Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > Is South Africa CapeTown/Kreiger, Botswana Okavango Delta & Tanzania Great Migration too much in a 3 week trip?

Is South Africa CapeTown/Kreiger, Botswana Okavango Delta & Tanzania Great Migration too much in a 3 week trip?

Reply

Jan 28th, 2013, 10:07 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 71
Is South Africa CapeTown/Kreiger, Botswana Okavango Delta & Tanzania Great Migration too much in a 3 week trip?

We are planning to go to South Africa driven by a 6 day trip we purchased at a charity auction. That location, Zulu Nyala, looks okay but not one we would probably have chosen if we were buying it outright. In planning the trip we have gotten interested in the Okavango delta and in seeing the Great Migration while in Africa. We were in Kenya for 10 days on an A&K group tour in 2000. A rough plan we have put together: Zulu Nyala (6nts), Cape Town area (4nts), Krieger (4nts), Botswana (4nts) and Tanzania Serengeti for the Great Migration (4nts). We would likely spend 2 nts in 2 camps in each of the areas. We would focus exclusively on the Migration in Tanzania and not go to some of the other popular sites. The question we are struggling with is whether this is too much flying around south and eastern Africa for one trip? Should we drop Botswana or Tanzania? We are not sure if and when we would return to Africa so we are motivated to want to experience the Migration now and the Delta seems like a truly unique experience as well. Timing for us is flexible but we are thinking of going late June to mid July. Your experience, recommendations and/or reasoning would be welcomed. Thanks.
rlm346 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2013, 01:16 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6
I am NO expert & am in the process of planning my 1st trip to Africa (honeymoon in Kenya), but here's my .02.

You're proposing 3 countries in 3 weeks, as well as 2 camps per area, so a total of 10 different camps (forgive me if my math is wrong)... That is a LOT of moving around (great distances, many flights & a lot of unpacking/repacking the suitcase).

I'm not sure how expensive flights would be between SA/Botswana/Tanzania, but as a reference point, even tiny little puddle-jump flights w/in Kenya can run $250-300. A VERY fast look at SA to Tanzania looks like $400-500/ticket. To me, that's a lot of money to be in-transit.

Also remember you will need 3 different visas ($50/country/person I think?) & different vaccinations for each destination.

Personally, I would pick one country (maybe 2) & really explore the many different areas within the country, instead of jet-setting to another country to find something entirely different. A leisurely pace, 3-4+ nights/camp would allow you a lot more time actually on safari, or exploring the country.

One thing I realized when I started getting possible itineraries from agents was that when transferring to another region of Kenya, even by flight, you lose a significant part of the day getting to the airport, flying, and transferring by road to your next park... Just something to keep in mind.

I'd say better to feel as though you've fully explored & experienced 1 country, than having 3 stamps in your passport, but that's an entirely personal preference!

Best of luck
Amanda
Mestengo621 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2013, 01:34 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
If you've got the air to/from South Africa included, now you should check the internal air within SA for CPT and Kruger. Also possible accommodations at either of these. See how far your budget has gone.

Then check flight from JNB/SA to Botswana and return, along with possible camp here. Budget???

Then check flight from JNB to Tanzania, most of which fly into Dar-es-Salaam/DAR (southern TNZ), from where you'd need a connecting flight to the Northern part of Tanzania to get out to the Western or Northern Serengeti and accommodations here, during their peak season at highest prices.

Then from where to fly home, which I gather as paid for is at JNB, so flight back there for your homebound.

You will require Visa for Tanzania. None for SA or Botswana. Also malaria meds and more than likely a Yellow Fever inoculation to pass thru some of these countries. And some recommended inoculations for adults traveling anywhere.

I'm tired just reading and answering this and where oh where has the budget disappeared to.

Suggest you stay in the south... South Africa that is. South Africa is beautiful with descent roads (vs those in Tanzania) if you want to travel afar from CPT or to/from Kruger... you can easily self-drive and spend 3/weeks.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 28th, 2013, 06:03 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
Slow down. As you've already proven you will return! Yes, the trip as you describe is doable, but it will be hectic.

South Africa and Botswana can definitely keep you busy for 3 weeks if not longer.
Femi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 04:14 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 13
There weeks are enough for in these places.
robert367 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 06:59 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Since you have been to Africa on safari once already and are going back, how likely is it that you'll return for a third time or several more times? If very likely, then hold off on TZ. Also if seeing the wildes actually cross the river is THE goal, then you may want to allocate more than 4 days so you can both enjoy the area and wildlife in general and you can sit for hours or a day at the river without feeling like you're wasting precious time.

If it is likely this is trip is your last one to Africa (I saw the "not sure if and when we'll return" comment) and you always wanted to see the migration, then adding TZ makes sense in June to mid-July. If you structure your trip so the migration part takes place about July 15, then you might even try to see it from Kenya which would mean a less expensive visa and probably no yellow fever card.

If you go in June, then you'd want Central Serengeti in TZ, keeping in mind the wildes will not be crossing the Mara River from Central. There is the Grumeti River in Central Serengeti, which may or may not have much water in it, and wildes cross that. Mid-July, you'd want Central and probably Northern Serengeti. The wildes may be crossing the Mara River in mid-July in N. Serengeti.

Search for Zulu Nyala here to find some reports of others going on auction wins like you and they were happy. I know someone who did. Often a day trip to nearby Phinda is added (at a cost of course) for more predator activity. I'd also look into birding along the coast (of course more $$).

To help you decide what to keep/nix, what are your hopes for this trip?

Big 5? Then spend the bulk of your additional time in Sabi Sands, the private reserves adjacent to Kruger.

Migration? Then exchange Bots time for Tanz or possibly Kenya.

Enjoying the delta habitat and wildlife of Botswana in unique and lovely accommodations and possibly experiencing the delta in a mekoro? Then 4 nts Botswana will do it. Add up the time and cost to get to Maun, where Bots safaris begin, and realize Bots is a more expensive destination as a rule, so you really have to want to go there to make it worth while.

Do you have your Cape Town time planned out? Maybe you'd like more days there. I'll mention your time frame is excellent for watching Great White Sharks breach as they hunt for seals off of Seal Island in False Bay, departing from Simons Town. You can cage dive or just view from the boat. No need to enter the water for outstanding shark viewing. I stayed warm and dry for a week's worth of shark viewing. Many people went for just one day but if this became a major goal, allot more than one day for it due to potential bad weather. I used Rob Lawrence of African Shark Eco-Charters.

I personally would find your proposal to be too much moving around which allocates precious time and limited funds to transport and not safari. Like many of us giving advice and suggestions, I figure I'll be back to Africa at least a few more times. But if these are the places you have your heart set on and you have one chance to do it, then what you've proposed is reasonable and not a crazy plan. Before committing, get transport times and costs segregated so you know tradeoffs and where the $$ is going.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 07:04 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 634
I hesitate to post my itinerary for August since most people will say we are crazy (we are). Our itinerary is much worse than yours (6 countries in 3 weeks) It is definitely doable. What is your objective for your trip? This will probably be our last trip to Africa so we are getting a little bit of everything instead of a lot of something. I'll admit our style of travel isn't for everyone. Email me if you want details.
sdtravels is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 09:41 AM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 71
Thank you all for your comments and analysis. I did do the pricing and timing before asking the question and was concerned we were jumping around too much but wanted to test that assessment on this forum. For the most part, you have confirmed my discomfort. We generally like to spend quality time in any one location when we travel, enabling us to truly enjoy its attributes. That usually means 3 nights minimum. We stress quality not quantity and it has made our trips much more enjoyable.

My analysis suggests we will expend about 2 days and $1500-2000 just to get to Tanzania. To do this for 4 nights (3-3.5 safari days)along with the reduction in South Africa/Boswana time does not seem to make sense, which validates what some of you were saying. My wife and I have decided we will skip Tanzania this time and plan to go there for a more extended stay in the next few years.

ADDITIONAL QUESTION-2NTSx3CAMPS vs 3NTSx2CAMPS: In keeping with my past experience I would then target spending 3 nights in a camp, so for 6 nights in each we would go to 2 camps in Botswana and Kruger (please excuse my misspelling it in the title). This would allow two full days in each camp. Yet in lots of the proposed itineraries on the web for 6 nights in Botswana they often suggest 3 camps. Is there a reason for this?

sdtravels-I am afraid that if I looked at your itinerary I would find more places I would like to add. As atravlynn advised a lot depends on your preferences and prospect of returning. If there are 10 popular things to see/do in a particular place some people very much enjoy seeing them all; we take that list with us but know we are only going to see 4 or 5. Enjoy Africa in the way you prefer!
rlm346 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 10:03 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Botswana itineraries often include three camps to cover three environments: a water-based camp, a land-based camp (both in the Okavango Delta) and a camp up in the Linyati/Savuti area or on the Chobe. The transfers between camps usually happen midday, so you still get a game drive before you leave and a game drive after you arrive at the next camp.I prefer three nights at a camp, but have also done two nights. You listed 4 nights in Bots and 4 in Tanzania in your original post. I agree that Tanzania should not be a part of this trip. What you could do is 3 nights in two Delta camps, then a couple of nights on the Ichobezi safariboat on the Chobe River out of Kasane.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 10:46 AM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 71
Thanks ShayTay. Since we dropped Tanzania we are now targeting 6 nights for the Delta and the same for Kruger.
rlm346 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 11:08 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Kruger NP itself, or some of the private reserves next to it? In the private reserves, you'd have less traffic and would be able to go offroad.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 12:58 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 71
ShayTay: We are focusing on the private reserves.
rlm346 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 29th, 2013, 07:11 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
"My wife and I have decided we will skip Tanzania this time and plan to go there for a more extended stay in the next few years."

Perfect!

2 nt stays are explained by ShayTay. Also some people like to see the variety of nice camps. That fear of missing something also drives people to cover more ground. I like ShayTay's suggestion of how to structure your Bots time.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 30th, 2013, 07:55 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
Rim346, what reserves near Kruger are you looking at? Are you self-driving there?
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 30th, 2013, 12:03 PM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 71
ShayTay, There are so many we have not decided as of yet. We have done a lot of research here, Trip Advisor and on camp web sites. It seems like at least one camp should be in Sabi Sands. Unlike so many other places we have visited, TA reviews rate so many places highly that we have to dig deeper to be able to differentiate them. In our travels, we usually splurge on the hotels and keep the other expense on the moderate (but not cheap) side. We usually self plan and manage our trips (although we did have professional assistance and a guide 75% of the time in China last year). You can have a very nice trip for $500/d/n or less in most other places. Here the camps that sound the best are so pricey ($1-1.5K/p/n) that our trip cost would get out of hand so we are likely going to end up with a more mid-level camp. I see some deals in June that might help with this. We are not thinking of self driving to Kruger but might rent a car when in Cape Town. We are planning to contact some Travel Professional and get their help in deciding. Do you have any recommendations of Kruger? Do you recommend self-driving?
rlm346 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 31st, 2013, 09:06 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
I'd recommend Bill Given at The Wild Source in Colorado. He's a safari planner that I've used a couple of times. I definitely think that the Sabi Sands area is excellent. You might check out Kirkman's Kamp there if Mala Mala is too expensive. In 2010, I also visited a couple of other areas further up north near Hoedspruit: Timbavati and Balule Reserves. I stayed at Shindzela Camp in Timbavati and Mohlabetsi Lodge in Balule. The brush seemed to be a bit thicker there than in SS. Shindzela is a basic tented camp... no plunge pools or phones! Mohlabetsi is a family-owned lodge that's well-run and regularly has Big 5 sightings. I also went to Kapama, but it's fenced and so controlled that I didn't care much for it. My guide seemed clueless as to how to guide photographers. Some guests drove their private vehicles to the camps, but went out on game drives in the camp 4WD vehicles.

I'd have a hard time driving on the opposite side of the road in Cape Town. You might miss a lot because you'd be concentrating on your driving. A CT tour guide I'd highly recommend is Wayne Maddams. He works through Hylton Ross, although you might be able to book him privately. [email protected] is the last e-mail address I have for him.
ShayTay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 31st, 2013, 10:37 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 71
ShayTay, Thanks for the recommendaions.
rlm346 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 4th, 2013, 01:29 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 11
Balule Reserve offers all the Big 5. I second Mohlabetsi Lodge. Tony and Alma are fabulous hosts.
ClaireSaunders is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 4th, 2013, 11:28 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Looked up Mohlabesti. Interesting that it is on highway R40.
http://www.mohlabetsi.co.za/Mohlabetsi-Map.gif

And the Balule reserve extend over R40 and borders Hoedspruit. Hoedspruit has an airport, HDS, that (I and) many safari camp guests use. Not sure what they are trying to develop in that area. A camp and reserve that straddles R40? I'd try to go to Sabi Sand reserve if possible.

regards - tom
ps - I'd pay no attention to reviews on TripAdv - unless the reviewer says they have been to several safari camps. ANY safari camp are "great", "best ever" if it is the only one you have been to.
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 4th, 2013, 01:14 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
Congratulations on your trip, it sounds like it's beginning to shape up based on some good advice I've read thus far. For me personally, taking out Tanzania/Masai for this trip would have been my preference as well, affording you a great southern africa experience and cutting out days of travel. Now to my suggestions:

-- 6 nights Botswana, 6 nights Kruger/Sabi;
--Within Botswana, I would ABSOULTEY incorporate either the Linyanti, Kwando or Chobe Forest Reserve areas along with the Delta. This area is completely amazing, and you are only a short hop away from the Delta, so you miss no time travelling (and in fact the internal flight is an experience in itself).
--Make sure you are in Botswana for the 2nd half of June (June 15-30). This time of year should ensure you good game viewing as the dry season will have definitely begun, yet a very few lodges still charge green season rates for this time period.
--for your 3 nights in the Delta, and w/n the price range you mention, I suggest you either stay at, in order from lowest to highest price, "Little Kwara," "Kwetsani Camp," "Tubu Tree," "Little Vumbura," and "Duba Plains."
--I believe that little kwara may offer the best value, as they have lower rates through June, whereas the other lodges double their rates after June 1 or June 15, essentially making little kwara half price in the prime part of the 2nd half of June.
--3 nights in either Linyanti/Chobe Forest/Kwando. Again, in order of lowest to highest, yet still within your price range in June, would be "Linyanti Bush/Ebony Camp," "Lebala Camp," and "Lagoon Camp," and "Selinda Camp." All of these camps, with the exception of Selinda Camp, have green season rates in June. I personally love Linyanti Bush/Ebony camp for their owner run personality. I also love Lebala for their excellent guiding (Lebala, Lagoon and Little kwara are all owned by the same company).
--3 nights Sabi Sands. For excellent value and superb service/quality/guiding, go to Chitwa Chitwa Lodge. Half the price of Singita, very close to the same level of comfort.
--3 nights in Kings Pool camp in the Timbavati Reserve. Also consider Tanda Tula Lodge in same reserve, or, for a splurge, spend 2 nights in either Singita reserve in Kruger itself (2 night b/c it is much more expensive). Another splurge with be Royal Malewane for 2 nights in Thornybush reserve.
Zlow is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:38 AM.