My husband and I are planning a June 2015 safari to South Africa with a side trip to Botswana. In South Africa, we are heading to the private reserves outside of Kruger - nine days at three reserves (nThambo in Klaserie, Shindzela in Timbavati and Arathusa in Sabi Sand). As you probably can tell, we are at the lower end of the private reserve camps in South Africa.
My first idea was to also spend three nights in Botswana (maybe four). Initially my choice was the Okavanga Delta, specifically Kwara. Kwara was chosen because: 1. It's in a private reserve thus allowing off-road and night game drives, 2. It's both a land and water camp and 3. June is mid-season for Kwara whereas some of the other Delta camps switch to high season rates in June.
Now the overall price I have been quoted is doable, but when I realize that the 25% of our total time that would be spent in Botswana would account for 40% (or more) of the total cost, I start to wonder - is it really worth it? Am I getting the best "bang for our buck"?
As an alternative, we could go to Victoria Falls and then to a lodge near Chobe (Elephant Valley? Muchenje? nGoma?). The cost would be less but I have some concerns of the quality of experience in Chobe - long drives to get to an overcrowded park; rushing to leave park before gates close, too many vehicles at every sighting. After doing game drives in the private reserves around Kruger, will the game drives in Chobe suffer by comparison? From the reviews I have read, the water excursions at the Chobe camp seem to be the highlights, but that is just a two to two and half hour experience sandwiched between the game drives.
The quality of the game viewing is the most important consideration. I am not looking for air-conditioning, five course meals, premium liquors or spas. Decent food and comfortable basic accommodations are just fine with us.
I would appreciate any insights / thoughts and/or opinions you could share regarding the two alternatives. And if you care to comment on our South Africa portion, please feel free to do so.
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Botswana - Kwara or Victoria Falls/Chobe (after 9 nights around Kruger)