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cherbear May 24th, 2007 09:28 PM

planning trip
My husband and I, along with another couple, want to plan a safari to Africa. We don't even know which country to look at to see the most animals. Other friends we know have gone to So.Africa with a company called C C Africa.

So you fellow Fodorites, what is your favorite country? And do you have a favorite touring company?

Since this is unknown territory I guess I am reluctant to take off on self-drive. However, we have driven over most of Costa Rica in the past year so maybe we should be adventurous!
I don't want to be wandering around wasting time and missing animals. I need someone to take us by the hand for good sitings. The more I read about the different countries the more I want to see them all. However, this may be our one and only chance for Africa.
Please help me get started.

atravelynn May 25th, 2007 10:13 AM

"See the most animals"

If that is the goal, then the Sabi Sands private reserves of South Africa would certainly fit the bill. You can see "the big 5" in the shortest amount of time there. One of the legendary spots is Mala Mala (not a CCAfrica camp). I am making my first trip there in a few weeks. You could easily combine several CCAfrica properties (and non CCAFrica properties) in South Africa for a fantastic trip.

Here is the CCAFrica site You can book directly with them or use an agent. On my most recent trip I used an agent for Phinda, a CCAfrica property, because the cost was the same and the agent did other aspects of the trip.

If you wish to see the most animals as in thousands (or even many more) migrating wildebeest and zebra, then Kenya and/or Tanzania would be a good choice.

You could combine South Africa with time in Botswana. Botswana is more expensive but gives you a wonderful wilderness experience with excellent game. Or South Africa and Zambia where you could be more active.

Self drives are common in Namibia and South Africa in Kruger, the neighboring public reserve next to Sabi Sands. I have no experience with self drive trips.

To narrow your choices, here are some questions for you:

When would you like to go?

About how long, which is often tied with budget. Any parameters here?

What kinds of accommodations are you interested in? Top of the line? Luxury tented camps? Lodging with 4 solid walls? Mobile camping? A mix?

Are you interested in game viewing from the vehicle or do you want to do walks or canoeing?

I have no favorite Africa country. As for favorite company, once you know where you are going, then you can pick a company that specializes in that region.

Some companies do all of Africa. A few of those that have been used successfully by Fodorites include

Africa Adventure in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
ATR Africa Travel Resource in UK
Go2Africa in South Africa

Please post with additional questions and as you hone your itinerary.

cherbear May 25th, 2007 04:17 PM

Thank you for your response. We were looking at December but now the year is half over so we may have to push to February or later

Yes, I have thought about Botswana and Zambia after more research. Time and money still open. The more you find out, the more you want to include. I am thinking why get so close and miss Victoria Falls, you travelers know what I mean. My husbands job is 28 on and 28 off so we have to work within his schedule. He actually works in Chad and our friends live in Nigeria. Decided we need to do the safari before their jobs end.

We want the accomodations to be nice but do not necessarily need to be luxurious. I do confess a desire to use a hair dryer now and then. Other lady probably wants 4 solid walls but I wouldn't mind a few tented nights.

I would like a day walking trip in there but the other lady would not be interested. I expect she will want to be driven or will probably be up to canoeing which I would love.

I will look at the agencies you mentioned and keep researching. Thank you for your information. Look forward to hearing about Mala Mala.

hills27 May 25th, 2007 06:57 PM

A good place to start would be Fodor's African Safari book. It's a quick read and will help you narrow down what appeals to you.

HariS May 25th, 2007 07:31 PM

Didnt know they have a safari book...just released?

hills27 May 25th, 2007 07:45 PM

Nope, 2004. It's a very slim volume. It's the first thing I read when planning and really helped me narrow the choices down before I came here and elsewhere.

atravelynn May 25th, 2007 07:54 PM

Fish Eagle Safaris has a section with Q&A on East vs. Southern Africa. They do all of Africa too.

I think you could use a converter to get a hair dryer working in many accommodations that are not mobile camping.

This site shows the best parks in various months. You can zero in on Dec. or Feb.

Six months out really is getting tight for Africa planning, though that seems improbable. It is good you have some flexibility in choosing Dec. or Feb. February is ideal for the migration in Tanzania and because of that it books even faster. If you chose Tanzania or Kenya, a private safari for just the four of you would be a good choice. Your own vehicle and guide is quite affordable when you have four.

If you could get the other woman to consider permanent luxury tented camps, which are really nice, that would open up your options. This is not pup tent camping. These tents are usually on raised wooden platforms with connected bathrooms with full plumbing. There is lovely furniture inside and big comfortable beds.

Canoeing--The Lower Zambezi is ideal, but not in Dec.-Feb.

However you could do a mekoro (long narrow boat poled by a skilled poler) or a small motor boat safari in much of the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

Many camps offer a walking option for a morning or afternoon outing. It would not be hard for you to do a walk and the other woman do a drive and the guys split up however they want.

cherbear May 29th, 2007 09:37 PM

Thank you so much for your info. I have gone back to reading the Fodor's book again and am starting to narrow down some more preferences. I will be back with more specific questions later. Has anyone had any direct dealings with Fish Eagle Safaris and would you recommend them?
Thank you so much

Dana_M May 29th, 2007 09:46 PM

Bert Duplessis with Fish Eagle booked my Namibia/Botswana trip for late June/early July this year. Bert has been excellent to work with. While I obviously haven't taken the trip yet, I am sure it will be as promised. I started planning late and Bert got me into some great camps. I changed my itinerary many times (because I kept adding days), and amazingly he was able to add days to my itinerary at excellent camps.

You can view my itinerary on the "countdown to when you leave" post. You will see that I did not even finalize this until about 6 weeks before my departure date, and I still got some great accomodations.

Bert was responsive to my every inquiry/need/request. He is very timely with response to questions, both via telephone and via e-mail. I chose him from recommendations on this site, and because the majority of my trip is to Botswana, and he does alot of business with Wilderness Safaris.

I would highly recommend Fish Eagle Safaris.

cherbear Jun 13th, 2007 05:42 AM

Thank you Dana M
I look forward to reading about your trip when you return.

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