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Botswana in April itinerary question

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Mr.Piggy and I are planning a 11 day trip to Botswana in mid-late April. We don't know much about safari but heard quite a bit about Mombo, so we would love to include Mombo in our itinerary. We were thinking of Kings Pool, but a travel agent I talked to recommended Vumburu for better game viewing in April, and we are also looking into Jao as well. I would appreciate any input in putting together the best possible itinerary for optimal game viewing in April. I would prefer luxury, and price is not a big concern. Thank you.

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    Hi MsPiggy,

    I have been to most of the Wilderness Safaris camps in Botswana multiple times and I was at every Wilderness Safari camp in Botswana in April and May of last year over a 13 day period. To be honest, they are all pretty comfortable and luxurious but there is a deliberate, by design difference between the five premier camps and all the other classic camps.

    Your agent did give you some good advice. Kings Pool can be a little quiet in April but the camp is ultra luxurious. The camp is located on the Linyanti concession and all you need to do to see excellent wildlife in April is drive to the Southern part of the concession around the Savuti channel. This takes about 30 minutes. But, you could save some money and stay at Savuti or Duma Tau instead to eliminate this drive each day. Duma Tau is shut down for a complete rebuild right now and it will reopen on April 6 brand new. It will still be a classic camp and I expect it will be beautiful.

    Although a little “tired” with the duration of your time in the country you should consider three nights at Duba Plains to see the lion/buffalo interaction. Perhaps do it first so your luxury increases as you move along. Also, with the flood coming in you may want to be here first as it can be affected.

    Duba Plains – 3 nights (classic camp).
    Savuti/Duma Tau – 3 nights (classic camp).
    Vumbura Plains or Jao – 3 nights (Jao can be getting very wet in late April but I LOVE the camp and it is the most luxurious of all. Much more than Mombo).
    Mombo – 2 nights. Mombo is wonderful but given the price and the fact that it is located in a national park (Moremi) perhaps two nights is enough. Unlike all other Wilderness Camps you cannot do night drives at Mombo and the main activity is land based game drives. Therefore – 2 nights.

    Good luck. If you are planning on using the same travel agent (I assume Virtuoso, Signature, etc.) you may want to shop around a little to benchmark the price you should be paying. Some agents purchase through very expensive distribution channels so you can find the price varies quite a bit.

    Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond

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    Thank you for your reply. I did shop around as you recommended and the rate difference was as much as $5000! We ended up going with Vumbura, Jao & Little Mombo.

    Now, I'm on to stressing about packing. I've never been a light packer, so we are off to Italy after Botswana. Should be interesting...

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    MsPiggy,

    The floods for 2011 are pacing ahead of 2010 which set a record. Peak water flow in the Okavango usually occurs around late April and peak flood at Vumbura around mid-May. I really think Jao will be almost underwater in late April/early May. When I was there in May of 2010 the airtrip was sandbagged and there was water in camp on the roads. Vumbura is going to be absolutely soaked as well. I expect the air strip will be shut down and you will have to fly-in from Duba. So - you are not going to have as much land based area to drive on. If I was you I would treat Jao or Vumbura as your water camp and only go to one. I recommend you add a third camp with land based game drives. I recommend camps in this order: Chitabe, Chitabe Ledibe, Duma Tau, Savuti, Sandibe.

    Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond

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