for roccco, what did you decide?

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Jun 3rd, 2005, 07:41 PM
  #1
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for roccco, what did you decide?

aloha, i was reading your many posts about your april 2006 trip i think it was with london etc, all your changes etc and can't find the thread..quite interesting and entertaining! wondering what you decided on, or are you still going back and forth. i will be going on my first trip to africa in october and really appreciate your helpful comments and posts. being a virgin africa traveler, i booked an all inclusive tour through a u.s. travel group, hope i did the right thing, but there's always next year if not. thanks for helping all of us here on fodors!
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Jun 4th, 2005, 05:24 AM
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matnikstym,

I am really still waiting for the Wilderness Safaris and Kwando reports for May 2005 before making my final decison, but I am pretty content with this latest itinerary:

Jacks Camp (3)
Kwando Lagoon (2)
Kwando Lebala (2)
Kwando Kwara (3)
Duba Plains (3)
Chiefs Camp (3)
Westcliff (1)
Paris (3)

While I would like to lock up an itinerary as soon as possible, at the same time I am hesitant to do so until I return from my September safari. I am sure that I will meet many interesting fellow guests while on my 15 nights of safari in South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and the Sabi Sand, possibly some of them who had just been in Botswana and will be able to share their experiences. Plus, there is a possibility that my sister-in-law and her husband may want to join my wife an I next year, and if they do, it would probably delay the trip until mid-August due to their work schedules.

However, I will not change the trip, so it would only be if they were willing and able to spend time with us in Botswana, at which point, I would probably send my wife and the two of them onto Cape Town for the 6 nights that I will be at Duba Plains and Chiefs Camp, since this would, both, give them a more complete experience, and also lower the cost for them by at least $5000. However, given this years experience with my sister flaking out and then my mom getting sick, I am very hesitant to include anybody else on my travels.

The only thing on my own itinerary that I can see possibly changing is eliminating either Kwara, Duba Plains or Chiefs Camp to shorten the safari portion of the trip, out of consideration for my wife, who doesn't nearly get the same out of safaris as I do. If I did eliminate 3 nights, I would probably add this time on in London at the beginning, so that I would do 3 nights London and on the way back from Africa do 3 nights Paris.

I really don't want to go in August, because while gameviewing may be slightly better, prices will be 30% higher and the weather will be cooler at night than late April / early May. Plus, prices on airfare from Los Angeles to Europe will be at least 50% higher in August than in April. This may only represent an extra $400 per person, but on top of the extra $400+ per night for safari, it really adds up.

Part of the challenge in planning a safari, is what I want now and when I book my safari may be different from what I will want by the time I am ready to go on my safari. Trust me, if I could do it over again for this September, I may have elected for the following:

Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa (4)
Lunga River Lodge, Kafue (1)
Busanga Bush Camp, Kafue (3)
Lunga River Lodge, Kafue (1)
Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi (3)
(while keeping my four nights in Cape Town and 3 nights at Simbambili, as is)

And that is part of the problem with doing a safari with others...I compromised my itinerary to accomodate the other guests who ended up cancelling, anyhow. That is why I will not compromise my itinerary again, fellow safari companions or not.

As far as doing your first safari as part of a group tour, I guess it all depends on how much fluff is in the itinerary. I have often seen nights that are just wasted at places that may benefit the tour company but would have been so much better spent elsewhere. I would be interested in seeing your itinerary.

I do think that people who do go the guided tour route are less likely to be bitten by the Africa bug since their experiences may differ so much from someone staying at more exclusive game lodges or are visiting less commercialized areas.

One of my employees visited Botswana last year, but it was on a guided tour including the all too familiar route of Victora Falls - Chobe - ???

The sad thing is that for the amount that he paid, he could have really done much better elsewhere but my advice fell on deaf ears. Not surprisingly, while he enjoyed his visit, he really has no burning desire to return. A guided tour and an exclusive custom safari are really a case of apples and oranges.

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Jun 8th, 2005, 08:10 AM
  #3
 
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How does this latest itinerary look (in order for possibly better gameviewing, I would be risking the cold weather of late May / early June:

5/20 - 5/21 London (Saturday and Sunday)
5/22 LHR - JNB (overnight)
5/23 - 5/25 Kwando Lagoon
5/26 - 5/28 Duma Tau (New Moon on 5/28)
5/29 - 5/31 Jacks Camp
6/01 - 6/03 Kwando Kwara
6/04 - 6/06 Duba Plains
6/07 Westcliff, Joburg (1)
6/08 - JNB - LHR - CDG
6/09 -6/10 Paris (2)
6/11 CDG - LAX. Same day arrival.

SUMMARY

London (2)
Kwando Lagoon (3)
Duma Tau (3)
Jacks Camp (3)
Kwando Kwara (3)
Duba Plains (3)
Westcliff (1)
Paris (2)
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Jun 8th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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Never mind...just read Wallybrenda's report and need to figure out a way to get Tubu Tree or Kwetsani back in there, and may elect to dump Kwando for all WS.

London (2)
Jacks Camp (3)
Duma Tau (3)
Tubu Tree or Kwetsani (3)
Duba Plains or Vumbura Plains (3)
Littl Mombo (3)
Westcliff (1)
Paris (2)

Now that is a DREAM itinerary, and I am not too good at depriving myself of my dreams.
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Jun 8th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Rocco
I know I shouldn't laugh but... you are SO fickle!
You know how much Pete and I enjoyed our stays at Jacana and Tubu Tree - both part of the same concession and management group. I doubt you'd be disappointed in these and other WS properties. Their standards are pretty high.
That said I haven't stayed at Kwando myself so I'm not knocking them at all!
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Jun 8th, 2005, 07:33 PM
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Kavey,

I think Obsessive-Compulsive is the correct term!

After reading Brenda's trip report today, I am prepared to delay the trip just a couple weeks to get me into late May / early June.

The only problem now will be securing the frequent flier seats. I should hit 160,000 miles all over again next month, allowing me two business class flights from Europe to Joburg. I like flying in and out of London Heathrow...they have a really nice SAA Business Class lounge and at least one really good Italian restaurant in the airport!

BUT, I will take a seat wherever I can find one...Vienna to Joburg, Paris to Joburg, Amsterdam to Joburg, Milan to Joburg, whatever. I will even consider Tel Aviv to Joburg, although if I did do Tel Aviv, I would spend four nights there in place of any other time in Europe.

Friday 5/19 Depart LAX - Europe

Saturday 5/20 Arrive Europe. 2 nights, hopefully in London!

Monday 5/22 Depart LHR - JNB

Tuesday 5/23 Arrive JNB. Transfer to Maun? Transfer to Jacks Camp. 3 nights at Jacks Camp during the waning crescent moon (the final stage before the NEW MOON when the skies are at their darkest, lit only by the stars). Pretty good considering I am not even a Wiccan, huh?

Friday 5/26 - Transfer to Duma Tau. 3 nights. New Moon on May 28th.

Monday 5/29 - Transfer to Tubu Tree. 3 nights.

Thursday 6/01 - Transfer to Vumbura Plains. 3 nights.

Sunday 6/04 - Transfer to Little Mombo. 3 nights. I will pray to the safari gods that night game drives are started on Chiefs Island by next year!

Wednesday 6/07 - Transfer to Joburg. 1 night at the Westcliff.

Thursday 6/08 - Overnight flight to London.

Friday 6/09 - Arrive in London early morning, transfer to Paris for 2 nights.

Sunday 6/11 - Depart CDG - LHR - LAX. Same day arrival. END

London (2)
Jacks Camp (3)
Duma Tau (3)
Tubu Tree (3)
Vumbura Plains (3)
Little Mombo (3)

The way I am reading things, I believe Vumbura Plains is moving closer to Duba Plains. So, hopefully I will get plenty of lions, but also still enjoy the diversity that Vumbura is known for, as well as get the 6-paw luxury that is now Vumbura Plains. I have read that it is a 45 minute drive west from the old Vumbura, while Little Vumbura has stayed in its same location and stayed 5-paw.
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