African Eclipse Safari - Fall 2002


Mar 22nd, 2002, 02:03 PM
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African Eclipse Safari - Fall 2002

My husband and I are considering an African Eclipse Safari to Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, in late Nov.-Dec.2002 (for 2 weeks), to view a full solar eclipse. An astronomy professor from the university of Chicago and a large-predator specialist from a local zoo will be along to provide expert guidance. The trip starts out in Capetown and goes to Kruger National Park, Thornybush Game Lodge, Victoria Falls (staying at the Victoria Falls Hotel), and Chobe National Park (staying at Chobe Game Lodge). It sounds fabulous and we really want to go, but since it will blow the majority of our vacation time/savings for the foreseeable future, we want to be really sure it's what we want to do, (also considering the long arduous flight - from Chicago). I've read so many positive things on this site about traveling to this part of the world. Any negatives? Does this tour sound good? Also, any opinions on the places we would be staying would be welcome. Thanks!!
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Mar 23rd, 2002, 07:50 AM
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I don't know about the specific tour you mention, but I would like to make a couple of comments.
We visited this area of the world in June 2001 during the last Southern African solar eclipse. At the time we were staying in Damaraland Camp and saw only an 82% (I think) eclipse.
From what I have heard this truly doesn't compare to being in the path for 100%.
However the camp staff had been given one pair of proper eclipse viewing glasses to share with their guests when out that day.
We were the only guests with our young guide and we got on with him very well, so he asked if we minded driving past his home village to allow his Aunt to look through the glasses. She could not understand how anyone could possibly predict a darkening of the sky and Charles was unable to fully explain the current knowledge the world has of astrology etc.
Anyway, it was a marvellous experience, the shock when this elderly woman looked through the glasses and could see the eclipsed sun was wonderful. Other family members came and joined us to look through too.
For us this was special because it was just an added bonus, we hadn't booked the trip as an eclipse viewing trip and it was just a great extra.
When we were at an international airport a few days later though we met hundreds of real eclipse followers who had of course been in locations on the 100% line and we realised that any trip organised at this time on that line would in the large part be populated by eclipse fanatics. Nothing wrong with eclipse fanatics at all, but even in the relatively small time we were with these enthusiasts I grew bored of the conversations being only about how many other eclipse they had experienced, where, how did they compare.
For me the main thrust of the holiday was to experience the striking landscapes, animals and to interact with local people, though this last one is not entirely fulfilled as camp staff are quite often not local to the camp at which they now work.
If your main interest is in the eclipse then you will probably love the trip.
If the main interest is the safari, I would have a think about it first.
Not that I am saying don't go, or go at a different time, just to have a think about it.
Whatever you decide, I hope you have a truly magnificent experience and come back to Fodors to share the trip report.
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Apr 1st, 2002, 09:07 PM
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I know that Chris Bradshow from Wild Africa Safaris, a retail safari agent, in Vancouver are planning this trip. He is also doing it together with the Vancouver Planetarium. They will also take a professional host with.

I am not sure about the route, but I know it is not the first time he is doing this for the planetarium. He is also a ex-Zimbabwian.
As far as I know this trip is planned to be a self drive guided safari (land rovers).

Starts in Windhoek, travel trough the Namib desert, Etosha Game reserve and from there to Chobe and the delta for the eclipse. The trip ends at Victoria Falls. There is much more to see on this trip then only the eclipse. You will travel trough 3 beautifull and diverse countries. And also safe! (I don't think it's on there)
Toll free US, Canada 1 800 991 6111
Perhaps you can send him a mail, find out what they are planning and compare it to what you have in mind and what it will cost.
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Apr 29th, 2002, 06:15 PM
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The trip sounds fantastic! If you would like more info about the various places you're staying at, please email me.
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