HELP! I'm sooooo confused!!

Oct 23rd, 2005, 01:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 80
HELP! I'm sooooo confused!!

I hope you can help me. My husband and I are planning a safari for next year for our 25th anniversary.
Where does one even begin to start planning such a trip? We've travelled the world, but I've never been this perplexed before.
Ideally wew would like a private guide, will take us to all the deserted areas teeming with all sorts of wildlife on the cheap. I can dream, can't I?
Which country is less touristy, but has a lot of animals?
As you can see I am quite ignorant when it comes to Africa.
Thanks for all the help.
didibobi is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2005, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
The first time we went, we started by getting lots of brochures and narrowing it down. I did not know about this forum then.

Most people decide between East Africa -- Kenya and Tanzania -- and South Africa -- Zambia, Botswana, South Africa Namibia.

Generally, East Africa is less expensive and has more tourists and places to stay. That said, they have the migration and Ngorongoro Crater among other things -- I have never been but there are enough trip reports here to give you an idea. I would search them out by country.

In South Africa, Zambia would be a less expensive destination. We went there this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Camps here run from 285 pppn to around 475 pppn. We did not pay above 360. I would highly recommend it.

Botswana is the most expensive destination -- I think anywhere from 500 pppn ( I may be low here) to 1,000 pppn. It is expensive because there is great game, great camps and a reasonable number of tourists -- you will not have 5 other vehicles in your shot.

South Africa has a lot to offer besides safari. You can do it yourself there on the inexpensive side or spen up to 1,000 pppn. This runs the whole realm of costs.

Namibia is a different experience -- there is some game but there is a lot of desert also. So if the big 5 is your goal, I would probably pick one of the others. Cost was a factor for us which is why we chose Zambia and we have absolutely no regrets -- it was a wonderful tim and we saw lots of babies -- lion cubs that were 7 weeks old, nnd nursing elepnahts and wartlets etc. I like the babies best.

Read the trip reports for all countries here. Good place to start.
mpkp is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2005, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,367
Pretty broad question. I am sure several suggestions can be offered if you gave a little more information. Like if you have a budget in mind, how much time for your safari, there are private guides and guides at the lodges/camps, do you want to do bush walks or prefer from a vehicle, mobile camping safari or lodges or bush camps. Just for starters.
luangwablondes is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2005, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Happy 25th! You picked a great way to celebrate.

To get more detailed answers from Fodorites, tell us what time of year you plan to travel give us a budget.

Also how long would you like to be gone? Although that is closely tied to budget.

In addition to animals, do you want any beach/ocean time?

How interested are you in birding?

Does walking or canoeing appeal to you?

Do you want to see chimps or gorillas, which can require a good deal of hiking, and would you be willing to devote severals day to a week to view them?

Would you prefer luxury tented camps to lodges since you want a less touristy experience?

Is seeing the migration of wildebeest and zebra important to you?

Since you mentioned a private guide, unless you have a very generous budget, you probably would not try to arrange that in Botswana. Private guides are most common in Kenya and Tanzania.

A helpful book is Africa's Top Wildlife Countries by Mark Nolting. The 6th edition is the latest.

To answer your last question, there are places in each of the typical safari countries that are not touristy so picking a park or camp may be more important than a country.

Let the planning begin. It's an enjoyable part of the whole safari experience!

Looking forward to hearing more from you about your trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2005, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,046
<Ideally we would like a private guide, will take us to all the deserted areas teeming with all sorts of wildlife on the cheap.>

Don't we all!

Sorry, I have nothing else to add to the above comments at this time but agree if you could give us a rough budget (also if this budget includes intl air and if so, from where?) and your other preferences.
Patty is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2005, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,145
I originally found the beginning stages of safari planning rather daunting. I also was unaware of this wonderful forum at the time. BF (before the forum) I got some books Lonely Planets - East Africa and went on line to National Geographic's site and a few others to check out which activities seemed to appeal i.e. gorilla trekking, big 5 viewing, hiking,seeing tribes and cultural activities etc. Knowing ahead when you'll be going seems to be a plus and what activities appeal to you as others have mentioned will further help you narrow things down. Many of the safari companies (goggle African safaris - then narrow search by countries) will also give you huge amounts of info. regarding each country's pros and cons. as well. They will also define things like camping versus lodging etc.You can also check out a few itieraries with prices at that time as well - you'll start to see various trends in prices to help you.
Once you know where,when and how much money, the rest will actually fall in place. I chose my itinerary and safari company due to a planned extension to the Seychelles and very tight timelines and flight schedules. I also was interested in the migration, seeing tribes and getting out of the jeep once and awhile. I ended up going with the African Adventure company which is US based but I feel that I could have done better money wise with a local (African) company. If you decide to do this, this board seems to have much info. on. So once you decide where to go to, you then need to figure out which company you want - you dictate.
Think of this as a wonderful adventure and something to truly look forward to. It really does get easier.
Happy planning.
p.s. we're going to Tanzania this Feb.

cybor is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2005, 06:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

I would say that the most important things to consider are your budget and the level of adventure that you want.

Personally, Zambia is my favorite country to date, but I can see that it may not work out for a couple that is not the adventurous sort. What makes Zambia special to me is the opportunity to go canoeing amongst hippos and crocodiles in the Zambezi River, tracking lions and elephants on foot on walking safaris, fishing for the razor toothed Tiger Fish, seeing wildlife from boats and being mostly in (luxury) tents rather than lodges which really makes you feel like you are part of the environment rather than intruding on the environment.

What makes Zambia even more attractive is that its prices are substantially lower than Botswana and South Africa. A high season safari in Zambia may be enjoyed for the same or less than a low season safari in Botswana or South Africa.

I think a good place to start with your Zambia research would be here:

The national parks that you will want to read up on are South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi. If you are planning on an extended safari (anything more than a couple weeks), only then would I suggest looking beyond the two parks I mentioned, possibly considering Kafue or North Luangwa.

Finally, I think a couple nights in Victoria Falls at a place like the Royal Livingstone Hotel would be perfect for your 25th anniversary. Victoria Falls is a short 30 minute light air transfer from Lower Zambezi.

Here are a list of some lodges/camps that you should consider in Zambia: (Kafunta, especially for their safari packages, one of them a 10 night overland trip that combines South Luangwa and North Luangwa and is a private safari at a very reasonable price of about $250 per person per night) (North Luangwa)

I did post a photo album from my recently completed safari that was mostly in Zambia:

Also, one thing I should mention is that Zambia is a great place to buy jewelery, especially Emeralds. What better time to get a beautiful Emerald ring than for your 25th anniversary?

The money that you save by choosing Zambia over other more expensive destinations will be enough to buy you a very beautiful piece of jewelery. Take a look at the gallery and go to Photo #347.

Also, if you have a chance, I have posted my favorite photos from my Zambian safari last month (about 160 of them) on this link:

These are nicer than in my other photo album as many of them have been touched up on Photoshop Elements while the other photo album is unedited.

Best of luck with your safari planning and congratulations on your upcoming 25th anniversary.
Roccco is offline  
Oct 28th, 2005, 07:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,306
I think you can areas teeming with all sorts of wildlife on the cheap (relatively speaking) -- but only if you can manage without a private guide.

If you must have a private guide, that is another story.

If you are willing to skip the private guide, consider South Africa. It may not be "deserted" by African standards, but compared to U.S. parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone you may feel like the only humans there. We loved it.
lisa is offline  
Oct 30th, 2005, 03:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 80
Thank you all for your great advice.
I believe we've decided on Tanzania, although that may change at any given moment, there are too many choices.
I've found an English company on the web called Natural High. We may not nessecarily use them, but what they
had to offer seems interesting.
We were thinking
Loliondo Safari Camp 3 nights
Nomad's Serengeti Safari Camp 2 nights
Sand Rivers 4 nights
and either Matemwe Bungalows Zanzibar or Ras Kutani Tanzanian Coast for a few nights.
Has anybody heard of Fundu Lagoon on Pemba Island? Is Pemba Island worth a visit?
Is there anything on the Itinerary we should be adding? We have about 2 weeks and no, we do not have to have a private guide, because these places I mentioned give you a guide, who is "ours" for the duration of the stay.
I don't mind "roughing it" for one night, as long as I have a shower. After sort of planning all this, lo and behold, I opened my latest Conde Nast and there's The Sand Rivers Lodge.
It looks lovely. Has anyone stayed there?
Please let me know what you think.
Rocco, I will take a look at Zambia just in case.
I got the greatest tips for our Thailand trip from you Fodrites last year, so I counting on all of you to make this trip just as exciting!
didibobi is offline  
Oct 30th, 2005, 05:04 PM
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There was a recent trip report that contained time spent at Fundu Lagoon. Just do a search in the box on the top of the board, and you'll find the posting along with a link to the photos taken by the poster.

As to Loliodo and Nomads camps, have to presume you'll be flying to/from Arusha. But make sure about the transfer between the two camps.

When it comes to the Sand River Camp a Selous, you'll require another flight either direct from the Serengeti to the Selous (very expensive) or a connecting flight via Arusha or Kili. Due to flight schedules, you may require an overnight in Arusha.

By the way, what month are you planning to take this trip?
Dec 8th, 2005, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 218
ttt for research
merrittm is offline  
Dec 8th, 2005, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 334

Just to let you know, this is the first time that I've taken a look at your "favourites" album and all I can say is... wow. Your photos are amazing and after viewing them, I immediately wrote to my husband and told him that our next trip will be to Zambia (you had me mostly convinced already, and your photos just solidified it completely!).

Well done and thanks!
alwaysafrica is offline  
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