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Predator Biologist & others, where else besides Mapula in December has good value & great game viewing?

Predator Biologist & others, where else besides Mapula in December has good value & great game viewing?

Old Jan 20th, 2008, 03:19 PM
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Predator Biologist & others, where else besides Mapula in December has good value & great game viewing?

OK, change of plans (this is the third time I'm posting because we keep changing our minds!). DH & I are going to Kgalagadi for about a week or so in early December. Then we were looking at possibly going to Mashatu -- but after reading about Mapula, we've now decided we HAVE to go there instead. So now we are looking for another camp to combine with Mapula. Last year we went to Little Kwara, Lagoon, and Lebala -- which we loved -- so we don't want to go to those camps again but would like someplace similar in terms of the quality of the guiding and opportunity for great sightings. Cost is a consideration -- we are looking for "green season/secret season" rates, and are willing to stay more than 3 nights at each camp (possibly 4-5) if we can get a better value that way. I was thinking maybe Xakanaxa? Or should we be thinking about someplace in Chobe? How would that be in early-mid December? Other suggestions? (I don't think we are interested in going to Deception Valley or Makgadikgadi after Kgalagadi, and I don't think we are interested in the Caprivi Strip or Vic Falls this time either -- we are more interested in great game viewing.) Ultra luxury is absolutely not required! We enjoy photographing everything from tiny frogs & insects on up the food chain -- not just the big five. Also, we love the opportunity to walks and night drives when possible but I think Delta Camp is out since they don't seem to do any drives at all and we do enjoy those.

DH has a real itch to go to Duba Plains but I don't think that's in the cards. We would really like to keep it closer to $275 pppn if at all possible.

Predator Biologist & anyone else who has been to Mapula -- If we have 7-10 nights for Bots this time, how many of those might Mapula merit?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 20th, 2008, 11:20 PM
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Hi Lisa, looks like a great trip shaping up! I think 4 to 5 nights is perfect for Mapula.

Taking Kwando camps and the desert locations out of the equation (with Kgalagadi that makes sense) of course makes it difficult for the combination of great game viewing and low prices since so few camps can make the price cutoff.

Two choices in the Moremi/Delta environment would be Xakanaxa (as you already said) and Sankuyo Plains. I have seen good viewing reports from Xakanaxa, it's pretty close with a few other camps but its in a good area with a good price. Sankuyo Plains will just be opening in October but it is taking the place of Santawani Camp so even though the camp is new the animals are already habituated and the staff will also know the area well. It's an area where wild dog and lion research has been based so its a rich concession and it will be marketed by the same group as Mapula (Footsteps in Africa). I'm excited to try that camp out and see that area so I'd prefer it over Xakanaxa but there is some risk I suppose going to a camp that will have been opened for such a short time so Xakanaxa is certainly a more established/safe choice.

I think the other great option would be to visit the Savuti Marsh area of Chobe N.P. December will usually be an incredible time to be in that area as large numbers of zebra will migrate into the area and its the time they should be giving birth which is a big draw for all the predator species. I do not believe there is a lodge in your desired range there but Savute Safari Lodge has a rack rate of $377 pppn so its at least in sight. I would guess you could find a good mobile for around your budget to camp near the marsh as well if you like the sound of it but not the price. That's an option I would strongly consider but I don't have any knowledge to point you to the best operator/guide for such a trip.

I think the Savuti Marsh area is the best place to be for the time of year to match the wildlife rythyms but of course in the park means no walks or night drives -- you can do both at Mapula though.

Ideally if you could do 10 nights maybe you could swing 4 at Mapula, 3 at Sankuyo Plains or Xakanaxa, and 3 in the Savuti Marsh area.

Perhaps someone else will come up with some ideas that I'm missing too.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 06:39 AM
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Wow, thanks for responding so quickly and for all the great suggestions! We will look at Sankuyo Plains & at the Savuti Marsh area, in addition to Xakanaxa
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 06:58 AM
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For that time of the year, you could possibly go into the Kalahari/Nxai pan etc etc., on a mobile trip. But, i don't know if December is a bit early for that area or if you need to wait another month or two. I haven't been there as yet - but, i certainly will ....
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 07:13 AM
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Lisa: Pleasure for me to kick in some ideas. Kgalagadi should be great at that time of year and combining it with a stay in Botswana should make for a brilliant trip!
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:24 AM
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Lisa

I am in the process of planning a trip for 2008. Its going to be 4n at Mapula, 4n at Linyanti Bush camp (borders Chobe NP and in the area bordering th Linyanti/Kwando/Chobe river systems) and 7n KTP. November is already a bit of touch and go and the big herds might have moved away. December is a riskier proposition!! However, I am told that the predator populations will still be in the area.

Alternatively, Nxai pans/CKGR area will also be good or you can look at DVL.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Thanks all. I do think Kgalagadi may give us our fill of desert landscapes so probably won't do Nxai Pans/CKGR this time.

Is anyone familiar with Savute Under Canvas? Looks like a new CC Africa offering for this year within Chobe NP, semi-permanent "luxury" tents w/ bucket showers, etc. at around $350 pppn for December. I think it's in the Marsh area but am not sure. PB or others, any thoughts on this one?
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 01:03 PM
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Lisa: I prefer tented accommodation and smaller numbers of guests so 6 tents at Savute Under Canvas sounds even better to me than Savute Safari Lodge with 12 chalets. CC Africa has a very good reputation for their products, honestly I was surprised to see it offered at $350 pppn -- definitely worth checking out. In their narrative it sounds like they will set up in the vicinity of the Savuti Marsh to take advantage of the seasonal migration, you might just want to enquire about their exact location but I think it would be an ideal choice while staying close to the desired budget.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 05:33 PM
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African Bush Camps (www.africanbushcamps.com), owners of Linyanti Bush Camp, also offer mobile safaris in Chobe Enclave, Moremi GR, Khwai (NG19) & Nxai Pan NP. They do a minimum of 4 people for a minimum of 3 nights. If you want a private exclusive basis, then you pay for min 6 people. Otherwise it can be booked on a FIT basis.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:12 AM
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Would you consider Zimbabwe?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 06:57 AM
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Sherry,

Zim rates are probably good in the winter months itself with prime gameviewing available too.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:14 AM
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I know many people are having great game viewing in Zimbabwe, and there are certainly bargains to be had there, but we will not consider it at the moment -- hopefully we will be able to go there someday though. I do not judge anyone who does choose to go there now though, so I hope no one will judge me harshly for choosing not to. These considerations are complicated, and not just political & economic, but also personal.

There are so many other places on our wish list anyway, that it is almost a relief to have someplace in the world that we are NOT considering!

I appreciate all of these suggestions -- thanks for all of these great ideas -- we have a lot of research to do on all these good thoughts and are still eager for more if there are any others out there.
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