COSMIC RHINO

Review Elephant Plains too comfortable poor wildlife viewing

38 posts in this topic

I have a reasonable budget but not very high

 

most of this comes from having a frugal life for everything but safari

 

this way I can afford Lewa safari camp , but not add on another expensive place

 

I have nothing against Kenya as long as it is not crowded , has good wildlife and is not too expensive.

 

the way exchange rates are going I am reluctant about making large commitments beyond Lewa to paying in USD

 

Well the Game Warden is not the only one to get motion sick in small planes, I had a little problem with the rtn flight and a have been looking a Kwell tablets for next year

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Posted (edited)

Well, I am neither the greatest safari expert nor I can compare Elephant Plains game lodge to any other place in Sabi Sand, but we stayed there at the end of May 2014 for three nights and I found the wildlife viewing to be quite amazing, in any case not worse than let's say Motswari Game Lodge in Timbavati (this is actually the only other place that I have stayed within the Greater Kruger area).

I am sure that a lot better sightings can be found if one stays at lodges which include Sabi or Sand rivers in their traversing rights plots, but hey, EP is (in my opinion) a great value for the money place to stay in Sabi Sand. Yes, it is a big lodge, yes, it is fenced, yes, on some game drives there are 9-10 guests in the vehicle, but wildlife sightings during the drives were great. We observed mating leopards for over 40 minutes (about 4 sessions) and we were the only vehicle there, quite a few very close elephant encounters, good lion sightings, including a huge pride, a leopard eating serval during a night game drive (I believe we had at least total of 5 leopard sightings for 3 nights stay), several buffalo sightings, nyala, grey duiker, tons of impalas, giraffes, common waterbucks, various birds etc. for $225 USD per person per night (rondavel with all comforts - a/c, bathtub, great view).

Here is a link to the Elephant Plains game lodge part of my report about this trip of ours:

http://safaritalk.net/topic/12817-cape-peninsula-timbavati-and-sabi-sand-in-may/page-4

Edited by FlyTraveler
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Well, I am neither the greatest safari expert nor I can compare Elephant Plains game lodge to any other place in Sabi Sand, but we stayed there at the end of May 2014 for three nights and I found the wildlife viewing to be quite amazing, in any case not worse than let's say Motswari Game Lodge in Timbavati (this is actually the only other place that I have stayed within the Greater Kruger area).

 

I am sure that a lot better sightings can be found if one stays at lodges which include Sabi or Sand rivers in their traversing rights plots, but hey, EP is (in my opinion) a great value for the money place to stay in Sabi Sand. Yes, it is a big lodge, yes, it is fenced, yes, on some game drives there are 9-10 guests in the vehicle, but wildlife sightings during the drives were great. We observed mating leopards for over 40 minutes (about 4 sessions) and we were the only vehicle there, quite a few very close elephant encounters, good lion sightings, including a huge pride, a leopard eating serval during a night game drive (I believe we had at least total of 5 leopard sightings for 3 nights stay), several buffalo sightings, nyala, grey duiker, tons of impalas, giraffes, common waterbucks, various birds etc. for $225 USD per person per night (rondavel with all comforts - a/c, bathtub, great view).

 

Here is a link to the Elephant Plains game lodge part of my report about this trip of ours:

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/12817-cape-peninsula-timbavati-and-sabi-sand-in-may/page-4

 

~ @@FlyTraveler

 

The above recommendation of Elephant Plains catches my attention.

Thank you for posting it, especially because of the specific examples of sightings you had.

I'm mightily impressed! The tariff is lower than I'd ever have imagined. The sheer variety of species must have been an ongoing delight.

A leopard dining on serval? Good heavens — I've never even seen a serval!

Nyala and grey duiker — that's what I'd enjoy seeing.

Elephant Plains owes you something nice on the house for having so persuasively presented what you liked about staying there.

Thanks to your comment, I've jotted down Elephant Plains as a future possibility.

Tom K.

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Thanks to your comment, I've jotted down Elephant Plains as a future possibility.

Tom K.

 

 

Hi Tom,

 

This was the wildlife experience that we had while staying at the lodge. Forgot to mention quite a few White rhino (mother and a calf) and Hippo sightings. I also found the level of guiding to be very good (from my point of view and according to my experience). Anyone, feel free to correct me, but it seems to me that guides in the private reserves in the Greater Kruger area are in general at a very high professional level. We should keep in mind that in large lodges (like EP) they are trying to balance between the interests towards wildlife (or the lack of such) of a wide range of guests.

 

I just noticed that I have also missed to publish the "Dining leopard" night scene photos in my own report about Elephant Plains Game Lodge, so I added them now:

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/12817-cape-peninsula-timbavati-and-sabi-sand-in-may/page-7#entry169619

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This was the wildlife experience that we had while staying at the lodge. Forgot to mention quite a few White rhino (mother and a calf) and Hippo sightings. I also found the level of guiding to be very good (from my point of view and according to my experience). Anyone, feel free to correct me, but it seems to me that guides in the private reserves in the Greater Kruger area are in general at a very high professional level. We should keep in mind that in large lodges (like EP) they are trying to balance between the interests towards wildlife (or the lack of such) of a wide range of guests.

I just noticed that I have also missed to publish the "Dining leopard" night scene photos in my own report about Elephant Plains Game Lodge, so I added them now:

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/12817-cape-peninsula-timbavati-and-sabi-sand-in-may/page-7#entry169619

 

~ @@FlyTraveler

 

I've visited your newly posted “leopard dining on a serval at night” images and posted a comment there.

Your thoughtfulness in seeking out and posting those images is greatly appreciated.

I'm especially interested in what you've written above concerning the quality of guiding you experienced.

That's meaningful to read, for Safaritalk members like me, as well as visitors, who might be considering safaris in the Greater Kruger or Sabi Sands area.

As it happens, in 29 days I'll be in Sabi Sands for my first-ever safari in South Africa. Your comments are encouraging, whetting my anticipation for the experience.

I've been so struck by your comments about Elephant Plains that the EP Web site is currently open on my computer screen as I peruse their offerings.

Once again, thank you for the explanatory comments above and for the dining leopard photos you kindly uploaded earlier today.

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

 

As it happens, in 29 days I'll be in Sabi Sands for my first-ever safari in South Africa. Your comments are encouraging, whetting my anticipation for the experience.

I've been so struck by your comments about Elephant Plains that the EP Web site is currently open on my computer screen as I peruse their offerings.

 

 

Thanks for your kind words, Tom, but once again, these are my personal experiences. There are Safaritalk members with a lot more experience in Sabi Sand and the other private reserves (and in safaris in general) and you may want to consult them, as well before you book. I personally liked Motswari Game Lodge in Timbavati GR better (in terms of the lodge itself), but not sure what the availability and pricing will be (I would still revisit EP at any time, given the opportunity).

 

I am jealous about your upcoming safari trip. I will be going to S. Africa myself in 20 days, but because of my six years old daughter who I am taking with me this time, will stick to non-malarial reserves (Madikwe GR [now we are talking about big commercial lodges] and Entabeni Safari Conservancy), which wouldn't be my first choice otherwise.

 

Have a great trip and let us know about your itinerary when you finalize it!

 

P. S. Sorry about the spam, @@COSMIC RHINO, I just realized that I am writing the last post in your thread.

Edited by FlyTraveler
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Thanks for your kind words, Tom, but once again, these are my personal experiences. There are Safaritalk members with a lot more experience in Sabi Sand and the other private reserves (and in safaris in general) and you may want to consult them, as well before you book. I personally liked Motswari Game Lodge in Timbavati GR better (in terms of the lodge itself), but not sure what the availability and pricing will be (I would still revisit EP at any time, given the opportunity).

I am jealous about your upcoming safari trip. I will be going to S. Africa myself in 20 days, but because of my six years old daughter who I am taking with me this time, will stick to non-malarial reserves (Madikwe GR [now we are talking about big commercial lodges] and Entabeni Safari Conservancy), which wouldn't be my first choice otherwise.

 

Have a great trip and let us know about your itinerary when you finalize it!

 

~ @@FlyTraveler

 

What?! You're headed back to South Africa this month?

GREAT! I'm so pleased to know that...especially that your small daughter will be along.

Given the quality of your trip report writing, I'm certain that you'll have a fine experience in Madikwe and Entabeni.

This is such happy news to read tonight.

My employment commitments limit any safaris during the academic term. I was fortunate that there was just enough days for a wee ‘getaway’ in South Africa.

I'll depart on 30 September, returning on 6 October, traveling to and from Johannesburg via Hong Kong.

My Sabi Sands stay will be at a lodge where @@Tdgraves had a positive experience in 2014 — Leopard Hills.

Although I have no particular objective aside from enjoying the experience, I wouldn't mind spotting and photographing a nyala.

Happy travels to you later this month!

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

the simpler umkumbe lodge with the smaller concession may well be a better choice for sabi sands

 

the concessions is smaller but the 2 times I have been there the viewing was good and very importantly unhurried , they stay out as long as there are good sitings around

 

in the thornybush reserve I found the cheaper tangala lodge to be very good, and I am looking forward to trying out mid priced kwambili lodge

 

unless you have a whole lot of money I would not even think of the uber luxury thornybush, anyway a guide at tangala who had worked at them told me that they went out later and came back sooner ,preferring to relax in the high lux designer cabin than be in the bush

 

Africa on foot and nthambo tree camp in the klaserie reserve are also good

 

Madikwe is malaria freer according to the parks board and travel agents who want to sell the place

 

the centre for disease control lists it as a malaria risk area

 

I trust them over a sales promotion

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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Well the Game Warden is not the only one to get motion sick in small planes, I had a little problem with the rtn flight and a have been looking a Kwell tablets for next year

Have you tried over the counter Bonine? It has saved the day (and my lunch) many a time on land, sea, or in the air.

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thanks

 

I noticed that they also have those accu pressure sea bands on sale

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Hi everyone,

 

I have only just discovered this website and this is my first post! so please be nice :)

 

I went on my first safari to South Africa in 2013, and like everyone on here, I have had heart there ever since. My wife and I worked hard and saved, so we could finally go on our 2nd safari last year back to South Africa. We chose to stay at Sausage Tree Camp in Balule and Elephant Plains in Sabi Sands. I was very excited leading into the trip, but had higher expectations for Sabi Sands.

 

I will write in more detail about our stay in Balule later, but it was lovely! you felt part of the bush, and I had some very good sightings including the big 5. We had a memorable Black Rhino sighting, and we were fortunate to have a ranger who was passionate, and worked hard to get good sightings.

 

Our stay at Elephant Plains very much reflects the OP thoughts. We were fortunate to have some good leopard sightings but that's where the positives end. Our ranger was only interested in finding lions, even when we passed other interesting animals. Our tracker was getting paid for doing nothing, I don't recall him finding us one animal. Most of the guests just seemed happy to dress up in their fancy clothes, and did not seem that interested in the animals.

 

Staying at EP felt like staying in a big hotel, that could have been anywhere in the world!

 

These are my thoughts, but obviously some guests must really like the place as it continues to get good reports on Trip Advisor.

 

If you want to feel part of the bush and be around others who are passionate about Africa then avoid this place!

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Fancy clothes, really? I think the vibe at EP has changed from maybe a decade ago. The similar conclusions reached by different people, one a a first safari, one with numerous safaris under their belt, and two years apart is telling. Thanks for your thoughts, @@VicUK.

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@@VicUK I feel so sorry that you had such an unfortunate experience. If it's only consolation I only hope that we can ensure that it won't happen again.

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