National Park vs. Private Concession/differences?

May 8th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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National Park vs. Private Concession/differences?

I've had mention that there are differences between National Parks and Private Concessions on safaris/properties we are looking into? Could anyone elaborate on those differences? I am aware of no night drives and off road in National Park properties. Is one better than the other? Thanks.
Sunny49 is offline  
May 8th, 2011, 06:08 PM
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It's always best to be able to go off-road. Your ability to study the animals up close and likewise to photograph them is enhanced. To me at least, its fascinating just to observe how the drivers handle those safari vehicles in attempting to get you as close as possible, and I have memories of some exciting rides over off-road terrain that have added to the overall enjoyment of safaris.
sdb2 is offline  
May 8th, 2011, 07:35 PM
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Agree 110% with sdb2.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
May 9th, 2011, 12:49 AM
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The NPs are also much busier- I've been in the Savuti and Moremi areas and seen up to 15 or 16 vehicles jostling for space around one sighting. For example in Moremi there are several lodges in the central area plus self drivers plus mobile camping safaris. The vehicles radio each other so as soon as one of one company's vehicle sees something, you will have all of their vehicles there within minutes.

In a private concession the maximum number of vehicles will be the number of vehicles out from that lodge, and since most of them are pretty small, that will be 3 or 4 vehicles max.
stokeygirl is offline  
May 9th, 2011, 04:13 AM
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It's a little bit like asking if lobster is better than hamburger. Well, yes, it is, according to most people, but there still might be reasons to choose hamburger.

For those of us who have been to both environments, it's not difficult to tick off the differences, as has been done in this thread: off-roading, night drives, a sense of exclusivity, fewer vehicles in any given area. (However, stokeygirl isn't exactly correct when saying that max. vehicles equals the number of vehicles out from your lodge. Some private concessions in So Africa, and less frequently in Botswana, share traversing and/or general viewing rights with adjacent properties.) Another factor that hasn't been mentioned is the guiding (and often tracking) that is included with a stay at private concessions.

The problem for someone new to all this is in understanding what it all means, and how it will translate into enjoying your safari. The experts can tell you that lobster is better than hamburger, but you might be one of the people who prefer the taste of hamburger.

And then there's the question of value. Certainly you're likely to spend less in a NP facility compared to a private concession, and you might be able to afford a longer trip if you stay only in the less expensive places. On the other hand, you're much more likely to see, or at the very least get far better views, leopards and lions, for example, when staying at a private concession (because of the guiding/tracking and off-road options).

DonTopaz is online now  
May 9th, 2011, 10:28 PM
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As pretty much already said, in a NP the combination of no off-roading and no vehicle control can result in vehicle congestion (and aggravation). Especially for a popular animal such as a leopard. Here's a snap of such in the Serengeti NP, last Feb 2011 -

In private reserves even with the possibility of several game vehicles the guides/rangers follow agreed discipline about how many vehicles can be around the sighting. Typically three. And how long you can stay if others request in. This and other practices such as only one vehicle is moving at a time make for a very pleasant atmosphere with optimal viewing.

And no one has yet mentioned photography. If you're keen on it, you must go off-road for the best view and light of/on the subject.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
May 12th, 2011, 07:08 AM
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What has been mentioned above is true, but national parks have an obvious advantage for those who like to self-drive (and to a certain extent those who have a private vehicle with a driver/guide). If you have your own car (either with a driver or not), in almost all national parks you can find remote areas that are less crowded or even totally isolated. This means that you may be the only vehicle at a sighting and that you can stay there as long as you like, without having to move after 20 mins so that the next vehicle can come closer. You can find your own sightings which for many people adds a lot to the experience. Many private concessions can provide a private car and driver at an extra cost but I don't think there are any that allow self driving in their properties.

So as a general rule I would say that in private concessions you are guaranteed that at least several sightings will be from a close distance and without vehicle anarchy, but if you self-drive or have a private car and driver it's the national parks that can provide total isolation and complete management of your time.
micmic is offline  
May 12th, 2011, 07:30 AM
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In Northern Botswana, it's pretty simple for me:

However, anywhere along the Caprivi strip / Savuti channel and Selinda Spillway will be fabulous.
DRJO is offline  
May 12th, 2011, 10:03 PM
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The OP tagged Botswana. It's pretty difficult to self drive in most of Bots. If I have the option of private concession vs NP at close to the same price point, no question private. In S Africa, it's a different situation, with a lot more options at all prices.
christabir is offline  
May 12th, 2011, 10:36 PM
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I don't understand. Why do you think it is difficult to self drive in most of Botswana?
luangwablondes is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 05:18 AM
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I misspoke (misswrote?) - it's difficult to self drive the northern parts (the famous safari destinations) of Botswana. The delta isn't car-friendly, especially in high water times like now. And that's the area the OP is likely referring to.
christabir is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 08:58 AM
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Well...the majority of those upmarket camps and lodges are around the delta concessions where the self drive or anyone else does not have access. However, there are plenty of camps and lodges that the self drive can and do drive to or right by them.Very popular camps that the self drive book at.In Northern Botswana,camps north of the delta like Mapula or the Selinda/Linyanti camps can be accessed by driving. But they are so far off the beaten path, few ever do it.And there are accurate gps maps of those tracks, so navigation is not an issue. And with a sat phone, there is no need to fear being stranded in the remote bush.

I understand that later this year, a new lodge will be opening in one of the popular parks, and this lodge will be doing night time game drives as part of their activities.
luangwablondes is offline  
May 13th, 2011, 10:34 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks for all your input. It has been invaluable in helping make our decision.
Sunny49 is offline  
May 14th, 2011, 09:02 PM
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So much help also for other traveler's future plans!
tinydancer is offline  
May 16th, 2011, 08:11 PM
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Any first time visitor to Africa feel adventurous enough to drive to the Linyanti/Selinda area on their own??? Good luck ..........
HariS is offline  
May 17th, 2011, 12:16 AM
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A first timer? Questionable if there's no 4X4 experience and, depending on timing, either driving in the wet or in a sandpit. I am definitely interested in the opportunity tho', perhaps for 2012.
Is there a weblink for 4X4 excursions where a loose convoy or at least fellow drivers are able to stay in touch and assist each other in difficulties?
DRJO is offline  
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