advice from Botswana experts

Jul 11th, 2006, 12:42 PM
  #1  
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advice from Botswana experts

Hi Fodorites:

My daughter, 4th year med student, is going to work for 2 months at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaberone. On the weekends, she wants to explore Botswana. Can anyone help with advice on how to to Chobe and the Delta on a budget (obviously separate weekend trips)? What would be the best and safest option and can you fly direct from Gaberone or do you have to go back to Joburg? Are there places to stay in a town, like Kasane for example and drive to the park. She has traveled with and without us, including camping in Equitorial Guinea for a month, so she can have basic accomodations .

Thanks for any thoughts.

Bonnie
BonnieN is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 02:17 PM
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Bonnie,

She'll be able to fly from Gaborone to both Maun (for the Delta) and Kasane (for Chobe NP). There is accommodation in and near both towns, ranging from camp grounds through hotels to safari lodges. The cheapest are camp grounds but I understand the lodges have, or used to have, some fairly basic chalet-style accommodation which would be more comfortable. Chobe NP is probably more easily and cheaply accessible from Kasane than the delta proper is from Maun, though I'll leave that for Maun area experts to tell. I wonder whether being able to get away from Gaborone only for Saturday and Sunday would give your daughter enough time for a decent looksee. I suspect a three or four-day break would be better, so that she would have at least one full day for exploration.

John
afrigalah is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 05:56 AM
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John,

Thanks for your reply. They sometimes travel to outlying clinics for weekends, so she may have to choose between the delta and chobe. She is leaning toward chobe, due to cost and travel time/distance. Yes, a weekend is too short to give anywhere a proper look-see, but I am happy to hear that she does not have to go through joburg on a short weekend. Do you know any local lodges or operators in Kasane that you like? Whenever we travel in Africa and meet terrific local businesses, I wish we would have known about them before, especially in this case on medical student budget. Is it safe to drive from Gabs to Kasane -- I am thinking of an unexpected animal on the road.

thanks very much,
bonnie
BonnieN is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 06:31 AM
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I would suggest that she contact soem of the lodges ahead of her arrival explaining what she's doing, perhaps offering to conduct a clinic/hygiene or whatever other medical advise she is qualified to offer the staff.

Many of the lodges will either accept, or knowing African hospitality offer her a discounted/complimentary stay should space be available at short notice.
mkhonzo is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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You can try these places in Kasane
www.janalasafaris.com
www.torolodge.co.bw- recommended
Thebe River Safaris- no web address
www.chobesafarilodge.com very busy place

In Maun-I think your daughter will have more success here.Some of the budget to moderate operations.
Audis Camp www.okavangocamp.com
very popular
Croc Camp new owners and facelift www.crocodilecamp.com
Sitatunga Camp www.deltarain.com
Sedia Hotel www.sedia-hotel.com

Other places
Nata www.natalodge.com
Lerucama www.lerucama.com >>close enough with your own transportation from gabs

There is also a small group of avid 4x4 owners that do frequent outings together, I believe based in Gaberone. I usually get an email once in a blue moon on what they are planning. Would be good to get to know these guys, so can't say when I could post their address.

Kutse is another great place to visit if can get a 4x4. Its the park just to the South of the Kalahari and quite close to Gabs. Weekend trip

Khama Rhino Sanctuary is near Serowe. Weekend trip


luangwablondes is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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Bonnie,

Looks like luangwablondes has given you enough to go on with. I just pass through these places...when I was in Chobe for any length of time it was on a mobile safari.

Driving if care is taken should be safe but not practical unless she has more time. At one time we were thinking of driving from Joburg to Maun because we'd had enough of Air Botswana's problems, but we gave the idea up because we didn't have time.

John
afrigalah is offline  
Jul 14th, 2006, 04:35 PM
  #7  
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I will pass all of this info along to my daughter. Yes,
we know about Air Botswana I have been emailing with David Sandenburgh (sp?) who has offered to help. He is based somewhere near Gabs, I think.
Anyone know him. I think he is associated with Dumelabotswana.com.

I was also given the name of Peter & Salome of Chobe Travel Shop for that area.

Thanks to all. As always, this forum is a treasure!
Bonnie
BonnieN is offline  
Jul 15th, 2006, 08:15 PM
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Sure we know David S. He lives in Maun Botswana.He owns The bridge backpackers in Maun.Peter & Salome is well known in the safari industry up in Chobe.
bots is offline  
Jul 15th, 2006, 10:33 PM
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Bonnie,

Another consideration is for your daughter to go to Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa. This is about a 1.5 - 2 hour drive from Gaborone.

I am staying in Madikwe at Mateya (www.mateyasafari.com) and following my stay, I am getting a road transfer to Gaborone, where I will then fly to Kasane and onto my first Botswana destination to start my safari.

At least by going to Madikwe, she will be within driving distance of Gaborone. Plus, she will be able to stay at some very nice lodges for a reasonable price in Madikwe. Even if she just went every other weekend to Madikwe, she would see a lot.

Here is more information on Madikwe:

http://www.game-reserve.com/south-africa_madikwe.html
Roccco is offline  
Jul 16th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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thanks to all for wonderful advice! Rocco, that is a great idea since David Sandenburgh reminded me that both Chobe and Maun are 1000km from Gabs and Air Botswana has a poor schedule for a weekend trip. I am going to meet Jen in Joburg in late September -- we are going to Honeyguide and then to Mala Mala and Cape Town and Joburg for a day. NYT had a nice article on Joburg today in the Travel section.
Bonnie
BonnieN is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 12:44 AM
  #11  
 
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Bonnie

Here is the address for the 4x4 group in Gaberone. http://groups.msn.com/Botswana4x4Society
They have a section for trips and day trips- maybe your daughter might try to hook up and see Botswana from a 4x4.Seems like a lot of them must be ex-pats too.
luangwablondes is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 04:10 PM
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Hi,

Just wanted to thank one and all, especially Rocco for Madikwe info. Jen, being so close in Gabs and with little time away from patients at the hospital there, was able to have a one-night stay at Mosetlha, afordable and friendly plus great sightings in her 24 hours there.

After travelling in SA at the end of september,inlcuding sabi sands, she wants to return to Botswana. I am considering mobile option for the two of us (mom and daughter) from Maun to Livingston or the reverse. My husband and I loved mobile camping in Tanzania.

Could anyone advise on weather (she said it was "freezzzzing" at night and in am in Madikwe ? Any great guides/local companies to arrange this?

Thanks,

Bonnie
BonnieN is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 09:14 PM
  #13  
 
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Sure try David he does these trips from Maun.Have a look at dumelabotswana for rates and maybe you can join a trip with some others.
bots is offline  
Sep 5th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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Bonnie - This link will take you to more info about Botswana mobile safaris and within this link are 4 more links to Bots mobile safaris.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...rchText=masson

As for the weather, I was on a mobile safari Sept 29 - Oct 16, 2005. The nights were cool but not what I would call cold. I went to bed hot, not even using the sheet. During the middle of the night I would pull the blanket up. The days were very hot.

Good luck with your trip planning! I have plans to go on another mobile safari in Bots in 2007 because I had such a great time last year.
sundowner is offline  
Sep 5th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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Hello,

Sorry I missed your initial thread (I was in Botswana at the time!).

I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you wanted to visit some of the private concessions Wilderness Safaris and CCAfrica both offer mobile safaris as well as lodge-based safaris. WS have gotten good reviews for their mobile safaris here.

http://www.wilderness-safaris.com

Look under the tab labelled 'Explorations/Safaris'.

http://www.ccafrica.com/expeditions/default.asp

GameTrails Botswana is a less expensive option, and has gone a bit more upmarket since Sundowner travelled with them:

http://www.gametrailsbotswana.com/

In terms of temperature, I did an overnight sleep-out at the end of June (the coldest part of the year) when I was at Savuti, and like Cinday found that the problem was being too warm rather than too cold!

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Sep 5th, 2006, 11:29 AM
  #16  
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thanks to all. my daughter reports that Botswana has been colder than normal at the moment. she was freezing on a morning game drive at Madikwe (she had a great stay at Mosetlha) and reports that park was very uncrowded and LOTS of animals.

For our trip up north, I am thinking about flying to Maun and doing a non-participatory mobile camping with just the two of us, guide and camp staff for 2 nights each in different areas of the delta, then move to Savuit, then to Chobe along river for 2 nights and then do a day at VIc Falls or even do it as day trip, since Jen just wants to see and walk around the falls. I have a little bit more open budget than when she was planning to travel with her fellow students.

She has fallen in love with Botswana and the people who she treats in the hospital and their families. I would very much like to use a small company in Botswana that will give us a great trip -- knowledgable and pesonal guide, good radio communication (we really used on dedicated frequency in Tanzania when we had car problems out in the middle of nowhere), and someone who is creative and positive about doing this last minute. For different reasons, I have done last minute trips to Argentina, Israel, Paris and Portugal this year and they have all been terrifi and I know this one will be also!
Thanks,
Bonnie
BonnieN is offline  

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