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family safari in Africa where is it safe /economical to go this July/09?

family safari in Africa where is it safe /economical to go this July/09?

Apr 7th, 2009, 04:09 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Nicolino,

Enough of the paste please.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 05:05 PM
  #22  
 
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Yikes - a well known safari outfitter in Kenya just told us not to drive to Sweetwaters or Samburu unless in a caravan due to safety isues. Said to fly instead. Of course that is way more expensive for us since we are a group.

GoKathy,
Which operator told you that? Those are commonly traveled routes.
Patty is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 05:12 PM
  #23  
 
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Even A&K advertises a "family" safari that travels by road to Sweetwaters and Samburu and I would consider them very conservative. Does the operator mention whether this is a very recent safety issue?

http://www.abercrombiekent.com/trave...erary&tid=4296
Patty is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 06:38 PM
  #24  
 
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I'd be very interested in that as well and would like to know if this something recent.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 11:16 AM
  #25  
 
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I promised not to say the name of the person. He worked for many years with one of the very well known high end safari companies and lives in Kenya. He said there is still friction based on the ethnicity of the driver. He was not talking about people being killed or anything terrible, but about uncomfortable situations if your vehicle breaks down.

This conversation came about as I was trying to get him to tell us of a moderately priced tour company where we could drive and he said he couldn't reccommend one because he honestly hasn't worked with them, but he said that he and his wife would not drive alone up North, though they would go anywhere else in Kenya. He was not trying to talk us into his former company as he knows it is well beyond our means.

He just gave me this as advice becasue he said ni tour company would. He also knew we would be traveling alone in a vehicle with kids and he may have been super cautious as he is friends with some of our relatives.
GoCathy is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 12:24 PM
  #26  
 
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nocolino -

Give us a break. It's fine to list the basics of an itinerary, but no need to paste/copy the entire brochure... ugh!

Cathy -

Because the drive from NBO/Sweetwater's is so short, unless visitors have $$$ to burn, they drive. Even during last year's (early '08) political upheaval, Sweetwater's and other props in/around the Aberdares/Mt. Kenya were loaded with local Kenyans (most from NBO) with their families. I'm sure these residents simply packed up the car and kids and drove to the area.
sandi is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 12:24 PM
  #27  
 
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ooops! That's not Cathy, but venturesome. Sorry!
sandi is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 01:43 PM
  #28  
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thanks for sharing your itinerary nicolino. I think I am more interested just in a safari. At this point, we may take a few days in Malawi-thanks luangwablondes- and had heard about some nice and reasonable options in the area from folks who have already visited the sister church. We will also likely go to the area around Kruger. Does anyone have any other good advice about lodges in the Kruger area that would be good for a family with 17 and 13 yr olds ( maybe with a pool- but no need for the private plunge pool!) and the name of a reputable in country travel agent we could use? Sabi Sands sounds lovely but I just checked the Lion Sands web site and it is > 400$ per person, definitely out of our budget. Craig_beal, did you get a better rate for Lion Sands? Elephant Plains seems more reasonable moneywise. I have enquiries going for MalaMala and the other options you suggested.
thanks so much!
Evelyn
venturesome4 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 05:30 PM
  #30  
 
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Lodges in Kruger area, how about lodges IN Kruger. Check out the Kruger National Park web site -
http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/
The camps in Kruger are the best lodging value in that area IMHO.
If Lion Sands at $400pppn is a stretch MalaMala will be more. Might consider Gomo Gomo in the Timbavati Reserve, $150pppn. I haven't been to Gomo Gomo but have seen favorable trip reports for it. It is is in the same general vicinity as Lion Sands and MalaMala but north about 20 miles and also bordering Kruger. Here is a simple map that relates these camps, and others, to Kruger. Note all of Kruger is not shown, it is HUGE.
http://www.tomgraham.smugmug.com/gal...548_TaQTn-O-LB

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 07:29 PM
  #31  
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thanks for the site Luandwablondes. It looks great. Have you had any experience booking through this site? The prices almost seem too good to be true! thanks also to cary999. I got the Goma Goma name from another thread and had just sent them a request for the days we are in Africa to see if they have space.
It is one thing to spend 400 if you are traveling alone, but multiply it by 4 and it sure changes the equation! I have read a number of your threads Tom but can't recall if you have stayed in the Kruger Park or in the areas adjacent. I had heard that Kruger itself ,while cheaper, didn't have the same density of wildlife and that safaris couldn't use open cars as they do in the adjacent areas. what was your experience?
cheers!
Evelyn
venturesome4 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 09:12 PM
  #32  
 
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VS4 - We have stayed in Kruger twice, 2006 and 2007. At camps Mopani, Satara and Letaba. This Sept we are going back for 7 nights at camps Letaba and Oliphants. We like to start our South Africa safari in Kruger. Gives us time to recover from the rigors of flying over from USA. Takes what, 34 hours door-to-door I think. Then after Kruger drive to maybe Kings Camp or MalaMala, let Avis take the car back and we start the full safari experience with the camps. Guided, open vehicle, go off road where ever. Not to mention the beautiful camps and meals.

In 2007 my sister came along for her first safari. This is my trip report starting with a few things we did before going into Kruger and then on to the private camps after Kruger-
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35083850

So, typically we fly (from California) to JNB, rent/hire a car from Avis and drive over to Kruger, about 6 hours. The Kruger camp huts/bungalows are simple and clean and $70 per night. From 6pm to 6am you are the fenced in animal in camp!!! From 6am to 6pm you are on your own to explore. You must stay on the roads, mostly smooth gravel roads. So far in our to date 10 nights in Kruger have we seen the big 5? No. We have never seen leopard. We've seen lion about once every other day and usually they are not active, sleeping. We have not seen them eating on a kill. Never seen cheetah there. I'd say we've had less luck than many people seeing cats in Kruger. Just the way it's been.

Elephants - are all over the place, close to the roads, and every day will find yourself in the midst of a large breeding herd (moms and calves of all ages). Zebra, giraffe, buffalo, impala, other browsers and grazers, birds, anywhere, anytime. Also the occasional rhino, hippo, hyena, and croc, every day.

In 25 words or less - Kruger is fun and worthwhile but if you want the big five concentrated, up close and personal, go to a private reserve camp.

Only 145 days until safari for me !!!

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 06:19 PM
  #33  
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Thanks for the info Tom. I just got the info from Goma Goma. They are booked. Not surprising since they seem to be alone in the moderate category and it is getting fairly tight on time. If anyone has a good travel agent in country for South Africa, I would be very interested since it seems difficult to sift through the options on line.
Sincerely,
Evelyn
venturesome4 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 06:30 PM
  #34  
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Hi Tom, I just looked at themap of a portion of Kruger National park that you sent. Fantastic! I can really visualize where all these little camps ( I guess "little" in quotation marks) are.
Evelyn
venturesome4 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 08:52 PM
  #35  
 
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VS4 - Sorry to hear Gomo Gomo couldn't work for you. Actually, most of those camps are small. At least compared to Kruger. So what they do is share "traversing rights" with each other. And radio each other of interesting sightings like cats.

My TA is local but he hands off most camp reservation stuff to Thompsons in Durban, -
http://www.thompsons.co.za/
I have not worked with Thompsons directly , they might have a handle on camp availability in the Kruger area. I'm sure they also handle other Africa countries.

Let us know how it's going for you.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2009, 07:29 PM
  #36  
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Thanks Tom, I have been on a trip to San Francisco to check out colleges with my son so haven't been as active in the planning stage as I would like these last couple of days .I think I would like to use a travel agent and will check out Thompsons. I have since found out the Elephant Plains only has one night and I don't know if that is worth it. Sabi Sands had some nights for 279 per person and Arusha is full. I realize that I don't have enough free time to research travel arrangements to Victoria Falls and the safari and really build a good time line as I have in the past. Has anyone had experience with Mapungubwe or Madikwa parks? They may have more availability at this time for July
Evelyn
venturesome4 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2009, 09:53 PM
  #37  
 
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VS4, you're welcome. I've been to a camp in Madikwe Reserve, Madikwe Hills Lodge, 5 nights in May of 2007. The camp and facilities are gorgeous, plushiest I've been at. Madikwe is also a malaria free area. BUT the game drives there were three notches below what I've always had at camps in Timbavati or Sabi Sand Reserves.

FWIW, my TA is VIP Travel in Brea CA, (714) 529-1581.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2009, 11:19 PM
  #38  
 
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Dear V,
I have lived and travelled in Botswana - very safe.I can recommend Budget wise- Planet Baobab 3 nighter (cultural and Quad biking ) on the salt pans; Bushways safaris a itinerary from Vic Falls to Maun; Self drive adventures.com a fully equipped vehicle and the owner plans your route with back up of Satelitte phone.Bostwana has many options and is less than 10$ a night to camp , so be flexible and hire a vehicle, its safe . regards M
mowana is offline  
Apr 16th, 2009, 06:01 AM
  #39  
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Thanks Tom. I will focus my attentions on the private camps around Kruegar then.Is it worth doing just one night at a different camp or is that too much moving around? How do I find out effeciently about the types of landscapes that the different camps have , ie. grasslands, forests, dessert, etc.?
Mowana, I have heard many good things about self drive camps but we would prefer to be driven; my husband is our usual driver and he would like to not have to focus on the road for a change. I will look into the safari operators you suggest. thanks!
Evelyn
venturesome4 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:55 PM
  #40  
 
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The terrain around the Sabi Sand and Timbavati reserves is much the same. Except perhaps Sabi Sand has the Sand River running through it which is big draw for wildlife and MalaMala is built around the river for several kilometers. The MalaMala web site has a promo video and if you watch the first couple of minutes you will see typical terrain. Open bush is the way I might describe it. Trees, brush and large open spaces and the Sand river. Not like the huge grass Serengeti plains of Kenya. Maybe Phinda is more open grass plains? I've not been there. Anyway, don't worry about different camp terrain around that area, basically same.

I like to stay at a camp for more than one night. Too much time, energy, cost and game drives can be wasted with a lot of camp shuffling about. If I had 2-3 nights I'd stay at same camp. Four nights? Five nights split 2 and 3 for first safari. Last Sept I went to only two camps in Timbavati, 8 nights each camp. I like to stay more than one night

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  

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