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Great looking affordable Botswana package by CCAfrica...

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Oct 28th, 2004, 10:37 PM
  #1
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Great looking affordable Botswana package by CCAfrica...

Okay, for the last couple weeks I've been totally stressing out, wondering if inviting my mom and then my sister wasn't a big mistake, as I saw the costs rise above $20,000 USD. While I would like nothing more than to see Botswana, I found myself trying to settle for 4 nights of Matetsi, and then some Sabi Sand specials, as I thought that was the only way to keep costs under control. Even Zambia, besides Robins House at Nkwali in South Luangwa which sleeps 4 guests and is only about $1,150 USD per night including private vehicle, private chef and private valey, wasn't proving to be much help.

I have been searching high and low, and as a last resort have been looking for private guides who lead mobile tented safaris. As hard as it is to get answers from some lodges, multiply that tenfold and that is how easy it is to get a response out of private guides. It is the end of the season right now, or they probably are on hiatus after working 3 or 4 months straight (and who can blame them...I don't envy the person that has to be responsible for and entertain customers 24 hours, 7 days a week, with rare breaks before the next group arrives).

I have been very hesitant to trust individuals I have never heard of before and with companies, it seems like it would be a crapshoot. Botswanan guides are not exactly held in the same high esteem as Zimbabwean guides, for example.

I didn't even know how to find private luxury mobile safaris, as all my Google searches were futile. But then, maybe because I got my fat *** off the couch and worked out tonight and may have still had endorphins flowing, I came back from the gym and immediately resumed my search and almost immediately came up with this:

http://www.ccafrica.com/expeditions/...-EBBP/type-2-2

That's right, CCAfrica does mobile camping safaris! For 9 nights (Okavango Delta 2, Moremi 2, Savute Area 2, Chobe 2, Victoria Falls at the Kingdom Hotel 1) it is only $2,340 pp. That is like $260 per day per person. Taking transfers into consideration, that is about 60% less than the lodges would cost.

My guess would be that guests would be very close to Nxabega (CCAfrica) in the Okavango Delta and very close to Sandibe (CCAfrica) while in Moremi, as it does state that we will be in CCAfrica's private concession.

As a grand finale, my guess would be that CCAfrica would be more than willing to accomodate me with a couple nights at Matetsi, in place of the night at the Kingdom Hotel, for perhaps an extra $300 per person.

Please comment on the itinerary, as follows:

Okavango Delta, Nxabega area (2)
Moremi, Sandibe area (2)
Savute area (2)
Northern Chobe NP (2)
Matetsi Water Lodge (2)

Grand total = $2,650 per person?

I realize that this will be a bit of culture shock away from the luxury lodges, but I will survive, and with my mom and sister to keep my wife in line, I suspect that she will survive, as well, being on her best possible behaivor given the circumstances.

We will have our luxury in Cape Town and in the Sabi Sand. But, to have 8 nights in Botswana and 2 nights at Matetsi, allowing a visit to Victoria Falls, for well under $3,000 pp, that sounds like a dream come true.

Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated.
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Oct 28th, 2004, 10:47 PM
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Wow, and for a grand tour of Botswana check out this 14 night CCAfrica mobile camping safari:

http://www.ccafrica.com/expeditions/...-EPBP/type-2-2

PARKS OF BOTSWANA SAFARI ITINERARY:

Days 1 & 2: Maun, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Spectacular scenery, diverse game and birdlife. Exclusive wilderness camping.
Days 3 & 4: Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Largest reserve in Botswana, extensive game drives. Exclusive wilderness camping.
Day 5: Deception Valley Lodge. Night game-drive. Lodge overnight.
Days 6 & 7: Okavango Delta. Charter flight into Delta. Explore unique inland Delta by mokoro (dugout canoe) and on wilderness walks. Excellent birding. Exclusive wilderness camping in CC Africa?s private Delta concession.
Days 8 & 9: Moremi Wildlife Reserve. Charter flight to Moremi ? one of Africa?s most beautiful reserves. Extensive game drives. Exclusive wilderness camping.
Days 10,11, 12 & 13: Chobe National Park. Well-known for predators, mammals and birds. Exclusive wilderness camping in the Park.
Day 14: Victoria Falls. Afternoon Tour of the Victoria Falls. Optional excursions. Overnight at The Kingdom Hotel.
Day 15: Safari ends after breakfast, in Victoria Falls

The price for this one is only $3,450, so I suspect even by substituting 2 nights at Matetsi in place of the 1 night at the Kingdom Hotel, that it would still cost only about $3,750 pp sharing.

Given that there will be four persons in my group, I think there is an excellent chance that we would be the only ones, although they do have the option of having up to seven people per itinerary.

I am going to sleep well tonight!
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Oct 28th, 2004, 10:54 PM
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Sorry, I am just beside myself in awe of these itineraries. Here is my favorite one yet!

http://www.ccafrica.com/expeditions/...-EBWW/type-2-2

Botswana wilderness safari: A unique 12-day African safari featuring a thrilling walking safari in Linyanti Private Game Reserve in Northern Botswana, bringing you closer to nature than you?ve ever imagined. Game-filled Chobe and Moremi Wildlife Reserves, the Okavango Delta and a variety of diverse habitats make for an unforgettable safari.
10 nights fully serviced wilderness camping (all meals, local wine, beer, soft drinks and mineral water included)
One lodge overnight (meals included)
Extraordinary game viewing in open 4x4 safari vehicles
Guide, chef and one camp/back-up staff
Maximum six guests - guaranteed window seat
Minimum age 16 years



WALK THE WILDS OF BOTSWANA SAFARI ITINERARY:

Days 1 & 2: Kasane, Chobe National Park. Short drive to Chobe National Park, Botswana. Excellent game and birdlife. Two exclusive wilderness camping overnights.
Days 3 & 4: Savute. Excellent lion and other predator viewing. Two nights exclusive wilderness camping next to the dry Savute Channel.
Days 5, 6 & 7: Linyanti Explorations Walking Safari. Linyanti is one of the most attractive and less-travelled areas of Botswana with a great diversity of game and birdlife in a beautiful bush and delta atmosphere. An area in the Selinda Reserve has been set aside for walking safaris, which are conducted through riparian forest and open plains. A fully armed professional guide and tracker will accompany you throughout your safari. After being briefed by your guide, you will spend your first night at the tented lodge. The next morning, you will embark on a seven-kilometre walk to the next overnight camp. After lunch, you may enjoy an afternoon walk in the vicinity of the camp before an exhilarating night game-drive and overnight in trails tents. Enjoy another seven-kilometre morning walk to the next overnight camp in time for a delicious lunch, afternoon walk, night game-drive and overnight in trails tents.
Days 8 & 9: Moremi Wildlife Reserve. Depart for Moremi. Extensive game-viewing drives. Exclusive wilderness camping.
Days 10 & 11: Okavango Delta. Charter flight into Delta. Explore channels, islands and waterways by mekoro. Game-viewing walks on the islands. Two overnights are spent at CC Africa?s exclusive wilderness campsite in our private concession.
Day 12: Transfer to Maun by charter aircraft where our safari ends.

This is one is $3,450 per person sharing and is for a maximum of six guests, making it all the more likely that it would just be the four of us. I am going to need some Xanax for my wife on this one!
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Oct 30th, 2004, 08:32 PM
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hi Roccco,
GREAT finds , when would you be going?
marilyn
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Oct 30th, 2004, 11:08 PM
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mzcuriouz,

99% chance I will be arriving in Johannesburg on September 01st to start a 17 night holiday consisting of 12 nights safari, 1 night Joburg and 4 nights in Cape Town. The only date I cared for that Award Planner was able to get me business class tix from London - Joburg was on August 31st, otherwise, it would have cost an extra 40,000 per ticket for 1st class air, and I would rather save the miles as SAA Business Class is more than sufficient.

After doing a little more research, I disappointingly discovered that there was a nicer luxury mobile safari by CCAfrica but that the price was much higher, putting them in line with esteemed private guides offering the same service. Meanwhile, while I trust CCAfrica's excellent reputation, the success of the whole safari would be determined by the guide assigned, and that is discomforting.

http://www.ccafrica.com/expeditions/...rer-1-type-2-1

Whatever happens, though, it looks like September 01st will be my arrival date for next year.

Unless I do a private luxury mobile safari, then I am strongly leaning towards a 9 night Zimbabwe itinerary that would include 3 nights each at Chikwenya (Wilderness Safaris) in Mana Pools, Makalolo Plains (Wilderness Safaris) in Hwange and Matetsi Water Lodge (CCAfrica) in Matetsi near Vic Falls.

If not that, and if Botswana proves to expensive, then it is probably back to Zambia, but it is such an awesome place that I don't mind. South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi NP are the best bargains in Southern Africa and is amazingly beautiful with abundant game and excellent walking safaris (as well as the typical morning and night game drives).
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Jan 20th, 2005, 04:45 AM
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Hi Roccco

I have read that your 2005 plans have evolved several times since this old post, but I was just wondering about your view on Matetsi . I read your old trip report where it sounded like you had a horrible time at this lodge ("civil war special"). I was wondering if Matetsi has been redone, or what made you consider going back.

Thanks
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Jan 20th, 2005, 06:35 AM
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cruisinred,

I don't know if I am just trying to revise history or if I have just thought that maybe I was being a spoiled brat last time around.

Trust me, all the other guests had a fabulous time at Matetsi. My wife and I, on the other hand, were just coming in from Singita!

Looking back, I was a bit beat up from the rigors of travel by the time I arrived, and I did get a bit sick while I was at Matetsi. Plus, the political demonstrations by armed Zanu-PF militia in the streets of Victoria Falls did not help.

But, the staff at Matetsi was great. We were treated to this incredible dinner in the bush one night that still serves as my all-time favorite dinner in Africa. We could hear the Zambezi River (if not the actual Victoria Falls) thundering in the background, and the dinner was in the middle of the bush, surrounded by both torches and armed guards...Filet Mignon, BBQ Chicken, Corn On The Cob fresh off the grill, fresh baked breads, wine, beer, full bar, etc.

While the bush was too thick in March to see any predators, Matetsi was full of elephants, giraffes and other wildlife. Upon our arrival, my wife and I were enjoying the private plunge pool until a family of warthogs walked right in front of us...man, we jumped out of that plunge pool as if they were a pride of lions back into the safety of our room!

In retrospect, I have much different memories and a much better appreciation of Matetsi compared to when I had just finished my trip there.

While they did drop the ball regarding my flight, failing to reconfirm my flight, lying about it and causing me to miss my flight, they were gracious enough to put me up in a suite at the lovely Victoria Falls Hotel, with meals and drinks included.

So, I would return to Matetsi without any hesitation. It is the only place that I am aware of within a one hour drive to Victoria Falls that will allow for good gameviewing, and has all activities and food included. Besides the game drives, it is possible to go canoeing each day.

Trust me, it is nice to be away from Victoria Falls, although I have not yet stayed on the Zambian side in Livingstone. I think Matetsi is an excellent value and I would definitely consider staying there instead of some of the other available places that cannot compete in terms of activities.
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Jan 20th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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Rocco,
Thank you for your research and posting re: CCAfrica. I'll save it for future reference. Affordable Botswana. Thanks and keep working out!
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Jan 20th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Thanks for the update/clarification Roccco. As always, very useful& helpful information.

I guess your experience highlights the necessity of booking the best lodge/accomodation at the END of a trip, not at the beginning...
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Jun 14th, 2005, 03:17 AM
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Hi from Maun

Have a look at this.Found it on http://www.botswana-botswana.com

Day1 Botswana
Arrive Maun airport. Transfer to the safari vehicle/light aircraft for the drive/flight into the Kalahari for the Makgadikgadi Saltpans safari experience. Makgadikgadi Camp, an oasis amongst the palms, is a home from dreams.

Rolling grass plains. Dust devils waltzing across dry Saltpans (July-October). Thousands of zebra and wildebeest splash across wet saltpans (October-June). Migrant birds. Waders. Flamingoes. Tens of thousands. Stone age tools. Pottery shards. Five thousand year-old baobab. David Livingstone's grafitti. Meerkats. Big cats. Small cats. Oryx. Whistling wind. Howling jackals. Ice cold beer. Food fit for a King. Wine. Campfire stories. Port. Wild stories.

Explore deep origins from within, before humankind itself, from the universe.

Day2 Botswana
The Makgadikgadi Saltpans safari experience continues into the horizons with no boundaries...

'Travelling alone round the globe in a sailing boat was noisier than the pans'

Day3 Botswana
Drive through Makgadikgadi Pans National Park to the Boteti Riverbed, the park's western extremity, to Meno A kwena tented Camp. Feels like you have been here before. Or is it that one feels so relaxed? Its like home?

'This to me, is what I dreamt Africa to be..."

The Boteti River, once the gut of a giant inland sea, now dry on the surface, but the water still flows underground. Southern Africa's largest zebra and wildebeest migration goes there to drink when the water in the saltpans has evapourated, turned to dust devils. Water is scarce but can be smelled underground. Elephants dig wells. Zebra suck water from the sandy seeps of sweet life. Great flocks of birds drink hundreds of litres each day. Water is precious. And the tented camp watches over. Bucket showers. Open air bathrooms. Breath-taking views. Mouth-watering tastes. Sleep like babies...

Day4 Botswana
Thomas Baines painted the baobabs of N!xai Pan as he travelled the area in the late 1800s, exploring, hunting, seeking adventure, artist, a naturalist. A bit like us.

Drive to N!xai Pan National Park, picnic lunch loaded in the back, chairs, table and all. famous for the Baine's baobabs, and normally nocturnal lion, hunting springbok all day long at the waterhole. Plenty of film? Cat and mouse. Hide. Stalk. Springbok. Water. Have to drink. Freeze. Focus. Squeeeeeeze. Boooom! Jerk. Jolt. Sprint. Dust. Life and death. The day-trip ends back at Meno A Kwena Tented Camp as the zebra, a striped snake slithers into the riverbed to drink a hundred feet below the plunge pool in camp. Sundowners and sunsets.

Day5 Botswana
Oh no! Halfway through the safari already! Breakfast, pack, and drive to Maun Airport for the charter flight over the 'jewel of Africa'. A priceless jewel.

When I come back, I want to be that bateleur eagle soaring endlessly from one thermal of rising heat, to the next, ...all ...day ...long.

Suggestion. Look for wildlife in the floodplains, woodlands, rivers, lagoons, hippo channels and lily ponds to avoid motion sickness. It works!

Arrival at Shakawe airport. Short drive to the 'Kubu Queen' houseboat floating on the Okavango River. Before the cessna engine drone has subsided, the two-story houseboat is chugging down the third largest river in Southern Africa. Life on the Kubu Queen is living the life of a celebrity - extravagant, yet homely. You will feel like its your own boat.

'He walked in........to the party........like he was walking on....to a........yacht'...

Day6
The Okavango River safari experience means catching supper. Fishing for bream, tiger, pike and catfish. Birds. Heron, darters, bee eaters, skimmer, terns, lily trotters, crakes. Hippo snorts. Crocodiles eyes. Swaying Papyrus. perfumed Waterlilies. Picnics on deserted palm islands.

Day7
The Okavango River safari chugs on down river with lots to do, and nothing at the same time. Walks. Local fishermen in dugouts. Otters. Kingfishers. The scent of grilled fish. The fish eagle calls above. Blue skies. Gentle warm breeze. A good day for sailing. A good day to be alive.

'A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work'.

Day8 Botswana
From the aircraft windows the aerial view of the lazy river puts it all into perspective. River turns to delta in the Kalahari sands. Unlike most deltas that flow into oceans. Moremi Wildlife Reserve is the delta's protected wetlands teeming with wildlife, free from human influence.

People, are the future of our wild places...

A bumpy bush landing on a bumpy bush airstrip is the start of the Okavango Delta safari experience. An authentic tented safari camp nestles under large riverine woodland trees. The day before, there was no camp nestled under large riverine woodland trees. It is a mobile safari camp. The real safari experience. Kings and Queens once stayed in tents with twin beds. Bedrolls cozy with clean white linen and blankets. Hot bucket showers. Cooking over firewood coals. Canvas hand basins. Ice. 24-hour bar. Table laid for three course meals. The lion roars. Hyaena calls. Owls hoot. Hippos splash. Elephant rumbles. Sunset. Moonrise. Southern Cross. Tent zips. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

'In the jungle....the mighty jungle.....the lion sleeps to......night...'

Day9 Botswana
Wake up! Wake up! Wild dogs in camp! The safari experience continues, through sleep, through meals, through veins, through life ...and death. The wild dogs, 'natural born killers' had breakfast at camp.

Day10 Botswana
Wake up! Wake up! Leopard drinking out of the basin! The safari experience continues...

Day11 Botswana
But we were just... halfway through the... safari...!

'Pulling up at Maun ,Botswana airport at the end of the safari experience for the flight home was like... life itself had ended.'

Wake up! Wake up! Good morning, would you like an English breakfast? ...Or continental?

Tsamaya sentle ...ta bona wena kgamoso - Good bye ...see you tomorrow...

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