Botswana this April???

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Feb 12th, 2006, 06:36 AM
  #1
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Botswana this April???

Dear Fodorites and Botswana experts,

We have just decided that we would like to spend our son's spring break in Botswana. We would have 9 days in the country after we take out the time for international travel. Unfortunately, the time period spans the Easter holiday. After some initial research, I am leaning towards spending 3 nights in 3 different camps or perhaps 4 nights each in 2 different camps with a night in Gabarone. I have several questions:

Am I starting to late to get reservations at some of the best locations (Kwara, King's Pool, Savuti, etc)?

I have read on Fodor's that Botswana has received above average rainfall. Will this severely limit my choices and/or the ability to get around?

Because it is the Easter holiday period, will I be looking at paying top dollar? We have one son, so we will also have to cough up the single supplements.....

If flooding is an issue, what camps would you recommend that would be peripheral and still be worth the price?

Thank you so much for your insights.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 07:32 AM
  #2
 
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April will not be the high season for pricing in botswana bc the rainy season will just have ended. high season usually doesnt start until june/july. that being said, i have found botswana more difficult to book this year than ever before so most places may be booked already.
if i were you, i would do 3 nights at 3 different camps. that would get you the highest quality viewing without limiting your ability to see the different environs of botswana. i would do 1 camp in the delta, 1 in moremi and 1 up in linyanti. so something like tubu tree, chitabe and savuti would be a great combination.
as far as the rains go, they will have ended by april and the floods will probably not have arrived yet so although grasses may be a little higher than normal, i would think the game viewing would be too adversely affected. hope this helps and let us know what camps are still available.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 08:29 AM
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The thing about April, however, is that it will no longer be low season pricing, either. Instead, it will be shoulder season pricing. While this may work out well for someone going towards the end of shoulder season (which extends until June 30th at Wilderness Safaris camps and until May 31st at Kwando), it may not be as good an option for someone going in April.

Perhaps it would be best to postpone this trip until a summer vacation in June/July. Although it would be high season pricing (starting July 01st at Wilderness and starting June 01st at Kwando), you would probably still get more bang for the buck by waiting until at least this period.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 09:13 AM
  #4
johan_belgium
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If you are going in April, I would try Chief's camp (6 nights) and Lebala or Lagoon (3 nights). For this choice I've taken in consideration my past experiences and the more than average rainfall till now.

Normally Chief's camp has still some very good gameviewing. I've been there in March 2004 and April 2005 and gameviewing was phenomenal. And I think you can still make it to the Boro West area on Chief's island.
The only disadvantage is that it's still too early to do mokoro trips over there.

And of all the camps in Linyanti/Kwando/Selinda area, Lebala is my favorite one. Normally you won't see the huge concentrations of elephants and buffalos like at the end of the dry season. But gameviewing is still fine. Have a look at the game reports of Kwando safaris at the following website - www.eyesonafrica.net.

Every season has its charm. It just depends on what you are looking for. I have been there many times and I like that time of year because there isn't too much dust and everything is still green. Some people will say but the grass is too high ... if you've seen my pictures don't bother ... I can say of August/September but it's too windy or the sky is too hazy because of the fires ...

I would only recommend to go in peak season if you are looking for something special (wild dogs denning, big gatherings of elephants,...). It's true that predators are easier spotted in August/September than in April/May. But you can still see them in April/May and for me going on safari is not all about the big cats.

So if there is space in these camps, go for it in April.


Greetings,

Johan

 
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Feb 12th, 2006, 10:51 AM
  #5
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Thank you all for your responses. I am a birdwatcher and would very much like to take several mokoro trips. Is there any camp that could provide these in April???
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Feb 12th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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plenty of camps,
good mekoro camps are xigera, jacana, kwetsani, little vumbura.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 11:05 AM
  #7
johan_belgium
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Fayum,

If birds are what you are looking for -

I still would go to Lebala but instead of Chief's camp I would opt for Xigera or Jacana.

If you are very serious about your birding I would actually recommend to book a private vehicle. Most people are interested in predators and they won't appreciate it if you want to do some birdin'.

In camps like Xigera and Jacana you are likely gonna meet some other people that are very much interested in our feathered friends.

Greetings,

Johan


 
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Feb 12th, 2006, 11:51 AM
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Fayum,

Another excellent option, now that you mention birding, is Chiawa Camp in Lower Zambezi. This is a beautiful park and Chiawa Camp is one of only a few camps that actually exist within the national park.

www.chiawa.com

Chiawa features excellent April rates. For a stay of five nights or more, the rate is $375 per person per night with no single supplement, so your son would have his own room.

Lower Zambezi is a mere 25 minute light air transfer from Lusaka and a round trip air transfer runs around $250 per person from Lusaka.

Lower Zambezi would combine very well with South Luangwa. Here are some camps in South Luangwa.

www.luangwariverlodge.com
www.star-of-africa.com
www.luangwa.com

Finally, here is a bird checklist that you may find of interest for Lower Zambezi National Park:

http://www.chiawa.com/pages/birdchecklist.htm
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Feb 12th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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Thanks again for your insights. I will be talking to my travel agent tomorrow to see if there are some places left open during this busy time of the year. I will post if I have any luck.
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Feb 13th, 2006, 07:06 AM
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Fayum

Be warned if you are a birder and share a vehicle with non-birders it will be quite difficult. The guides will love you, but you may get some friction particularly from first timers, who simply want to rush around trying to find Lions, etc.
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Feb 14th, 2006, 04:24 AM
  #11
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Thanks for the warnings about trying to bird while others are more interested in the big five. Is it possible to hire my own private guide while at a small camp to bird without inconveniencing those who do not share my passion? If anyone has done it, can you give me an idea of the costs I might face?
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Feb 14th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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Fayum,

Private vehicle at Kwando, for example, would be $200 per day, which, in my opinion, is a small price to pay for being able to have your own private safari.
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Feb 14th, 2006, 05:02 AM
  #13
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I will probably try an hire a private guide at least once during this trip. Perhaps I will luck out and find other birders willing to share......
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Feb 14th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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Hi Fayum,

If you're interested in birding, mention this when making your booking, and request to share a vehicle with other birders if possible.

A private vehicle at Wilderness camps runs about $300 per day.

Cheers,
Julian
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