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First Time Safari: July/August 2012 -- Where to go?

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I'm experiencing what must be classic first-time safari angst: where do I go on my first trip? I've been lurking on this forum for a while and read many guides, but still having a lot of difficult choosing a trip. I've put together three itineraries with different agents and hoping to use the expertise on this forum to better understand which itinerary is right for me.

I'm in my late 20s and will be traveling with my wife for 10-14 days in late July and early August. We're budgeting about $10,000 per person (without international airfare) and we're looking for a fun active trip that minimizes short flights (my wife doesn't do well in small planes). We'd like the classic African experience and we know that we'll be back some day (soon I hope). We're willing to pay a bit more for nice accommodations and a low hassle trip -- we want this to be as least stressful as possible. I'd like to do a night time safari and potentially some walking safaris, and would be interested in possible cultural excursions.

We've narrowed down our trip to three itineraries:

* Three nights at Chyulu Hills (Campi Ya Kanzi)
* Three nights at Laikipia (Lewa Safari Camp)
* Four nights at Mazai Mara (Saruni Mara)

ITINERARY 2: South Africa/Botswana
* Three nights Cape Town
* Three nights & Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge
* Three nights &Beyond Chobe Under Canvas
* Three nights &Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

ITINERARY 2: Zambia/South Africa
* Three nights at Sausage Tree Camp
* Three nights at The Elephant Camp
* Three nights at Somalisa
* Three nights Cape Town

I understand that a trip this length will only give me a taste of the African safari experience, but which is best for a young, active couple in late July/early August? Our priorities are seeing a variety of wildlife and terrain, staying in comfortable lodging and having an unforgettable experience. My wife really likes the Cape Town option as she thinks too many days on safari will grow monotonous (hard to believe that). The above trips are all roughly comparable in cost, though Zambia may be a little bit less per person. Which would you recommend and why?


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