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ElaineAust

Mozambique November 2019

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ElaineAust

Good morning Safari Talkers.

Below is a brief TR on my trip to Mozambique.  No beaches, just bush.

Please forgive the format but I am a bit of a Luddite.

Elaine

 

Mozambique – Sabie Game Park – November 2019

 

Name of property and country:

Sabie Game Park.  Mozambique.  Camp named Bhejane (Black Rhino).  New name for the camp in 2020 is Camp Mangalana

 

Website address if known:

www.sabieparkmoz.com

 

Date of stay.

November 2019.  Late season.  The park is open from April until November depending on weather.

 

Length of stay:

5 nights

 

Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? 

A new destination for me and with so few parks being accessible in Moz, combined with good pricing it ticked all my boxes.

 

How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently?

I booked directly with Peter Ruddle from Sabie Camp Park who is based in Pretoria.  Very good service and all questions answered quickly and honestly. I used Ashtons Shuttle Service for the road transfer from Joburg to Nelspruit and the camp provided a private road transfer across the Moz border to meet the camp driver at Moamba.. All went smoothly. 

 

How many times have you been on Safari?

24 or there about.

 

To which countries?

South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya and now Mozambique.

 

Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to?

Good question but difficult to answer.  Maybe the Kwando camps or some of the camps in Hwange. And there is a very nice new pool as well.

 

Was the camp/lodge fenced?

Some fencing/gates and a single wire electric fence at the water hole perimeter.  Manned security gate at the entrance to the camp.

 

How many rooms/tents does it have?

6 twin/double canvas tents on timber platforms

 

What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private?

I stayed in tent 4.  Overlooking the light bush and with a partial view of the unlit water hole where game, especially elephant, came to frequently drink.  Tents are very privately situated.

 

How comfortably furnished was the room/tent?

Tent was slightly raised on a timber floor.  Large furnished deck, huge sleeping/sitting area and a well furnished bathroom with dual flush toilet, vanity and walkin shower.  Water was from a wood fired donkey boiler and lighting and electricity for small appliances and recharging was solar powered.  There was a backup generator and AC in the tents but this was not used during my stay.  I will specifically comment on the excellent lighting in the tents.

Please note that the photos on the website may be of before the camp was upgraded.

 

Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why.

Food was simple but very fresh and well prepared.  Great vegetables and not huge portions as in many camps.

 

Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?)

You are requested to advise of any dietary requirements and drink choices prior to arriving as this is an isolated camp. My requested white wine and Savanah Cider were chilled to perfection.  The chef prepared a vegetarian option one night.  Chicken is a veg in Africa.

 

 

What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes?

Dining is communal with senior staff.  As the only guest I was very well hosted and the table talk was very entertaining.  Dining times and options are very flexible.

 

How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives?

We did take a packed lunch one day. If I remember correctly is was sandwiches and fruit. A light breakfast is also offered prior to the morning drive. 

 

What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible.

Open Landcruisers.  The current layout is 2 rows with bench seats but I understand these will be converted to 3 rows for 2020.  Max will be 9 guests per vehicle with the front passenger seat for the tracker.  Due the rain we did use the Hilux dualcab on some drives.  This vehicle was fine as we were able to easily hop out for closer bird viewing and walks in the bush.

 

How many guests per row?

3 guests

 

How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken?

We did have lots of rain and even a few storms so some game drives were shorter than usual but on most drives we were out from 5:30-6am until about 11am and then from 3:30-4pm until after dark.

 

What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you?

Drive times were very flexible and weather dependant at this time of year.

 

Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like?

Yes, a private area.  As I say later, I was the only guest so no issues with other vehicles.

 

If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity?

Please see above

 

Are you able to off-road?

Yes but we did not do much of this a rain had made the ground very wet and we did not want to cause any unnecessary damage.  We could get out and walk wherever safe and did this on almost every drive, quite often for hours accompanied by an armed tracker. There are some lovely river and gorge areas for walking and also some elevated sites to stop and spend some time at.

 

Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting.

I was the only guest in camp and I think the only guest in the entire park.  It was late in the season.

 

What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings?

The park shares a 41 km border with Kruger and the game flows freely.  Black and white rhino, huge herds of buffalo and good elephant, lion, wild dog and general game.  My bird count was 116 and I was very happy. The Corumana Dam is nearby and is excellent for walking and birding.

 

How was the standard of guiding?

I was very happy with the guiding provided by Peter Ruddle.  He is an able and patient birding guide.  The trackers were also very good. Shame I can not speak Portugese.

 

If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue?

No issues.  All guiding was very good.

 

If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why:

When I arrived in camp after a 9 hour road trip from Johannesburg I did not want to go out on a game drive, Peter suggested a doors-off heli trip over the reserve.  I quickly downed my cider and we were away.  The flight lasted about 45 minutes and was wonderful. Just make sure you secure your hat.

 

Were staff attentive to your requests/needs?

The staff were great.  Even though I said I only needed hot water in the afternoon the donkey boiler was always stoked and the water hot. Comp laundry  and evening turndown service too.

 

Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known.

Part of this reserve has been used for hunting.  Mainly Buffalo I believe.  Hunting fees and the meat are distributed to the local communities.  I understand that the hunting area is very small and restricted but this may dissuade some visitors.

 

Bath.jpg

Bedroom.jpg

Buff.jpg

Camp.jpg

Chopper.jpg

Ele.jpg

Flight.jpg

Lion.jpg

Old trading post.jpg

River.jpg

Scene.jpg

Tent.jpg

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Galago

Interesting to read this, Elaine. Just loved the bit about you being too tired to go on a game drive, so he offered you a helicopter ride instead. Wow!

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ElaineAust

Hi @Galago

Yes that heli trip left me smiling from ear to ear. 

I understand it was not a usual activity but the pilots were going up to check out if the buffalo herds were invading the community lands at the edge of the park.  Flying through the gorge at eye level with the birds was great.

I was also invited to go out one morning with the rhino dehorning crew but that had to be cancelled due to heavy rain.  Next time.

Cheers

Elaine

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BRACQUENE

Hello again  @ElaineAust

 

I remember having some recent conversation with you about Ruaha NP , especially the Mwagusi area and correct me if I am wrong but you will be going there later this year ? 

I am  impressed by the number of times you have been on safari but this trip looks amazing as well  if only by the sheer variety of animals ; I only heard and saw quite a lot about the rebirth of  Gorongosa NP further North but as Sable Game Park is als not far from the border with Zimbabwe and Gonarezhou  I am fully focused on this well kept secret !

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wilddog
17 hours ago, ElaineAust said:

Hi @Galago

Yes that heli trip left me smiling from ear to ear. 

I understand it was not a usual activity but the pilots were going up to check out if the buffalo herds were invading the community lands at the edge of the park.  Flying through the gorge at eye level with the birds was great.

I was also invited to go out one morning with the rhino dehorning crew but that had to be cancelled due to heavy rain.  Next time.

Cheers

Elaine

Sometimes we get these perks. Right place, right time etc. What a shame the dehorning was rained off

Edited by wilddog

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Peter Connan

@ElaineAust, this is a very interesting mini-report!

 

However, I can't find this place on Google maps, neither by either the old or the new camp name or by the name of the reserve. Please can you help me with an approximate location?

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Matias Cox

Sorry @Peter Connan to answer first (I don't usually meddle where I'm not called :D), I was also curious to know where this camp is.

 

I believe the location is this HERE

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ElaineAust

Hi @Peter Connanand @ Matias Cox

I could not find the park on Google Maps or the old paper maps I have but we got there OK.  It is 23 kms due east of Lower Sabie Camp in KNP if I remember correctly.  But you need to go via Kommatiport and Ressano Garcia.

It took about 3 hours from Nelspruit but the crossing was quite fast as only 2 other small parties at Ressano Garcia and I was in a Moz registered vehicle.  I understand it can take up to 6 hours during holiday time and long weekends just for the immigration procedures.  Road directions are on the camp website.  I could not attached them to this reply.

 

Cheers

Elaine

Edited by ElaineAust
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ElaineAust

Hi @BRACQUENE

Tanzania and Ruhua are still in the planning stages for early June as the flights in and out of camp are for a minimum of 2 pax and I am a solo traveller.  Can not afford to buy 2 seats so just waiting for more bookings from other guests.

Ah, Gorongoza. Angolan Pipit territory.  Maybe it will not be a secret for much longer.

Sabie Game Camp have just secured a concession in the park and are building a camp this year.  I understand it will be 6 tents and accessed via charter flight from Muputo.  I have a tentative recee for October this year if I can fit it in.  And afford what I expect to be a very expensive charter flight.  Maybe Mark the will be flying the heli in to camp and I will score a bargain.

Cheers

Elaine

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ElaineAust

Good afternoon @wilddog  from very sunny North Queensland and thank you for your interest.

I was really looking forward to the rhino encounter but nature is what it is.  Maybe next time.

Cheers

Elaine

 

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BRACQUENE

@ElaineAust

 

Thanks Elaine for your reply and that camp building looks promising indeed ; as it is not so far from the Zimba

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BRACQUENE

@ElaineAust

 

I was going to say : as it is not so far from the Zimbabwe border and Gonarezhou where I will be going in the near future this might be a possible add-on ; I hope you still be able to go to Ruaha and have other people booking because Ruaha is unforgettable !

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Peter Connan

Thank you very much @Matias Cox and @ElaineAust.

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Peter Ruddle

SABIE CAMP GPS CO-ORDINATES: 25o 04’ 41.34” S, 32o 03’ 50.25” E

Website: www.sabieparkmoz.com

New website and product launch should be up next month.

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Peter Connan

Thanks Peter

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