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cary999 Apr 18th, 2010 10:55 AM

Safari camp opportunities now, right now?
As we know, one of, if not the, major routes to to safari camps is from European cities. So with the ongoing volcanic problem severely messing up airlines around Europe, I wonder if safari camps are being hard hit with no shows? Camp vacancies now and near term? Opportunity for bargain deals if you can go within say next two weeks?

regards - tom

christabir Apr 18th, 2010 01:16 PM

I just got an e-mail from S Africa Airways offering r/t east coast to JNB for under $1000 now through the World Cup (mid July).

If I was scheduled for a Europe trip, it sure would be worth a few calls to rearrange my plans!

It looks like some of the airlines are going to try to start flying even with the ash. They flew a few test flights today. Quite a risk. If the wind doesn't change direction soon, they are going to have to figure out something, as this volcano may spew for years.

cary999 Apr 18th, 2010 01:45 PM

Yep, and how many people now with safari plans are re-routing from Europe? That is, changing to perhaps SAA out of JFK or DL from ATL. So may be getting harder, $$$$, to get to Africa even if the camps have deals.

regards - tom

sandi Apr 18th, 2010 03:23 PM

Guess you answered your own question, Tom. You can't get there from here (States) unless it's to Southern Africa... if seats available. It's a biotch!

ShayTay Apr 18th, 2010 07:15 PM

You can also fly UA to Sao Paulo, Brazil and SAA on to JNB.

HariS Apr 18th, 2010 07:19 PM

The flight disruption is a temporary thing. Won't have any impact on people's travel plans. Once flights resume, people will carry on with their safari plans ..........

"Opportunity for bargain deals if you can go within say next two weeks?" Cary999.

You already know the answer to this! It has more to do with last minute availability any place.

skimmer2 Apr 19th, 2010 09:25 AM

Dear Tom,

Why are you always asking these hypothetical questions as you told on Safaritalk that Wall Street played a dirty trick on you. And as a result you can't afford to go on safari in the immediate future.

Not many people are going to be able to take advantage of this and if one does, he/she's more likely to be based in Africa. As Hari pointed out, last minute availability is the key issue.


cary999 Apr 19th, 2010 01:11 PM

skimmer2 - why are you such a nuisance?

regards - tom

skimmer2 Apr 19th, 2010 03:02 PM


skimmer2 Apr 19th, 2010 03:22 PM

Dear uncle Tom,

I am not a nuisance at all.

My question to you is simple:

Why are you always asking silly questions because you seems to have too many time on your hands at home and not enough money to spend quality time in Africa? You said it yourself on Safaritalk.

And unfortunalely for you time is ticking ...

Maybe you can go to Madikwe again (as you really loved it)!

And keep posting as I like to have a good laugh from time to time.

A golden tip: Organize a GTG with Temba and Safarichuck. Should be fune!

Best regards,


cary999 Apr 19th, 2010 04:59 PM

Johan, how about this deal - I'll ignore your posts and you ignore mine. Deal ??? If not, well, it will be one sided because I will not again respond to any of your posts.

have a nice life - tom

lbj2 Apr 20th, 2010 05:47 AM

There was always availability, even during the 'boom years'.

You simply need to fly, take a risk and enjoy.

Johan & Hari are correct, most international guests would be unable to take advantage.

HariS Apr 20th, 2010 07:40 AM

I feel sorry for those who are delayed with their flights - particularly going out on safari from Europe and UK. Hope they all get a chance to re-schedule their safaris ASAP. Thankfully, doesn't look like any of the posters from Fodors or Safaritalk are affected.

On the other hand, I wonder if those at the end of their safaris got a chance to extend their safaris - let's hope so for their sake!

cary999 Apr 20th, 2010 07:43 AM

"There was always availability, even during the 'boom years'."

Sure, no "vacation spot" is going to occupied 100% for 100% of the time. If they are, their rates are way too low :-) . To "take advantage" of this, or games in LsVegas, you have to know the odds of your success. The "risk" as you say. And decide how much/big a risk you are willing take. For international travelers the risk can be significant (for some of us) so I'm also looking at the odds/chances of success. Trying to be as analytical as possible.

regard - tom

HariS Apr 20th, 2010 07:50 AM

Hi Tom,

The odds/chances will either be 100% or 0% won't it - i.e., you either get to "take advantage" or you don't. That's what makes any risk - a "risk"

You'll still have a fall back Option B, surely?

cary999 Apr 20th, 2010 12:28 PM

Hari - we are probably saying the same thing. Let me propose a scenario.
But first, if the savings by doing this are not significant, then it is not worth doing. Why take a chance if there is nothing ($$$) to be gained? If I call a safari camp and they have availability tomorrow, how much will they discount their rate? I know it would vary camp-to-camp but I have asked this several times here and other forums and only answer I've received is "substantial discount". Ok, fine, I'll take it, to me that means minimum of 33% discount. For a discount of 10%, forget it, not worth the risk.

Scenario, in my imagination. Something like this. I fly into JNB with my first choice of spending 12 nights at Kirkmans, Sabi Sand. I call them, they say rate will be the published rate. No discounts, Corporate &Beyond will not permit it. Ok, on to plan B. Second choice MalaMala. I call them, they say they can take me for two nights, then break not for four nights, then four more nights, no more. And they will let me have rate of 50% off (yes, pigs can now fly). I take it, so, I have half (6)of my (12) nights covered. I call Djuma and they say they have vacancy for those other 6 nights but no discount because Corporate Seasons In Africa Group does not permit it. Forget them. I call Lion Sands, they say yes they can take me for those 6 nights I need. Discount of 20%. I take it.

Is that the way it would/could happen? Are my savings worth it?

Have you ever flown into Maun and done something similar? Do you know anyone that is willing to talk about it first hand here? That will give the Maun Agency they worked with and the $$$$ amount of discount? Or, as it seems, this information is too delicate/sensitive to make public?

Thanks for listening.

regards - tom

HariS Apr 20th, 2010 07:25 PM


The fly in and take advantage situation, will not work out for those of us who need visas in advance, or those of us who need a private vehicle and/or private or specific guide (lack of availability) - it will only work out for those who are extremely flexible.

You won't find many people willing to talk about specifics on public forums for obvious reasons.

From your examples, all I can say is ........ you just have to try - be it Mala Mala or wherever else.

cary999 Apr 20th, 2010 10:22 PM

Thanks Hari. I can be very flexible about private vehicles, guides, etc. But without more confidence that it is likely to worthwhile, I'll stick with the more conventional approach.

regards - tom

Lynneb Apr 21st, 2010 04:22 AM

Does anyone know if people who couldn't get out to Africa have been able to reschedule bookings to a later date without huge penalties?

Lots of insurance are (apparently) not covering the ash situation and although you might be able to change or cancel your flight what happens to the accommodation. Most safaris aren't really package holidays.

Patty Apr 21st, 2010 11:43 AM

Just FYI &Beyond does offer auctions through I don't know how pricing compares with other channels though.

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