Self-Drive Namibia versus Zambia Safari

Old Jun 14th, 2007, 08:48 PM
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Self-Drive Namibia versus Zambia Safari

I've been reading through postings for days and am utterly confused. Hoping someone might have some advice that would help me make a choice. Here are what I consider my options:

1) A self-drive tour (CC Africa's Gems of Namibia, but I don't drive standard. Has anyone done this using a car with automatic transmission? Is automatic practical/safe/available?

Alternatives within Namibia include Wilderness Safaris' Great Namibian Journey, but I hesitate to spend so much more for essentially the same route as the self-drive. I'm okay with the cost (about $6,000), but wonder why I would pay that when self-drive is so much less expensive. There is also a Namibian Lodge Safari available through Trek Holidays, but I can't find much detail on it. . .

2) A safari in Zambia. I'd love to do Botswana, but think my comfort zone is around $6,000 (excluding international flights). This doesn't get me very far in Botswana - would it provide a decent safari in Zambia? Who would you recommend as an agent/tour company to check out options with?

P.S. I am *hoping* to put this together for October to December this year, 2.5 weeks, traveling with my mother who is healthy but has an injured shoulder. Her shoulder would prevent getting in/out of a mekoro, etc. and might make cots (ie. camping) uncomfortable.

Thanks for any advice,

Any advice would be appreciated.

Canadienne is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2007, 10:41 PM
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Yes, using a car with automatic transmission is automatic practical/safe/available for that itinerary. I would add a day to it somewhere to take it easier.

Why it is more expensive:
The itinerary may look similar but is very different. If you did the Skeleton Cost part of it yourself, for example, it would cost maybe $2000 alone - due to flights - and overall accommodations owned by Wilderness are more expensive (I don't say better because I don't know).

Also, it's going to be guided throughout - self-driving you will only have guides at the accomodations - and it probably includes all your meals.

Personally, I would select the parts I liked from both of them and send an itinerary off to Cardboard Box (you can do a Web search - they are a Namibian-based travel agent used by a number of regular posters here) for a quote and some advice (and if you want to reduce the cost significantly that is quite possible). However, that's me....

Have you got a guidebook? Get a copy of the Bradt Guide and you'll quickly see that the itineraries are more different than they initially look.

If $6000 doesn't provide a decent 12 nights on safari in Zambia I'm going to have to take up some criminal activity. Define "decent", though!
kimburu is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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I haven't gone yet but have reserved an automatic transmission car for our trip in September.

There's a big difference between the two itineraries - Skeleton Coast Camp.

Here's how much it would cost if you did it as a separate add-on
Patty is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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On first read, my thought was Cardboard Box, which has already been mentioned. So, I'd contact them with what you wish to accomplish - places to visit, stay, budget, etc. They have been used by others who post here with much success and will probably save you $$$, especially for a self-drive.
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Old Jun 16th, 2007, 05:13 AM
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Hi Canadienne - Botswana is not out of the question if you have $6000.

A 9 - 12 day camping safari with a number of reputable companies would get you in for that amount (inc airfares).

A quick google of these search terms turned up heaps 9 day camping botswana luxury mobile.

It depends if wildlife is your main focus - Etosha is reportdly rich in wildlife - but is also rich with ppl and mobile phones...

Botswana is rich with wildlife and lacks the hoards of ppl.

Anyway - good luck with the planning.
This probably won't be your last trip -so chose one and then start plan the next one on the day you get back .
Thembi is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2007, 07:55 AM
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Guides/rangers are pretty resourceful and I think they might be able to find a way for your mother to take a mekoro ride without straining her shoulder if you explained the situtation to them.
tuckeg is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2007, 09:59 PM
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I went on the Great Namibian Journey last year. My opinion is mixed. I am not a jaded or difficult person, but I don't think I would take that trip again for various reasons.

Our tour consisted of 2 couples plus my husband and I. Conversation was limited due to language problems. Our guide stuck to us because he also spoke only English. There was too much togetherness. If you take the tour, find out who the other travelers are.

The driving got to be tedious. Only the main roads were paved, which made the trips between camps rather long and sometimes difficult. There were interesting things along the way,but we
felt we spent too much time driving. Perhaps if there had been more interaction with our travelmates, the drives wouldn't have seen so long.

We traveled independently to Botswana the year before, and stayed at Wilderness camps. I liked having the services of the resident guides. They were so very knowledgeable. On the Namibian Journey, our guide was with us all the time, and I missed having the "locals." People who live in the area aways have so much to say. Also, when you go by yourself, you get the opportunity to mingle with the other guests. We felt we couldn't leave our guide with the others.

Namibia has much to offer. The varied scenery is spectacular; the dunes, the parks, the Skeleton coast. We went by ourselves to Serra Cafema( spectacular.)

Hope this helps.

mollybee is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Comment for Mollybee...I just got back from a safari in Botswana, a mobile camping safari where I was one of 4 participants. We were together all the time with the same guide.One of the reasons it worked so well was because, very luckily, the guide and my fellow travellers were compatible. They were all very interesting and we had a lot in common. Otherwise, it would have been pretty difficult. When you sign up for something, it's very hard to ask about the other people much less get information about the other people that would help you make a decision.
linhelen is offline  
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