east africa vs. southern africa

Feb 8th, 2005, 09:57 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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east africa vs. southern africa

I am an experienced world traveler, but have never travelled to sub-saharan africa before. I have 15 days in late July, early August. I would like to learn from this forum whether a safari in Botswana or in Kenya/Tanzania would give the most adventure for the buck. The variety of animals encountered and the scenery are my top two priorities.
newtoafrica is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 11:23 PM
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Hello NewToAfrica
I don't think it's possible for anyone to provide a definitive answer to this question; one that comes up again and again.
A lot depends on a whole lot of variables so we'll need more information from you.
So I'm going to firstly advise you to use the search function above to pull up threads that might be relevant (try entering eastern and southern to pull up some older threads on the topic. That will give you access to some of the previous points raised.
Then, more importantly, I'm going to pose a number of questions and your answers to these will help people here to give you fuller responses to your question.

How long a trip are you contemplating?
Are you travelling alone, with a friend or with a group of friends?
What kind of budget do you have in mind (just give a rough idea if you can)?
Would you prefer to travel as part of a small group or independently with only your own travelling companions?
What level of comfort are you looking for? (Participatory camping/self catering, non-participatory camping (where staff put up tents and cook etc), standard hotel/ lodges, luxury lodges/ camps)
What animals would you absolutely most love to see?

In general, East Africa offers a wider range of options in terms of budgets than Botswana which is much more geared towards the luxury end of the market. East Africa, of course, offers the open plains of the Mara-Serengeti. Botswana offers the wonders of the Delta with wonderful water ways and bushy islands. There are open areas in the Kalahari Desert (the Makgadikadi Pans are incredible). But it doesn't have the open plains of East Africa.

Come back and give us some more info so we can help better!
Kavey is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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new to africa

You might have seen the comments posted recently on the cost of Botswana. That could be a deciding factor.

When you say "most adventure" if you are considering the more adventurous walking safaris or canoeing, then maybe Zambia or Zimbabwe would be to your liking and to your budget's.

There are walking opportunties in Kenya & Botswana and Tanzania but Zambia and Zimbabwe have more of these activities.

Your timing for the migration is very good so you might want to take advantage of that and do Kenya and Tanzania. Perhaps another travel opportuinity will arise when the timing is not so well suited to Kenya/Tanzania and then you could do Botswana--much of which is good year round.

One last thought, if you are a world traveler, you may be back to Africa after your initial trip. It is more typical for safari #1 to be Kenya/Tanzania and for safari #2 to be elsewhere (like Botswana).

Either choice is a winner and you can't go wrong, in my opinion.

atravelynn is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 10:45 PM
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Thank you to Kavey and atravelynn for your thoughtful replies.

Timing is a very good point. Also what has been posted about the expenses in Botswana is concerning.

My budget is similar to most. I want to spend less than $2500/person for a two week stay in Africa. That does not include airfare. I will be travelling with one other person. I had originally planned on doing a climb of Kilimanjaro, but my travel companion likely will not be able to handle temperature and altitude issues. Alternatively I am thinking of doing maybe 10 days on an East Africa trip to include the migration and then a week in Uganda or Rwanda to do some trekking through the mountains. In this way, one gets to see the large animals on the plains, and smaller apes in the forests.
newtoafrica is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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Sorry to say but $2,500 isn't going to get you too far during the prime season in East Africa. That's less than $200/day for 14-days. Just including the trip to Uganda or Rwanda can run at minimum $1,500 and that's only 5-6 days. Likewise, a Kili climb (which you've decided against) would run about the same amount of money.

I would therefore suggest only Kenya/Tanzania - a combined camping and lodge safari. Working with the budget you have, I would suggest you contact


who have set schedule, set date itineraries, for small groups. Check their site and see what they have available for an idea of what might be doable.

As Kavey mentioned, so a search on this board for names of other tour operators that are well received on this board. Send your information - dates, number of people, budget and sample of what you would like to see/visit - to two, three or four of these companies and see what itineraries, accommodations and price they offer.
Feb 15th, 2005, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
Sandi has made a number of good points.

I too was on a pretty tight budget when I went to TZ with a friend last July. My friend and I were able to afford a private safari, however, but we did throw some inelegant camping into the mix. Not for everyone, but we liked it.

I think the cost of budget (non-participatory) camping and not-the-best lodging at lodges for us averaged something like $165/day, maybe a little more. I don't recall exactly.

Remember, you will need to tip everyone. Also you will need to factor in trip insurance, mosquito nets, DEET and other supplies. We didn't get new cameras but we did splash out on one good pair of binoculars and one okay pair.

I think Uganda and/or Rwanda aren't viable with your budget. Believe me, if you find a way to do it within or close to your budget, I definitely want to hear about it! Otherwise I say save that for your next trip.

Follow Sandi's advice about contacting a few tour operators and see what they come up with. Don't give up! When you get there you will want to return again and again.

Leely is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Whoops, our price was per person per day, in case I didn't make that clear. And then tips, drinks, supplies we wanted to take with us, etc., were on top of that price.

We want way overboard on the insect repellent and sunblock--result is that I now have a closet full of the stuff. Next time!
Leely is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 05:50 PM
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My two cents: been to Africa twice (once to East Africa, once to South Africa - four months of travel time). What I learned:1. Botswana is one of the most expensive countries in Africa for safari/wildlife viewing/adventures. 2. Uganda or Rwanda (mountain gorillas) will add a significant amount of money to your budget (Sandi had it right).3. Depending on your durabiltiy/adventourism ,Guerba Tours or Gametrackers are very good budget outfits (do a search on google). Camping in Kenya/Tanzania with Gametrackers was incredible (think sleeping under the African sky/stars while hearing lions roar in the distance) not only is it cheaper than lodges, but for me it was a lot more "soulful" - real African experiences, both flora/fauna and culturally because it allows you to come into contact with tribesmen - but to each his own. Good luck.
AdrenalineBoy is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 09:26 PM
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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. I'll get a jump on contacting companies for price comparisons.
newtoafrica is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Kenya?tan is your best bet by far for game viewing. Been all over east and southern africa and kenya/tan work out best for price and authentisity(?)
Photos of Africa and a few other places.
rdkr is offline  

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