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1st trip to Botswana OR South Africa? I'm PETRIFIED of both!

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Please HELP advise me on Botswana & South Africa if you are an experienced traveler. I think I have bitten off more than I can chew! :-O

I bravely gave my husband a unique gift. For his birthday, I gave him MYSELF as his traveling companion...and said that I would accompany him to anyplace in the WORLD...as long as there is a Fodors guidebook for it, and some "Fodors Choice" ratings.

My husband was thrilled! >:D< He knows he can go anyplace in the world without me. I freely let him go. But he WANTS to share this experience WITH me. He says its not the same without me.

Gulp...he has chosen either Botswana or South Africa (southern coast of South Africa.) He says I can choose between those two.

HELP! I have these 2 books so far: Fodors See It South Africa 3rd edition; and Rough Guide to First Time Africa. But every time I try to dive into the info, in guidebooks or on-line, I slam into my fears: malaria? Malaria pills with side affects? Carjackings at gunpoint? :-[

I'm not going to be able to do this without the help of fodorites. I REALLY want to carry through with my promise to give my husband this gift. ((R))

My husband is a biologist and he's been to South Africa once before, although I'm not sure where exactly. South Africa or Botswana are great for him.

BUT for me...it isn't helping that I don't feel any great longing to visit the continent of Africa. It's just not something I have ever dreamed of. Maybe I don't have a clear vision of it.

WHAT is a GREAT 1st-timers trip to Botswana or South AFrica? Ideally, it would be a choice which would be so great for both of us that I would want to return. My husband is willing to fork over some dough for this trip...he knows it's not a cheap trip. But we like being around "real" folk...we don't want to be on a trip where we are stuck with snooty people who need everything to be 5 stars. On the other hand I want to be comfortable, feel safe, and have fun, and meet interesting people.

Maybe it would help if I told you something about myself. I love gorgeous landscapes such as the Alps in Switzerland and the entire south island of New Zealand. I was also nervous going to Costa Rica, my first time in Central or South America, but I loved it and have been twice so far. I don't like the Caribbean because I see so much poverty and discontent there, and many of the locals seem resentful because they aren't benefiting from tourism, which does seem unfair. People seem happier in Costa Rica, to me. I enjoy writing poetry, meeting interesting people, and trying out exotic foods. I enjoy nature walks, but I do have hip and foot problems, so I can't walk as far as I used to. I can walk a few miles each day if I can stop and rest. I can't ride in a car for longer than 6 hours in one day due to my hip. I'm not too ancient yet...we are in our 50's.

THANKS IN ADVANCE! I'm not sure whether to tag this for Botswana or South Africa. I don't have a preference at this point. PLEASE DON'T point out the dangers of the places I have already been...that just INCREASES my overall travel fears. It helps IF YOU SHARE YOUR PASSIONS...the positive stuff. I would also like to hear from anybody like myself who was nervous about their first trip to Africa (or Botswana)...and how did the trip turn out....pros and cons.

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