Don't have a month or $30,000

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Jun 23rd, 2000, 07:27 AM
  #1
Robin
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Don't have a month or $30,000

I just received a travel brochure from a tour company that takes you on a full circle tour of Africa (down the west coast and up the east coast!) by private jet! Unfortunately, it costs $31,000 per person, and, not being a dot-com type, that will never happen for me.

So my question is, how does one ever choose an area of Africa to focus on for a "normal" trip? Any place I consider seems to involve sacrificing something wonderful in another part of the continent. Does anyone have any suggestions for prioritizing? I'm not looking for specific tour or hotel recommendations for the time being, just some planning advice. Thanks in advance.
 
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Jun 23rd, 2000, 12:36 PM
  #2
Penny
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Well to do it right you really need more than a month. I think the best thing to do is to go on the best photographic safari you can through Kenya and Tanzania first. This will take about 16 days unless you do it buy flying (which I have not done.) I throughly enjoyed the horrible drives from one place to another. You get a true sense of how other people live. It seems to take a day of travel to get from point A to point B. I did this in 1986 and I am now going back to do a whole different type of trip. To see Africa you need time. Every place is different. On this trip I will climb a mountain, take a walking safari along the Galana River, see Victoria Falls and hopefully go to several islands on the Indian ocean. Completely different from the photo safari in 1986. This trip will take me one month and I really could use at least one more week. There is no way to see all of Africa in one trip and I would hate that $31000 trip because you would never be in one location long enough to relax and smell the roses (Africa has some of the most beautiful flowers in the world).

Get a great outfitter to plan the trip. I have researched the Net as well as the book stores. Make sure you know what places are safe to visit when you start planning. Don't worry about missing some place, you are bound to. That just means that you scrimp and save and go back another time. You will love Africa.

I hope this helped.
 
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Jun 23rd, 2000, 12:48 PM
  #3
Robin
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Thanks, Penny-- you caught on to the idiocy that I didn't quite admit to in my question: that it is possible to have ONE Africa trip. I would never have that attitude in Europe or America, or anywhere else, so it's foolish to try to pull it off in a place as large and diverse as Africa.

But I still have to limit my FIRST trip, so I appreciate your suggestions!
 
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Jun 26th, 2000, 07:17 AM
  #4
susan
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I recommend Zimbabwe for your first trip. Its an easy country to travel in - - clean, used to tourists, good roads, good rail system, etc. Plus, you can sample a great deal in a short amount of time. There's Victoria Falls, safari opportunities in Hwange National Park, beautiful scenery, etc. You don't need an expensive outfitter. I went by myself and experienced no problems. I was able to set up all the activities I wanted to do, I had a great time, and I spent only a fraction of what an organized tour would have cost. Have a good time.
 
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Jun 26th, 2000, 12:59 PM
  #5
karen
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Robin,
South Africa is one of the most beautiful and affordable countries in the world. Your biggest expense is the airfare in getting there. Cape Town is breathtaking and there are parts of Jo'burg and Pretoria that shouldn't be missed. You can do South Africa for less than $3,000 for, say, a 10-day visit. I did and had the time of my life.
 
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Jun 26th, 2000, 02:11 PM
  #6
Bly
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Robin: Without a lot of money and time I don't think you can do Africa in 1 shot. My family and I are covering the areas of interest for us in 4 separate trips of 2-3 weeks every other year. We did Kenya/Tanzania and S. Africa in 99, we're planning Egypt/Israel/Jordan 2001, and a Spain/Portugal/Morrocco trip sometime. We would like to go back and spend more time on a Zimbabwe/S.Africa trip (didn't have a chance to see the falls) Spread out your trips so they're more reasonable in time and money. b
 
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Jun 27th, 2000, 06:50 AM
  #7
susan
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I agree with the earlier post about South Africa also being a great place to visit, but you could do a nice 10 day trip for much less than $3000. The airfare should be around $1000 if you buy through a consolidator, and you could easily get by on less than $200 a day if you don't have to stay in luxury hotels.
 
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Jun 27th, 2000, 08:10 AM
  #8
Robin
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Great advice--- thanks to all! Have you done these trips on your own, or as organized tours?
 
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Jun 28th, 2000, 03:53 AM
  #9
Bert
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Over the last 20 years I have done many safaris in Southern Africa, to Kruger
Park & all the other parks in South Africa including Kalahari Gemsbok, also to Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe several times. Of all these, my visits to Botswana, especially the Okavango Delta, Moremi & Linyanti, stand out in terms of experiencing Africa in a very personal, intimate way. Few other people, few other vehicles, just you and the guide and the terrain and an amazing variety of wildlife often seen so close you can smell them.

So I was very skeptical about Tanzania before my recent (March/April 2000) first visit there. I need not have worried. Admittedly I traveled in the off-season, but there was never a problem with 'crowds of people', only crowds of animals.

I now rate Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti right up there in my 'Top Five' with the Okavango Delta, the dunes at Sossusvlei in Namibia, Cape Town's Table Bay & Mountain and Mt. Kilimanjaro (it's six, I know...).

Which doesn't exactly help someone trying to decide on a first trip to Africa... I would venture that if it is very important for you to meet and interact with local (tribal) groups, you ought to seriously consider East Africa, where the Masai - and other tribes - are often encountered, even in the wildlife areas. Many of the Southern Africa wildlife areas are very sparsely inhabited, so the experience is much more focused on the wildlife, scenery, birds etc.
 
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Jun 28th, 2000, 11:22 AM
  #10
susan
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In answer to your question about organized trips vs. on your own, you should be able to book organized trips once you get there at various hotels or backpacker lodges, depending on your budget. These are just as nice and signficantly cheaper than what you can book from the states. But, if you are short on time, it may be a problem in that if you arrive on a Monday, you may find that the trip you want to go on doesn't leave until Thursday, and so on.

You could get a Lonely Planet guide and call some of the tour operators listed in it ahead of time. Or maybe even call some of the hotels and lodges directly. Some have travel agencies or desks within them that could help you.
 
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