itinerary for SA and Botswana

Jan 27th, 2003, 06:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
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itinerary for SA and Botswana

Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas on our tenative itinerary would be greatly appreciated. Our first trip to Africa, planned for August 2003.We are thinking:
2 nights Sabi Sands, (Djuma Game Reserve or
Nkorho Bush Lodge), then drive to
Tuli, Botswana (I think this is about a 5 hour drive)
2 nights Mahatu Game Reserve, then fly to
2 nights Chobe Game Lodge or Chobe Savannah
lodge or Muchenje, then drive to
2 nights Vic Falls, The Kingdom or Ilala Lodge.
Then back to Johannesburg and home.
Are the game reserves we are looking at diverse enough? Any thoughts on staying on the Zambia side of Vic Falls, (suggested to us because of the political situation in Zimab.)If this was your once in a lifetime trip, what would you do differently! We are working with tight time constraints (can only go for 2 weeks) and of course a tight budget. Thanks for any imput.
wendy226 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2003, 06:13 AM
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Hi Wendy-
I haven't been to the camps in South Africa, but one of the camps in Botswana you mentioned I would avoid. Muchenje is the one. We were there in August a few years ago and while the lodge is one of the prettiest locations, overlooking the Caprivi Strip, and the managers are very nice, there were no animals at all. It was the dry season, but I asked the manager if it was always like that. He said yes. I asked him why they picked that location for the lodge, he said they liked it. Also they cannot go into Chobe. They have to stay outside the park. Unfortunately all the animals were inside the park. So our game drives were boring. Just rocks. The people who were leaving when we arrived were really down about the lack of game. We didn't visit any other camps in Chobe but I would try something else.
We will be going to Mashatu in April 2003. I will post a trip report when we return in May. I am really looking forward to seeing it. I haven't heard from anyone who has been there yet. At least no one has posted about it here. I haven't been to any of the other camps you mentioned. We are also going to Duma Tau in Linyanti rather than Chobe. Someone else may post about your other choices. I know you will love Botswana. It is so beautiful and thrilling to see the Africa bush like it has always been. Liz
Jan 29th, 2003, 08:38 AM
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When I visited Chobe National Park in August 2002 (so same month as you intend to visit), I stayed at Chobe Game Lodge, and unlike the above post, there was an incredible abundance of animals. In fact, from my terrace overlooking the river, I saw a herd of at least 1,000 buffalo on the Namibian side of the river; several of them later drowned during a crossing and we saw many large crocodiles feeding on the carcasses. During my two days I saw hundreds of elephants along the riverbank, several lions, one wild dog, huge groups of sable antelopes, my first pukus, giraffes, hippos, baboons, and many other types of animals, plus an enormous selection of birds, including the largest group of marabou storks I've ever seen. Plus four game activities per day if you want to take advantage of all Chobe Game Lodge has to offer -- morning game drive, late morning boat cruise, early afternoon boat cruise and late day game drive. I would recommend this lodge over Chobe Savannah, which is on the Namibian side of the river, and not in Chobe Park, so there is much travel to get from the lodge to the park.
thit_cho is offline  
Feb 8th, 2003, 05:37 PM
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You are going to all the right places but you may want to reconsider a couple of the places that you are staying.
During the half day that I actually spent in the town of Victoria Falls, I was holed up at the Kingdom Hotel in order to escape from the aggressive vendors and panhandlers on the street. Other than that, my time in Zimbabwe was at the Matetsi Game Lodge, right on the Zambezi River, 35 miles upstream from Victoria Falls.
The Kingdom Hotel was not very nice and the food was almost inedible and it was completely empty, except for the hundreds of slot machines and empty gaming tables. I know it is a lot less expensive than Matetsi and the Victoria Falls Hotel (I stayed one night there, as well), but despite being clean and new, it is not a nice hotel, unless you want the plastic Las Vegas feel instead of the African experience that you have likely traveled halfway around the world to experience.
Also, I would be concerned with the Nkorho Bush Lodge. While I have absolutely no experience with this lodge, I believe that it is on a very small property in comparison with most of the other game lodges. I posted something on this site a few months ago that had a great map of the Sabi Sand Reserve and it showed the property lines of the various private game lodges. I will try to refresh it for your benefit, if I can still locate it.
One website you want to look at, if you haven't already booked, is (if you haven't already done so, as that is the only place that I have seen Nkorho Bush Lodge before). There are other reasonably priced options on much greater sized properties such as Elephant Hills Game Lodge and a couple others.
Lastly, if you are beginning your trip in Sabi Sand, you would be well advised to stay one night in Johannesburg, so that you are able to get a nice early (and rested) jump on your trip to Sabi Sand reserves. Anyway, if you haven't been to South Africa before, you will absolutely love it. I, myself, hope to return in late April, just 13 months after my first trip, and hopefully 12 months before my third trip! Best of luck.
Roccco is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2003, 08:39 AM
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Mashatu and Chobe Game Lodge/Chobe Savannah Lodge was also recommended to me. I am planning a trip in August and would love to know how you like it.
RP is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2003, 09:14 AM
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Can't comment on your lodge choices as I haven't stayed at any of them. I do think you're onto the right idea with varying the locations of the reserves you'll be seeing to get the best variety of environments.
Just wanted to recommend Wilderness Safari properties - we did a trip to Botswana and Namibia in 2001 and were very very happy with the Wilderness Safari properties - and game viewing was also excellent.
We're returning for a 3 week trip in 2004 and most properties are again WS ones.
Kavey is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 04:09 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Roccco: the lodges at Sabi Sands all have access to the whole of the reserve. The size of the lodge itself has nothing to do with where you go on the game drives. Nkorho is wonderful and, yes, small. I thinkit only has 12 people max at a time which makes it very friendly - you get to know everyone.
beasmark is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 04:35 PM
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''Message: Roccco: the lodges at Sabi Sands all have access to the whole of the reserve.''

Not exactly true,do a search under Sabi Sands and read about the different traversing areas!
safarinut is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 11:53 PM
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You are incorrect. Each game lodge has specific traversing rights. Nkhoro actually pays for the right to drive on Djuma's traversing area, and there is much swapping going on elsewhere, as well, but that does not mean that there are not clearly defined areas where a lodge is allowed to take its guests.
Roccco is offline  

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