South Africa budget plan Christmas 2011

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May 24th, 2010, 07:27 AM
  #1
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South Africa budget plan Christmas 2011

I am in the beginning stages of a plan to go to South Africa (live in L.A.) for Christmas 2011. This is the only time of year it is easy to take time off. I plan on sticking to one half of the country to slow things down. Looking like the West.

Interested in Game view and photos, hiking, nature. For sure we also want to go up to Okavango delta, not too interested in luxury, but maybe 3-4 days in a private reserve.

I know it's expensive. what would be a range of land only budget?. Three week trip.
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May 24th, 2010, 08:01 AM
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Well, for a three week trip you could fit in the Okavango Delta, but it is going to cost A LOT. Aside from the flights up to Botswana you will probably be paying around $400-500 per person per night over Christmas.

If you don't want to take out a mortgage to do the trip, I'd recommend staying in South Africa, as you can get excellent safaris in the Eastern Cape. I'd say fly into Cape Town, and after spending some time there take a drive along the beautiful Garden Route. You can take plenty of amazing walks in the area, including the world famous Otter Trail.

At the end of the GR you can take a safari in one of the great private parks while you are there.

For all this, and including car hire, I'd say you could pay around £1500-1700 per person for the land arrangements for 3 weeks.
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May 24th, 2010, 10:39 AM
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So far I'm thinking of staying in the west. I'm sure Cape town is great and I'd love to run there. I know there are several runnning clubs in town and two famous Ultramarathons.
But I can't do everything. So wine areas,Garden route all sound nice but not this trip.

Thinking Kruger,Kwazunatal,wild coast-hiking, drakesburg-hiking and Okavango delta. I'm willing to spend quite a bit more would 8000-9000 dollars do it for both of us?
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May 26th, 2010, 04:30 AM
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Hi RobertR

If it's game viewing, photography and nature that you are looking for, you've certainly come to the right place!! WOW!! I'm excited for you.
I would very strongly recommend something like a specialist photgraphic safari in a place like the SabiSands because there you have excellent game viewing, extremely professional guiding ( especially if you do make use of a game ranger specialising in photography) you can do guided bush walks. Excellent lodgings and superb food goes without mentioning. I love going on specialist safaris - your experience is just so much more rewarding.
As you already mentioned, the Delta is expensive but worth it if that is what you really want.
I'm curious to know - you said it looked like you would prefer going the west of South Africa - which specific areas did you have in mind?
Kind regards
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May 26th, 2010, 08:39 AM
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As above Thinking Kruger,Kwazu-natal,wild coast,Drakesburg and Okavango delta and adjacent.
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May 27th, 2010, 06:32 AM
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I have seen estimates for a fly in safari as high as 1000/person/day and more! Wow Are people really paying
20,000-30,000 dollars for their vacations?
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May 27th, 2010, 04:55 PM
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Robert-

Yes!! The first time I went to southern Africa was for three weeks and it was over $15,000 pp without flights at a mix of high luxury and mid range camps in Botswana and private reserves outside of Kruger with CT and Vic Falls. Second time was ten days all on safari in S Africa and Mashatu in Botswana for under $5000 pp. We hired drivers to get us from camp to camp instead of flying or renting a car. It can be more reasonable if you do mobile safaris or self drives and add a little time in Cape Town and/or Vic Falls. But it is a bit of sticker shock isn't it? Hopefully you'll get a little feedback from others who have done a similar trip to what you are considering.
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May 27th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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Some do and probably even more than that. But it is not necessary to have a wonderful experience.
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May 27th, 2010, 07:34 PM
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RobertR,

You certainly can fly into Maun or any other city and make a last minute booking at much cheaper rates.
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May 28th, 2010, 04:09 AM
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Hi RobertR

O.k...Kruger, Drakensberg etc are all more towards the east of the country and an excellent choice - I was a bit worried when you said the western part of the country since it is not nearly as scenic as the east and the weather isn't as good either.
RobertR, yes - some people do pay that much money but it IS NOT necessary - you can still have a wonderful vacation and not spend as much as that - promise! The Okavango part of your trip will probably be the most expensive part, but well worth it if you really want to see that specific area. However, if it's more about game viewing and going on safari, there are other options that you may want to explore.
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May 28th, 2010, 06:10 AM
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woops, I meant the Eastern part of the country. We also like birds which we hear are great up in Botswana.
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May 28th, 2010, 07:05 AM
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You might check out mobile camping for Botswana. It's non-participatory, very fun and less expensive than many (most?) of the camps. There are several trips reports here on Fodors.
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May 30th, 2010, 10:07 AM
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Hey...why didn't you say you love birds??? I've been on so many specialist birding safaris I can't even count any more! RobertR, I wish I could type you an essay about a wildlife experience coupled with excellent birding, but I'm afraid I'm going to become a terrible bore as this is public forum. Yes, Botswana does have excellent birding, BUT, places like Phinda has a wealth of endemic species with excellent game viewing (especially great regarding lion & cheetah - saw 3 cheetah kill a waterbuck there in December). Seeing that you will be coming in December, that is a WONDERFUL time for birding in SA. Oh dear, I'm getting all excited on your behalf simply because I know what a treat you're in for while you still don't know!
If you feel like it, you're more than welcome to drop me a line and I will gladly share the locations of some of my best wildlife-cum-birding experiences.
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May 30th, 2010, 12:02 PM
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pink throated twinspot

I just want to get living4safari going. So sorry, RobertR. Carry on.
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May 30th, 2010, 03:13 PM
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Been there, done that...or is it seen that? Saw it at Phinda of course...
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May 31st, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Oh yeah? Well, I saw one making a kill. A breakfast worm.
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Jun 2nd, 2010, 07:38 AM
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Ok, I am getting answers all over the place. If my total budget is 10k, and I want to do a fly in with two locations in Botswana during Christmas,if I spend 6-7 K on that week I would still have 3-4 k for the other 2 weeks.That is 215-285/day for the remaining time. I think that is doable,Esp as we plan to hike for at least 3-4 days which may be much cheaper/night. ???
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Jun 7th, 2010, 12:53 AM
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Hi RobertR

There is one thing that I would like to draw your attention to: from 1-20 December prices in Botswana are relatively low, but from about the 21st of December up to about the 7th January it is very expensive. If you take that into account, it may influence your budget negatively, but if you are able to plan your itinerary a little bit differently, you may be able to really maximise your budget and get the most out of your trip. Whenever I go on safari and I have a bit of a complicated itinerary, I make use of a very reputable tour operator because being in the industry they are more creative and usually come up with very good ideas. With 10k, you should be able to have an absolutely awesome holiday.

Kind regards
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Jun 7th, 2010, 04:17 AM
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So, Living4safari - what is your recommendation for RobertR?
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Jun 7th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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We will be there before the 20th as I presume esp. if prices are lower that we do the Botswana portion first. Looking at the 2011 calendar we may go Dec 10th. That puts us there by the 12th. So we can be back from Botswana before the 20-21st.

Is this the dividing line in prices for all of South Africa as well?
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