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zambia/botswana in May/June

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Hi. I'm planning a luxury but authentic walking/4wd/boating safari with Explore Africa, 14 nights starting late May. I liked their online Zambia/Botswana itinerary and asked them to customize by upgrading since it is a very special trip for me.

They are recommending
-3 nights Joa and
-3 nights Labala in Botswana,
-2 nights near victoria falls in Zambia,
-3 nights in a bush camp in the Luanga Valley and
-3 nights at Sausage tree in Lower Zambia (or a combination of Chobe River/Mombashie).

My Questions (cost not an issue):

1. They seem unclear about whether Botswana/Zambia is a good itinerary for late May/Early June. By reading, it seems Zambia is fine, Botswana shoulder. Thoughts?

2. Does anyone think this is too much travel in-between?

3. The other thought in Botswana was Chiefs with Joa or Stanley vs. Labala and Joa. Thoughts on which combo is better then?

4. Anyone with experience working with Explore Africa? I got their name from Conde Naste Traveler. They want a $500 non refundable feel to work on the customized itinerary, to be applied to the cost of the trip. I have no problem with this other than I can't actually book the trip until late November due to free points program tickets, and want to be sure they can book me in the small, private camps I've discussed with them before I commit and that they can make an efficient internal travel plan from the locations discussed. Oh, and that their prices are competitive/fair-- it is hard to pay a fee toward the cost of a trip when you have no idea what the total cost is since it is customized.

5. Does this itinerary seem good for a first trip to Africa for active people who like nontouristy places?

Thanks for any feedback!


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