2005 Botswana Prices Are Through The Roof...

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Jul 12th, 2004, 10:56 PM
  #1
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2005 Botswana Prices Are Through The Roof...

After spending a little time on www.e-gnu.com, it appears that the Botswanan game lodges have raised their prices significantly for the 2005 season. Here are just some examples of high season 2005 pricing, although I don't have the 2004 rates handy. Keep in mind, many of these rates are already discounted from the true rack rate, so it may not get much better than this:

Chief's Camp - $698 pppns
Chitabe Trails - $556 pppns
Duba Plains - $670 pppns
Duma Tau - $556 pppns
Jack's Camp - $546 pppns
Jao - $773 pppns
Khwai River Lodge - $705 pppns
Kings Pool - $773 pppns
Kwando Kwara - $584 pppns
Kwetsani - $584 pppns
Kwando Lagoon - $584 pppns
Mombo/Little Mombo - $964 pppns
Savuti - $556 pppns
Tubu Tree - $484 pppns
Vumbura/Little Vumbura - $584 pppns
Xigera - $556 pppns
Zibalianja - $493 pppns

I don't know how the rest of the board feels about the above pricing, but I think they are excessive. For a person to enjoy a 10 night Botswanan safari, they had better be pretty well off or save like there is no tomorrow. Really, I am just shocked by the pricing and I am thankful that one country (to remain nameless at least in this post) still has not lost their minds.

I guess Botswana is just riding on the coattails of the strong Rand, but with pricing like it is for 2005, I cannot imagine that as many people will go on safari, but I could very well be wrong.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 02:36 AM
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Supply and demand, my friend, supply and demand.

Botswana's edict is high end/low volume, so with relatively few lodges, the operators seek to charge the highest price that will yield the most guests.

I'm writing from the Bucharest, Romania airport, on my way to Sofia, Bulgaria, and then week in Stockholm and Oslo.

Having been on safari in each of the past five Summers, I thought we'd take a year off and visit two parts of Europe where we haven't spent much time.

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Jul 13th, 2004, 03:55 AM
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Have a wonderful trip, Michael!

Rocco, prices ARE high - because Botswana is being written about more and more in travel articles so demand is high.

For me, the price we paid for our recent trip, which included Botswana, was absolutely worth it. But "worth it" is an incredibly personal judgement and one people can only make for themselves.

I agree that for some, the prices quoted are just not worth the experience and it's good to know there are less expensive alternatives that offer equally stunning experiences.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 05:22 AM
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These prices also promote the "myth" that only rich people can afford an African safari. If a person stumbles on these prices first, they will most likely forget about a safari.


I looked and the prices at Mashatu in southern Botswana are still the same through March 05: $225 pppn in main camp and $140 pppn in the tent camp. Mashatu is owned by the same people that own MalaMala. I was there in Aug03 and wouldn't hesitate to go there again.

thit_cho's - I hope you are having as much fun this summer as you have the last five!
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Jul 13th, 2004, 06:46 AM
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Well, for those individuals not prepared to spend $20,000 on a 2 week vacation, there always is Luxury Link.

I was pleased to see that the following package is still on offer:

Johannesburg - 2 nights at Westcliff in a Junior Suite

Botswana - 4 nights divided between two Orient Express Safari Lodges (Savute Elephant Camp, Kwhai River Lodge or Eagle Island Camp)

Cape Town - 4 nights at Mount Nelson Hotel in a Junior Suite.

Unbelievably, this package is still going for well under $4,000 which would not even cover the 4 nights at the Orient Express Safari Lodges even through a discount operator like www.e-gnu.com.

I would imagine that the 2 nights at the Westcliff and the 4 nights at the Mount Nelson in junior suites may well be worth the $4,000 alone.

I have dealt with Luxury Link and I am confident that if a winning bidder wanted to add more time in Botswana at Orient Express Lodges that they would be able to do so, probably at no more than about a $750 per night (per room) expense.

Kwhai River Lodge is supposed to be very good but I am unfamiliar with the other two lodges.

As far as the Mount Nelson Hotel goes, I have stayed in a junior suite there and it was heavenly.

The Westcliff seems like a really nice place, as well, especially in a junior suite.

So, there are still bargains to be had, even to 5* hotels in South Africa and quality game lodges in Botswana.

I imagine that the following itinerary, with all domestic transfers is still available for under $3,750 pp sharing:

Days 1 and 2 - Westcliff Hotel, Joburg
Days 3, 4 and 5 - Savute Elephant Camp
Days 6, 7 and 8 - Kwhai River Lodge
Days 9, 10, 11 and 12 - Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town
Days 13 and 14 - Misty Beach Chateau, Hermanus (the flight out of Cape Town likely will not leave until 9PM, anyway, so may as well enjoy a couple full days of whalewatching and stay at a great looking place like the MBC for only a couple hundred dollars per night).

The LL package itself should cost $2,000 pp, and then add another $750 pp for two extra nights in Botswana, $750 pp for air transfers, road transfers and rental car (to drive to Hermanus) and add another $250 pp for the Misty Beach Chateau, and there it is, a 14 night South African/Botswanan holiday for $7,500 total (excluding international air into South Africa).

Taaadaaaa!!! (as a magician would say when pulling a rabbit out of his hat).
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Jul 13th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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US dollar has fallen against virtually every currency in the world, including the Botswana pula. As long as they can fill their rooms-- with US or visitors from other countries-- rates will go up.

And note that if you have a European currency or the SA rand, these prices are still cheaper than in 2001. So not sure we can expect them to be hurting for tourists and dropping prices anytime soon.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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I think all the safari prices are outrageous, but you have to look hard to find something affordable. We are staying at the Garden Lodge in Chobe for about $170pppns, which includes everything. I found the Westcliff for US$250 per night and the Mount Nelson for US$212.00 per night.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 08:43 AM
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As tashak observed, the dollar has fallen considerably and is no longer the premier currency of the world. In just a couple of years one euro has risen from about $0.90 to its current $1.24. Roughly a 30% increase. And many countries in Africa are now quoting rates in euros primarily ... so it is the Americans who get hit while things are still reasonable in Europe and elsewhere.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 09:14 AM
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cjstobbs,

The only problem with Chobe is that it is the most visited park in Botswana and many report that it is overcrowded with tourists.

Please share where you were able to get the Mount Nelson for $212 per night and the Westcliff for $250 per night.

Thanks.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 12:55 PM
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Roccco - Your comment that Chobe is the most visited area in Botswana? Not necessarily so, but think it has more to do with when you visit. We were in Chobe in November and if that is what one calls overrun, wrong! Never saw but one other vehicle in two days when out on game drives - never even saw the other vehicles from our lodge during that time. But then we only travel in October or November because we prefer not to have the crowds, regardless which African country.
 
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Jul 13th, 2004, 02:08 PM
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Savute is at the southern end of Chobe, and while it was busier than either of the ccafrica camps, the only time we saw more another vehicle was when the portion of the lion pride that included all the little cubs was out and about -- and there were about four vehicles watching them play.

ccafrica doesn't have 2005 rates posted yet. I did notice that neither of the two 6-night Botswana offerings were described under their "Safari Specials." The "rack rates" for Sandibe and Nxabega are $325-474pp with the higher being high season, July - October. Too bad, that special brought it down to about $250pp. Perhaps if one reserved early, one could at least get 2004 rates?
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