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Itinerary check for SA, Namibia, Bots, Zim, Zanz, Tanz, Kenya, Rwanda, Seych. trip (with a specific question for atravelynn)

Itinerary check for SA, Namibia, Bots, Zim, Zanz, Tanz, Kenya, Rwanda, Seych. trip (with a specific question for atravelynn)

Dec 12th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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Itinerary check for SA, Namibia, Bots, Zim, Zanz, Tanz, Kenya, Rwanda, Seych. trip (with a specific question for atravelynn)

Hi,

I would very much appreciate folks' views on the following tentative itinerary, which has not yet been priced. The travel time would be July - Sept. 2009. I'd also be curious and would appreciate comments on both the areas to be visited, as well as the choice of accommodations. Any other advice you think pertinent is also welcome.

Because I posted some preliminary questions a while ago, I'll put a cross-reference link on that thread. By way of background, this is the first time either my wife or I have been to Africa. I'll also note that we are trying to see things other than just great wildlife on this trip (i.e., we'd like to experience some cultural activities too), so any suggestions on that front are very much appreciated. I have listed our tentative itinerary below in the order in which we would travel.

South Africa:
1 night @ Johannesburg, South Africa: Airport Sun Inter-Continental
4 nights @ Kruger, South Africa: Rattray's at MalaMala
5 nights @ Cape Town, South Africa: Radisson Waterfront
-- Question: I'd like to combine this with some time in the wine region. Do you recommend doing this as a day trip from Cape Town, or perhaps instead spending three nights in Cape Town, and our two final nights in the wine region?

Namibia:
2 nights @ Sossuvlei, Namibia: Little Kulala
4 nights @ Skeleton Coast, Namibia: Skeleton Coast Camp
2 nights @ Windhoek, Namibia: Heinitzburg Hotel
-- We tentatively have a "cultural excursion" to Ovitoto scheduled for our second day. I'd be curious about anyone's view of that. Even if we don't do this excursion, I think we (read: my wife) like the idea of a down day.

Botswana:
2 nights @ Okavango Delta, Botswana: Little Vumbura Camp
3 nights @ Moremi Reserve, Botswana: Mombo Main Tented Camp
3 nights @ Selinda Reserve, Botswana: Zibadianja Camp

Zimbabwe:
2 nights @ Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls Hotel
-- My wife is somewhat concerned about becoming "safari-ed out" and wants to make sure she can see other things. To that end, we're considering losing a night at Zib and adding a third night at Vic Falls. I'd be curious of others' views.
3 nights @ Mana Pools, Zimbabwe: Ruckomechi Camp
3 nights @ Hwange, Zimbabwe: Makalolo Plains Tented Camp

Zanzibar:
2 nights @ Stone Town, Zanzibar: Serena Inn
4 nights @ Mnemba Island, Zanzibar: Mnemba Island Lodge

Tanzania:
1 night @ Arusha, Tanzania: Arusha Coffee Lodge
3 nights @ Serengeti, Tanzania: Sayari Mara River Camp
2 nights @ Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
2 nights @ Lake Eyasi, Tanzania: Kisima Ngeda Camp
3 nights @ Tarangire, Tanzania: Oliver's Camp

Kenya:
3 nights @ Masai Mara, Kenya: Mara Explorer
1 night @ Nairobi, Kenya: Fairmont Norfolk Hotel

Rwanda:
3 nights @ Volcano National Park, Rwanda: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
2 nights @ Lake Kivu, Rwanda: Kivu Sun Hotel

Kenya:
-- right now, we're scheduled to spend one more night in Nairobi @ the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel, and then fly on to the Seychelles (we'd need the extra day in Nairobi because the Seychelles flight only departs twice a week). However, we'd very much like to see some more of Kenya before we move on to the Seychelles.

-- I believe I read that atravelynn stayed with a Kenyan family for several days. atravelynn how did you arrange this (if I'm remembering it correctly)? Are there orphanages to volunteer in for half a week? Does anyone else have other suggestions for a 3 - 5 day volunteer experience that we could do while based out of Kenya (or theoretically any of the other points we'll pass through) that would be worthwhile? Most volunteer projects I've seen require a much longer time commitment than we can provide this trip. Thanks.

Seychelles:
1 night @ Mahe, Seychelles: Wharf Hotel & Marina
3 nights @ Bird Island, Seychelles: Bird Island Lodge (Denis Island has also been suggested, but I think I prefer Bird from what I've read about each. I'm curious if others have a different view.)
3 nights @ ???? We're unsure about this piece. We'd like to stay on a granitic island, but have read mixed reviews about a number of them. I'm also concerned that the water in September may not be great for diving (or even snorkeling). Desroches and Praslin have each been suggested to us, but I believe I've heard mixed things about them. I'm open to Fregate, but am not sure if it's really worth it for only a three-night stay. Same point about North, but even more so (particularly after factoring in helicopter transfers).

So, that's our grand itinerary. I'd appreciate any thoughts about this, including whether the pacing seems right, whether the two-day stops we have in several places make sense (or seem too abrupt), and so on. To the extent it's relevant, I'll also note that immediately prior to this trip, we'll be in Madagascar, where we'll be for a couple weeks (i.e., no need to suggest anything Madagascar-related at this point). Thank you again for the advice.

jgold
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Dec 12th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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When I saw the fascinating destinations and that you wanted to ask me a question, I was hoping it would be, “Atravelynn, would you like to be our guest on this round the world trip?” Ha Ha. It is indeed a grand itinerary. And this is just Africa!

Wine region question—sorry no experience

Ovitoto question—sorry no experience, but the other parts of Namibia look good, focusing on its unique aspects.

South Africa
Good choice for the safari part, IMO.

Botswana
Little Vumbura--a good choice

Mombo--Based on the wildlife reports and viewing of others, I no longer think Mombo is worth an additional $400-$500 per person per night vs. other camps. I am sure the accommodations are lovely and a step up from most other Wilderness camps, which are also very comfortable, luxurious, and attractive. If the Mombo premium fits comfortably within your budget, then go for Mombo. Otherwise, I’d trade Mombo for something less expensive. (I stayed at Mombo before it was 6-Paw when wildlife was more diverse.)

If not Mombo, then I’d do either
(1) add another day on LV because it is a strong game area and spend 2 nights at a water camp with primarily water activities Jacana (5-Paw) or over half water activities such as Jao (6-Paw), Kwetsani (5-Paw) or Xigera (5-Paw)
~~or~~
(2) leave LV at 2 nights and trade Mombo for Chitabe

Zibalianja—I’d check to see the plans for Zib. I’ve heard it may do wine tasting in the evening, thereby cutting short the night drives. This is a unique safari activity that may be appealing to you, and if so, Zib is one of the few places (or only place) you can do it. If the wine tasting is not what you want and indeed it is going to be offered nightly at Zib, then I’d remove Zib from the itinerary.

If not Zib, then King’s Pool (6-Paw), Savuti Camp (5-Paw) or Duma Tau (5-Paw)

Safaried out and Vic Falls—On a round the world trip, if you are that close to Vic Falls, I’d spend a day there to see it. If you take a day from your Botswana time, then that means you have 7 nights in Botswana. In that case you could consider only 2 Botswana camps to reduce the running around, such as

Little Vumbura for 4
Zib or (if you wanted to forego wine tasting) another Linyanti camp listed above for 3

Little Vumbura for 3 or 4
Mombo (if you are comfortable with the cost) for 3 or 4, totaling 7

Little Vumbura for 3
Chitabe for 4

Zimbabwe
Your choices are what I’d do.

Zanzibar
No experience. Can you get to Zanzibar in 1 day from Hwange without a travel day?

Tanzania
I like what you have. You’ll have a cultural experience, as you stated you wanted that, in Lake Eyasi. Three nights in Tarangire is not common. I spent 3 there and enjoyed it. But if you need a day, you could use this one from Tarangire. It is possible that there would be more action in the Mara than the Serengeti for your time frame.

Kenya
Can you get from Tarangire to the Mara in 1 day without a travel day?
There are some more interesting parks in Kenya that you could add, but if you have time for just one, it is the Mara. I just saw where you mentioned you’d like to do more in Kenya. You can see if that works when you head back there the second time.

Rwanda
3 nights at Volcano National Park would allow 2 gorilla visits. I’m assuming you are doing 2.
Lake Kivu—never been—but at this point you need to rest at a lake.

I stayed at a Maasai Manyatta not far from Little Governor’s in the Mara. The chief was Joseph Sedera. I just asked the manager at Mara River Camp (no longer exists) if anyone ever stayed over night. Suddenly, it was arranged for one night. It was so much fun, I stayed 2 nights and returned for a visit the next year. If I were you, I would ask an Africa specialist travel agent about doing something like that. They may be able to arrange it. Another good reason for an African specialist. This past summer I requested something similar and asked upon arrival in South Africa about staying in a homestead. The answer was that if I had arranged it with the agent before I left home, then it probably could have been done. It could not without previous arrangement. Probably liability.

For volunteering in general, again I’d ask the agent. Many work with various projects and might be able to arrange something. You can volunteer in a Jane Goodall Chimp Sanctuary in Uganda, near Entebbe for just one day, but it would take a day to get there and another to get back.

Seychelles & Madagascar—no experience, but I’ll be very interested in yours!
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 12th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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Atravelynn:

Thank you very much for the thoughtful advice. There's a lot in there, and it's going to take some time for me to work through it before I can figure out how best to implement.

With respect to Mombo, I had read your previous comment on a different thread that you felt that Mombo was no longer worth the premium, and I was going to actually flag that issue here (luckily you saved me the trouble). Although I suppose we can afford the Mombo premium, if the wildlife viewing would be better somewhere else in that area, then I guess I would be willing to go for that. What's difficult is that there's something reassuring about staying in a camp where everyone else has been and generally liked, at least up to now, but I'm open to other options. I'll look into the various other camps you mentioned (Jacana, Jao, Kwetsani, Xigera, and Chitabe). FYI, I am using an Africa specialist (AAC), and these are the camps they recommended (which obviously isn't dispositive or anything).

Your point about Zib with the wine tastings crowding out the game drives is interesting. I think our other option in that area that we were presented was Selinda Main camp. I'll look into the other camps you list. I'll also think some about your suggestion of consolidating the number of camps in Botswana.

For Zanzibar, I forgot to copy from the itinerary that I have to route through Vic Falls - JNB (1 night), and then onto Zanzibar the next day.

Thanks for the tip about the time in Tarangire being too long. Again, this is all very abstract, so it's hard to know what to do with the different opinions. But I appreciate the advice.

"Can you get from Tarangire to the Mara in 1 day without a travel day?" According to my itinerary, I'd have a morning flight to NBO, and then a scheduled charter flight to Mara. Long day, I guess.

I know you suggested adding a night at the Mara? Are you suggesting spending four nights at Mara Explorer? I don't think I quite understand the geography, so sorry if this is a dumb question.

"3 nights at Volcano National Park would allow 2 gorilla visits. I’m assuming you are doing 2." We're actually planning on three treks, and then leaving after the third trek to go to Lake Kivu. Not sure if that's insane or something.

I will look into the idea of staying overnight in the Mara/Maasai and see what AAC says. I like the idea of volunteering in Uganda, since it would allow us a chance to get to that country, but it would probably be easier to do something in NBO or the like given my current routings.

Again, thank you for all the advice. I guess I need to mull it over a bit.
jgold is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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I would add one "must visit" place in Namibia.

It is the Canon Lodge, only 20 minutes from the Fish River Canyon viewing point.

When I cycled from Vic Falls to Cape Town three years ago, it was our favourite spot in the whole trip.

Check it out:

http://www.namibian.org/travel/lodgi...vate/canon.htm

Nigel
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Dec 15th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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Thanks very much Nigel for the advice.
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Dec 15th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Jgold,

Mombo:

Here is what Predator, a wildlife biologist, wrote on another thread regarding Mombo: “Mombo is excellent right now for lion but other predator sightings seem to have tailed off quite a bit due to the lion dominance. Still might be a good bet for leopard and general game is outstanding. If you want to focus on predator diversity and especially enhance your chances for cheetah I would drop Mombo and change to Kwara/Little Kwara or Chitabe. Of course things can change at anytime and there are no guarantees but virtually everyone to Kwara in the last year and a half has reported seeing cheetah. There is a very strong coalition of 3 brothers and now I believe there is a second pair as well so lots of great cheetah sightings.” The poster Predator was responding to was particularly interested in cheetah.

Marija recently wrote to a poster considering Sabi Sands vs. Botswana, “In July at Mombo we only saw 1 leopard in 6 game drives. So you're not missing much by excluding Mombo.”

I am sure people who have been to Mombo have liked their stay. The wildlife is very good and I think the accommodations are probably beautiful. I just wonder if it is worth the extra. If that premium is not a big deal to you and you do not have certain species (such as wild dog and cheetah you are tracking down) then there is less reason to remove Mombo. I just remember Mombo from the old days when cheetah and wild dogs were common and leopards were seen on just about every drive, in addition to lion prides. That great diversity seems to have changed.

On those other camps I mentioned:

Chitabe is a good all around game camp and reasonable sub for Mombo. Kwara, mentioned by Predator and also a good idea instead of Mombo, is operated by Kwando. AAC may prefer to book Wilderness camps over Kwando camps. The other camps I suggested-—Jao, Xigera, and Kwetsani have lots of water activities, if you wanted that. They would not be a good direct substitute for Mombo. But if you lengthened your stay at Little Vumbura and concentrated on land rather than water at LV, then that could be a good combo.

Zibalianja:

If I am wrong on the wine tasting, at least for your time of travel, then never mind. Zib would be a great choice. Don’t want to be feeding you incorrect info. on the wine tasting, but that could be an important factor if it is true. Selinda Main Camp would also be fine instead of Zib if Zib has changed the night drive format.

Tarangire:

I’d ask AAC why they put you 3 nights in Olivers in Tarangire. I know they do 3-nighters there in some of their itineraries because they have some particular activities for their clients. When I saw 3 nights there, I almost asked if AAC was your agent. It may be worthwhile to spend 3 nights if something special is planned. I spent 3 nights in Tarangire, at my request, not the agent’s suggestion, and saw different things each day and was happy with the longer stay. If the itinerary shows you can get from Tarangire to the Mara, then no problem.

Mara:

I don’t know if your itinerary has room for 4 nights in the Mara, but if it does, then 4 nights at Mara Explorer would be good since you are in the Mara between mid-July and end of Sept. The Mara is really action packed and the more time you have, the more time you can sit at the river and wait for a wildebeest crossing, which is unique and very exciting. I’ve always stayed more than 4 nights in the Mara and never wanted to leave. Back to your itinerary, I think you need that one night in Nairobi to make your next connection, so the 4th night couldn't come from there. But to extend your hours in the Mara, you can ask for the later flight (3:00 pm ish rather than 10:00 am ish) out of the Mara back to Nairobi. It means less time for shopping, but give a few more hours in the bush.

Gorillas:

Three gorilla trips is a wonderful idea. You are not insane at all! My comment was that you want to do 2 trips rather than 1 if at all possible, and 3 is even better. I did 3 gorilla trips and a golden monkey trip in 2004.

Volunteering, staying with Maasai:

The second time I stayed with the Maasai family was on a trip I booked with AAC. Alison Nolting of AAC was especially interested in that whole experience and I think asked me to write something up for them. So she or the company may be interested in putting something together for you. You are right that adding Uganda for chimp volunteering may not be feasible. You do have the rest of the world to see as well!

I didn’t know what agent you were using when you originally posted, but for all the places you are going and all the coordination in Eastern and Southern Africa, I think AAC is a good choice. Your Africa part of the trip will be done right. When I’ve used them and problems arose, that were not of their doing, they fixed it so I was back on track.

If you are doing wildlife components in the rest of your trip, I'd love to know what they are.

Off the Africa subject, it is possible to sleep overnight on the Great Wall in an area with hardly any people. If you are interested, I'd recommend that.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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my two cents on Mombo. i have visited there in 04, 05 and 06 and i agree that the diverse predator sightings were down dramatically in 06 compared to 04/05 and this is mainly due to 2 things.
1. there are 3 large prides of lions causing other predators like cheetahs and wild dogs not to stay around as long as they used to.
2. the leopard sightings were down because recently the dominant male (Burnt Ebony) who had patrolled for years has passed on and the new males in the area are much more skittish and females with cubs want to stay clear until things settle down.

given the fact that you are going in late 09, i guarantee things will have changed in the area and most likely predator viewing will be unbeatable. the area is still the best in Botswana for general game and that will not change over the next few years which also means that the predator population will revert back to very high levels. these changes can happen very quickly. i will give an example. in jan 04 we visited mombo for the first time and there was a dominant lion coalition of 4 huge males (Wheatfield Boys). they had single handedly increased the lion population dramatically and no one thought 4 huge males would be overthrown for years. wouldn't you know it, 1 yr to the day later we visited again and they had already been pushed out by 4 new males (the wailers) and the whole balance had been disrupted. 05 sightings were very different from 04.
if i were planning a trip for 1 month from now i would agree that mombo isnt great for diversity of predators right now but if i were scheduling a trip for 09 it would be my first choice, so i would say lave it in. who knows you may see more than we did in 04 (72 different lions including 15 males, 3 different leopards, the steroid boys, a lone female cheetah and 2 rhinos). we also saw lions hunting buffalo and zebra, a leopard hunting warthog and lions and hyenas fighting).
bigcountry is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 09:35 PM
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Although Mombo is a great place, I wouldn't necessarily say that the gameviewing (of predators) will be on the same level again in the near or distant future like so many of us as known in the past.

For the overall trip, I would say it's like you want to touch it all without giving yourself the time to explore these areas in depth and really enjoy them. Also visiting these places in one shot, will get you exhausted after a while and at some of the areas, weather conditions won't be optimal.





 
Dec 15th, 2007, 11:37 PM
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Agree with skimmer ..... too much rushing around and u don't get a proper feel of the different locations. If i were u, i would pick a couple of countries and try to maximize the experiences ......
HariS is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 02:34 AM
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Lynn,

Selinda main camp is the one with the wine cellar.
HariS is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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So the wine tasting is going to be in Selinda, not Zibalianja?
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 06:57 PM
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Thank you to Lynn and everyone else for the replies. The issue of rushing around too much is a dilemma--there's a lot we want to see, but that requires trade-offs in terms of duration and so on. My wife also doesn't like to be overscheduled, so I am trying to respect this (just imagine what this trip would look like if I weren't...). Although I've tried to keep the two-night stays to a minimum, I guess that even at four nights in a place, it probably does seem like a lot of moving around. That's partly why I've tried to add in a few extra beach days, but ultimately the issue of too much moving may remain remains. Maybe some of Lynn's suggestions about spending 7 days at two Bots camps, rather than 8 days at 3 meets these concerns (somewhat).

On the specific points Lynn raised, I will ask AAC why we're doing three nights at Tarangire. I don't recall any particular explanation from them when we discussed this camp, other than that it was worth three nights, whereas some of the other camps, according to AAC, were better off as two-day stays. Since so much of this is a leap of faith for us, I will follow up with them to see if there's something in particular driving the amount of time there. I think we could certainly take a night from Tarangire and put in into the Masai Mara (bringing that to four nights), although that would mean we'd have a couple of two-night stays in a row. I'll see what AAC says...

I will also follow up with them on the Zib issue, which as I think I understand it, is whether they're sacrificing night drives so that I can sample wines (?). It would seem like a weird thing to do, but I appreciate you're raising it with me, because I'm pretty sure I would never have thought to ask about that on my own.

The Mombo issue is a dilemma, but I'll give a lot of thought to the concerns you raised, although as bigcountry pointed out, I guess how things will look in 2009 is an open question. But I'll keep looking into this and some of the alternatives you raised.

The information about staying with the Maasai is very helpful. AAC sent me info on something called the Taita Discovery Center in Tsavo, Kenya, that seems to have various community activities (it seems to be a short flight from NBO), and they have us right now staying there for three nights, with a night on either end in NBO. Not sure if that's enough time to do anything particularly substantive or meaningful, but at this point, I suppose if I have a five day block in NBO I can fill it with something community-oriented as we get closer. I will look into the activities you did with them though. Thanks.

<If you are doing wildlife components in the rest of your trip, I'd love to know what they are.> As of right now, this is the main wildlife component, although we may be doing some sort of lemur-related activity in Madagascar before we start the Africa piece. We had thought about the Pantanal too, partly inspired by your trip report Lynn, but the time of year may not work (since we're beginning the trip in South America in February).

< didn’t know what agent you were using when you originally posted> The agent I was originally thinking of using for the whole trip turned out to be a bit of a dud, so we've parted ways. So, still in the market for a TA for the other pieces of the trip.

I'll look into the Great Wall idea. I've never heard of that...

Skimmer wrote: <For the overall trip, I would say it's like you want to touch it all without giving yourself the time to explore these areas in depth and really enjoy them. Also visiting these places in one shot, will get you exhausted after a while and at some of the areas, weather conditions won't be optimal.>

Thanks for the comment Skimmer. Setting aside the exhaustion point for a moment, which I agree is an issue, which places do you think will have suboptimal weather? We actually placed Africa where we did to maximize the good weather there, but it's obviously a big continent and hard to get it right everywhere. It seems that our conditions in Cape Town and maybe Zanzibar and the Seychelles will be off a bit. Is that right, particularly for the latter two? Anywhere else you had in mind?

HariS: I'm not sure if you were suggesting that it's Selinda that does the wine tastings, or that people at Zib go to Selinda to do the wine tastings, or just that Selinda has a wine cellar but that Zib still may do the wine tastings.

We continue to be very undecided about the Seychelles. A couple of the places AAC has suggested (Desroches and Lemuria) have gotten pretty panned over on Tripadvisor.

Thank you to everyone for the advice. It is greatly appreciated.

jgold
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Dec 16th, 2007, 09:44 PM
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jgold,

I just mentioned that Selinda main camp is the one with the wine cellar .... don't know if they deceided to go ahead with the wine tasting sessions.
HariS is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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Thanks very much HariS.
jgold is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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The wine country is so beautiful I would definitely consider at least a one night stay there, and if you have interest in wine then a couple of solid days exploring is really necessary to get any kind of depth of how good the SA wine indutsry has become.

As for Mombo, its now a great place for Lions, and general game, and remains a spectacularly beautiful spot. In 06 we did in fact see Leopard and Wild Dog, but our three days in 07 produced Lion only.
You might want to consider Savuti, but I think your itinerary will provide lots of great game viewing, so you might just want to experience the beauty of Mombo.
napamatt is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 09:01 PM
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So, I have a tentative price for this itinerary, based on 2008 rates: $130k, not including inter-Africa flights, which total about $7k. There's not a lot of price transparency in the figure I was given beyond what I just wrote. To supplement my initial posting, the second Seychelles island is, at present, Praslin (Lemuria), although that will likely change. I also haven't had a chance to pass along any of Lynn's suggestions, so this price basically reflects (give or take a night here or there) my initial posting. I'd be curious what people think of this price (relative to what I'm getting). As always, many thanks.
jgold is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 09:21 PM
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My quick math shows an average cost of $1,200 pppn. I counted all days including those at hotels, 55 days. $137K divided by 55 divided by 2. Sounds a bit high $$$ cost since several nights are in hotels not safari camps. But hey, I'm coming in late to this party so maybe I'm totally off base here

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 04:47 AM
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Tom, thanks for running the numbers, and I probably should have thought to break it into a pppn figure. I actually count about 67 days based on the numbers in my first posting, and the actual number of days is about 73, which reflects some transit J'Burg stops I inadvertently didn't count, as well as an additional five days in NBO/Tsavo to do some community activities. So, the actual pppn cost appears to be about $900 (give or take). However, as you point out, that includes about 18 days of non-safari/non-super nice island accomodations. It also includes most charter flights, although not flights between countries (which are in the neighborhood of $3,500/person). Thanks very much for reviewing it.
jgold is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 05:47 AM
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I knew when you posted your proposed itinerary it would be very, very expensive. Basically, you are trying to see in one trip what I have seen in five, and I haven't made it to Zanzibar or the Seychelles.

I have no idea whether the quote is fair, but for this type of trip, I would be more concerned with excellent service than price, and it may be worth paying several thousand dollars more to a highly experienced operator who can ensure that this trip goes smoothly, especially when the inevitable bumps arise.

Michael
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Dec 18th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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Fair point. As I said, I'm okay paying a premium for service and for someone to handle things if something goes wrong (e.g., instablility in Zim, etc.), which is obviously quite possible given the length of this trip. I'm just trying to figure out if this is a reasonable premium. Thanks for the comment.
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