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Safari order -- Botswana first, then South Africa, or the reverse?

Safari order -- Botswana first, then South Africa, or the reverse?

Sep 19th, 2009, 10:50 AM
  #1  
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Safari order -- Botswana first, then South Africa, or the reverse?

We're finally, after doing much research, ready to book our trip. We are flying to Cape Town, then doing 3 days at Chief's Camp in Botswana and 3 days at Lion Sands River Lodge in South Africa. We will be returning to the US from Joburg. Need suggestions as to which order for the safaris -- Chiefs first or Lion Sands first. The trip will begin October 10, 2010. We will be staying one night in between in Joburg. Logistically, and for the best connections, we'd welcome your thoughts.

Thanks.
francifree is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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Hi franci

As you seem to be determined to do that combo (SA and BOT) it's completely up to your liking what to do first/second as there is no particular difference or impact regarding season. I personally cannot see any advantage/disadvantage in preferring one over the other - time wise.

Wild life wise maybe you could consider Chief's first and then go to Sabi Sands. The latter very well known for their big cat sightings (incl. Leopard!) which you might not see in Chief's. So in order to keep a big cat lover happy and avoid disappointment I would then do Chief's first.

What you should keep in mind is that you under any circumstance get on the morning flight JNB to Maun!

Coming from Sabi Sands you need to stop-over in JNB before you proceed to BOT next morning. Don't book the pm flight as Air Botswana is quite "famous" for their delays which might have you stop-over in Maun as well as the small planes don't fly after dark!

Coming from Cape Town flying into Nelspruit/Krueger you also need to stop-over in JNB. Or you get a very early flight from CPT to JNB and fly out on Federal Air (approx. 2.300ZAR per leg/person) directly into Lion Sands. On the way back you save some $ by taking SA Airlink Flight from Nelspruit. But then you have to do the transfer from Lion Sands to Nelspruit.

Time Table for SAA/SA Airlink for Oct is not out yet.

It's really up to you.

SV

PS:
I am curious - what made you determined to go for 3 nights each destination?
spassvogel is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 04:24 PM
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hi fran,

glad you finally made up your mind. you did pick some good camps. i really love lion sands.

assuming you are at one of the safari destinations last, there really is not too much difference.

one thing to keep in ming: there is only one way out of botswana and air botswana is an airline seperate from all others. if the 1000 or 1500 flight is delayed to JNB then you will have no other way of getting to JNB for your flight home. at lion sands, you have many choices. there are three fedair shuttles per day, one flight on SAAirlink from AAM and many flights from MQP-JNB on SAA. perhaps that can be the difference maker for you.

craig beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 01:02 AM
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Craig,

That second flight has been pre-poned to 2 30PM in the afternoon. Has been since March this year.
HariS is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 07:30 AM
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"pre-poned"? do you mean the second flight is at 230pm not 300pm? good to know. thanks!

craig
Safari_Craig is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 09:09 PM
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Yes, 14 30 Hrs.
HariS is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 05:05 PM
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I don't know how it works at Chief's or LS, but we went from WS camps in Bots to an &beyond camp outside kruger. We were used to communal dining, and it was weird to have dinner alone after so many fun dinners with a group. It felt like going from fun to stuffy. For that reason, and it might seem stupid to most of you, but I'd go Lion Sands to Bots.

Either way, that sounds like a great trip!
christabir is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 05:14 PM
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I believe the cost efficient routing would be Cape Town, Sands (via MQP) onward to Botswana and home via JNB with a night in JNB after the Sands to make the connection to Maun.

Also: The Chiefs experience after the Sands is more of sensational experience, so it works well to keep that for the end.
mkhonzo is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 06:20 PM
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my first piece of advice was prefaced with "assuming the safari is last".

i think the best way to combine sabi sands, cape town, and botswana is to visit sabi sands first, then fly strait from MQP to cape town. when you are done in cape town you can take an evening flight to JNB and overnight with a continuation to botswana the next day. alternately, you can catch the 0600 SAA flight to JNB and the 1010 Air Botswana flight from JNB-MUB. you can also catch the 0730 flight on BA to Victoria Falls or Livingstone via JNB. both these later two options avoid the second overnight in JNB. if you land in JNB in the morning from Europe or on the JFK flight, you can avoid JNB altogether. but - many people don't like to start a safari on the afternoon they arrive in africa.

craig beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 10:12 AM
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mkhonzo
I stayed at Chief's beg. of Nov 08 and I must say the wildlife experience there was not top notch - being it at the end of dry season and havong experienced no rain yet it was poor. No Rhino, lion sightings yes but not something outragous. From the wildlife sightings point of view very much more unpredictable than Sabi Sands.

Craig
I am wondering on your advise to "avoid JNB altogether" when flying in the very same morning.
We have often experienced delays and would have not made it for the 1010 flight to Maun if we had not foreseen a stop over for obvious reasons.
I find it extremely ambitious to try to get on the 1010 flight when arriving the same morning. Asks for trouble of being left behind particularly in the autumn and winter moths (northern hemisphere) when flights often encaunter delays due to fog, snow, ice.

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 10:57 AM
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hi SV,

i would not advise people go strait to botwana if they arrive in jnb that same morning. that advice is only vaild (from me) if they are heading to the sabi sands. it is probably a bit confusing the way i wrote it, but in my second post, i was suggesting sabi sands first.

there are so many ways of getting to the sabi sands, i think it is generally safe to go there the day of arrival if the client wants. i usually put people on a fedair flight around 1230pm.

hope this helps.

craig beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 12:24 PM
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thx Craig for clarification!

Of course SS is perfectly doable the same morning getting fedair midday.

Would love to do that tomorrow ;-)

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 01:45 PM
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Well sorry to hear that SV. I guess if you are a junkie for the Big 5, (Rhino, Lion and sundry other) you could be disappointed by the vastness of Botswana's wilderness. For me it is simply a phenomenal experience and quite correctly not as predictable as the nearly canned experience on has at the 4 000 h lions den reserve.

Don't misunderstand me, I have huge passion for the sands and return there often, it is one of my favourite places to see nyala, bushbuck and leopard.
mkhonzo is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 07:35 PM
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Actually I would advise the OP to keep their safari 6-7 nights in one country. Be it - either Bots or SA depending on what they are looking for. What would be the point of hopping between the 2 areas with all the transit time? I don't really think you can do justice to either one besides to say I've ticked off both countries off my list of places to visit.

SV,

I didn't quite understand - what outrageous sighting were you expecting from the Lions?
HariS is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 07:41 PM
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hari,

the OP has been advised this on fodors and trip advisor by many people in other forums. this is just what she has chosen to do.

craig beal
Safari_Craig is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 09:23 PM
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Oops ...... sorry, didn't know that ....... well - to each, their own!!!
HariS is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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Hari's
Well, I am with you regarding the 2 destinations. Therefore my question above.

Taking into consideration our wildlife sightings - no way I would travel solely for Chief's to Bot.

My statement "outrageous" was ment as kind of "value for money" sightings ;-)
For us a 1400US$ bed night should be justified by sightings and experiences. And that clearly was not the case at Chief's.

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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oops forgot and additional sentiment on my side regarding the OP:
If one asks for advise and the itinerary shows only ONE camp in a destination which asks for lots of transit and time sacrifice to get their I think that individual should know the pro's and con's.

SV
spassvogel is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 05:45 PM
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My usual 2 cents regarding going all the way from USA to Africa to spend only 10(?) or so days there. Long time in the air and $$$ for only a few days. I'd make it minimum of 14 days in Africa. (My last trip, just got back, 21 days in South Africa).

Also, wonder if visitors going to Africa think that going from country-camp to another country-camp is like hopping around cities in Europe? Where you can easily visit a historical culture center/city every other day. Typically takes much more time and effort for Africa.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 07:33 PM
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SV,

That's back to the discussion of several recent threads ......... pricing for Bots in general went through the roof at some point. Not specific to Chiefs - although, it's one of the more expensive ones.
HariS is offline  

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