Suggestions for Africa next April

Nov 2nd, 2007, 01:24 PM
  #1  
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Suggestions for Africa next April

I am currently looking to take my first trip to Africa next April with my wife and 2 friends. We don't mind sparse accomodations, but we are also not looking to camp or rough it. The main goal of the trip is to see all of the widlife and to see Victoria Falls, so right now I am planning on using 2Afrika and their Season of Plenty package which includes a stay at Chobe Lodge for Safari trips, viewing, etc... I was looking for any pros or cons to Chobe Lodge, 2Afrika, or any suggestions from all of you seasoned travelers on Africa or other tour operators to use. Thanks in advance for your help.
BEABOY is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 07:46 PM
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I haven't been to Chobe lodge, but have read good things about it ..... Chobe game area itself is at it's best at the height of the dry season when all the animals come to the Chobe for it's water source. April, i don't think is the appropriate time for game viewing there.

Have you considered a mobile trip? there are different levels of luxury and i don't think you need to "rough it out" it isn't like a scout's camping trip .......

If you wish to stay at the permanent tented camps, then the green season (Dec-Mar) may be a bit favourably priced. Since, you say April ....... if you can say go in Feb or March, then you can try this option. If so, Kwando and Wilderness safaris will be two options (among others) for you .....

Hari
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Nov 2nd, 2007, 09:24 PM
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For April, Chobe is a reasonable destination, weather and rain-wise.

http://www.2afrika.com/site/safaris/...sp?SafariID=43

http://www.africa-adventure.com/dsp_besttime.html

Chobe Game Lodge will be very comfortable. I’ve visited but not stayed overnight. It is a sizeable, bustling lodge. Not remote or secluded, but you can drive away from the crowds and it has great boat trips that leave from its dock.

You don’t get to stay anywhere else so that could be a negative because you won’t get out into the more wild areas of the park or see any other areas of Botswana. But no unpacking and repacking either. In the amount of days you have, this trip does not eat up precious time by traveling to another park.

I didn’t see how many participants or how many per vehicle. You’ll want to make sure you get your own window in the vehicle. Also see what the cruises entail. Since it states “game viewing” cruises, that should be the focus and not booze and music. You could ask what is the private cruise vs. the ones not labeled private?

If you stayed overnight in Vic Falls the last night, you could have a more relaxed time there, instead of returning to Chobe Game Lodge. But you’ll still have enough time to see the falls, take photos, etc. April will be a good time for the falls because of the previous months’ rains.

• 2 Safari Game Viewing Drives in the Chobe National Park
• 2 Safari Game Viewing Cruises on the Chobe River
• 2, 2-Hour private Safari Game Viewing Cruises on the Chobe River
• 1 2-hour fishing or birding Safari Game Viewing Cruises on the Chobe River
• 1 Namibian Village walk

This list of activities I copied is good. I have thought that when I go back to Chobe, I’d like to focus on the river because it really attracts the animals. This trip does that, plus gets you out on the land as well.

In sum: 4 days of safari activities, 1 day of Vic Falls with 6 nights Chobe Safari Lodge, 1 night Joburg Hotel
Just over $3000 from US, flts included A good deal, I think.

This is a simple but clever itinerary that will meet your goals of the falls and wildlife, I also like Chobe more than some people. Chobe is the most crowded park in Botswana with less feeling of wilderness than other places. But you can drive away from the crowds. I did not notice crowds on the river.

The Chobe River, especially in the evening, is really a spectacle--one of the most wildlife intense water activities in Africa. On drives I saw lots of lions, eles, antelope, hippos in river, crocs in river, buffalo. The lions hunt the buffalo in Chobe. Some people have seen wild dogs. Cheetah are present.

You do something cultural in Namibia, which may be somewhat commercial, but it is still a village, and that should be interesting.

Some alternative itinerary suggestions I’d make to see Vic Falls and lots of animals would cost much more than this. I’d really like to know what you think of this if you go because I’ve wanted to spend several days at Chobe some day.

2Afrika has been used with success by others on this board.


atravelynn is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 05:54 PM
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We took a boat safari through Chobe last year and saw hundreds of elephants coming down to drink and quite a few hippos too. This was in October, don't know how it will be in April. Cruised past the Chobe lodge-it is big but looked kind of nice- on the river with hippos out front. Their boat was a huge party type thing, but maybe for the private boat safaris they use something else. We drove through a part of Chobe park on the way to Namibia and would also like to spend some time there with all of the elephants. Sounds like a nice package, but find out about game viewing from there at that time of the year.
matnikstym is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 07:06 PM
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We spent 4 nights at Chobe Lodge in February. The weather was great. We were not with a group--I made all of the arrangements for a 6 week trip to Southern Africa. Each morning we went out to the park and each afternoon we went out on the boat--trips provided by the Lodge. We were really, really close to the animals in the mornings--lion, lioness with cubs, and several leopards--too close in an open vehicle for me! Lots of other animals, also. The river was full of hypos and the river banks were full of elephants. I have a great video of elephants swishing their trunk full of grass in the water to clean it before eating. We really enjoyed the time at Chobe Lodge.
Jane
JaneB is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 09:20 PM
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...that's hippos, not hypos.
JaneB is online now  
Nov 4th, 2007, 03:10 AM
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If the main goal of the trip is to see all of the wildlife, then you should see more of Botswana while you are there - rather than stay in one area only. Okovango Delta or the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve will add to your complete exposure to the wildlife and to the diversity of the terraine that Botswana is famous for.

bushperson is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 12:22 PM
  #8  
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I appreciate everyone's advice, unfortunately because of schedule we are stuck with April (actually the end of April and into May). We are also on a pretty limited budget, the whole deal from 2Afrika is less than $4000 a piece which is about the most we want to spend. The list that atravelynn listed is part of our package. So is it really better to travel around to other places or do more game drive/safari activities at one spot? My initial feeling is one spot is better unless there are animals or things I can't see as part of my Chobe package. Additionally HariS, if April/May isn't a good time for game viewing, would I be better served some where else? Or that this being my first safari will there still be a lot to see? Thanks again for everyone's input and help.
BEABOY is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 12:27 PM
  #9  
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Atravelynn, thanks for the website, it seems the time we are in Chobe would be on the good side, heading towards excellent. That makes me feel a little better about Chobe in April/May.
BEABOY is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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BeaBoy,

Almost May is better than early April.

Where would there be more wildlife?
Perhaps the Serengeti in the western part. The Maasai Mara is always good but April/May is not the peak time. But Vic Falls is not near. The Sabi Sands have decent game year round. Vic Falls is closer, but not as close as Chobe.

What you won't see in Chobe is huge migrating herds and you won't see rhino. So your expectations are reasonable, I'd ask 2Afrika about the ele herds that time of year. I would think you'd see some eles, though.
atravelynn is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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While Chobe is known for its large elephant herds, I've found that during the "green" (read: low) season, which April/May are in Bostwana, it's likely game will be dispersed. Unlike the dry periods when game congregate at the few water sources; when it's wet all over the park, they can be anywhere.

While I haven't been at Chobe during this period, rather in November when they had light rains, of the supposed 30,000 elephants in the park, we saw only 3 in 2/days here... and we drove everywhere.

Game just can't be predicted or guaranteed. Except for the fact that they're somewhere, you just have to put in more effort to find them. Something to keep in mind when traveling during these months.

sandi is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 03:25 PM
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Here is another company with a chart on where to go when
http://www.bornfreesafaris.com/best_travel.htm


Check out these blogs re: April and Chobe.
http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blog...ruise-Chobe-24
http://leanneghana.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_archive.html
http://blog.case.edu/jacqueline/2006/04/20/zimbabwe

This thread is about April and Chobe. Note Skimmer’s response. He spends many weeks at a time in Botswana.
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=35081606

atravelynn is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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atravelynn, thanks for all of the helpful links. I think I am going to book with 2Afrika, comparing everything it seems to definitely be the best deal. I of course will post a trip report at the end of the trip and let everyone know how it went.
BEABOY is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 11:50 AM
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For a bit of reassurance, we used 2Afrika for Botswana last year, May 17-27, and they did a fine job. We devised a longer custom trip and that is now, more or less, their "Purple Shadow" trip. Chobe Lodge, while large, is spread out and the only time you see many people is at dinner or when the group boats are leaving. The elephant, hippo, buffalo and ungulate activity along the river was phenomenal. Birding was also excellent-hope you like African Fish Eagles!
I would try to trade or pay extra to get rid of the group boat trips and do more game drives and/or private boats. The Namibia walk was an interesting morning trip-not a staged production number for tourists. Vic Falls was flowing full force and we were lucky to see elephant very close to the falls.
As you said, not a bad deal. Have fun.
QueenofDaNile is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 02:28 PM
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Well, I have booked my trip with 2Afrika for the "Season of Plenty" Trip and will be heading out in a week for Botswana and the Chobe game area. I was checking to see if anyone had any further advise for packing, money, or any insightful help before or upon arrival for our journey. As always this community has been a great help and I want to thank everyone on these boards for their help.
BEABOY is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 04:16 PM
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Packing--keep it light. I like zipoffs. Layers work well. No hiking boots needed, save space and weight.

I'd include a layer of rainpants and gortex or similar jacket for Apr. But it probably won't rain that much and you'll need a wide brimmed hat for sun. I bring 2 and 2 pr or more of sunglasses, 2 containers sun lotion, 2 or more high SPF lip balm, in case something happens to one of these essentials. But at Chobe Game Lodge, you could probably buy replacements; that's not true everywhere.

Toothpaste in ziplock to keep animals out.

Copies of all documents in separate spot from your actual documents and copies at home.

Take the credit card you booked all airfare with, even FF miles.

Call credit card co. in advance so they won't cancel your card when overseas purchases appear and they can't reach you.

Small flashlight/penlight for night drives so you can see camera settings and check around you that you have all your belongings.

Bring your camera manual anda converter for battery rechargers. 2Afrika can help with that.

Lots of $1 dollar bills and $5s too for tips. I did not have much use for pula in Botswana.

It's almost here. Have fun.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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Have a great time Beaboy! Beware, you're going to get hooked on Africa! Travel safe!
matnikstym is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 04:53 PM
  #18  
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get yourself a headlamp! very handy when you have to use your loo ;-)
 
Apr 19th, 2008, 07:44 AM
  #19  
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Thanks again for all the help I will give a trip report when I get back in a few weeks!
BEABOY is offline  

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