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1st Safari - can go anywhere, anytime of the year

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I need some ideas to start planning our first safari (and first trip to Africa). I spent some time looking a few months ago but got overwhelmed and decided to delay this trip until sometime between April 2010 to April 2011. We can go for up to 3 weeks, anytime of the year. Guidance seems to be geared toward where to go if you have to travel a certain month, or where to go if you are looking for certain wildlife (we aren't). But what are some of the best options if you can go anywhere, anytime?

We travel every year and I'm sure this won't be our only trip to Africa. We are 42 and 50 years old. I remember from my reading a few months ago that lodging/safaris can be quite costly. We aren't into luxury lodging for their sake at all, but willing to pay for unique and special wildlife viewing opportunities and areas. I'd like to spend $12,000 or less excluding airfare (we have many FFmiles we can try to use). Seeing the gorillas for part of the trip was an idea but can be saved for a future trip. Botswana also sounds special. What are some recommended options I should investigate if we can go anytime of the year?

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