Namibia/Botswana or Kenya/Tanzania?

Jun 8th, 2004, 09:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 343
Namibia/Botswana or Kenya/Tanzania?

I'm a single female, aged 46, and hoping to travel to Africa next year. I've combed through the travel literature and have narrowed my choices to either a tour of Namibia and Botswana OR a tour of Kenya and Tanzania. Problem is, I can't decide which.

I've never been to Africa and would be glad of your comments and advice. Ultimately I hope to be able to visit all four countries, but I'm wondering which would be better to start with: Namibia/Botswana or Kenya/Tanzania. My interests are landscapes, townscapes, people-watching (including the other people on the tour...) I'm not much of a photographer but am a non-fiction writer and prefer to record my impressions in writing (so photo opps aren't really important to me).

I'm rather a shy and reserved person and feel a little anxious about doing all this on my own, hence my decision to go with an organized tour.

Also: what are the better times of year to visit the countries I've mentioned?

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Vorkuta is offline  
Jul 16th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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we have much in common.. im 56 solo female traveler who is shy but adventuresome. I traveled to Tanzania/Kenya in Feb 01 .. good time to go.. saw baby wildebeast moments after birth.. weather very nice great trip with
small group all women..
This october I will travel with Overseas Adventure tours to botswana and namibia ..I just had to return to Africa despite pocketbook concerns..
Don't know which better first..
Not much townscape in Tanzania but we did visit local tribes in villages or less than ---Hazda. Maasi..tatog.. greaaaat vistas and landscapes.. serengetti /ngorongoro not to be missed..your mind/memory photos better than camera ones..cheryl
cherabuns is offline  
Jul 16th, 2004, 06:54 PM
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Hello Cherubuns....I am now a 50 year old solo traveler and your post caught my eye. In 2001 I went on the OAT Ultimate Africa trip to Botswana and Zimbabwe and had the time of my life. I am now planning a trip for 2005 and keep looking at the OAT trip you'll be going on this Fall. Would love to hear about it when you return. I'm considering a few other trips, but OAT's seems to be the most reasonably priced.
phernska is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 10:23 AM
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I think you'll love either place. And travelling to africa alone is a real indulgence! I love it.

People watching: nothing as colorful as the Maasai or Samburu in Southern Africa.

Landscapes: beautiful options everywhere, but I've been told that the Kenyan landscapes are without peer.

Cities/towns are pretty boring in Botswana and Namibia...Nairobi is not attractive (and possibly dangerous) but the coastal parts of Kenya and Tanzania are said to have the most beautiful/colorful towns. (As you can tell, I haven't been to the area...I'm in love with Southern Africa. But given your stated interests, I'd think that you are looking more for the East African experience for a first trip...)

tashak is offline  
Jul 18th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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Having been to three of the countries (excluding Namibia) I think for what you are looking for that Kenya/Tanzania would fit best for you. From what I have experienced you will see more of the local culture. Although both are great for wildlife, you will probably see more variety and numbers in Kenya/Tanzania. I went the end of January beginning of February in a small group with Maupintour. I have to tell you though that I fell in love with Botswana which was my second trip to Africa. Be prepared for the variety of birds - they are fantastic no matter where you go.
Louise is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 08:25 AM
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tashak -

>>People watching: nothing as colorful as the Maasai or Samburu in Southern Africa<<

got so excited you moved the Masai and Samburu from East Africa to another part of the Continent!!!

Otherwise, for someone who has never been, you've done an outstanding job describing East Africa. While I've been to both East and Southern Africa (though still a few more contries yet to discover) - my heart is in East Africa and the amazing wide open savannahs, mountains, peoples, and animals as far as the eye can see.

My choice would be to visit East Africa.
Jul 19th, 2004, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I read that differently...
I read it to mean that

There is nothing as colorful as the (East African) Maasai or Samburu in Southern Africa.

I.e. Southern Africa does not have anything as colourful as...


Language is SO ambiguous isn't it?!

People do visit the Himba in Namibia and the Zulu cultural villages in South Africa but the first are not as accessible as East Africa's Masaai and the second strike me as utterly commercialised experiences.
Kavey is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 10:01 AM
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Ooops....thanks for correcting my typos!!! Didn't mean to move the Masai and Samburu across the continent from their homes in East Africa.

I hope to get to East Africa soon.
tashak is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 11:07 AM
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I think because I knew what you were trying to say I read it differently! LOL

PS Forgot to add my own thoughts which basically echo those of other posters. I love southern Africa. I think Botswana offers outstanding safari experiences and Namibia is a stunning location. Wildlife yes, people yes (though harder to visit than the Masaai) but most of all, just a landscape which, to me, is alien, beautiful and breathtaking.
But in terms of "typical" Africa, if there can even be said to be such a thing, East Africa tends to deliver more of what people associate with Africa - wide open grassy plains dotted with umbrella thorns, Masaai people tall, proud, colourfully dressed and very open, a variety of accommodation options in the traditional style...
It's probably also more geared up to a single traveller although I am guessing - I know WS charge huge great single supplements in Southern Africa, as do other operators, of course maybe it's same in East Africa?
Kavey is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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OK Africa Board Regulars!
Roccco hasn't responded yet! Let's draw straws to see who will add the obligatory, "Forget those places and book your trip to Zambia" post in his honor...

Just kidding...sorry Vorkuta, this is a little inside joke.
tashak is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 02:43 PM
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tashak - very cute!

Kavey - yes, English is ambiguous; your interpretation is just as good. But my first thought was "when did they relocate? Anyone of us could make an error like this when our enthusiasm for Africa gets aways from us. And have to agree about the Himba - not easy to get to!

Vorkuta - you might want to consider OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) they do small group tours, maximum 16 people, ages from 45 - 80, excellent prices (including Intl air) for very good itineraries. They won't charge a single supplement if you're willing to share, and if "they" don't get someone to share with you, no single supplement. For their adventure travel trips, age ranges from mid-50s to maybe 70, but these are "travelers" - many women whose husbands don't like to travel, use OAT regularly. They do have a Kenya only or Kenya/Tanzania itinerary every year. Check their website which is either: or or do a search for exact web address.

OAT also has a Namibia/Botswana trip, but don't believe it's the itinerary you might be thinking about. Check them out.
Jul 20th, 2004, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
I just got back yesterday from nearly 3 weeks in Tanzania. Haven't been to Botswana or Namibia, but from all I've read they sound like fantastic destinations. I must say, however, we (a female friend and I, early 30s) had an absolutely amazing time in Tanzania. We loved everything: the scenery, the animals, and most of all the incredible people (got invited quite a few times to places described as "real African" pubs. And indeed, we were stared at almost relentlessly as we were definitely the only wazungu in these bars...and practically the only women! Very safe and had so much fun.) As there were two of us we didn't take an organized tour, and our budget was pretty tight so we stayed at lower-end lodges and did budget camping, but we were always extremely comfortable, had no bad food experiences, never felt unsafe (except when that cheetah was on the Land Rover...), etc.

If I had to go alone next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I would do it, no hesitation. Maybe not even on our tour. In any case, go, go, go, to whichever countries and whichever way you prefer. You will absolutely love it.
Leely is offline  
Jul 20th, 2004, 02:37 PM
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Thanks very much for the enthusiastic and helpful answers. I'm on my way now to check out the OAT website.
Vorkuta is offline  

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