Safari questions


Aug 28th, 2002, 07:28 AM
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Safari questions

So, I'm looking to travel to South Africa in November. As a first time visitor, I'd like to do the safari thing - only I can't seem to get clear advice about where to go. I'm 36 and no longer willing to trek all day unless there's at least some comfort at the end of the day. Neither am I rich as Croesus (sp?). So there's my first conundrum. Secondly, i hear that the Kruger stuff is like Disney safari - would I be better off in Zimbabwe or Zambia? What about the treks from Victoria Falls? Lastly, I sense that booking trips from the UK would be worse value for money than doing so locally - is this true?

So come on - help a guy out...any advice/recommendations appreciated.
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Aug 28th, 2002, 07:58 AM
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Haven't done a safari in South Africa, though we did end our safari with a side trip to Cape Town. Our trip was the cheapest we had seen and it was wonderful. Far more than we expected for the money--and as much as we'd expect for much more. is the website for 2Afrika, who arranged our trip. We went to Kenya. They do other areas. We paid $2,025 for 9 days (well, with flying time 5 or 6 days). Great lodges (they also do tented camp safaris)and all meals were covered (except first meal after landing and last before leaving to come home). We loved it. We had heard Botswana was the place to go (unspoiled, uncrowded, etc.) but couldn't get a tour we could afford, so did Kenya. It was just fine. They are going to do a Botswana trip, though. I think they're still working on it. Oh, we went in April this year.
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Aug 28th, 2002, 02:46 PM
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I have traveled to South Africa twice, once independently (renting a car and driving from Cape Town to Jo'Burg). Kruger is Ok, but does seem like Disney world at times. Hluhluwe -Umfolozi Park is a nice place to see rhinos; Pillansburg (near Jo'Burg) is also supposed to be nice. Having been to several Africa countries, I would highly recommend Tanzania as the premier safari country. Should you be interested in going there, you could contact Fortes Safaris in Tanzania ([email protected])- they do wonderful private safaris cheaply. I have also been in Zimbabwe - at Hwange, which is also wonderful. There are opportunities to stay cheaply at government areas (cabins). But the political situation might be dicey. Vic Falls is also great - was just there two years ago - and apparantly is very safe. Another suggestion would be Botswana. It does tend to be expensive, but if you would do a participation safari, it would be a lot cheaper. About two years ago we went for 16 days for $1295, including local transport and all meals. It was a great trip. We used Drifters (Jo'Burg) - email [email protected] Namibia is also a great destination. Etosha Parks is one of the best in Africa, and then there are the dunes at Sousesvlei (spelling???). We did a private camping safari with Chameleon out of Windhoek - [email protected] A 13 day safari was something like $1295 for three persons. They also have cheaper group safaris.
Back to South Africa - there is a backpacker network throughout the country. The Baz Bus travels a route from Jo'Burg to Cape Town and back, and will drop you off at backpacker's places - then you just get on the bus again and travel to the next town. When I was there, the backpacker hotels were anywhere from $8 to $15 a night. (Myself and my travel companions are in our 50's, and truly enjoyed these places.)
Zambia is supposed to have great parks, but I've never been past Livingstone over the border from Vic Falls.
You are right - you can do better booking locally. You're not paying the middle man that way.
If you'd like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Lynda Howland
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Sep 2nd, 2002, 06:36 AM
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With the exchange rate and the strength of UK sterling to the SA Rand you can only win in South Africa. I must share my new find, go to the Wild Frontiers website:
They specialise in "off the beaten track" locations and I have been very impressed with the service and prices. They are also based in Johannesburg so you will get the benefit of competitive local prices. For my trip I just sent a brief mail from their site with general outlines of what I wanted and they forwarded lots of info with all sorts of options so I can really tailormake my trip nicely. For the best safari experience (depending on how much time you have) I suggest that you spend two/three days at a resort in the North West, Mpumalanga or Limpopo Provinces, and then travel to KwaZulu-Natal for a complete change in scenery. Personally I don't think Kruger is Disney at all - but I suppose it depends on how you tackle the reserve. I must happily comment that it is refreshing to encounter foreigners who want to go to the bush and don't expect a "command performance" from the animals. To give you a very general ballpark figure: a top class lodge in a private reserve in the North West charges from R2000-00 per person per night fully inclusive which includes 2 game drives a day. Obviously there are cheaper ways to go but this does give you a starting point and you will have lots of comfort at the end of the day!
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