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Staying out all day vs coming in for lunch in Botswana parks/concessions?

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Jul 26th, 2014, 03:37 AM
  #1
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Staying out all day vs coming in for lunch in Botswana parks/concessions?

Putting final planning touches on our trip next month.
Do people usually ask for a box lunch so they don't have to go back to camp or is there plenty to still see around the camps?

Chobe 3 days
Lagoon 3 days
Little Kwara 3 days
Xakanaxa 2 days
Stanley's 2 days

Appreciate your feedback

Lisa
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Jul 26th, 2014, 04:45 AM
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I like to stay out all morning if that is an option offered by the camp. If so, the camp will provide a breakfast to be eaten in the field. During say 12-3, it's the hottest part of the day, and having lunch or snack back at camp and getting a bit of a rest before going back out sometime between 3:30-4 always works for me.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 06:24 AM
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In all those areas, the camps are often a long drive from the animal viewing areas. And, nearly ass the picnic sites have decent bathrooms. It is far better in my opinion to stay out for lunch.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 06:43 AM
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Food is plentiful on safari so if it means you can opt for a lighter lunch to be able to stay out longer in the bush, then that's what I would do! But it does depend upon whether you have a private vehicle because other guests may want/need to return to camp. I would also check with the lodge/camp because sometimes they prefer guests to return so that their rangers/trackers have breaks as well. Totally depends.. Have a great trip!!
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Jul 26th, 2014, 03:45 PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but unless you are self driving or arrange for a private vehicle, I don't believe lunch on the road is available. They all go back to camp for breakfast/brunch and lunch. Contact the camps directly for info (and let us know what you find out!!). But if it's available, go for it! When we self drive we always stay out all day - we bring breakfast and lunch with us. Lots of animals are out during the "heat of the day" in winter (May-September), but I have not been on safari any other season.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 05:03 PM
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There are 6 of us, so will be essentially private. One couple is thinking it would be nice to come in for lunch, but I'm thinking it would be best to stay out (as long as it's ok with the camp), so I'm asking what you guys think based on our itinerary.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 01:02 AM
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Bear in mind that at the private concessions (my experience based on the Kwando camps) you can stay out after dark for a bit of a night drive. We usually didn't get back until 8pm to 8:30 from the afternoon drive and sat straight down to dinner. So there's no time to shower or anything before dinner. So if you stay out from 6am to 8:30pm it's a hell of a long day. Of course, you could opt to come back earlier but then you miss the late part of the drive. I'd rather have a break in the middle of the day. Their normal times are to go out early (will vary slightly based on time of year and sunrise) then back 11-12 for lunch then out again 3:30-4 (depends on time of year) and back at 8-8:30pm. That's a good 9-10 hours out in the bush.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 04:54 AM
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If you stay out any longer than the norm, I would factor that into the tip you will give your ranger and tracker. Always nice to acknowledge their extra efforts.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 07:37 AM
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You've received several viewpoints on what people prefer when on safari. Know also that some safari goers are content to put in their 4 hrs in the am and pm and use the middle of the day to take a dip, if a pool is available, take a shower, read or nap. The decision is yours and hopefully your group won't have a problem reaching a consensus. Here are some things to keep in mind:

-In my experience camps in Botswana and South Africa adhere to a well defined regimen of ~4 hrs out in the am starting at sunrise and ~4 hrs out in the pm. The only camps that have offered either entire mornings out or entire days out have been in East Africa. Even then, entire days out were not offered every day. As suggested above, you can contact the camps directly or your agent to learn whether options are available.

-Strictly speaking you ought not consider your car private. The camps are only too happy to put friends together but 6 friends is no different to them than 6 strangers; i.e., the same rules would apply. What constitutes a true private car is your forking over ~$350-500 and in Botswana I don't know whether that means you can dictate a full day.

-While it is true you can have a great sighting any time during the day, generally speaking best game viewing is mornings and late afternoon.

-Keep in mind that you will be out in the field for 13 nights and making 4 transfers. That means you'll be doing a fair amount of packing/unpacking. You're on vacation and it makes sense to me to slow down a bit. You'll have plenty of time for amazing sightings even if you do 4 and 4. But I really suggest giving yourselves some time to slow down in the middle of the day. I've always thought that an essential part of the safari is giving yourself the chance to relax into the camps you visit.
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Jul 28th, 2014, 09:28 AM
  #10
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You do want to consider your guide. In the camps we used in Botswana, they were up at 4AM to ready the vehicles. Then the guide came to our tent to wake us. He then had breakfast with us before heading out. They were obliged to sit with the guests at brunch/lunch and again at dinner. They drive horrid roads, fighting the deep sand ruts all day. They are sitting often outside the shade cover on a vehicle. They have reports to write and errands to do after dinner. So it is a VERY LONG day for a guide. The primary rest they get is during the hot afternoons when guests are in camp resting. We did two or three all day outings during our 22 day stay. After one, we would usually sleep in the next day and opt out of the early morning drive to give ourselves and our guide a bit of a rest. A guide who is worn out, will not be a good guide.
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Jul 28th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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Also, consider that most animals aren't very active during the hot part of the day. So you probably won't see much, if anything, during mid-day.

Celia
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Jul 30th, 2014, 02:48 AM
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Thank you so much for all of the feedback!!! I've decided to try for just 2 "all-dayers" in the largest concessions to maximize our chances of seeing the dogs.

I do remember how tiring it was when we stayed out all day in the Serengeti and how.much I relished the 2 dAys in private camp when we got to come in for lunch.

But I have to say - the stuff we saw in the heat of the day was amazing and would have been missed if we were in for lunch everyday. Charge by bull ellie, Verreaux's eagle owl family in canopy, B&W Colubus w/infant attached......

Thanks again; I can't wait!!!

Lisa
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Aug 1st, 2014, 09:51 PM
  #13
 
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http://safaritalk.net/topic/12897-kw...junejuly-2014/

Lisa,

I find some of those responses above absolutely puzzling ...... the link above is my latest trip to Kwando (my 14th) ...... the reason I've visited as many times is their flexible attitude, phenomenal guiding and game viewing ethos ....... If things were regimented, I would not return!

I recommend you talk to your travel agent and pass on the message as to what you wish to do!

Enjoy Lagoon and Little Kwara - there is great game viewing right now ..........

Cheers
Hari
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Aug 1st, 2014, 09:57 PM
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I mean for a party of 6 - it's a private vehicle, but, not considered one???? What does that even mean?

All that said - there may not be much use to staying out all day, everyday ....... at times, it will help though and it means you pick flexible camps (which you have in LK and Lagoon) ...... for example., if you find active cheetah and they will try to hunt during the heat of the day!

Otherwise, it may make more sense you head back to camp for lunch and get a little early start to your afternoon. You will see plains game/Elephants have a drink at the pans during the afternoons etc etc.,

As Stokeygirl says, they do a short night drive on your way back home ....

I have no clue about the other camps on your schedule as I have not been - my recommendation is for the two Kwando camps, though....
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 05:40 AM
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Hari, you've been around the Africa block enough times to know the usual meaning of a private vehicle: a car that most often an individual or couple pays a premium for to allow the flexibility of doing what they want when they want.

Policies of safari venues vary. Some are quite explicit and regimented (whether you or someone else opts to return is immaterial). Some venues specify that forking over the premium for a private car entitles them to a full day's use as they see fit.

Six friends in a car is private to the extent they know each other and hopefully are agreed on what they want to see and do. Especially in camps that are regimented, six friends in a car should not assume that they are entitled to extra time out while other cars return to camp.

I'm all for visitors getting as much as possible from their visits. It's why several of us recommended contacting the camps to learn their options.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 06:08 AM
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For a party of 6 in Botswana? If any company is stingy enough to treat them like little kids with regimented rules and regulations, I'd honestly recommend they avoid them like the plague (or currently Ebola )

Game viewing is unpredictable - that's the nature of it - Never say never!!! Who is to predict that you come back at 11:30 or whatever like clock work? nature doesn't work that way .....

I've seen some amazing cheetah hunts and kills in the middle of the day in Botswana!!! Including 3 cheetah brothers take a good hour to bring down a fully grown Tssesebe.

I'm glad you agree that you recommend contacting your agent to see what the options are .... better yet, talk to your agent and then on arrival your guide and camp manager to ensure flexibility. Even if you are in a shared vehicle, I'd recommend you talk to others in your vehicle to see if they are on the same wave length.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 06:21 AM
  #17
 
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PS: Regimented ethos brings about

A.) Lazy guiding
B.) Lack of tracking/radio-controlled game drives

eventually of that leads to

C.) A mundane experience.......
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 07:36 AM
  #18
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Hari, even though some of the camps in Botswana have outlined schedules, I never encountered a guide or camp that would pull guests away from a good sighting to have lunch. In fact, I've never encountered that anywhere. We have jumped up in the middle of meals to dash off to a sighting that someone radioed in. In southern Tanzania we were not allowed to drive in the parks after dark. That is the only time I have seen a sense of urgency to return to camp. Don't worry overmuch.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 07:51 AM
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TC, that has been my exact experience. No camp ever missed a chance to get visitors to an outstanding sighting, even with breakfast, lunch, teas or dinner pending. And I've had some of my best guides at camps that had structured time frames. I prefer camps that allow various options, including day-long outings, but I can't say I can correlate structured schedules with mundane experiences. At least, that's been my experience.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 06:58 PM
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TC, what happens when the cheetah are taking a nap in between all the patrolling and trying to hunt and you leave for lunch thinking that they are not going to move? Just to return to find them fully fed and Fat bellied? .......

I see from other posts of the OP that they have booked the trip with Bert at Fish Eagle safaris ..... so, Lisa does not need to worry at all ...... She is in good hands as long as she mentions to him what sort of experience she is looking for!

Hey, there are lots of people who love to head back to camp for lunch and a rest - that is totally cool ...... after all, it's their holiday!!!
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