best camps in June in Sabi Sands and Botswana

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Nov 27th, 2005, 07:17 PM
  #1
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best camps in June in Sabi Sands and Botswana

Which camps would you recommend for June? Planning to go 3rd week in June and return beginning of July. This will be our first to Africa and want the biggest bang for our bucks. Looking for luxury but still want an authentic bush experience. Help please!
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Nov 27th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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Hi elz1

<<the biggest bang for our bucks>>

What is your budget for the SSGR?
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Nov 27th, 2005, 08:32 PM
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elz1,

I do think that by June that you are looking at all high season pricing in Botswana. You are looking at about $650 per person per night minimum for either Kwando or Wilderness Safaris, with some WS camps going for $1,000+ per person per night.

Just wondering, have you considered Zambia. There are some truly wonderful lodges/camps that would be much easier on your pocketbook. You could stay at a beautiful lodge like Luangwa River Lodge for only $400 per person per night in high season (with a nice discount down to $350 pppn for any nights after your 3rd night). Chiawa Camp, in Lower Zambezi, would cost about $490 per person per night. This is a great camp in a wonderful location well within the borders of the national park.

www.luangwariverlodge.com
www.chiawa.com

There are other good choices such as Puku Ridge in South Luangwa for about $400 pppns, Kaingo in South Luangwa for about the same price, Chongwe River Camp for about the same price and then if you want to spend a little less, there are nice options like Kafunta River Lodge in South Luangwa and Kasaka River Lodge in Lower Zambezi.

www.kaingo.com
www.chongwe-river.com
www.starofafrica.com
www.kasakariverlodge.com
www.luangwa.com

As far as the Sabi Sand goes, there are not too many luxury lodges that will be available for under $500 per person per night. There are moderate options available for this price such as Elephant Plains and Nkhoro Bush Lodge, but most of the nicer lodges like Mala Mala, Londolozi, Simbambili, Singita and others will start at about $600 per person per night and go all the way up to over $1,000 per person per night.
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Nov 28th, 2005, 06:56 AM
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Its a great time to go, but very cold. So if getting out of bed into codl temperatures is a problem, go for Sabi Sand, where accomodation is more luxurious. Botswana accomodation is amazingly luxurious for tents, but in winter it is cold. It never puts me off, but some people really hate the cold.
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Nov 28th, 2005, 08:15 AM
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We went the exact same weeks this past June to both of the places you are considering and it was our first (hopefully not last) trip to Africa. For the safari part of our trip we spent 3 nights at Elephant Plains in Sabi Sands and 3 nights at Nxabega Camp in the Okavanga Delta. Yes, it was cold at night, but the comforters that they both provided were SO warm that I actually got HOT! Maybe we hit a warmer spell than usual, but we had to open the window at night in Elephant Plains and I ended up throwing off the comforter in Nxabega a couple of nights. During the day it was mostly sunny and warm. We had a little bit of rain one morning in Sabi Sands, but that didn't stop us from doing anything.

Both facilities provded a wonderful experience and the viewing was tremendous. I think we saw a larger concentration of animals in Sabi Sands (leopards, cheetah, elephants, rhino, Cape buffalo, giraffe, etc.), but it took going to the Delta to see a lion (actually several). Also, the birds in the Delta are amazing - so colorful and great calls. We also loved lying in our tent at night listening to the hippos make noise across the water. We also heard an elephant trumpet and a lion roar at night. In both locations we had wonderful service, great food, comfortable beds and very functional (and nice) bathrooms. I would highly recommend trying to stay in both places if your budget allows since they are very different ecosystems.

Our whole trip took in Cape Town (3 nights, but I wish we had spent more), Sabi Sands, Victoria Falls (2 nights and I wish we had spent at least 3), and then the Okavanga Delta. We set everything up through Rikke Williams at go2africa.com and she was able to arrange a wonderful trip within our budget with terrific tours and options. As for high vs. low season, at least for us, because we checked out of Nxabega on June 30th, we were able to still sneak in under the sire on the prices going up. I think we were in more of a shoulder season.

Have a wonderful trip! You won't soon forget it!
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Nov 28th, 2005, 08:30 AM
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I would agree with Rocco that your dollar would stretch farther in Zambia and you'd have a great experience.

But you asked about Botswana and Sabi Sands. In Botswana would recommend the Linyanti area with the camp Duma Tau. Kings Pool is more expensive. You might also want to consider Chitabe or Chitabe Trails (same price), a little further south in the Delta. I liked both of these camps very much.

Never been to Sabi Sands.
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Nov 28th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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johan_belgium
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I agree with atravelynn and Rocco that in Zambia you'll get better value for money at certain times of the year. But I personally prefer Zambia more at the end of the dry season.

If you are going next year in June to Botswana, you'll have to be lucky to be able to book them right now.
 
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Nov 28th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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Budget might be a help here.

JCasale - I'm surprised you didn't see Lion in SSGR, bad luck.

I love Kings Pool, but have heard enough good things about Duma Tau to go there next year. Savuti was also great, assuming the Eles are coming to drink that would be a great choice, more rustic though.
Mombo is great whenever.

In Sabi Sand - I love Mala Mala, but having been way too many times, I am totally in love with the place, people and animals.
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Nov 28th, 2005, 09:45 AM
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Oops,

I pressed a bit too early <Enter>.

Camps/areas I would like to visit in June in Botswana:

- Chitabe/Chitabe trails;
- Lebala or Selinda;
- Moremi national park (Khwai section).

 
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Nov 28th, 2005, 09:55 AM
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Elz1,
We were in Sabi Sands and Botswana June 2005, beginning about the 2nd week of June. The nights were cool, but not really cold, and days very nice and warm. We stayed at Londolozi in Sabi Sands which I highly recommend, and Kings Pool and Little Vumbura in Botswana. Little Vumbura really gives you authentic bush feeling, being the smaller tents than Kings Pool, and secluded on its own island. But Kings Pool (6 paw camp) has a beautiful setting and luxuious "tents". Game viewing was good at all 3 places.

Are you talking about June of 2006? Because I would think that definitely the Botswana camps are probably fast filling up, and you will need to see which camps are even available.
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Nov 28th, 2005, 10:41 AM
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thanks for all the suggestions. My planned itinerary is 2 nights Cape Town, 2 nights Victoria Falls 4 nights Botswana and 3 nights Sabi Sands. I would like to spend about $15,000 for 2 people for this including African airfare. I have frequent flyers business class from US to Africa.
I am hoping that price range will allow for luxury accomadations in most locations.
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Nov 28th, 2005, 11:15 AM
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Just a thought, but I might consider only 3 nights in Botswana and add a night to Cape Town. There is so much to see there. As for accommodations there - we stayed in the Portswood Hotel which is right near the waterfront. I don't know if it is considered "luxury" but I thought it was wonderful. The staff was incredible and the rooms were quite large and comfortable. it is also in a great location - we just walked down to the waterfront each night for dinner. In Vic Falls we stayed at the Ilala Lodge. Again, probably not considered luxury, but very nice and centrally located. We could hear the falls at night from our room and see the mist rising from them as we ate breakfast on the terrace. It was an easy 10 minute walk to the falls from the hotel.
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 08:45 AM
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jcasale... can you tell me what the weather was like in Cape town when you went. We are thinking end of May/beginning of June. thank you.
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 01:31 PM
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Jcasale,

Did the noise of the casino at Ilala Lodge bother you at all? It seems like it would generate a lot of foot traffic which might be disturbing. How did Ilala compare to the Vic Falls Hotel?

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Hello,

June is still 'green season' in Botswana, so you may be able to save a bit there. The problem at this point would be availability.

In Botswana, I would recommend Little Vumbura for a wonderful variety of water and land activities, and Duma Tau or Savuti for the Linyanti area. If LV isn't available, Kwetsani or Tubu Tree would be good alternatives. For this portion of your trip, you may want to contact Nicky or James at Eyes on Africa -- they do a lot of business with Wilderness and may be able to get you in where other agents couldn't.

In Sabi Sands, I would recomend Londolozi for a superb game-viewing experience. I've stayed at Londoz several times and had wonderful experiences there. June is low season in South Africa, so you may be able to get some good deals in the Sabi Sand.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 03:11 PM
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jcasale

Have you looked on luxurylink.com for Botswana/Vic Falls/Cape Town packages. Orient Express regularly has packages for their camps in the Okavango Delta and a bargain I think compared to booking elsewhere. They also regularly list the Mt. Nelson and the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town as well as the Stanley and Livingston in Vic Falls.

I also have used the Portfolio Collection for years. In fact, without the collection, I probably would never have become an independent African traveler, but with them it was so easy.

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Jan 3rd, 2006, 03:13 PM
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Hello,

Definitely take a look at the Portfolio Collection (www.portfoliocollection.com) -- lots of boutique hotels and guesthouses that are luxurious and full of character, often at a fraction of the price of the big tourist hotels. I spent a month in SA staying only in Portfolio properties and was never disappointed.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 03:27 PM
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safarilover,

The Luxury Link package for the Orient Express lodges offers great pricing IF the winning bidder intends to visit in High Season. The current package is offered between April - December, including air from either Cape Town or Joburg and has an opening bid price of $5532. Assuming that the average package will go for about $6,100, however, this is no better than pricing would be in April/May for Kwando and it would actually be much more expensive than Kwando in December.

Meanwhile, Kwando's camps seem much higher regarded, at least in terms of wildlife viewing. Orient Express lodges are bigger and more luxurious, but I have never seen a safari afficionado rave about an Orient Express safari the same way that I have seen about Kwando or Wilderness Safaris.

Personally, the Orient Express lodges do not appeal to me in the least. I would rather cough up a little more in high season for Wilderness Safaris or Kwando and pay the same or less for Kwando in April/May and December.

I am a huge fan of Luxury Link and have bought numerous packages from LL, but the last time I seriously considered this particular package, it was still listing at an opening price of about $3,500 USD.
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 04:17 PM
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Hello,

I agree with Rocco -- the Orient Express lodges seem too big and impersonal, and whilst luxurious do not have a great game-viewing reputation.

CCAfrica occasionally lists packages on Luxury Link for stays at Phinda or Nxabega/Sandibe which are quite competitive, and people have given positive reviews of those camps, particularly Phinda.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 05:06 PM
  #20
Lin
 
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Hi again Julian,
What do you mean, June is still the green season in Botswana? Napamatt said how cold it would be in June, and Nicky Glover(whom I used as travel agent)told me the weather would be very similar to July/August. But I am intrigued by your remark - what differences can I expect scenery and weather wise? Will there be more mosquitoes?
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