Botswana Itinerary For April?

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May 22nd, 2005, 08:00 PM
  #1
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Botswana Itinerary For April?

Well, I cannot believe it, but other than my airfare, my entire September 19 night Zambian & South African holiday is just about paid for...quite less stressful than last year when I really forced in Zambia as an add-on to Italy.

So, that brings me not to saving for a rainy day, but rather spending for a Botswana safari!

I am considering April, as this will give me better rates and warm daytime temperatures and nighttime temperatures that do not dip too far below 60 degrees farenheit.

I don't even think that I will include Cape Town on this April visit, but rather will include possibly 3 nights in London at the beginning and 3 nights in Paris at the end.

Something like this:

London (3)
Jacks Camp (3) (I read that it is getting a plunge pool, which will just make it that much more comfortable)
Savuti (3)
Tubu Tree (3)
Little Mombo (3)
Paris (3)

I just cannot imagine going to Botswana without including Mombo. Makalolo Plains in Hwange would be nice but just does not fit in the schedule, as I would definitely like to return later in the year for a Kasanka (fruit bat migration) and Liuwa Plains visit to Zambia. Makalolo Plains may work out better for that particular visit.

The only other option I could see with Botswana would be to exclude Jack's Camp to instead visit Vumbura, giving me a total of 6 nights in Moremi. I will have to see more photos of the Kalahari Desert area that Jack's Camp occupies to see what I think.

Otherwise, any suggestions for the itinerary?
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May 23rd, 2005, 03:11 AM
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Rocco

I love witnessing your incredibly fickle thought processes on safari trips! Note, I'm NOT criticising - I genuinely enjoy watching it - a veritable rollercoaster of opinions! Once upon a time there were vociferous comments from you on how one HAD to go to Singita to experience Africa because Conde Naste said it was so good, then there were comments that you would never recommend it to others now you had seen the light (Zambia prices being the light), and finally a mellowing where you compromised your viewpoint to one somewhere in the middle. And once upon a time there were comments about just what you thought of people who paid Mombo prices when they could game view in Zambia or Botswana for so much less and now you're saying you couldn't IMAGINE visiting Botswana without staying there!

OK, on a more serious note - I like your itinerary!

All 4 camps are amongst my favourites and I think they combine into a killer experience!

Do NOT exclude Jack's - the landscape, game and overall experiences there are unlike those anywhere else and the itinerary you have now gives you a lovely variety of Botswana's best.

Wish I could come.

And if you don't count on seeing me during that time in London, be advised I'll S U L K!
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May 23rd, 2005, 06:14 AM
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Kavey,

With 3 nights in London, how can I avoid you?

Seriously, I would love to meet you for dinner and drinks one night and experience London through your eyes.

When it is all said and done, I will have liked to visit just about everyplace wildlife related in Southern and Eastern Africa. Not knowing how soon I will return to Botswana, it could be on my very next trip if I am overwhelmed by it, or it may be a couple years, I definitely want to include Mombo on the itinerary. I have taken bigger risks in life for $3,000 ($1,000 per night extra) than including Mombo on my itinerary.

Hopefully I will not miss too much by going in April rather than in September. But, not having much interest in mekoros (and the annual arrival of the flood), hopefully April will be just fine. Then I may come home and be restless for seven months before returning to Zambia in late November for Kasanka, Liuwa Plains and Hwange, probably with a couple nights at Shiwa N'Gandu, known as the "Africa House." For anybody who has not yet read "The Africa House" by Christina Lamb, I strongly encourage you to do so.

The best thing about April is that I will be able to fly for Europe for about half price, be able to enjoy Botswana for about a 30% discount and then have enough of a buffer to return towards the end of the year in late November / early December.
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May 23rd, 2005, 07:34 AM
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Well... London is a BIG place! I'm sure you could avoid me if you tried but... let's plan on dinner - drop me an email nearer the time.

I think you'll enjoy Botswana as your itinerary is really giving you a good variety and it's particularly good to include some of the area that contrast most with Zambia so that you can experience environments different to those you have seen before.
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May 23rd, 2005, 12:25 PM
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Unbelievably, Jacks Camp is not available for my desired nights. I really had preferred to start with Jacks Camp, as I expect it to be quite different from anyplace I have stayed before and thought that it may be anti-climatic if I saved it for the end after Mombo.

Kavey, what do you think? Do you think you would have enjoyed Jacks Camp equally well after Mombo?

ITINERARY

4/22 - 4/24 London, 3 nights at 5* hotel TBD.

If I am shape I can run the London Marathon, which will be a hell of a lot easier than the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in Cape Town. I'll save that for if and when I ever really get in shape, but a regular marathon is really not THAT difficult.

4/25 Overnight flight from LHR - JNB

4/26 Arrive JNB. Transfer to Botswana.

4/26 - 4/28 - 3 nights at Savuti or Duma Tau. I have heard that Duma Tau's placement is a bit better, right on some large lagoon?

4/29 - 5/01 - 3 nights at Tubu Tree

5/02 - 5/04 - 3 nights at Little Mombo

5/05 - 5/07 - 3 nights at Jacks Camp

5/08 - 1 night at Westcliff Hotel

5/09 - overnight flight to LHR

5/10 - early AM arrival at LHR, connect to CDG (Paris).

5/10 - 5/12 - 3 night stay at King George V Four Seasons.

5/13 - Depart CDG - LHR - LAX. Same day arrival.

If I don't do Jack's Camp, then I will switch things around and first visit Vumbura or Little Vumbura and then finish up with Little Mombo.
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May 23rd, 2005, 12:41 PM
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Rocco
Jack's Camp and Mombo are so different that it really won't make a difference which order you do them in...
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May 23rd, 2005, 06:07 PM
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I did come across this nice little photo album featuring Jacks Camp:

http://www.pbase.com/shaboobly/jacks_camp

Perhaps after 9 nights of having my cameras weighing me down, 3 nights at Jacks Camp would not be a bad way to end Botswana...seems like a person could really enjoy some solitude here while also having fun zipping around on an All Terrain Vehicle.

The photo showing the bed in the middle of the desert looks quite intriguing. Don't the Kalahari lions ever stop by for a visit?
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May 23rd, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Rocco, You make me so jealous, already planning another Africa trip when your Zambia trip is yet to come! DO NOT MISS Jack's Camp! I don't think those ppl should have showed the bed in their photos, don't look into it or ask anything else about it, take my word for it (and probably Kavey's)- you don't want to spoil anything! There is no wildlife in the Makgadigadi salt pan, absolutely no living thing, although you can see birds far off. My only concern about doing Jack's after the other camps, is, well, the game drives and walks in the delta get one so addicted to seeing that wildlife environment - you will have to be ready to give that up once you get to Jack's. We did see lots of zebra (you will see tons in April, in fact I believe you will see the only zebra migration in Botswana at Jack's at that time of year, I have to check), and we saw wildebeest, and the meerkats were fantastic - then there were bat-eared foxes and black-backed jackals. Not hard to find, either. But it's still very different from the delta, especially regarding the predators. And no elies or giraffes. But still VERY beautiful and worthwhile. Also I know I'm in the minority on this board but I didn't care for Little Vumbura at all; well, it wasn't dreadful but it certainly wasn't up to par with your other choices. I agree with you aboaut the mekoro rides but actually I think April will offer you a better experience in the mekoro than mine did in July. I'll be staying at Savuti this July so I certainly hope it's as awesome as it looks with the various hides for watching elies and other wildlife. I also agree with Kavey, it'll be interesting to see how your itinerary unfolds this time!
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May 23rd, 2005, 06:53 PM
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one more comment - although technically in the corner of the Kalahari desert, Jack's camp features the salt pans and is not typical of the Kalahari in the same way as say, the Deception Valley Lodge. Look at Eyes on Africa's map:

http://www.eyesonafrica.net/african-...ana-safari.htm
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May 23rd, 2005, 07:11 PM
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Lin,

Given my recent history, I have decided not to plan any holidays around possible marathons!

So, if I move up my itinerary a couple nights, I would still be able to start out with Jacks Camp. Sorry about accidentally posting that photo...I had no idea.

As far as how my itinerary will unfold...I myself am very interested!

But, I do think that I will stick with Wilderness Safaris for the entire stay. One day I will give Kwando a try, but when I do, it will likely be exclusively at Kwando camps. Unfortunately, Kwando is not very talented in the PR department while Wilderness Safaris does a great job with their monthly updates, etc.

I am just going to have to keep those monthly payments flowing to Taga Safaris, and I guess I will always have something on the horizon that way! The SAFARI ROTH IRA.
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May 23rd, 2005, 07:20 PM
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Wow...Deception Valley Lodge sure looks interesting! Perhaps...

Jacks Camp (2)
Deception Valley (2)
Duma Tau or Savuti (3)
Tubu Tree (3)
Little Mombo (3)

Now I am really confused!!!

http://www.islandsinafrica.com/decepactivities.aspx

Has anybody here been to Deception Valley Lodge???????????
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May 24th, 2005, 01:13 AM
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Roccco,

does jacks camp being fully booked also include San Camp?
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May 24th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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Lin
 
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Rocco, It was recommended to me last year that a 3 night stay at Jack's was needed for the most nteresting 'events' to unfold. However you can have your travel agent put in a special request that you get to do 'everything' during a 2 night stay (that's what we did, and it wasn't guaranteed but we were able to participate in all activities). Maybe this no longer applies but you might want to check on it. I also had a quick look at the Wilderness website and yes, you would hit the end of the zebra migration at Jack's. The camp itself is not on the salt pan, it's in a grassland area where you can watch game from your front porch. If you go, you might want to rent or buy the film "Zebra: Patterns in the Grass" by the Jouberts, which is all about the only migration in Botswana. Walks with the San people are done at both DVL and Jack's Camp. These walks are not about game viewing but about flora and the old San hunting skills. I also would be very curious to hear from a person who has actually stayed at DVL. Maybe you could start a new thread on it - 'Botswana itinerary' might not catch the right eye!
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May 24th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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Rocco

Are you able to arrive JNB and transfer to Maun the same day?
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May 24th, 2005, 08:54 PM
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Napamatt,

There is a South African Air flight that arrives in Joburg by about 7:30AM for my September visit, so I am assuming that I will also be able to get myself into Joburg early enough to connect to Maun for an April visit.


Lin,

I will save Deception Valley for another time. I was thinking the same thing...3 nights at Jacks Camp would be preferable.

I have designed my DREAM ITINERARY! It includes running the Paris Marathon on April 09th, 4 days after my 35th birthday...I am hoping that turning 35 will be motivation enough for me to start training.

April 07th - Depart LAX to LHR to CDG.

April 08th - Arrive CDG. 3 nights at King George V Four Seasons, Paris.

April 09th - Paris Marathon

April 10th - Recover for a day in Paris

April 11th - CDG - LHR and overnight flight to JNB

April 12th - Early morning arrival in JNB, connecting to Maun flight. Air transfer to Jacks Camp, 3 nights. Part of the reason for choosing these dates at Jacks Camp is that there will be a full moon on April 13th, and I think I would enjoy that little surprise under a full moon!

April 15th - Transfer to Duma Tau in Linyanti for 3 nights

April 18th - Transfer to Tubu Tree in Jao concession for 3 nights

April 21st - Transfer to Little Mombo in Moremi (Chiefs Island to be exact) for 3 nights

April 24th - Transfer to Makalolo Plains in Hwange, Zimbabwe for 3 nights, hopefully sneaking in a visit to Victoria Falls for a couple hours either on the way over or the way back

April 27th - Transfer to Joburg. Overnight flight returning to London.

April 28th - Early morning arrival in London. Enjoy 2 nights at 5* Hotel TBD (Friday and Saturday) in London. Kavey...block off Saturday night for me!

April 30th - Depart LHR to LAX. Same day arrival.

SUMMARY

King George V Four Seasons, Paris (3)
Jacks Camp (3)
Duma Tau (3)
Tubu Tree (3)
Little Mombo (3)
Makalolo Plains (3)
London (2)

---I just don't see another Botswanan camp that I would like to visit more than Makalolo Plains

The only other consideration would be to mix Wilderness Safaris and Kwando by doing this itinerary which would basically hit the same areas:

Paris (3)
Jacks Camp (3)
Kwando Lebala (3)
Tubu Tree (3)
Kwando Kwara (3) *I would sacrifice Makalolo Plains
Little Mombo (3)
London (2)

---I do kind of like this itinerary a bit more. I am still hitting the best of the Wilderness Safaris camps in Jacks Camp, Tubu Tree and Little Mombo, while also visiting a couple very highly regarded Kwando camps. The price difference would be negligible...perhaps I would save $300 pp maximum, but it would keep me from traveling all the way to Hwange.

The other WS camps just don't turn me on that much. Chitabe, Vumbura, etc. The notable camp missing is Savuti, but it is not far from either Duma Tau or Lebala, so I do think I would get similar experiences at each of these two camps.

The main decision to make is whether or not I want to include Makalolo Plains. This is really at the top of my list but it is obviously out of the way from the other camps.


Peter Piper,

I believe WS lists San Camp and Jacks Camp separately. I would say that April 2006 is already about 25% booked for Wilderness Safaris, so for anybody planning a visit around this time, there is not too much more time to waste.
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May 24th, 2005, 09:30 PM
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By the way, if you are dealing with a good agent, the agent should have no trouble in e-mailing you a copy of the current availability for next year (or this year) at Wilderness Safaris.

Taga Safaris sent this over to me unsolicited once I expressed a remote interest in visiting Botswana next April. If anyone is interested, send Taga Safaris an e-mail and I am sure they would be willing to send you a copy of the current inventory at Wilderness Safaris if you specify your desired month of travel.

www.tagasafaris.co.za

I do hope that with April it will not be TOO hot during the day, while still being comfortable at night. The flora may not be in its most favorable state for the very best gameviewing, but I do believe that there will still be excellent wildlife sightings.

I wonder if I can ride around at night on the all terrain vehicle at Jacks Camp under the illumination of only the full moon!
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May 24th, 2005, 10:47 PM
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Have I missed something about Jacks camp - whats the refernce to the bed and "ask to be included in ALL activities" mean?
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May 25th, 2005, 04:20 AM
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Rocco, something to keep in mind connecting from J'burg to Maun - there were quite a few people on our flight who had just arrived on overseas flights (London mostly) whose luggage did not make it onto the Maun flight (and that despite the delay of the Maun departure). Sefofane, the air charters Wilderness works with, was great about working with them, but it ended up costing most of those people a good part of their "first day in camp" waiting for their bags to arrive on the next flight from J'burg via Gabs.

We found staying overnight in Sandton (suburb of J'burg) before and after our safari made for a lot less stress because we did not have to worry about any flight delays impacting our onward connections.

We had to stay in J'burg overnight anyway on the inbound leg of the trip because of the flight schedules, and opted to do so at the tail end of the trip as well. As it turned out, the only flight from Livingstone back to J'burg was delayed about 3 hours. That would have meant we would have either missed our international flight back to the States or it would have been a very, very close call.

Just some thoughts to consider in your planning.
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May 25th, 2005, 05:09 AM
  #19
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Eenusa,

Thanks for the feedback. I am chickening out of 15 nights on safari, as I do think that is a lot for my wife to digest. If I were to eliminate one camp and just spend a total of 12 nights on safari, it would allow me to do the following:

King George V Four Seasons, Paris (3)
Westcliff, Johannesburg (1)
Jacks Camp (3)
Duma Tau (3)
Tubu Tree (3)
Little Mombo (3)
Westcliff (1)
London (3) Given the prices of the best hotels I have seen, I may just want to see what I can grab on Luxury Link for my stay here. While the King George V Four Seasons is obviously very expensive, there is no single hotel in London that stands out the same way for me.

I do think that my wife will appreciate spending 6 nights in Europe and the 2 nights at the Westcliff will definitely help us recover from all the traveling.

I know this is stupid, but I am just hopeful that the gameviewing and activities will measure up to or surpass what I have experienced in the past. It will be a different experience as I am so used to the presence of a major river, be it the Luangwa River or the Zambezi River.

Jacks Camp is definitely becoming a fixture in my schedule, as it really does seem like a fascinating place and I know that my wife would love riding around on those ATV's (not that this is something that we have ever done at home, but it would be fun in the same way that renting a scooter while in Mykonos was).

Tubu Tree looks absolutely beautiful and I am heavily leaning towards Duma Tau since it is closer to water than Savuti.
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May 25th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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Who thinks it would be better to combine my London & Paris stays, rather than breaking them up at the beginning and end of the trip?

My wife and I were pretty beat up after spending 11 days in Italy and then going to Zambia for 11 days, but Italy was a horrible guided tour...you know the kind...if this is Tuesday, this must be Florence type of tour. We must have spent more time on the bus than we did walking around and this was a highly regarded Globus tour...okay, so it wasn't Maupintour, but a tour is a tour is a tour.

If I did do Europe at the end, it would look like this, as I would save Europe for the end to put myself closer to home for the return home:

Westcliff (1)
Jacks Camp (3)
Duma Tau (3)
Tubu Tree (3)
Little Mombo (3)
Mediterranean Cruise on RSSC, Seabourn or similar (7)

Wouldn't that be awesome? I mean the King George V Four Seasons and a 5* hotel in London would be about the same price as a nice cruise, so why not?

I have a lot of research left on this one and not much time!
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