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Ctart

Cape Town to Cape Town in December

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We are traveling on Regent and want to know suggestions for a pre tour.  Regent has offered for free a few but we want a safari.  We would prefer to not go to a malaria ridden area.  We are deciding between Lion Sands and Shamwari?  What makes one better than the other?  Is one less populated by people? Do you see more or different animals?  We were considering the Over-Land Shamwari Sunrise to Sunset but we would bypass Port Elizabeth and Durban.  Would we miss anything spectacular?  Any help from previous people would be a great help.

 

We would love any suggested tours not to be missed as well...

 

Thank you

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There are two Lion Sands camps, the River Lodge and the Ivory Lodge. If you want a more luxurious and exclusive experience choose Ivory. The suites are fabulous, you will have a maximum of six people per vehicle ensuring everyone a view whereas in River there are eight sith some sitting in the middle.

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Thank you! I only have a choice of River or Narina.  Is Narina the same as Ivory?

 

Edited by Ctart

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We did the Shamwari Game Reserve pre-cruise last Christmas on the Explorer.  It was excellent.  I think that there were a number of different options for the lodgings at the Reserve depending on how you like to travel.  The tours each day (sunrise in the am and sunset in the pm) were fabulous and we saw many different animals up close to our open (but canvas topped) jeep.  The monies that you spend booking tours at Shamwari go towards maintaining the reserve and also to maintaining their animal rescue activities.  They have a website that you should explore.  Just as a side note, when we went with Regent everybody was flown to Port Elizabeth (about a 2 hour flight) and then went to the various lodgings that you have selected from there.  The bus ride to Shamwari was about 1 hours and 20 minutes from the airport.

 

One other thing to know (which we didn't) is that all of South Africa is on vacation in December so many of the ports we visited were very quiet since nobody is in town.  But for the Regent tours that we took...many of the museums that we were visiting as part of the tour were opened just for us which made the ability to quietly explore the exhibits very nice.

 

Hope that helps

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Another vote for Shamwari. We stayed at the Long Lee Manor which is the most civilised, less in the wild, of the reserve accommodation options but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable. The management of the reserve including that of the animals is excellent

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Did the pre cruise. We added one extra night through Regent. Left Capetown early. We flew from Capetown to Port Elizabeth. Then bus to Shamwari. We stayed at Eagle Crag. Loved it. Very luxurious. 
sheila

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Thank you for your input!  Which pre tour did you take Hamasgirl?  I heard from a few Regent guests about Shamwari and Lion Sands.  We are just trying to figure which is best.  We are traveling multi-generational(Grandmother, Mom and Daughter).  My 27 daughter is coming I want her to love it.  Are the jeeps 6 or 8 pax? if you remember.  Any insight is great.   

 

Also, did you take any tours that stand out to you that should not be missed on the cruise itself?

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Thank you Belliago Cruisers.  I will look at your suggestion too.  Feel free to let me know if there was any standout side trips you took that is a must?

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16 hours ago, Ctart said:

Thank you! I only have a choice of River or Narina.  Is Narina the same as Ivory?

 

No. Ivory is considerably more expensive than River Lodge so that may be why it's not offered.

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We stayed at Shamwari Bayethe on a Regent post cruise. It was very well done. The accomodation was luxury tents with personal plunge pools out front. The food and staff were very good.  The game drives were wonderful though this area is huge so you can drive for a bit without really seeing any animals.   This was different from our first experience with Regent on a post cruise safari at Kapama Private Reserve up near Krueger National park.  It was a smaller reserve so you were in the midst of animals all the time.   We had fantastic experiences in both places. 

 

I don't think you can go wrong on any safari as it is an experience not to be missed. 

 

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In answer to Ctart...we stayed in Eagles Cragg in Shamwari.  This is a 9 unit lodging...each 'unit' is actually a small self-contained 'house' with its own plunge pool and large bedroom/ living room combo.  The bathroom is very spacious and the shower is huge with 2 entrances....one that goes directly outside to the plunge pool and then the one in the room.  Each 'house' is totally private and separate from the other 8 but are all joined by a raised boardwalk and also linked to the lodge where the restaurant and bar is and where you meet up with your guide to take the wildlife tours.  We only toured with one other couple in our jeep which made it extra special since the guide could answer your questions and give personalized stops if you wanted to see something in particular.  Normal size for the tours are 6 people.  Still a very nice and personalized tour experience.

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Major question were you able to see the big 5 at Eagles Crag?

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TS:

 

This will complicate your decision-making process.  Based on our late 11 to late 12/2015 experience, suggest considering Camp Figtree Lodge, a 1.5 hours drive from Port Elizabeth.  Three pre-cruise days at the Lodge--on a hilltop--while visiting Addo Elephant National Park below.  Then, plane back to Cape Town; direct bus transfer to Mariner berthed in the Waterfront area.  Cruise followed to Rio.    

 

Based on our TA's advice, arrived early at Cape Town, staying three days at Victoria and Albert Hotel in the Waterfront area (about six kilometers from downtown Cape Town).  Wonderful hotel.  Lots of private tours facilitated by the Concierge.  Fourth day--transferred to Regent's downtown hotel to gather with others doing pre-cruise safaris.  

 

Next day.  Flight from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth--hence to Camp Figtree, an English-themed lodge operated by the founder's grandson.  Eight other Regent couples joined us.   Good bonding experience prior to the cruise.  5+star service as to food, beverage, Land Rover excursions to Addo with a Park Ranger/Guide, and overall ambience.  One lunch was in "the field" between excursions.  That lunch, complete with three varieties of white or red wine,  matched anything later experienced aboard Mariner. 

 

Spouse and I were assigned to a "tent".  This turned out to be the finest tent we have ever been in, complete with oriental rugs and a marvelous view of the valley below.  Canvas top and half-sides; rest hardwood.  Very cool at night.  

 

So-many memories--and pictures--in the Park.  Like, a singular Bull Elephant we met on a side road.  Ranger turned off the engine.  Everyone stayed silent.  That "big fellah" just kept walking toward us.  My wife took a 30-second video of the event, including a portion where he passed about five feet from our vehicle--taking up the entire field of view while staring at us; and just kept walking.   That close encounter was worth the whole trip.  

 

No matter where you go on your safari, expect great experiences.

 

GOARMY!

 

 

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Yes, if you must have elephants then Addo is the place. However we had a close encounter, almost a bit too close, with a young bull elephant at Shamwari. One of many memorable encounters over three days there. The early morning starts are a bit hard and by our last day the normal six in the jeep had been whittled down to just me, which made what happened next all the more special as I and Bethel, the guide (the best I have ever come across) went hunting with a pride of lions. Watching their strategy at truly remarkable close range over several hours is something I will never forget.

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Well Ctart we didn't see the "Big 5" but we did see elephants, zebras, impala, white rhinos, snakes, all kinds of birds, giraffe and the best of all...lions.  Two brother lions who rein over one part of the reserve...who were courting the same female and had a 'dust-up' over that about 10 feet away from our jeep...very loud and all kinds of real dust being thrown as they worked through their issues!  And then a young male lion who ruled another part of the reserve who the guide said would either take over the part of the reserve where the 2 lions ruled or be killed by them.  The young lion actually hung out about 5 feet off of the road where we were driving and we followed him quite a while as he patrolled his part of the reserve.  And while we didn't see the leopard that others did, we did see a baby leopard as we returning to Eagles Cragg after one of our evening drives.  The guides knew that there were young ones but hadn't seen them up to that point.  Quite exciting experiences...

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Thank you all for your input.  It was greatly appreciated.  We are looking forward to our travels there

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We are going on the Dec 8 cruise but trying to decide on the pre cruise safari we want and we are also doing the free on Winelands and Wildlife after the cruise.  I a having a problem trying to check on flight from Texas.  We usually request ahead our flight as getting from Austin to anywhere can be a problem.  Has anyone any experience with flights to Cape Town from the US.  

Ctart when I read your post with who you are traveling with I am going to ask if you and your mother were in Australia and New Zealand in Jan?

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Yes we were on the Jan  sailing.  We let Regent handle the air.  So much easier.  We have booked Lion Sands pre tour.  We have booked December 8 Africa    Also you can now fly non stop from Newark to cape town. We heard from other passengers while aboard about it and had many rave reviews.  Were you also aboard?  Perhaps traveling with your daughter as well?  If so I remember you and your husband and daughter 

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Yes that was us. We are on the Dec 8 also. What airlines flies from Newark.Our daughter is not going this time. We will miss her. I am trying to decide on a pre cruise Safari . I wanted to do the one that does Victoria Falls on the way to the lodge but it is wait listed and so we decided to just fly to Cape Town and do one from there and not go to Johannesburg.  We are doing the Winelands as our free one as a post cruise so that means we will be in Africa on Christmas Day . Guess we will celebrate when we get home.  

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We were waitlisted for that originally.  Which I am guessing they really weren't offering that as an option.  It is so far out to be booked up already.  We opted not to extend in the end.  Last trip we really were ready to come home and Auckland was nothing special.  You can pick other pre-tours.  Speak to your agent.  They would be available as an upgrade.  United flies from Newark.  I guess we will be seeing you again!!  My daughter is coming with us this time.  How funny:)

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A little concerning that most of December everything is closed

Are you flying into Johannesburg ?

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Yes we were on that sailing.  We let Regent handle the air.  So much easier.  We have booked Lion Sands pre tour.  We heard from other passengers while aboard about it and had many rave reviews.  Were you also aboard?  Perhaps traveling with your daughter as well?

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That’s the plan. We are doing our air with regent.  Less complicated 

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