botswana safari suggests please

Jun 12th, 2008, 04:07 PM
  #1  
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botswana safari suggests please

I would love some suggestions for our botswana safari. We are going in late may 09. We already have chosen little vumbura and savuti for 3 nights each and finish up with 3 nights at mala mala in SA before going home. We had initially planned 3 days at San Camp before going to MM but the new 09 rates are out/coming out and the price has jumped to around 900pppn! That seems too much for us! So , we have 3 nights unaccounted for. We would like a complementary camp to LV and savuti for that time of year and preferably something with different terrain animals etc. A chance at increasing our odds of seeing wild dogs would be a bonus. Any suggestions would be most welcome. thanks
jonnys is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 05:34 PM
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I think you have a number of ways to go.

If you really wanted to be on the Makgadikgadi Pans you could stay at Makgadikgadi Camp for a lot less than San Camp, probably around $450 pppn. It is less luxurious and probably less refined than San Camp but it is in a glorious location and has comfortable beds and excellent food.

If you want a habitat compliment with the best chance to see wild dogs probably a dry Delta camp is the best fit. Chitabe would be a good option but also probably costs about the same as San Camp. A cheaper option that I think will be very good is Sankuyo Plains Camp but it does not open until October 2008 so there is some risk in the unknown. It is located near Tico McNutt's research camp the base of wild dog and other predator research so it is a good area for wild dogs but in May they are likely going to be hit or miss unless they start denning slightly early which is possible in late May. Probably the best additions for dogs are camps that are somewhat similar habitat to where you are already staying -- namely Kwando Lagoon & Lebala camps. Any of those camps would be good to try for dogs but most of the other species are going to be the same as your other two camps.

To really increase your diversity and get a bushmen experience you could head to the Kalahari. It's not prime viewing time but you will see different species like the spectacular oryx. Deception Valley Lodge is good for tracking predators with bushmen and for oryx but wild dogs would take a huge amount of luck although they sometimes have them there. Very good for leopard although May is a bit tough. Grassland Bushman Lodge is even better for the variety of Kalahari game with oryx, eland, and springbok common and has a full community bushmen experience but predator sightings are very rare. They do have captive wild dogs and lions that were rescued from pending death by farmers so you are guaranteed to see wild dogs there and you can walk into their 11 hectare enclosure but it is of course not the same as seeing them run free.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 05:35 PM
  #3  
 
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My recommendation goes to Chitabe, although I was there in July not May. Others may have more specific comments than I do about that time of year. In July of last year I saw wild dogs at Duma Tau, and had a fabulous time there, but the game viewing at Duma Tau should be very similar to Savuti. I also saw dogs at Chitabe, and loved the camp. It is currently under repair after a fairly recent fire, but no doubt that will be complete by May 2009.
Dana_M is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 05:38 PM
  #4  
 
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I was apparently posting at the same time as PB, and of course, he gave much more detailed advice!
Dana_M is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 06:05 PM
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How disappointing about San. Makes me wonder what Jack's costs now since San was the more modestly priced alternative.

What about Planet Baobab in the same area? I believe it is several steps down as an accommodation from San, but it should have the same activities.

Makgadikgadi Camp for $450 would also be a winner in my book now that I'll never be staying at San again. PB, can you see the meerkat colony and go quad biking and look for ancient artifacts there?

I'll second the Chitabe option for a chance at wild dogs. You could also stay one night in their walking trails camp. You walk (or drive) to it. It is a nice mattress with mosquito netting on raised (safe) platform. You have a great meal for just you walkers at the camp, do a night drive, then spend the night. You walk (or drive) back the next day. It was a very cool thing to do.

Looking forward to Sankuyo Plains feedback. I agree that I probably would not want to be one of the first in there UNLESS you could get a good introductory rate. You could view those 3 nights as a who-knows-what adventure, knowing you have 9 days of strong game viewing camps.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 06:27 PM
  #6  
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thanks for the quick and informative responses.

I am really intrigued about the Makgadikgadi Camp. It sounds great. I hadn't heard or read about it until now but it sounds great. The accommidations sound simple but we can deal with that for 3 days for a unique experience. PB Have you stayed at this camp or visited it or do you know someone that has?

Does anyone else know anything about this camp?
I too would like to know if you can see/interact with meerkats there?

I am also worried about the weather at the very end of may. I have heard that it might not be dry enough for quad bikes and that is one of the big reasons we would like to visit the area. Has anyone been there around that time?


I am glad to read about chitabe. I had thought about that option but have read mixed reviews and heard about the recent fire at the former chitabe trails. The camp just didn't seem to seduce us but perhaps that is not fair.

Atravelynn We were very disappointed to learn about the the new rates at San. We had been quoted the 2008 rates and were all ready to confirm the package when the new rates were quoted. What a disappointment, a 50% hike!!

Thanks all for all the input and keep it coming.

J



jonnys is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 06:55 PM
  #7  
 
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J -- I can't add much to the discussion, except that late May is wonderful everywhere. We were at Jack's in late May 2007, and it was very very very dry -- quad biking was fabulous. We loved being out on the pans, and would not have traded that experience for anything. Sure am glad we went before the rate spike.

Whatever you decide, your trip will be magnificent.

B
bevor is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 09:06 PM
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Hi pb , Makgadikgadi camp is being taken over by Bausfield of Uncharted Africa.
Apperently due to marketing problems
Ryner is letting UA take over the management and running of the camp.
bots is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 10:04 PM
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Hi Bots, thanks for that news, I had not heard that but with the fact that almost no one knows Makgadikgadi Camp exists it's not surprising that Reiner needs to find a way to fill his tents. I just hope the rates stay close to where they are now because it is a great deal and with UA managing all the camps on the Pans they will have a complete monopoly.

Jonnys: I have stayed at Makgadikgadi Camp. I have some photos posted at this link so you can see the camp and some of the surrounding area:
http://bgiven.zenfolio.com/p631728924/

I also posted a trip report that includes the camp, it's the last one I stayed at so you will find it far down in the thread.
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35092404

You will read that I had a brief stay and with no other guests so I can't quite say how it would operate with others there but I had a magical time. Quad biking is on offer and you can go find artifacts. Keep in mind May could be yes or no for quadbikes depending on if the Pan has dried. I would guess it is usually o.k. but in a big wet year like this year I'm not sure. They know where to look for meerkats but I am not sure if they visit the habituated colony that Jack's/San go to or if they are a different colony. I'm going to try and enquire about Bots news of the marketing change and see if I can find anything out about rates and I'll check on the meerkats too. If UA is taking over I'm sure they would include all of their regular activities so then meerkats would be a go. I'll post more if I find anything out and feel free to ask questions about the photos or report.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 04:12 AM
  #10  
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Thanks PB
Let me know what you find out.
J
jonnys is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 01:06 PM
  #11  
 
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jonnys: I have no new information that can be shared on the board at this time but if you shoot me a quick email I have a suggestion that may be helpful.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 06:25 PM
  #12  
 
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Didn't Uncharted Africa have Jack's and San Camp? It's getting hard to keep all this straight.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 09:20 PM
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Yes, Uncharted Africa has Jack's, San, Planet Baobab and Camp Kalahari, the latter two being off the Pans but access to the activities at a la carte pricing I believe. I think Makgadikgadi Camp is the only permanent camp in the area that hasn't been with UA, and is certainly the only one on the Pans other than San and Jack's.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jun 14th, 2008, 08:49 AM
  #14  
 
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We were at MM, Chitabe and Duma Tau in late May early June of 2007. The wild dogs were at MM but we kept missing them. We did not see them at Chitabe, but at Duma Tau they were amazing. We not only saw them chasing a kill but sat for at least an hour in the area where they rest for the afternoon. I know that they move around a lot, but I think this is about the time of year that they den to have the babies.

We loved both Duma Tau and Chitabe camps. MM was my husbands favorite and the guides there are spectacular.

I am planning on going back in 2010 but if the rates keep escalating, I may have to change to either Kenya or Tanzania.
spiegelcjs is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 01:15 AM
  #15  
 
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Hi PB seems they are the same rates
at Makgadikgadi camp,
3 Nights / 4 Days
Road transfer: Total cost per person sharing: US$1420.00
Air transfer: Total cost per person sharing: US$1722
bots is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 07:16 AM
  #16  
 
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Thanks Bots, that's very good news if the price stays the same.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
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