Botswana or Elsewhere for Safari?


Mar 12th, 2015, 01:41 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
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Botswana or Elsewhere for Safari?

Hello all,

We (myself, husband, three kids --11, 12, 14) are traveling to Botswana for a month--three weeks to volunteer and another week to travel. We will be in the Gaborone area. I am looking into our options for safari but it seems so expensive in Botswana. I am wondering if someone might give me some advice about where we might easily go outside of Botswana? We are NOT looking for luxury or resort-like accomodations at all. We are not trying to spend NO money, just not over the top. Any advice? We plan to fly from Seattle to Gaborone -- looks like through Heathrow where we may actually get off for another two weeks. We could probably swing it through JNB, too. Thanks!
rwescoto is offline  
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Mar 12th, 2015, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Hi. You never replied to my last round of suggestions on Trip Advisor. It will be easier to assist you if you provide feedback on the budget friendly options already provided. Without the feedback I don't know what you are really looking for.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Mar 12th, 2015, 05:09 PM
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You are short flight to the South Africa Kruger National Park and surrounding reserves. Kruger NP is in itself great. You can rent a car (Avis) and total cost for it, gas, lodging, park fees and meals will cost about $150 day per person.

Adjacent to Kruger NP are reserves of Sabi Sand and Timbavati. In these reserves there are private safari camps, e.g. MalaMala, Kings Camp and several others. Cost will be $400-$800 person per day, all inclusive. Including an open side top vehicle and safari ranger that will get you up close and personal to the wildlife. AMAZING!

regards - tom
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Mar 12th, 2015, 08:27 PM
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In Botswana, we have been self-driving in Moremi, Nxai Pan, Boteti River, and Chobe NP. Rent a 4x4 car with roof tent in Maun, add camping gear, pay your entrance fees in Maun, then just go and enjoy. Campsites are becoming very popular, so you may need to prebook through the park service. Camping is not cheap either. Car will run you about $120 a day, camping is about $50 per person per day plus entrance fee per person per day. If you don't want to self drive there are outfitters in Maun who will take you into parks and do mobile camping. One budget option is through Audi camp and there are many many more. Game in Moremi is fantastic and it's very scenice with swampy and dry area, as well as palms. Also, I would recommend you do a scenic flight from Maun over the Delta. You will see big game from above.
Yes, Kruger is cheaper and much more civilized, meaning less wild, but since you are so close to Moremi and the other parks, I would go there. Get Bradt guide for Botswana and you can read all about its parks and how to get there. We have been twice and will go again in 2016. It is absolutely awesome to find your own lions, especially with kids!
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Mar 12th, 2015, 09:30 PM
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Mashatu in the Tuli Circle in SE Botswana, driving distance from Gabs, might work for you. There are other less expensive options in the Tuli Circle, too that look like lots of fun. Madikwe is right over the border from Gabs in S Africa. Getting to Kruger is easy, and there are affordable options in the private reserves like nDzuti, Gomo Gomo and Arathusa. If you prefer self catering (you could do both all inclusive and self catering - four nights/3 nights), Kruger National Park is outstanding.

You might also ask the people where you are working what might be available. There are likely great places we have never heard of that you only find out about when you're there. Please share if you find out any secrets! Except for a very few in the very expensive reserves, the only rhino in Bots are in the Khama Rhino Sanctuary north of Gabs. I'm a big rhino fan. See them in the wild while you can.

Sounds like a great experience. Please share! Have fun planning. If you have extra time off, spend it in Southern Africa, not London. You can always go to London. Africa is incredibly special.
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Mar 12th, 2015, 10:56 PM
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Hi Rwescoto, my suggestion, as mentioned by a previous poster, is to go to Mashatu Game Reserve which isn’t too far from Gabs. They have a superb little camp called Mashatu Tent and I think this is one of the best value “all inclusive” camps in Southern Africa. Meals, accommodations, and activities with exceptional guiding is included. The great thing too is that Mashatu offers exceptional variety in activities from game drives, walks, photographic hides, mountain biking safaris, horseback safaris, and more. I don’t know if your 11 yr. old may benefit, but they do also have a kids program. I think this is by far the best option for family with active “kids”.

I think doing a self-drive as other posters have mentioned could also be enticing. There is a company called Safari Drive that maybe worth looking into. They offer you fully kitted 4x4 vehicles, make all accommodation/camping reservations for you, provide you with support and everything you need for a successful self-drive. It’s a really nice way of doing a self-drive without most of the hassle associated with planning.

With that said, I think being on safari can make a huge impression on kids of your age. Understanding and interpreting wildlife behavior can only be done with a professional guide and a major key component that you will be missing by doing a self-drive. This is a massive opportunity for your children to walk away with a heightened appreciation for the natural world and staying at a place like Mashatu can deliver this kind of experience. I sincerely think it’s worth the investment.

Kota Tabuchi – Managing Director: Africa – Travel Beyond
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Mar 14th, 2015, 06:32 PM
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My vote would be either Mashatu Tent Camp or a mobile safari in Bots (I've done both twice and wouldn't hesitate to do again).

Kota is correct about the benefit of a professional guide. You will all learn so much about the flora and flauna. I wish my memory was better because I would love to remember everything we were told just about the trees on a walk in Mashatu in 2008. And the kids? - my 20 yr old daughter was just talking about stuff that happened on a trip to MalaMala when she was 11. We also went to Mashatu when she was 14 and she loved it.
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Mar 14th, 2015, 06:52 PM
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I'm not sure about age restrictions at Mashatu, but the kids' programs are only at Main Camp and many of the activities have age restrictions. Ii is one of my favorite places, but don't disregard the less marketed (smaller and less expensive, usually locally owned-operated) camps in Tuli Circle.

Craig - it looks like this poster doesn't follow up.
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Mar 14th, 2015, 07:52 PM
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Christabir, do you know the names of some of those camps int he Tuli area? I looked a couple of years ago and found one but they never responded to email. I haven't looked recently.
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