safari tour in June 2014

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Mar 28th, 2014, 08:31 AM
  #1
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safari tour in June 2014

want to know....is it reasonable to try and book a trip to south africa or botswana beginning now for a late June trip? there seem to be so many reserves, tour operators, and options and it's the colder season (though is summer vacation period for many families) so my sense is that there would be plenty of openings. however, i recently read on one of these forum threads, a comment about being booked up and i also see a lot of travelers discussing their trips next year and having already booked. need advice. we could not know our free dates earlier. we've just figured out there are international flights available and that we have the green light on being away from our work positions and other responsibilities. can we pull this off? is it worth putting all the time and money into making a trip happen for essentially 10-12 weeks from now??? thank you
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Mar 28th, 2014, 08:42 AM
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Of course it's worth it, it's not THAT complicated, and the southern winter is an extremely popular time for safaris, as it's the dry season, the temperatures are comfortable, the mosquitoes are gone, and the absence of foliage makes animal viewing easier.

Start looking right away at destinations and lodges; the Kruger area is very popular and has the most choices and alternatives (location and budget) however don't overlook opportunities in other parts of the country, such as Madikwe.

Let the safari location drive the logistics - fly, drive, etc. It's definitely still doable, but not without some effort on your part.
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Mar 28th, 2014, 10:10 AM
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TC
 
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I agree....its always worth it. Just returned from November in Botswana. Amazing trip. We used a very good travel consultant in the US who is the #1 outlet for Wilderness Safari in Botswana. He has real time listings on all the camps and could tell you in a flash which have openings and which do not. We were very happy with the help from Craig at Travel Beyond in Minnesota. There was no fee for his service. We were working within a tight window and around what dates we could find FF tickets. He was able to hold camp space while I would look for tickets. We had to tweak the dates a couple of times to get it all settled, but well worth the effort.

Good luck!
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Mar 28th, 2014, 11:31 AM
  #4
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thank you TC and Gadyloo. helpful. I'll look into a Madikwe add-on and the Agent in MN. Will continue to check back here in case any other readers have advice . A trip like this seems to be a very challenging puzzle to put together. I've had advice to book everything ahead, including the details of all transfers. And other advice, to fly to j'burg or cape town and arrange it from there as you go along....so you can adapt to weather, special offers, and extend or shorten the adventures as it suits the family.
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Mar 28th, 2014, 06:21 PM
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If:

this is your first or second trip to Africa

& you have limited time in Africa

& you are not real sure what you'd like to do so some discussion up front would help steer you in the right direction

& you are not knowledgeable about the parks and various accommodations,

& you are not planning to just rent a car, drive around, and see what transpires,

then I would get it planned in advance with someone who can advise you and who can move quickly on availability.

"Is it worth putting all the time and money into making a trip happen for essentially 10-12 weeks from now???"

Yes, if you are interested in the destination and would be spending that much on a trip even if you had many months to plan.

It appears you are not narrowly focused on where or what. That works to your benefit when you have 3 months or before you depart.

Have a fun family trip.
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Mar 28th, 2014, 08:07 PM
  #6
 
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I did it in less time - we had enough miles to go, so we decided in mid April to go end of May (available flights with miles!)

Be flexible about camps. If you want Botswana (Okavango Delta area), try for 3 nights per camp at 2-3 different eco-systems (a good safari agent will do that) and don't worry too much if it's the "best". Botswana is pretty special, so all camps will be great. S Africa has camps in all price ranges, so decide what is important before you decide.

If you want S Africa, there are lots of options outside of the really expensive camps in Sabi Sands near Kruger. There are also good camps in other reserves. Also consider Mashatu (in southeast Botswana) and Phinda, Tembe and Zululand Rhino Reserve in KwaZulu Natal. Both are pretty easy (flying between areas) to combine with camps near Kruger.

Have fun planning!!
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Mar 31st, 2014, 09:53 PM
  #7
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i need assistance from a very knowledgeable travel agent, and someone that will handle all of the flights (int'l and continental) as well as book the safari experiences we want. anyone have a recommendation for someone based in the bay area, california or at least someone in my pacific time zone
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Apr 1st, 2014, 11:21 AM
  #8
 
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Don't know if such TA exists, myrrh88.

Most of the people that know their way around on the www are now booking at local (African) TA's with a good reputation. Bacause these are cheaper (lower wage costs in Africa, but also: some have their own camps - like Sun Safaris - which comes down to "cutting out the middle man").

Another plus for Africa-based TA's is that they've got a much better view on what's available in their country.

The only downside of using an African TA is that they don't handle international flights. The way I do it; book my international tickets first, then contact my TA and tell them when I will be there. They never had any problem getting me the right camps at the time I'm there. They also take care of local flights, tranfers, car rentals, etc... at least Sun Safaris does. But I guess others will provide idem services.

Ciao,

J.
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Apr 2nd, 2014, 08:43 AM
  #9
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Dear J/pixelpower.
then essentially you use and recommend SunSafaris TA with consistent success?
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