How to go about an african safari!

Jun 16th, 2007, 10:20 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
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How to go about an african safari!

Hi,
Me and DH are planning an african safari - preferably Kruger - departing from Jo'burg.
Now, my question is - how to start planning. I ve checked the net and there are just too many info. running amock. Feeling a little overwhelmed.

To start off planning, maybe answers to these 2 questions can set me going -

Are these tour operators on the net trustworthy? Any tour operator that experienced travellers can suggest that are tired & tested?

When will be a good time to visit & how long should the trip be?


Anyone out there willing to help me out?
Thanks.
sasha_g is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 03:06 AM
  #2  
 
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I would suggest that you begin by reading trip reports from posters on this forum. Decide which types of trips appeal to you more than others. After you've decided on the type of safari that interests you, then start researching the agent or operator that you'd want to use.

There is a wealth of information in this forum, especially, but you will need to spend the time and effort to find if you want the information that best suits your needs.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 03:51 AM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 183
Hi Sasha, I second the advice from rizzuto. I, like you, was lost when we decided to book a Safari. First thing I did was read as many posts as I could even though some of them didn't make sense at the time. I especially paid attention to the Trip Reports because they gave me the good and bad of the trips, timing, lodges, operators, etc.

Heck, I didn't even know what time of the year we wanted to go. About the only thing I knew was I wanted to go to the crater, because I saw it on TV, and I wanted to see the migration. It took a good month before I was comfortable and kind of knew what I wanted. Then, once I knew enough, I started to ask questions here on the board and searched on messages based on the particular topic that I had questions about.

I then sent emails to 5 agents that received rave reviews on this board. From there I decided based on cost, flexibility and just gut feel.

The answer to your questions though are: Internet agents are fine, but read the trip reports to see if there are 2 or 3 that are consistently getting good reviews from people that actually used them. Time to go? Depends on what you want weather wise and what you want to see.

Everyone here is willing to help, but you'll need to narrow down your question just a bit.

Hope this helps,
Duane
Duane is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 04:56 AM
  #4  
 
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You can visit Kruger independently; in fact, most do, and you will not need an agent.

You can get all of the information on www.sanparks.org, the official website of South Africa national parks. You can either drive from Johannesburg, or fly nearer to Kruger, and visit in a 2WD car.

At least for Kruger, and agent won't bring significant value.

Michael
thit_cho is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 05:37 AM
  #5  
aby
 
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Hi sasha_g

this link will give you the info about when:
http://www.africa-adventure.com/dsp_besttime.html

"Read first" is a good hint. why Kruger? have you considered nearby private reserves (e.g. Sabisabi etc')?

Let's start with your specifications:
how long? what would you like to focus on? what kind of accomodation? what budget?

give us more info & suggestions will start flowing
aby is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 07:08 AM
  #6  
 
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Fodor's book African Safari is a good place to start. It's a slim book which goes through the options and basics without being overwhelming.
hills27 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2007, 07:01 PM
  #7  
 
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Sasha,
Great advice from rizzuto, duane, michael, aby and hills. When I started planning my first safari I did not know about this board. I started with Travel and Leisure's top safari operators. You can find that list by doing a google search. I then went to the websites of those operators and looked at the brochures. That gave me some sense of where I wanted to go. I figured if the best tour operators were recommending places, they were probably good. After I had a sense of what countries I wanted to visit, I started independently researching on the internet, reading itineraries and looking at photos. I did not end up taking a tour listed in any of the itineraries from those tour operators, but it did help me narrow done all of the possibilities, which can be very overwhelming. I obviously couldn't fit everything I wanted to do/every place I wanted to go into that first trip. So, I now keep a "next time" list.

My first safari was to Kenya and Tanzania. I have also been to Zambia and South Africa. I leave shortly for Botswana and Namibia. At the top of my "next time" list is Uganda and Rwanda. All are very different, so you will need to narrow things down a bit.

Read the posts here, and look at photos. Give us some information on what type of traveler you are, if you have restrictions on what time of year you can travel, how long you want to be gone, and an approximate budget if you have one. Based on that information, you will receive some great advice on tour operators and accomodations.

Good luck with your research. You will have alot of fun planning. And you will get great advice from this board.

Dana

Dana_M is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 05:12 AM
  #8  
 
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A site that has good maps of various areas in Africa for game drives and lodges, as well as info on most of the lodges and camps is

http://www.eyesonafrica.net/

Hope this helps. I would suggest getting a travel agent for your first safari as they can often get better travel rates and help you with any problems that might happen to come up.

You need to decide what primary reason for going to Africa might be on this first visit: to relax and do game drives or to see a variety of places with a possible mixture of non-game drive and other places. Then do research which might be feasible or otherwise offered with a group tour. I do not regret taking a group tour on the first go around as I enjoyed seeing the variety that Africa has to offer. Then on subsequent visits we have spent all time at our favorite lodge doing just game drives. I am glad that I have seen Victoria Falls, Zanzibar, Ngorongoro Crater, Cape Town, Botswana, Serengeti Migration, but not sure that I would want to necessarily see the Falls a second time or spend more than the two or three days there again.

Hope this helps.

-Granny Joan
GrannyJoan is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 05:55 AM
  #9  
 
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Sasha,

I had the same question as you--how do you start to plan for a safari??!!? There's definitely a learning curve, but what a fun learning curve to deal with!

I second thit_cho's advice, if you're set on going to Kruger. I ultimately chose to do the self-drive option, and flew from the U.S. to the airport just outside Kruger (KMIA in Nelspruit). My wife and I rented a car from there. No need to worry about the trustworthiness of tour guides. If you decide you want to have a guided tour, there are lots of "ala carte" options, such as morning/afternoon/sunset/late-night game drives and daylight game walks. We did a 3-night wilderness trail, which I would highly recommend.

Check out www.sanparks.org--this will give you a great presentation of what you can do on your own in Kruger.

There are also many private game reserves sharing an open border with Kruger--you may want to look into them if you want a little more luxury.
Gritty is offline  
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