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Botswana - Jack's Camp feedback AND question about YOUR favourite Botswana lodges

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Nov 6th, 2002, 10:48 AM
  #21
RnR
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Thanks, Kavey, you did in fact confirm what I was thinking. I am certain the Pans' landscape is simply fantastic, possibly a bit like parts of Namibia. Certainly Jack's seems to offer a unique program and some different advantages. So, I am keeping Jack's on my short list of possibles. Thanks for all your help!!

Alicia - this is a very good thread for helping you decide. I just returned from Mombo in Botswana's Okavango Delta - it is without a doubt an incredible camp. You'll see from Kavey's posts that she loved Little Mombo, which is almost adjoining Mombo. You simply cannot go wrong at these camps. May be the best in all of Botswana.

Other camps with wonderful reps: Little Vumura, Duba Plains and Savuti - lodges recommended by one of our rangers at Mombo, someone whose judgment we respect. If you haven't, do contact a travel agent (e.g., Karell in Coral Gables, Fla., or FishEagle in Houston, Texas) and ske them to send you the latest magazine of Wilderness Safaris - shows their camps for 2002-2003. This is a first class outfit which will handle all of your travel details.

You will love Botswana!!!! Kruger is nice too - I was at MalaMala in October - but Botswana is much more spectacular, with much more game viewing, and an amazing landscape in the Delta.

Again, take a look at Mombo! Expensive, but worth every penny. You fly in from Muan - about 40 minutes. Minimum of three nights I would think.

And look at Wilderness Safaris website.

Have fun - your plan will lead you to an incredible trip.
 
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Nov 6th, 2002, 11:43 PM
  #22
kavey
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Alicia
When we did our fortnight trip last year we came across a number of single travellers - not a lot because of the added expense of the charter flights between camps when booked by just one person and I don't know if the camps have single supplements, but certainly a few.
When you visit camps that are so small and intimate (we chose ones with 10 tents or less) then all guests have a chance to talk over dinner and drives and get to know each other a little.

Little Vumbura was one of the camps we visited and we did love it. The accommodation is lovely, similar to most Wilderness Safari camps (other than Mombo and Jao which are more luxurious) and the central bar/ dining room and pool area was very pretty - the fire pit (where guests are invited to sit with a drink after dinner) was set in amongst the reeds and papyrus waters - the camp is accessible by water only (or was when we went).
We didnt bother with game drives (they boat you out to land and drive from there) as we could do these at land activity camps but did a couple of powerboat trips (included are first ever fishing attempt with the patient and humourous Kit) and great mekoro rides - a mokoro is the traditional canoe used in the Delta to travel the waterways.
The canoes here are plastic copies - the trees traditionally used cannot sustain the creation of the volume of canoes tourism in the area now demands and Wilderness Safaris are committed to conservation.
Out itinerary on that trip was as follows:
Wolwedans Dune Lodge (Namibia) - 2 nts
Movenpick Sossusvlei Lodge - 2 nts (should have stuck with Wilderness Safari property)
Damaraland Camp - 2 nts
Little Mombo - 4 nts
Little Vumbura - 2nts
Chitabe Trails - 2 nts (I would miss this camp if I did it again)

Kavey
 
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Nov 6th, 2002, 11:44 PM
  #23
kavey
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that should read "including our very first fishing..."

Dangers of multitasking!
 
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Nov 11th, 2002, 07:42 AM
  #24
kavey
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topping for Alicia and for me!

Kavey
 
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Nov 12th, 2002, 08:17 PM
  #25
Sheila
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Thank you very much for the suggestions (on 11/6), Kavey. Have you had the chance to consider Kaekohimba safaris instead of the Wilderness Safaris fly-in to the Skeleton coast camp. Kaekohimba is less than 1/2 the price and supposedly it is good (Brandt and Lonely planet recommend it at least). I tried to contact them by email and haven't heard anything yet. If you've heard anything about this operation I would be interested. I can't quite stomach the $2500 per person or so for just four or five days with Wilderness (esp. since we're going on a pricey wildlife safari afterwards). Thank you!
 
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Nov 13th, 2002, 03:49 AM
  #26
kavey
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Sheila
I have never come across Kaekohimba safaris and can't find anything on the web but will ask my agent about it when I next speak to him.
Thanks for the heads up.
Kavey
 
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Nov 13th, 2002, 06:22 AM
  #27
RnR
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Wilderness Safaris is certainly not inexpensive, but $2500 pp for five days is not that out of sight compared with what they charge for 5 and 6 paw places - their code for level of luxury. Can you indicate what the price includes, such as your flight on charter aircraft, reps meeting you, etc. It's a rather long distance to travel - that price might not be that bad, depending on what is included.
 
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Nov 13th, 2002, 09:04 AM
  #28
Sheila
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Hello. Here's the website for Kaokohimba:
http://www.natron.net/tour/kaoko/himbad.htm

RnR, yes it's true that the Wilderness Safaris trip includes a flight, etc. I've used Wilderness Safaris before to Botswana and was very happy with our trip. Nothing against them, but I am looking for a more inexpensive add-on to our already expensive trip.

And here's what Bradt's guidebook says:

Kaokohimba Safaris PO Box 11580, Windhoek

Kaokohimba Safaris started up in 1990 and are certainly a contender for the area’s best operation. They don’t organise tours anywhere else, and the company’s founder, Koos Verwey, conducts all the tours himself. Importantly, they are also involved in positive local community projects, and you probably won’t find anyone who knows this area better. In fact, Koos is often said to care more for the Himba people than he does for the difficult guests on his safaris.

Kaokohimba’s base is their Camp Syncro, at the northern end of the Marienfluss, east of the Hartmann Mountains. Their trips are active, though not necessarily strenuous. If you want to sit back passively and just watch, then these are not for you. They are all fly-in trips, and vary from two nights exploring the Marienfluss and Epupa, for around N$3,560 per person (for a minimum of four people), to six nights covering the Namib in the western Kaokoveld, Marienfluss, Hartmann Valley and the Kunene for N$6,930 per person (minimum of four). There are also trips lasting twelve days, which include donkey-treks led by Himba guides into the most remote corners of the Kaokoveld.

 
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Nov 13th, 2002, 12:10 PM
  #29
RnR
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If you're interested in more quotes, can suggest these agents in SA: [email protected], and [email protected]. I know they both handle Botswana, assume Namibia and others as well. Have used beverley - reliable. Both have been very responsive via email. Did you try Karell in Coral gables, FL, or FishEagles in Houston, TX? Not sure how much time you have for your plans. Hope this helps a bit.
 
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Nov 13th, 2002, 12:13 PM
  #30
RnR
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Shelia, we're working on our Botswana trip for '04 right now - lets stay in touch. Let me know what you finally decide - always interested in what folks do. Ours will probably be an all-Botswana. The we'll declare bankrupty!
 
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Nov 13th, 2002, 12:40 PM
  #31
Sheila
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Dear RnR (and others!),

If you're interested in a camping safari, I would recommend Wilderness Safari's Mopane. The same guides lead the Mopane as lead the more expensive Jacana (we LOVED our guide Pilot!). I think this is the way to go--camping out!--in order to get the real Africa experience. I'm convinced that this Mopane trip is one of the best values in Southern Africa. My husband and I loved it.
For something more upscale, but still a real wildlife experience, try Robin Pope's walking safaris in Zambia. That's what we're doing next summer. I'll let you know how it is--but I'm convinced that it's one of the best operations in the region. Good luck!
 
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Nov 14th, 2002, 12:22 AM
  #32
kavey
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Sheila
Thanks for that information - I am looking into it.
My TA is actually Chris McIntyre of Sunvil Africa - and he is the author of the Bradt guide to Namibia that you quote from, so it may be that the Himba experience suggested by Sunvil to me briefly via email(and which I haven't yet had the chance to talk to him about in any detail) is actually this very trip you mention with Kaokohimba Safaris!
Kavey
 
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Nov 14th, 2002, 01:13 AM
  #33
kav
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Actually now I put my brain in gear I recall the email was refering to Tsumkwe so it wasn't Kaokohimba but I am going to ask the TA about it.
Right now they are in the middle of some travel expo and so I've arranged to talk to Chris next week... so no news from me till then.
Kav
 
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Nov 14th, 2002, 07:42 AM
  #34
RnR
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Hi, Sheila and Kavey -

Shelia, your guide was Pilot Manga, I believe - listed in WS's brochure. Your suggestions sound terrific, but because we are travelling with a couple from the UK (Oxford area) we've had to plan a bit softer.

They called me today, and we've moved ahead with our booking, for September 2004.

This is what we've decided: 3 nights at Savuti, 4 at Duba Plains and 4 for our revisit to Mombo Camp. Our UK friends' agent was not in favor of Jack's Camp, so I'll hold that for our private trip there sometime later.

Thanks very much for all your help. And I'll stay in touch. They are able to give 2003 prices now, and we can expect an incerase when 2004 are available.

Take care.
 
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Nov 14th, 2002, 02:18 PM
  #35
Liz Frazier
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for RNR

Why did you pick Savuti over Duma Tau, or were you referring to the area of the Savui rather than the specific camp? I've notice that Wilderness has 3 or 4 camps in the Linyanti/Savuti area and I was thinking that Duma Tau was quite interesting. Just curious if I missed something. Thanks, Liz
 
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Nov 18th, 2002, 04:35 AM
  #36
leila
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We also did the Mopane safari with Pilot as our guide through Botswana, and we loved our trip, it was very special. Our travel agent was Bert at [email protected], and he was very helpful. We did see great wikldlife in Botswana, but we found the landscape in tanzania to be spectacular.

We were also in Fish River canyon and stayed in a great lodge called Canon Lodge, which was like a village out of lord of the rings, all granite boulders surrounding cabins in a lovely setting.
 
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Nov 18th, 2002, 04:38 AM
  #37
kavey
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Leila
Fish River Canyon is one of the possible destinations for our 2nd trip to namibia and botswana that I keep including, then excluding, then including...
Given that it's a fair distance from other sites and that we're doing a shorter trip (2-3 weeks) of which 2 weeks is in Botswana, do you feel this is a worthy extension to our trip?
We aren't big hikers or particularly fit but do enjoy spectacular scenery.
Kavey
 
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Nov 18th, 2002, 06:13 AM
  #38
RnR
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Liz, I'm happy you mentioned DumaTau - upon rereading the abstract from Wilderness Safaris, it does sound terrific. The reason we selected Savuti Camp - it was recommended by our ranger at Mombo Camp this past October - we respected his knowledge, so relied on his suggestion. But I must say DumaTau sounds every bit as interesting as Savuti Camp. An agent told em this morning that WS will have an updated brochure available in a few weeks. If it's okay, I'll send you an email sometime when I have the new information. Many thanks.
 
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Nov 18th, 2002, 11:09 AM
  #39
Liz Frazier
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Rnr

I'm kind of basing the Duma Tau choice on recent posts here from returnig posters. Some comments about Savuti too. I'm sure you've seen them. Our agent also had info on that. I thought you might have something I missed. I thought I had the latest brochure but maybe not. I tend to use the website more though because it is more frequently updated.
We are amending our trip for next April/May. I'll post it as soon as it is final. Don't ever do that. It is a real problem to ament a confirmed trip. Mombo is already jammed and cannot be switched a day either way. Can you imagine? Plan early, then turn off your computer because you'll want to add and add and add. Haha! Liz
 
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Nov 18th, 2002, 12:50 PM
  #40
RnR
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Liz, your info. about Mombo is correct per our agent - fully booked for 2003, and they already taking reservations galore for 2004. I did not recall whether you'd been to Mombo before - if not, you are in for a treat.
Loved our five days there, and the landscape and animals could not be beat - a thrill a minute, even lying in bed at night and watching hippo and Cape buffalo 50 feet away, hyenas and lions all over the place, even a resident snake we kept bumping into (non-toxic). I am envious you're going so soon - we're on for September 2004. Take care.
 
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