Mar 10th, 2015, 08:08 AM
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Hello, I am considering a trip with wife to Botswana in July 2016. We are members at Costco and they have a travel partnership with Lion World Travel. The trip seems VERY good for pricing and covering the areas that Botswana is known for. Could it be too good? Has anyone used LWT? Camps listed are Kara Kana Camp and Elephant Valley Lodge in a Forest Tent. Not sure if night drives are part of this but are they worth going in another direction if they are not? I feel like it wouldn't be too cheesy if associated with Costco, they usually take care of members pretty well. Any thoughts???
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Mar 10th, 2015, 12:27 PM
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Thank you SO much for your thoughtful response and info!!! The one thing that I thought was interesting regarding the package is that it included economy RT Air from a close by airport. I am not sure how much that normally is tacked on but I liked that it was inclusive. I actually thought the reverse of what you mentioned about camps. It seemed from what I found the reviews of Kara Kana were pretty good but very mixed for EV. I know Botswana is more expensive but seems to have great review. We are pretty locked into traveling then (JUN-AUG), so wouldn't most areas be pretty crowded? I think our budget is about $15,000-20,000 total. Length of trip doesn't matter too much, enough to see game. That is our main thing. Seeing the game. Not too into the cultural immersion, historical sites, etc. Would love a realistic "bush" feel...tent camps, not lodges. Comfortable, but don't have to be too high end. We heard Tanzania was great too. The less people (especially younger children) the better as well. Just so much to sort through!!!
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Mar 12th, 2015, 12:10 PM
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Lion World does have a Kenyan itinerary that many comment they enjoy. However, it's very hectic covering too much ground in too short a period of time. I'd personally stay clear of that.

You do have sufficient budget to book Botswana direct or with a great operator (as responder above) for discounted rates, or seriously consider Kenya especially in June right before the rates increase as 1st July. However you might luck-out price wise with July dates. And instead of a 'group' safari, have a 'private' one that you design. For certain Kenya will offer lots of game.

And right now there are very competitive airfares to Nairobi (hub city for East Africa).
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Mar 12th, 2015, 01:39 PM
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Sandi in above reply is long time member here and highly respected. I would for sure email her at -

Having said that, Kenya and Tanzania do have the classic African grass savaanh plains. BUT in most of their National Parks your safari vehicle must stay on established dirt roads. That is, they may not go off-road. This can be frustrating for viewing subject(s) and is a disaster for photography.

Soooo, if you want to see the Big 5 up close and personal go to one (or) more of the safari camps adjoining Kruger National Park, South Africa. Such as Sabi Sand reserve, recommend camp MalaMala, and/or the Timbavati Reserve, recommend Kings Camp. I have been to both several times. And also to safari camps in Kenya ,TZ, and Zambia.

FWIW, here are a few snaps of those safaris -

regards - tom
ps - I have safaried in both Kenya and South Africa on same safari trip, about 3 weeks long. See my above link for more info/pictures.
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Mar 12th, 2015, 09:34 PM
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You have gotten great advice. Check out these for better options:
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Mar 13th, 2015, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for being so generous with your advice Kota.
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Mar 13th, 2015, 08:28 PM
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wow,interesting thread.definitely team Kenya.
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Mar 15th, 2015, 08:27 AM
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I want to thank you all for the time to read this and reply so truthfully and with great information. I was out of town for a few days with limited time to get to email. Definitely some information to re-consider some things and perhaps make some different inquiries to what we can/should do!!!! Just seems SOOO overwhelming. Fortunately, not going until NEXT summer. Is JUNE really an okay time to see a lot of game in East A? I'd heard July is better. Thanks!!!
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Mar 15th, 2015, 01:39 PM
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For next year ('16) you have time to plan.
I've often been in early June and the migrating herds are arriving in the Mara (KEN), other years July can be considered a 'cusp' month as the herds can still be in the Serengeti (anywhere from Central to North) or already in the Mara (KEN). We're dealing with game and the rains so no guarantee from year-to-year. Some visitors thus split the time between KEN and TNZ and get the best of both. All depending on your total # of days you'll be in-country and budget.

Last year as example, the herds had arrived in the Mara and then mid-Aug left for the Serengeti only to return to the Mara a few weeks later and stayed on thru Oct when usually they're well heading back to the Serengeti. There are usual routes by month, but never any guarantee.

Rates for '16 won't be published before period between May-July '15 and the int'l air often not prior 330/days before expected travel. So you have time to research and ask questions... we're here to help.
And it might be a good idea to keep all your findings/queries on thus same thread so you can find it and we can follow your progress.
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Mar 20th, 2015, 09:48 PM
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great tips!!
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Mar 26th, 2015, 04:00 PM
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Just want to say if you do decide on Kenya, the Offbeat Mara camp is fantastic. Only six tents, the best guides/spotters we had on our entire 3-week trip, great food, and wonderful camp managers. We stayed in a few more expensive and luxurious camps, but our best game experiences were in the Mara and in no small part due to our guide.
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Apr 1st, 2015, 02:28 PM
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Posts: 6 for something completely different (as the show used to say)....I have been reading more and more about Zambia and it's charms. Would that be a better experience?? How expensive is Zambia? I know the walking safaris are quite popular and my wife doesn't want to do ALL walking but I don't think we have to do we? It seems it has great game, less tourists etc. Would we be missing out on anything else? Would we get more bang for buck in Tanz/Ken??? Thanks you SO MUCH everyone again for all your advice!!!
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Apr 2nd, 2015, 05:03 AM
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Hi Wineman,

I have been to almost every four star and above safari lodge in Zambia. It is indeed one of my favorite spots on earth! I suggest spending four nights minimum in South Luangwa National Park and even more nights if you can. Stay at two lodges that are relatively far apart. I suggest at least 3 nights in Lower Zambezi. Both parks combine well with the Zambia side of Victoria Falls.

Best time to go in July 15-Sep 15 for optimized weather and animal viewing. Animal viewing is also great in late Sep & Oct but it can be quite hot. June has good rates/specials at many spots.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond

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