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On Safari and a 90th birthday party

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Been planning this for 18 months - so excited the time is here!

So we are flying Qantas F minus ( I.e Qantas codeshare) to Dubai - QF 8413 (Emirates metal) - as I have learnt paying Qantas lots of money for a codeshare does not mean you get F treatment prior to the flight!

Dubai to Nairobi (still Qantas codeshare in F)

overnight in Nairobi

SAA to Johannesburg where we overnight and meet up with some ankle biters.

4 nights Mala Mala
3 nights Camp Jabulani

then Comair to Durban where another ankle biter joins us and we attend my Mum's 90th.

Back to Johannesburg overnight and off to Nairobi

Another overnight - seem to have a few wasted nights, but schedules dictate it.

Then 2 nights Ngorongoro Crater

9 nights Singita Grumeti split across 3 different lodges

Home via Dubai and final leg on QF1


Hopefully Mr FM will supply me with some beautiful animal photos!
 

RooFlyer

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Been planning this for 18 months - so excited the time is here!

So we are flying Qantas F minus ( I.e Qantas codeshare) to Dubai - QF 8413 (Emirates metal) - as I have learnt paying Qantas lots of money for a codeshare does not mean you get F treatment prior to the flight!
<snip>!
... perhaps, but the F experience in the air on EK should more than make up for it :) . Make sure you check out both bathrooms - the one on the right, as you face the stairs is the larger one - its bigger than some hotel bathrooms I've been in.
 

infinity

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Have been to Camp Jabilani twice
Best game lodge in SA
Do the elephant subset ride visit the elephant enclosure and ask nicely for the candle lit pathway to the dinner on the elephant loading platform
Spectacular
 
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... perhaps, but the F experience in the air on EK should more than make up for it :) . Make sure you check out both bathrooms - the one on the right, as you face the stairs is the larger one - its bigger than some hotel bathrooms I've been in.
Yes we are total converts to Emirates! The bathrooms are fabulous and having a shower is total luxury. Food and staff were terrific as well. I have always thought Qantas staff in F were wonderful but the ones we had last night every bit as good. And food! I do like my food and Qantas doesn't come close. I thought the Qantas bed and TV screen were better, but everything else went Emirates way.

So in the lounge in concourse A now - very pretty and quiet. Our flight to Nairobi is still 3 hours away.
 
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Have been to Camp Jabilani twice
Best game lodge in SA
Do the elephant subset ride visit the elephant enclosure and ask nicely for the candle lit pathway to the dinner on the elephant loading platform
Spectacular
It was the elephants that attracted us. I was a bit hesitant about riding elephants - Africa has become quite exploitive of its wild life with the terrible cub patting and walking with lions which seems in most cases to end with the lions in Canned Hunting. However these elephants seem to be genuine "rescue" elephants and the owners have strong conservation credentials.
 

infinity

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You will be amazed at how well they look after the elephants, the food is fantastic, "sundowners' are legendary :)))
 
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Safely in our room in Nairobi now. Just love the Kenyans - very friendly bubbly people. It was a little unnerving to have our car checked for bombs before it was allowed near the hotel and to have to go through a metal detector before entering the hotel.

Our flight to Dubai was with Emirates and while a smaller plane it still had suites in First and they served Dom and Godiva chocolates - what more could one want! It was only a 5 hour flight which was good as we were both starting to fade. Emirates seems to bus people all over the airport - it has separate economy, business and First buses - First gets armchairs, which beats hanging from a strap in a crowded bus.

On arrival our meet and greet people were waiting at the bottom of the stairs, put us into a van drove us straight to the arrival area and took us through immigration, picked up our luggage and took us to our driver for transfer to the hotel. This is the first time I have used a meet and greet - seems a bit if a wussy thing to do when we are experienced travellers. However the Singita guy thought it was a good idea so I gave in - while still feel it is unneccesary it did make a very smooth arrival.

Goats were grazing next to the road and we saw 2 zebras. Marabou storks everywhere. Our driver was quite impressed that I knew what Uhuru meant (Swahili word for Independence).

Walked around the gardens of our hotel and now time to crash. We are staying at the Norfolk Hotel - one if those beautiful remnants of the Colonial Era.
 
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infinity

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Im glad you had a great trip. I look forward to hearing more as it unfolds.

I have 2 weeks booked in SA/Africa next easter and am taking my 13/16 year old girls. Haven't planned the itnerary yet so maybe some of your adventures will help.

Camp Jabilani probably better for couples though!
 
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Im glad you had a great trip. I look forward to hearing more as it unfolds.

I have 2 weeks booked in SA/Africa next easter and am taking my 13/16 year old girls. Haven't planned the itnerary yet so maybe some of your adventures will help.

Camp Jabilani probably better for couples though!
Isn't everything. :)
 
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So some photos - not terribly exciting, but just to add a bit of colour to the verbal bits :)

Mini Bar in the suite

Caviar appetiser enroute to Dubai

The wonderful shower - the size of the bathroom is about 3 times what you can see - it extends quite far back with plenty of room for changing and full length mirrors

A chandelier in the lounge at Dubai that took my fancy. Sitting under it the red was quite mesmerising

The Norfolk Hotel has different wings. This is where our room was - this section built in 1937.
 

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Having a wonderful quiet morning before we head off to Johannesburg at 4pm today. Had an early breakfast and now just sitting on our verandah enjoying the ambience and catching up on vital things like trip reports.

Nairobi has a population of 3 million according to our driver, but oh! the traffic. Imagine Sydney at peak hour with no freeways. That is what it was like yesterday - my driver said peak hour is much worse - hard to imagine given we spent 10 minutes at a time not moving. Looks a reasonably prosperous town - quite a bit of building going on although David (our driver) said unemployment is an issue - better than the rest of East Africa though according to him.
 

infinity

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I dont really like Jo burg but you can catch the hautrain from airport into Sandon and have a good feed in the shopping centre there. Great meat restaurant !!

If you need a SA sim card just grab one from the vodafone dealer RHS as you exit immigration ;)
 
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I dont really like Jo burg but you can catch the hautrain from airport into Sandon and have a good feed in the shopping centre there. Great meat restaurant !!

If you need a SA sim card just grab one from the vodafone dealer RHS as you exit immigration ;)
Thanks - Johannesburg is horrible - lived there for 7 years in the 70s and it has only got worse. We are staying out at the airport which is about as close to Joburg as I want to get. I have a brother who lives in Sandton, but we always meet in Durban :)

However to be fair to Joburg it is a more vibrant tolerant city - according to my brother you step 30 years into the past when you go to Durban.
 
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Mr FM is working on some photos for me so hope to add soon. When we left the Norfolk there was a soldier on guard with a very big gun - the hotel is obviously viewed as a target but we felt quite peaceful there. There is security approaching the airport as well, with cars stopped and questioned. (Or rather passengers in the car are questioned:) ).

We were flying SAA to Joburg - no lounge to wait in, due to the terminal being destroyed by fire. The gate opened a few hours before the flight and business passengers are put in a separate area and provided with snacks and tea and coffee.

We overnighted at The Intercontinental at the Airport - it is very convenient as it is literally across the road from arrivals and also around the corner from the Federal Air kiosk. Good hotel, with friendly staff and a nice buffet breakfast.

Our flight to Mala Mala was a brief 1 hour and the air strip is 2 minutes from the accommodation.

Photos

Marabou Storks
Federal Air waiting area
 

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We were staying at Main Camp, which is the cheapest of the 3 camps. Each room is effectively a small hut with a large bedroom and sitting area, two bathrooms each with a wardrobe area. A lovely deck overlooking a small stream. Baboons were running around the reception area and spent most of the afternoon camped outside our room just across the stream.

Nyala and wart hogs have been grazing outside all the time. We had a bit of excitement as when we came back from our drive last night we just about walked into an Elephant. it had wandered into the accommodation and had to be chased out. last night we saw a beautiful Leopard with her two quite big cubs - she wandered up to our vehicle so close I could almost put out my hand and touch her. The vehicles are open and take. 6 people - 2 to a seat, so excellent viewing. We hardly saw another vehicle last night - they only allow 3 vehicles to view at a time but they were all pretty split up last night.

Miss FM and her partner are absolutely blown away by the experience.
 

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This morning was a 6am start and an extraordinary experience. Our guide was after Lion and found a track - Mr FM actually spotted a Lioness on her own and giving little roars. Our guide said she must have been separated for some reason and was trying to rejoin her pride. He wanted us to see her when she rejoined them so we followed her for some time. Because it is private we can go off road, but obviously can't exactly follow when she went into deep bush - as with the Leopard at various times she was right next to us, We finally found the rest of the pride (another 5 lions) when they were hunting Buffalo - a Lion leaped onto the Buffalo and it went down, but the others fought back and chased away the lions and kept the injured Buffalo in the middle. The Lions kept chasing and managed to split off three Buffalos including the injured one from the others. They attacked another one and it went down as well, but once again they fought back and the Lions retreated. By this time the Lions were exhausted and frothing at the mouth and gave up. It was a wild ride following the animals especially through thorn trees, but worth it

After breakfast (food here is good), our guide offered to take us for a walk. he drove across the Sand river and we went for an hour's walk through the bush learning more about animal tracks and vegetation. We were given basic safety instructions in case something went wrong and our guide had a rifle - another great experience but nothing can touch the Lion Hunt - I am deeply afraid that we have already peaked on this trip. While I know we will see many more wonderful animals I don't know how anything can match this morning!
 

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Thanks for interesting & descriptive report & excellent photos, particularly of the animals.
 
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