Fodor's Editor Wants to Know...

Oct 24th, 2007, 04:37 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 22,027
I have been on only 2 "safaris" ..Kenya and more recently, SA and Botswana. I will definitely be returning! I do wish, however, that people will branch out to other parts of Africa that are off the safari trail!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Country for first timer? I would suggest East Africa or Botswana with at least a few nights camping to get a feel for the bush.

Personal experience? Well I’ve been visiting the Continent since the late 70’s, but I don’t keep track of the number of times, just the memories. Here is the list…

Tsavo East (Satao Camp)
Amboseli (Campi Ya Knazi, Old Donyo Wuas)
Masai Mara (Mobile Camping
Karen (Ngong House, Giraffe Manor)
Nakuru (Camping)
Samburu Shaba, Buffalo Springs
Aberdares (Guest of KWS at their Lodge- I was Rhinoark DOT org U.S. Pro bono Chairperson)
Lake Naivasha (Hippo Point)
Lewa Downs – Wilderness Trails Lodge
Loisaba – Mobile Camping, Walking Safari and Sky Beds,
Il Ngwesi - Ngare Ndare River on Foot,
Ol Lentille my DH’s 65th B’day the year before he was diagnosed with Cancer
Laikpia (Camel Safari)
Nyeri (Mount Kenya Academy: Helped build Grace Chapel and planted trees at school with students)

Arusha, TZ 2-years volunteering and lots of reconnoitering for new campsites in remote wilderness areas with pup tent and vehicle. Not luxurious but very exciting. Highlights: Witness Maasai female circumcision ceremony, lions in camp all night – I didn’t breathe or sleep all night, Ele dropped trunk in vehicle almost touched us, all things experienced on foot, sleeping in pup tent when elephant herd walked past (the earth moved), all tribal experiences.
Arusha NP (Walk from Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge to Arusha Mobile Campsite)
Tarangire NP (Mostly Mobile Camping; love Southern Park exploration)
Ngorongoro Crater (Camping Crater Floor)
Ndutu (Mobile Camping)
Serengeti: (Mobile Camping- Moru, Gol, Barafu, Lobo etc.)
Ruaha: (Mwagusi Camp)
Selous (Sand Rivers)
Katavi (Chada Katavi)
Ras Nungwi

Botswana (Awesome):
Chobe (Mobile Camping)
Moremi (Chitabe Camp)
Savuti (Mobile Camping)
Okavango (Mobile Camping)
Kalahari (Jack’s Camp)

South Africa (one trip):
Kruger NP (Ngala Tented Camp)
Phinda (Walking Safaris)
Sabi Sands (Singita)

Egypt (The usual sites, just had to do it once):
Abu Simbel

Ethiopia (Amazing place, very different. Searched for Simien wolf, Mountain nyala, and the Gelada baboon, Menelik’s bushbuck and birding to see the Black-winged lovebird and hear the Abyssinian catbird)
Bale Mountain
Omo River Valley

Namibia (one visit):
Skeleton Coast (Camping in Northern Area – Himba visit)

Bush Camping/Walked with Robin Pope-some breathtaking moments. Nkwali, Palmgrove, Luangwa, Nsefu)

Gorilla? Well, I used to baby-sit with KoKo and the SF zoo, so I have had a very up-close and personal time with at least one Gorilla. Someday I will see them in the wild.

Khaki Fever
Khakif is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 01:09 AM
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Wow, AlexisK, you just read my mind! I came here to ask the experts WHERE is a good place for a first trip to Africa!!! Now you've asked the question for me.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 01:42 PM
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Eight safaris in Africa...lived for six months on the continent travelling budget style in 1992---have been going back ever since.
gatoratlarge is offline  
Apr 1st, 2008, 12:16 PM
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How about a first timer for kids ages 10-15?
tbug is offline  
Apr 1st, 2008, 12:31 PM
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I'm a mere beginner!

Sometime in the 1980s I went on my first safari which took in parks in Kenya and Tanzania. I was a teenager and went with parents and sister.

In 2001 my husband and I spent a week in Namibia and another in Botswana.

In 2004 I spent less than a week in the Masai Mara.

In 2004 my husband and I spent 5 weeks in South Africa (of which 2-3 weeks was safari) followed directly by 3.5 weeks in Botswana (all safari) and half a week in Namibia (in one camp in the Namib Desert).

This year we'll be spending 3.5 weeks in Kenya and Tanzania in a variety of reserves/ parks/ conservancies.

We've also enjoyed wildlife trips to other places such as an Antarctica trip in 2004 (where we're also returning to this year).

Kavey is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2008, 12:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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This is the great part of my job...I get to travel in Africa:

3 trips to the Vic Falls. And swam at the lip of the falls....thought my last minute had come. Frantic doggie paddle to the other side! You would think that for $50 they could at least tie you to a tree with some string!

1 trip to Uganda to see the gorillas. This was an incredible experience and something every safari lover should do. Uganda is unspoilt Africa. Get fit before you see the porter practically dragged my up the mountain!

2 trips to Kenya and Tanzania. Loved Tanzania, thought Kenya was a bit commercial compared.

2 trips to Zanzibar. Took my friends the second time and we all had a blast. You must stay in Stone Town and get out of the resorts.

1 trip to Botswana in December. Lifechanging experience. Wide open spaces, no other people, great game and just time to think. Awesome. Take important stuff in hand luggage. 4 days in colleagues starry pj's was interesting!

1 trip to Mozambique. Expensive destination for mainstream tourists, but a superb relaxing beach experience. Not for people wanting activities galore. Diving was great.

1 trip to Malawi. Not a safari though since all we saw was a very lonely antelope. But the lake was spectacular. Diving was interesting and different. People were what stood out. they are so friendly and humble and don't push too hard. But this is definitely for the adventurous traveler. Facilities are 2 star (outside the Wilderness properties)and toilets often a hole in the ground

2 trips to Namibia. My favourite place in the world is Sossusvlei. The silence is deafening. And don't miss out on Okahirongo for the Ovahimba experience.

Zambia as well. Remote and fantastic. Only saw Kafue and want to go back for the rest. The Wilderness Camps there were really awesome.

Multiple trips in South Africa and a planned trip to Khoka Moya, Camp Jabulani and Ulusaba at the end of the month. Yay.

Poppins is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 08:13 AM
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started travelling to south africa in 1996 and returened ever since to southern africa and east africa.

i would advise anybody interested in wildlife should start the "safari career" in south africa working up via botswana, zambia and zimbabwe and then start visiting kenya and tanzania.

because east africa has such a prolific wildlife - especially serengeti and massai mara. if you do it vv one might get disappointed.
of course the southern circuit also offers great wildlife. but kenya and tanzania has it all in large numbers.

Apr 5th, 2008, 09:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 48
Here is a better q,

HOW MANY GAME DRIVES HAVE YOU BEEN ON? I have an unfair advantage but I have probably been on about 6000 game drives (I am now a manager and used to be a guide) I have been on approx 5000+ walks (I used to specialise in walking). Found it interesting when seeing how many safaris people have been on and what their comments have been on Fodors in the past.

East Africa sucks in my opinion. Botswana is fantastic and even though the lodge prices are expensive it still works out pretty even to East Africa when you consider park fees to Tanapa (the most useless organisation on earth - TAnzania NAtional PArks).
My favorite is still the Sabi Sands in South Africa.
Just some info from someone who has worked around and done a couple of game drives!
jackssid2 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 11:41 AM
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My number of game drives:

More than I need but less than I would like.
Apr 5th, 2008, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 12
jackssid2 Can't help but ask -I saw an interview with a Sabi Sands guide who had worked at many of the reserves and he swore the game viewing was basically the same at most of these reserves. Do you agree? If not how would you rate them? Mala Mala... Also great video on You tube of a missed kill in Kruger very exciting.
tbug is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 09:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 48
Hi Tbug

Within the Sabi Sands many places are very much the same wrt game viewing and even 'share' animals. A leopard may have different names on different land. The best thing to do is get hold of a map, see what area suits you (i.e. riverbeds etc.) and then check prices. Some lodges are within a very close distance from one another but prices can vary a huge amount. If you can get a good deal on prices go to the cheaper option and you will see the same as if you went to the lodge next door for double the price.
jackssid2 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2008, 09:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528

Why is the SSGR your favourite? From the viewpoint of a guide or from the point of a client? - yes, i agree great leopard and lion viewing. But, on the flip side there are minuses for the SSGR also......

In East Africa - is it possible to logically get away from the crowds and still have good gameviewing with good guiding?
HariS is offline  
Apr 10th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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Posts: 19
We have been on 12 trips to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Our pictures (and some stories) can be found at
avons is offline  
Apr 10th, 2008, 06:23 PM
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You have some great pictures, here. Can i please request you to start a new thread with the pictures, so that everyone can do justice to your photography? I'm afraid it might get lost in this particular thread.

HariS is offline  
Apr 11th, 2008, 04:15 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 19
Thanks for the idea. It's done now, and the name of the message is "Okavango Pictures".
avons is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 09:29 AM
Original Poster
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avons: 12 trips to the Okavango Delta? Wow! I am both jealous and impressed. And I must ask, what is it exacly or specifically that keeps you coming back to the Okavago? Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful place, but with so many other spots to see in Africa, why return to just this one? By the way, gorgeous pictures.

tbug, did anyone answer your questions about where to go for the first time with teenagers? I'd love to know what people think.
AlexisK is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 19
Hi Alexis,

We keep going back to the Okavango for many reasons:
1. The place is truly wild
2. You will only run into small numbers of tourists, which means you will not see many other vehicles during game drives
3. Beautiful scenery, which makes for nicer pictures; places like Simbira in the Mombo concession or Buffalo Point in the Duba Plains concession are absolutely stunning in our opinion; the view from the deck in front of Jacana isn't bad either!
4. Plenty of food for all wildlife, which makes most animals look healthy and happy
5. The concept of "private vehicle", which allows you to decide at any point in time where you would like to go and what you would like to do; not sure if this concept exists in East Africa as well?
5. Very knowledgeable and friendly guides (very few exceptions)
6. Long summer days in December/January; still shorter than in South Africa, but it beats East Africa by approximately 2 hours/day at that time of year; of course this is not true in June/July when the days are shorter, but that's one of the reasons why we don't go to the Delta that time of year
7. No need to take malaria pills (this is our personal opinion; happy to explain why we feel this way)
avons is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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started in 1996 with south africa, followed by bot, zam, nam, ken, taz.
ngala, phinda, lion sand's ivory, sabi sabi's erth and bush, tanda tula,
ongava lodge, serra cafema, sekelton coast camp, sossusvlei lodge
kwando lagoon, lebala, kwara, lt. kwara, mombo
OE savute elephant, eagle island and khwai, baines, chief's
nsefu, nkwali, tena tena, chongwe, sausage tree, old mondoro
kicheche bush and mara, ilkeliani, overnors il moran and little, lewa, loisaba, elsa's, joy's, tortillis, finch hatton's, olonana
suyan, sayari all locations, oliver's, olakira, swala, kusini, crater lodge, plantation lodge, hatari

some of the a.m. reteatedly
Apr 17th, 2008, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,002
5. The concept of "private vehicle", which allows you to decide at any point in time where you would like to go and what you would like to do; not sure if this concept exists in East Africa as well?

Yes, it's fairly common to hire a private vehicle East Africa. Actually, I was under the impression that it was the other way around, that private vehicles are more commonplace in East Africa whereas shared vehicles are more the norm in Southern Africa due mainly to many East Africa safaris being conducted as driving/road safaris, although I've stayed at fly-in camps in East Africa and had a private vehicle as well.
Patty is offline  

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