any trespassing because while making use of the bathroom one could not be sure there won’t be any trespassing – especially after dark. The situation was: while sitting on the toilet one could cleary watch the river flowing by as the wall were only approx. 1 m in heights! Makes the client feel uneasy especially after dark when he uses the bathroom.
Very friendly and communicative hosts
Very good activities! Anything can – nothing must! Extremely nice athmosphere!
Very nice tents but somehow run done amenities (wardrobe etc.) which will be refurbished soon according to chris. No mosquito net! The staff insists on “mosquito proof tents” we all know there is no such thing like a “mosquito proof tent” in the world! Somehow amazing how camp owners jeopardize the health of the guests especially under consideration that mosquito nets don’t cost a fortune!
Good activities, good gamedrives.
Very poor vegetarian meals despite knowing well in advance of our request. Dinner was vegetarian starter but the “ordinary carnivore main course” just leaving the meat out which meant for vegetarians e.g. carrots and mashed potatoes! For a luxury camp this is inacceptable!
Site inspection chongwe house.
Very comfortable accommodation.
Good activities and game drives.
Delicious meals and excellent staff!
Very nice accommodation despite being a bit small when the mosquito nets are lowered in the evening.
Very good meals.
Good activities and gamedrives.
Very nice staff!
Site inspection of TENA TENA, luangwa house and robin’s house..
Very nice tents/no mosquito net.
Service and gamedrives cannot be estimated.
On arrival we learnt that we won’t be accommodated at the booked and confirmed camp. Instead we had to stay at Kakuli tented camp which is very basic and cannot be considered a luxury tented camp at all!
No moskito nets.
Very basic open bathroom with only a couple of mats on the sand. Very limited space for bathroom amenities. No clothes hangers, neither rack nor wardrobe in the sleeping tent! Only 2 mini tables available for clothes, equipment etc.
Poor meals but very good snacks.
Good game drives despite some of the guides just drove and we found the game – especially the night drives! They did not watch out for tracks. The spotter just worked the spotlight. Site inspection of the other 3 norman carr camps of which only mchenje is to be considered “luxury” despite I have not experienced its service, meals, gamedrives.
Kakuli has a good location.
Based on our experiences we would not book Norman Carr camps because I cannot risk my reputation in case Norman Carr just shifts our clients from the booked camp to another simply because the originally booked camp has been overbooked.
The mchenje hostess insisted on kakuli camp and mchenje is almost equal in quality and amenities which is definitely not the case. If they have a rank I would rank kakuli and the other 2 camps 3 stars and mchenje 5 stars.
Very comfortable accommodation.
A good lodge at the end of a bush experience before leaving the country.
Good location at the lagoons for year round game viewing right from the rooms.
No drinks included in the rate accept during game drives which is inacceptable at that rate! Even for dinner they offered no house wine.
Good game drives.
Very attentive staff especially when they saw my swollen lip as a result of a bee sting at the inner side of my lip which happened while staying at kakuli. the staff at mfuwe provided antihistamine tablets and ice to cool.
Gamedrive vehicles are rather uncomfortable. In case the lodge is packed they pack also the vehicles which means 3 pax in a row – no “window seat guarantee"! This is even more uncomfortable as photographers have to carry equipment on their lap and the person in the middle will bump into the others on end! For a lodge in that price range rather inacceptable!
Zambia seems to be an extremely expensive safari destination in view to “value for money”. Compared to Botswana which still has got a “luxury” label Zambia’s camps keep well up with Botswana rates (except mombo and some other wilderness camps) but obviously has neither the skill nor the experiences and attitude to provide luxury in most of the camps except nsefu and nkwali.
Tongabezi, chongwe and sausage tree have to improve either their service or their accommodation or both in order to play in the luxury league.
Old mondoro is not a luxury experience at all and will only be sold to hard core walkers who are willing to compromise on comfort.
Norman carr won’t be considered due to the reason I mentioned above.
e.g. freshl orange juice instead of double or triple concentrated juice should be available. None of the carr camps provided decent juices nor cheese board after meals.
Safari is about wildlife, meals and drinks. Is one of the mentioned 3 is not up to expectation the whole experience is at stake.
Gamedrives/Wildlife: I would consider the wildlife “average”. But this might improve during the drier months when the animals are forced to frequent the waterholes.
Very disturbing to me (and my clients): no buffer zone between the national park and the “game management area”.
Safarigoers pay a fortune to track and see the big cats and higher and lesser game. Especially when it comes to the cats, kudus, elephants……. it’s absolutely disgusting that one pays a lot of money in order to find and photograph a big cat etc. well knowing that the lack of these animals is based on the vital fact that they cross easily into the killing zone of the game management area. And a gracious cat might have been shot just the day before.
This educational has shown that it is essential to experience any camp in order to estimate its service, meals and drives in order to be marketed properly because especially safaris are enormously depending on good and consistent quality in every aspect.
Based on the experiences I have made during the educational I see very good chances for all robin pope camps. A very good combination would make improved chongwe and/or sausage tree together with nsefu and nkwali.
Kunene River in KaokolandWith an areal of approximately 824.000 square km, Namibia is more than tripple the size of Great Britain. The north-to-south length of the country is 1500 km, while the east-to-west width is around 600 kilometres in the south and 1100 kilometres in the north. The population density is very low (1,8 million people), amounting to 2,2 inhabitants per sqkm. The main reason for this being the harsh desert and semi-desert conditions and the resultant scarcity of surface water. With the exception of the border rivers - Orange in the south and Kunene, Okavango and Zambesi in the north - there are only dry rivers in Namibia.They are called "Riviere" and only flow periodically during the rainy season, sometimes just for a few days or even hours.
Namibia can be divided into four major geographical segments. In the west stretches the Namib Desert with hardly any vegetation. It reaches from the north of South Africa up to Angola. The desert belt has a width of about 100 kms in the south and 1100 kms in the north, gets up to 600 metres high and is characterised by mighty expanses of sand dunes in its central part. In the north and the south it has predominantly gravel fields. Towards the inland, the desert belt is followed by the "Escarpment", a mountain wall of up to 2000 metres. Namibia's highest mountain is the Brandberg with a height of 2579 m.
The Escarpment changes into the Central Plateau which slowly descends towards the east. The heights of the central highland vary between 1100m and 1700m. The majority of the Namibian towns and villages lie on this plateau, like the capital of Windhoek at 1654 metres above sea-level. Further to the east lies the Kalahari Basin, also part of the plateau, which reaches heights of 1000m in places. It is characterised by wide sandy plains and long-dunes with scarce vegetation. Another distinct geographical area, is the north-east in the relatively rainy Kavango and Caprivi region. It is flat and covered with dense bushveld.
Simply put, average rainfall increases from the south-west to the north-east. The annual amounts vary between 50 mm in the Namib and 700 mm in the Caprivi. In years of drought, like 1991 to 1993, they can even be much lower than that.
Rain mostly comes from the north-east between December and February, when humid, unstable air masses approach from the tropical part of Africa and reach Botswana and Namibia, causing strong thunderstorms with torrential rains. Most of the rainwater evaporates immediately or is channelled away as sheet flow without being absorbed by the vegetation. However, due to water-impermeable layers of clay and stone, the groundwater is collected and is eventually used by the surrounding settlements and farms.
Part of the annual rainfall is collected in dams, the biggest of them being Hardap Dam near Mariental with a capacity of 300 million cubic metres. The water supply remains, on account of the growing population, a major problem for Namibia. There are, for example, plans to build a pipeline from the Okavango to Windhoek, but Botswana fears changes in the ecology of the Okavango Delta and opposes the project.