Advice on Botswana in April/May?


Jan 18th, 2005, 05:48 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 9
Advice on Botswana in April/May?


I’ve been reading all the Botswana posts and they have been great - thanks so much for all the information. Now I am ready to jump in with my first post. Hope it is not too long…We are trying to finalize our Botswana itinerary for mid-April/early May and I have a few questions about what would be best for that time of year. Your assistance is most appreciated!

Since this is our first trip to Botswana, we are interested in seeing a variety of habitats and lots of big game. With that in mind:

- We are thinking of spending a few days at Planet Baobab, in order to go out into the Ntwetwe Pan (and maybe the Makgadikgadi Pans?). I have read that during April/May there can be large herds of zebra, wildebeest, and others that go through Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pan National Park. Is it realistic to see them from Planet Baobab, or do they make it to Ntwetwe Pan? If not, what is the best way to see them (for less than $250 pppn, please)?

- We would like to spend a few days in the Okavango Delta. From what I have read, seems like camps that are mostly focused on water activities could be disappointing around that time because the grass will be so high it is hard to see anything from the water. Based on that, it looks like Chief’s Island (we are looking at Chief’s Camp), Kwara Camp, Vumbura, and Chitabe/ Sandibe might be good choices. Are these the right places to be considering? Anywhere else that would be a good choice for April/May? Any thoughts on any of the above? I’d also be interested in any comments anyone has on Shinde and its walking tours. Is this a good time to go there?

- Finally – we’d like to spend a few days in the Central Kalahari. Sounds like that time could be good for game viewing. Looks like the best way to do that is with a mobile safari. Any advice?

I am certainly open to suggestions if there is something you think would be great at this time of year. Oh, I wish I could stay all year!

Thanks again SO much. I am looking forward to your replies!

suru is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2005, 12:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,177
I don't know much about Planet Baobob other than the fact it's owned by Ralph Bousfield, owner of Jack's Camp and San Camp. I was under the impression it was a backpackers' hostel but I don't really know.

We were at Jack's Camp during May 2004 and were lucky to see zebra herds and flamingoes too though staff were still surprised that they were lingering so I'd imagine late April/ early May would indeed be better. The time we spent with brown hyenas and meerkats was a highlight of our time there.

The Delta in May is not at all solely about water activities though certainly water levels will still be reasonable. You should be able to check this out more fully by contacting various camps and asking them about typical experiences at the time of year you are visiting. A good agent should also be able to advise you on this.

The Wilderness Safaris website has a lot of information that may also help.

We have visited the Delta in June and have enjoyed both water experiences and regular game drives. By that time, we had no problems with grass obscuring views.

If you haven't already I'd do a search here for other peoples' trip reports and glean what you can from them.

Probably one of the biggest questions in terms of finalising itinerary is budget as it makes such a difference in terms of what you can do in a given time. If you have a high budget you can afford to fly between different regions which allows you to fit more in as well as stay in the more remote camps. If your budget is at the very low end you need to factor in drive times and will also be less able to stay in the more remote areas of the delta.

Certainly the ideal itinerary for me would take in the Makgadikgadi Pans, the Delta and Linyanti/Chobe.

Good luck!
Kavey is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2005, 06:08 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 359
Hi Susan-
We went to the Delta in April of 2004. We stayed at Shinde Island Camp for two nights. It is one of three Classic Camps of Africa located in Botswana. As such it stays booked pretty much throughout the year. You are right about the tall grass in the Delta area and with the very high floods of 2004, much of the area in Shinde was under water. The area they do walking safaris is not in the tall grass areas however. Lovely mokoro rides and fishing is very good there. Many, many mozzies in March/April though. Almost uncomfortably so. The camps in Savuti and Chobe had more animals then as many of them go there when the floods and grass are at the highest. Hope this helps. Oh, leopard, lion, serval cat, and sitatunga were around then.
Selinda and Jack's Camp are the other two Classic Camps of Africa in Botswana. Liz
Liz_Frazier is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2005, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Susan: Your itinerary sounds fantastic! As a point of reference, I very much enjoyed my stay at Chitabe last May. It is a land-based camp, so the tall grass shouldn't be an issue. We saw lots of lion activity, wild dog, cheetah, elephant, Cape Buffalo and various antelope. The staff was a highlight and the accomodation very nice. Hope to read your trip report in the future.
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