How far ahead to plan?

Mar 31st, 2002, 09:14 PM
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How far ahead to plan?

I am interested in a trip to SA, Botswana, and possibly elsewhere after graduation (the last time I will be able to spare 2-3 wks at a time to travel!) and noticed people mentioning months long waitlists at some of the more popular lodges (Singita, Mombo Camp, etc.). I would like to ensure that I get my first choice of accommodations when I plan my trip, so I was wondering how far ahead those with experience recommend planning to make sure they are available. I don't plan to travel until summer 2004 which seems a long way off, but when do you suggest looking into such a trip? Also, do you know of any travel agents in southern california to go to, or do you recommend using one of the internet ones since they seem to be more specialized? Thanks!
Apr 1st, 2002, 05:25 AM
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I am planning my first trip to Africa also.I thought I was looking in to it pretty early. I just booked the Kirkman camp in Mala Mala game reserve for next Sept 2003. I was not the first they are about half full for the dates I want.

Apr 2nd, 2002, 08:57 PM
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Wow...that is very early. I'm glad you got what you wanted, at least. I guess I'll have to get my act together and make up my mind sooner than I thought-let me know how your planning and trip goes! Are you using a local travel agent? If so, how did you pick one? I don't want to just go to any agent I notice from the street and plan such a big and somewhat specialized trip...
Apr 3rd, 2002, 02:03 AM
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We booked our trip to Botswana and Namibia almost 2 years ahead of time.
When I was talking to my agent about when to start planning and booking the return trip we intend to make in 2004 he advised that 18 months would not be too early for camps like Mombo as they are so popular people do book that far ahead.
A lot depends on which camps you choose and which time of year you want to travel.
We travelled in June which was wonderful and not quite peak time either.
This should be a wonderful graduation trip, though I would advise you that camps such as Mombo are about $300-400 a night.
That said, you haven't mentioned your budget so I am making assumptions I shouldnt make based only on the fact that you are a student.
If I can offer any feedback on Namibia and Botswana let me know, I stayed in 3 camps in each country in June 2001.
Apr 3rd, 2002, 05:51 PM
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I started my planning by reading a couple of travel books like Fodors,and Frommers,they have a lot of good ideas and information.
I have gotten information and price quotes from places like Premier Tours ( I found highly recommended by Frommers travel guide and also they were recommended by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine in an article. Karell( to be pretty good also.
I have seen other agents mentioned on this site that Also sound very good that you might try.
Apr 5th, 2002, 07:46 AM
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Hi Nicole! My husband and me are leaving for Kenya and Tanzania in September, and I started planning for it in September of last year. It is never to early to start planning. You can request lots of brochures, etc. through tour operator web-sites. I had more brochures than I knew what to do with, but it helped a great deal in the planning of our trip. I don't know where in southern California you are located, but I talked extensively with a representative from Born Free Safaris out of North Hollywood (or Valley Village as it is now called.) While I did not end up booking my trip with them, I would recommend them as a resource. They know east and south Africa very well. Good luck. Start planning and saving money!!
Apr 5th, 2002, 08:35 AM
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Never to early to start planning a trip to Africa. That's where the internet is also very handy. Adventure travellers, that includes people who go on safaris, make use of the internet to do some studying before they decide.

Brochures are not the only source of information but are also very handy to have.

Get hold of magazines and other information material as well.

Going to Africa is more than a dream, it is something you have to do. It will totally change the way you think about the world. So it is never to early to start looking for information.

I will advice however not to start booking tours and accomodation to early. These are the things you need to study. There's a lot off both of them.

Book the flight. Then after you done your studying decide what you want to see/do and how you intend to see/do it.

Good luck and have fun
Apr 6th, 2002, 12:27 AM
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Thanks so much to everyone for the replies...very helpful info. Kavey-I certainly couldn't afford this kind of trip right now on my student budget, but by next year I think I'll be able to, once I have saved from my job this summer and have a permanent job lined up. Do you know what the weather is like in August? I was planning to go sometime in August, maybe September, after taking the bar exam (July) and before starting working in the early fall. Which 3 places did you stay at and what did you think of each of them? I am interested in some luxury/comfort, but definitely like adventure, so I want somewhere where I can be active as well. Anywhere you recommend for some combination of these? Botswana appealed to me because it sounded like there were some water-based activities in the delta in addition to land-based game drives. I'm not sure if this is true at all the lodges there, however. I have to look into it more. Namibia sounded like it would be a great contrast of environment to see also. How did you like it there? Does anyone have an opinion on Phinda or Singita in SA or Jao or Mombo in Botswana? I was also looking at Sussulevei (I think that's how you spell it) Lodge in Namibia. Or any suggestion of your favorites would be helpful-I'm open to anything! I know I've asked a lot of questions, so feel free to answer some, all or none of them. Websites and guides have been very useful, but nothing is better than reports based on experience! Thanks again...

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