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East Africa or South Africa?

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May 13th, 2012, 05:05 PM
  #1
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East Africa or South Africa?

First time thinking about a trip to Africa. Before my hisband and I retire, want to see the scenic beauty and wildlives/safari, historical places, and local culture and enjoy the ethnic food of Africa.

First decision to make: Should we go to East Africa or South Africa? I did some preliminary research. Both look good. Do you have any preferences based on your experience from both places? If I have only 12 days to travel ncluding arrival n departure, which one is more doable?

2nd Qs: We are from NJ. Do you have a recommended travel agent. I am on the list of Independent travelers group. Never tried them before. What are the things to watch out for Africa trip?

3rd QS: I see that the trip could be somewhere between $5-6K per person. Its really expensive for m and my husband. Need your input here too.

Thanks much
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May 13th, 2012, 05:19 PM
  #2
 
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1. You could take a look at this recent discussion:

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...outhafrica.cfm

2. If you decided on SA, you really could do everything yourself after you've taken the time to do some reading and research; i.e., select and book hotels, rent a car, reserve camp lodgings in Kruger National Park (KNP).

3. SA is a good place to keep the budget reasonable. You can use B&B's, guest houses, self-drives and booking at the camps in KNP (doing to self-drive safaris). If your budget can handle it, you can also look at some of the good value safari camps in the reserves adjoining KNP, where you could try to fit in 2, but preferably 3, nights. SA also has some low cost airlines that help when transferring from one region to another (SA is a really big country).
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May 13th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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Good plan! East or South Africa will satisfy your goals of “scenic beauty and wildlives/safari, historical places, and local culture and enjoy the ethnic food of Africa.”

Decision: To assist you with your decision, here is another reading assignment.
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...a-tanzania.cfm

If you want to visit Victoria Falls or Cape Town, or you’d like to self drive to save $$ or to be independent, then chose South Africa. If you’d like to see the wildebeest and zebra migration, then choose either Kenya or Tanzania.

2nd question: Not familiar with the list you mention. You should, at least initially, consult an agent that is knowledgeable about both East and Southern Africa since you are undecided. I’ve used The Africa Adventure Company in Ft. Lauderdale for both East and Southern Africa. If you decide on East Africa, I have used Kiliwarriors in Arusha, TZ & Virginia. Both companies have been great. There are many good agents you can use in the US and in Africa.

What to watch out for? Use reputable company, consult a travel clinic for medications or required vaccines to enter the country, for sun protection wear a wide brimmed hat and use sun cream.

3rd question on expense. Here are some ideas on how to reduce costs:

Follow sdb2’s suggestions. The “good value safari camps in the reserves adjoining KNP” might include Elephant Plains, a place I’d like to try or Arathusa.

If you choose East Africa, go to Kenya rather than Tanzania, because Kenya is a little less expensive than Tanzania.

Go in low season. In South Africa I have found the low season to correlate more closely with good animal viewing times. Low season for South Africa is approx May-Sept. Check for extra low specials within that time frame.

In East Africa low season is approx March, April, (heaviest rains) and May to the beginning or maybe middle of June, then again Nov to a few days before Christmas when there can be short rains.

Some of the lowest safari prices I have seen are from Overseas Adventure Travel, which includes international air. No personal experience.

This one goes to several places in Southern Africa.
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=35085119


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34897294 report
http://www.winkflash.com/photo/publi...?u=ajennerjahn pics

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...a-gorillas.cfm

Lion World Tours in Canada is low too. A friend of mine went with them several years ago and loved her trip.

http://www.lionworldtours.com/specials

Good luck.
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May 13th, 2012, 07:03 PM
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When are you going? I'm a southern Africa girl, so i cant help with east africa.

S Africa Airways should have their two for one flights starting in Sept (no guarantee they'll ever do it again, but they have the past few years). With only 12 days, the non-stop from JFK to JNB will save you a travel day or two. United is an SAA code share, and they've had some great rates this year. When we have accumulated enough frequent flyer miles, we try to return.

In your budget, you may me able to do the Sabi Sand, Pafuri, Mashatu route. Three different Eco-systems and three entirely different safari axperiences. It'll be close, but if you can get availability at one of the less expensive camps in Sabi Sand or Timbavati (one of the private reserves outside Kruger), Pafuri in n Kruger and Mashatu Tented camp. If you are comfortable self driving, it's doable in a car - no SUV or expensive car req'd. We had drivers and flights which makes it more expensive. Three nights per camp, and home. in 2009, it was just over $7000 for two of us, including the transfers, but not int'l flights.

If you want a little more adventure, a Sabi Sand or Timbavati camp, then drive through Swaziland to KwaZulu Natal to Tembe Elephant Park and/or Zululand Rhino Reserve (inexpensive, but big five reserves) and/or Phinda (a bit on the pricey side). St Lucia is a nice little town to explore and the Indian Ocean is warm and gorgeous. Lots to do in KwaZulu Natal.

If you don't want self drive, then a few nights in Cape Town, then fly to the reserves around Kruger. You should be able to do three-four nights CT and three nights at two of the more affordable camps near Kruger in your budget with flights and transfers.

June - Sept is the best time for wildlife viewing.

Enjoy the planning - it's half the fun!
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May 13th, 2012, 08:08 PM
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Personally I would chose South Africa for your price range,how amazing it is and the ease of flying there nonstop-Delta flies from Atlanta to Johannesburg daily too.
It was just in the travel section of the Chicago Tribune last week that there is now a drug resistant malaria there and to be very careful.
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May 13th, 2012, 08:09 PM
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The drug resistance malaria is in East Africa/Kenya. sorry!
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May 14th, 2012, 08:48 AM
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dutyfree -

Interesting comment above. Please provide a link to the Chigago Tribune article or more details if the article is no longer available. Thanks.
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May 14th, 2012, 10:22 AM
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Sandi, did some searching and came up with this (look about 1/2 down page for Kenya):

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...s-cruise-ships
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May 14th, 2012, 12:34 PM
  #9
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Very good info!! Thanks to all of you. Got some good reading assignment!! will come back with more questions!! For now I'm thinking about East Africa just because of the more beautiful safari trips and camps there. Will find out more!! Looks like (reading some of the articles) end of Oct or Nov would be the best time for East Africa. That might be a problem for us. Lets see.
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May 14th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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Have you thought about Namibia? Etosha is amazing. But if this is your first trip I would go to Kruger.

You can get a direct flight to J'burg. Rent a car at the airport. We got one for $20 a day. There is no need to spend a fortune.

Accommodation is very affordable in Kruger. I think the little chalets are about $50 a night. Very doable!

Also, you will see that in 12 days you have time to get there and drive around the park a lot. We were in the park for a week and we drove from south to north staying at different camps. You will see that the north of the park is very different from the south and with less people.

enjoy!
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May 14th, 2012, 09:10 PM
  #11
 
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Sumplanner, other times are excellent for East Africa, besides end of Oct or Nov.

I think Sept is tops. Planning on Feb next time-Tanzania. You pick when you can go and there will be a good spots in either Kenya or Tanz. I'd probably avoid late March to early May, but others have had good trips during those times in Kenya and Tanzania.
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May 15th, 2012, 07:47 AM
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sdb2 -

Thanks for the link which I managed to find after the posting above. However, it doesn't say much - more scare tactic - so who knows
- where in Kenya (may very well be in the North at the refugee camps; very far from the tourist areas)
- which malaria meds do not work

As to the situation in Southeast Asia, that's been known for years and as I recall as we prepared for our trip there in '02, believe is was only Lariam and doxy that didn't work, why travelers (us included) were using Malarone.
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May 15th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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Sandi, agreed. Newspapers need to fill those pages sometimes.
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May 23rd, 2012, 02:45 AM
  #14
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Ok Thanks to all of you. Caught up with all the reading.
Craig's link is a great comparison study provided by atravelynn. Chris good info on SAA. But I am still not covinced one way or the other.
EA or SA both sound good. If this is my only trip to Africa and I want to see the big animals (Big 5s) with some surity, is EA my choice? I see that the animal migraion is great in EA. SA is more affordable n popular. EA (K&T) has more sceneic beuty.
This maleria issue is another one I need to look into.
Now I am thinking mid Sept-Nov when I can make the trip.
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