We are planning our next trip to Africa in September 2014 and would really appreciate some advice regarding where to stay in South Africa. Our itinerary at this point includes Duma Tau and Chitabe Lediba in Botswana and Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe. This is our 6th "safari" trip to Africa and our third time in South Africa. We have stayed twice at Singita Boulders and also at Phinda, Ngala, and Metaya. We are trying to decide between Mala Mala - probably leaning towards Rattray's, but maybe Sable, Londolozi - either Tree or Granite Suites, and the Kruger Singita properties - probably Lebombo.
We've read that Mala Mala has the best game viewing of any of these places and has a much larger area to traverse, but have also read that it is showing its age a bit. Rattray's seems more "hotel-like" to me than some of the other properties we're considering, but we like the idea of only 4 to a vehicle. I'm a photographer and understand that the photographic opportunities at Mala Mala are outstanding since the animals are so habituated to the vehicles.
The Londolozi property looks stunning, but when we consider the number of vehicles on the property, it seems like it might be a little crowded. Also, how does the game viewing at Londolozi compare with Mala Mala?
We started looking at the Singita Kruger properties and love the beauty and remoteness, but wonder if there are enough animals there to be interesting. As much as we love the big cats, we really enjoy a large diversity of wildlife. We have had the good fortune of seeing wonderful wildlife throughout our trips to Africa, so we would rather see something interesting (and that may mean dung beetles pushing a dung ball) and take our time to enjoy it than rushing around just to check the "big five" off our list. In fact, what we'd most like to see are the more elusive animals - a caracal, aardvark, or maybe even a pangolin! We enjoy the thrill of tracking, and would like to do a fair amount of walking.
It's been hard to get good information about the amount of game at Lobombo. I certainly don't expect the same level as Sabi Sands, but I also don't want to go just to stay in a nice luxury hotel.
In summary, what we're looking for is a nice lodge that doesn't seem crowded and actually feels like we're in the bush, plus enough wildlife to provide an interesting 4 nights.
Would love any advice since we just continue to go in circles!
Thank you for any help!