Botswana safari

Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 5
Botswana safari

I am planning a Botswana safari in mid July. I have been offered the option of doing a 6 night safari with Orient Express with 2 nights in each of the three OE properties (Khwai River Lodge, Eagle Island and Savute Elephant Camp). Another option is to spend 2 nights in Mombo, 2 nights in Jao and 2 nights in whatever classic Wilderness Safari camp is available (since availability is a big problem this late in the game). Even though the latter is obviously more desirable, I am wondering if it is worthwhile to pay DOUBLE the price for the second option. For some reason Orient Express has a special package if you stay with them for all 6 nights and its shoulder season is relatively late and I can get a lot better price. Based on my research through different forums, it seems to be the concensus that game viewing is lot better in the Wilderness Safari camps and OE camps are more luxury/food rather than game drives. My question is during that time of the year, i.e. mid July when game is fairly abundant around there, does it make that much of a difference staying in Mombo and Jao versus the OE camps? Is it worth paying double the price? Any input in this regard would be very much appreciated.
travelingmel is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 267
WS has other camps apart from the 6 paw(Mombo,Jao,Kings Pool).
Why don't you look at Chitabe,Little Vumbura,Duma Tau,Selinda or Zibalianja(availability may be an issue).The wildlife will be great and the luxury in off,i think.

I have been at all 3 Orient Express and are very luxurious,nice camps but a little to big and you may feel wildlife come second to luxury.I don't want that,so depends what you want.Even having a private vehicle i felt sometimes too tight to meals schedules,sundowners stops or morning time departs.

I have 2 photographic books by Richard Du Toit with amazing wildlife pictures and he was base at Orient Express camps while he took the pictures( ĦĦone year!!) so the animals should be there and July will be a good time(we where there in June)

I am going to Botswana in November to Kwando Lebala,Zibalianja and Little Kwara.

PacoAhedo is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:41 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Thank you so much for your input. Sounds like July should be ok for the OE properties. I know there are other camps but I was curious whether the big "Mombo" experience is worth double the price. Maybe if wildlife is sufficient OE is ok.
travelingmel is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 12:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
You know, that is a really good basic question for all safari camps. And which I don't have an answer for. But I have thought a lot about it.

In one way it is a measure of the quantity/quality of game seen. In another way it is a measure of time spent. And in another way it is a measure of the dollar cost. And then there is always "the luck of the draw".

I think you will have a great time at those OE lodges. I have not been to Mombo. But I have been to Khwai River Lodge in Sept of 2005 for four nights and we liked it. However, let me add this - I have also been to two Robin Pope camps in Zambia, Lil Governors camp in Kenya, and Mala Mala South Africa. They all cost about the same, $500 pppn (like Khwai I think). For my money, I would go back to all/any of these ahead of going back to Khwai River Lodge.

regards - tom

cary999 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Thank you so much for your comments. I think they are very thoughtful and helpful; there are so many variables involved in trying to arrive at the "right" decision, and at the end it may be the luck of the draw what kind of experience I will have. I guess if I am going only once in my lifetime I should opt for the best.
travelingmel is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Is it worth double? I say no for all but Mombo. Mombo is a toss up and to best answer that question, the particular financial situation of the person asking the question must be considered.

If this is once in a lifetime (though we all said that at one time and many of us keep going back) then I'd do Mombo if you possibly can. I would not pay the extra for Jao. The Mombo dollars translate into unique wildlife viewing. The Jao dollars, I think, are more for luxury than high concentrations of wildlife. I've been to Mombo twice, never for Jao.

Along those monetary lines, I did an ANIMAL : DOLLARS ratio that looks like this

Animals viewed - wildebeest in herds - zebra in herds / $ spent

The subtraction of wildebeest and zebra is to take into account the migration, which would skew any results because you can see hundreds of thousands of animals with the migration.

The parks that came out with the highest ratio were (in no order):

Maasai Mara
Ngorngoro Crater
Duba Plains
Chief's Island-Mombo

I'll throw the Sabi Sands into the equation when I return in July.

Of course there is more to the whole experience than this cold, hard number, but it is one factor.
atravelynn is offline  

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