Botswana Operator help please

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Apr 14th, 2013, 10:02 AM
  #1
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Botswana Operator help please

10 of us are planning a trip to the Delta and Chobe, Fall of '14 and I'm having a hard time finding an operator like ADS that planned our trip in TZ from beginning to end. We want tented camps and nicer lodges-lots of elephants and wild dogs.
Does anyone have any operator recommendations that can help us and do a great job?

Thank you in advance for your help

Lisa
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Apr 14th, 2013, 12:17 PM
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I think you might be really happy with Fish Eagle Safaris. They did a wonderful trip for us and can customize. Botswana is a real favorite of mine. Fish Eagle is based in Houston but Bert is originally from South Africa.
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Apr 14th, 2013, 02:20 PM
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I was very happy with Africa Adventure Company - planned my private trip to Botswana and Zimbabwe. Everything went perfectly.
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Apr 14th, 2013, 03:53 PM
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We used Winsto Safari's it was excellent!
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Apr 14th, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Sorry Winston Safari
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Apr 14th, 2013, 06:31 PM
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Hi Lisa,

I have been in the industry for a long time and I have never heard of ADS but that doesn’t mean anything I suppose. It sounds like they did a good job in Tanzania and set a high standard.

OK – first of all, there are many operators that can plan your entire Botswana safari end-to-end and handle all the details. Bert at Fish Eagle Safaris is good and I do know him personally. There are at least 80 safari operators around the USA that would have a similar business model. But, there is a vast difference in the level of service you can get from these various companies so it is always in your best interest to speak to a few. I also know Mark Nolting, the owner of Africa Adventure Company and they are also a good company. Both Fish Eagle and Africa Adventure Company are competitors of my company but I am happy to endorse them.

For booking a Botswana safari, just make sure the company you work presents you with a broad range of product and not just one safari lodge chain. In the end, it is in your best financial interest to stay exclusively within one safari lodge chain on your safari to get long-stay or multi-night discounts. For example, Wilderness Safaris is the largest safari lodge chain in Botswana if measured by total number of lodges or total number of beds. Both the companies mentioned above have a direct contract with Wilderness Safaris so you will be working with a company that buys the lodge at the best price. Wilderness Safaris does not take direct bookings so you must work with an agent.

Ker & Downey has a really nice operation with a really nice circuit and their Shinde Camp was the highest rates camp in Botswana on Trip Advisor in 2012. You should also consider this lodge chain and possible combine it with their Kanana Lodge and another lodge in the Savute to make sure you get the massive herds of elephants that you want. You could even combine it with Chobe Game Lodge. Both Savute Safari Lodge and Chobe Game Lodge are owned by Desert & Delta but Ker & Downey and Desert & Delta create packages to combine their two product lines. Both companies mentioned above will contract directly with these two lodges as well and the lodges do not take direct bookings.

In my experience the best wild dog viewing is going to be at Mombo, on the Chitabe Concession, or in the Linyanti or Kwando area. The camps associated with these areas are:
Mombo Camp & Little Mombo – Wilderness Safaris
Sandibe - &Beyond
Chitabe Camp, Chitabe Ledibe – Wilderness Safaris
Kings Pool, Savuti Safari Lodge, and Duma Tau – all on Wilderness Safaris Linyanti concession.
Kwando’s Kwara concession.

I hope this is a good start. Where do you live? I may be able to suggest a good agent you can meet face-to-face. If you have further and more specific questions just ask on this forum!

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
2011 & 2012 Travel & Leisure A-List agent for Botswana and Zimbabwe
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Apr 15th, 2013, 06:27 AM
  #7
 
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Craig,

Google Africa Dream Safaris ....... they do a lot of work with the Cheetah conservation project in the serengeti.

Cheers
Hari
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Apr 15th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Hi Hari - thanks! I found them. Looks like ADS is a Tanzania specialist firm like Thomsons in Boston.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Apr 16th, 2013, 01:36 AM
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No worries, Craig.

PS: I think you meant Kwando Lagoon being good for dogs - after all, they've denned very near camp every single year except 2006.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 03:18 AM
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Thanks Hari - I did indeed mean lagoon. Thanks. Craig
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Apr 16th, 2013, 09:27 AM
  #11
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Thank you all for your responses, especially Craig. Glad you found out what ADS is . Can't recommend them highly enough. If going to TZ
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