HelPls help us choose our safari destination

Jan 23rd, 2006, 09:28 PM
Original Poster
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Posts: 15
HelPls help us choose our safari destination

Dh and I have decided on btwn 8 and 10 days of a safari for next year which will be part of a longer trip also including Dubai and the Maldives. This will be our 1st time to Africa and obviously 1st time on safari(if you discount Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney . Seriously though neither of us are what you would call real adventurous, and as a matter of fact dh's ideal safari would involve staying at a Four Seasons with a/c etc. and doing daily game drives. That said we will obviously do something along the mainstream(deciding btwn A and K, Micato , or CC Lodges). Our main choices are East Africa, and some combination of Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Mara ,and Ngorongoro or a couple of the private reserves in South Africa and Sun city. In terms of accomodation the SA itinerary seems to have more along the lines of our tastes but I get the impression that the scenery and wildlife is so much better in Tanzania/ Kenya. Is that a correct assesment? Would we see more varied wildlife in Tanz./Kenya? Will the scenery be much more varied? Finally do the private reserves give more of a feeling of a animal park than wide open spaces?
Luckybee is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:27 PM
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Try something realy diferent !
Zambia (South Luangwa) and then onto the unknown islands of the Mozambique Quirimbas will out Kenya, tanzania and the maldives to shame!
Volante is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:43 PM
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East Africa vs. Sabi Sand
They are two very different safari experiences. In general terms you should see large herds of plains game , zebra and wildebeest especially over the migration period in E.A.In the Sabi Sand you should see a far greater variety of species especially leopard as this area has the highest concentrated population in their natural habitat than any where else in the world.The vegetation in the S.S. is sub tropical wereas generally in E.A. it is open plains which makes a difference to the type of species found.There are very few wide open areas in the S.S.and the scenery is different...depends on what lights your candle. The standard of the rangers and accommodation is far superior in the Sabi Sand. See my response to okow68
" South Africa or Tanzania"
Zenz is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:51 PM
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Please excuse this temporary threadjacking...

Volante!!! Looking back at your posts, I see that you visited Luangwa River Lodge, but you never posted a trip report. Shame on you!

May we please have a few paragraphs telling of your safari? Did you visit only Luangwa River Lodge or did you also visit other lodges/camps in Zambia, as well? Do you happen to have any photos to share?

Okay, now back to Luckybee...I wouldn't disagree with Volante that South Luangwa would be a great place. Either the entire time at Luangwa River Lodge or splitting your time between Luangwa River Lodge & Chichele Presidential Lodge (since you like those Four Seasons with a/c accomodations). Although I have yet to visit Mozambique, I have heard only great things about it, and there is a connection between South Luangwa to Mozambique.

If you do go to East Africa, forget about Micato. Despite their reputation, they use Serena camps. Nice camps, I suppose, but not Four Seasons in the bush by any means. Also, with only a maximum of 10 days of safari, I do think it is a bit of a rush to include more than three different parks, as the Serengeti likely deserves 5 or 6 days on its own.

Personally, I don't understand the attraction to Sun City. Go to Las Vegas if you are American or to Dubai if you are European, but save Africa for the wildlife.
Roccco is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 01:04 AM
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This may sound silly but one of the reasons I was looking at Micato is that some of there properties have A/C. What im wondering is this, how warm are the nights in say the Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro etc in Feb/Mar. Since I had chemo for breast CA about a year ago(I aged a whole lot real I find it almost impossible to sleep if its too warm and we pretty much stick to places that have a/c. Does the temp fall quite a bit at night?
I think we may lean to East Africa based on the open plains. Thats the picture Ive had in my mind for so many years OMG Mozambique....too adventurous for us just
Luckybee is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 03:10 AM
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The sabi sand is thoroughly "original" and is arguably SA's most productive reserve, by that I imply you are assured your greatest chances of seeing most species of flora and fauna. Generally speaking and I concur with Zed's earlier response, the guiding overall is far superior in the Sabi Sands.
Please note that this comment is made based on experienec with vehicle guides throughout Africa and is not intended to degrade the footsoldiers of Africa's parks, and even there I'd adventure to say that the mobile/camping guides in Botswana have shown the greatest appetite for their business.

The accommodation style throughout tyhe SS is first class, pretty much AC at all properties. You can find a lodge to suite your tastes as it pretty mauch has the funky through contemprry to avnat gguarde.

If I were to choose: i'd select Selati as I am a bit of a sucker for the old world romantiscm of so africa.
mkhonzo is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 04:59 AM
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Having just returned, if you are looking for a four seasons level accommodation with game drives, I would check out thornybush. We did some time there, and sometime in Mala Mala. Having stayed at many four seasons resorts, you will not be dissapointed with accommodations there. They have a similar level of room appointment(although slightly smaller than the rooms we have stayed at some 4seasons). They have a nice pool area, and a small spa for treatments(no gym). A/C, and a lounge with tv.

Having stayed within the last year at animal kingdom lodge at Disney, there is absolutely no comparison. Thornybush game resrve is expansive, with a large transversing area(although not as large as mala mala).
There transversing area is shared by other lodges, but I did not feel that detracted from the experience.
ellene is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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Theres no need for A/C in the Mara/Serengeti, especially not at night. In June I was trembling from the cold and even in Feb/Mar the temperatures drop quite a bit at night. Ive never stayed at Four Seasons so I cant say what your needs are besides A/C. There are lots of ridiculously luxurious camps in East Africa. For 10 days Id restrict myself to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro or the Mara and Samburu, though the Serengeti is better migrationwise in Feb/Mar. And, skip the Maldives and go to Lamu instead or maybe Zanzibar if you go to Tanzania. Do you have friends in Dubai? If not, spend more time in East Africa instead.

Id say you already know you have to go to East Africa just as I knew looong before I was born.

Nyamera is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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In East Africa, unless you're considering low elevation parks (which you aren't), you're more likely to need a hot water bottle than A/C at night.
Patty is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 10:58 AM
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Beware of advice that doesn't ask what season you are travelling. These destinations vary VERY widely in terms of season in which you plan to visit.

In addition, if you are serious about a Four Seasons-type vacation, Zambia & Mozambique would not be an obvious first choice for easing into a safari experience. They are fabulous destinations once you have decided that you love Africa and want to return & spend more time. Furthermore, the flights to get there are more involved and will eat up too much of your 8 to 10 days (IMHO). These destinations are better for a longer, dedicated trip. (Aside: is it time for a dedicated Zambia board here?)

Depending on your season of travel and ultimate choice, if you are leaning toward South Africa, you could add on a visit to some of the 6paw camps in Botswana (Mombo, Jao, Kings Pool) to round out that adventure. These have the advantage of superb accomodations in a wilder setting than the SA resorts. It's a bit of flying around to get to these places from Dubai if you are set on those places, I think East Africa makes much more sense flightwise.
ddgattina is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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I would respectfully disagree that a safarigoer would not get a Four Seasons type experience at either Chichele Presidential Lodge or Luangwa River Lodge. It is a moot point since the OP wants to visit East Africa, but the two above lodges will compete with the best luxury lodges in all of Africa.
Roccco is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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Off this particular topic......just want to tell ROCCO......i read Phil's trip report and very impressed with Luangwa River Lodge and those photographs are brilliant.......

So many many places to go........wish i could work less and go to africa more often.....3 times a year would be perfect!!!!
Jan 24th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

I could not agree more...three times a year would be perfect. One month each time, three months out of the year in Africa!

About Luangwa River Lodge, it really is a fantastic place. Hot off the presses...they will soon start offering a safari & beach combo with Luangwa River Lodge plus Mozambique. Barry & Tara are very passionate about Mozambique, so I am sure they will come up with the very best destination for the Mozambique portion.

Roccco is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 09:27 PM
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Maybe it's because I'm 10 minutes from the beach, but why would anyone go all the way to Africa and want to go to a beach? (there's no game drives on the beach is there?...)
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 02:09 AM
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saltwater crocs.
wjsonl is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 02:29 AM
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Not all of us are fortunate to have such pristine beaches with warm water. You couldn't get me to take a dip in the polluted and cold beaches of Los Angeles. Nice to look at, but I would sooner use someone else's used bathwater than take a dip in an the water at the beaches of all Southern California, and I don't imagine the beaches in Central California or Northern California are any better (and they are certainly even colder). I cannot imagine the beaches on the heavily populate Eastern seaboard, faring much better.

Myself, I am not a big beach person, but I am looking forward to Zanzibar, but if not for options such as the Palms Zanzibar, I would likely have not stayed more than a couple nights. As it is, I booked three nights at the Palms and two nights in Stone Town at the Serena Inn. The Palms is the same cost as a Zambian luxury safari lodge, but it looks like it is worth it.

Regarding Mozambique, there are some really beautiful beaches there that are completely pristine. Here is one outfit with many options in Mozambique:

Then there are really interesting beach options such as Kaya Mawe in Lake Malawi, a Wilderness Safaris lodge:

Although Lake Malawi is not an ocean, it still boasts scuba, snorkeling and sailing. It would surprise most people that Lake Malawi has more than 1,000 species of fish, which is more than the amount of species found in North America and Europe, combined.

Lake Malawi is absolutely huge and Kaya Mawe is actually located on an island in the northern part of Lake Malawi.

So, many interesting beach options in Africa, although I would agree that Africa is best utilized for its wildlife safaris.

Roccco is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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When are you thinking of going? The time of year will make a big difference on which country will fit your requirements best.

I'd recommend CCAfrica over A&K and Micato. CCA's lodges are top-notch, and they give much better value for money than Micato or A&K. That doesn't mean that they're less expensive, but that you get a lot more for your money. CCAfrica has arranged several wonderful safaris for me, and I recommend them wholeheartedly.

jasher is offline  

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