Safari Cost

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Mar 3rd, 2004, 01:20 PM
  #1
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Safari Cost

My wife and I are looking into taking our first trip to Africa and are looking at Botswana at this point. We want a trip that is about 10-14 days, including a day or two in Victoria falls with the rest of the time likely visiting the Okavango Delta, Moremi & Chobe.
On our typical vacations we look for a mid-level type of hotel (decent, not luxury by any means, but not a beaten down place). However, it appears that the alternatives on a safari are (1) domed tents you set up every time you move, (2) a mobile safari where the crew does everything for you and the tents are more luxurious, or (3) a fly-in safari where you stay at 5 star luxury lodges.

The problem/question is: Are there any in between options as far as cost goes, and is there anything we are overlooking?
The trips we have looked at are $4500+ per person for a mobile tented or fly-in safari, but around $2000 for one with dome tents. Is there any other option, or any advice you may have?
Thanks for your input!!
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Mar 3rd, 2004, 02:23 PM
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sandi
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If you consider that the fly-in safari averages daily between $350 to $600/dy plus the flight costs - $4500 is about right. Your daily rate also includes all your meals and game drives, walks, mokoros, other activities. No extras except tips to guide/tracker, camp staff.

And with a mobile safari, you're paying for your lodging (tents), but have the added expense of the staff and vehicles. Here too all your meals and activities are included.

Time of year might give you a break, as off-season (green season) or shoulder season, but Botswana has never been an inexpensive destination. Under government ruling, there are a minimum number of camps, with only four or five property owners (prices about the same for all), so there aren't many options - less room, more costly.

One of the posters just mentioned a special being run by

www.onsafari.com

for about $2775 for the Botswana portion only - no Vic Falls. You can do a search on this board for the above website and see the details or access the site directly. It will give you an idea. But this special is for now, The Green Season.

 
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Mar 3rd, 2004, 11:17 PM
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abramsdn,

Try these links:

http://www.ulinda.com/safaris.htm

http://www.info.bw/~kitsosaf/LuxuryCamping.htm

http://www.bushcampsafaris.com/safar...ns_prices.html

http://www.mobilesafaris.com/safaris.html#14day

Lastly, although the prices are not shown, it is probably expensive to be guided by a celebrity. This guide, Mike Penman has been featured on a few shows I have seen and he makes Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, look like Mary Poppins! Here is the link:

http://www.wildlifestyles.com/FramePage.htm

Good luck.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 05:52 AM
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How much is typically expected for a tip? I understand it varies depending on how well the guide does, but do they expect $5 or $100 for a good game drive?

Thanks for all your input so far, this is very helpful!
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Mar 4th, 2004, 06:06 AM
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I have no idea what others feel is appropriate but I tend to operate on about $5 (US) per person per day so if Pete and I have the same guide for our activities in morning and afternoon we give a total of $10 to that guide for that day. We also give tips to the general tip box in the camp to cover all the other staff who look after us such as cooks, cleaners, and so on.

Where we think the guiding is exceptional and has really given us an experience above and beyond what we expected, we increase that tip accordingly.

Likewise, if we feel we have received less than expected we reduce the tip or don't give on at all (though this did not happen on our 2001 trip).
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Mar 4th, 2004, 06:23 AM
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I should add this is for guides in permanent tented camps where the activities are aout 3 hours each twice a day and the guide also often joins us for meals.

For a mobile safari where you have a "tour manager/ guide" who is effectively on duty and working for the whole day, I'd probably give more.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 09:36 AM
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Kavey,

Hey...just wondering when your trips are coming up?!

How long has it been since your last trip? How long between your two upcoming trips?

I am going crazy already and it is 2.5 months until I leave for Italy and then only after 10 nights there will I return to Zambia.

Last question I have is about vaccinations. Are you having to repeat most of your vaccinations? I hope that I will only need a couple injections, if that, but I am not due to see my medical provider until mid to late April, since my actual time in Zambia doesn't begin until June 01st.

Thanks.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 09:50 AM
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Roccco, your Yellow Health "Passport" should indicate the validity of each of the vaccines, and the good news is that most vaccines and innoculations last for several years to up to 10 years. The more often you travel the less often you need new vaccines. The only precaution I take on each safari is a malaria prophylaxis (I prefer Larium), but only if entering a malarial area. You likely will not need a new typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A or B (although I think one of these requires two shots about 6 - 12 months apart), etc. vaccines, but check with travel clinic.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 01:41 PM
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sandi
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thit_cho - You mention that you prefer the Lariam! Have you tried the Malarone? While we had few reactions to Lariam other that interrupted sleep and my partner had "strange" dreams, when the Malarone became available we switched. Absolutely no side effects. And though the Lariam has the advantage of only having to be taken once a week and the Malarone daily, the cost comes out the same!

Roccco - what inoculations have you already had and when? While I've never had Thyphoid, I do know that the Tetanus, Yellow Fever and HepA* are good for 10-years; so if you've had any of the above within that time for your other trips, you're good for awhile.
*The HepA is two shots, the second anywhere from 6mo to 1yr after the first.

Don't believe you'll need HepB unless you plan on activity where blood between stranger humans is a factor. However, there is now a combined A/B inoc and believe this is also 2-shots, though maybe 3.

And for those who haven't had a Polio inoc (there have been Polio outbreaks many places around the world these past few years) since many many years ago, it's recommended you get a Polio booster which will hold you for the rest of your life.

Of course, chceck the CDC site for current information and always discuss with your medical professional and if anything is required, these should be given minimum 10-days prior departure.

 
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Mar 4th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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abramsdn,

you may want to have a look at CCAfrica's website (www.ccafrica.com and click on safari offers).They have a couple of special offers for Botswana for around $1600pp for 6 nights. We have added to this offer to build a holiday with them for 9 nights safari and 2 nights Victoria Falls for $2500 pp in June, starting at Maun and ending at Livingstone, including all fligts & full board accomodation. This includes 3 different camps, one of which is tented and two staying in lodges. Not 5 star and not the top range locations or accommodation, but very good value for money and CCAfrica have a good reputation.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 11:23 PM
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Abramsdn, even though you're often quoted suggested tip prices per day, you give the tip at the end of your stay. We would put the tip in an envelope and when our guide and tracker drove us to the airstrip and we'd say our goodbyes, we'd give them the tip then. In some cases I lugged presents as well as part of my precious weight allowance. There was also a tip box for the general staff. Whoever books your trip will send you info on packing and tipping. And at most camps there is a book in the room that will suggest amounts.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 11:24 PM
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Meant to add, I agree with Sandi - with malarone we had no problems.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 11:55 PM
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Rocco
Masai Mara trip is on 1 April, big 8-9 week trip is on 5 May.
Last Africa trip was way back in June 2001 - it's taken us time to save up for this return to those wonderful luxury camps!

We just got boosters for typhoid which ran out this month and didn't need to for anything else because we got the required boosters 6 months after the first ones (which we had before the 2001 trip) which increased their duration from 3 years to 10 years.

I got a yellowfever jab for Kenya, Pete didnt need to as he's not coming.

I'm using Malarone for Kenya but we wont be able to use it for all the long trip as it's only licensed for 32 days or something... we'll start with it and then switch to Prog/Chlor combo. We won't need anything for our first couple of weeks in the Cape anyway!
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Mar 5th, 2004, 01:17 AM
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Kavey,

Wow, you must be REALLY excited. No Africa for two consecutive years and then BAM!, two trips within a couple months.

I didn't realize that you hadn't been to Africa since 2001. Let's see...in 2001 I didn't even know that Africa as a holiday destination existed! Now I cannot get enough and wish for an annual visit.

Thit Cho:

I will break out my yellow vaccination card and present it to my doctor. Hopefully I will not need any shots, as I really hate needles, although the pain factor isn't nearly as bad as like sharing a game drive with a juvenile or a birder. At that point I wouldn't mind an injection of cyanide.

Abramsdn:

As far as the tips go, my wife and I always try to tip the rangers and trackers, equally. Although they are a team, the ranger, in many cases, is often white, and the tracker in most every case, is black. The tremendous difference in pay between the ranger and the tracker, from my experiences, is unjustified and I try to make sure that the tracker is at least treated fairly by my wife and I.

Also, my wife loves to tip the housekeeping staff generously, and really we try to give everybody at least a little something as a token of our appreciation. When paying possubly $500+ USD per night per room for lodging, I think that visitors should be generous in handing out the tips, as well.
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Mar 5th, 2004, 05:05 AM
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Rocco

I know! We planned the Bots/ Namib portion of this trip (though not the complete itinerary) within weeks of getting home - in that we decided then that we longed to go back, worked out when we could afford to, noticed that our 10th wedding anniversary falls this year and some of our tax-free savings plans mature this year, and voila!

But we haven't been sitting at home since that trip - we've been to, off the top of my head, Tallinn, Bologna, India, Jordan, Venice, France (numerous time), San Francisco, plus a number of trips within the UK too including Wales and Scotland trips.

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Mar 5th, 2004, 05:17 AM
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I agree that its fairest to tip guide and tracker equally - we do same (on those occasions where we have both).

I'm like your wife, Rocco, (in this one respect) I like to ensure the behind-the-scenes workers get tipped well too - so often people just tip the customer-facing staff only.
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Mar 6th, 2004, 01:45 PM
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we are going to Kenya in June. We already purchased our air. We will be there for 21 days. Can anyone recommed an in country safari company? I see on this board that the name Preador keeps poping up. I cant seem to find them. I have been in contact with a co. by the name of Suntrek Safaris. They seem reasonable and claim to be in Niarobi. How can I check them out to see if they are legit. Money is a foctor, so every bit of savings will help.

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Mar 6th, 2004, 08:37 PM
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Try Vintage Africa. We went to Kenya with 2Afrika (Great trip and CHEAP!!) and they used Vintage Africa. As cheap as this trip was, the low rate paid didn't show in quality of the trip. We loved it. My safari hat says "www.vintageafrica.com"
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