Safari July 2010 - South Africa confused

Old Aug 13th, 2009, 02:42 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Safari July 2010 - South Africa confused

What is a good itinerary for 14 - 15 days. We are starting in Capetown and staying in Cape Grace Hotel then not sure. Want to go to Victoria Falls and Botswans. CHiefs camp versus Mombu, Also, what about River Club, and Vumura Plains. I am so confused. We are going there for our 35th anniversary and want it to be a wonderful experience. Can you help?
lkalish is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2009, 03:23 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your questions are very broad. I'd suggest you need to start by searching this forum for individual camp names (there are tons of posts, but get the spellings right: it's Vumbura and Mombo), buy a couple of guidebooks and enlist a top flight TA, if you haven't done so already. Suggest you stay 3 nights each in safari camps, 1-2 nights at Vic Falls (what month you go may determine whether you stay in Zimbabwe or Zambia. It helps to know your desires as well (what exactly do you want to see?). I assume you are looking for the most up-market properties. If so, you may be happiest with Wilderness lodges, and they have lots of brochure and Web site material.
LAleslie is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2009, 04:55 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry for the confusion going in August and the agent wants us to stay 3 nights Capetown, 2 nights at Vumbura Plains, then 3 nights at Kings Pool Camp, then to Mombo for 2 nights and then to the river Club 1 night. It seems like alot of travel.

Another agent had suggested Sanctuary Camps. A little different. Any suggestions. Thanks Does Vumbura Plains have air conditioning?
lkalish is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2009, 05:31 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
3+2+3+2+1 totals 11 nights. So, 14-15 days includes that plus travel to/from? I'm in USA and the rigors of two long flights to/from make only stays longer than 14-15 days -not including- travel days worthwhile for me. That is, minimum total trip time of over 18 days. And I would stay at camps minimum of 3 nights. (Actually always 4 or more for me).

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2009, 05:52 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ikalish-

We did a very similar itinerary in 2006. If I were to do it over, I would only do 2 camps in Botswana due to similar time issues. We went to Kings Pool and Vumbura, so I can say they were outstanding. We also went to Duba Plains which was my favorite, but it's all about the lions there - not as diverse as others, but great. I have never heard anything but raves about Mombo. If you can get availability and can afford it, then go. But even though I loved both KP and Vumbura, I would lengthen my stay to at least 3 nights in just two camps (or lengthen your trip and stay in all three!!). No AC in any of them - they are tents - very fancy tents, but tents. It is winter in August, so you are more likely to need heat in the form of hot water bottles than AC. I'm in NY, but I've never been so cold as on safari in Botswana in September (but it's a great cold!!)

No matter what you decide, Botswana is so special that you will have an outstanding experience. The Cape Grace was unbelievable, too, and we stayed at the Vic Falls Hotel in Zim which was a very interesting experience and really glad we were able to do it at the time.

Christa
christabir is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2009, 05:55 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,900
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We loved the River Club and it is quite romantic(although communal dinners) with open chalets to the river and lots of other touches of romance. I wouldn't stay for less than 2 nights there, however.
moremiles is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2009, 06:15 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
IMHO that itinerary is way too rushed and too much traveling to and fro. AS Christa says, you won't need air conditioning in Aug. Little Vumbura is very swank. They are "tents" in name only. Stupendous game viewing and guiding, food, decor. WE stayed at the quite posh Royal Livingstone for Vic Falls and I'd probably stay on the Zim side at the Vic Falls hotel next time. That's because we like old colonial piles and the falls viewing is better there.
LAleslie is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 03:24 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,353
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Finding an agent who will listen to what you want is not always an easy chore. Keep in mind that it's in the agent's interest to have you spend more money, not less money.

I would never spend less than 3 nights at a camp, and I generally prefer 4. It really does take 3-4 days to get a good feel of a camp, and to get the sense that I'm comfortable there. Also, inter-camp transfers are incredibly costly.
DonTopaz is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 05:18 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all of you help. What about going from Capetown to Royal Malewane? 3 nights I heard that was also fabulous. I think I am going to stay 3 nights in 2 camps, in Botswana, and then to get there I guess skip Vic Falls. Anyone been to Jacks Camp?
lkalish is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 08:52 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ikalish- The Royal Malewane is outside Kruger. Now you're adding a whole lot more travel. IMHO in just 14 days, you are trying to do too much. We did 3 camps in Bots, Cape Town, Vic Falls and a camp in Timbavati (near Kruger) in 23 days, and that was too much! I would stick to either Botswana/Vic Falls or the game reserves around Kruger. Not both. If it was me, I'd do Bots/Vic Falls - you'll be back to do S Africa and Kruger in the future. Have you contacted a travel agent yet? Availability might be tough already for next year and I recently looked at flight costs in July and they are really high due to the World Cup in S Africa. August might be better.

Congrats on 35.
christabir is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 02:28 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ikalish
Doesn't matter what ANY Travel Agent wants you to do: You pay the bill and you are the director of the whole thing - according to your likings and nothing else.

As mentioned before - staying in a camp less than 3 nights makes the whole trip a kind of camp-hopping (or camp-collecting) which doesn't serve the purpose of being a memorable trip.

I would do 3 nights each in the Cape, Okavango Delta, and 3 nights in either Linyanti/Savute or Chobe, drive further to Vic Falls and spend there one day/one night just for the Falls.
That kind of itinerary gives you a bunch of completely different eco systems and holds lots of great camps.

If you rush and add so many locations/camps/experiences you most probably ruin your experience because you won't get the FEEL for each destination; no time to really enjoy while you are there!

There will be a next time - I am sure - for you to come and then you do the other destinations.

Make sure you won't get chased from A to B to C - makes no sense to me.

Enjoy planning - That's half the fun of it!

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 03:09 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 26
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mombo is the bomb. Whatever you can do, try to go there. I am afraid that there is not enough time to get in, however, as it often books up 18 months out. You will love it there. Get the a.m. flight into Botswana from S.A. and demand that your tour operator take care of it; otherwise Air Botswana is an increasing nightmare as the day goes on.
travelgirl4 is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 03:12 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 26
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just traveled that same essential itinerary in 2008. If you send me your e-mail, I can forward our itinerary. I was not real impressed with King's Pool and there were almost no animals. Not at all what I had been expecting.
travelgirl4 is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 04:11 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,147
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You seem to want ultra luxe places, so another idea to rethink your itinerary is to stick to South Africa if you want to keep Cape Town, and try out the game lodges in the Sabi Sands game reserves, where you'll see an abundance of game. There are loads of deluxe ones, including Singita, Londolozi and Mala Mala, all expensive, luxurious, easier to get to and fro, and all much written about here. I would actually add another day or two to Cape Town if it was me.
LAleslie is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2009, 05:28 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 745
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
lkalish,

it sounds like you have a great trip planned. botswana in july or august is absolutely fantastic. cape town will be in the middle of a possibly mucky winter, but other than that, you are going to have a blast.

to set the record strait, someone made an insinuation about the advice of travel agents. i am a travel agent and i own a company that specializes in southern africa safaris and travel. i have visited southern africa 25+ times. for the most part, the money we make on booking a safari is proportional to the cost of the trip. but, i think it would be a short sighted business strategy to put one of my clients on the wrong trip. our long term survival depends on satisfying a client as opposed to depleting their financial resources.

now, with that behind us...

if you go to botswana in next summer, i recommend you start this entire trip AFTER july 17. that is the magical date when airline prices return to normal after the world cup gouging ends. also, if you travel close to this time you may consider doing cape town last. the main reason is that the world cup crowds will quickly dissipate after july 17. also, june and july is the worst weather in cape town and things can improve in august. so, the later you go the better.

i have been to all the camps mentioned on this thread except for duba plains. i have sent many clients to duba and i know enough to know that you shuold go for three days if you go at all. the lions hunt the buffalo on an approximate three day cycle so to be sure to see a kill you should go for three days.

mombo is absolutley fantastic. it is my favorite camp in africa. if you are going to botswana for six days, i recommend three nights at mombo and three nights at kings pool. kings pool is in the same concession as duma tau and savuti. if you want to save some money, i think the experience at duma tau is fantastic and it is priced as a classic camp. kings pool is a premier camp.

if you want to go to three camps, i would go to mombo for 3, vumbura plains or little vumbura for 2, and kings pool OR duma tau OR savuti for 2.

if the budget is strethced, cut mombo to 2 nights on any option.

i have been to the river club twice. once alone and once with my wife and kids. i am personally friends with the owner who lives on site. his name is peter jones and he is one of the best philanthropists in livingstone. if you want to eat alone, all you need to do is ask. GO TO THE RIVER CLUB!

IF you do want to go to the sabi sands, then i suggest you do that safari first then go to cape town then go to botswana. this will eliminate unnecessary nights in johannesburg at an airport hotel.

on your safari to botswana, i would not worry about moving around. the transfer from one camp to the next is 15-45 minutes. it is not a big deal and done during the break inbetween the morning and afternoon game drive. pack lite and consider the camp transfer part of the adventure and not as a hassle. BUT, your travel agent has one thing wrong ever so slightly. if you look at a map, i would not travel from vumbura plains to kings pool to mombo to victoria falls. that particular order adds about 120 minutes of flying to your overall trip and it WILL add about $300 of cost per person. the most sensible geographic sequence is mombo then vumbura/little vumbura then kings pool then victoria falls.

i just checked availability on wilderness safaris web site so you can judge for yourself the urgency of booking. for the time period july 17, 2010 through august 14, 2010 mombo is sold out on july 18 and august 4,5,13,14. it has one of nine tents left on july 22,23,24,25,29,30 and august 6,7,8. so, i would say it is 90 sold out for that time period but you can still make a plan.

the exact itinerary of mombo x 3, vumbura plains x 2, kings pool x 2 can be started on just about any day during this period that mombo is available because vumbura plains north and south and kings pool are much more available than mombo.

hope this helps.

craig beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2009, 07:05 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 8
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've been to Botswana a number of times (as a toursit, not a TA) and agree with all those who have recommended a less rushed trip, and spending at least three or four nights per camp. At two nights per camp you are doing too much traveling to get a good relaxed feel for where you are.

Also - do not pay too much attention to specific advice and reports about "a lot of animals" or "not very many animals". This changes day to day and week to week. For example, contrary to one of the replies above, I had some of the best wildlife viewing ever at Kings Pool.

Finally, unless luxury means more to you than good wildlife viewing, you do not need the expense of Kings Pool, Mombo, Vumbura, or Jao. Wildlife is just as good, comfort is perfectly fine, and cost is less at camps such as Little Vumbura, Savuti, Tubu Tree, or Chitabe (as far as Wilderness Safaris Camps go). And yes, that even goes for Mombo. Undoubtably a great camp with fine viewing, but still living off its reputation from the 1990's.

Botswana is great, but take your time and enjoy where you go. See the remaining places next time.
PangolinOregon is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2009, 07:54 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 294
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kings Pool is great as long as you are there later in the dry season, otherwise it can be a real bust. When it's dry there are huge herds of Elephants and other herd animals along the river, along with Lions and leopards, and often wild dog.
napamatt_2 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2009, 08:33 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 8
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Actually, my "great" viewing there was in January. Lions, leopards, cheetah, and wild dogs. Just a smattering of elephants that time of year, but that was just fine.

Everything is on a case by case basis.
PangolinOregon is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 05:44 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My 2 pulas worth a little late.

Chief’s vs. Mombo--If price is not an issue, I’d try to stay 3 nights at Mombo. Rates will be $1700 or so per person per night—very high. But then Chief’s is probably $1300 or $1400. I’ve spent a couple of weeks at Mombo in the past about the same time of year as you are going and every outing lived up to its legendary status. That was before the cost increase and also when wildlife was more diverse with almost a guarantee of wild dogs, plus cheetahs in the double digits, and relaxed leopards on almost every drive. Since then, I think lions have boomed, so some other predators have decreased. Still, I think it would be a special place for a special occasion if it fits in your budget. It is the only location where I’d go for the “Premier” option of Wilderness camp. The Chief’s Island location (where Mombo and Chief’s are) is exceptional so you are paying for more than accommodation, you are also paying for an exclusive, productive location. It would be the only place in Botswana that you would be able to find rhino, unless you included a rhino sanctuary that is a closer to the Kalahari not typically part of a luxury package.

The “Classic” Wilderness camps are absolutely lovely too and very worthy of a 35th anniversary stay. They are not second rate options that sacrifice comfort, luxury, or anything. The “Premier” level (where I stayed once as an upgrade) provides amenities such as sorbet palette cleansers between courses, a much larger selection of spirits, and the room/tent was half again as large as my apartment. They will also make you a CD backup of your photos at Premier accommodations. With the exception of Mombo, there are always Classic locations that will allow wildlife viewing in the same areas.

Here is a link on Wilderness premier, classic, and safari adventure camps.
http://www.wilderness-safaris.com/sa...camp/index.jsp

As to Sanctuary camps, I’ve not stayed at them, but Baines and Stanley’s in the delta offer walking with elephants for an additional charge that should be booked in advance and that experience gets rave reviews. Their camps are very nice and luxurious also and I hope to visit some of them some day. Why your agent might be advocating Sanctuary is (1) that they get better rates booking them (2) that agent is not authorized to book Wilderness camps—Wilderness is rather selective on who can book them—so they cannot even offer Wilderness or (3) they may feel that what Sanctuary has to offer would be a perfect combination at the best price: Chobe Chilwero where animals are abundant and the afternoon Chobe River Wildlife cruise is an unique spectacle; an ele walk from in the delta along with traditional game drives and water activities at Baines or Stanley’s, and Chief’s Camp on Chief’s Island.

What about Vumbura? Little Vumbura is extremely nice (a Classic level of camp), on an island that requires a 10-minute boat transfer and it is less expensive than Vumbura Plains (a Premier camp). If you’d like just a wee bit of a boat ride on the delta, it is built into Little Vumbura because that’s how you get there. Of course, you can do a longer boat or mekoro trip at either Vumbura accommodation. Both Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura do wildlife watching in the same area. Vumbura offers excellent land game (including the rare sable antelope) along with the option of water activities. Not all places have the caliber of land animals if they also have a lot of water from the delta. Vumbura is blessed with both.

For an anniversary, I can see why you’d like to include Vic Falls and a nice place like River Club. Two nights there would be good.

I agree with 3 night + stays at the other camps you choose, with 2 nights in Vic Falls.

Botswana in July or Aug at any combination of reputable camps will be a memorable trip and will make you want to return for your 36th Anniversary ! As you narrow your choices, please post them for further comments. Happy Anniversary!
atravelynn is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
poety
Africa & the Middle East
5
Jul 11th, 2015 09:15 AM
Nicco
Africa & the Middle East
9
Jan 24th, 2006 01:58 PM
susan300
Africa & the Middle East
6
Jan 14th, 2006 02:43 AM
elz1
Africa & the Middle East
5
Nov 21st, 2005 10:10 AM
Roccco
Africa & the Middle East
11
Sep 27th, 2004 11:23 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:55 PM.