Bostwana Safari

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Nov 1st, 2005, 06:35 AM
  #1
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Bostwana Safari

Planning summer 2007 Bostwana Safari. Questions, how many nights may be best per camp 3 or 4? Is Victoria Falls worth a 2-3 day trip? Do the WS 6 paw camps have the best game viewing, or are they simply the most luxurious? We plan 12-16 days in safari camps with Cape Town at the end of the trip. Taking a month off, traveling from Hawaii so it's a long trip there, should we stop in London to rest on the way or get to Africa and rest a couple of days there?
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Nov 1st, 2005, 03:49 PM
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I think Victoria Falls is worth 2-3 days; you can find plenty to do. Check out Natural Habitat's Secluded Botswana trip. I did it in September and it was a wonderful two week trip.
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Nov 1st, 2005, 04:30 PM
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nights per camp--I like 3, often do 4 or more, but 3 is a good amount of time. Sometimes for water camps with less game, only 2 nights is common on itineraries, and adequate.

Vic Falls days--Certainly 2 days. If you want to do elephant riding there, easy rafting, leisurely walking around falls, a flightsee, you need 2 days. Most people don't spend 3 and I've only spent 2, but as mentioned, there's enough to do for 3.

6 paws-Mombo has the game!! in addition to luxury. Vumbura has good game. Jao, a water camp, is more luxury than lots of game. King's Pool is very good game, but you can see the same animals if you stay at Duma Tau, a 5-paw (it might be a 5+ paw). King's Pool has a reknowned hide, though.

To answer your question the 6 = luxury not wildlife. I have found the 5 paw Wilderness Camps to be more luxurious than I would ever anticipate. Even the 3-paw accommodations are super--great food, comfortable beds, wonderful staff, beautiful setting.

12-16 days is great for your safari, coupled with Capetown, a super trip!

I never stay over in London, but then I don't come from as far west as Hawaii and I try to save time and money on the non-safari stuff. If you have a month, it may be well worth a few nights in London to recoup and not arrive in Africa dead tired and more prone to getting sick, sleeping troubles, etc.

The Nat Hab trip mentioned would be a great experience. I did not do that exact trip, but I did a very similar luxury camping one with Wilderness, the Botswana company Nat Hab uses. The Nat Hab accommodations are not 6-paw, but are great bush camps (which I prefer over 6 paws) where there is lots of game. You could even add some nights at a permanent tented camp like Mombo.

Planning so far ahead, you'll be able to look forward to your trip for a long time. If you decide on Mombo, booking soon for 2007 might be wise. Much of 2006 is filling up not only at Mombo, but other camps. I had to shuffle dates for a camp in Selinda in Botwsana for late Aug 2006 when I was booking in Sept 2005.



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Nov 3rd, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Mombo - spectacular game
Kings Pool - hide is awesome, great game, particularly elephants, good chance of Wild Dogs. Accomodations superior to Mombo.

I would want at least 3 nights per camp. That way you do get the chance to enjoy the accomodations and get some down time. I never miss a game drive, and take every opportunity to visit hides etc, so having at least one afternoon in a camp to snooze or bird watch is a must.
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 10:52 AM
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Definitely plan on 2-3 days in Victoria Falls. It is an amazing sight! We spent only two nights there and I felt we were a bit rushed to do everything. I would have liked to have had more time to just wander through the market near our hotel and it would have been nice to be more relaxed walking by the falls and not have to rush back to do the elephant safari we decided to do at the last minute (loads of fun - I recommend it). We stayed on the Zimbabwe side right in the town of Vic Falls at Ilala Lodge. I highly recommend that. The accommodations were great and the service was wonderful. Being able to lay there at night and listen to the falls was fabulous and I liked that we could walk to the falls in 10 minutes.

Glad you are including Cape Town. That is also a place where I wished we had spent at least one more day. We were there 3 nights (stayed at the Portswood Hotel near that V&A Waterfront). Since we spent one full day touring the Cape Peninsula (wonderful!) and a day going out to Gaansbai to go diving with great white sharks (an AMAZING experience), that didn't leave us any time to actually see Cape Town. And since Table Mountain didn't come out of the clouds until the last morning as we were leaving we never got up there. Guess we'll just have to go back !

Enjoy your trip. It will be a very memorable experience!
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Nov 3rd, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Don't mean to be a buttinsky here (who am I kidding?) but if you're thinking HNL-LAX-LHR-JNB as your route, may I suggest that you think about a shorter alternative?

Qantas' flight to Sydney from HNL is quite pleasant (daytime, not overnight like from the mainland.) You could spend a couple of days in Sydney, then take Qantas' nonstop to JNB. If you want to return to Hawaii at the end of the trip by continuing via Europe, you could do so by buying an around-the-world ticket which allows just that, often cheaper than the various round-trip or connecting fares.

In 2006 South African Airlines is due to join the Star Alliance, and at least for now, the cheapest places in the world to buy Star "RTW" tickets are Tonga, Fiji and Samoa, which are not terribly impossible to get to from Hawaii. Then you could pick up SAA's flights to South Africa from Sydney instead (Qantas is in a different alliance) using United or Air New Zealand (both members of Star) to get to Oz.

It's all a bit confusing, but I've tried to explain it all a little in an "about RTWs" page on my RTW website (which also documents our HNL-SYD-JNB-Chobe legs BTW) at http://home.comcast.net/~gardyloo.
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Nov 4th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Gardyloo

Great RTW information on your site - thanks for the hard work. I have it bookmarked.
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Nov 25th, 2005, 04:35 AM
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I am contemplating just the trip mentioned here in 2006, i.e., NatHab's Secluded Botswana. Any opinions on "best" time to go?
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Nov 25th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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linhelen,

For the NatHab trip, I'd pick the Aug 6 or Sep 3 departure, maybe the Sept 17 As you can tell, I have the catalog. A little earlier in the year the water is a bit more plentiful so animial concentrations are less, so I wouldn't go earlier if I had a choice.

The mid Sept and Oct departures would be during really hot weather, hitting mid 90s. But there would be less available water making wildlife viewing slightly easier than 2 weeks or a month earlier, perhaps. So much of wildlife viewing is just luck anyway.

I have traveled with NatHab to other locations than Africa and am working on an Alaska trip with them right now. I've met Richard, the guy who usually leads the Botswana trips with his wife as co-leader, when we've happened to be in the same lodge. He seemed like a great guy. Nat Hab does a wondeful job for being just a little pricey compared to other options.

The places that "Secluded Botswana" hits seem to be some of the more prolific for wildlife of the various luxury camping trips out there. In 1997 I did a Wilderness camping trip with almost the same itinerary as Secluded Botswana and it was fabulous in every respect.

Have a good time.
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Nov 25th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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Thanks so much, atravelynn.(I've gone to Churchill to see the polar bears with NatHab and was more than satisfied.) I will go to either Botswana or India in 2006. Investigating both right now. I appreciate your suggestions.
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Nov 25th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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linhelen,

When did you see the polar bears with NatHab? Might we have shared a tundra buggy? I went in late Oct of 2004 with Denny as guide. If India wins out in 2006, please share your itinerary and report on the Asia board or email me directly.

Sorry to deviate from Africa.
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Nov 26th, 2005, 06:02 AM
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atravelynn...I went in late Oct., 2000. Took their trip that included a stay at the mothers and cubs lodge. Bonnie was the guide. Hard choice between Botswana and India for next year. Looking into an International Expeditions itinerary and thinking about engaging a local agency in New Delhi as a possible alternative. Back to Africa. Thinking about Botswana now reminds me of a previous trip I took years ago to Kenya and Tanzania. In the throes of deep nostalgia...
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Nov 26th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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DianeJF-i recently went to Africa from Hawaii (Big Island) and I highly recommend either overnighting in NYC or a long layover in London. I stopped off in S.F. and wish I would have gone on to N.Y. then overnighted. Its a long miserable flight if heading east. This time I'm going via SF-London, 8 hour layover, to leave the plane and airport for fresh air, exercise, then 10 hrs to lusaka. ALOHA
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