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leaving from Charlotte, NC to Zambia, South Africa and Botswana august 18!

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Never been on a safari....any major must have and tips i need to know! Will be going with Tauck for the safari....cant' wait.......

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    Sounds awesome! I have been to all the properties on their tour and they are all amazing.

    My first suggestion is to extend this trip if you can and get more safari experiences. Did you buy your airline ticket yet? Even if you did, you can change it and I suggest you do. On their South Africa trip, Tauck uses two different safari lodges but they are only about 10 miles apart (Sabi Sabi and Lion Sands KNP). In fact, the NW corner of Lion Sands KNP is adjacent to Sabi Sabi so they are zero miles apart there. You could theoretically see an animal on your last morning game drive at Sabi Sabi, transfer to Lion Sands Kruger National Park, then see the same animal in the afternoon. Because of this lodge selection by the tour designer, you don’t get a lot of diversity in flora, fauna, or habitat.

    My personal preference when planning a South Africa inclusive safari is to have the traveler go to one lodge in the Sabi Sands area and then make their second lodge as far away from there as possible. “Far away” options in South Africa would be Phinda or Tswalu. There are many more. It can even be better to add a second safari in a different country like Botswana or Zimbabwe.

    Since your Tauck trip ends at Victoria Falls I STRONGLY suggest you go on another safari in Hwange National Park (45 minute flight) or Chobe National Park (2 hour drive) or Okavango Delta (60 min flight) after the tour ends and on your own. Your current trip only has four nights on safari; I suspect you will be pining for more! I find the vast majority of first time travelers will feel six nights at safari lodges was not too many. Most first time travelers will feel like it was too many nights if they have 12. So, for let’s say 90% of people, 6-12 days on safari is ideal for a first trip.

    My second suggestion is that you arrive early and spend more time in the Western Cape. The Tauck trip includes a wine tour on the first full day which I think would be quite exhausting for a few people when getting over jet lag. Perhaps arrive a few days early and get rested up? During this time you could visit Hermanus. The town is about 90 minutes from Cape Town and the only place on earth where you can see Southern Right Whales right from the beach. They are only there July-October and September is the peak month. Some of the "brochure" or "group tours" are not seasonally customized for things like this. I do think this experience should be added as a pre-trip.

    If you need add-on suggestions let me know!

    Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
    2011 & 2012 Travel & Leisure A-List agent for Botswana and Zimbabwe

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    You're going to love it. We had an amazing trip to South Africa, Zambia and Botswana in March. I was freaked about the packing limitations. Here's what we ended up packing: http://wp.me/P3cJtv-1w

    You can read all about our adventures on our blog www.inandoutofafrica.ca

    Have a great trip!

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