Safari...how many days?

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Jun 10th, 2003, 04:52 AM
  #1
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Safari...how many days?

Hi to all,

Need recommendations of how many days will really be sufficient for Game viewing in these places: Chobe and Djuma. I'm considering a 5/4 package in Zambia (2 nights at Royal Livingstone and 2 nights at Chobe Lodge)and a 3/2 Package at Djuma Lodge. Will I need an extra night in any of these places for a complete Game viewing? Are there enough activities to justify an extra night?

My trip is planned for October 2003.

Thanks for any info.
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Jun 10th, 2003, 05:06 AM
  #2
sandi
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You'll notice from posters to this board that "there are never enough days for game viewing" - that's why many of us return again and again.

But the way you have it planned is pretty good for a starter trip.

You've got Zambia pkgs 5-days safari; 2-days Victoria Falls (Zambia side); then will go by land into Botswana for 2-days safari at Chobe Lodge (check out Chilwero, it's absolutely lovely); then 3-days Djuma safari. Sounds good for 12-days total of which 10-days is safari.
 
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Jun 10th, 2003, 05:33 AM
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I agree with Sandi in her expression of the sentiment that "there are never enough days for game viewing", although I think you fill find one or two who believe that a week is sufficient.

I think your itinerary sounds great!
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Jun 10th, 2003, 09:54 AM
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Vette4Paris
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Gilberto, one issue you didn't mention in any depth is travel distance/time/time of day/travel mode between lodges. You will need at least two FULL game viewing days (that is, four game drives minimum) at each lodge. No matter how efficient the rangers are at locating game, clients need some time to settle in and learn about the unique qualities and experiences being offered at the different lodges. It's not just the animals, but the feel of the place, scenery, loding and camp life, the other guests and the managers. Being there will be a total experience, and for that, you need ample time. Better to err on the side of too much time than cut some place short and then realize you simply need and want more time. After all, it might be a long time before you return. Just my opinion, but I've heard others say the same.
 
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Jun 11th, 2003, 04:28 AM
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sandi
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Don't know exact amount of time (or type of transfer) to get from Zambia location to Vic Falls, but when moving from one location to another it's usually a morning transfer arriving at next stop in time for lunch.

From VFA to Botswana (Chobe) it's 1-hr. to Botswana border where you usually have to change vehicles if the transfer is being arranged for you (with border control processing - a few minutes). Then to Lodge or Camp another 30-minutes or so, again in time for lunch. Then you have afternoon/eve drive, next full day of activities and drives, next day bkfst. (2nt/2dy)

Transfer from Chobe will be after bkfst to border into VFA and fly to JNB. Depending on when your flight takes off, you might have time to do last minute shopping in VFA, but if a 12N flite you get to JNB in 2-hrs, then your transfer to Djuma - will this be by plane to Kruger? If so, flight won't be but 1-hr then transfer to camp, in time for late lunch and afternoon/eve game drive.

Most bookings to safari camps/lodges call for arrival in time for lunch thru bkfst (as all meals are included) on 3rd or 4th morning depending how long your stay.

You've g ot plenty of safari time and enough transfer time.
 
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Jun 11th, 2003, 05:20 AM
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Following Sandi again...

When we did our trip to Namibia and Botswana in 2001 we spent 2 nights in 5 of the camps and 4 nights at Mombo.

Whilst there would have been plenty enough to see and do had we been able to spend an extra night at each destination we certainly didn't feel that we missed out by having "only" two nights - just knew that some places were definitely on the return-to list!

As Sandi indicates, in most cases you arrive at a camp in the early afternoon, often in time for lunch, though not always. Certainly in time for the afternoon or sundowner drive. Some camps also offer night time drives or walks. You'll have at least two drives/ walks the next day and time to enjoy breakfast before leaving. You will also have time to spend in and around the lodge itself which will also likely afford you some game/ bird viewing opportunities.

That said, if you happen to have more leave and more budget I don't think you'd be bored were you to spend an extra night at one or two of your destinations.

Kavey
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Jun 11th, 2003, 05:21 AM
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Oh I didn't meant to post a piggy! I just typed in one of my regular smileys:

: o )
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Jun 13th, 2003, 04:45 AM
  #8
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Thanks very much to Sandi, Kavey and Vette4Paris for your recommendations on my planned vacations to South Africa and game viewing. If you were to do this trip what would you do first? Capetown and Safari with Vic Falls or vice versa?
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Jun 13th, 2003, 05:11 AM
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sandi
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Gilberto - Your initial post didn't mention anything about CPT!
But which to do first, all depends on where your flying from and into which city JNB or CPT.
And then onto Zambia???
Then to VFA, Chobe and finally Kruger?

While we didn't do Zambia, we decided to "save the best for last" - Singita at Kruger. So our itinerary brought us into JNB where we connected to CPT for 4-nts; then to VFA (via JNB) for 1-nt., Falls Tour following morning; then land transfer to Chobe in Botswana 2-nts; back to VFA (had 1/2-day to do some trinket shopping);flight to JNB where we overnighted (had dinner with friends living there); next morning flight to Hoedspruit for 2-nts at Honeyguide Camp; then 2-nts Singita; last full day the Panorama Route to Nelspruit for flight back to JNB to connect to flight back to the States.

As best as possible I attempt to plan trips with the least amount of "backtracking" - doesn't always work as often you have to return to a "hub" - in the above case to JNB.

So alot has to be coordinated based on flight schedules.
 
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Jun 13th, 2003, 06:10 AM
  #10
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Sandi, thanks again for your prompt reply. Regarding your last post, I have the option to plan my flights in any way (Frequent Flyers Program give me the option to do this), so I could go first to Capetown or Johannesburgh and end the trip in any of these two cities. Considering your recommendations, maybe I would left the Djuma Lodge portion for the last part of the trip. That would be the best, right?
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Jun 13th, 2003, 12:56 PM
  #11
sandi
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Gilberto - What is right is a relative term!

First, am I correct in assuming you're flying from the States? If not, I can't help with routing through Europe, though some info below pertains regardless once you're in Southern Africa.

Also, I don't know how the routing works when using FF miles. Well, sure I know how they work (I've used plenty myself for some destinations), but in your case more for the inter/intra-country flites.

Let me say, since 9/11, SAA has changed their schedule from JFK and possibly from ATL. We got caught with having to leave a day earlier or later (I don't remember right now, but think a day earlier) so your land arrangements should be flexible at your first and last land stops to accommodate possible scheduling changes.

Now to the flights - sure I know you can fly to/fr JNB or CPT, for XXX number of miles - but do you have enough miles for the other legs and do you want to give up miles if the cost of the legs don't justify doing so? Can you use the FF miles for inter/intra-country on SAA or their computer flites, i.e., HDS or NLP?

We paid for our tickets (thru a consolidator) from JFK (via JNB) to CPT. That was our trans-Atlantic. Then we had to pay for the leg back from CPT (via JNB ($100) for the Zimbabwe/Botswana legs - VFA r/t ($300). Finally the flites to/fr Kruger (JNB/HDS/NLP/JNB) which cost $194.

Of course, when we were there the exchange rate was more favorable than it is today, so figure that if they kept the fares the same, just add 20% to figure what it might cost today.

But I repeat, the order in which you do the trip will be based on schedules; and if using FF miles, the availability on such flights. So check that out first.
 
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