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Part 1: JFK-DXB-CPT

Part 2: Cape Town

Part 3: Etali Lodge in Madikwe
« Last edited by dvol on August 30, 2017, 08:43:10 PM »

Author Topic: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR  (Read 2615 times)

Offline damaxer91

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2017, 03:18:31 PM »
Nice TR!

Who was the tour operator that arranged the trip for you?

There seem to be several "Kosher Safari" operators.

Offline dvol

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2017, 03:51:46 PM »
Nice TR!

Who was the tour operator that arranged the trip for you?

There seem to be several "Kosher Safari" operators.

This was the one I used:
http://www.bestsafariafrica.com/

You can email info@bestsafariafrica.com

Offline moisheyb

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2017, 07:04:33 PM »
Wow nice job so far!!
What'd the trip cost if I may ask?

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2017, 07:59:49 PM »
Nice job!

I believe the mountain in the background is the Lion’s Head:

 

That's part of Table Mountain. Lion's Head is on the opposite side.

Offline dvol

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2017, 10:18:44 AM »
Wow nice job so far!!
What'd the trip cost if I may ask?
You can PM for details.

But you tell them your budget and they will work with that.

Online sam28

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2017, 09:43:09 PM »
Nice TR so far keep it coming .

Offline BrooklynCPA

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2017, 02:45:29 PM »
Great TR!!! The Menorah setup is a riot!! :)
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 03:03:56 PM by BrooklynCPA »

Offline dvol

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2017, 03:57:45 PM »
Part 3 (It's a long one)

Etali Lodge in Madikwe

Our little plane finally landed in Madikwe Game Reserve after an excruciating 60 minutes.

The “airport”


 


There are about 30 lodges in the Madikwe Reserve, and we were the only ones on our flight going to Etali. All the lodges send a jeep to pick up their guests

 

The drive to the lodge was about 20 minutes and our driver/ranger made a little detour so that we could get our first glimpse of one of the Big 5:

2 female lions resting in the shade

 

Arrival to Etali



After a nice welcome by the manager we were shown to our room. The lodge has a total of 8 “suites” and each one is separated from the other by paths and trees for complete privacy. They also have 1 family suite which is basically 2 back-to-back rooms with a shared deck. Each suite has a private game viewing deck, a splash pool and an outdoor shower.

We had Suite 8:


The deck:


View from the deck



Outdoor shower



Since the afternoon game drive was going to leave pretty soon we dropped our things in the room and headed straight back to the dining area. Etali is one of the only lodges in Madikwe to have a watering hole directly in front. This means that during their winter when there’s very little rain and the animals are forced to come out and search for water, this is one of the places they will frequent. There is a perfect view of the watering hall from the dining area and we probably saw more animals here at this watering hole than we did on our game drives

 

Etali has a kosher kitchen which is outside in the open so that you can watch the chef prepare everything if you choose. They do have a lot of kosher guests, as per the manager and she says everyone has different requirements. Some bring along their own mashgiach for the entire trip like a family they had recently. She told us that a different family she recalled brought along their “Rabbi” only for the first 2 days, just to make sure everything was as it should be. We were introduced to their chef who was assigned to cook only for us during our stay and she showed us around. They had separate kosher meat and dairy cutlery, plates, pots and pans and a kosher stove, oven, fridge/freezer, etc. They kept all the kosher food separately and she showed us the packaged kosher food (I believe it was brought in from Johannesburg) We were also called every time she needed to open the flame.

The kosher kitchen

 

Since we were rushing to get to our game drive, we had a simple lunch of Pasta Arrabiata

 

The same jeep that picked us up from our flight was going to take us on our game drives. Each jeep seats about 10 people and we shared our jeep with 3 different families during our stay. Each family/room is assigned a ranger for their entire stay and ours had an unpronounceable name and we were told to just call him Gert



We saw jeeps from many other lodges on our game drives and while the others all had their driver/ranger serving as a tracker, ours was the only jeep we saw that had a separate driver AND a tracker.

The tracker’s seat:



There are 2 game drives every day, once at 6:30AM and once at 3:30PM. Each one lasts about 3 hours, occasionally up to 4. The morning drives allow you to see sunrise and you can catch the incredible sunsets on the afternoon ones.

Sunset



Sunrise

 




While the weather is about 80 degrees during the day in sunlight, when you’re on a game drive and it’s dark out (before sunrise/after sunset) it is COLD. The jeeps have blankets, ponchos, and in the mornings they also have hot water bottles which work wonders



We had a total of 6 game drives and while most of them kept us on our toes with sightings, there were 1 or 2 drives where we saw almost nothing.
Oddly enough while the most common animals in Madikwe were the Impala, Springbok and Wildebeests, I don’t believe I have any photos of them. Following are pictures/videos from our drives in no particular order:

There are about 1400 elephants in Madikwe and we saw plenty





Partaking in a mud bath





A herd drinking at the lodge’s watering hole one night



Giraffes



The rhino is endangered and according to Gert, at this rate within 5 years there will be no rhinos left. Even in Madikwe there are poachers and while there are many anti-poaching organizations they have not been successful in stopping them. The situation is dire enough that Madikwe will not allow their staff to post anything to social media about rhino sightings, and they will not report any sightings to their fellow rangers over the radio either in case the poachers are listening in. On our drives we did see quite a few rhinos, some black, some white but I really can’t recall which is which





Magnificent leopard:



Zebras were also plentiful and we saw many of them come to drink at the watering hole:



We saw a mixed group of zebra and wildebeest calmly grazing, when all of a sudden in unison they all started running. We turned around and there was a female lion chasing them. Spoiler: They all got away



The dejected Lioness:



Another lioness with her kill



While most animals completely disregarded us humans and gave us not the slightest bit of attention, we did have one incident. On our last game drive we finally got to see a male lion and after a few minutes we noticed a female lion nearby. Apparently so did the male lion since he started sidling up to her, but she was having none of it. At the end of this video you can see the female sitting underneath the tree:



And the female walking off:



At this point the male followed the female behind a group of trees and our jeep slowly followed. We got to the clearing and all of a sudden we heard roaring and the male lion started charging at us. Gert turned the jeep to face the lion and started screaming at it. Just like that the lion stopped, became quiet, turned and walked off. Keep in mind this entire thing lasted about 3 seconds so unfortunately we couldn’t capture the first part on video but I did manage to get the end of it. You can hear Gert still cursing at the lion and the lion walking off seemingly shamefaced:



There were many more animals that we saw that I didn’t capture with my phone, but one of the animals we didn’t see at all on our game drives was the baboon since they tend to stick to the mountains. However we were lucky enough to see them at our watering hole on our last day:



Each game drive gave us about a 30 minute break where we could stretch our legs and get some refreshments. On the morning drives we were served hot drinks (coffee/tea/hot chocolate) and pastries.

Kosher pastries



Rice cakes



In the afternoon there were sodas, waters chips and jerky



Our “table”



After the morning game drives we were served breakfast





 



Various lunches served before the afternoon game drives







 


And dinners were served upon our return from the afternoon game drives

 









2 of the nights we were there they had BBQ for dinner and they had a separate kosher grill for us and grilled all of our food next to our table.
BBQ Area



The kosher salads at the BBQ (sorry the lighting was horrible)



Lamb and steak



Sausages



At every BBQ the entire staff came together and sang this song which was very charming



While you are free to walk around the entire lodge on your own during the day, you do need an armed escort once the sun goes down “just in case”. While they do have a wire fence surrounding the property they’re not taking any chances



There’s also a nice spa on site which I made use of one day, as well as an outdoor gym that I was GOING to use (not pictured)



While there are no TVs in the room, there is one in the main lobby but we barely used it. Getting up at 6AM every morning and being out on game drives 6-8 hours a day can be really exhausting and we turned in every night right after dinner.

Our flight back to Johannesburg was scheduled for Wednesday at 2:30PM so we were still able to catch the morning game drive and have lunch before we left. It was so incredibly windy that day that our plane arrived about 30 minutes late because it had to keep circling before it could land. You can hear the wind:



I was far from happy to be back on that little torture chamber and it didn’t help that we had to make a stop at the other airstrip in Madikwe to pick up more passengers before continuing on to Johannesburg. Madikwe is 750 kilometer and so they have more than 1 “airport”. You can see here how bumpy the flight was



It also didn’t help that the “low fuel” warning kept going off about 10 minutes before landing. Finally, we made it back to Johannesburg.



We retrieved our suitcases from FedAir storage and they shuttled us back to the terminal. Our flight to Dubai was scheduled to depart at 10:20PM and we arrived to the Emirates counter at about 5PM. At first the agent said there is no way they can check our luggage in yet, only 3 hours before our flight. However, after we started asking her about the storage facility at the airport our agent had told us about she relented and told us that she would take our luggage even though she wasn’t supposed to. By that point we had decided to book a hotel in Dubai which we hadn’t originally planned on and so we were in a bit of a jam. Being that we would have a hotel we were able to take a suitcase with us in Dubai with changes of clothing, extra sneakers, etc., but we didn’t want to take our huge suitcases with us then have to re-check it in Dubai. So we found a store in the airport that sold duffel bags and quickly repacked the few things we would need for Dubai and then checked in our suitcases all the way to JFK.

At this point it was almost 6PM and we grabbed an Uber to go get some food. Reviews and reports I had read recommended the Open Flame restaurant, so that’s where we headed. The owner was there and was quite the character, entertaining us with his stories of working as a bodyguard and discussing the state of South African politics and economy. The food was plentiful and once again, our US dollar got us very far:

(Lighting was pretty awful as we were seated outside)
Soup



Chicken spring rolls



Steak



The most amazing rack of ribs



We had quite a few more items, plus drinks and a beer, and our total after tip came to $55.
Since our return was booked as a revenue ticket, I had booked the Emirates chauffeur to pick us up from the Open Flame



We got back to the airport and went to the Emirates lounge. It was a pretty decent lounge but we were so exhausted by then I forgot to take any pictures. We showered in the lounge (the one picture I did get) and could barely wait to board and go to sleep.



The aircraft to Dubai was also a 777 but a newer version, with the same updated touch screen TVs and remotes as the A380, with mood lighting, but still the same small bathrooms. The cabin was full and so we had our seats turned into beds as soon as we took off and both passed out.

Coming up next: Dubai




Offline Dawie

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2017, 05:33:30 PM »

While the weather is about 80 degrees during the day in sunlight, when you’re on a game drive and it’s dark out (before sunrise/after sunset) it is COLD. The jeeps have blankets, ponchos, and in the mornings they also have hot water bottles which work wonders


Cold it is, after all it is winter....
Last game drive we did, DD (was 2+yrs old) asked if we can please close the windows.... (it was an open Jeep)

Love the Biltong and Boerwors pics!
thnax for sharing

Offline Denverite

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2017, 05:59:08 PM »
Looks amazing, thanks for sharing!

Offline good sam

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2017, 11:34:14 PM »
I'm sure this is a stupid question but why don't the animals have any interest in humans?
If you don't care why would you comment?
HT: DMYD

Offline moish

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2017, 05:18:45 AM »
Nice TR and thanks for the shout out. You also absolved me of writing a Serengeti TR  :)

Offline stbaum

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2017, 08:22:01 AM »
I'm sure this is a stupid question but why don't the animals have any interest in humans?
Humans aren't allowed to walk around the reserve on their own. They're in a big truck. The animals see this huge beast going by. They don't care to start up with that.
My greatest achievement? I am fluent in FRIENDS quotes

Offline dvol

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2017, 02:02:15 PM »
Cold it is, after all it is winter....
Last game drive we did, DD (was 2+yrs old) asked if we can please close the windows.... (it was an open Jeep)

Love the Biltong and Boerwors pics!
thnax for sharing

If only our winter had 80 degree days!

Offline dvol

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Re: Dvol's South Africa / Dubai TR
« Reply #29 on: August 31, 2017, 02:04:39 PM »
Nice TR and thanks for the shout out. You also absolved me of writing a Serengeti TR  :)
Thanks for the rec, it was very convenient to be able to fold the duffel into my suitcase until I needed it. It was too big for us and on our way back from the reserve we actually combined all our things into just 1 duffel.

Have you done a safari in SA? How does it compare to the Serengeti?