Please comment on this Botswana itinerary

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Apr 12th, 2004, 12:46 AM
  #1
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Please comment on this Botswana itinerary

6/17/05 - Redeye flight from Los Angeles to Johannesburg

6/18/05 - En Route.

6/19/05 - Arrive Johannesburg early morning. Transfer to "A Room With A View" or similar type B&B for one night recuperation. While I likely could arrive by 8AM and go straight through to Botswana, I would likely be a zombie, and not enjoy my first night or two.

6/20/05 - Johannesburg - Maun. Transfer to Kwando Lagoon, 3 nights.

6/21/05 - Kwando Lagoon.

6/22/05 - Kwando Lagoon.

6/23/05 - Transfer to Kwando Kwara, 3 nights.

6/24/05 - Kwando Kwara.

6/25/05 - Kwando Kwara.

6/26/05 - Transfer to Savuti, 3 nights.

6/27/05 - Savuti.

6/28/05 - Savuti.

6/29/05 - Transfer to Chief's Camp, 3 nights.

6/30/05 - Chief's Camp.

7/01/05 - Chief's Camp.

7/02/05 - Transfer to Johannesburg. Johannesburg - Los Angeles.

7/03/05 - Arrive Los Angeles, in time for 4th of July and rare opportunity for Monday (July 04th) off from work to recover.

While my frequent flier miles will get me all the way to Johannesburg, unfortunately, I don't think that South African Air will give me a free transfer to Maun, adding possibly $375 per person to the cost of the trip.

I do estimate that the above would cost about the following:

Flights from LAX - JNB = $300 (taxes) + 240,000 ff miles for Business Class Air

A Room With A View, Joburg = $250 (includes airport transfers)

Flights from JNB - Maun = $750

Kwando Lagoon = $2,000

Kwando Kwara = $2,000

Savuti = $2,500

Chief's Camp = $2,800 (possibly one night at high season pricing, but I am hoping that a competent agent will get that waived).

Intercamp Air Transfers = $1,400

Grand Total = $12,000 + gratuities

I am optimistic about my finances for next year, and believe that even after a January trip to India & Dubai, that the above is a strong possibility. With all the talk about Chief's Camp, I don't think I would want to do Botswana without it, and I do think that the other three camps are crucial to my Botswana safari experience, as well.

I am intentionally saving Chief's Camp for last, and hope that by waiting until the very end of June that the game viewing is excellent.

My main concern is the cold weather for the night game drives. Californians aren't built for anything below about 50 degrees, farenheit. In going through Mark Nolting's book, it shows that the average low temperature may be about 43 degrees, farenheit, at least in Maun. I am very pleased to see that the lows for my upcoming June trip to Zambia should not put me in temperatures below about 57 degrees, farenheit.

Anything I can do to improve this trip? I do think that three nights per lodge is the right amount, and I really will not have more than 13 nights for this trip (as I am planning Italy & Dubai for January, 2005).

For whatever its worth, www.vacationtechnician.com, has not gotten back to me after about five days, while www.natural-events has been extremely helpful and extremely responsive in returning my e-mails. I guess that is the difference between dealing with a local (Southern African) tour operator (Natural Events) and a tour operator in the United States that is just subbing it out.

Any suggestions on this itinerary, whether it is the order of it, the choice of camps, the proposed dates, etc., will be appreciated. Once I pay for Zambia, I will pay for this deposit before I even give one for India. India doesn't sell out nearly as fast as Botswana!

Thanks.
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Apr 12th, 2004, 05:08 AM
  #2
LizFrazier
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Rocco-
Comments? Sure!
Move it up to March and you will save money, the airplanes and camps won't be so crowded, and it will be warmer by a bunch.
The itinerary is wonderful. If you put Chief's Camp last you won't impact on the wonderful "SAFARI" experience you will have at the other camps. The length isn't overlong and I think you'll then be able to honestly judge Botswana for future visits. You've hit the best areas and I will be anxious to see how this all turns out. Liz
 
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Apr 12th, 2004, 11:29 AM
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Looks great Rocco!
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Apr 12th, 2004, 11:46 AM
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Just thought of another way to improve it:

5/24 Depart LAX

5/25 En Route

5/26-5/27 Kwando Songwe Village (2) (Vic Falls, Zam). Celebrate 5th anniversary.

5/28-5/30 Kwando Lagoon (3)

5/31-6/02 Kwando Kwara (3)

6/03-6/05 Savuti (3)

6/06-6/08 Chief's Camp (3)

This itinerary would allow a pretty memorable 5th anniversary and allow me to take advantage of the Memorial Day holiday, allowing for 14 nights in Botswana (and Zambia), and three days worth of travelling, while only missing two full weeks away from work.

I'm thinking about moving India up to a December 30th (2004) departure, to also take advantage of the New Years Holiday.

I really just need to find the dates when the weather is going to work out well for me. Don't want it too warm during the day nor too cold during the night. So, if I have to shiver a little bit, I am willing to go late May/early June in order to spend 5th anniversary in Victoria Falls.

However, if I can get low season pricing all the way until, say, mid-April, I may just move it up further. However, I do think that the low season pricing ends on March 31st and that is just a little too early and will still be very warm during the days, possibly with a few days of rain. This really is tricky and I just want to find a happy medium between sunstroke and frostbite!
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Apr 13th, 2004, 06:50 AM
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Roccco,

I'm looking at a lot of the same camps as you, so if all goes well, I should be able to give you a report on a bunch of them by this summer!

Also, I'm curious about you're having added Songwe Village. I've been considering it too, and it sounds great, though I'm curious if you or anyone else has compared it to the Tongabezi, for instance. They both seem to offer great accomdation and a whole range of activites, so I've been thinking of them as somewhat interchangeable, but if you or someone else has an opinion, let me know!

Thanks.
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Apr 13th, 2004, 08:38 AM
  #6
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Chooch,

Because I am already staying at two other Kwando properties during my stay, I, personally, would choose Kwando's Songwe Village. This will help me not only achieve better pricing at Songwe Village but also at Kwando Kwara and Kwando Lagoon. That is how Kwando, and I am sure other operators, operate.

For example, I believe that I would have to pay about 5% more if I only stayed at one Kwando property, but by staying at two, I will get a 5% discount on each. So, possibly by staying at three of their properties I can get close to a 10% discount on all three properties.

I figured, in adding Songwe Village, that I would enjoy spending two nights in Victoria Falls more than one night in Johannesburg, and late May may be an excellent time weather-wise (at least better than late June), as well as offering shoulder season pricing.

I have not yet been to the Zam side of Victoria Falls, and I would love to do something adventurous this time like white water rafting or maybe even bungee jumping, although that would be a shame if I went SPLAT before even getting to Botswana!
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