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Apr 25th, 2008, 07:28 PM
  #1
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My wife and I are planning to spend a month is Africa Feb 2009. Never safaried before!
We would be interested in good game and upper end accomodations. We will start in Cape Town & end in Dar Es Salem (flights using points).Suggestions would be appreciated.
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Apr 25th, 2008, 08:35 PM
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30 days in Africa!! Since you mentioned safari and good game, the following suggestions are scarce on city time with no beach time.

2 nights Cape Town If you wanted to spend time in Cape Town to enjoy everything it has to offer, you could easily allot 4 days to a week.

4 nights A Sabi Sands private concession camp near Kruger in South Africa. I liked Mala Mala, which is legendary for excellent wildlife, especially leopard. Rattrayís is the upper end accommodation at Mala Mala. Main Camp was very nice. There are many other Sabi Sands options.

2 Victoria Falls, either in the city of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls Hotel or in Livingstone, Zambia at The River Club, Tongabezi or similar.

9 nights BotswanaóSince you wanted upper end, Mombo or Little Mombo on Chiefís Island in the Okavango Delta is about $1500 pp/pn. and a top of the line accommodation. It has excellent wildlife and is world renowned, but I donít think the diversity of species (such as cheetah and wild dogs) is quite as outstanding as it used to be. Vumbura Plains is also a top of the line and also is in the Okavango Delta, offering both land and water activities. Kings Pool is further north in Botswana in an area called Linyanti, also known for great wildlife. These 3 accommodations are all Wilderness Safari properties and are labeled 6-Paw, for the finest permanent luxury tented camps. 6-paw means sorbet between courses, photo CDs made from your memory card for you, etc. I usually stay a step down in accommodation and am still wowed by the luxury, loveliness and amenities available.
Iíd do about 3 Kings Pool, 3 Vumbura, and 3 Mombo.

8-9 nights Tanzania--The southern part of the Serengeti in Tanzania is the best for Feb. Iíd recommend a top of the line mobile tented camp such as TUC-Tanzania Under Canvas through CC Africa or Nomadís mobile tented camps. These are luxury tented camps that follow the migration. For Tanzania, Iíd do 2 nts Lake Manyara, staying in the Tree Lodge, 1-2 nts Ngorongoro Crater, staying at Sopa Lodge for the private access road or the ultra luxurious Crater Lodge, a CC Africa property. Then the mobile in the southern Serengeti for 4 nts. That means TZ is about 9 nights because youíd need at least a day on arrival or departure in Arusha. Donít know the nicest place there but Iíve visited Serena Mountain Village Lodge in Arusha (I think thatís the exact name) twice during the day and it was very nice. A private safari for two is a common arrangement.

Depart from Dar

Thatís around 26 days and youíd need some internal transport days

In Botswana, I mentioned Wilderness camps, since those are the ones Iíve been to. CC Africa also has lovely Botswana camps and if you chose CC Africa for part of Tanzania, you might have a better deal going with them in Botswana. They also book certain Sabi Sands properties. Kwando and Sanctuary operate in Botswana too and would have great camps and wildlife.

These suggestions include no Zanzibar time for beach or interesting city and that might work well for you if you are leaving from Dar.

I assumed you might want to see Victoria Falls, which would be easy to do. If not, you could do another safari location or stay longer, maybe in the Serengeti.

This link shows what parks are best when and the animals you may see there.
http://www.africa-adventure.com/best_time_to_go

This would be a trip for an ample budget. Lesser accommodations would still be very comfortable would allow you to see the same animals but at a lower cost.

The Botswana properties and especially Southern Serengeti may book up quickly, so I wouldnít delay.

You'll have a fantastic time.
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Apr 25th, 2008, 08:42 PM
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Wow! Cool - here's a good suggestion, take me with you!!!! I can arrange to be out of work at that time I think.....

Seriously, you will get lots of good advise on this forum, what a great trip you are going to have. Spend at least 4-5 days in Capetown exploring the coast, the winelands, the penguins at Boulder Beach, the sea lions at Hout Bay and of course the Cape of Good Hope. Hylton Ross does good tours - either private, or join in small groups whichever you prefer.

Then I'd take the train up the Garden Route to wherever it goes and spend some time up in Kruger & vicinity.

On the other end, do the Northern Route in Tanzania (Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti) - save at least a week for that. There's some pretty neat animals to meet up there!

For in between, I will have to give way to other experts as as I have never been to Botswana or Zambia - yet.

Oh - yes, while in Dar, do save a few days to see Zanzibar - explore Stonetown and relax on the beach - you will be tired after all!
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Apr 26th, 2008, 09:03 AM
  #4
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Thanks atravelynn & LyndaS.
Since the planning is part of the fun of traveling, we are looking forward to working on and finalizing the plans . LyndaS, would like to take you with however I believe that we will have some weight restrictions on flights.
Are we in for lots of rain in Feb?
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Apr 26th, 2008, 11:10 AM
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If it were truly only weight restrictions that prevented you from taking stowaways, I'd be on a diet tomorrow. LyndaS probably wouldn't need one.

Feb is not the dry season, but it is before the heavy rainy season. Of course weather is becoming more unpredictable.

Check out these links for temp and rain. Feb is an ideal time for the Serengeti, in the south to see the migrating herds. The wildebeest calves are usually born late Jan or Feb, into early March.

http://www.classicescapes.com/sa-weather.html
http://www.classicescapes.com/bw-weather.html
http://www.classicescapes.com/ta-weather.html

If you search through these trip report indexes for Feb trips, youíll read about fantastic sightings and see wonderful photos in Feb. Rain may be mentioned but it does not ruin a whole trip and rarely even a whole outing.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34860283

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34858382

For doing such a good job on the East Africa Index, if there is only room for one stowaway, I yield my spot to Lynda.
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Apr 26th, 2008, 12:35 PM
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Ahhh, Lynne, that's so sweet - thanks! I would have to diet though - BIG time!

Good suggestions you gave for ggctheworld (I am betting that stands for 'gotta go see the world') for the trip by the way!

I would throw in some beach time in Zanzibar before the Northern Tanzania route - it would be a good time to just r & r in between safaris - that's recharge and regroup.
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Apr 26th, 2008, 01:59 PM
  #7
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Speaking of diets, how is the food on Safari?

I think the 2 of you should get together and join us!

Then you can find out what the gg is.

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Apr 26th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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"Food on safari"

- diet before leaving for Africa

- eat dessert first!


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Apr 27th, 2008, 09:42 AM
  #9
 
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With the wonderful quality of food, Lynda and I might make weight on the way over, but after a month, we might be too heavy for the trip back.

Well, that's one way of staying in Africa that we'll have to share with Nyamera, another fodorite who is trying to find a way to remain there long term.

gg = get going? google guy? google girl? green goddess? gorgeous geologist?

If I get it right, do I get to join you?
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Apr 27th, 2008, 10:29 AM
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'Gidget & George see the world?'
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Apr 27th, 2008, 12:25 PM
  #11
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Started the diet today. I like the idea of starting with dessert.
Getting close on the gg.
How about footware?
Hiking Boots or flip flops?
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Apr 27th, 2008, 12:42 PM
  #12
 
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As usual, Lynn and LyndaS have offered great advice. Sabi Sands, the Delta, and the southern Serengeti will combine for a fantastic safari experience. I haven't been to Cape Town or Zanzibar, so I can't offer any advice there. However, since you have an entire month (lucky you), adding those locations and also Vic Falls, will round out your itinerary nicely. As Lynn and LyndaS mentioned, make sure you leave adequate time for the southern Serengeti. You might catch the migration during calving season if you're lucky.
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Apr 27th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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Grace and Gerald?
Gina and Gary?
Gorgeous Grandparents or maybe Grateful Grandkids?

Hiking boots are needed if you do something like gorilla or chimp tracking in Uganda or Rwanda, or if you plan on extensive walking safaris. An escorted bird walk around the camp/lodge midday wouldn't require boots.

I use thin, unbulky flip flops for around my tent and the shower. I don't walk around outside in them much or wear them in the vehicles. I prefer not to expose my skin to insects (though there are few) or prickers/thorns (also few).

Regular tennis shoes are fine.
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Apr 27th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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Grandma and Grandpa
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Apr 28th, 2008, 10:32 AM
  #15
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Thanks for all the help.
Although the Grandma & Grandpa apply, Lynne's Gina & Gary was the closest.

It is actually Gary & Greta.

Do you really think sneakers are OK ? What about wet weather? How about a pair of lightweight goretex hiking boots?

We are narrowing down the itineraries and will let you know as we go along.

Has anyone of you tried Rovos Rail or the Blue train? We may want to get from Cape Town to Johannesburg this way.
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Apr 28th, 2008, 05:19 PM
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Gary and Greta,
I take flip flops, clogs, and a pair of running shoes on safari. I actually find I wear the clogs more than anything else. A pair of lightweight gortex hiking boots isn't a bad idea, although probably unnecessary, unless of course it rains heavily and then you'll probably be glad you had them.
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Apr 28th, 2008, 05:36 PM
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Gary and Greta,

In a vehicle if it rains, you'll likely be given a poncho to cover up with.

Feb can be very hot so you'll want your feet to be able to breathe.

How about gortex walking or tennis shoes rather than boots. I am not trying to send you to the shoestore.



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Apr 28th, 2008, 06:08 PM
  #18
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Thanks all once again.

On the shoe topic, you have been a great help. We happen to have the goretex sneakers so we are all set on that front.

The shoe store won't get us, I think the camera store will. I know that there are lots of threads about cameras.
I have read many.

I am still not sure if a 300mm lens is good enough. It seems that most of the serious photographers use 400mm as a minimun. These cameras and lenses are really heavy!

What have you been using? Are you happy with the results?
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Apr 28th, 2008, 08:29 PM
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Kings Pool in February is a horrible choice. The wet season is a difficult time in the Linyanti, most animals are in the mopane and tough to find. I would stick with the delta, or ask questions about the Kalahari on this board, but steer clear of the Linyanti in February. Savuti may be ok, but I haven't been at that time of year.
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Apr 29th, 2008, 04:21 PM
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I only had a 300 and was happy. Now I have a digital P&S.
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