Help with Bostwana trip research

Oct 6th, 2006, 01:57 PM
  #1  
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Help with Bostwana trip research

Your Botswana trip reports have me doing research into a possible trip for the summer of 2008.

Some info:
-Husband and I
-using FF miles to fly into Joh or Victoria Falls
-Primary interest is animal photography
-We don't play well with others (meaning probably not a group tour. Our previous safaris have included private game drives. i'm sure this all depends on situation/location)
-We'd like to see 3-4 locations, 2-3 nights each.
-budget is approx $300-400 per person per night. (possible or impossible?)

Any suggestions on where to begin?

-Tour operators?
-Suggested itinerary?

THANKS !
Toshi is offline  
Oct 6th, 2006, 06:24 PM
  #2  
santharamhari
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Toshi,

If you are looking at the western summer months (June, july, aug etc) i suggest doing a private mobile safari for the budget stated. Lots of people here have had great trips thru Gametrails, Masson Safaris etc etc., they will put together a fantastic trip for you....

Hari
 
Oct 7th, 2006, 05:26 AM
  #3  
 
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I second the suggestion for a mobile safari. I checked the prices for a private one and it would fit within your budget easily. Since your primary interest is photography, I'll show you a very small selection of what I saw last year. http://www.pbase.com/cjw/botswana_africa_2005&page=all

I'm doing a very similar trip (also mobile camping) in July, 2007.
sundowner is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 06:02 AM
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Cindy,

What a wonderful collection of images!

Your mention of Charles Glatzer explains it all.

John
afrigalah is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 06:25 AM
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Cindy,

Your pictures are really fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Jenn
jenn24 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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Cindy,

And I've just read the trip report. Probably the best I've seen. Wow. I read much of it aloud to my wife while she worked on her basketball photos (how mundane, we had to cover a game tonight ), and got many a chuckle out of her.

John
afrigalah is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 07:23 AM
  #7  
santharamhari
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So, John.....you guys are sitting at the basketball game with a laptop hooked onto fodors? I'm trying to get the picture......yes, this place is addictive!!!

Hari
 
Oct 7th, 2006, 07:47 AM
  #8  
 
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Hari,

Haha...I have been at the Staples Center, a 20,000 seat sports arena in Los Angeles, and have been more interested in Fodors than I have been in the boxing match that was taking place in the ring that I was covering!

Toshi,

I don't know...if you do not play well with others, then perhaps a mobile safari that you share with other vehicle mates will not be a good fit.

For the budget you have stated, the only time that you will be able to get to Botswana in a private vehicle would be from December 01st - March 31st.

If I am not mistaken, Game Trails has up to 9 guests in a vehicle. Talk about competing interests!

Also, noting that your trip is not until the Summer of 2008, I think the prices will have risen an additional 20% by that point. Perhaps you should consider Zimbabwe & Zambia if you want a private safari that may be closer to your price range.

For any respectable Botswana safari in the summer (July, August, September) of 2008 staying at camps (whether Wilderness, Sanctuary or Kwando), you are easily looking at $800 per person per night. For a private vehicle, add another $200 per person per night and you are now up to $1,000 per person per night for the more respected Botswana camps.

As the others have suggested, if you are willing to do a shared mobile safari, there is a likelihood that your budget may be met. However, for the price you are mentioning, you would have a hard time (by 2008) even in Zimbabwe or Zambia (and this at the second-tier properties in Zambia).
Roccco is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 08:01 AM
  #9  
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Thanks for the replies everyone. Sounds like I should look into a private mobile safari, hadn't thought of that before...

Cindy: Stunning images and a great trip report! I'll be interested to hear about your next adventure.

Rocco: Do you feel that accommodations (referring to your comment about "more respected Botswana camps") greatly impact the game viewing in Botswana? My experience is limited to one trip to Kenya and Tanzania, but it seemed that what matters more is the quality of the vehicle/guide rather than where you sleep. For example, whether you stay at the Crater Lodge or at a public campsite, everyone sees the same animals in Ngornongoro.
Toshi is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 08:27 AM
  #10  
 
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Toshi
One must bear in mind that in Botswana the camps are in private concessions which means that people who utilise other camps or the public camping facilities do not get to traverse the private concessions. The concessions that each camp has are huge and you will never see a vehicle from another camp nor a public vehicle. Most of the camps do have concessions in the best areas for game viewing, for instance Mombo. This is not to say that you will not see wildlife if you opt for the mobile safari or the public camping area.
Marksafari17 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Hi Toshi,

I agree with what others have posted -- staying in camps in the private concessions will be considerably outside your budget. For your budget, a mobile is the best option, though by 2008, even the private mobile itineraries are likely to be pushing $500 per person per night.

Assuming you are doing a mobile, I'd recommend doing about 6 days in the Delta (3 nights in two places). The Delta is such a varied environment that it's worth staying in two different spots. You could then follow up with 3 nights in Chobe for the huge herds of elephants.

Unfortunately, the mobile safari will not be able to take you into the Linyanti area as it's all private concessions (the only mobiles which move through the Linyanti are the Wilderness Safaris group trips, which sound like they would not work for you). If your budget can sustain it, you may want to consider adding 3 camp nights in the Linyanti area onto a mobile safari. You could either add this onto the above or do Linyanti instead of Chobe,

Alternatively, if you're interested in the smaller creatures as well as the big game, spending a few nights in the Makgadikgadi Pans would be great. Some of the Game Trails trips include a stay in the Makgadikgadi.

Your itinerary would then look something like this:

Delta Location 1 x3
Delta Location 2 x3
Chobe x3 or Linyanti x3
Linyanti or Makgadikgadi x3

Personally, I would go for:

Makgadikgadi x3
Delta Location 1 x3
Delta Location 2 x3
Linyanti x3

Cheers,
Julian
jasher is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 01:41 PM
  #12  
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Ah - NOW it makes sense. I wasn't aware of the private concession factor. Thanks for the detailed explanations Mark and Julian!

The suggestion of a mobile safari combined with a few nights at a private consession might be the way for us to go...
Toshi is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 07:02 PM
  #13  
santharamhari
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Rocco,

yes, that's funny.......the staples center thing....earlier this year, when i was in Thailand with a bunch of ppl for my aunt's 50th b'day celebrations, i was more curious on these msg boards than the beach.....besides my time actually in the ocean snorkelling/diving...

Hari
 
Oct 7th, 2006, 07:21 PM
  #14  
santharamhari
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Toshi,

If you do go the mobile route, i suggest you talk to the various mobile operators to see what kind of itinerary they suggest for you....they usual know the time of the year recommended to visit specific areas and they book specific camp sites etc etc., in advance.

I've read many trip reports of visitors to chobe and savute(Chobe) areas on mobile trips, that hv had just as amazing sightings or even better compared to any camp/lodge trip.....

Personally, a mobile safari is high on my list for 2008 as i want to go deep into the Kalahari....and mobile trips are the best options for that area. This area is best just before the long dry season.

Hari
 
Oct 7th, 2006, 08:01 PM
  #15  
 
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Thanks for the comments, Jenn, John and Toshi! That was such an amazing trip.

John, have you worked with Chas before? I'm signed up to do Bots with him in July 2007 and also bears in alaska in Sept 2007. I'm looking forward to both trips.

Hari, if you are reading this, I found where we saw the cheetahs. "In Khwai we saw the giraffe necking, 3 cheetah brothers, the bridge over the river khwai (nope, not the one in the movies) as well as all the usual game."
sundowner is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 08:08 PM
  #16  
santharamhari
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Thanks Cindy....some amazing sightings, there....Khwai area sounds fantastic!!!

Hari
 
Oct 7th, 2006, 08:15 PM
  #17  
 
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Cindy,

No, not that lucky. I'm familiar with Chas' photography and that of people like Art Morris because I had the good fortune to get advice from them on photo forums. Funny, I sort of felt quite lonely on those forums because it seemed none of them had experienced Africa, and there I was, trying to show them how great the wildlife was with my mediocre photography. Now, they're leading photo safaris to Tanzania and Botswana. Maybe I had a good influence after all

John
afrigalah is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 06:32 AM
  #18  
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Ha - we're going Brooks Falls to see the bears in July of 2007. Must be the animal photography enthusiast circuit

(and if you haven't been to the Galapagos, I'd HIGHLY recommend that too)
Toshi is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 07:06 AM
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Brooks Falls, the Galapagos???? I wish there was a wildlife travel forum that would encompass Africa and other spots, like Katmai and the Galapagos!

A brief Brooks Falls diversion before this thread is returned to BOTSWANA--I saw Jeff Corbin and the Animal Planet crew at Brooks last July 23 (I think). They happened to be there during a 4 hour stretch of horrendous east winds, that actually had been blowing a week, and which temporarily chased all the bears from the falls. In about 4 hours they saw only two subadults wander through briefly. Of all the bad luck and poor timing! But it was interesting to watch the camera, action, roll 'em takes and retakes. Had they stayed, the next day there were a dozen bears at the falls. I think they planned to return in September.

Anyway, sorry for the intrusion, have fun at Brooks in 2007, Toshi, and back to Botswana...

atravelynn is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 08:27 AM
  #20  
 
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This is a great thread. Very informative on Botswana, very funny images of people digging Fodors more so than basketball games, fights and the beaches in Thailand!!! My goodness! And the pictures and trip report are outstanding. Good luck on the trip. You have received some really great advice.
Lolazahra is offline  

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