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mariapxcm Jan 22nd, 2006 06:14 AM

Botswana Safari Recommendations
Hi there so much too choose from. I am thinking of going to Botswana for my first time safari and traveling solo. I can travel June thru October. I would love to go for two to three weeks. I am interested in a group travel. What is most important to me is game viewing for photograhy. Looking for middle range. I do not need complete luxury. I have enough miles to get to africa so really looking for recommendations of where to go and tour operators where I will get most bang for my buck.

mkhonzo Jan 22nd, 2006 06:47 AM

I would recommend an overland safari that stops in at some of the luxury lodges.
There have been some favourable comments made on Game trails, which I am happy to endorse as I travelled with them in 04 and had a magic time.

johan_belgium Jan 22nd, 2006 07:06 AM

If you are very serious about your photography I wouldn't recommend to do a group travel for the following reasons:

- you mostly stay at the same place for two days which is too short I think;
- sharing a vehicle with other people can be frustrating sometimes because everyone can have different interests and the guide should try to please everyone.

On the other hand, if you are travelling that time of year to the camps in the private concessions it's gonna be expensive. If you do so, I would choose the following companies: Wilderness safaris/Kwando. To have an idea which price to pay per day, I suggest you have a look at For a two weeks stay, I would stick to the following three camps:

- Chitabe (5 nights) (all the major predators are found here - no water activities here);
- Jacana (3 nights) (water activities - one of the places to see the pel's fishing owl and sitatunga - excellent birding opportunities (wetland species));
- Lebala (6 nights) (excellent place to see cheetah and wild dog).

I didn't include Mombo because of its price.

Another option you can go for: - have a word with maybe one of the following companies: Penduka or Letaka safaris and try to organise a private safari with them in the national parks. You can still have some excellent gameviewing and it will be less expensive than to hire a private vehicle in the private concessions.

If those options are out of your budget, I would recommend to do a scheduled trip with Wilderness safaris (f.e. untamed lands) and combine it with a stay at one of their camps for 3/4 nights. (I would prefer Chitabe).



jasher Jan 22nd, 2006 09:36 AM


I agree with Johan -- a group trip is not ideal for photography unless it's a specifically photography orientated trip (which would probably be more expensive than going on your own). Good photography takes time, and the group trips tend to focus on covering as much ground as possible as quickly as possible. You would probably also find sharing a trip with other people who aren't interested in photography frustrating, as they might prefer to move on from a sighting when you would like to stay and shoot.

When you say middle range, what does that mean in terms of per-night expenditure? The Wilderness five-paw camps are considered 'middle range' in Botswana, but Botswana does tend to be more expensive than other safari countries -- the price of sharing all that pristine wilderness with only a few other people.

I'd also suggest looking at Little Vumbura and Kwetsani camps, with about 3-4 nights per camp. If you have three weeks, you can add on more time per camp, or add more camps.


atravelynn Jan 22nd, 2006 03:50 PM


Great months to travel to Botswana. Were you planning for 06 or 07? The 06 dates are becoming scarcer to find.

If your comment on "game viewing for photography" being most important means that you are a semi-professional photographer or a very keen amateur, then those warnings on group trips should definitely be heeded. If that comment means you really like taking pictures of animals for memory's sake, then a group trip should be fine. It would help make a very expensive destination affordable.

If you decide on a group trip, Wilderness, the same company that runs camps in many of the areas Johan Belgium suggested, has several options. You cannot book directly with Wilderness for their camps or their mobile safaris, but many reputable Africa agents sell them. The Wilderness mobile trips are less than 2-3 weeks so you could add some permanent camps also. I have done that and found it to be an ideal combination.

This is the Wilderness website

Their group safaris are listed under "Explorations"

Natural Habitat, a US company that I have traveled with, but not to Africa, does a nice Botswana group trip. It is called Secluded Botswana and there has been at least one glowing report on that trip on this forum.

CCAfrica, a reputable company Iíve never traveled with has some group trips. Here is one and at the bottom of their web page are some other itineraries.

Here's one of the more inexpensive trips for 8 guests with only a $50 single supplement. But only 2 singles per trip. This is participation camping. Iíve traveled with this company before, but not on this trip.

Have fun planning your trip and please post your progress.

santharamhari Jan 22nd, 2006 08:41 PM

I agree with Johan. If i were you, i would look at Wilderness/Kwando and their camps. Instead of 2-3 weeks at moderately priced camps.......i would look at about 10 days with either wilderness or Kwando. I am sure, your best rates would be if you stick to either company for your entire trip.

I have visited Botswana twice and have used both of them. If i were you and went with Wilderness, i would go with a combination of Chitabe, Duma Tau and Vumbura.

If Kwando, obviously the only options are a combination of Lagoon, Lebala and Kwara (i love Lebala)

jcasale Jan 23rd, 2006 06:38 AM

I have experienced one of the CCAfrica camps (Nxabega) and it was wonderful. A combination of it (more water focus) and Sandibe (more forest/savannah) would probably give a nice mix and you can get a better deal if you are staying in more than one of their camps. I think they are sort of considered middle range. Certainly not top end, but very nice. We worked through and our travel agent there (Rikke) put together a perect trip for us. I considered doing a group tour, but for all of the reasons mentioned here decided to set up our own itinerary. It was a probably more expensive that way, but we got to see what we wanted and were able to spend more time in each place. If you are going to do a group tour, I have heard good things about Outdoor Adventure Travel and they have some nice itineraries. But I think they tend to do more than one country since most people looking at a group want a variety of things.

mariapxcm Jan 24th, 2006 05:59 PM

WOW Thanks for your great reponses!!! Gave me so much to think about especially on the photography I sacrifise my crazy hobby for company or group travel? I will do my research and keep you posted. Again Thank you!

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