Botswana in May / where to go/please help

Jun 18th, 2008, 01:54 AM
  #1  
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Botswana in May / where to go/please help

We are just back from 3 weeks in South Africa. Tangala safari lodge in Thornybush, Ngala tented in Timbavati and Exeter Leadwood in the Sabi Sands. We have the bug now! So next May we want to go to Botswana but the choice again is overwhelming. We are interested in cats, we are not much into birds yet but every animal we see is a blessing. We want to stay 8 to 10 days in 2 lodgesand be really in the wild, no fences ?? Duba Plains and then Duma Tau or are these too close together or ? Savuti camp ? kwetsani. We like to go off road when needed.
Our budget is approx $500 to $700 per person per night and we need friendly comfort ( ensuite)and good game but we know that is pot luck but the chance is better at some places than others.
Any suggestions very welcome. I am even finding the trip report index overwhelming at the moment ( maybe jet lag)
Thanks again
kimac is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 05:23 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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The lodges you mention are part of Wilderness safaris which is not the cheapest organisation in Botswana. Though in May perhaps you will find something below 700 USD per person.
Duma Tau is located in my favourite area of Botswana, the Linyanti and is far away from Duba Plains, but closer to Savuti Camp. It is a good area for cats and wild dogs and you can go off road (private concessions).
Talking about this region, you have the Kwando camps (Lebala and Lagoon) which are less expensive. The Kwando area is very good for wild dogs, leopard and the other cats. If you combine those camps with the ones they own at the edge of the Okavango (Kwara and Little Kwara), you can negotiate a better price.
Kwara is an excellent place for leopards.
In the Okavango, good places for leopard are Pompom Camp and Xakanaxa, but in Xakanaxa, you are in Moremi and you are not allowed to go off road.
Here are the websites of those companies :
www.kwando.co.za
www.pompomcamp.com
www.moremi-safaris.com
To be complete, here are the websites of other companies, but I have never been in one of their camps :
www.mapulalodge.com
www.desertdelta.com
www.sanctuarylodges.com

Mike
walrus is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 05:28 AM
  #3  
 
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Glad you had a good safari that made you want to return ASAP.

I believe the pricing for places like Duma Tau, Kwetsani, Savuti and Duba Plains is now beyond $700/pp/pn. Same for Kwando camps.

You could try a mobile safari in Botswana. I did one through Wilderness that was outstanding and there are other good providers as well. With those prices, I think my returns to Botswana will likely be mostly mobile.

You don't have to worry about fences in almost any of the Botswana locations.

If you google Footsteps in Africa or Orient Express, you may find pricing more in your range. E-gnu is a site with numerous lodgings and pricing that may not be entirely accurate but it gives you a range as you check out Botswana locations.

Good luck.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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Kimac,

Mike mentions Kwara and Leopards. This past January when I was there, the daughter of the Kwara female picked off a fawn (impala) right in front of the little lagoon while we were having morning coffee. I loved my visit at LK and they have great staff over there!

Staying 8 to 10 nights in two places is a good idea and refreshing to read this - Lots of people want to spend 10 nights on safari yet like to try 4 to 5 camps. That is not really ideal IMO. At the end of the day, all you get to experience is the camp and things and the gameviewing experiences are barely scratching the surface. Example, spending two nights in one place - all you have is one full day. You can't really tell from that ........ Yet, flying around from camp to camp just adds to the costs doesn't it?

Hari
HariS is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 06:51 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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I do agree with Lynn, mobile is the best way to feel and understand what the bush can bring you.
Like Hari, I think that going from one place to the other every 2 days is a non sense. If you go for 10 days, don't visit more than 3 camps

Mike
walrus is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 06:55 AM
  #6  
 
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I had excellent game viewing at both Duba Plains and Duma Tau last June. As others mentioned, they are quite far from one another, and gameviewing is very different between these locations. The combination would, in my opinion, be excellent, but I do believe they are probably both above your budget. Focussing on these two areas would combine for a great trip. Do a search on here for Mapula. There have been quite a few threads recently, and if I recall correctly, they were all positive.
Dana_M is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 07:12 AM
  #7  
 
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Hari,

If you wanna see some pics of the Kwara female and its cub, go to my website on the Kwara gallery. They were taken in November 2006.

www.africaddict.com

Mike
walrus is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 07:21 AM
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Thanks, Mike ...... lovely pics on your site! I also see your famous pic of Afrigalah in the LE vehicle with the big male lion walking on the road!

Cheers
Hari
HariS is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 06:17 PM
  #9  
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Thanks everyone,
I think we will just increase the budget and go for Duba plains for 4 nights then Duma Tau for 4 and have 2 in Vic falls. I will look at the Kwando camps however especially if I can book direct. If not I prefer to deal with an agent in Africa. The last trip I organised myself but it seems I cant book some lodges in Botswana without an agent. Do you have any recommendations?
I cant imagine why anyone would try to visit too many lodges. We spent 4 nights at 2 of the lodges in SA and 5 at another and could have stayed longer as there was always something new to see.
Thanks again
kimac is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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You should have a good time! Duba Plains - Skimmer (Johan) is away at the moment. But, I think he likes going there in April or May before the floods arrive. He had a recent report from earlier in the year. You should try and read it if you can find it.

HariS is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 09:44 PM
  #11  
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Thinking again and so soon Duba plains has been quoted at $US 1.200 pppn for May which seems very high. Now I am waiting for the Kwando prices ( thanks Mike ,they do seem to be what we are looking for and your web site/photos are great) Other than that maybe I can pursuade my husband into a mobile safari.
kimac is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 04:16 AM
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We are using an agent this time --- www.rhinoafrica.com. We are not going to Botswana but are going to Namibia and South Africa. The prices she gave me were below the rack rates onthe internet so you may want to have an agent price the trip for you as well. It does not obligate you to the agent and many people here have had more than one agent price an itinerary for them.

Rhino Africa is based in South Africa but they have a US phone number. Evey time I called, I spoke to our agent -- no call backs. We worked with Leigh Ann.
mpkp is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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I am using an agent who organized all my trips to southern Africa the last 10 years. He is working a lot with Kwando, so perhaps he will be able to give you good prices. He is based in RSA (Capetown) and Europe Here are is 2 e-mail addresses :
[email protected]
[email protected]

Mike
walrus is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 02:23 PM
  #14  
 
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Kimac,

If you have upped your budget and are willing to make some substantial increases, then Duba and Duma Tau/Savuti would be wonderful for cats. Lion-buffalo activity in Duba Plains and possible leopard and cheetahs, with probable lions in Linynati where Duma Tau and Savuti are.

Duba Plains has always been a tad higher than the similarly rated Wilderness Properties. I would suggest at least 4 nights if you choose Duba, even though 3 nights at other camps is fine. The 4 nts is to increase your odds of seeing lion-buff activity. If the lions go to where vehicles cannot (because of water levels) for a day, you still have a couple of days to see them. Also if the pride has just killed right before your arrived, it may be slow for the next day or two. That was my experience.

To add to the already high costs, Duba Plains is the only camp I have gotten a private vehicle so that I could stay out all day to observe the lions and buffalo. This also increases your chances of seeing interactions.

Now that's way, way over your original budget, perhaps making the mobile more attractive. Most mobiles are very comfortable and don't require stamina or fortitude. They have a charm not found even in the nicest permanent camps. The trick is to go to areas with animals that are used to vehicles.

Good luck!
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 06:38 PM
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At $1200 PPPN - if your choice is Duba, the least you can do is ensure that you go during the months that the floods have not arrived. Hence, I said check with Skimmer (Johan's) report. It seems absurd to spend that kind of money to be at a place where you may not even be able to have access to parts of the area, due to the flooding levels. Bear in mind, this year is high floods isn't it?

Oh! and ofcourse, if you haven't already booked you may not get in. Remember Botswana is over-subscribed
HariS is offline  
Jun 20th, 2008, 08:37 AM
  #16  
 
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Mike,
Excellent photos and thanks for sharing. I am getting a better sense of mobile safaris and spacing out the time better on a combination. A few weeks and it's Southern Africa or bust!!

Mademoiselle is offline  
Jun 20th, 2008, 04:12 PM
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Skimmer is the Duba expert over here, but May should not have the brunt of the flood yet so I think May should be good. I believe Skimmer has gone in Apr and June. I went in Aug and I'm sure Ralond went in June. We all had good lion activity.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 20th, 2008, 06:14 PM
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I went in June and had great lion activity as well. Skimmer was the person who suggested (to me) that June was not the best time of the year, and to substitute Chitabe. I only half took his advice. I added Chitabe and kept Duba. And, June 07 was amazing.
Dana_M is offline  
Jun 20th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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Dana,

You were lucky! Early 2007 was a low rainfall year. It was probably a lower flood year?

In the Linyanti in June 2007, I saw more elephants than I did end August 2006 because the pans in the mopane had already dried out early.
HariS is offline  
Jun 20th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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Hari, you are right. I was very lucky. I did say I was told it wasn't the best time of year, but went anyway. And, it just so happened, I had great luck. During my entire Bots trip I was very lucky. I hope I'm that lucky with the gorillas next February.
Dana_M is offline  

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