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-   -   Kalahari in October (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/kalahari-in-october-848776/)

Liz_Frazier Jul 9th, 2010 09:32 AM

Kalahari in October
 
Has anybody been to the Kalahari in October? Asking about using Tau Pan or Nxai Pan Camps. Anyone been there? Would appreciate any comments about doing this in October. Thanks for those who could help. Liz

LAleslie Jul 9th, 2010 11:38 AM

One word. Hot.

Haven't been to those places. But the weather at Makgadigadi pans in October was barely bearable. Still, glad we went.

Liz_Frazier Jul 9th, 2010 06:10 PM

Why were you glad you went? Was it something there that appealed to you? Where did you stay?

The heat here in Nevada is worse than there, it gets to 110-114 degrees here, but it is a dry heat. Also we have air conditioning and where we will be staying in the Kalahari only has fans. Thanks for answering though. I think I've asked this here before.

HariS Jul 9th, 2010 06:25 PM

Liz,

They have their own water hole by both lodges, which apparently has led to more consistent game viewing in their area.

Also, recently Bots has had early rains... as early as end Sept. If the trend continues, then with just a bit of rain, the herds congregate around the pans. Normally, game viewing will be more dispersed that time of the year.

On the other hand, being off-season for the Kalahari. You won't have other visitors in the park and I would guess it is just a magical experience to have the vastness of the area to yourself.

Bear in mind, a Kalahari experience is more about the magic of the Kalahari itself .... it's not about a predator bounty (for which, I guess you are going anyways to places like Lebala, Lagoon etc etc.,)

I've been twice to the CKGR - once to Tau Pan and more recently on a mobile safari - it's truly a magical place.

Hari

HariS Jul 9th, 2010 06:31 PM

Are you going to both or choosing between the two? If you are going to only one, my vote would be Tau Pan.

Liz_Frazier Jul 9th, 2010 09:06 PM

Thanks Hari, you've really made me feel better. We will be spending 3 nights at each of the 2 camps at the beginning of our trip. I sure hope it rains the end of Sept. this year too. That would really top this off.

We are going there because we missed the Kalahari on our earlier trips to Bots and recent photos we saw made us rethink and include it this time. I had posted a few months ago for ideas and got some good pointers to consider about the trip from this site. Thanks again.

HariS Jul 9th, 2010 09:57 PM

No worries, Liz. Suggest you do 4 nights Tau and 2 nights Nxai. Nxai pan park is essentially a small area and 2 nights will suffice. You can do a day trip to Baines baobabs early in the morning and still have time to explore Nxai Pan and the waterhole where the activity will be...

The CKGR is simply monstrous and a visit to both Deception Valley and Passarge valley is a must do! With your interest in the area - suggest 4 nights.

Lynneb Jul 10th, 2010 12:26 AM

I agree with Hari that it would be better to spend 4 nights in the CKGR to give yourself time to see as much as possible. Tau Pan lodge will offer you day trips to the Deception Valley area which I strongly recommend even though it's pretty tiring.

Get the guides there to show you the maps and the various pans and routes available to you and make it clear if you want to go further afield as then they can match you with vehicle mates.

Liz_Frazier Jul 10th, 2010 11:21 AM

Thanks for the 4/2 recommend. I emailed TA today, however we leave 8/31 so don't know if we could. Hope so. We wouldn't even have the 3/3 split, but in booking we ended up with a day or two extra and I suggested the time for the Kalahari. We know nothing about the area, so we took 3/3. I'll let you both know and thanks again for caring. Liz

LAleslie Jul 10th, 2010 04:38 PM

Liz, we were glad we went for the reasons Hari suggests. It's vast, empty (sort of like Nevada!) and beautiful. We did see thousands of migrating zebras, a brown hyena--rare--some ostriches with a nest full of eggs, a kalahari lion: magnificent beast, but not as relaxed as the lions in some traversed Botswana places. And of course, those silly meerkats. We never got to go riding the pans on the ATVs because of a thunderstorm.

We stayed at Jack's Camp. There were several other people there, including a couple from Southern California, where we're from, some English, natch, some Italians, a good and interesting mix of folks, but despite the season it wasn't empty.

It was so hot during the day that my husband had to soak the large scarves they give you in cold water and drape them all across his naked body. He just lied on the bed not moving, miserable. I sat in the camp pool with one couple for hours. But mornigns and evening are fine. We went for an early morning walk with some bushmen and weren't too hot then.

As Hari says, definitely go, not for the bountiful wildlife but for the unique experience.

HariS Jul 10th, 2010 06:40 PM

I'd say desert species in the CKGR; and you'll need to be lucky to see one or two of them - Aardwolf, Brown Hyena, cape fox, bat eared fox, Meerkat, Pale chanting goshawks, Pied crows, Gemsbok, springbok, Red Hartebeest, magnificent black-maned Lions ( doubt there are any that can match in Northern Bots)

Gabriella1 Jul 14th, 2010 01:27 PM

Liz,

I am planning our 1st, and probably only, trip to S. Africa for summer of 2011, and am hoping to do all I can on my own (booking, planning etc.) It seems you have lots of experience doing this yourself, so do you have any suggestions? We will plan on about 3 weeks, with our 11yr. old son in tow. I think we can easily book & self-drive the Cape Town area, but of course want to include safari time elsewhere. Kruger is a must...do you have any camps you would suggest? We want to be clean, comfortable & safe and experience some luxuries, but certainly do not have to stay in 5 star camps the whole time. We are doing this to see the game. Knowing this will be our only chance, what other area would you suggest that we go to? Botswana sounds great, but from what I have read it is on the high end of the price scale because the game viewing is so good. Is this correct? What about Zimbabwe, or the areas around Durban? If I truly can not book safaris on our own, is there a service you have used that you might suggest? Thanks!!

Liz_Frazier Jul 14th, 2010 05:35 PM

Gabriella- I'm the least knowledgable of anyone here on what you want. All I do is our air travel using ff miles to get the best seats. It took a lot of reading on flyertalk.com to learn how to get miles for free and how to get the booking you want. I can tell you anything you want to know about that.

All of our trips to Botswana have been with Ker & Downey doing the planning until I recently branched out to get a different experience and used Eyes on Africa, Nicky Glover. We only do private safaris and they are more expensive. If I were just starting out I would use 2Afrika.com for a small group safari but they don't go all over South Africa as I remember. They are more into East Africa. There are many, many trip reports here from self-drive folks who give loads of real good information. I haven't done any part of S. Africa but Botswana. Sorry. I don't know the agents they use. Some do it on their own, but you have to be pretty savvy. Believe me, agents earn every cent we pay them. Booking is hard, hard work. Camps give preference to frequent bookers it seems. I certainly wouldn't do it for a first trip. Africa is different and care must be exercised. Ask by starting a new thread for help in planning here, you'll gets lots of help. Liz


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