S.Africa or Botswana in Feb

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Sep 19th, 2005, 05:30 AM
  #1
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S.Africa or Botswana in Feb

We are planning our first trip to Africa in either Feb or Mar. The more I read the more excited I get, but also confused. I think we would like to go to both S. Africa and Botswana. I can afford the mid range safari-camp..don't want to rough it, but don't need the super luxury either. Any opinions on time of year and which places to go to see the most? We would probably like to go to Victoria Falls as well...any help is much appreciated.
norval is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2005, 06:12 AM
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Norval.
feb & mar are great months to be in Southern Africa. March: Cape Town is simply gorgeous, the winter frontal rains haven't started and the prevailing south easterly winds generally taper off with the temps throughout fairly moderate.

In Botswana, the humidty is much lower with the chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon minimal.

The Bots camps can be bought for less than during the peak tourist season of June through November. However you need to do some home work to find the deals. & Since you are there I agree Vic Falls is a must, at that time of year viewing from either the Zambian side or Zimbabwean is fine.

My suggested itinerary would be:
5 Days Cape.
3 Days Garden route (if you are comfortable driving yourself)
6 Days Botswana: 3 in the delta. 3 up north in the Savuti/Linyat/Kwando area.
2 Days Vic falls.

Some points to consider.
SAA can get you from the US to SA, out of Dulles DC, you are likely to get the best fare.
When purchasing you international air ask about the internal sector. Port Elizabeth to Victoria Falls. If you use SAA & buy this sector with your international you are likely to get a great rate.

Keep the cost down by doing a ground transfer from Vic Falls to Kasane, Botswana.

Flights in Botswana are pricey, however if you work with a collection of lodges such as wilderness, Kwando, possibly Islands in Africa, they will work out a deal.

You will then end your vacation in Maun, with a flight on Air Botswana back to JNB, this will be an expensive leg, however once again when buying your international see if they can do a deal for you on that too.

And in closing if your budget allows additional time etc, then I would recommend a short hop from your last camp in Botswana to the Kalahari to spend some time meeting the Bushmen.

Hope this helps rather than confuse.
mkhonzo is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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The 5 Rivers Promotion for that time of year has rates for about $200 pppn for Kwando lodges and Deception Valley Lodge, as well as Songwe on the Zambia side of Vic Falls. You would need a couple of internal flights but it is a great Botswana safari for about 60% less than high season.
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Sep 19th, 2005, 09:59 AM
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You got some great advice from mkhonzo, but I thought I would throw in my few cents worth since we just did a very similar trip. Cape Town is great and hopefully you will actually get to the top of Table Mountain (cloud covered the whole time we were there). My only regret on Cape Town was that we were only there for 2 days - we needed more. We passed on the Garden Route since we were more interested in seeing animals and we spent 3 days in Sabi Sands (great game viewing) at Elephants Plains (fabulous place and, I think, in the mid range). We then went on to Victoria Falls and stayed on the Zimbabwe side. We stayed at Ilala Lodge which was wonderful and close to the falls (10 minute walk). Having stayed on the Zimbabwe side, I am partial to that. Most of the falls seem to be in Zimbabwe, so as far as being able to walk along the edge, I think you get to see more of it. PLus things are very reasonable in Zimbabwe since they are so desperate for tourist dollars. Wonderful people and I felt very safe the whole time. Again, I regret not spending more time there. Two days is an absolute minimum. The drive from Vic Falls to Kasane is wonderful - we saw several herds of elephants crossing the road. Botswana (especially the Delta) is so different from the area around Kruger that I was glad we did both. We stayed in one of the CCAfrica camps ther (Nxabega). I honestly don't know what that runs since we just paid for an entire package through go2africa.com, but they knew that we didn't want to break the bank. We were there in June and left June 30th prior to the rates going up in July. Hemingway style tents and a fabulous staff. It's also fun to learn how to say the name of the camp (it's in the Bushman language with a "click" where the X is in the name!). Anyway, if you decide that you would like to work with a travel agent, we had wonderful luck with Rikke Williams at go2africa.com. She put together a great package for us and everything ran smoothly throughout.
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Sep 19th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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PredatorBiologist / mkhonzo

I'm also thinking of goimng to either Botswana or Sabi Sands next February. How do I find out details of the '5 Rivers' or any other promotions ?
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Sep 19th, 2005, 01:09 PM
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Not sure, however ask your agent in the US if they have knowledge of Five Rivers. I understand that this is a dynamic out of season package between ( I think its is Kwando Safaris & Islands in Africa) I have not checked the web sights, but have a look at www.kwando.com and www.islandsinafrica.com, they might have better explanations there.

In my suggestions I deliberately excluded the safari in So Africa because you intimated that you were watching the budget & I certainly feel that Botswana is mostly Safari and SA has such diversity that spending your time in the Cape would satisfy you.
By all means include a south african safari experience if you desire, it is great and you have many choices, however getting there adds to the cost and since you'll be doing Bots, this is in a way a duplication of cost
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Sep 19th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Philw: Not to recommend one agent over another but this shows a pretty good write up of the 5 Rivers special: http://www.tagasafaris.co.za/zambezi-basin-explorer.htm

That itinerary includes most of the lodges available but I believe you can do as little as 3 nights at one of the qualified lodges or 2 nights at 2 lodges to receive the special. Thus, you can tailor it for your needs and interests.

I can tell you more if you want to email me directly at [email protected]
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