Itinerary Help - Botswana; Early Planning Stages

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Jun 8th, 2012, 07:20 AM
  #1
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Itinerary Help - Botswana; Early Planning Stages

Hello Fellow Travelers,

I'm taking my girlfriend and her family on a safari to Botswana in July / August and having been to Namibia and South Africa a few times - I thought I was good at planning but Botswana seems difficult.

We want a wild experience, not too many crowds, would like to stay in lodges some times, but also are considering if we can self-drive / camp in some other areas. We have up to 14 days there...

2 days Vic Falls
3 Days Linyati
4-5 days in Okavango
Leave Muan (possibly Salt Pans / Kalahari)

I need advice on where we should stay in Linyati and in Okavango (wet/dry/mixed) - I don't want to spend 60,000$, hoping to have some mix of nice lodging and camping or roughing it and none of them have ever been on safari - so I want to be in places that give us the chance to see everything as well as some surprises for me (wild dogs, river safari)

Should we self drive from Livingstone to Chobe and forgo Linyati? Where can we camp at all? Are there any places that a savvy off the beaten path traveler like me is missing?

PLEASE HELP ME!!!
Bostontravelbug is offline  
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Jun 8th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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You are going to find that if self driving, the odds are that there will not be campsites for you at that time. These started booking out months ago. You will probably need to check with a lot of 4x4 hire companies to find a 4x4 available at those dates too.
Check out the Maun Self Drive 4x4 site for info on campsites, booking options, etc. www.maunselfdrive4x4.com You may need to plan a lodge to lodge safari or mobile safari for Botswana. Or you can look at another country.

"Are there any places that a savvy off the beaten path traveler like me is missing?" Look at Zambia.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Jun 8th, 2012, 05:27 PM
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You really are a bit late to do much in the way of self-drive. Botswana limits tourist travel to keep it "less travelled." Tough on budget travelers like myself, but sometimes you can catch a break. Have you checked out &Beyond's website for some "last minute" specials? Their camps are lovely, guides wonderful, and you won't be running into lots of other vehicles. But that really shouldn't be a problem in Botswana no matter who you travel with.
uhoh_busted is offline  
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Jun 9th, 2012, 07:22 PM
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Bostontravelbug,

Was in Livingstone last Nov. Visited Vic Falls and also did a day trip to Chobe National Park from there (US$65).

Even on a tour the border crossing seemed to be a pain in the butt. I imagine doing a self drive would be a challenge. To arrange a tour from Livingstone is easy and you can even do overnight trips with a night safari included.

Would definitely do Chobe

Vic Falls Video:http://youtu.be/O_nEi-tCGBA

Chobe National Park Video:http://youtu.be/_hZYg5RiYxg
DMBTraveler is offline  
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Jun 9th, 2012, 09:22 PM
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"I imagine doing a self drive would be a challenge."

It really isn't. There are people that need to have things done for them, planned, and let someone else do everything. Then there are people that enjoy getting out and interacting with the locals, the freedom to do as you please, when you want, not lead around from one place to the next on a schedule. It's a misconception that a lot of people have from not doing it.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Jun 11th, 2012, 06:12 AM
  #6
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Thanks for the responses guys & girls - I really appreciate it.

In Namibia, it was easy to be off the beaten path, be remote because the land was accessible and remote doing an overland safari. On the other hand, I had heard Botswana is quite crowded in the national parks / campsites during this time of the year and a fly in to private lodges is how to do it.

I've also heard some amazing things including in this post about Zambia - should I be focused on that country as a safari option if Botswana comes in too high based on my budget?
Bostontravelbug is offline  
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Jun 11th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Zambia is much easier to plan a self drive or fly-in safari. Zambia is still off the radar of most travel agents and travelers, so usually you can find a place to stay without booking 6 months to a year in advance, like in Botswana. Btw, in my opinion, it is probably the safest country in Africa.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Jun 15th, 2012, 03:06 AM
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How many people are you traveling with?

As someone mentioned above you could pick up a last minute special. I would seriously investing the option of Botswana if you can fit it into your budget. Botswana has so many unique areas that are well worth visiting.

If you start in Vic Falls you can easily head over to Chobe. Investigate availability at Chobe Game Lodge, a spectacular location and fantastic game viewing, especially at the time of the year you are considering. I was up there three days ago and had a beautiful leopard sighting just outside their camp.

Chobe Game Lodge have sister lodges both in the Savute region and the Okavango Delta. If you book lodging through one group you may get even better rates. I also know that they do overland trips between their camps so you can cut out the flying. The other advantage here is you have a guide with you through your journey.

I have been living in Botswana for 2 years now working in the camps. It is a beautiful country and well worth the visit.

Happy planning.
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