Botswana Itinerary - September 2011

Aug 8th, 2009, 09:26 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 32
Botswana Itinerary - September 2011

Would love expert input on this topic. I'm planning to go to Botswana in early September 2011. Assume 3 locations, 3 nights each, anywhere in Botswana. Quality of wildlife viewing is my one and only priority (which includes quality of the guides, of course). That said, I'd love it if all of the experts here would provide what they believe is the ideal itinerary. Keep in mind, quality of wildlife viewing only.

I've read with interest the responses to Africa_fan's question on the same subject, but that relates to May. Would like to know how your advice would change, if at all, if considering early September instead.

Thanks.
Numbers is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 12:25 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
Hey Numbers,

I have no problem giving you a detailed answer. I read your other posts and I see how hard it can be to extract an exact recomendation from people on this forum. Can you let me know your budget for the nine day safari (once in Botswana)?

Craig Beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 12:26 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
Also, where are you starting from (what airport)?

Craig Beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 01:44 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 32
Craig-

I've checked out the pricing of Wilderness Safaris, Desert & Delta, Kwando, and & Beyond, and can handle pretty much any of them (Abu being the notable exception). Having said that, I don't need a luxurious place to stay and don't want to needlessly throw away money either. Looking for the best locations and guiding, as noted above.

We live in Memphis, and would likely travel on Delta via Atlanta or SAA via JFK to JNB, unless a better option exists that I don't know about. Would likely want to throw in a day or two at Victoria Falls as well (in addition to the nine days).

Appreciate any input you can provide
Numbers is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 01:45 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Bill Given of The Wild Source (Predator Biologist) has put together a Botswana itinerary for me for September 2009 using Footsteps in Africa's fly camps and Mapula. We also have a couple of days on the Ichobezi safariboat on the Chobe and fly between all the locations.

3 nights - Xakanaxa Fly Camp
3 nights - Mapula Lodge
3 nights - Savuti Fly Camp
2 nights - Ichobezi Safariboat

I've also seen a proposal he did for 9 nights with all fly camps, replacing Mapula with Khwai Fly Camp.

Our main priority is the wildlife. I've "been there, done that" at the Wilderness Safaris and Kwando camps. The fly camps are more affordable and should have great game viewing. If your budget is somewhere south of $5,000, consider these options.
ShayTay is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 03:09 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 171
Numbers,

We have been to Botswana in September as well as other months. Choose one camp in the Linyanti, I would suggest Savuti or Duma Tau. The area that they game drive overlaps. I would choose one camp in the Delta either Little Vumbura, Kwetsani or Tubu Tree, the latter is excellent for leopard. The other camp I would select would be Mombo if the budget allows or Chitabe. Both of these are great camps with excellent game viewing. Wilderness Safaris classic camps will give you a first class experience and when you compare the prices to Kwando and & beyond they will be very close. If Wilderness is in the budget you will not be disappointed. I am not a travel agent just a pleased regular safari goer.

cj
KIBOKO is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 03:15 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
numbers,

i can't comment on the service and guiding at the camps shaytay recommended because i have not been there. but the locations are all good so the game viewing can't be bad. also, the price for the nine day safari recommended by shaytay would be less per person than a wilderness safaris option.

i actually lived in memphis as a naval officer from 2001-2002. i had a one year desk job at millington inbetween my two submarine tours. i miss bellevue baptist which, as you know, has two interstae exits just for the congregation! i also miss the redbird games.

back to your safari:

here is what i suggest:
day 1 depart mem. fly to atl. depart atl.
day 2 land JNB. overnight at peermont mondior.
day 3/4/5 fly to maun. charter 15 min to chitabe camp for three nights.
day 6/7/8 30 min charter to little vumbura for three nights.
day 9/10/11 30 min charter to duma tau or savuti for three nights.
day 12/13 45min + 15min charter flight to victoria falls for two nights. stay at the vic falls hotel.
day 14 fly home via jnb.
day 15 arrive mem.

i do not recommend zambia in september. most likely, it will be bone dry on that side. over the past few years, i have sent many clients to zambia in september because they were afraid to go to zimbabwe. it was always bone dry and they always ended up arranging a tour of the zimbabwe side once in zambia.

IMO without going to Mombo Camp this itinerary gives you the best overall game viewing available in botswana in september of any year. also, the camps are in geographic order to minimize flying. the cost of the above should be around $9k-$10k per person round trip from Johannesburg.

craig beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:40 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 32
Craig-

Thanks for the input. If we could afford Mombo, I gather you would recommend that? Would that be in place of Chibate? Any idea of roughly how much that would add to the cost? Finally, although much can change in two years, I'd be interested in how tourists are faring in Zimbabwe these days given all the upheaval there.

We were brought up in the northeast and ended up in Memphis due to a job change, but have been here 15 years and love it. If you ever find your way back, send me a PM - would love to meet you.

ShayTay, I'm not sure I understand what a "fly camp" is. Could you elaborate a bit and describe the nature of the experience?

Thanks so much.
Numbers is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 07:12 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
Numbers,

I would highly recommend Mombo Camp if it is in your budget. The recommended sell price (RSP) for Mombo Camp in high season is $1,600 per person per night. Classic camps like Chitabe are $900 pppn. So, Mombo is about $700 more pppn. Agents/operators that have contracts with Wilderness Safaris are not allowed to post any price other than RSP on travel forums so take this as general guidelines. Prices for 2011 will likely be a fraction higher. Keep in mind, if you stay more than seven days, the discount (retroactive to day one) is about 15%. But, you also need to include the cost of charter flights. It is all sold as one package.

I HIGHLY recommend Zimbabwe especially in September. Hwange National Park (NP) (Little Makalolo) and Mana Pools NP (Ruckomechi) would be fantastic. The price would be about half the cost of the same # nights in Botswana. You could also include time at Victoria Falls and maybe visit South Luangwe or Kafue in Zambia on the same trip. Or, you could take the Rovos Rail for two days from Victoria Falls back to Johannesburg to go home.

The political situation in Zimbabwe helped create the photo-safari business in Botswana. Zimbabwe is sort of the "orignal" Botswana!

Craig Beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 07:13 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
how do you send a PM on Fodora??

Craig
Safari_Craig is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 07:26 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
I would not go to Chitabe if you are going to Mombo.

Craig Beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 08:03 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 32
Don't know what got into me there - like many others, I post on various websites - this one does not have a PM feature. My mistake.
Numbers is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 08:04 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,367
Craig
Can you explain this? I am confused about what you are saying. "i do not recommend zambia in september. most likely, it will be bone dry on that side. over the past few years, i have sent many clients to zambia in september because they were afraid to go to zimbabwe. it was always bone dry and they always ended up arranging a tour of the zimbabwe side once in zambia."
luangwablondes is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 03:06 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 730
luangwe - sorry about the confusion!

i meant the zambia side of victoria falls! i HIGHLY recommend zambia for a safari in september. that would be the best month of the year. i am, in fact, going in early october this year.

craig beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 03:25 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,367
I wasn't sure, so I thought I would let you clarify it.
luangwablondes is offline  
Aug 10th, 2009, 09:18 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 159
Numbers,

'Quality of Wildlife viewing' is quite general.

Are you a birder? Want to try and find Wild Dogs? Interested in Buffalo and Lion interactions?

IMHO, there are a number of areas that can deliver excellent game viewing. The quality of your safari mainly revolves around the vehicle situation. A private vehicle gives you the opportunity to indulge your passion, a shared vehicle means compromising with others - sometimes up to $600 per day.

As for quality of guiding, it varies between each company. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly even at Wilderness Safaris. The best way to ensure quality guiding, would be to choose a private guide - another additional cost.

As for Makalolo in Hwange, it is one of my favourite camps, though completely opposite to a Botswana safari. The noise from the water pumped pans can make it all feel a little artificial. There is also no offroading, which will effect the overall quality of gameviewing.

THe diversity of predators is not as great as Botswana, better Cheetah and Dogs. If you are an elephant lover, great place to go. Also, with the Rhino release, they are getting regular sightings too.

Good plains game, especially the rarer sable and Roan.

By September, this place will probably be a dustbowl compared to the Delta.
lbj2 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:53 PM.