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Naimibia/Botswana planning

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Usually I am able to create trips myself, but planning trips to Africa has become beyond my skills. I’d like help and am told this Africa forum is a good place for input.

I’ve searched the archives some and have not been a regular here so far. I’ve traveled quite a bit and have accumulated some frequent flyer miles. This will be my second trip to southern Africa.

This is a long first post - I’ve introduced myself a little and explained what I am trying to figure out. And if the recommendation is to use a travel agent, that’s fine too, if you have some suggestions.

Date: flexible, fall 2007

Length of trip: also flexible, but probably a month

Me: I travel by myself and pay single supplements. I’m a morning person. I like to have a plan. I’m generally quiet, thoughtful.

Luggage: I do not travel light, generally checking a 25" suitcase and carrying on an 18" roll-a-board and an 18" cabin tote. I can manage for a few days with a duffle bag. If there are weight limits for the internal country flights, then I have to come back to where I began to pick up stored bags. (I do know the carry-on rules have changed, especially in the UK and that this is in flux so I might have two checked bags and one briefcase of some sort used only for out of LHR and otherwise stored away.)

Priorities, in order:

Air: The first parameter is to get award business tickets (preferably OneWorld though I also have some StarAlliance miles) which means completing my wish list 11 months out. I was also hoping to avoid LHR and was looking at SFO MAD (spending a week there) JNB ... but I might be willing to accept SFO LHR JNB, either round-the-world or award with allowed stopovers. So far, after I get to JNB, air connections don’t seem to work very well.

Lodging: I want a minimum packing/unpacking/moving around, 4 - ... nights per base stop. I like day trips from a base. A one two day one night side trip from base is ok, because I would keep the base room too. I prefer an ensuite room with a mattress (not a canvas cot) and like electricity (laptop for daily impressions, morning tea, reading at night).

Transfers and travel days: In between, full day travel days OK, prefer early afternoon arrivals

Where to go: I went this year to Cape Town and Lusaka and took Shongololo’s Southern Cross in between. I three things I liked best the holistic sense of being there (in Kruger, but I don’t think it was Kruger specific), the Chobe afternoon cruise, and Cape Point. I had thought on this trip to visit the desert in Namibia and see elephants in Botswana. And then in 2008 take the Rovos trip from CPT to DAR, stay a bit longer in Tanzania and also go to Uganda. That will use up my award miles and likely all my travel budget.

I like culture - villages, township tours, local restaurants; scenery - desert especially (I like on the Monterey Bay in California - oceans and wineries have a lower priority); shopping for crafts - quality over market, price; and for animal viewing would best like to sit on a treetop lodge veranda and have them come to me. I like walking (not major hiking) and didn’t much like spending the day in 4x4s though I realize it’s the only way in some situations.

So far I am very drawn to the Namib, Sossusvlei, can’t make the DuneHopper connections work without sleeping in Windhoek both ways, found an African Extravaganza by bus to Namib Naukluft Lodge and have had no reply to my emai to theml. Also found Welleverde Guest Farm outside of Windhoek which I like because it is a hospitality industry school.

Cost: 25 years ago my travels were guided by Lonely Planet books and my budget was $10/day plus international airfare. I do prefer B&B to luxurious self-contained hotels, and also find that people are generally more friendly towards me as a single woman at moderate priced lodging than at the luxury hotels. However, those preferences outside of major cities in Africa don’t seem to fit well and I am accepting that these trips will cost a lot.

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