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Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

California
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Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Hello All -

We will be arriving on an SAA flight from Upington into J'burg International Airport on Mar 8 -scheduled to arrive at 11.35am. We'd then like to get to Madikwe (deciding between 3 lodges at the moment). Does anyone know if Federal Air and Madikwe Air/Charter/Shuttle are the same operations? Lodges have referred to both. Also, do you know if their flights are always on time? I'm trying to figure if we can get off the SAA flight and connect with the flights to Madikwe - and the departure times for that seem to vary from 11.15am to 12noon, depending on which lodge I'm talking to.

I also read one place that Madikwe flights leave from Grand Central Airport; another source said Tambo?

Our alternative is getting a road transfer - if you have any info on that, would greatly appreciate input! We've been quoted R1700 - 2400 for 2 people, one way. Anyone know if it's generally safe?

thanks - our first time to Africa and we're really excited!

Holly

London, United...
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1. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Hello,

Federal Air does a shuttle to Madikwe. It leaves from the private terminal across the highway from OR Tambo (Central would require a transfer, so this is a better option).

In my experience their flights normally do leave on time unless there is a big back-up at OR Tambo as the two have to coordinate take-offs and the international flights out of OR Tambo have priority. However, Federal Air does recommend arriving at least 1.5 hours before departure to make the connection between a domestic flight and their flight, as you need to collect your bags and then be shuttled over to their terminal, so this may not work for you.

The road transfer would be safe but not terribly interesting. For R1700 one-way you could fly (it's only about R1400 to fly) and save yourselves time and boredom.

I'm not sure how firmly you've decided on Madikwe, but if you're only doing one safari on your trip I'd recommend considering either the Sabi Sands or the Eastern Cape instead. I've found the game-viewing at Madikwe rather uneven (sometimes you see a lot but you can also go for days without seeing much of anything) and this could result in a disappointing trip if it's your only safari.

The Eastern Cape is also malaria-free and there are comparably priced reserves there. The Sabi Sands is malarial but has the best game-viewing in SA. Both areas are accessible from Joburg -- there are Federal Air flights to the Sabi Sands (including one at 1pm which would work well for you) and you can take a commercial flight to Port Elizabeth for the Eastern Cape.

Cheers,

Julian

California
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2. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Hello Julian -

Many thanks for the input. We're coming back from the Kalahari (Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park), so it isn't our only animal-viewing. Really wanted to steer clear of malaria areas due to slight reaction to malarone once...I know the drive to Madikwe could be less than interesting, but short of staying over at J'burg airport the night before, it may be our only option. At least we could fly back.

So - thanks for the info on Federal Air - it is a separate airline from Madikwe AIr, then, I take it?

HH

London, United...
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3. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Hello,

If you want a malaria-free area you could also choose the Eastern Cape as a safari option -- at least in my experience the game-viewing tends to be better and less uneven. You wouldn't need to worry about Federal Air because you could connect to a normal commercial flight to Port Elizabeth and then either fly or drive to your reserve (normally about 2 hours).

I believe Federal Air swallowed up the original Madikwe Air (the one that flew out of Central) though there now appears to be another company by that name flying out of JNB. The current Madikwe Air only has one flight a day that departs at 1135am so that wouldn't work for you -- you need one that departs around 1pm or so.

Cheers,

Julian

California
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4. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Hello - Found the answer to my own question re: flights, so I'm including it here. Per a Federal Air rep,

"Madikwe Air Charters is our joint venture. Unfortunately you would not make our 11h15 flight to Madikwe, but we can offer our 15h40 flight from Johannesburg (OR Tambo) International.

Our rates are R 1592 per person (minimum 2 passengers) Johannesburg to Madikwe 15h40."

So there are 2 flights, one at 11.15, the other 15.40.

Still wondering if anyone has done the drive, and if it's interesting to see some of the South African countryside?

thank you!

SOUTH AFRICA
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5. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Hi Holly. I've often driven from Jhb to Madikwe - unfortunately it's not a very scenic or interesting drive! I have found game viewing to be quite good in Madikwe, but your chances of seeing all of the big 5 aren't as good as in reserves like the Sabi Sands, as good leopard sightings at Madikwe are still few & far between. Perhaps your emphasis for the game viewing is not big 5 though? Which 3 lodges are you considering going to?

California
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6. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Hello - Thanks for your input - actually our emphasis on these days is elephants, as we won't have seen them in Kgalagadi Transfrontier. I love leopards, but we'll have seen other cats and I'm not as determined to see them as almost everyone else appears to be. So we were looking for an authentic African experience with trackers AND rangers - not too glitzy: there are spas enough at home thank you! - with elephants. We're looking Impodimo, Buffalo River and another.

London, United...
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7. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Hello,

Personally I wouldn't go to Madikwe for elephants -- many of the elephants have been imported from Zimbabwe and tend to be quite nervous around vehicles. I've done a lot of safaris and Madikwe is easily the place where I've been charged most often by elephants -- mostly mocks but a few serious ones as well. If you want to be able to get close to relaxed ellies I'd suggest looking somewhere else -- Chobe in Botswana would be ideal if it's within your budget.

Cheers,

Julian

California
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8. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Thanks again Julian -

Now you have me thinking: I'd read a few posts from people in Madikwe mentioning what close encounters they'd had with ellies and lions, and kind of wondered about that....Botswana was our first choice (the Delta or Linyanti/Chobe) but logistics of getting there seemed very difficult coming from J'burg. Is there a particular lodge you like that's simpler to get to than most? Friends of my parents' went last year to several places incl Duma Tau and loved them all - but their budget was much higher than ours.

FYI our travel doc just said he'd gotten a message from Botswana's Minister of Health saying it's one of the driest seasons they've ever had - don't know if that will impact animal viewing, but my guess is if it's not as rainy as usual in the Delta, more camps will be open and more animals coming round to waterholes.

I do appreciate your input.

Limpopo, South...
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9. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

Then again, a (tourist) child was mauled by a hyena last year in Botswana. An elephant had to be shot at Savute for threatening and dangerous behaviour towards tourits. A tourist and former beauty queen had a limb chomped off by a hippo in Botswana a few years ago. Never heard of anything like this in Madikwe. Madikwe is actually great for the fact that they have saved these elephants from certain death by giving them a place to roam (relatively) free. Should be supported.

10. Re: Getting from Tambo to Madikwe - how??

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