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lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

Seattle, Washington
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lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

I am having trouble selecting two luxury lodges for my "second" honeymoon this September. I have read a great many reviews about the safari lodges and companies and many of them seem amazing. I do know that I want to be in the Sabi Sands and another private reserve, so Lion Sands Ivory fits one bill. I am seeking another lodge that would give me a totally different reserve experience (be it a lodge with sweeping vistas or a lodge set high amongst the trees like a treetop camp) but still with excellent game viewing. My travel agent is able to book a combo of Lion Sands Ivory (3 nights) and Royal Malewane (2 nights) but I feel that the two might be two similar in feel/style (ultraluxury chic); also some on these forums prefer timbavati to thornybush. As I am spending a significant amount on this trip, I do want to make sure I pick the right lodges, and I don't want to repeat in the second lodge what I have already experienced in the first. Any suggestions regarding a good luxury second lodge or is Royal Malewane a great choice?

In addition, we will probably be going to the Grootbos reserve near Gansbaai for some whale-watching. Anyone seen great whites while on a whale watching tour?

thanks in advance for advice regarding the lodges..

Wayzata, Minnesota
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1. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

chinochula,

i highly suggest you consider lion sands ivory lodge and nitani. this is the perfect combination with totally different environments.

i was at both lodges in decemebr. nitani is in the tuli circle which is in south east botswana. nitani and lion sands works closely together and sell a packaged product listed on their web site.

www.lionsands.com/reservations/more.php

note: the package price is for lion sands ivory lodge not river lodge. ivory lodge is a different price from river lodge and a different experience.

i know both shane pinchen and rob more. they own nitani and lion sands repsectively. they are both class acts and so are their lodges.

if your travel agent works with a reputable tour operator, they should be able to purchase this combo package for the same price listed on the web site (with ivory upgrade) while also satisfying your agents needs.

i am sure you agent has told you that south african airways starts direct service from jfk on may 1? you can fly on an 11:25 am flight, land in JNB and be at lion sands on the same day. this avoids any overnight in johannesburg.

for whale viewing, consider the marine hotel in hermanus. it is near grootbos but right on the cliff overlooking the bay.

i know i am repeating myslef, but i went to lion sands twice in 2008. you will love it and i highly recommen it.

craig beal - owner - travel beyond

SOUTH AFRICA
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2. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

Hi there! Well, I think we all agree that Lion Sands Ivory Lodge is a definite, so now to help you find your 2nd lodge! Craig mentioned Nitani in the Tuli, Botswana. I do love Nitani - it has a great setting and a peacefulness to the lodge, but I am just concerned about the standard of accommodation. If you are looking for a lodge with similar accommodation standards as lodges like Ivory or Royal Malewane, then I am afraid I would not recommend Nitani. Please everyone - I am NOT speaking against Nitani - as I said, it's a beautiful lodge, and I also know Shane, and he is doing a great job of the lodge - I am just objectively comparing the facilities offered in terms of accommodation.

If you are looking for a lodget that is on par with Ivory & Royal Malewane in terms of accommodation, but you would like a total different environment that still offers excellent big 5 game viewing, then to me no doubt - Mateya Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve! It is a beautiful lodge, they offer excellent service, food out of this world, go out of their way to spoil their valued guests, only limit number of guests per game viewing vehicle to 4, etc. etc. - I stayed at this lodge in January and after all of my visits to safari lodges, I can honestly say that I was amazed at all they had to offer!

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

Wayzata, Minnesota
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3. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

tanya - i will give you this much: nitani is not going to be the same exact luxury standard as ivory lodge and i think that is why they designed the river lodge/nitani package.

but - the only think not luxurious about nitani is the size of the rooms. they are a bit small compared to the enormous size at ivory lodge but they are comparable to river lodge.

food, decor, common areas, pool, private pools at nitana - all is wonderful!

craig beal - owner - travel beyond

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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58 reviews
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4. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

A couple of comments, starting with whales & sharks first. My home in South Africa is literally "down the hill" in De Kelders from Grootbos and I know it well. No complaints, though it's an expensive option for a place to spend the night. For less money, you could take one of the top accommodations at a Guest House right on the water at De Kelders and have amazing views of the whales from your deck. They are there from late May, early June, through to November. Shark cage diving is also centered there, but requires much of a day. You are actually on the boat for +/-4 hours, plus the time before for briefing, time afterwards for snacks, drinks, to see the video that was shot during your trip. I can offer suggestions on places to stay if it interests you.

Ivory Lodge is indeed at the top of the range for luxurious accommodation - though the main "lodge" building is rather small. And why not? There are only six chalets.

Not to disagree with Craig, but flying all the way from JFK and then continuing to Lion Sands Ivory Lodge that same day would be a VERY expensive "first night in South Africa. For a client of mine, I would suggest the Airport Sun Intercontinental, just a 2 minute walk across from the International Terminal. It's the priciest hotel at or around the airport, and it merits it. Small, quiet, good restaurant. Go on to Ivory Lodge after an overnight to rest and get your body clock reset.

If flying to Botswana for the camp recommended above seems like too much work for one camp, I say either add Mombo while in Botswana - or stay in South Africa and perhaps visit one of the 5-star spots in Madikwe. Environment quite different than Sabi Sand, and Jaci's Tree Lodge might be that one in the trees you mentioned. I've had groups at Jaci's - they loved it.

Wayzata, Minnesota
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5. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

Dave,

Let’s regurgitate the red wine and sleeping pill discussion!

I think for someone coming from the New York City area, they will not be too tired on arrival in JNB as long as they get some sleep on the plane. It is very hard to fall asleep on a game drive so I think this is not a bad idea to recover from jet lag on safari.

The Intercontinental is still around $400 per night.

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond

Mytmoss
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432 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

Depending on arrival time at Joberg, its easy to get to Lion Sands the same day. If you fly in and get there the late afternoon, its hard to do so. Flying in on Delta, I have to spend a night at the airport. However if I arrive early AM from Europe, you can arrive at Lion Sands same day. For example, Virgin arrives at 7AM from London and that should give plenty of time to get a flight to Lion Sands so you do not have to "waste" a night at a Joberg hotel.

Mike

Seattle, Washington
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7 posts
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7. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

Thank you everyone for their suggestions! Actually I live in Seattle now, so I don't think I could do a game lodge immediately after getting into SA. I am hoping to get 3 nights at Capetown and then move to the two lodges afterwards. I am trying to stay in South Africa instead of flying to Botswana as I would probably get a better lodge at a Kruger private reserve by saving the airfare to Botswana. So I am still looking for that second lodge to complement Lion Sands....right now the agent is steering me towards a combo package with Lion Sands and Cape Cadogan in Capetown (buy 3 nights at Lion Sands and get two nights at Cape Cadogan)--but this is available from the lion sands website itself and does not require an agent to reserve--are the rates and combos usually better when an agent books them?

Wayzata, Minnesota
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8. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

When I have customers come from Seattle I usually book them on NWA/KLM via Amsterdam. From AMS there are flights directly to Cape Town or Johannesburg. I would fly into Cape Town and out of Johannesburg and it should not affect the price of the ticket. This is by far the fastest door-to-door travel to South Africa from SEATAC.

I use that Lion Sands/Cape Cadogan package frequently for customers. It is a nice combo and a good value from May 1-Aug 31. It should be the same price through your agent or direct with the property or through your agent via a tour operator in the US. The price is in rand so it especially good this week since the rand is at 10.35/$.

It sounds like you are looking for the best value. Here is my suggestion to get the most bang for your buck if you are willing to rent a car. It is totally safe and fun!

Day 1 Depart SEA

Day 2 Arrive CPT. Transfer to hotel.

Day 3 Cape Town

Day 4 Cape Town

Day 5 Cape Town

Day 6 Fly to Durban – rent car and drive to Phinda

Day 7 Phinda

Day 8 Phinda

Day 9 Drive to Swaziland

Day 10 Drive to Lion Sands

Day 11 Lion Sands

Day 12 Lion Sands

Day 13 Drive to JNB. Fly to SEA

Day 14 Home.

According to Conde Nast and in line with my own opinions, Lion Sands and Phinda were both ranked to 20 safari lodges in the world in 2008.

Now that I know you are in Seattle, I recommend you have your agent book this trip through Ultimate Africa. They should be happy to work with your agent and not affect your price. They are a competitor of my company but I know of Ian Proctor, the owner, and they are reputable. I am 99% sure they work with travel agents. I recommend you make a decision fast and book now because I really doubt the rand will stay this weak much longer. Ultimate Africa is in Issaquah. You should pay in full to lock-in the exchange rate!

I used to be stationed in Bremerton when I was a submarine officer in the Navy. You will love the PacNorwest!

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond

SOUTH AFRICA
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9. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

If you do go to Phinda, be sure to try to stay at Phinda Vlei Lodge, which is the nicest of the Phinda lodges. Long way to travel for only 2 nights!

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
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6,251 posts
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10. Re: lion sands ivory and royal malewane combo?

I hink the real question is, where else are you going?

If to Durban area, go to Phinda.

If to Garden Route (to Port Elizabeth), look at Kwandwe or Shamwari.

If you want to stay north, then maybe somewhere in Madikwe. Or maybe even, somewhere in the North of Kruger or maybe Singita Lebombo, which is on the eastern side of Kruger.