Choice of itineraries - Help

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Jun 29th, 2004, 09:39 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 51
Choice of itineraries - Help

We just decided we would like to go to Botswana the last two weeks in August 2004. So with not much time to spare. We like upscale camp and great wildlife viewing. I know alot of camps are already booked, I found the following choices:

Option 1:

JNB Westcliff 1 night
Eagle Island Camp 2 nights
Khwai River lodge 2 nights
Savute Elephant camp 3 nights
Livingston, Zambia -Royal Livingston 2 nts
Capetown - Mount Nelson 3 nights

Since this is all arranged through Orient Express, great deal, and very easy. I am sure very nice, but maybe not as remote as below.

Option 2:

JNB - TBD 1 night
Vumbura Camp 2 nights (similar to eagle ??)
Chiefs Camp 2 nights
Kings Pool 2 nights (similar to SEC??)
Victoria falls 2 nights (not Zambia side)
Cape town - Cape Grace 3 nights

Much More expensive and one less night. Actually, these camps are cheaper than the ones above so I am not sure why the cost is higher, other than O.E. gives a discount.

I wanted to go to Mombo and Duba plains but not available. We would probably plan to go back at some time and do other safaris/camps.

Any advice would be appreciated.
lana123 is offline  
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Jun 30th, 2004, 09:32 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Can only comment on option 2...Vumbura is fabulous game viewing (didn't go their this year, but talked to people that did, and they had an amazing time.). Vumbura is a very comfortble camp, but the accomodations are not particularly luxurious. However the delta around Vumbura is some of the most beautiful, I think. (more beautiful than Mombo and the Jao concession IMHO)
Mombo is great, but others on this forum say that Chiefs Camp, which is also on Chief's Island has game viewing that is as good, but a simpler, smaller camp. So seems like a good (maybe even better?) alternative to Mombo. Kings Pool should be great game viewing in August. (However it is a luxurious/ Mombo-style camp...much more lux than Savute. But both are in Linyanti...I think that the wildlife might be a bit more diverse in KP however...)
This itinerary has a nice overview of the Botswana environments, too as you are covering Chiefs/Moremi (all land) Vumbura (beautiful delta location, lots of water...but great game drives too) and the northern Linyanti area.

Other itinerary may cover similar habitats, but that is one thing to check.

Not sure how comfortable/ uncomfortable things are on the Zim side now, but I did hear that the Vic Falls Hotel is "doing anything they can to get tourists and stay open, so they are offering really good rates this year". (You might want to check and see if the rates quoted you reflect this?)

Hope others can post info on Option 1...
tashak is offline  
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Jun 30th, 2004, 10:25 AM
  #3
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Thanks Tashak.

I am a first timer to Africa so your feedback is very helpful. The camps sound great. One of the issues I had with option 2 is that I wanted to add another camp or night to the itinerary, but operator could not offer a third night at one of the camps or offer another Botswana camp.

Hope someone can comment on option 1.
lana123 is offline  
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Jun 30th, 2004, 02:47 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Hi Lana,
I'm sure you will love Botswana-- there is something so exciting about a first trip...

Not sure why the operator can't add the extra day. I know August is the height of high season, so perhaps it is camp availability? I do know that your transfers between Chiefs/Vum/KP will be by small airplane, so that will add to the cost of Option 2. If they don't have room at one of these 3 camps, you might find space at another camp, but that would entail another flight...an expensive option.

Still hoping someone can comment on option 1, because if you can't get the camps and the time you want with option 2, perhaps some further shopping around is in order. I'd ask operator 2 "what camps are available during the period we want to travel?" Perhaps a bit more juggling will get you exactly what you are looking for...

I say this because an upscale safari in Botswana can be the experience of a lifetime...but it is expensive in both time and money. When you do this, you shouldn't compromise too much, and if you have and want another day or two, I really think you should try hard to get it! (Why travel all that way and cut the trip short? ) Also, if you have the flexibility, early September is a fab time to visit, and perhaps there is more availability then? Capetown climate is nicer the later you get in September/October, too.

You might want to shop around for another operator and see if they
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Jun 30th, 2004, 04:43 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 308
hi lana,

we did a similar itinerary to your option #1 last january.

we spent 2 nights at the Westcliff, 2 nights at Savute, 2 nighs at Khwai River Lodge and 4 nights at the Mount Nellie in Cape Town (plus we added on 4 nights in Namibia).

WE booked our package through luxury link (www.luxurylink.com) and got a great rate (1/2 off the rack rate) which is why we chose those camps.

I have heard good things about Eagle Island but it was not recommendd to go to a water camp in January (which was ostensibly the rainy season but we got a few drops one morning only).

The lodgings are very luxurious at the OE camps. Meals/wine were fabulous and the service was fantastic. It was VERY upscale and we felt truly pampered. The game viewing was also excellent. If you would like to send me an email ([email protected]) I can send you a link to our pictures of these camps.

The Westcliff and Mount Nelson were also very upscale properties (my husband and I still marvel at the Westcliff).

Good luck!

Lisa
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