Help! Advice on Botswana, VF, Manu

Jun 5th, 2004, 04:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 7
Help! Advice on Botswana, VF, Manu

My hubby and I are planning a trip to Botswana, Vic Falls and maybe Manu Pools next year. With all the options of participatory camping, non-participatory camping, lodging, different tour operators, and combinations of destinations to chose from....I am starting to get overwhelmed.

We'd like to spend $5k USD for the two of us excluding international flights for and total of 14 days (incl. travel). We definitely want to do Vic Falls for 2-3 days.
I have heard that Manu Pools in Zimbabwe is amazing....but have also heard great things about the Chobe river and particularly the Okavango Delta.

I have been on safari before and although I loved seeing the wild animals, after a few days of doing this, I'm ready to do something a little different...perhaps enjoy some tribal culture or do something adventurous like bungee jumping or white water rafting.

Is it recommended to go do a canoe safari in Manu Pools in addition to a mokoro in the Okavango...or is that overkill? Also, I don't know if the local tour operators are substantially less expensive for the comparable tours...just harder to find because they don't have fancy websites and brochures.

I'm looking for something that is a good value...has good food....preferably non-participatory camping/lodging and that will encompass an array of different experiences and stay within our $5k budget total for the two of us. Thank you in advance for you insight. Allison
allisoncwildman is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 207
We wanted to stay within that price range too, but ended up spending twice that so we are not much help.
JackieSun is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 03:16 AM
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You don't mention time of year when you wish to travel. During low season it would barely be possible at $168/day/person to accomplish this.
I gather you'd be flying into JNB, SA - from there you'd have to fly to Maun Botswana is you wish to visit the Delta area, or Victoria Falls to visit Chobe Botswana and/or Vic Falls. These airfares can easily run about $300-$400/person r/t. and then whatever the cost getting to Mana Pools.

The amount you are budgeting has to include your accommodations, meals, transport to/fr in/between countries, also VISA fees (needed for Zimbabwe). Also malaria medicines and possible inoculations for travelers.

As an alternative you might want to check our a group tour. Suggest you check Overseas Adventure Travel that has a Botswana, Vic Falls itinerary - that might fit your budget. Their groups are small (max 16 people, but usually less on a trip such as this).
Jun 8th, 2004, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
We used a 6-night package from ccafrica for our Botswana safari, which cost us about$1600 per person, from Maun. Your best bet is to fly in to Johannesburg, to minimize the within-Africa flights (you'll only have to worry about flying between JNB and Maun.) Working with ccafrica was wonderful, and if a similar package is available for next year, (it covered 3 different camps, Nxabega, which is a "water" camp in the Delta, Sandibe which is about 50/50 water/land, and Savute, which is up near Chobe, and is a land camp. It was an excellent mix. Anyway, I'd have ccafrica help you tack on two nights in Victoria Falls (and I'd try to add a night in Sandibe, if I were you) and you should still stay right around your $5K budget. Read some of Roccco's tips and negotiate your best deal! Working with a tour company in Southern Africa for the "in country" portion of your trip should keep you in your budget.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jun 20th, 2004, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 250
Just back from Botswana ourselves, having had a wonderful 11 day trip using the same special offer from CCAfrcia that uhoh_busted refers to.

However we extended to 9 nights safari plus 2 nights at Victoria Falls (Zambia side at the Zambezi Sun)

All this came in at $2501 each starting in Maun and finishing at Livingstone. Of course this was shoulder season which meant we had to travel before the end of June.

All the lodges were wopnderful and the arrangements by CCAfrica were faultless - I can't praise them enough.

So I would definately recommend you give CCAfrica a try. Give them an outline of your requiremetns and see what they can come up with.

And to everyone else ........ I promise, the trip report will follow in a few days.
RuthieC is offline  
Jun 20th, 2004, 04:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,552
a canoe safari on the Zambezi is certainly a cheaper way to extend your game viewing opportunities. It is far cheaper than safari camp options and I enjoyed it enormously. The trips that stay on the Zambian side are often cheaper.We went for 4 nights and stayed at camps/lodges on the river bank.

Another way to keep costs down is to stay at the government run camp groud chalets at Vic Falls (Zim side)'s amazing how a couple of cheap nights will revive the budget!

As Sandi suggests the low seson is a great way to go...we like the very end of October /beginning of's really the end of the high season before the rains. However, it is very hot but great for game viewing as the animals are congregating at the waterholes/rivers waiting for the rain. The down side is that you may catch the rain too but it does cool things down wonderfully!

We did 10 nights in Zambia (low season Oct/Nov) at superb lodges...Tongabezi, Sausage Tree, and Robin Pope camps...including air transfers on tiny planes for $2500 pp. It was a special offered by the Joburg company Pulse Africa and frankly the best deal I've seen for this level of camp. It's worth checking out their website to see if they have any specials on offer

Good luck with your planning.
welltraveledbrit is offline  

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