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exeter lodge comparisons

Washington, DC
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108 posts
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exeter lodge comparisons

I'm planning a trip to SA this August- it will either be two adults, two adult kids and one 11 year old --or-- two adults, one adult kid and one 11 year old. I make a distinction because if we are a party of 5, the accommodations become more complicated- ie: requiring a triple and a double as opposed to two doubles.

We plan to visit both Sabi Sands and Kwanwde.

At Sabi Sands, we are considering Exeter. River, Leadwood, Dulini or Kirkman's Kamp (which they now run, I understand). Any thoughts? We would like very, very nice but not over-the-top accommodations as well as excellent game viewing.

At Kwanwde, we are looking at Ecca and Main Lodge. Ecca is geared toward kids, but my husband really wants that Out of Africa colonial atmosphere which sounds more like the Main Lodge. Would an 11 year old be terribly out of place at Main Lodge?

Are we going to FREEZE in August?????

Thanks for any help you can offer!

bdk
SA
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1. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

I haven't been to Kwandwe, but I'm sure some one like Lamlee will be able to advise you on this reserve.

The Exeter lodges are great with Leadwood being the best of the lot. The suites are magnificent, all situated on the banks of the Sand River, each with private plunge pool. Game viewing is of the best you will ever hope to find.

Kirkman's is not as luxurious (suites have recenly been refurbished, but are smaller, no private pools. etc) but has lovely old-world-colonial charm! River Lodge is also nice, but for the price, rather choose Leadwood. Because of the size of the suites, you might be able to arrange that the 11 year-old shares with the two adults.

In August, you will have pleasant days, (no jerseys generally required) in the Sabi Sand, but you will need warm clothes (fleece, beanie, gloves) for game drives. However you will not have sub-zero temperatures! Best time for game viewing as it is towards the end of the winter!

Washington, DC
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108 posts
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2. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

Thanks so much for your input, bdk. Since I posted, I have found that Leadwood does not have availability when we plan to travel in August, so perhaps River Lodge is the next best option.

How do I reach Lembee regarding Kwandwe?

Thanks again.

bdk
SA
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3. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

I'm sure oyu can send a message to Lamlee through her profile here on Tripadvisor?

And while you are about it, ask Africadirect for advice on Dulini

Port Elizabeth
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for South Africa
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4. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

Hi nanceliza

Sometimes, I feel like a bit of a fraud. I am a so-called expert for the whole of South Africa, but, in fact, all I am is an expert for doing South Africa on the cheap. I have been to virtually every game reserve in the country that you can camp at, but I know very little about expensive lodges like Kwandwe and Shamwari, apart from how far they are from Port Elizabeth, where the turn off is and what the vegetation looks like.

I can tell you about the weather in Kwandwe in August.

You could be unlucky and hit a really cold patch (usually 3-4 days) where temperatures will be 10-15 degrees during the day and the wind icy. This usually coincides with a snowfall on the Drakensberg Mountains.

More than likely the day temperatures will be around 17-23, and will be warm enough during the day, as long as the wind isn't blowing. Winter wind is never warm.

In both cases, as soon as the sun sets, the temperature drops a lot. Expect it to be cold at night. Don't go out on your sunset drive under-dressed.

Weybridge
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5. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

Hi,

Kwandwe is outstanding, and along with Shamwari is the best of the private reserves in the Eastern Cape. The food, accommodation, and staff are up to the standard of the very best CCAfrica lodges, and as it is the largest of the private reserves in the area (as well as being the furtherest away from the main roads which run alongside or through the other reserves) the atmosphere and game viewing are also amongst the very best on offer in the Eastern Cape.

In terms of the choice between Ecca and Main Lodge (now called Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge), unfortunately only Ecca accepts children under 12, so this will dictate where you can stay. Ecca also has very large, spacious suites that can comfortable accommodate two adults and 1 child under 12.

In Sabi Sands, I would probably suggest Exeter River Lodge - the upgraded rooms are lovely and the setting right on the river is fantastic, and this might be more suitable for you than Dulini (very atmopsheric bush lodge, however rooms were in need of a bit of tlc last time I was there in August), or Leadwood (fantasic lodge but the accommodation might get close to your definition of over-the-top). I have not been to Kirkman's.

If you would like any more info you can contact me directly through my Trip Advisor profile.

SOUTH AFRICA
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2,533 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

Exeter River is a great lodge. An added bonus is the fact that they offer special childrens' programs, which will be a wonderful experience for the children traveling with you. I definately recommend River above Dulini or Kirkmans. The atmosphere at River is also more child friendly than that of Dulini, plus you have the added benefit of being on the banks of the Sand River (compared to Dulini overlooking a dry riverbed). Game viewing in August will be excellent, with many animals flocking to the Sand River, so you should have great sightings even from the lodge (River Lodge). Yes, early mornings & evenings will be chilly, so take gloves, jackets, etc. along and you'll be fine. Let me know if you need any more info on these lodges - I visit the Exeter lodges frequently and are very familiar with all of them.

Washington, DC
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108 posts
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7. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

Thanks so much to bdk, lamlee, TravelButlers2 and AfricaDirect. I think we will concentrate on Ecca in Kwandwe and River Lodge in Exeter, based on your comments.

Another question, if I can- given the distance and expense involved in coming from the US, we want to see all we can. Other than Cape Town, where else would you go? A

Do you have any recommendations for what to do while in Cape Town in August? I have spent all my time and energy researching safaris to the exclusion of everything else. Any great, boutique hotels that aren't astronomical?? (I guess I should really post this under Cape Town, huh?)

Thanks!

Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
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8. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

Being August, I would spend the rest of my time in one of 2 areas

1) Panorama route part of Mpumalanga e.g. Sabie, Pilgrims Rest, Grazkop. This is just outside Kruger, so it is very easy for you to get to.

2) Northen KwaZulu Natal - e.g. Greater St Lucia Wetland Reserve, Kosi Bay etc.

Neither area really knows what winter is about.

Washington, DC
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9. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

Thanks, lamlee. Are these areas to just drive through, or would we want to spend a few days in each? To be honest, I'll have to pull out my map and see exactly where they are!

Port Elizabeth
Destination Expert
for South Africa
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10. Re: exeter lodge comparisons

The Panorama Route

www.mpumalanga.com/regions/panorama.asp…

travelblog.org/Africa/…blog-134121.html

sa-venues.com/attractionsmpl/mpumalanga_pano…

www.graskop.co.za

mpumalanga-venues.co.za/panorama-route.htm