African Safari Tanzania or Botswana?

Feb 5th, 2012, 10:38 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 94
African Safari Tanzania or Botswana?

Thinking of going on a safari in May/June 2013 if that is recommended open to other times if suggested. I read somewhere Botswana was the better of a first safari, looking to stay 12-14days with a budget of about 8,000/pp. Would love to stay in places that have luxury accomadations but also feel like a part of Africa out in nature. Really interested in seeing the Big five. Was looking into Tanzania and the Serengeti then read about Botswana. Would love to hear recommendations for both and also touring outfits. Would like it to be a private tour for about 5-6 people. Also wonder if Victoria falls could fit in any of this? Thanks for any help!
JEF is offline  
Feb 5th, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Common question. Whichever you don't choose this time, you may very well end up in next time. Africa is addicting.

In general, a few weeks to months later is better in either location because it is further into the dry season so animals congregate more around available water sources. But May pricing can offer you discounts, which might be attractive. Also flights to Africa can be more expensive July-Aug.

Check out trip reports to both Bots and Tanz in May and June and you'll still find some outstanding sightings/photos.

Big 5: Unless you include the very expensive option of Chief's Island in Botswana (over a thousand dollars a night per person) or unless you go to an enclosed rhino sanctuary, Khama, you will not see rhino in Botswana.

Easiest and most likely place to see Big 5, including the hard to find rhino and leopard, is one of the many Sabi Sands concessions in South Africa. These are the private areas that border Kruger, no fencing.

With 5-6 people, you are in a great position for an economical private trip.

Keeping the above 2 sentences in mind, consider a private mobile safari (very comfortable, nice, often called luxury mobile tented camping) in Botswana and then 3-4 nts in a Sabi Sands lodge. You'll be flying into/out of Johannesburg, South Africa probably, anyway if you choose Botswana.

Lots of private mobiles. Some are Wilderness (I used them), AndBeyond, Massons (I'd like to go with tem), Capricorn.

Or do a private Northern Circuit Tanz trip about Sept. and spend 5+ days in the Serengeti, including the northern Serengeti. To increase the odds of rhino, go into the Ngorongoro Crater more than once.

Here is lots of discussion on your question from the past.

For June

In general

This one includes Kenya along with Tanzania vs. Botswana

Good luck!
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 5th, 2012, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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As Lynn says, if you visit one country/ies on this trip, for sure the other/s will be the next. Africa 'touches the soul.'

One thing that did stand out is Victoria Falls, which is easiest/best visited if in southern Africa. It's a 2/hr flight from JNB (figure 2/nts minimum); from VFA (whether on the Zimbabwe side or Zambia side/LIV), you can drive of fly into Botswana and when concluding back to JNB. And, Lynn provided worthwhile info.

If looking for the 'migration' and open plains as seen on those NatGeo programs, then Tanzania is a great choice. However, if wishing to visit VFA, then realize flight schedules are limited, rather expensive, with a 4/hr flying time whether via Lusaka or JNB and have to figure minimum 4/nts when transport it considered.

If Tanzania, while May is the end of the 'long' rains, the prices are great with less visitors and if any wet - maybe a brief thunderstorm, overnight/morning showers (or none at all), won't inhibit safari... the game doesn't go on holiday. As of June though prices go into 'peak' season. Peak-season also runs thru October.

But if not committed to May/June and can go late-Sept, it would be a great safari. And, besides the Northern Serengeti where you'll catch up with the migrating herds that don't make it into Kenya's Masai Mara (the same eco-system), there's also Tarangire, an 'elephant' park, and also a mini-migration takes place between July-Oct.

With a 1/yr+ to plan, you have time to research both and get some suggested itineraries, including routing, accommodation options and prices.

Remember, Visas will be required for all countries (though not for South Africa), required malaria meds, Yellow Fever inoculations, and other recommended inoculations... so don't forget to include these in overall costing, regardless where.

In the end, it's your safari so read as much as possible - "Fodor's Complete Safari Planning Guide" is excellent, or other country specific guidebooks.

As you go about this, return here for further comments and information. Good luck!
sandi is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 104
Hi Jef
If it's the Big Five you want then do South Africa. Botswana is amazing but you won't get Rhino unless you go to Mombo Camp and thats supreme but costly. I would highly suggest a lodge like Mala Mala, Singita, Londolozi, etc. You will get the BIG FIVE in 24 hours.

As they say above "its very addictive" so think about it. You will be back.

Yours on Safari
Taga_Safaris is offline  
Feb 6th, 2012, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Best place to see the BIG 5, up close and often is South Africa, Sabi Sand reserve. (Like Mark says). Some camps - MalaMala, Kirkmans, Exeter, Leopard Hills, Lonodolozi, Lion Sands. Sabi Sand reserve easy short flight out of Johannesburg JNB.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 94
Thank you all for your help!!Any suggestions on tour operators you would use? If going to South Africa when would you suggest would be the best time to go or top times to go?thanks again!
JEF is offline  
Feb 7th, 2012, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
JEF - Again, suggest you pick-up a guidebook for not only answers to some questions above, but for other useful information, including 'when.' We can suggest, but in the end, it's your safari... gotta do some of the legwork to get just what you want.
sandi is offline  
Feb 7th, 2012, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

You asked about when to go. See the above link for guidance.

I have used the agent, The Africa Adventure Co, in the link above. For South Africa I also used Eyes on Africa in Chicago. All was great with those agents.

Other companies that have been used and mentioned here include Go2Africa, Rhino, Sun Safaris, Southern Destinations. I'd consider any of those too.

The Fodors guidebook to Africa has some recommendations too.
atravelynn is offline  
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