Author Topic: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius  (Read 1135 times)

Offline jomaster28

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Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« on: November 03, 2017, 01:15:36 PM »
This is my first trip report and it took me around 10 months to finally write it up…
The Honeymoon of a lifetime was actually planned from even before we got engaged. We were deciding between South Africa & Australia and as you can guess, South Africa won! I did a ton of research for this trip, from other friends’ who went to SA on their honeymoon, from DDF and from well, the internet. This is my first trip report but hopefully you will enjoy it.
For Flights we booked the following:

JFK – JNB – Booked on South African Airways with United Points 80,000 roundtrip pp economy
JNB – CPT
CPT – HDS
HDS – JNB
JNB – MRU
MRU – JNB
JNB – JFK - Booked on South African Airways with United Points 80,000 roundtrip pp economy



For hotels we booked the following:

6 Nights in Cape Town at the Cape Royale Hotel (4th Night Free – Citi Prestige)
5 Nights in a Safari lodge called Kings Camp in the Timbavati Reserve (4th Night Free – Citi Prestige)(5th Night Free from the safari Resort. Stay 5 Pay 4 Special) (the 4th Night credit from using the prestige card reimbursed me $1,500 for one night!!!!)
1 Night in Johannesburg at the Palazzo at Monte Casino
5 Nights in the Westin Mauritius turtle Bay Resort – 10k SPG per night
2 Night in the St. Regis Mauritius – 20k SPG per Night



Wednesday, December 28th/29th, JFK-JNB with a 2 hour stopover and then JNB – CPT

We got to JFK with plenty of time for our flight which was scheduled to depart at approx. 10:40AM. After check-in I was told from the TSA agent in the Pre-check line that South African Airways doesn’t not patriciate with TSA pre-check, which was kind of disappointing. Although somehow we were able to make our way to a different Pre-check line and did not have to take out my laptop or remove my shoes. After security we proceeded to the Wingtips Lounge in Terminal 4 at JFK. Our flight was delayed about 40 minutes so after doing some emails and getting a bite to eat, we then made our way to the gate and awaited our 15 hour flight to JNB. With about an hour left in the flight I asked a stewardess if I would make my next flight to Cape Town and he assured me that I had nothing to worry about. He said they have flights leaving every hour and if I missed my flight scheduled for 10:10AM local time there was an 11AM one and I would make that one. Sure enough we landed at around 9:30AM but the Customs line much long and by the time we got through was exactly 10AM. We still had to go to the check-in counter and check our bags to Cape Town. So at the Domestic counter in JNB they put us on the 11AM flight and we were at the gate with plenty of time to spare. (We would have made our 10:10AM flight if we were delayed in JFK for 45 minutes). After a 2 hour flight we finally made it to Cape Town and after getting a SIM card in the airport and calling an Uber we finally arrived at our Hotel at around 3PM.
 
6 Nights in Cape Town
 
After checking into the hotel and getting freshened up we heading to the V & A Waterfront to walk around. With it being Hanukkah we saw the stage set up for later on that evening they were having a candle lighting ceremony and have complimentary latkes and sufganiyot.
For Dinner we headed straight to Avrons and little did we know we would go back 3 more times after that. Avron’s had a Friday night dinner option in the restaurant and so before even trying the food on Friday we signed up and paid for the Friday night dinner. The total for Friday night dinner was approx. $15 per person, and trust me we did not leave hungry. Below are some pictures from our meal on Thursday night.


The next day, Friday we woke up at 3:30AM (YES, 3:30AM) and we were picked up at our hotel by 4AM on our way to swim in cages with Great White Sharks. This was so surreal. One of the coolest things we ever did in our lives. The weather was beautiful and the drive was gorgeous (although the wife fell asleep for 2 hours so she missed out). The water temperature was pretty cold but with the wet suits and masks and equipment you didn’t feel the cold water too much. After a long day we finally headed back to Cape Town to shower and change and head to Avrons for dinner.
Saturday we walked around the V & A Waterfront again and stayed there pretty much all day. Saturday night we headed straight back to the waterfront as it was New Year ’s Eve. The waterfront was packed and they had so many cute and fun events and it all topped off with a nice fireworks celebration.


Sunday we hired a private driver and vehicle to drive us around the entire cape peninsula. We headed straight to Café Riteve to pick up breakfast and lunch for the road. The food was really good and the staff was pretty nice. I can go into detail about the tour but pretty much these are the main points of interest that were very cool. This was an awesome day, we saw some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and had a chance to take a boat ride to Seal Island, take a swim with Penguins and saw the exact point the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Clifton & Camps Bay
Hout Bay – Seal Island boat ride
Chapmans Peak Drive
Ostrich viewing drive by
Cape of good hope
Cape point
Simons Town – Penguins Colony
Muizenberg
Constantia
Kirstenbosch botanical gardens (although by this point we wanted to get back to the hotel badly that we saw a few flowers, put a NY Giants hat on Nelson Mandela and left)
Monday we made our way to Table Mountain. We took the cable car up and probably waited about 30 minutes. Once we got up we headed straight for Abseiling. This was insane!!! The pictures do not do justice but this was the highest and longest commercial abseiling company in the world. After repelling down we had to make our way back to the top which took about 35 minutes. This was no easy task for the wife who is in very good shape so thankfully she altered our plans initially which was to climb up the whole mountain from the bottom.
Our afternoon activity got cancelled due to the strong winds which was kind of unfortunate because we were looking forward to paragliding off Lions Head. Instead we headed back to the waterfront and was looking forward to taking a short ferry ride to Robben Island. Unfortunately due to it being a very busy time of the year in Cape Town they were fully booked for the next 8 days so we couldn’t go. Instead we took a sunset cruise around the cape.
Tuesday we had to make some alternative plans as well as we had Skydiving booked for the morning but once again due to the strong winds in Cape Town they cancelled our scheduled dive and being that we were leaving Cape Town the next day we couldn’t do it there. My wife, believe it or not was the one that was most disappointed. We took our time packing up our things in the hotel and went for a nice breakfast and then we got picked up for our next activity, Sandboarding. The sandboarding driver picked us up and drove us to the Atlantic Dunes where we proceed to go sand boarding. The only problem was it was a very windy day (obviously though since skydiving was cancelled) and they did not provide goggles. This activity had a ton of potential but it was absolutely miserable. I had sand in places on my body for the next few days, not to mention my eyes. This could have been easily avoided if our driver told us we should buy goggles because we stopped at a gas station and easily could have purchased a pair. In middle of the activity I went back to the car and just stayed there, my wife finished the hour or hour and a half and then came back to the car. I recommend this activity as it was very cool and a lot of fun, but it was torture for me. So I recommend bringing goggles or buying goggles or making sure the place provides them for you. After the sandboarding we wet Quad Biking (ATVs). This activity was very cool as well. We were supposed to go on the beach but instead went Quad biking on an insane closed course that was very cool. We loved it and had a great time. We both have went ATVing in Israel before but this was a lot cooler as the course was an intense course and not just an open road. We then made our way back to the hotel, finished packing and got an early night sleep.

5 Nights in Kings Camp – Timbavati Reserve – Kruger National Park

We woke up early Wednesday for our 9AM 3 hour flight on SAA from Cape Town direct to Hoedspruit. When speaking to a friend of mine who booked his trip with a travel agent, the travel agent told him there are no commercial flights, and the charter flight could only carry approx. 22 pounds of luggage. He spent over $700 to ship his luggage to JNB because he was not made aware of that and paid over $1,500 per person for this flight. He was in fact, wrong. We flew direct and was to bring onto the plane a luggage that weighed 50 pounds each. With about an hour left on the flight the Pilot got on the loudspeaker and said a flight that took off from JNB and was flying into HDS as well was scheduled to land an hour before us had to get rerouted back to JNB because of the strong winds. For us this would have been terrible. The pilot assured us that they would try and do everything they could to get us in, and so after 30 minutes of flying with our landing gear down and flying in a circle waiting for the clouds and wind to open up, we made our decent down and landed the most terrifying landing I have ever witnessed. Thankfully we landed safely and got off the plane because we ended up finding out that we were the only flight to land that day.

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We got our luggage and were met by the managers of the camp, Warren & Lisha Moore. They picked us up from the airport and then drove the 45 minutes to our camp. I am not going to go into detail on the next 5 days but I am going to give you a little idea of what we did.
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My wife and I are both strictly kosher so making the decision to come to Kings Camp was a no-brainier. Kings Camp was able to provide us with a Mashgiach from Johannesburg, a totally separate and kosher kitchen, a private chef who prepared three meals for us daily (not to mention the best food we ever had), meats, cheeses, kosher wines and anything else you can think of for our stay. The level of service and the accommodations at Kings Camp was unparalleled to anything I have seen or anywhere I have stayed before. Below are some pictures of our stay and the food and our daily schedule at the camp.
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We had a private dinner on our veranda
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On every game drive, whether it was in the morning or the afternoon we stopped off and unloaded the food and set up a coffee station in the morning or tea/wine station in the afternoon

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We even had breakfast in the middle of the African bush and they were able to bring a portable kitchen and cook fresh breakfast in the middle of god knows where.

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My wife was able to light Friday Night candles even, although the clean up from all the wax was a huge hassle and I did feel bad for the housekeeper.

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Our Daily Schedule:
5:00AM Wake up
5:30AM – 9:00AM First Drive
9:00AM Breakfast
1:00PM Lunch
3:00PM – 3:30PM Snack time
3:30PM – 7:00PM – Second Drive
8:00PM – Dinner, Sleep and repeat
Here are some pictures of the animals.

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Our stay at Kings Camp was something we both could not have imagined. We enjoyed every single minute and couldn’t have asked for a more insane adventure. I am strongly recommending a Safari to everyone, whether you love animals or don’t. In addition, for anyone looking for the kosher experience, or even if you are not requiring the kosher experience I implore you to reach out to Kings Camp in the Timbavati Reserve as your destination. I am now their unofficial spokesman, although they don’t know it yet. I came back ranting and raving and telling everyone from my brother to the stranger sitting next to me on the subway that they have to go on a safari and must stay at Kings Camp.
Monday, January 9th we went on our last drive in the safari and then made our way to the airport for our 12 PM flight to Johannesburg.
1 Night in Johannesburg
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 The flight was only an hour long and we landed in Johannesburg airport to a little bit of a surprise.  Our luggage in Hoedspruit (airport in the safari) checked in our luggage directly to our next destination, Mauritius. Only 1 of the 3 luggage’s we had checked in made it to the luggage carousel and even that was a mistake, the luggage tags all said Mauritius, so in fact we were a little lucky. Normally this is not an issue, we are in Johannesburg for only one night and why would we need the other two pieces of luggage. However before we left on our trip we reached out to two different kosher catering companies in Johannesburg and ordered over 70 pounds of food our stay in Mauritius. So now our two luggage’s that were checked in and somewhere in the airport were both half empty and the one luggage we had, and the two carry on suitcases we had were probably ¾ of the way full. Now came the fund stuff.
We went to the hotel where the food was in the freezer waiting for us and had to just wait it out until the next morning to see how we were going to fit the food. To make a really long and unforgettable story short, we fit everything into the one luggage and two carry-ons we had and ended up with two carry ons weighing approx. 50 pounds each and a suitcase which weighed at least 90 pounds.
We got to the airport and tried to play dumb but when the agent at the counter saw over 40 kilograms she started to panic. When smooth talking her didn't really i took out i took out the only currency i had in my pocket, a $50 bill USD and handed it over to her. If i tell you her reaction you would never believe it. She proceeded to tear up and say thank you a million times. she blessed me with all her heart for the next 10 minutes and even came around the counter to hug me and thank me. So while a $20 bill might have done the job the $50 made the experience that much better. we checked the big luggage and a carry on and made our way to Mauritius. 
 
5 Nights in Mauritius – Westin Turtle Bay Resort
 
We arrived in Mauritius and got into a car that was waiting for us and that was arranged by the hotel. the drive took about an hour, maybe even a little more. For the first 20 minutes or so of the drive it was pouring rain. my wife was nervous about the rain in Mauritius and the first experience on the island was a bit upsetting. she started to go on about how it's going to rain the whole time and it won't be hot and sunny, and i said let's see what happens.
It turns out it didn't rain one more minute on the island after that first half hour. the weather was sunny and beautiful every single day. the water temperature of the ocean was perfect and the hotel was great. the hotel has a bunch of activities to do for free and a few that can be purchased as well. we stayed at the Westin for 5 nights and the staff was great. They heated up our Lunch and Dinner for us when we asked and only charged us $10 per person per meal. (considering what they could have charged us this was nothing to complain about). the lounge at the westin was great as well and everything about the resort was perfect. after 5 days on the island and the end of the trip coming to a close we ended our trip with 2 nights at the St. Regis resort.

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2 Nights in Mauritius – St. Regis Resort 

Our hotel arranged for a taxi to pick us up from the Westin in the morning after breakfast and drove us another hour to the south Western tip of Mauritius, a little area on the island called Le Morne where we checked into the St. Regis. This hotel was insanely gorgeous.
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Everything about it was perfect, the staff, the service, the accommodations, everything was perfect. We got upgraded to the Manor house suite which is the nicest room in the hotel. The hotel heated up our lunch and dinner for us as well and didn't charge us anything. it took until the second to last day of our stay in Mauritius to finally come across Americans. I guess with it being close to 21 hours away many Americans don't get the chance to go there. These Americans were traveling for close to 2 months and the stop before Mauritius they were in Seychelles. They confirmed with me that Mauritius was a much better island and resort than Seychelles. I can't vouch for that, just sharing what they said. Mauritius, while really far away was a beautiful island with lovely staff and if you're ever in the area i would certainly recommend it. We checked into the airport with enough time to spare and the agent at the check in counter was able to send our luggage from Mauritius straight to JFK so it was an awesome sigh of relief when we didn't have to get our bags again.

Our flight from Mauritius to Johannesburg was a little delayed but we landed in JNB with about 2 hours to spare before our flight back home was scheduled to take off. we went straight to the International Transfer line and waited close to half an hour without moving three feet. We then called up Nandos Kosher and ordered food for them to deliver to the airport. We got off the line and went back to the regular customs line and after 15 minutes we made it back to the departures terminal where an order of fresh chicken and burger sandwiches from Nandos kosher was waiting for us. We quickly got back onto the security line. got through customs again and went straight to one of the airport lounges. I took a nice hot shower in the lounge while my wife relaxed a little. we then ate our food and proceeded to the gate for check in. we boarded, took off and 16 hours later we landed in JFK.
I probably could have kept this TR going for another 10 pages but i left out a lot of the boring stuff. South Africa and Mauritius were amazing places to visit and my wife and i talk about going back one of these days. Or maybe for our 20th anniversary with our children. If anyone has any recommendations for editing the TR or adding to it. or if anyone has any questions about SA or Mauritius please reach out to me.

Online mmgfarb

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2017, 01:31:34 PM »
Nice TR! Thanks for sharing. Do you mind sharing how much the nightly rate was at Kings Camp?
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Offline damaxer91

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2017, 01:45:52 PM »
Wow, really great TR!

They had a Mashgiach at the camp throughout your stay? What was the add. charge for Kosher?

Offline JACKBLUE

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2017, 01:58:20 PM »
Beautiful TR!!

Offline jomaster28

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2017, 02:33:13 PM »
Wow, really great TR!

They had a Mashgiach at the camp throughout your stay? What was the add. charge for Kosher?

Yes he was there the entire duration of my trip. He woke up at 5AM  before i went on the morning drives and stayed working until after dinner (with breaks of course).The total add of was around $250 per day.

Nice TR! Thanks for sharing. Do you mind sharing how much the nightly rate was at Kings Camp?

Nightly rate was around $1,400

Offline aygart

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 05:08:03 PM »
Great TR!!!

The $1400 includes what?
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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 10:04:05 PM »
Nice, beautiful TR, amazing pictures, making me think to go .
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Offline moish

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2017, 01:55:08 PM »
Very nice.

Offline SSLPhD

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 10:16:28 PM »
Wow.  Adding South Africa to my bucket list.
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Offline jomaster28

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2017, 08:53:52 AM »
Great TR!!!

The $1400 includes what?

Everything from A-Z

Offline Ergel

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 08:59:34 AM »
Everything from A-Z
Nice, did you need the full 5 days there? Or would you recommend 3 or 4 instead?
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Offline Joe4007

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2017, 11:19:00 AM »
Awesome TR!

Offline moish

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2017, 05:26:28 PM »
Everything from A-Z
The 250 for the mashgiach was on top of the 1400 ?

Offline tmendy226

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2017, 11:21:30 AM »
wow amazing!

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Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2017, 01:28:09 PM »
Nice!  Mauritius is on my bucket-list.  Why there over Seychelles?