Sep 2nd, 2004, 03:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Well Gameboy, I guess that means you haven't been avidly reading my other posts! And sorry, I am well beyond "competing" on this forum, and have no reason to push my favorite destinations. (In fact, quite the opposite...sometimes I fear that high demand changes a place, and I seriously fear that for some of my faves. (Look what popularity has done to Mombo (higher prices, tough reservations) and WS generally (better a few years back). (Happens all over--the wonderful little hotel in Rome where I was the only tourist is now filled with tourists...sigh)

However, I would say that if you are wild about dogs, you could DEFINITELY do better, $ per $ elsewhere. The research folks are near Chitabe...and surprise! the cheaper Chitabe (named after said dogs) is a better place to see them than Mombo. And at roughly half the cost, you could stay twice as long.

OK-- here is the one "undiscovered gem" I'm willing to toss out, as a public service: Mokolodi Nature REserve. No luxury accomodations (self-catering chalets only), but a number of "educational" experiences and walks that could add alot to a visit to Botswana. I think a chalet there goes for approximately $100 per night, and activities are booked separat/ely. The best is a game drive with white rhino tracking on foot. $100 per person. The reserve is educational, so all revenues go to supporting it as an educational center for Botswana's children. (Great Cause-- because if they are being asked to preserve their country's wildlife, on and off the reserves, they must know what they are being asked to protect...and they never get to go to the parks and reserves in the north.)
Anyway, the drive is nice, you get close to lots of habituated animals and birds-- the guide was really great on animal and bird behavior. Also, on conservation issues, as would be expected. (NOt always so for the wilderness guides!)
But the exciting thing is tracking the rhino on foot. You can get surprisingly close, and it was one of the most primal rushes of adrenalin I've ever had. After a 9-day WS trip (which included Mombo) I asked my friend what his favorite experience in Africa was...his reply: encountering those rhino at Mokolodi. He is still talking about it. Total daily cost: under $200 per person
tashak is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 165

When someone seeks an opinion on whether it is worth paying a lot more for a particular camp for a supposedly better wildlife experience then I feel I am entitled to present my own views as others are to theirs and my answer to that question I suppose is a strong no - and it is based on my experiences and on common sense. Therefore I do find your last post condescending - what you are effectively saying to linjudy is 'don't listen to what others have to say as they feel threatened and jealous'. Have I misunderstood you - please clarify?

5 to 6 years ago Mombo was a relative unknown offered at probably quarter the price of what it now goes for - it is now 4 times more expensive(assumption). Does that mean my wildlife experiences would be 4 time better now then they would have been 6 years ago? I certainly doubt it unless someone has worked a miracle in the mombo wilderness. My point is camps such as Mombo and singita have suddenly acquired celebrity status to command outrageous prices which several people are prepared to pay. I don't begrudge anyone who wants Mombo instead of its meagre cousins and rivals but they should be under no illusion that theirs would be the only ultimate safari experience.

One day I hope to visit Mombo to find out what it is all about (it might be 2000 dollars by then) but in the meantime I am happy visiting camps without the xyz-factors and celeb status.

I for one don't feel threatened or indeed jealous if someone chooses the most expensive camp in Africa.

king is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2004, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Hey King, I think your opinions are helpful and valuable...and I thought you and Kavey and I were basically saying the same thing: lots of good choices, figure out what you want and don't be swayed by any lists or others opionions of "best" places...unless those places also hit the sweet spot for you. I loved your cost per leopard analogy-- and I do think its one many of us agree.

I don't want to speak for Kavey, but I think she was trying to tell linjudy "don't be swayed or intimidated by anyone who tells you you are crazy not to go to Mombo, you'll have a great time whether you do or don't". It's something that many regulars here are really sensitive about...

tashak is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 06:41 AM
Posts: n/a
Many thanks for the gem, but with all due respect, must take a pass ... I'm basically self catering at home, so when I do go on vacation I like to change the situation and be served a bit.

Now, how about another 2-3 gems, ones where the prices are reasonable (in your view) but they provide full service.

Sep 3rd, 2004, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 15
Does anyone realize that blacktie, ty ur on, gameboy and travelsahead are the same person? That this person has now un registered his name? Will you pay any heed to his advice or opinions?
Think about it.
Suzanne_Valadon is offline  
Sep 5th, 2004, 09:51 AM
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Posts: 814
Clever work Suzanne!
tashak is offline  
Sep 6th, 2004, 12:21 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Mombo is a beautiful camp and based on so many great reports I would not discourage anyone from going, however, Clematis and I had much the same experience. Her poor guide was in training with my guide and he certainly should not have been guiding.

Wild dogs were what I had hoped to see most and I did lots of research to find the best places. At the time Mombo still claimed to be a special place for the dogs and that was the primary reason I paid the extra $ to book it. I look for rare, hard to find species for a living so I am very aware of the fact that animals can be in an area and yet go unfound -- however, I was very disappointed when I learned that the wild dogs had not been in the area in almost 2 years and the camp was still be marketed as a special place for them. I could have stayed at Chitabe for 4 nights instead of Mombo for 2 and had a chance to find them. Luckily we had a great sighting at Duma Tau.

I also found it to be the least personable and friendly camp on our trip and we even had the guide in training relieve himself right next to the vehicle in mixed company with no warning.

I'm glad to hear the viewing is great again and the service is good but it was a big disappointment when I was there and other guests said likewise. It seemed like it was being overhyped and marketed so they could fill the high end camp. They have since stopped claiming to have denning dogs and it seems like leopard sightings are great again. Just wanted to chime in and support that Clematis and I had almost identical experiences and it went well beyond having bad luck in finding wildlife.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Sep 6th, 2004, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 120
FAR OUT!!!!!
mzcuriouz is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Sorry, I have been on holiday for a week.
King, no I wasn't telling linjudy to ignore opinions of others in order to go with my recommendations - if you read my first few posts to the thread, you'll see I actually didn't give a strong recommendation that she either choose Mombo or not choose it.
What I was responding to (in the post you found condescending) was not actual recommendations either way on the Mombo issue.
I was attempting to suggest to Linjudy that she should not feel bad about whatever choice she made since it seemed to me that some people managed to state their own recommendations in a way that implied that those made by others were bogus.
I am absolutely in agreement with you that all are entitled to present their differing opinions on the original question according to their experiences and opinions.
I was also pointing out was simply that the experiences each of us have are so unique even about one place and that each opinion is valid even when they completely conflict.
But I personally didn't like the way that some of the opinions seem to be presented in such a way as to suggest that anyone disagreeing with them was being foolish.
I think an opinion that going to Mombo is worthwhile because the gaming is superb is valid.
I equally think that an opinion that other camps afford an absolutely superb experience at a lower cost is valid.
I dislike is implications by those who state the former that anyone who disagrees with them isn't serious about safari/ shouldn't go/ will have a poor experience and also implications by those who state the latter that those who disagree with them are just throwing away/ blowing their money for no reason.
And that's all I was saying - yes present all of the opinions but why feel the need to suggest that a choice that doesn't sync with opinions given is a bogus one.
I try as much as possible to present my own opinions as based on my experiences as only one option and certainly don't feel a need to pressure someone into doing something my way. I love that a whole range of opinions are presented and that the original poster can take from them what fits best with their own dreams, budget and preferences, whether it happens to be based on a post I made or a post someone else made makes no difference.
Kavey is offline  
Sep 11th, 2004, 07:26 PM
Posts: n/a
Wow! No matter where you sit on the price:value ratio at Mombo, it is certainly a place that elicits opinions.

Some may already know this, but if not - a new, large format, photographic book on Mombo is almost finished after nearly 2 years of work.

I've been peripherally involved in that quite a few of my images are in the book and it will be a lovely item for anyone who has visited this 'place of plenty.'

For a bit more on the book - go here:

We've ordered 100 advance copies and will have them soon if anyone is interested. Cheers
Sep 11th, 2004, 09:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
Jame, your photos are stunning, and your website is marvelous. An incredible resource for those planning or daydreaming about a Southern African safari.
tashak is offline  
Sep 14th, 2004, 01:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
I am back from my trip and happy to see that all the smart and sensible Fodorites - which I guess turns out to be everyone who posted here except for one person now - are not easily fooled. Suzanne, good detective work!
Clematis is offline  

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