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cmarlin20 May 19th, 2008 08:35 AM

I am Overwhelmed...
My DH , just decided last night that a safari is in order for our anniversary.
We want to go in the fall, Sept or Oct. late planning, I know.
I've researched and planned many trips, much of it here on Fodors.
I simply don't feel up to the planning adventure. Can I just pick a tour company and go forward with them? What countries should I go to, how long should I go for, is fourteen days a good time?
I will probably only go on one safari in my life, there is always more to see in other parts of the world.
We like luxury, is there a better company for that? We don't have a time or budget set, just what ever the trips calls for.
Can anyone point to a site that gives me a clean start. Thank you n advance.

Denbasking May 19th, 2008 09:19 AM

Karibu cmarlin20!

Many here know exactly how you feel, even if experienced at something, at any given moment one can benefit from an extra jumpstart from those who have tread where you have not.

Since you are familiar with Fodor’s, you know some Africa & the Middle East accomplished travelers will be with you shortly. In the meantime, to get you started so they can better advise you, do you have a particular region of Africa in mind?

If not, here are a few links with Travel Reports that may help you decide:

NEW EAST AFRICA Trip Report Index;tid=34860283

Southern Africa Trip Report Index;tid=34858382

I don't know how to get started planning my trip...;tid=35095477

I thought there was an instructional post for first time safari goers? But I can't find it - did I dream it up?;tid=35131218


Denbasking May 19th, 2008 09:28 AM

I meant to say… Happy Anniversary!

We have just celebrated our 30th!
Can it be? Still seems like it was just yesterday tho!


atravelynn May 19th, 2008 10:59 AM

Happy Anniversary Cmarlin! Your 20th? Happy 30th Denbasking.

The links Denbasking has provided will answer most of your questions. You may have to click links within links.

14 days is a good time

Sure you can just pick a tour. You can also find a tour that looks good and see how it would work for just the two of you if space is available.
Highest end tours:
Micato (Kenya and Tanzania)
This next tier is less than the above:
Scheduled departures with The Africa Adventure Company, Natural Habitat and Wilderness Travel (the Wilderness in CA.) Af Adv Co and Nat Hab do private trips too. Maybe Wilderness.
Wilderness Safaris in Botswana and CC Africa in South Africa have high end properties with excellent guiding at non-budget prices. Wilderness is mostly in Southern Africa, primarily Botswana and CC Africa has camps throughout Africa.

Both Wilderness and CC Africa offer some mobile group departures and you could do a custom trip using their properties--even mixing and matching them.

You can work directly with CC Africa or use an agent--same price. For Wilderness you must use an agent. Here are some agents that handle Wilderness (and also would do CC Africa):

Africa Adventure in Ft. Lauderdale--I've used with great success for a variety of trips

Eyes on Africa in Chicago--I've used with great success
Fish Eagle in Houston--Never used, but very helpful on phone and great info, others have been happy with prices and service

Based on what you've written about your timing, budget, and wants, I'd try the Wilderness or CC Africa approach with one of the above agents or another agent you are comfortable with. Keep in mind Botswana in Oct can be extremely hot.

People have gone on scheduled trips with 2Afrika, Globus, Good Earth, and OAT. These would be less expensive.
Don't try to feel you have to find the one right trip. There are many wonderful options in Africa.

lilbschaps May 19th, 2008 12:57 PM

I travelled to Tanzania with OAT last October. I found the trip to have an excellent price/performance ratio. The accomodations were very pleasant and comfortable, but not luxury. We had very good game viewing (over 100 lions, 7 cheetahs, 4 leopards, black rhino, etc.). The guides were pleasant but(the good spotting not withstanding) not up to the caliber I encountered when staying at Wilderness Lodges in Zimbabwe. Wilderness Lodges definitely qualify as luxury - so does their price.

climbhighsleeplow May 19th, 2008 01:55 PM

"Highest end tours:
Micato (Kenya and Tanzania)
This next tier is less than the above:"

Can someone please clarify what the above means?

cmarlin20 May 19th, 2008 02:47 PM

Thanks for the quick replies.
I've already emailed CCA, maybe a combo with an agent will be good too.
I'm gong to contact an agent and see how that goes.
BTW, it will be 40years!!
Still reading all your links Denbasking.

atravelynn May 19th, 2008 03:37 PM

Cmarlin, Well 40 is twice as good.

Next tier...

I believe the below companies would offer group departures that would be less expensive than Micato, Tauk, A&K.

Scheduled departures with The Africa Adventure Company, Natural Habitat and Wilderness Travel (the Wilderness in CA.) Af Adv Co and Nat Hab do private trips too. Maybe Wilderness.

Good luck cmarlin20.

mkhonzo May 20th, 2008 06:23 PM

Beware for price does not equal luxury...

I recently visited arguably the most expensive private lodge in SA, widely regarded as the most luxurious.. NOT.
Unsophisticated staff, unenergetic safaris, if the game couldn't be seen it was not pursued, zero tracking, zip, nadda, nothing. I think the tracker only moved to serve drinks.

didn't see lion because they crossed the boundary... and this was one of those larger concession properties... The price tag is a hoax and so called luxury IMO equates to "all arse and zero class.."

define what luxury means to you and pursue the operator that matches those criteria.. be objective and you could well be enjoying the comfort of lesser known and better priced properties, however you will not return wearing the cap nor boasting of the glossies so called finest.

Denbasking May 24th, 2008 07:25 PM

Lynn, thanks for the anniversary wish!

Wow cmarlin20, congrats again!

ca_vol May 25th, 2008 04:28 PM

I highly recommend the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa. Elephant Plains Lodge is really nice but not over the top expensive (which is why you have to book early).

I also recommend Rikke at ([email protected]). Very reputable company. Tell them your "desires" and a budget range and they will do the rest. They are based in South Africa.

ca_vol in Florida, USA

atravelynn May 26th, 2008 08:07 AM


Can you give your personal experience at Elephant Plains. It keeps popping up as a good Sabi Sands option and the couple of people who went there were happy. Looking for more specific feedback.


ca_vol May 26th, 2008 09:26 AM

Elephant Plains was awesome! I wrote a very comprehensive trip report and posted it on the Trip Advisor message forums. This link SHOULD take you to it, but I've never given the link outside of those forums. There is lots of info on EP at the end of Part I and all of Part II. Let me know if it works.

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