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S Africa vs Kenya in June--would be 2nd trip to Kenya

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Aug 11th, 2011, 12:36 PM
  #1
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S Africa vs Kenya in June--would be 2nd trip to Kenya

Aloha!

I've read the threads similar to this question but find it doesn't quite match up to our situation. We are a couple looking to return to Africa for safari as a tenth-anniversary celebration. Our first trip was to Kenya in March 2002, which we very much enjoyed and from which we learned so much. Life-changing, as many say.

We are debating between returning to Kenya (and possibly adding Tanzania) or going to S Africa and going on safari in private reserves near Kruger, as well as going to Botswana, and also a trip to Victoria Falls. The trip would be approximately 18-21 days total, including the LOOONG flight from Hawaii.

Our concerns:
1) TIME OF YEAR FOR GAME VIEWING--charts I've consulted indicate the later we can go in June, the better, and S Africa seems to have a slight edge.
2) TIME OF YEAR AND STAYING WARM--we are tropical climate residents and are a little leery of the lows in S Africa this time of year (particularly when we read things like "central heating is unheard of").
3) CROWDS--we didn't like being surrounded by humans so much in Kenya--lots of tourists, lots of vehicles running around--it was a touch like Yellowstone in summer. S Africa seems to have the edge on this one. Is this correct? Or are there places where we can feel more on our own in Kenya? We are also considering, in either location, a private rather than group tour (because of 9/11, our last Kenya trip ended up being a private tour because we were the only ones that showed up, but that sure didn't mean we weren't surrounded by vehicles in the parks).
4) COST--This will likely be our last trip of any significant length, let alone to Africa, for the foreseeable future (unless we do vacation swapping--not an option on this one!). We want to do it in a way very suited to our desires, even if it means spending a little more. Seeing animals, spending time in the wild, spending time in nature and quiet are the top ones. Smaller lodges are a very close second. What budget is reasonable for each location?

If you sense a bias in these questions, you're right on the money: I'm leaning toward S Africa--spouse is leaning toward Kenya. But I'm shooting in the dark--sure would like to hear from people who have been to both.

Mahalo for your help!
popoki is offline  
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Aug 12th, 2011, 02:17 AM
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It is generally felt that the African winter is the best time to go on safari, as the grass is dry and vegetation sparse making game viewing easier. It is also the time when animals are on the move looking for food and water. In Kenya and Tanzania, you have the memorable opportunity of witnessing the great migration of over two million wildebeests and zebra.South Africa gets quite
a bit chillier with temps approaching freezing at night in some areas so tropical residents might enjoy Kenya Tanzania a bit more.The good news is you cannot go too far wrong it will all be wonderful.

Budget vary wildly www.travelzoo.com has some GREAT Kenya Packages with www.friendlyplanet.com and SA with www.SAA.com

Custom upscale bids can be taken with www.zicasso.com

For me www.porini.com Eco Camps are nice at a great price

If your primary goal is wildlife viewing/grand migrations

and warmer weather Tanzania/Kenya for me.

Happy Deciding...
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Aug 12th, 2011, 02:27 AM
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www.flysaa.com sorry for typo above

Grand Migration is amazing once in a lifetime experience

Spring Mar to April usually best...

www.kenya.com/great_migration_overview.asp

Many local scammers on the boards be careful

I never wire money and always insuremytrip.com

Congrats!
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Aug 12th, 2011, 08:53 AM
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It was pretty cold this past June while we were in S Africa! Game drives in an open vehicle doing 30mph when it's 40F is bone chilling. Lots of complaints by those from warm climes. We find it exhillerating. But we appreciate the blankets on board, the hot water bottles and electric blankets at night. It was significantly warmer in KwaZulu Natal than the Kruger and Limpopo areas. Some places do have heat and A/C.

Take the right clothes - lots of layers as it warms up beautifully during the day - and you'll be fine. June is the shortest days of the year, so you have less down time during the day and good, long sleep at night. I prefer June/July for that. It starts to warm up in September.
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Aug 12th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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June/July is not the most expensive season in South Africa, so that could help a little bit.

A private trip with only 2 in the vehicle is much, much more reasonable in Kenya than SA or Botswana. In Botswana, it is an additional $500 per day or so for your own vehicle.

The more important a private vehicle is to you, the more you should go to Kenya, places like Meru, Lewa Downs, Samburu (some crowds but easy to lose them), and private conservancies in the Mara like Olare Orok.

If I were you, I'd like to see more than one country in Africa, so I'd opt for SA and Botswana and take some warm clothes and accept the shared vehicles that at least won't be surrounded by lots of other vehicles.

To help with costs, maybe a Botswana mobile. The mobiles are very nice, high end, excellent value. I did a Wilderness mobile and loved it.

Check out this mobile/Sabi Sands combo. Can't remember if Vic Falls is in there too, but it can be added easily.


http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-mala-mala.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...-mala-mala.cfm
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Aug 12th, 2011, 11:42 AM
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And Happy Anniversary. Be sure to mention that for a special touch on safari.
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Aug 12th, 2011, 01:52 PM
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I'm usurping this thread.

My comment to take warm clothes is for am and pm as Christabir states. It's not cold all day and gets hot, in the 80s midday. I've found June/July in SA and Bots to be lovely.
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Aug 12th, 2011, 05:56 PM
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That's ok atravelynn! Usurp away!

Our first safari was Cape Town, Vic Falls, three camps in Botswana and the Kruger region. It was way too busy, too much travel, etc - but I'm so glad we did it that way as Mom was never able to return. In 21 days she got to see so much, and we stayed at camps I could never afford without her help. Perfect. I love South Africa and would go back tomorrow if I had the time.

If you go to the WS camps in Botswana, you won't have more than 6 per vehicle - open Land Cruisers. Everyone gets an unobstructed view with stadium seating. You are also unlikely to see another vehicle on your game drives. There are camps in Sabi Sand that limit the seating too, but some do not. Of course, the more expensive camps have limits, less expensive do not. Inquire if that is important.
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Aug 13th, 2011, 01:34 AM
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Just to throw a spanner in the works have you thought of a private reserve in the Eastern Cape like Shamwari ?
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Aug 14th, 2011, 07:23 PM
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Wow! What wonderful responses!

Thank you SO much!

@qwovadis: Thanks for the tip re friendly planet and SAA--we are checking out some of their packages. It's always tricky looking around online so appreciate the help!

@atravelynn & @christabir: I think you've sold us on SA. The pictures are stunning; they gave me chills of anticipation. It doesn't sound as if we will need to do a private vehicle there either to avoid that "summer in Yellowstone" feeling. I had mistakenly thought that we'd be in a minivan as in Kenya, trading roof window space with up to 8 other people. We're willing to do winter temps in the AM/PM for the wilder experience and, as the saying goes, there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. ;-) If it gets into the 80s at some part of the day, we will be totally at home.

@christabir: The fabulous 3-week trip you allude to sounds like it includes everything we want to see & do. May I ask what the itinerary was?

@atravelynn: Will definitely mention our anniversary! Hadn't thought of that!

@braaiseason: Shamwari looks incredible! The high-end prices may put it out of reach for us--I didn't realize until I read the fine print that it was per adult, not per room. True luxury, though!

Thank you so much for your good advice and wishes! It's an exciting thing to be planning this with help from those who have been there.
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Aug 14th, 2011, 09:50 PM
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Our itinerary- just keep in mind that Shamwari is less expensive than most of these. But all meals, drinks, laundry are included. Just add tips.

Fly Cape Town. Cape Grace Hotel 3 nights. Wine tour, Cape of Good Hope, Table Mt, Robben Island, Hop on Hop off bus, Kirstenbosch Gardens/golf

Land JNB, fly Vic Falls, Vic Falls Hotel 1 night
Land transfer Kasane (botswana), fly to Kings Pool 2 nights
Fly Vumbura Plains 2 nights
Helicopter Duba Plains 3 nights
Fly Maun, fly JNB 1 night airport Intercontinental
Transfer to private airport (Lanseria) fly Ngala (near Kruger) 2 nights
Land transfer Blyde River Canyon 1 nt, land transfer airport
Fly JNB

Honestly, it was too much. I would do minimum 3 nights/camp and miss one of them. It was also $15,000 per person plus int'l flights in 2006!

It was quite a whirlwind
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Aug 14th, 2011, 10:04 PM
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Oops.

I was was doing it again, I would consider this mobile safari: (for example)

http://www.classicafrica.com/Content....asp#rates2012

Then add Cape Town and a camp in a comfortable price range in Sabi Sand:

http://www.sabisand.co.za/

Still expensive, but way more doable.
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Aug 15th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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If you're looking at June, Tanzania would be great! The Migration herds are often in the Central or Western Serengeti then. You could also go to other areas on the northern circuit: Arusha NP, Tarangire NP, Lake Manyara NP, and the Ngorongoro Crater. I've been there a couple of times in June and the weather is nice. The nights were cool, but not really cold with the exception of the Crater rim, where the elevation is about 7800'. The days were pleasant, warm unless there was cloud cover.
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Aug 21st, 2011, 07:20 PM
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(I apologize for my long delay in replying--got some news that needed complete attention for a while.)

Mahalo again to all of you for your very helpful counsel--we are making our reservations for next summer to S Africa!
Very excited and saving our pennies!!
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Jun 8th, 2012, 08:15 AM
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We just did our second Safari the first was to Kenya and was wonderful. We saw the big five our second was to south Africa it too was good and again we saw the big five.

We found the two countries to be very different. Kenya was more of a Savanna safari where South Africa's Kruger was a Bush safari.

In Kenya we drove from place to place in all minivan with pop-up top in Kruger we were in an open vehicle.

Both were good trips we are now considering Namibia for another safari.

I also want to say each trip was only one week that's all we could afford to take off of work.
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