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Africa on Foot plus one other

Melbourne
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Africa on Foot plus one other

We (4 adults) will be visiting KNP region end September/beginning October 2014. We are keen walkers so have decided on AOF for 3 days and, further to the many great posts on this forum, want to visit another lodge for 3 - 4 days. I have narrowed our options to nThambo (same company and very close by) or Simbavati and Umlani (to try and get a little variety by moving to Timbavati - or is that really just a nonsense?). We will have a car (most economical way for us to get from OT Airport!) but I am not too keen to travel a longish distance between the two camps we visit hence choosing camps in Timbavati and Klaserie. What suggestions do you good people have? One of us is a vegetarian - is that a problem (other than missing out on a real braai!)?

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

These 2 reserves are located near each other with an open corridor between for game to wander across both, so importantly not a long drive for you. Timbavati is a good choice. We visited there last year along with Balule which is further north. Game viewing is excellent with sightings of the Big 5 plus cheetah and wild dog (rarer). From what I had read, when doing my trip research, Timbavati is considered less dense in terms of lodges and visitor numbers and that is my experience also, when I compare it to our recent stay in Sabi. However, Timbavati does not have the international reputation of Sabi Sand and its leopards, which it rightly deserves.

Melbourne
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2. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

Thanks Nooee. Naively thought that getting from Timbavati to Sabi Sands is a long way - checked with the Google machine and it seems it's about an hour, so that blows the whole question wide open.

This post seems to add a lot of info for me.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g312618-i9872-k667…

Can I get back to the vegetarian question?

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

Another option!! FYI we stayed at Inyati in Sabi. Most lodges will be able to cater for Vegets, this should not be a problem just let them know when you book or check their websites for food choices

Kruger National...
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4. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

Hey there!

I live right here in the Kruger area and just want to say that you will have the most FAB time at AOF - Along with nThambo, AOF is one of my top choices in lodges for a rustic and laid back experience. So much fun w/ the walking, you really get to go up close and personal w/ the animals!

If I were you, I would go for a few nights at Simbavati, and end your trip with a touch of luxury. Book one of the tents for that added experience - with only canvas separating you and the wild! :). The drive from AOF to Simbavati is around 45 minutes.

Otherwise, also have a look at Tanda Tula - One of the best lodges I have ever been too. Amazing hospitality, exceptional game viewing - the whole package. They have a 4 night special too, and are located in the Timbavati reserve.

I definitely wouldn't say that Sabi Sands is only an hour away- more like 2.5 hours away.No matter where you go, eating vegetarian definitely won't be an issue - any lodge can cater nicely for this :).

Warmest regards

Jacqui

Owner

Lodge Trackers Safari Specialists

South Africa

Melbourne
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5. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

Thanks again, Nooee, and to you, Jacqui.

The more time I spend looking, the more confused I get. My son (one of the adults coming with) says "just book one!". Certainly it appears as if we would have a great time pretty much regardless where we end up. Jacqui, I do note that AOF is a little "off the beaten track" and we will, as I said, be driving. I wasn't planning on getting anything other than a sedan so have been a little put off by a post I read about access to AOF. What is access to Shindzela like? Thank you for the reassurance about the meals.

Kruger National...
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6. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

Hey Sdhog,

All lodges in the private reserves are off the track, there is only one tar road that runs through the middle of the Timbavati/Klaserie area :).

Access to AOF is doable in a sedan, just do it slowly and you will be fine - we were on that road about 2 weeks ago. It's very easy to get to, all of the lodges in the reserves are well sign posted too, and the guards at the gate will give you directions too.

Can totally understand r.e the confusion - And unlike anything else, with safaris it seems that the more research, the more confusion ha ha!

You will indeed be happy at any of the above options, but the degree of happiness depends on what you are looking for.

For example, Umlani is far more rustic than Simbavati (Simbavati is 4 star + luxury). Umlani is an excellent bush camp, but similar to AOF in terms of accommodation and food quality, and if you need to charge items, this can only be done in the office overnight etc. However, Simbavati doesn't offer bush walks (though they may by the time you arrive) which may be an issue for you, since you are all keen walkers.

Then, Shindzela is also a similar experience to AOF in regards to accommodation and food. nThambo is a comfortable medium between luxury and a laid back rustic feel.

Do you have an idea of what it is you are looking for in your second lodge? Maybe then we can all help to give some further ideas too?

Warm regards

Jacqui

Owner

Lodge Trackers Safari Specialists

South Africa

Melbourne
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7. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

Ta, Jacqui. Our timetable is arrive OT Airport 4.15pm. Drive to maybe Middleburg. Overnight. Drive to KNP area the next morning (Saturday). We will fly out the next Saturday and will need to be back at OT at about 3pm. So we have a full week. I was thinking, after reading the forum, of two different lodges. We are (I believe) lucky to have a budget of about R3000 per person per night. We are happy outdoors and I thought half of the trip would be at the level of Simbavati/Umlani (and after today's reading) Nottens/Arathusa and the other half would be something like AOF or Shindzela or Elephant Plains. Or maybe nThambo and then Nottens/Arathusa. ?????

Kruger National...
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8. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

Hi Sdhog,

Sounds like you have a great itinerary so far, but r.e driving to Middleburg - I would rather sleep over closer to the airport, like at the City Lodge. You will only be out of customs/arrival etc at about 5:30pm when it will be getting dark - jet lag etc. but of course, it is up to you! :).

Wow, you definitely do have a great budget to work with, giving you a lot of flexibility.

If I were you the, I would definitely hit Nottens or Arathusa out of the luxury options (Sabi Sands) as these are two of the top mid range lodges in that area, and both are a huge favorite on the forums here. Plus, this way you will get to also experience the Sabi Sands, one of the top private reserves. And, because you have your own car, driving won't be too much of an issue. You can leave lodge 1 (assuming Sabi Sands is the first stop?) at around 11am after breakfast and game drive, and be at lodge two (Timbavati/Klaserie) in time for check in (usually between 1-2) and lunch. You could potentially even do two nights Arathusa, two nights Nottens.

Then for the second portion, my vote definitely still goes to Africa on Foot, followed closely by Umlani for the rustic/laid back vibe.

Warm regards

Jacqui

Melbourne
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9. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

Thanks Jacqui. So much to think about. But so much to look forward to.

Best wishes from the bigger of the down under islands

Sid

Kruger National...
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10. Re: Africa on Foot plus one other

You are very welcome :).

Good luck in your quest! We will all always be here to help with Qs. But do rest assured that out of the lodges you are considering, you will definitely be satisfied at any one of them - they are all great picks.

Warm regards

Jacqui