OAT to Botswana????


Apr 1st, 2005, 07:44 PM
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OAT to Botswana????

I am looking at a 2 week trip to Botswana which seems good value, does anyone have any experience with this travel group.

They also go to Mudumu NP in Namibia and to Zimbawie to Hwange park. Are these wothwhile going to (as well at Chobe and ODelta in Botswana). Heh how often do you go to Botswana so opinions are appreciated!!!!!!!!!!
pezzhull is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 02:46 AM
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I came across some large groups booked through OAT while in Tanzania recently. The folks I talked to were quite happy with OAT. They use local ground suppliers in the country they visit and very high quality camps, etc.
I think many people use them more than one time so this is easier for them than trying to find local agents. When you get a recommendation here you don't always know if it is from someone who works for the company they recommend. Not all do and I don't believe the most frequent posters do, but definitely some do.
I don't think you would be sorry to book with OAT. Liz
Liz_Frazier is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Checked out the OAT site and think I found your trip. With airfare included, it is a very good value, which OAT is known for. When I looked at travel during the dry season, the total cost went up about $1300, but that is still a great deal. If you can travel at anytime, I’d go between late June and October, even with the higher cost.

Though I've never traveled with Overseas Adventure Travel myself, I know of many others who have and are very satisfied, doing repeat OAT trips. The only complaint I have ever heard about OAT was that 16 on safari (of course more than 1 vehicle) was a bit too much.

OAT and its sister company Grand Circle attract mostly senior travelers from what I understand. OAT is highly reputable and well established.

3 nights Chobe--good choice of park, not familiar with Baobab Lodge. We saw an abundance of game in 1997 including wonderful lions and herds of elephant. Ask if they do a sunset Chobe River cruise, a wildlife highlight of any Chobe stay.

3 nights Namibia--unfamiliar with Mudumu

3 nights Okavango at a Wilderness Camp--I'd ask what camp because the experience can be quite different at a water camp vs. primarily a land camp.
Wilderness camps are high quality camps.

3 nights Hwange at Linkwasha--excellent park and camp. I was there in July of 98 and was particulary impressed with the herds of elephant coming to the pans at sunset to drink. Great walks and night drives. Herds of rare and elusive sable.

2 nights Ilala at Victoria Falls--I've been there twice and it is a nice hotel within easy walking distance from the uncommercialized falls. 2 nights is a good amount of time to enjoy the area.

Nice overview and variety of Southern Africa. Spending 3 days in each of these high quality parks (don't know about Nambia's park) is the mark of a good itinerary. They don't just rush you through so you can say you've been there. You'll have 6 days in Botswana in two key eco-systems--Chobe and the Delta. Plus a great stay in Zimbabwe and you'll go to Namibia. Then wrap it up with a world wonder—Victoria Falls.

You could ask an agent that specializes in Africa to put together this same itinerary, and see how it compares and what suggestions they make.

Happy Travels! If you wanted to email me, it’s at the top.
atravelynn is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 05:53 AM
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OAT gives good value for money, and their Botswana itinerary is a good one. While I've never done an OAT trip, I have know a number of people who have and have been extremely pleased and have done repeat business with OAT. Also, though 16 is max number of people for their itineraries, when it comes to their African itineraries, it's rare they have that many traveling. As to the age group, OAT usually have travelers between 45-70 and those who are relatively active; Grand Circle gets more participants at the higher end of the age bracket.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 08:56 AM
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OAT uses Landela Safarias in the Delta. They are an excellent, well run company with professional staff. Their camps are quite nice. Muduma is in the Caprivi strip on the Linyati I believe. I usually go to Mamili. But large ellie populations is one of the things that area is known for. Be aware in Hwange there have been considerable reports of poaching.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 10:33 AM
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while at makololo plains in zimbabwe just a few months ago (jan), we came across a group from OAT. they stay at the other wilderness safari's camp Linkwasha. it is a great place to visit. very few people are in that area. the last comment about look out for poachers is not true. the area linkwasha is located in is a private concession in Hwange and poachers would have a very hard time not standing out bc only wilderness safari people are allowed in there. the camp is near probably the best area in hwange park (Ngamo pan) and wild dogs are often seen in this area. i would not hesitate to recommend visiting zim using OAT. sounds like a great value.
bigcountry is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Check on your flight arrangements before you leave. My family of five went to Nepal with OAT. They forgot to make one reservation on the plane from Bangkok to Kathmandu - two days before Christmas. Their reply "Your daughter will have to stay in Bangkok by herself over Christmas". On my own I found a seat via Bangledesh and insisted on OAT buying that ticket.
Otherwise with local agents, the trip was excellent.
twoaussies is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 02:16 PM
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Big Country
The problem is these poachers have a license to kill for meat. It has just been camoflaged and extended into things like tusks. There are no fences in the between the park and concessions so it will sadly effect them. They probably will not hear the gun shots as in the park.
luangwablondes is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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I just returned from the very trip you are talking about with OAT. They did a very good job and all the camps we stayed at were Wilderness Safari camps. We were the only people at each camp--there are only 8-10 chalets/tents at each place. The Namibia camp was Lianshulu--a beautiful camp and location--right on the river. In fact we had to take a boat from the airstrip to get there. A number of river cruises among the hippos while we were there. Baobab was a nice camp with a great staff--all local natives. We loved them and they treated us so well and were so friendly. The Okavanga Delta camp, Wilderness Tented Camp (just built and opened in May 2005) was also staffed by local natives. We had the same experience there--open, friendly, great service. The others were run by white S. Africans No complaints there either and the Linkwasha camp in Zimbabwe was beautiful. You couldn't believe it was a tent you were staying in and the cape buffalo and elephants were at the watering hole by the camp (literally right beside it) most days and nights. Went to bed hearing the elephants splashing in the water and fighting with each other--it was great! The only real complaints were that it was so dry we couldn't do the dugout canoe ride in Okavange and, because they use British Airways, we went from US to London and then to Jo'burg. Made the trip too long. South Africa Airways goes direct from the US to Jo'burg, cutting a lot of time and aggravation.
retiredatlast is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Hi Retired! Glad to hear you enjoyed the trip with OAT. How many people were on your tour? Did you feel like you got enough time to see things on your game drives? Did people seem in agreement on how long to stay at a particular sighting? I know this varies with different people, but I'd love to hear more about your experiences with OAT. Thanks!
cooncat2 is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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I just returned from Makalolo Plains and met up with 2 OAT groups while I was there. (one just leaving, one coming in) Both groups spoke very highly of their trip and OAT.
beept is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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Out of curiosity, did the OAT groups have as many senior citizens as some people have reported?

jasher is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 01:02 PM
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I think the minimum age is 55, but you could call OAT and ask. In my experience, the people tend to be in their sixties and seventies. Since the OAT tours are "adventure"-oriented (Overseas " Adventure" Travel), the trips appeal to rather vigorous seniors. The largest group is 16 people, unlike the parent organization (Grand Circle Travel) which will accommodate up to 49 or so.
evelyntrav is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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I don't believe there is a minimum age at OAT, but I have been wrong before...

cooncat2 is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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I was told the minimum age was 50. In both groups I saw the majority of the folks looked as if they were in their 60's. The groups were small, 1 had 10 people, the other 12.
beept is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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I have been on 3 OAT trips and ages ranged from 15-84.
The first trip my daughter was the youngest at 21. The 2nd trip there were 3 teens in our group of 14. And I'd say there were 4 in their early to mid-20's in our latest group of 16.
kp is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 03:02 PM
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I got really curious about the age discussion, so I called OAT. The minimum age is 10 for OAT and 13 for GCT. The agent said they get alot of youngsters traveling with their grandparents.

evelyntrav is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 05:03 PM
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There were 15 in our group. We ranged from 13 to 80. OAT advertises 45 and up. The 80-year-old was a grandfather who brought his son/daughter-in-law and his daugher/son-in-law and their 3 teenaged daughters--13, 16, and 17. They intended to be the whole group, but one son's family didn't go. The rest of us were 50s-70s. We had no problems about what people were interested in seeing. The family of 9 went in one vehicle and the other 6 of us went in another. We generally had plenty of time on our game drives. One lodge had lap robes in the LandRovers for our morning drives and provided beanbags for camera stability, although we found the seat backs too low to use them. Food was excellent. Great homemade bread at each camp.
We had a tour of one kitchen and one of our group said he had visited every kitchen and they were all the same--modern deep freezes, stoves, etc. The kitchen we toured had a large walk-in cooler. Reassuring to see such nice kitchens.
Baobab Lodge had electricity backed up with a generator. The rest had generators with batteries for backup.
If you have any other questions fire away. Let's hope I remember to get back on to see it!
retiredatlast is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 05:24 PM
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Thanks for the OAT report. Did you feel that you saw a wide variety of animals including lions and any leopards?
Did you or any of the others in your group take the pre or post extensions? If so, how were they?
Thanks for your information.
tigerpaw is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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Yes, thanks for the update!
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