Botswana - Linyanti vs. Okavango

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May 11th, 2005, 03:01 PM
  #1
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Botswana - Linyanti vs. Okavango

I need some advice please. We are scheduled for a multi country safari in Sept / Oct and in Botswana, only currently scheduled to visit the Linyanti area.

Any arguments for visiting the Okavango Delta instead?

Here's the itinerary:

Simbambili (3 nights)
JIA Holiday Inn (1 night)
Kasaka River Lodge (5 nights)
Royal Livingstone Hotel (2 nights)
DumaTau (3 nights)
Heinitzburg Hotel Windhoek (1 night)
Damaraland Camp (2 nights)

Thanks in advance,

Cindy
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May 11th, 2005, 03:51 PM
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Nice itinerary that will give you some time in several countries.

I'll be in Duma Tau for a repeat visit in August, so I certainly agree with your choice.

The Okavango Delta is an important geographic feature in Botswana and one of the largest fresh water swamps in the world. So that alone may merit a visit.

The water camps allow mekoro trips, a unique activity. Although you can do water activities at other camps, just not usually mekoro poling. Usually the water camps do not have the abundance of big game that Linyanti would have.

The Moremi area of the Okavango Delta, especially Chief's Isand has some of the best big game viewing anywhere, with a chance of lots of cats.

If you can add the delta, I think you would enjoy it. But I wouldn't necessarily tell you to swap Linyanti for the Okavango.
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May 11th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Just re-read my response and think I shortchanged the Okavango Delta. Don't want it to look like I think its good for just for a novel boat ride.

Birding there is wonderful. You can see the rare water-dwelling antelope, the sitatunga. Elephants, buffalo and hippos are also frequently seen. The isolation and vastness you can experience at the water camps is amazing. You can also do some walking on land.

I've only stayed at Xepa, a semi-permanent water camp, but enjoyed my stay. I am planning a return to Little Vumbura, a water camp which also offers land activities.

Some other camps that offer land and water activities are Vumbura (even more land than Little Vumbura), Jacana, and Tubu Tree. I've seen glowing reviews of all of these, especially Jacana and Tubu Tree.


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May 12th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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i'm not familiar with the other places you've chosen, but i can tell you we were sorely disappointed with the royal livingstone. one night would be fine there. have drinks on their deck by the falls and dinner outdoors and move on.

the okavango delta was incredible. we had leopards and lions and even rhinos to ourselves to view at our leisure.

one game drive we had was 6 hours long, just watching and enjoying every animal with no rush.

one camp we were the only guests so every drive was private, every meal romatic. maybe it is like this elsewhere others can let you know.

have fun!

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May 12th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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We spent 3 nights in Savuti which is on the Chobe side of the Linyanti area...

It was a nice camp and we had some good cheetah experiences plus excellent wild dog ones. Water levels meant the elephant numbers weren't as high as usual for the time of year but... lots of smaller mammals and hooved animals.

But I wouldn't personally choose this area over the Okavango Delta if I could only do one.

The delta is one of the natural wonders of the world (IMO) and an incredible richness of animals, birds, flora and scenery too. It would be a shame to visit Botswana without experiencing it. If you visit and are able to squeeze in only one camp try and make it one that offers good land and water activities both. Tubu Tree springs to mind.

I don't know that I'd try and cover quite so many countries myself given the number of nights you have as you'll end up wanting to revisit each country anyways.

With 17 nights I'd look at combining two countries (if I were planning the trip for a friend who'd not been) suggesting 7 days in each and then possibly add-on 2-3 nights in Victoria Falls if they're keen on keeping that in.



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May 12th, 2005, 06:59 PM
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Couple more thoughts...

If you wanted to visit the area Botswana is most typically noted for, then you'd want the Okavango. If you want the most big game bang for your buck in Botswana, Duma Tau is a good candidate, and also offers the possibility of wild dogs. Although getting into October the chance of dogs is less. You can also do some walking, viewing from hides/blinds, a small motorboat safari, and night drives at Duma Tau.

Chief's Island camps in the Moremi area of the Delta, which can offer exceptional game viewing-- including the Big 5--are more expensive than Duma Tau.

Some of the Delta water camps are not more expensive than Duma Tau and typically offer some walking, night drives at some, and of course the mekoroing.

Your stops in the other countries do seem to offer the quintessential safari experience found exclusively in that country--

SA-Sabi Sands is a great stop for one visit to experience th tremendous gameviewing that SA is famous for.

Zambia-You'll get to do what Zambia is noted for: walking safaris, canoeing on the Zambezi, and day & night drives. And 5 days worth! You're also seeing Victoria Falls, a sight that should not be missed.

Namibia-Either the Skeleton Coast, which you are seeing, or Sossuvlei are good one stops for experiencing the desert of Namibia. (I've not been there.)

Botswana-In keeping with your safari highlight of the country theme, the Okavango would fit the bill. However Linyanti is the second biggest swamp/marsh in the country with solid game, and would offer you a great experience.

Whatever you decide on, have a great safari. Please report back. I'm especially interested in Damarland.




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May 13th, 2005, 08:21 AM
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I would have been tempted to do one night at Vic Falls, then 2 in Lunyanti and 2 in the Delta. Or better still 4 in Zambia, 1 Vic Falls, 2 Linyanti, 3 Delta.
But for me any night in Africa not on safari is a total waste of time.
The Delta is beautiful though hot in October, we were at Chiefs in October 03 and had a great time.
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May 13th, 2005, 08:32 AM
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We are getting ready to leave for our trip to Southern Africa in 5 weeks. We debated where to go in Botswana and after everything I read (including a wonderful article in the December issue of National Geographic) we decided that we definitely needed to see the Okavanga Delta. Based on everything I have read here, I think that was a good choice. We will do game viewing in Sabi Sands and then do the Delta when in Botswana (also going to Cape Town and Vic Falls). We are staying in one of the CCAfrica camps in the Delta - Nxabega. It certainly looks like a nice one. Guess we'll find out. Don't know how locked in you are yet to your itinerary, but since kerikeri had a not so good experience at the Royal Livingstone, would you consider someplace else? We are staying at Ilala Lodge which I mentioned on another thread and got some very positive comments on it. It is within walking distance of the falls and looks wonderful. My parents will actually celebrate their 51st anniversary there!
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May 13th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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jcasale, If an African safari is the celebration for the 51st anniversary, I wonder what extravagant celebration was had for the golden 50th? A great way to celebrate any anniversary in my book!

I've stayed at Ilala and found it very nice and an extremely easy walk to the falls. It was not real fancy but did have buffalo grazing on the grounds at night that could be viewed from your window.

For Cindymac, Ilala would be less costly, but would require crossing another border to Zimbabwe.

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May 13th, 2005, 11:25 AM
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You are probably right about not wanting cross yet another border.

Yes, Africa is a great way to spend a 51st anniversary. It was actually just a coincidence of scheduling (based on when school gets out for me) that we will be there, but what a perfect way. The 50th was a big tent party on their front lawn with the rain pouring down ! The best part of this trip will be the fact that it is their last continent to visit. They have been to every other one - including Antarctica. What a great accomplishment for us to be able to celebrate with them! Glad to hare of your good experiences with Ilala Lodge. I'm getting very anxious to be there.
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May 13th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Thanks to all for your input.

jcasale: Despite not having been to Africa yet, I am already agreeing with your comment about nights not spent on safari. We have confirmed the itinerary with Taga Safaris so I'm not sure how flexible it is at this point, but I'll check. I am a little concerned about Zimbabwe. We had initially wanted to stay at Matesi Water Lodge but were steered away from it, understandably.

I will check out Ilala Lodge. Thanks!

kerikeri: What was is about the Royal Livingstone that was disappointing?

atravelynn: Thank for the note about the possibility of wild dogs. I'll keeo that in mind.
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May 13th, 2005, 05:11 PM
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I checked out some Royal Livingstone comments because I wanted to know what others thought about it too. Here are some results.

I could not always pick up the link so just put in the title, which could be searched for and found.

Clematis mentioned staying at RL but cautioned to lock doors so monkeys donít enter from balconies.
Link:Fodors.com > Travel Talk > Africa & the Middle East > Zambia oct 10-21

In a later post (River Club vs. Royal Livingston?) she was very positive calling it beautiful, 5 star, and recounting hammocks, gourmet dinner on the patio and sundowners on the deck. Also recommended a river cruise.

azmngal used the words fabulous and magical to describe the safari that included RL. Posted under title: So Africa Trip Report

Fil mentioned staying at RL, calling it very nice and 5 star in a post titled, Best Value in Victoria Falls?

Anissrob gave a poor report to RL calling the rooms small and buggy and giving the staff credit, but saying they did not have it right. The falls were also not in full flow. Post titled: Trip Report - South Africa, Botswana, Zambia

Kerikeri posted trip report: sa, botswana, vic falls and stated RL was average and she had intestinal problems there.

Backtoafrica said he would not stay at RL, favoring Sussi & Chuma instead. Post: safari nights chobe vs livingstone

Post: Trip Report - Botswana and Victoria Falls
jrruf calls RL regal and recounts a vervet monkey at tea time.

Post: River Club vs. Royal Livingston? Dottie said RL was beautiful, on the river, very close to the falls and air conditioned.

If you wished to stay out of Zimbabwe, where Ilala is, there is also The River Club, a Wilderness property, in Zambia.
Also in Zambia, Sussi & Chuma got some good comments.
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May 14th, 2005, 10:08 AM
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I highly recommend the River Club at V.Falls. The unique chalets are completely open to the Zambezi and breakfast and lunch buffets are taken on the banks of the river in a beautiful setting with a pod of hippos usually right nearby. We celebrated our 25th anniv. in Africa(with our teen son) and the RC was the perfect ending to our Cape Town/Botswana itinerary. Make sure you take the helicopter ride over the falls and the evening Zambezi cruise.
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May 15th, 2005, 04:35 AM
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Sussi & Chuma can be hit and miss I think. We enjoyed our stay there last July, but mostly I think because we had fun on our activities - some of which were offered by S&C, others that weren't. Except for one other couple, we were the only ones there. We had no problems with our room, although the other couple had no hot water for two days. The food was not the greatest (mostly bland) - and this despite the fact owners were also there for board meetings. If we were to return to the Vic Falls area for another visit, we would look for a different property.
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May 16th, 2005, 06:16 PM
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cindymac, The Okavango Delta is one of the earth's most fragile ecosystems and the land itself is fantastically gorgeous as you will see when you fly over it. There are wild dogs in the Delta camps - we saw them at Chitabe. I have also been to the Linyati area and although the camps are great, I think you will find similar experiences in some of your other camps - the dry savannah type of thing. I would definitely vote for the delta. I also agree with Kavey that your itinerary, although very exciting, might be a bit too much travel for the time period. Have you checked into flight times? This summer I tried to plan a trip to Namibia then Zambia but decided I did not want to lose one full day of air travel between the two countries. Maybe you have a private plane/pilot in which case this wouldn't matter. Just something to think about!
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May 22nd, 2005, 08:16 AM
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Just in case you are still deliberating...

The African Wildlife Foundation just published its "Big 5 Destinations" in Africa in their newsletter.

The first one listed was the Okavango Delta.

The others, in case anyone is interested were:

Samburu, Kenya
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Loango, Gabon
Queen Elizabeth, Uganda
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May 22nd, 2005, 04:52 PM
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hi cindymac-

my apologies for not seeing your direct question sooner.

the royal livingstone is selling hat it cannot deliver. it is not a five star hotel. you do not have a butler. there are more insects in the ground floor rooms than any tented safari camp in all of botswana.

the meals made me sick (all eaten at hotel, no illness prior in 3 weeks of africa travels...all better once we left).

it is convenient, but don;t expect something more exotic than you can find in your home town, except for the ok setting and the charming monkeys.

i would select a nice upscale camp like river club or sussi and choma if i were to do it again.
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May 23rd, 2005, 09:59 PM
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Kerikeri,

Thanks for the advice. Do you have any idea what the difference in price would be between Royal Livingstone and somewhere like River Club or Sussi / Chuma?

Not sure if I can change lodging at this point but I'd like to look into it if possible.

Thanks again!

Cindy
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May 24th, 2005, 12:01 PM
  #19
Lin
 
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cindymac, My advice is to skip Sussi & Chuma - extremely expensive for what you get. If you would like more detail about my stay, email me at [email protected]. Have you considered the Tongabezi Lodge? I'll be staying there this summer so can't give you a review.
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Jun 16th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Lin:

I go to tongabezi next year - would love your comments to cindymac to include your observations.

Canechick
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