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First African Safari, need advice

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Dear Fodorites,
(You guys are awesome, used this site for New Zealand trip and could not be more impressed with the friendly and helpful people.)

My wife and I (mid-50’s) have read many threads over the last year and now are ready to jump in. We are looking for specific advice for a 13 – 16 day trip to southern Africa. This does not include international travel from the U.S. though we will gladly accept help on that.

Time: Last half of September to mid October or April to June 2009. We don’t think we can get accommodations for our spring 2008, but if that were possible we could go then. We don’t mind some rain but would like to avoid the heavy rainy season. Want to go when there is a greater chance of seeing a wide variety of wildlife, especially the big 5

We envision landing in Capetown to explore there for a couple days. Then safari to Okavango Delta, Linyanti and/or Chobe, proceed to Victoria Falls for a day. We also have read much about Phinda and Kruger. Our last stop would be Johannesburg for a day or two. Should this itinerary be reversed or should we depart from the arrival city? (It also appears from recent reading that Jo-burg is the arrival and departure city…is that right?)

We initially planned on $10 – 15,000 total, including air. If this budget is unreasonable, let us know because it can be adjusted.

We would like to stay at 3 to 4 camps. We do not want the very expensive luxury lodges.. Two nicer tent camps would be fine then maybe one or two small lodges. I like the accounts of small sites where wildlife are nearby. Mobile tent for one of the camps would also be a possibility. Is CC Africa’s Botswana Under Canvas mobile tents or permanent sites. The brochure makes that look inviting.

Do you typically find an agency that books the entire trip? Your advice is welcome.

Frank and Judy

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