Low Season - Where to go??

Oct 1st, 2006, 02:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Low Season - Where to go??

I went on my first safari this year in May to Kenya / Rwanda. I thought the trip was excellent, and I loved going during the low season, as the prices were better, but more importantly, there werent any crowds.

From your personal experiences, where can I go during December to April, that will be low season, but will also provide excellent wildlife viewing? Cost isnt an issue, and I would prefer to stay in 3-4 camps for 3-5 days each.

Thanks again for your help.
richardlondon is offline  
Oct 1st, 2006, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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botswana....stay at savuti, duba plains and mombo. fantastic game viewing at all these places during that time and low season. i have travelled to botswana in jan 2004 and 2005 and had better game viewing at mombo then than we just had in high season this past sept. the price at mombo is the same year round so you wont save from that perspective but you will at the other 2 camps and game viewing is great with less people. let me know if you have any more specific questions, especially as to why these camps in particular are good during low season versus some other botswana camps.
bigcountry is offline  
Oct 1st, 2006, 05:58 PM
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Big Country,

Did you ever do a report on your most recent Botswana trip?
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 1st, 2006, 07:06 PM
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Hi, Atravelynn--
Just want to comment on the fantastic support you give to the contributors on the boards. You not only have kind and encouraging comments for the poster, but also have the most thoughtful questions which elicit from him/her even more input, much to the delight of all of us information thirsty readers out here. Probably should have posted this note of appreciation on Jenn's trip report or another which has a longer on-going thread, but I'm on richardlondon's post right now; saw your name added to thread and decided that it was time to say to you what I've wanted to say for a long time. You're a kind and supportive person.
Bo2642 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2006, 07:06 PM
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December thru April should be fantastic in Tanzania...however, for this upcoming time frame reservations may be difficult to secure.

For Botswana, Big Country has given you some options....other options include, Kwando camps (Lebala, Lagoon, Little Kwara/Kwara). Very Good value for money in the low season. Linyanti Explorations (Selinda/Zibalianja), Sanctuary lodges (Chief's camp etc etc). Choices are plenty.....

Oct 1st, 2006, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,881
From your personal experiences, where can I go during December to April, that will be low season, but will also provide excellent wildlife viewing?

April and May are considered off-season in northern Tanzania because of the rains. Lodges are a bit cheaper but not a whole lot, but the crowds are much thinner than in the Jan - March high season (and of course later in the summer).

We were at Manyara and Serengeti for 10 days last April and had a good time, with many excellent sightings and photo ops of lions and cheetahs, and espeially birds. But we had a lot of rain and the insects were unbelieveable. Two or three times we were blocked from side trips by muddy roads but the main road was fine.

Despite what another poster wrote you should have no problem booking pretty much anything you want in April since there weren't many tourists. Two mornings we were the only people in Lake Manyara, for example, and the Serengeti lodge we stayed at was maybe 30% full. We booked our trip just a few weeks prior to going, after enjoying a January trip so much we wanted to return. I have some pics up if you want to see them, or check the East Africa trip index for the URL.

Bill_H is offline  
Oct 1st, 2006, 07:54 PM
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there's some really good deals on lodges in South Luangwa, Zambia for those times. I was there mid March this year and with the exception of elephants, saw more animals than in the hot season. some of the roads may be impassible at that time, but there was always enough places to go without doing too much of the same route, and the water activities are nice also.
matnikstym is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2006, 04:08 AM
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Yes, Zambia would be a wonderful choice, at least as far as South Luangwa is concerned. Both Luangwa River Lodge and Puku Ridge would offer wonderful experiences at this time of year:


www.starofafrica.com (Puku Ridge)

This would make a fairly easy combination with a couple Botswana camps if you are indecisive about which to visit.

Roccco is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2006, 06:56 AM
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Thanks for all the responses. My concern with the Botswana / Zambia areas are the amount of rainfall, and with things being so "green", the ability to watch game.

If I were to go in Jan / Feb, are you saying that the rainfall shouldnt be a big issue? Also, that the game viewing is still pretty good?

Thanks again for your help.
richardlondon is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2006, 07:18 AM
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For Jan/Feb, game-viewing in the Serengeti will be hard to match anywhere....but, if you are talking about Jan 2007, i'd say good luck trying to find suitable accomodations....

Oct 2nd, 2006, 08:26 AM
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I did almost the same itinerary as Big Country in January 2003 except I stayed at Duma Tau instead of Savuti (same neighborhood). In our 10 days we had one late afternoon rain at the end of our drive and that was it. In early January the grass is a delicious green for pictures but not very high or a big problem for game vieiwng. Like Big Country I had very good viewing on that trip. It sounds like a big part of your goal is to avoid crowds -- on these private concessions even when they are full you are talking about 3 vehicles in large areas. In January at Duba Plains we were 2 of only 4 guests which meant one vehicle out on 75,000 acres.

I know you say cost isn't an issue but you can also travel to Botswana at that time with the 5 Rivers Special allowing stays in the Kwando Camps for about 60% off the high season rate. The Kwando Camps have terrfic wildlife viewing and there is probably not a better acreage to guest ratio in all of Africa. The special also includes properties marketed by Islands in Africa which includes the outstanding Deception Valley Lodge providing a Kalahari experience that I highly recommend (although it will be hot in January) and some luxurious lodges in Namibia just across from Botswana -- can be boat tranferred from Kwando camps I beleive.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2006, 03:57 PM
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the rains in botswana we encountered during our 2 trips in january were short thunderstorms that never lasted more than 1/2 hr or so. in fact, of the 12 days spent on safari between our trips, only one was even interrupted by the rains (we drove back to camp at duba plains one afternoon and waited for the rains to stop and then headed back out).
The game at the 3 particular camps I mentioned are particularly good during the rainy season for tyhe following reasons. Savuti because they have an annual zebra migration passing thru at that time and its on the savuti channel which is open for good game viewing. Duba plains is great then bc the water level is at its lowest in jan. (seasonal floods arrive in april or so and recede from sep til mar) so driving is not impeded. And Mombo is phenomenal year round with me actually prefering Jan because as you cant go for night drives there, there are more daylight hours in jan than peak season (aug/sep).

Downsides to going in january include:
more bugs, possible rain, hotter than dry season but certainly not unbearable

Major Advantages: antelope babies born then, photography at its best with short green grass, less people, peak birds, less expensive.

For me as an experienced safari goer, i prefer it in january.

And Lynn, I havent written a trip report yet but will work on that soon.
bigcountry is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2006, 09:50 PM
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To add to Pred and Big Country's posts, the birding in Botswana at that time of the year is Phenomenal!!!

Yes, more daylight in Jan as Big Country states, but, if you take up Pred's choice of camps, the game viewing is tailor-made to your tastes.....i.e., at Kwando they welcome you to stay out on drive for as long as you wish....

Oct 5th, 2006, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
I was in Botswana and South Africa in February of this year. It was their wettest season in 20 years. Even so, we had a nice trip, but we really got wet at times. You can never tell what to expect from one year to the next. I understand that, in 2005, it hardly rained at all. If you'd like to see my "green season" photos, go to http://sharontaylor.smugmug.com.
ShayTay is offline  

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