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1st time to Africa: Kenya + Tanzania OR Botswana+SouthAfrica

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May 1st, 2012, 02:17 PM
  #1
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1st time to Africa: Kenya + Tanzania OR Botswana+SouthAfrica

Help!! For our honeymoon we are planning on going to Africa! But we are completely lost on weather to go to Kenya, Tanzania and Ruanda or if we should go to South Africa, Botswana and something else nearby. We have never been to Africa so we are completely lost.
We wanted to spend some time at the Islands as well. Mauritious or Seychelles???
We are getting married on December 1st, and we have three weeks after that for our honeymoon.
Is it a good time to visit Africa at all?

Please help!!
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May 1st, 2012, 02:32 PM
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I would suggest if you choose Kenya / Tanzania, that Zanzibar is probably the island you should look at.

We were in Mauritius a few years back - VERY humid at that time of the year.
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May 1st, 2012, 05:44 PM
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A pro photo tour guide discusses these safari countries here - Skim down a bit just past the first lion pictures. -
http://www.bythom.com/botswanaworkshop2.htm
But, his emphasis is on photography and is thus more particular about certain aspects of safari, e.g. game drives being able to go off-road.

I love South Africa. But but but if you want to see the classic African savanna plains, go to Kenya or Tanzania.

regards - tom
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May 1st, 2012, 05:56 PM
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Congrats on your wedding.

If you want gorillas (Rwanda) and a nice beach on an island, I think East Africa is where you should be looking. Go with Tanzania and Kenya.

The migration of wildebeest and zebra will be in the central to southern part of the Serengeti in Tanzania at that time.

3 weeks is a nice long time for a great trip.

For Tanzania: Be sure to include the Serengeti for about 4 days. Do an early morning trip to Ngorongoro Crater in which you take your breakfast in a box. You may want an afternoon crater visit too. In Zanzibar in Tanzania, you can stay on islands such as Mafia or Pemba. (no personal Zanzibar experience)

Stay 3-4 nights in the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Add another Kenya park such as Samburu, Amboseli, or Nakuru.

If possible plan 2 gorilla visits in Rwanda.

You'll have to decide if you want to end at the islands in Zanzibar to relax after your safari activities or if you want to begin in a romantic location at the outset of your honeymoon. If islands first, then you'll start the safari in Tanzania. If islands last, then Tanzania will be your final safari destination, most likely.
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May 1st, 2012, 07:03 PM
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The great aspect of your decision is that whichever option you choose, you win---you'll have a terrific and memorable honeymoon either way.

Posters above have provided good info on East Africa. Here're some things to know about South Africa/Botswana:

-South Africa offers a world-class city in the perfectly situated Cape Town, a beautiful (and romantic) wine country, and the Garden Route, one of SA's most popular sightseeing attractions.

-South Africa's Kruger region is one of the premier safari destinations in Africa.

-You can easily drive yourselves around SA, which in my mind adds to the adventure.

-In SA you won't be as near to a beach resort as you would be in Tanzania (e.g., Zanzibar). But Kwazulu-Natal apparently has some great beaches (though I haven't been).

-Botswana will give you a safari experience much different than Kruger given the very different ecology and, as such, is a great complement to Kruger. Sunset cruises in Botswana are simple beautiful (and very romantic).

-While up in Botswana you'll be able to spend time in Victoria Falls, though the water levels should be low at that time of year.

Good luck with your planning!
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May 1st, 2012, 09:49 PM
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For a first time - spoil yourself and go to Kruger and Botswana. Cape Town is wonderful and then fantastic safari destinations with different ecosystems. Congratulations.
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May 2nd, 2012, 07:42 AM
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December 1st Wedding - remember that as mid-December, rates, whether for East or South Africa go into peak season. Have you established a budget?

If East Africa you can enjoy R&R on the beaches of the coast of either Kenya or Tanzania. Certainly less expensive that if heading to Mauritius or Seychelles. While I haven't been to the former, the Seychelles are easily reached from Nairobi/NBO Kenya, with alternate day flights to/from. And the number of days spent is dependent on international flights to/from. In addition, if choosing the Seychelles, it's which of the many islands you wish to visit and how many days on each (depending, of course, how many total days you plan to spend out in the middle of nowhere!

Keep us posted on your decision/s and progress.
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May 2nd, 2012, 08:03 AM
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Congrats on your wedding!

For a first-time visitor I'd say Kenya/Tanzania any day, you'll also be bang on time to see the great wildebeest migration in the Serengeti plains. Don't miss a couple of nights at the Ngorongoro, plus a couple of camps at the Masai Mara, this should give you a classic safari experience.

You can then try and work in Rwanda for the gorillas or Zanzibar for the beaches.

But remember that mid- December is peak tourist season, with high prices, so try and get your schedule firmed up asap.

Happy travels and all the best!
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May 2nd, 2012, 08:31 AM
  #9
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You all are great! Thankyou so much for your advice!! I really appreciate it!

I'll look carfully into it tonight (i'm at the office right now and can´t find time to do it...) I cant wait!!
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May 2nd, 2012, 09:33 AM
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I suggest S Africa. In just two weeks, you don't have time for Botswana, S Africa and beach.

You could fly to Cape Town for three nights (or skip it if you're not into cities), head to the private reserves around Kruger, then to a reserve in KwaZulu Natal (Phinda is a favorite here) and then to Rocktail Bay for beach. As a bonus, it's turtle nesting season. Depending on your budget, we can help with appropriate camps. I am budget-minded (I'd rather go often and stay in less expensive places), but for a honeymoon you can find what suits you in all price ranges. Keep in mind that Africa somehow creeps into your heart and you will want to return again and again. Whether you choose East or South Africa, you can't go wrong - do the other next time.

Congratulations!
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May 2nd, 2012, 06:46 PM
  #11
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Ok, so basically I get excellent comments on both South and East Africa...It doesn´t make it any easier!!! =)

I guess I´ll have to base my decision on other things.

I have more questions that would be great if you all could help me out with...

1.- Mosquitos. I've heard you get a lot more of them in the Southern parts of Africa because of the marshlands. True or False?
2.- Where will I see more animals in December. East Africa or South? I´m not very familiar with the animal migrations.
3.- More Luxury. Honeymoon, nicer breath-taking hotels...plus I'm an architect and interior designer, so I guess the man made scenery is important to me =). East Africa or South Africa?
4.-Weather/Climate. Any comments on average temps on December for South Africa/Botswana and for Kenia/Tanzania?
5.- I´ve heard Botswana and South Africa safaris are mostly on some sort of canoe. Is it true? Does it tend to get boring? Do you see as many animals as by car safari?

Any other ideas are very welcome!
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May 2nd, 2012, 06:54 PM
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"...safaris are mostly on some sort of canoe.."
Huh, no.

You want to see the big 5 up close, personal, and often?? Go to Sabi Sand reserve South Africa. December is good time for SA.

regards - tom
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May 2nd, 2012, 08:47 PM
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1- Mossies. It's summer in Dec, so both places will require bug spray and anti-malarial meds. Marshlands? Maybe the Okavango Delta in Botswana? Spectacular.

2- More? East. Better quality sightings? Southern (others will disagree here for sure).

3- Mombo and Vumbura Plains in Bots. Ridiculous. Singita and Londolozi in Sabi Sands (Kruger area). Absurd. Phinda - the glass one (can't remember the name). Rocktail Bay accommodations are right on the beach. Man made scenery is not important to me, but these will likely fulfill that requirement. Google them to see pictures. Really over the top - at a price. There are more reasonable options.

4- Summer in Africa is hot. I go in winter when it is cold (and no mossies). It will likely rain as well - it's summer.

5- I've been on over 50 game drives in southern Africa. One was in a mekoro (canoe). This is where southern Africa wins by far for me - the vehicles are open Land Rovers. In East Africa, they are closed vehicles with a pop up roof. I don't want to watch wildlife through a window or have to stand up with my head above the roof. I hear of crowds and it just doesn't interest me right now.

Go to A&Ks and Micato websites for some good info on high end tours to give you a good idea what is available and then book a private safari with a safari agent.
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May 3rd, 2012, 04:16 AM
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Not true that vehicles in East Africa are closed with pop up roofs. It was true in the Ngorongoro Crater but not anywhere else we went.
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May 3rd, 2012, 05:25 AM
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1. Generally speaking mosquitoes will be more abundant in wetter circumstances. Having said that, I've been to SA and Botswana during rainy seasons and can't remember being bothered by mosquitoes. In any event, you'd need to take malaria prophylaxis, whether you go to East or Southern Africa.

2. If you encounter the Great Migration (East Africa only) you will see thousands of wildebeest and zebra. In East Africa you'll also likely see the Big Five. In Southern Africa you'll see the Big Five, probably have better leopard sightings and have a chance to see Wild Dogs, an endangered species. It's not just about the numbers of animals-- there're lots of ecosystem differences among East Africa, Botswana and SA that give you experiential differences.

3. You can find luxury in either of your two locations. Architecture and design? You couldn't do better than stay at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, also known as "Where Versailles meets the Masai." Kind of over-the-top for Africa in my mind, but rose petals in my bath, why not?! On the other hand, if you like AC, lodges in SA will be fill the bill.

4. It'll be hot and maybe rainy at times, but often the rain will not interfere with game viewing.

5. Certain areas of the Okavango Delta in Botswana offer mokoro (canoe) rides in addition to land drives. They are peaceful and a great experience, one that you will always remember. But you don't have to do them repeatedly---when booking in the Okavango Delta you'd need to select a camp that offers both activities. The Delta area is a pristine place and home to many Wild Dogs.
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May 3rd, 2012, 08:51 AM
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Being on/near the equator, the temperatures in East Africa don't vary as much. Also much of Kenya and northern Tanzania is at some elevation so it can get surprisingly cool at night. Southern Tanzania will be much hotter in December.

Many camps in East Africa have open vehicles. If you're traveling from park to park by road, the you're more likely to be in an enclosed vehicle.
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May 4th, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Is the amount of rain the same in East Africa or in Botswana/South Africa?? During december?

How much rain are we talking about? I live in Mexico, and during the summer it literally floods! kind of like monsoon. You cant go out or do anything. It's not a nice time to visit.
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May 4th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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Well, I don't think anyone here will promise you what the weather will be exactly but here's some info:

Available data indicates monthly rain amounts for December of ~3-4 inches in Botswana and perhaps a bit more than that, say ~4-5 inches, in South and East Africa, with about 10 days being wet days. Having said that, who knows?!

But here's a link to a trip taken to Botswana in Febraury, when the weather is much like December. http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...een-season.cfm
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May 4th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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My responses duplicate some above, but repetition can make a point.

1. As others have said, not a big difference in mosquitos. And they are not a big issue.

2. The migration that would be in Southern or Central Serengeti, Tanzania is made up of thousands of wildebeest and zebra. That would offer the greatest # of animals. The easiest place to see the Big 5, a common goal of visitors is Sabi Sands in South Africa. Big 5 = lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, rhino. Either Southern or East Africa would provide lots of animals. If there are certain animals that you really hope to see, list those for additional help on specific parks. Also see the link in #4.

3. The glass one in Phinda, mentioned by Christabir is Forest Lodge. I referred to it previously as "glass cottage suite masterpieces where art meets architecture." The absurd and ridiculous comments by Christabir probably refer to pricing, which is in the $1200-$1500 per person per night range. Reputable agents will put you in accommodations that will be very nice and charming.

4. Here is a chart for max/min temps. The first chart shows which parks are best at what month. The second chart shows which animals are most likely found where.

http://www.africa-adventure.com/best_time_to_go

You also asked about rain.

SA
http://www.uyaphi.com/afriweather.htm

Kenya
http://www.uyaphi.com/kenya/weather.htm

Serengeti, Tanzania
http://www.safarilands.org/np_serengeti.php


5. Maybe you heard about canoeing the Zambezi in Zimbabwe or Zambia. Canoeing is a rare treat that you have to arrange specifically in East Africa and South Africa. Not common in East Africa, South Africa or Botswana. A mekoro ride (long narrow boat that is pushed with a pole by an expert local poler) is an option in Botswana on the Okavango Delta, usually done for one outing. Also in Botswana you can do a motor boat ride on the Chobe River, which has prolific wildlife. Most safari activities are by vehicle.

Open vehicles in East Africa are more likely in private reserves. Closed vehicles are more likely in national parks in East Africa.
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May 5th, 2012, 01:18 AM
  #20
 
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I would definitely recommend East Africa i.e. Kenya and Tanzania then finish off by visiting Zanzibar. It is a famous destination(island) for honeymooners.You could do 1week in each country starting off in Kenya,Tanzania then finally in Zanzibar.
DAY1:The slopes of Mount Kenya
DAY2:North to Samburu
DAY3n safari in Shaba
DAY4:To Lake Nakuru
DAY5&6:To the Masai Mara
DAY7:Up the Rift Valley to Nairobi
In Tanzania visit Tangire National Park,L.Manyara,Ngororo Crater,Serengeti National Park,then en-route to Zanzibar for a perfect Beach gateaway!

And also;
1)Mosquitos are not an issue in East Africa. All lodges and hotels manage this by using mosquito repellants in the room and also nets. Make sure you get a yellow fever injection.
2)More animals will be seen in Kenya/Tanzania(Maasai Mara and Serengeti) due to the famous wildebeest migration. You will be able to see the big five.
3)Visit East Africa to experience luxury eco-tourism lodges as well as breathtaking wildlife sceneries.
4)Although climate/weather is unpredictable, In East Africa Kenya is generally warm. You will have to enjoy the sun at that time.

Well I cannot comment on that because I have never been. All I know in Kenya/Tanzania tourists use Land cruisers for their safaris hence very comfortable. You can take lovely photos by using these means.

Enjoy your honeymoon!!!
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