MalaMala before or after Botswana

Jul 13th, 2007, 05:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 72
MalaMala before or after Botswana

Hi All,

We are planning for our first safari, and pretty much decided to visit MalaMala Main for 3 days, plus a week in Botswana (2 camps to be decided). I am thinking of going to MalaMala first, and get the first timers "checklist" mentality out of way. We can then relax, and enjoy the rest of trip in Botswana. Does it make sense? Another thought is to leave MalaMala at the end, and to focus on what we have missed. Well I know even MalaMala is not a zoo and cannot guarantee anything. What is your thought on that?

If it helps, we plan to travel in September 2008. Thanks,

foggy27 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I would agree with your suggestion to do Mala Mala first. Even though MM is truly fantastic, once you've experienced the wide-open wilderness of Botswana anything less does seem a bit like a zoo or themepark. Best of luck with your plans!
MisterAviator is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 06:35 PM
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I would think, it depends on what camps in Botswana....

I think it is more important for you to determine which Bots camps you wish to visit vs the order of the visit....

HariS is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 08:02 PM
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Hi foggy27

If it was me, I would definitely leave the best til last - which would be MM. Last year I had a trip to Botswana, which was quite disappointing gameviewing, so I was really pleased I finished on a high gameviewing note in the Sabi Sands.

You will miss plenty, so don't think you are going to see everything first time!

MM is not at all zoo like, so I am not sure why you would even have that comparison. For sure, the territorial cats are used to vehicles within reason, and that is why it wins hands down over Botswana for me, as the animals are not skittish and unnatural in their behaviour as an vehicle approaches.

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 08:50 PM
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I agree with Hari and MisterAviator. I know many people love Mala Mala, but Botswana's "wide-open wilderness" appeals to many others far more. The tone of your question suggests you are among the latter. I think it's a good idea for you to combine MM and Botswana in that order, but as Hari suggests, you must pick your camps wisely. Some people are poorly advised and/or don't heed good advice and come away disappointed.

afrigalah is offline  
Jul 13th, 2007, 08:58 PM
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A lot of it will also depend on availability and flight schedules. I suggest telling your TA your preference but that you are flexible if it means better flight schedules (and not missing game drives) and/or availability at your first choices.
hills27 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Logistically it's usually easier to do MM first, particularly if arriving from Europe. You can usually arrive JHB in the morning and get straight on the flight to MM and be there in time for lunch. Then after MM you have an overnight in JHB before catching the 10am Air Bots flight to Maun, then on leaving you can fly Maun back to JHB and connect with a Europe bound flight on the same day. That itinerary has the fewest non-safari nights.

And can we drop the Mala Mala zoo references, whoever first said that is FOS.
napamatt is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Af far as game viewing is concerned I do not think it matters. The animals are at every camp and sometimes you see them and sometines you do not.

Example, the Wild Dogs were denning at MM and we wnet three times to see them and all three they had just left to hunt. They were also supposed tobe at Chitabe and were not, we finally saw them at Duma Tau.

I liked starting at MM because the accomodations are different and I wanted to end the trip having been in the permanent tented camps. Also I would think it would depend on your plane connections. We started in Cape Town and went directly to MM. After leaving MM we had to go to Joburg because the connections did not work to do all of the transfers in one day.
This was fine however.

Either way it will be wonderful.
spiegelcjs is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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If logistics work better for one than another, I'd let that dictate.

2 Botswana camps and a Mala Mala stay will make a great trip.

I see pros and cons to before or after.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 04:29 PM
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I agree, let logistics decide.
However, there is one problem with going to MM first. After MM, you'll likely be saying at the other camps, "it (fill in blank) was better at MM". So all else being equal, I'd do MM last on my first safari.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 12:15 AM
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It matters little what you call these places, and people like Matt shouldn't get their knickers in a twist because it's only a matter of opinion. Usually, one's opinion of 'true wilderness' is dictated by one's actual experience of wilderness. If that experience falls a little short, well, there you have person's wild is another's tame. And that has nothing at all to do with the possibility of being eaten in such a can get eaten in a zoo if you step out of line.

The fact remains that some very well credentialled people have chosen to describe Kruger (and its private appendages) as 'glorified zoo' and even 'circus', and not just in recent years. It's also indisputable that these areas are among the most managed, if not the most managed, wildlife areas in Africa.

To me, that's not necessarily a bad thing because the only way 'wilderness' is going to survive in Africa and elsewhere is through intense management. True wilderness is doomed. Face it, it's a fact.

So whether you choose to go to Mala Mala first or some of the 'purer' (again, opinion) wilderness areas elsewhere first, really depends on your attitude to wilderness. Me?...I would go to Mala Mala first and save my 'best' experience, the less managed area, until last...because eventually, the less managed places are going to be as rare as hen's teeth.

afrigalah is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 02:55 AM
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For me, it's pointless to compare Botswana with the Sabi Sands and say that one is "better" than the other.

It's like comparing just-picked tomatoes to a dish prepared by a top chef: both are wonderful beyond imagination, so why not just leave it at that instead of insisting on some sort of ranking?
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 08:21 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,132
Oh, to have such dilemmas in life (I wish)
At any rate, not having been to either, I would decide if all things are equal game and amenity wise, whether or not you'd rather stress your body further by going straight to Botswana or if a shorter trip in the beginning may be easier. Ask your operater to lay out the logistics for you.

Sometimes I actually would rather save my easier part of the trip til the end by pushing forward in the beginning and doing more relaxing at the end. That way, I don't return home such an exhausted and demented wreck.
Hope this makes some sense.
Good luck!
cybor is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 11:08 AM
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Hi All,

Thanks for feedback from everyone! I know Botswana camp selection is more important. It's just that the question has been asked so many times (yes I have been lurking for a while...), whereas I have not encountered dicussion on ordering.

I hope my post did not come across as an attempt to compare the two. We have pretty much decided to include both. I am actually more concerned about ourselves, whether we can relax, enjoy ourselves, and not just trying to see/photo animals on a checklist. I was wondering if the ordering can help in that aspect.

Thanks for bringing up the air travel logistics. We should definitely take that into consideration. We are visiting Victoria Falls as well.

foggy27 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 213
We took our first Africa trip in October 2005. We started in Botswana (Sandibe and Jao camps), then went to Vic Falls, and finished at Tintswalo in South Africa. Spent 3 nights at each camp, with 2 nights at Vic Falls. As others have noted, the experiences in SA and Botswana are very different -- I won't editorialize on this, but we enjoyed both. My wife and I discussed whether we would recommend doing things in this order, and we definitely would. We advised our SA guide of what species we had not been able to see in Botswana (not too much, actually) and he was very helpful in focusing our viewing on these. Logistics worked out fine, too.
Angler973 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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If you're going to Vic Falls, I'd start there, then Bots, then finish at Mala Mala.
Clematis1 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Botswana, Vic Falls, then Mala Mala...

The wilderness experience of Botswana is superb and is a wonderful place to start. I would do Vic Falls after Bots because if you do any shopping there, you won't have to consider weight and size of the goods for those small planes into the Delta. Finally, at MM you'll see LOTS of wildlife that are relaxed around vehicles, such as leopards, and rhinos (which you probably won't see in Bots.)
ShayTay is offline  

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