Best Botswana camps for solo female?

Aug 14th, 2011, 02:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 108
Best Botswana camps for solo female?

Greetings again everyone,
For those who had been following my earlier "Why Botswana?" thread, my situation has changed in that now my husband does not feel his health situation allows him to proceed with safari planning, so I'm considering going it alone.

I read through old threads dealing with solo travel issues by (ahem) middle-aged females---many had good ideas, but I had a few additional questions to put out to you all plus a few disparate items:
1. Allusions were made to choose camps that have communal dining set-ups and avoid those that cater to honeymooners Off the tops of your collective heads, do you know which places fall into

(In looking through the travel books thus far, I made what may be a faulty assumption that most places had communal dining, but the implication according to one old "solo on safari" thread made me think otherwise.)

2. I noted that several women mentioned negotiating to avoid the single supplement and wondered how often it is successful. Likewise, in doing some preliminary research, some companies offer to find roommates---anyone done this? (if so, how did it turn out?)

3. Because of luggage weight limits, I would probably not be able to take my usual slew of books and am mulling whether I should purchase a Kindle. Not knowing diddly-squat about how they really work---my novice question is initially---do Kindles work in Botswana? Does dust hurt them? Would they need to be charged (or whatever) during a 3-week trip?

4. Lastly, I have a couple of general "forum research" questions:
~I've been scratching my head regarding how to "bookmark" some of the threads. Do I just click on the "Favorites" icon? When I tried this, nothing really happened...
~Also atravelynn, you often pull up old threads to share---are those ones you have saved or did you search for them by topic? Since the advanced search indicates a 3-year limit, I wasn't positive if that's the outer limit to read old topics or if there's a more creative method. (atravelynn, I'm still chuckling about your comment giving "posters" permission to "prolong, pontificate or pout" ;-)

Any and all suggestions regarding things I need to consider if traveling solo on safari in Botswana would be most welcome, especially if some of the camps are more solo-friendly than others.
OregonMaiden is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 03:42 PM
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my fav good single prices

nice site for solo female travel.
qwovadis is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 04:14 PM
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Sorry your husband doesn't feel up to the trip. Except for getting in/out of vehicles (and optional walks) I felt like a slug on our Botswana safari. Give the lodges a heads up and they can accommodate most situations.

&Beyond lodges don't charge a single supplement. If they have camps in the areas you'd like to go, I would check them out first. Some of Wilderness Safaris mobile safaris don't charge a SS, and that would be communal dining for sure. We have always invited solos to dine with us at places that aren't communal. I don't like it when the other guests and ranger are not dining together. An &Beyond lodge was the only high end camp we've stayed that had that hotel feel, so ask about that. If you can negotiate no SS at Wilderness camps I'd go that way.

There's not as much down time as you think. A slew of books might go unread. A Kindle or an iPad (my choice as it's much more than just a reader) will do fine. My iPad was nice to watch our videos and check out the pics we took every night. They can be charged - there's electricity. Download your books before you leave and either will work fine.

Solo safari is easy. Everything is provided, transfers are easy, group activities so you don't feel solo. We have met quite a few solos! It's adventurous, but not at all difficult.
christabir is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 04:24 PM
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I can answer the book question. I bought a Kindle in January, 2009 for that very reason. I had several trips planned with severe luggage limits.

Yes, they work anywhere you take them but load the books before you leave home. You won't be able to easily download books while out of the country.

I haven't had any dirt/dust problems and have taken mine to Africa and all over the place. At home I carry it in my purse every day.

Yes, it will probably need to be charged in a 3 week trip unless you read less than an hour a day. Turn the wireless off to save battery and take an outlet adapter. I'm pretty sure it is 110/220 ready so the electric current won't be a problem.

I have sent my itinerary, camera manuals, insurance policies etc to be converted to a PDF file and loaded them on my Kindle. I also downloaded a notepad to my Kindle and I can type notes for myself (very short notes because the keyboard isn't great on Kindle 2).

I've traveled solo to Africa several times and I'm a (ahem) middle-aged female. The trips I've taken to Botswana weren't solo (other than to Mashatu Tent camp which is in a different area than most safari camps people go to) so I can't help with camps. But I can say you will have a wonderful time.
sundowner is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 04:50 PM
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Sundowner inspired me to get a Kindle and I love not having to lug a bunch of books on trips (fun or business.) I also downloaded my camera manual, itinerary, etc. on mine when traveling. There are now 2 versions, one that only works with a wireless connection and the other that downloads "out of the air" via a 3G connection (as well as wireless, I believe.) If you have a Wi-Fi connection at home and would only be downloading there, the "Wi-Fi only" version is about $20 less. I also have an iTouch with the Kindle reader on it. I only used that on my trip to Europe this year, rather than taking the Kindle, as well. I can access all my Kindle books with it.

As for the camps, some charge single supplements and some don't. A safari planner could check for you. You might also check around and see if there are any other solo female travelers that would be interested in going with you.
ShayTay is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Hi Diane - Although I can't answer your questions at the moment, I am heading as a solo female to Botswana in 10 days. I am staying at Wilderness Safari camps - Banoka, Duma Tau and Chitabe. I am having to pay the single supplement. I doubt you can get away without paying that because the camps are easily booked well in advance, so you likely have no bargaining chip. I briefly looked into & Beyond mobile safari - they also charge a single supplement, although the &Beyond permanent camps do not. It wasn't any cheaper overall to go that route though.

I'll be posting a trip report when I return - sometime after Sept 5, but feel free to contact me prior to seeing a trip report from me if you want to know how it went.

I'm very excited about the trip! Jean
Cateyes555 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 06:33 PM
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I am sorry your husband will not be joining you and hope you can do other enjoyable travel together.

1. I think some of the fancier places in South Africa would have greater odds of honeymooners. Maybe Jao would cater more to honeymooners in Botswana. Very fancy with lots of amenities.

All the Bots camps I ever stayed at had communal dining. Not so in the East Africa at the lodges.

2. SS reduction works best if you have quite a few nights with one company. Going off season helps. An established relationship with the agent helps too. Earlier in the recession deals of all kinds were more possible. If things turn bad again and it affects travel to Bots, you may have more leverage.

Good to note that AndBeyond does not have a SS. If you chose a Botswana mobile, which is a great option, the SS is less than at camps. The mobile is the only option I have heard of where pairing you with a roommate is offered.

4. The right click, add to Favorites should work. Otherwise copy the address from the top and paste it into a Word document. You can label the thread to help you remember what it was and you can save lots of similar threads in one document.

For some threads that I might want to reference, I have saved them with the copy and paste procedure described above.

Otherwise I use the Fodors search. You can change the time frame to any 3 year period, not only the past three years. The past 3 years is the default option that pops up.

I also use Google Advanced search. The Advanced Search appears to the right of the regular Google box after you have typed something in. Advanced search easily lets you include or exclude words or show a particular phrase. I make sure I type in in the box at the bottom that says Search within a site or domain.

Glad I could provide a chuckle!

Cateyes, Can you tell us about Banoka?
atravelynn is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 08:13 PM
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Posts: 689

Check out Eyes on Africa for accommodation that doesn't have a single supplement.

The site is very good with an alphabetical listing of camps, their rack rates (which can change depending on agent)and if/when an SS is charged. I was surprised some camps that charge in high season don't in others.

When I find a camp I'm interested in I then check it out on Africa Travel Resource where they have more photos and rate each one.
KathBC is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 05:43 AM
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One feature of the 5 Rivers safari (in addition to some of the better camps for guiding and game-viewing in Botswana) is that no single supplement is charged. Available only from December through March.

Owner ... Don Topaz Travel
DonTopaz is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 06:05 AM
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Even simpler than using Google Advanced Search is to just use good ole google and after the search term type into the search box. That way you don't have any time restrictions and the contents of all the threads is searched.
Marija is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 07:03 AM
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I saw this a few days back - Seems Sanctuary and W-S special along the lines of the 5river special

Discounted rates + No single supplements +lower single surcharge on flights. Might be worth exploring.....
tanya_1976 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 07:48 PM
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More for your consideration.
atravelynn is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 08:38 PM
Original Poster
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Lots of food for thought...and research. Thanks.
OregonMaiden is offline  
Aug 15th, 2011, 10:04 PM
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I'd recommend Mashatu Tented Camp for a solo taveller. Dining is communal, however, there is a single supplement.

I've just arrived home and was delighted with a wide variety of sightings that included leopard cubs, hyena pups and a young leopard stalking 2 porcupines at night.


Treepol is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 03:44 AM
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Cateyes, Can you tell us about Banoka?

Atravelynn - I'll be able to tell you firsthand about Banoka when I return, but this is about the sum of what I have right now.

Banoka Bush Camp is a brand new camp in the Khwai game concession, located in the north -eastern corner of the Okavango Delta adjoining the Moremi Reserve. The area provides a wid e range of wildlife habitats including forests, floodplain, wetlands and grasslands.
The camp features ten Meru style walk -in tents including two family tents which can comfortably accommodate two adults and two children. Each tent includes en suite ba throom, fan and mini-verandah. The atmosphere of the camp is to maximize the feeling of wild camping, at the same time ensuring exceptional comfort without the feeling that you are in a lodge. The dining area is most often under the African sky, set up with flowing white table clothes, candlelight and is fully serviced. When it is in the cooler months, there is a large dining tent, with small bar area, where the tables are set up under canvas with lanterns. Between game activities enjoy the swimming pool and deck area which have been raised
off the ground to take in the view.
Activities include game drives in the Khwai Concession and adjoining Moremi Reserve, nature walks, seasonal boating (dependent on water levels), catch and release fishing and mokoro excursions down Khwai’s channels provide a classic Delta experience. Accommodation: Banoka Bush Camp (Full Board)
Cateyes555 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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Exciting times at Machatu Treepol. Thanks for the Banoka infor Cateyes.
atravelynn is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 08:24 AM
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I don't know if you're locking into going to Bots, but there's a group of us solo female travelers going to Tanzania next year (July/August). Bill Given of The Wild Source has planned the safari and we've set it up so that there's no single supplement if you're willing to share. Just a thought...
ShayTay is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 10:00 AM
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Posts: 108
Hi Sharon,
Thanks much for thinking of me. Since I have been to Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, I am kind of hooked on Botswana this time.

What you're describing is exactly the kind of thing that would be of interest to me though. Please keep me in mind for future adventures.
OregonMaiden is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 11:45 AM
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Sounds good! I know you'll love Botswana. I gave you my e-mail address on your other thread. If you'd drop me a line, I'll have your e-mail address. I've been to Bots 3 times, if you have any questions for your fellow Oregonian!
ShayTay is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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Posts: 108
Just sent you an e-mail. Thanks for your continued offers of help.

At this point we're awaiting a consultation with a neurosurgeon to see exactly what my husband's medical future might hold. ("Hold" is probably my operative word at the moment as well
OregonMaiden is offline  

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