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Choosing a true Okavango Delta experience in regards to water levels

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Sep 24th, 2013, 10:41 PM
  #1
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Choosing a true Okavango Delta experience in regards to water levels

Hello everyone,

I and my wife will be travelling to Cape Town, two private game reserves in the Great Kruger area, Victoria Falls and Botswana in May / beginning of June 2014.

For the Botswana part of the trip we will stay in Kasane for two nights first, then take the Air Botswana scheduled flight to Maun on May 29.

Since Botswana isn’t cheap and our budget limited, I thought I had figured it out - instead of going to a “wet” camp taking a boat trip with overnight camping on the Chief’s island for a true Delta experience (about 450 USD per person) plus 3 nights Sango camp (dry camp) for game viewing in the Khwai / Moremi area (about $ 1370 per person including land transfers from and to Maun).

I have overlooked the most important factor, though - the Okavango Delta water levels, the outfitter from Maun wrote to me that on May 30 water levels will be too low for a boat trip to the inner delta and the only options we have is either to take a an overnight mokoro trip or fly to a camp located in the inner delta.

I did some research on the Internet and it turns out that the mocoro trips are performed by the Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust which operate in the NG32 concession (not in the inner delta). How close this will be to an inner delta experience?

The options for camps which are under $ 600 per person per night and have a great chance for a good flood by the end of May are not that many. According to my research up to the moment, Jao plains area in the North-Western part of the Delta would be the best area and the cheapest option there is the new Pelo camp, operated by Wilderness Safaris (it opened in 2013 and operates from April to October).
Obviously the flight to and from the camp is not cheap due to the distance from Maun and prices per person including transfer are respectively $ 920 for one night and $ 1290 for two nights.

Considering our budget we have the following options:

1. Do the 3 nights at Sango camp and do an overnight mokoro trip - very budget friendly option, but I am afraid that we might not get the “true” delta experience by visiting a camp in the NG32 area instead of the inner delta.

2. Do 3 nights at Sango camp plus 1 night at Pelo camp – this will push the budget a bit, but we will be able to experience the inner delta with a good chance for flood by the end of May.

3. Cut 1 night at Sango camp and do 2 nights there plus 2 nights at Pelo camp – this would be a more balanced option between both camps (2 + 2), but I wonder whether the third night in Sango would be more interesting (game drives) opposite to a second night in Pelo (water activities only).

Anyone with experience in Pelo camp? Scenery must be fabulous, but what are the chances of seeing red lechwe antelopes running in the shallows and/or other wildlife apart from birds? It is quite new place and there aren’t any independent reviews on the Internet yet. The closest camp is Jacana and I assume the scenery and activities will be similar (we are not interested in top accommodation).

Any opinion and/or suggestions considering water levels at the end of May, these two camps and the overnight mokoro trip will be appreciated.

Cheers!
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Sep 27th, 2013, 08:48 AM
  #2
TC
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I found this to be an invaluable web site whlist planning our upcoming trip to Okavanga Delta. It contains masses of information about the delta and all the camps...including maps and photos of nearly everything. Hope it helps you. My one suggestion would be (after three trips to Africa) that one night is not long enough for anywhere. You will barely get settled and depending on the flight schedules you may, in fact, miss most of the game drives/excursions. Keep that in mind. Extreme early morning is when all the action happens. Often when flying into a camp, you will have missed the morning excursions and will have to wait to catch up with the afternoon activities. Then you're out the next day. Not a great value.

http://www.eyesonafrica.net/african-...water-land.htm
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Sep 27th, 2013, 10:53 PM
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Hi TC,

Thanks for your reply.

Your link points to a great website with lots of information. Pelo camp is quite new, though and is not covered. You are right about staying at a camp for overnight only.

We already figured it out - 2 nights at Pelo Camp plus 3 nights at Sango Camp (we will be staying for 2 nights in Kasane and 1 night in Maun prior to these two camps).

In combination with 6 days in Greater Kruger area (3 in Timbavati plus 3 in Sabi Sand), 2 days in Cape Town and 2 days in Livingstone (Victoria Falls), this should make a nice Southern Africa trip considering available time and budget.

Cheers!
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Sep 27th, 2013, 11:23 PM
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For my tastes, you are bouncing around camp-to-camp to much. Have you added up your travel time (wasted time) and game drives missed due to traveling? For instance, the Timbavati and Sabi Sand reserves are very similar in terrain, look and feel. Do all six night in Sabi Sand.

regards - tom
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Sep 28th, 2013, 08:48 AM
  #5
TC
 
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I agree completely with Tom. The best value is to stay put as long as possible in one place. The amount of time (and money) wasted to move from one place to another is not a good investment. At the end of the day, what you see will be very similar in any camp and your chances of great sightings increase the longer you stay put. For our upcoming trip to the Delta we will stay 4-5 nights in each of five camps. Why not stay in the Kruger area the entire time?
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