Botswana Safari Advice

Jun 1st, 2005, 04:49 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 31
Botswana Safari Advice

Planning a safari in Botswana with a friend for June 2006, starting in Maun and ending up in Victoria Falls. We are thinking of going to lodges in different areas, hoping to see Elephants, bird life and game. I have so many questions. Is 6 nights/7 days enough, or will we be shortchanging ourselves? If we do 6 nights/7 days, is it better to stay for 3 nights in 2 lodges in 2 different areas; or to go to 3 lodges and stay 2 nights each? OR, is there some other combination that would be better? For example, should we lengthen our stay to 3 nights in each of 3 places?

We have some proposed itineraries. Any suggestions on the lodges.
1. Kwara Camp 3 nights
Kwando Lebala Camp 3 nights
Muchenje Lodge 3 nights

2. Duma Tau 2-3 nights
Nxabega 2-3 nights
Sandibe or Impalila (in Namibia) 2-3 nights
Which one would be a better spot? Sandibe or Impalia?
Is there any lodge where we really should stay for 3 nights?

poppys is offline  
Jun 1st, 2005, 06:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
I see you've narrowed your options to 2. With a year's head start on planning, there should be no problem with availability, whatever you decide upon.

I always prefer 3 nights to 2 for game-rich areas, such as those in your itinerary. If you can afford 3 nights at 3 locations that would be the best option in my opinion.

Otherwise a 3 night, 2 night, 3 night trip would be good. If you are able to do only 6 nights then I'd do 3 at a land camp, such as Duma Tau or Kwando and 3 at a land/water camp such as Nxabega or Sandibe. My preference is to sit and watch the wildlife and minimize transport time--that's why I like 3 nights over 2.

If you wanted to check out geographic locations or different lodges, then 2 nights at 3 places would suit you better. The Kwando site actually suggests only 2 nights at its various camps.

No matter which option you choose, a week in Botswana followed by the falls will be wonderful.

I am unfamiliar with Impalila and Muchnje.

This August I am planning a return to Duma Tau. Elephants are plentiful in Duma Tau, along with other good game (cats, maybe dogs) and birdlife.

I am aware of CCAfrica's Sandibe and Nxabega camps. Both have good reputations as camps that offer water and land activities. Birding in the delta is wonderful.

Kwara and Kwando would offer water and land options, respectively. If you search this forum for Kwando, there has been quite a bit of discussion favorable and not so favorable.

I know that Wilderness offers a price break for 7 nights or more in their camps and Duma Tau is a Wilderness camp. CCAfrica or Kwando may have a similar setup. So there can be an advantage in sticking with a single company.

With that in mind for the Vic Falls in Zambia: CCAfrica has Matetsi Water Lodge, but it is in Zimbabwe. Wilderness has The River Club. Kwando has Songwe. I never stayed at any of these.

Another way to approach your desire for elephants and birds would be to post a request for the park/camp with the best elephant activity in Botswana or Namibia. Then do a similar request for the best birding. With those results, you could go from there.

Undoubtedly such a request would produce a plea from Rocco to visit Zambia. I might have to agree with him on elephants for South Luangwe or the Lower Zambezi, especially if your trip was later in June.

Otherwise I'd vote for Hwange in Zimbabwe or Chobe and Linyanti (Duma Tau) in Botswana for an elephant capital.

Happy planning.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 1st, 2005, 06:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Also worth noting is the weather in June. Brrrrrr!

I agree with atravelynn that there are more options to consider that would combine nicely with Victoria Falls. Obviously, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi is one such combination, while Hwange and Mana Pools is another such combintation.

Since South Luangwa is the furthest north of any major Southern African wildlife area, it is also the warmest in June. I have never suffered from cold weather for even a single moment while spending the last two June's in South Luangwa.

I would also go as far as suggesting that perhaps your 3 nights in Victoria Falls are best spent at Matetsi Water Lodge which will give you plenty of elephants, bird life and daily trips to Victoria Falls, a 45 minute drive away. Canoeing is available as a daily acitivity and the lodging is very good, although your plunge pool may not get too much use as it will be cooler in June. It is worth advising you that by staying 3 nights at Matetsi (or many other CCAfrica camps, although I believe their Botswanan camps are excluded) that you will get a 4th night free. 4 nights at Matetsi would give you more than enough opportunity to enjoy their game activities while also enjoying the activities available in Victoria Falls.

This would leave 5 nights for, perhaps, the warmer confines of South Luangwa or 5 or hopefully 6 nights in Botswana.

If you were to do your entire 5 night stay in South Luangwa, you would be able to enjoy a luxury lodge like Luangwa River Lodge for a very reasonable price of only $1650 pp for your 5 night stay. Matetsi, meanwhile, would only cost you $1500 pp for a 4 night stay, making a 9 night only $3150 pp plus air/road transfers of about $500 pp, making your total trip only $3650 pp excluding air from Johannesburg.

Others will be able to advise you better on Botswana...I cannot stop thinking of how cold it will be (as will Hwange and even Lower Zambezi).

Also, if you need a lead for a good agent to Zambia or anywhere else in Southern Africa, feel free to e-mail me.
Roccco is offline  
Jun 1st, 2005, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Ooops, I overcharged for Matetsi. It would actually only be $750 pp sharing, with the 4th night free, so a Matetsi Water Lodge (4), Luangwa River Lodge (5) itinerary would only set you back around $2900 per person, and that is including air transfers between Victoria Falls to South Luangwa and back.
Roccco is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,895
We stayed at several Wilderness properties in August and it was only chilly in the early am and at night-the days were perfect. It's a lot of fun to sit around the campfires after dinner to talk, drink, etc. I can highly recommend their camps and especially loved The River Club as the perfect ending to the safari in Botswana.
moremiles is offline  

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