How Uncomfortable is Botswana in December?

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Jul 19th, 2004, 12:32 PM
  #1
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How Uncomfortable is Botswana in December?

I am planning our family's first ever trip to Africa during the December school vacation. I have 2 sons ages 15 and 17. For our first trip, I figured southern Africa would be the best bet, especially given my wife's security concerns about East Africa. After reading a lot of postings, I wanted to include Cape Town, Victoria Falls, a couple of SA safari camps and maybe one or two in Botswana. Some travel agents I talked to say that at that time of year it would be advisable to avoid the heat and rain of Botswana and stick to SA camps. Do you agree?
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Jul 19th, 2004, 03:05 PM
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Can't speak exactly to December but I did Vic Falls and Botswana safari from around January 6 to the 16th and a quick look at a Lonely Planet guide looks like temperatures and rain fall are close to the same for December and January.

We had almost no rain. One big storm in late afternoon/evening. It was a joy and spectacular. It is hot during the mid-day but nice at night. Typically on morning game drive I wore long-zippered pants and long-sleeves. About an hour in I unzipped pants legs into shorts and rolled sleeves. It would be a little arm for the last hour of the drive. After lunch I would soak in the pool and read to stay nice and comfortable. Afternoon game drive would be hot for first hour or so and then usually pretty comfortable. I'm sure there are nicer temperature times but our game viewing was great and photos with green backgrounds but grass not too tall yet make it a prime time for pictures. I would go back to Botswana at that time of year without hesitation.
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Jul 19th, 2004, 06:24 PM
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i have also been to botswana in jan (2004) and agree with what predator biologist said. we had rain on 2 game drives out of 12 and only once had to come back to camp bc teh storm was too bad. the temperatures were fine and in fact i really enjoyed the warm weather especially coming from the freezing northeast USA in jan. i wore khakis and a t-shirt and was never uncomfortable. my only hesitation for promoting the green season in botswana is that it's your first safari and possibly you could get unlucky and have prolonged bad weather. i am planning to go again this jan and am fully aware that some of it could be impaired by the weather. if i had never been before i would probably stick with SA, but for me the remoteness of botswana, great photography with short green grass and the awesome storm skies makes it worth the chance.

on a separate note Predator Biologist, i am thinking about visiting duma tau and chitabe as well as mombo. i know you visited the first 2 in jan before. what all did you see at both camps and would you choose chitabe or c. trails. i am leaning toward the trails because i like being on the ground and closer to the wildlife and especially bc mombo gives me the raised tents already.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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BigC: I am hoping to lead a Predator Safari this January if I get the clients to Duma Tau, Duba Plains, and Chitabe. Perhaps we will cross paths.

I actually have not been to Chitabe before but went to Mombo in Jan. 2003. I was actually very disappointed as at the time Mombo was still being hyped as the place to see dogs when in fact they had left the area, I believe almost 2 years prior. I then learned that Chitabe was the current hotspot and had very similar wildlife viewing to Mombo at 1/2 the price. I also had very poor guiding at Mombo and most of the difficult spots were made by me or we would have missed them. However, we still saw around 20 different mammal species in two days of viewing. White rhinos were the highlight and we saw 3, all in one morning. At the time there were only 15 of them. There were lots of baby impala. Giraffe were plentiful. Spotted an African Wildcat in daylight. We saw lions 3 times (all spotted by me as the guide drove right by). The lions were always laying around, no action except for some great viewing of a 6 month old cub harrasing all as they tried to sleep. We struck out on leopard and cheetah so we mostly missed the Mombo as a predator destination experience -- but general game was certainly plentiful. No night drives was a real drawback at Mombo, especially during the hot time of year as activity probably really picks up in the evening. The accomodation is of course incredible.

I have been following the monthly wildlife reports at some of the camps and Chitabe continues to be outstanding for predators so I highly recommend it.
Wildlife is same for Chitabe or the Trails so it is really just personal taste. If staying at Mombo the Trails would probably be a great way to diversify the experience although game drives may be similar to Mombo's.

Viewing at Duma Tau was fantastic. We saw 28 species of mammals in just two days. Wild dog were the definite highlight as we saw a pack of 21 on the hunt and found the kill almost moments after it occurred which meant 45 minutes of feeding. We saw a leopard. Lots of great elephants at close distance. Giraffe, zebra, wildebeast, lots of impala. Also saw a giant eagle owl and barred owl as well as a python. Just continuous great viewing. As I have posted on other threads try to get Cilas as your guide -- he is an exceptional guide.

Have you been to Duba Plains? Much less diversity but incredible lion viewing, good elephant and great hippos.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have a lot of detailed questions.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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hi pb (easier to type),
we stayed at duba plains for 2 nights and mombo for 4 nights in jan 04. we had a great time at both. i plan on returning to mombo again bc the diversity of game. the lions of duba are great and the small number of guests and night drives are especially great but since i'll be travelling with a safari newcomer, i figured mombo would be a little more diverse and the accomodations are obviously nicer. i am going to chitabe and either duma tau or savuti to round out the experience and hopefully get to see the wild dogs. we, like you, missed them at mombo and as expected at duba plains as well. i would love to get some active shots of them in the short green grass. taht would be amazing. how many people are travelling in your group and when are you going?
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Jul 20th, 2004, 08:52 PM
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BigC: That will be an excellent itinerary for you. Between Chitabe and Duma Tau/Savuti you have a good chance of seeing the dogs in action with the green season. I shot 5 or 6 rolls at the kill in Duma Tau area, so I have quite a few nice pics. In fact better than most that I have seen of the wild dogs. I am limiting the trip I lead to 6 people max to ensure that I am with them for every drive and the trip is scheduled for Jan. 13 arrival in Vic Falls and Jan 23 depart out of Maun. 1 night Royal Livingstone, 3 nights at each of Duma Tau, Duba Plains, and Chitabe.
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