Help me decide, Tanzania or Botswana?

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Dec 3rd, 2002, 07:06 PM
  #1
Dena
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Help me decide, Tanzania or Botswana?

I have been debating which area I want to go to for a safari. I am leaning towards Botswana because they can do night drives, have open vehicles, and fewer crowds. The appealing part to Tanzania is that it sounds as if there are more volume of animals to see, maybe less expensive, warmer in August, shorter flights from europe and I can go to Zanzibar for a few days after the safari.

Who has been to both that can help? I have seen other posts that seem to prefer botswana but I am not sure I can afford Mombo. But the number of vehicles in some places and using a minivan seem like they would put a damper on the experience. It is all so confusing! Thanks
 
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Dec 4th, 2002, 06:10 AM
  #2
kavey
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Dena
Both countries will offer you an incredible experience - I can only suggest hiring out some nature documentaries on the two countries to get a feel for the scenery and wildlife in terms of whether you prefer one or the other.
There is a high concentration of wildlife in Tanzania but this is also true of Botswana's Okavango Delta - and because the camps are smaller and the guide training unparalleled you may get much much closer to game.
Mombo is certainly number 1 for game viewing but prices are crazy because the lodge itself is more luxurious than others and it's also in high demand.
Other lodges to consider are those also offered by Wilderness Safaris - check out their website for the full list - such as Jao, Xigera, Duba, and many others.
Each of these are very small and intimate and offer great viewing.
The costs are increased because they are so remote as to only be accessible by small charter plane.
Alternatively companies like Wilderness Safaris and others offer mobile tented safaris in the area which offer a similar experience - still excellent tents, put up by the staff, food cooked for you etc.

I haven't been to Tanzania since I was about 14 (17 years or so back) and went to Botswana last year.

My preference is Botswana as it felt more remote and much less crowded but both would be a great trip.

Kavey
 
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Dec 4th, 2002, 06:19 AM
  #3
RnR
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Agree with Kavey's ideas. It might be useful to contact either Fish Eagle in Houston or Karell in Coral Gables, FL, and request a copy of the Wilderness Safaris brochure for 2002/2003. Both are reputable travel agents specializing in Botwana, etc. This brochure descirbes lodges/camps in a number of countries. You can also access the websites of the two agenst and WS for additional details. Keep posting here - several of us are planning trips to Botswana, etc., in 2003 and 2004, and will be pleased to share information and ideas. I returned from S. Africa and Botswana in October - and spent four night at Mombo - it is a wonderful place - but be aware that this camp is already booking 2004! You probably want to give yourself at least 6-8 months lead time, and a year plus wouldn't be unreasonable. The agents can offer advice, etc.
 
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Dec 4th, 2002, 06:54 AM
  #4
Liz Frazier
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Dena- Read Jane's trip report on Tanzania just reported here a day or two ago. Really good job on the report. Puts the rest of us to shame I'm afraid. At least me I should say.
If this is your first trip, either place would be very thrilling. If you have been to Botswana first, Tanzania would be a let down due to overabundance of tourists, crowding, commercialism, etc. I was last to Tanzania in 1993, and I understand it has changed a lot since then. Wilderness Safaris was going to open some camps there but when they went back after 10 years, they changed their mind. Too crowded I think.
You wouldn't notice that if it is your first trip and the Wildebeest migration cannot be duplicated anywhere in Africa. A real spectacle to behold.
Botswana has my heart though so I would be terribly biased at this point. I wouldn't know that though if I hadn't been there (of course), so Tanzania would be cheaper and a wonderful experience. Just read Jane's trip report. She was there this year.
My two cents. Liz
 
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Dec 4th, 2002, 02:15 PM
  #5
Dena
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Thanks for your replies. I had already booked with an agent for wilderness before having second thoughts. I had planned on duba plains and duma tau and one camp in South africa. I also read Janes trip report which was excellent and a very different experience than most safaris I have read about. I am still undecided but probably need to look at it as I do for my european trips that I just need to go and figure that this won't be my last trip to Africa so I can do it differently next time.
 
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Dec 4th, 2002, 03:38 PM
  #6
kav
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Dena
Consider adding experiences with the san bushmen in Xai Xai or at Gudigwe, or the Himba of Namibia at Tsumkwe or a similar experience.
I had to reluctantly abandon plans for Tsumkwe when I learn that it involves a very very long drive over some very bad roads and I know my back problems would make that very painful for me.
Kavey
 
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Dec 5th, 2002, 05:12 AM
  #7
darlene
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I have not been to Southern Africa, but you can have a wonderful trip in Tanzania. Each park that we went to was unique, and had many animals. And you can stay at very luxurious lodges, or permanent tented camps, which we enjoyed very much, a mix of the two was perfect. While we did see a few other vehicles on occasion, it was not that often. Right now a understand that there has been less tourists so it whould be even better. The sheer vastness of the Serengeti was something I had always wanted to see, and I was not disappointed. The migration was a spectacle I feel privileged to see. There are also private lodges outside some of the parks where you can do walking and night drives. Unfortunately I didn't know about them before I planned my trip, but I still had a wonderful and amazing safari.
 
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Dec 6th, 2002, 04:40 AM
  #8
dena
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Darlene, can you tell me what parks you went to that were less crowded and you must have gone in July or August to see the migration. Were you in open vehicles or pop top minivans? What operator did you use?
 
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Dec 6th, 2002, 03:23 PM
  #9
darlene
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Dena, We went at the end of the Feb into March. The migration is at that time in the southeastern part of the Serengeti. It is the time when all the calves are born. They make a big circle, going into Kenya later in the year, so the migration is always somewhere. Anyway, we spent the most time there - 4 days, and moved to the western corridor for 2 days. We also went to Arusha National Park, Tarangire NP, Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater - the crater, was more crowded that the other parks, but being in a 12 mile across crater was still great. We did have to share the lions, but many times were alone as far as we could see. Tarangire is vast, and had big sky, and horizons.
We had a Land Cruiser vehicle, with a top that came completely off, but the national parks do not allow open sided vehicles. Trip was arranged through Park East. The operator in Tanzania was Ranger. Feel free to ask any more questions you may have, I'm always happy to relive my trip.
 
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