Please recommend your (budget) agent for Botswana

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Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:30 PM
  #1
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Please recommend your (budget) agent for Botswana

Help! I keep calling places and they are unwilling to spend time assisting me with packages or tours in my budget. I actually called one of Gametrails "preferred" agents in the US and she told me that they don't book Gametrails and Wilderness was out of my budget (which seems odd given I saw a tour online in my budget - just not one of the lux ones). The other agent I have called are steering me towards more expensive lodges- in fact I was told I couldn't go to Africa for less than $700 pppn. Ummm . . . wrong.

Can you recommend an agent to work with who can help with Wilderness, Gametrails, and other budget options. Thanks!
Punkyl44 is offline  
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 01:50 AM
  #2
 
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Hi Punky,

Sorry to hear that you're having a hard time finding an agent who will work with you. It's certainly easier for agents to book expensive itineraries, but there are definitely options for lower cost trips to Botswana! You might want to try a smaller company who might be more willing to work with your budget.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 03:09 AM
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Hi Punky,
Contact Creative Safaris-they are based in Illinois. [email protected] safaris.com.She is working on a trip for me and a friend this Aug. Because of personal family priorities I don't have the time or energy to deal with all the arrangements myself, and since my friend has worked with her before she is more comfortable working with her again. She has been very open to our needs of budget but comfortable travel. If I may "plug" two people on this forum, Rocco Morelli and Julian Asher have formed Destiny Africa and they have both been very helpful. Rocco is currently in Tanzania, but Julian can be reached at [email protected].

Good luck!
Lily
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 04:51 AM
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Hi Punky,
Here is the contact information on one of Wilderness Safaris' US agents. Susan is from South Africa. I only had brief contact with her because, as I mentioned, I was already working with go2Africa, but she sounded very nice.

AFRICAN PORTFOLIO
146 Sound Beach Avenue
Old Greenwich, CT 06870
Tel: 800.700.3677 or 203.637.2977
Fax: 203.637.6813
[email protected] www.OnSafari.com

Good luck.

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Mar 3rd, 2006, 07:21 AM
  #5
safariguy
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We used Bert Duplessis, a native South African now living in Houston. He is very knowledgeable and patient, and will help you fugure out what fits your desires instead of trying to tell you what fits your desires. He primarily uses Wilderness Safaris as his local outfitter. Keep in mind that private safaris will be more expensive than the prepackaged group ones.
We stayed at 4 Wilderness camps, plus Mashatu Tented Camp in the eastern corner of Botswana. Mashatu was more rustic but still very comfortable and much less expensive, but as I understand it scheduled air access there is now limited (it is remote from most of the other safari areas). One thing about the Okavango Delta in Botswana is that you really have to fly in to most places, at least during the annual flood. Bert's company is Fish Eagle Safaris, @ www.fisheaglesafaris.com. Good luck.
 
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 11:35 AM
  #6
 
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We haven't booked yet, but we have been e-mailing back and forth with Bert regarding our proposed Kwando itinerary, and he has been wonderfully responsive and helpful.
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:35 PM
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Bert has been very nice when I've talked with him.

*****Safariguy*****
Please tell me more about your Mashatu stay or provide a link to your report or email me personally. Thank you!
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 03:23 PM
  #8
safariguy
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****atravelynn***
I am new to this board, and so I never posted a report on our trip in March of 2004.
My wife and I started our safari at Mashatu Tent Camp in March of '04. At that time there was twice weekly scheduled air to Limpopo Valley Airport from Johannesburg, and twice weekly ongoing flights to Kasane, so it was very convenient to get to Mashatu and then northward to the Linyanti area and onward to Victoria Falls and/or the Okavango Delta. Mashatu picked you up at Limpopo airport and took you back there for your ongoing flight. Some of the other people at Mashatu flew in with us, some flew (I'm not sure where they landed) in their private plane, and others drove in.
Your convenient choices if utilizing the aforementioned flights were either 3 or 4 nights at Mashatu (again, only in and out twice weekly). This was our first stop on our safari, and I had planned for it to be the most "rustic," and the camps went ever upwards (luxury-wise) from there to our 6th and last stop at Little Mombo. For the overall experience (but remember, it was our first one,so we were easily impressed(, we liked Mashatu Tent Camp as much as anywhere else. The much more upscale Mashatu Main Camp, where we went one day to see and visit the gift shop) might as well as been a luxury chain facility anywhere else -- brick buildings, landscaped ground, all enclosed within a high wall -- not at all what I had in mind for our Africa experience. The Tent Camp (they have a quite good website, www.mashatu.com) was just right for starting out -- a nice, clean but not fancy (at least compared to the Wilderness Safari camps) tent, private outside shower and toilet in an adjacent reed enclosed area, battery operated lanterns, screened front and back entrances, and a small cement porch looking into thick brush (no view). Each of the 7 tents is fairly private, located down dirt paths leading out from the lounge/dining/bar area. The staff (as they were everywhere else, frankly) were very nice, very knowledgeable, and very helpful. Our guide Richard, along with his ever-present tracker Morgan, were excellent game-finders and very courteous. Game drives were in comfortable open vehicles (no more than 6 passengers). You can do night drives, go off-road, and do bicycle rides with a guide. The terrain and game are quite diverse (we saw almost all of the local game, including a few leopards and lions). Dinner was in a nearby (although your guide walked you there with a rifle) boma looking over a ravine in the moonlight, other meals were in the dining area under thatch, all buffet style. The food was fine, nothing exceptional. There is a small pool, and a hide over a waterhole. Essentially, it is just what I expected, or hoped for, from a bush experience.
And now for the bonus -- check out the prices, even this year, on the website -- $160-180 pppn. Try finding that at any other full service camp. However, you do have go buy your own drinks, so add another $10/night (exception -- sundowners overlooking a majestic view are included).
That's probably more than you wanted to know. atravelynn, I will e-mail you my "diary in verse" of our stay at Mashatu. If you can get there conveniently, I highly recommend it.
 
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Mar 3rd, 2006, 08:45 PM
  #9
santharamhari
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Julian,

Good to know that you are collaborating with Rocco.......

Rocco is great......awesome service....all emails to him are usually answered asap, with all possible information.....pros and cons and great analysis of everything.....although, i have not booked anything with him yet.......i hope to in the future, when i plan a trip to Zambia.......
 
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