Settled on SA/Botswana & Good Price!

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Jul 6th, 2005, 12:07 PM
  #1
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Settled on SA/Botswana & Good Price!

Thanks to many nice comments and suggestions from folks on this board we've finally settled on itinerary for our return to Africa next year. We're taking our 22 year old nephew -- an athletic and energetic type-- and have settled on the following (we think!).

3 nights Singita
2 nights Madikwe Safari Lodge
Overalnd transfer to Gabarone, then onto Maun (Thanks to Brandywine -- we stole this idea from her trip report!)
3 nights at Mombo Main Camp
2 Nights Jao
2 Nights Kings Pool

And then home. The price for this, including everything except the RT air from NYC to JNB is $17,150.00 for the three of us, and that's with nephew getting his own room/tent every time! I am pretty sure that sounds like an awfully good price...and thoughts??
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Jul 6th, 2005, 12:12 PM
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Disregard above price!! Math has never been my stong point...the cost (which I sitll think it pretty good) is about $11,000 per person for the two rooms per lodge...altogether just under $33K in total. Whoops...no wonder I was excited.
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Jul 6th, 2005, 12:14 PM
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Now just wait a darn minute! This isn't too much more than my $5,000 budget for my first trip....and you've got Mombo and Jao and King's Pool in there... who is your Safari outfitter if I may ask?! (Sounds like a great trip - lucky nephew!)
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Jul 6th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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And...no wonder I was excited, too...bummer....

(I missed your second post!!!)
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Jul 6th, 2005, 01:30 PM
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Now for the million dollar question...I am guessing that you are going between November 01st - March 31st for low season Botswana. Is this right?

Shoulder Season is April 01 - June 30th, high season is July 01st - October 31st.

Even so, it does look like a good price that is quite attainable from the right tour operator.

I do like your borrowed idea of Madikwe to Gabarone onto Botswana...that is one way to nearly guarantee wild dogs!
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Jul 6th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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This is actually for itinerary in mid-August of '06 -- peak of the high season.

We ended up having to do the whole thing around availability at Mombo. But, as long as the game viewing is a solid as is so often reportered we'll be happy we did!
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Jul 6th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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I think this seems like a good price.

We spent about $4.5K per person for 2 nights each at Mombo, Duma Tau, Kwetsani and River Club in June.

Judy
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Jul 6th, 2005, 02:54 PM
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Very cool!
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Jul 6th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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Okay, allow me to dissect the pricing (I love dissecting Micato and A&K because they are always Sooooo Overpriced, but that will obviously not be the case here)

3 nights Singita
$1,100 pp (no single supplement) x 3 nights = $9,900

2 nights Madikwe Safari Lodge
$375 pp (no single supplement here either) x 2 nights = $2,250

Overalnd transfer to Gabarone, then onto Maun
$500 pp? = $1,500

3 nights at Mombo Main Camp
$1,200 pppn x 3 nights = $10,800

2 Nights Jao
$850 pppn x 2 nights = $5,100

2 Nights Kings Pool
$850 pppn x 2 nights = $5,100

Botswana light air transfers = $1,000 total

Well, I am slightly over $35,000 without my return transfer back to Joburg, so you obviously did better than rack rates, which believe it or not is not an easy thing to do!

It is my understanding that Botswana is THIRTY PERCENT commissionable, while South Africa is TWENTY PERCENT commissionable, so by giving back about 7.5% on the commission, this is how your agent was able to accomplish this.

Again, I like how you or Brandywine or whoever she stole the idea from strategized it so that you would be able to link yourself from Singita to Botswana without a return to Joburg. Definitely something to consider for the future.
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Jul 6th, 2005, 06:58 PM
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(By giving back 7.5% commission, I meant that he/she is likely taking a 25% cut on their commission). Even so, let's say that of the $33,000, that about $30,000 is subject to an average of a 25% commission (South Africa is 20% while Botswana is 30%).

The commission then on $30,000 would be $7,500, so by taking a 1/4th cut, you save nearly $2,000 while the agent still has a nice commission of just over $5,000. Not bad and well deserved by an agent that helps put together a flawless trip. Win win situation.
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Jul 6th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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Concerning the land transfer from Madikwe to Gaborone, there's a story that you may not want to hear before your trip, but in theory , this land transfer should work well, and we did make it to Gaborone just in time for our flight up to Maun. And of course, don't have a wasted night at JNB. I believe your agent should have Wilderness set it up so that you have plenty of time between Madikwe and Gaborone. There were no problems at the border crossing between South Africa and Botswana, our driver just gave us the paper work to fill out and guided us through. Our flight from Gaborone up to Maun was originally about noon, but was changed to 2:00 pm, so we were able to get our full morning game drive at Madikwe. I think that I would do two nights at Madikwe (instead of three) because not quite as good as Sabi Sands or Botswana, but a very nice price per person, part way to Botswana, and good chance of seeing wild dogs.

Also, the flight from Singita should be about 9:30 in the morning, so you should be able to get a shortened early morning game drive at Singita before being taken to the airstrip (at least that's what we did from Londolozi).
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Jul 6th, 2005, 08:29 PM
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hey mike,
sounds like a great itinerary. you will have a fantastic time. i have a quick question for you. u say that u had to schedule your trip around the availability of mombo. does that mean that 2006 high season dates are already filling up there? i was possibly thinking about a aug/sep trip there and guess i better start trying to make reservations soon if it is fact true that they are filling up. any feedback would be appreciated bc i hadnt planned on inquiring just yet but maybe i should be.
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Jul 7th, 2005, 02:20 AM
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Sounds great itinerary!
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Jul 7th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback!

Roccco: very impressive price parsing. Wow! Can you do my taxes too?!?

Brandywine: Yikes! What's the story I may not want to know?? And thanks for the inspiration for the ground transfer. I agree, I wish we were one night fewer at Madikwe and one night longer at any of the Botswana camps; however, availability at Mombo was difficult and this was the only way we could make it work (Jao was pretty tight too).

Big country: I'd start in on Mombo right away if I were you. I have a fantastic agent and it was quite difficult to find workable dates. Now, we did have some limits on our flexibility as we need to be back in NYC by August 28th, and we required a private vehicle at Mombo, but even so it was clear that the camp is nearly full for August '06 already!!
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Jul 7th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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Mombo is already full for June next year, so definitely get moving.

Also the pricing will have been discounted because there are seven nights with Wilderness Safaris, which I understand is one of the criteria for getting a better deal.
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Jul 7th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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Mike -

Would you be able to approximate what the cost of your trip would be excluding your nephew?

Your itinerary looks like one I am planning for two of us so I am intrigued by your pricing - although I plan on going during the shoulder season of late June.

Thanks.
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Jul 7th, 2005, 01:18 PM
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Easy to figure what the cost for two would be since the single supplement for our third person is very small -- only about $1,500.

Without the nephew it would be roughly $25,000. Good luck!
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Jul 7th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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Mike14c -- You got a good price. We're spending $25,730 per couple on a similar SA/Botswana trip in September 2006. We're also staying at Mombo and Singita as well as a few other camps. Your itinerary looks fantastic!
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Jul 7th, 2005, 03:57 PM
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What a fabulous choice and such a great deal for your nephew....I had no idea the single supplement would be so little! Actually it doesn't make any sense to me, .....and he's got his own room/tent??? Such a deal on such a, "oh so fine safari".
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