Botswana/Victoria Falls vs Kenya/Tazania


Feb 18th, 2004, 06:40 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Botswana/Victoria Falls vs Kenya/Tazania

This will be our first time to travel to Africa. We are trying to determine which area would be best for a September/October trip. We prefer nature and wildlife to metropolitan areas. We have about 14 days including travel from the US.

If you have any advice on tour operators, we would be happy to have that also.

jka is offline  
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Feb 18th, 2004, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The two experiences are very different and it's probably hard for any of us to really help you make the choice - we all have our personal favourites, mine being Botswana.

What I would say is that most first timers tend to visit East Africa, which is the archtypical safari experience, before widening their horizons to include other destinations in their list - not saying that they lose their passion for East Africa, but that they are then ready to go for a mix of experiences.

East Africa is where the traditional tourist safari was invented really and there are many wonderful camps to stay in. The wide open plains are beautiful and game is plentiful.

One downside is that, unless you choose your itinerary carefully you will find yourself in an area where tourist density is as high as game! OK that's an exaggeration but it is true to say that, in some of the more popular destinations, you can come across a sighting and find several minvans huddled around it.

BUT there are definitely regions and parks which are virtually devoid of other visitors and which offer a more remote and "wild" experience.

If you search for previous threads here, plus create some new ones of your own, I'm sure East Africa lovers will be able to help you with that information.

Botswana gives a very different experience because, almost from the start, the government encouraged a different model for wildlife tourism there - they restricted the numbers of tourists allowed in each park very drastically, forcing the operators to go for high end high class high price experiences in order to make the same revenue as they might from higher visitor numbers in Kenya/ Tanzania.

The result is that visiting some of these camps feels like a truly remote experience... sharing an area with only a handful of other guests really is an incredible thing and it's wonderful to go on game drives without encountering other vehicules.

Of course this isn't restricted to Bots, there are camps in East Africa and South Africa that offer this too.

So I would ask you to elaborate on your budget, what is most important to you (budget, remoteness, big 5 or the non big 5 animals, etc) and tell us what your Africa dreams look like, then we can better answer your questions...
Kavey is offline  
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Feb 18th, 2004, 12:27 PM
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jka -

Kavey stated your options perfectly. I would like to add, that if considering September, that you do consider Kenya as the Migration in the Masai Mara is still in progress. And for those who have experienced this, it is not to be missed.

And while Kavey makes mention of the many vehicles one can run into at some animal sitings - consider that tourism is down about 80% in East Africa, Kenya* specifically, so I don't think hordes of vehicles will be an issue (even during Migration) as would be in the past or until tourism picks up.

Do a search on these boards for - Kenya
Masai Mara
and you will find many comments re tours (groups and independent), resources for tour operators (both US based and in-country [Kenya]), and other information to help in your planning.

Of course, as your itinerary starts to come together, ask your questions here.

*U.S.State Dept. warnings had a lot to do with this (to cover themselves); slowly tourism is picking up and there are "deals" to be had.
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