Safari Veterans

Old Apr 27th, 2006, 10:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 87
Safari Veterans

We are making our first trip to Africa in a month.

For those of you who have done a lot of safaris in Southern Africa - could you share preferences, reasons and thoughts on the pluses and minuses of permanent tents, mobile/walking safaris and lodges.

This forum has been a real treasure. Many thanks!
robertsmyth is offline  
Old Apr 27th, 2006, 11:36 PM
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Hi! First trip in a month.......what is your itinerary at the moment?

Southern Africa to begin with has smaller and more intimate lodges and tented camps. Some in remote areas giving you a true wilderness feel along with all the luxuaries you are looking for.

For a first safari, would recommend camps/lodges as you would like to see all the big game on the trip. Plus these camps usually operated in private concessions allow you to track the big cats and drive off-road. It is truly a thrilling experience. Most of these camps have their own rules in terms of max vehicles at sightings etc., so you have a totally great experience.

My personal preferences is biased towards Botswana. Both my trips to Wilderness and Kwando camps hv been awesome.

I write this of experiences from Botswana and the Sabi Sands in SA. Am sure lots of others will contribute to this thread.

Old Apr 28th, 2006, 07:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 330
Hi, Here are a few thoughts but really they seem obvious so you've probably already thought of all of this:

I can think of no minuses re: permanent tents. They are my absolute favorite accommodation worldwide. You're safe and comfortable yet you're in the heart of the bush with animals scraping around right outside the tent walls, and making noises all night. Most tented camps are placed in an area of spectacular natural beauty, and are decorated with local materials and art, so they're also a great place to relax in the mid-day between game drives. Size is limited so there's a feeling of exclusivity.

I haven't tried a mobile safari except for a 2 nighter. I think it would be awesome but certainly would be more rustic, especially with the toilets which would probably be shared and away from your tent. Some of these safaris ask that you help set up and take down camp, while others have camp staff to do all that type of work. Mobile safaris would be much cheaper than permanent tents.

Re: lodges, it depends upon your desires. Most of those I've looked at were too 'touristy' for me only because, in the bush, I don't want to feel like I'm in a luxury hotel. On the other hand many are simply gorgeous and offer amenities that tents cannot. For example I've stayed at Mala Mala which is incredible although the accommodations are within walls not tents. Personally, if choosing a lodge, I would at least look for a small one. Good luck!
Lin is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2006, 11:06 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 87
We're doing an odd mix of things -
3 nights at Madikwe Hills
two week Habitat for Humanity build in Botswana
couple of days in the nanta pans
couple of nights in Vic Falls
walking safrai with Robin Pope Safaris in South Luangwa
couple of days in Jo'burg - Soweto, apartheid museum and seeing family friends.

Hope to get a look a the diffent varieties of camps. This forum has convinced us that we'll probably be back for more.

BTW - for fun we're watching Hatari tonight on your suggestion. Hari Hatari - sounds like a 50's club singer.

All best,
robertsmyth is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2006, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,145
Are the mobile tents that much different in southern Africa from Tanzania? Our mobile accomdations in Tanz. were costlier than perm. tents and had ensuite flush toilets. I may rethink my combo of mobiles and perm. camps in Botswana if I have to share a walk to til.
cybor is offline  
Old Apr 30th, 2006, 06:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Hi Sherry,

The standard of accommodation at mobile camps in Botswana depends on which company you are travelling with (as it does in East Africa). Some companies have en-suite loos, some have private loos whcih are attached to the back of your tent, and some have shared loos. If this is a concern, talk to your tour operator about the facilities on your mobile.

jasher is offline  
Old May 1st, 2006, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 330
Sherry, I don't know anything about mobile tents in Tanzania so can't comment on those. I know people who've done the mobile trips in Bots though and they did share a toilet - and what to me was a bit scarier, it wasn't connected to the tent so you'd have to walk out there at night... but as Julian says, this all would depend upon the individual tour company so you can find out just by asking. And, I should have said "Mobile safaris CAN be much cheaper..." rather than WOULD be much cheaper than permanent tents. Sorry!

I do think the type of toilet and the amount of work expected are not a matter of the 'standard' of the tour company - many people prefer to help out with the work and desire a very rustic trip and therefore choose a company that offers this experience. These companies are not of a lower standard. Just know what to expect of yours! Have you posted your itinerary somewhere?
Lin is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Thanks for the info.
No real plans yet Lin - I'm still researching and dreaming. I will ask about the loo situation though at each camp, as I'm just too lazy to want to walk to the til at 3am and am finished with my facility sharing days.
cybor is offline  
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