Tanzania/Botswana in November?

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Sep 7th, 2000, 01:00 AM
  #1
Celia
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Tanzania/Botswana in November?

We would like some advice from anybody who's been on a safari in early November.
We're looking at visiting either northern Tanzania or Botswana. The travel agents we've talked to tries to convince us not to visit at this time of year due to rains etc. It might be the only time we can go though unfortuanately so it would be great to hear from someone who's visited either part of Africa to get a view on what the game viewing was like and if the weather in any way ruined the trip.
 
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Sep 7th, 2000, 03:40 AM
  #2
Bert
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Rain is unlikely to spoil a trip to either N. Botswana or N. Tanzania in November: while there is a chance of rain in both areas, we're not talking monsoon here... For example, the average monthly total rainfall for Maun (on the edge of the Okavango Delta in Botswana) is only 2 inches for November. N. Botswana does get quite hot in November, with mid-day temperatures in the mid-90's F to be expected. The game-viewing in November depends a lot on local circumstances - this year they had a lot of rain early in the year, so conditions ought to be great.

As for Tanzania, the 'short rains' are supposed to come in November. The average for the month is approximately 4 inches (more in some places, less in others), so a slightly better chance than Botswana to get wet, but much cooler overall. Game-viewing is always good in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, and can be excellent in Tarangire until the rains come. Tanzania has experienced such an extensive drought this year, that any rain would be welcome.

 
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Sep 7th, 2000, 04:49 AM
  #3
Celia
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Bert,you seem to know what you're talking about,so which country would you recommend for the best game viewing in early November? Am I correct in assuming that the migration will not be in the Serengeti at this time of year? Will this make a big difference,or is the Serengeti always good for viewing game? Have you any experience of southern Tanzania-Selous and Ruaha-in November?
 
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Sep 7th, 2000, 05:39 PM
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Bert
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If the prospect of heat doesn't bother you overly much, I'd recommend Northern Botswana, provided several days are spent at Mombo Camp. Excellent game-viewing (especially of big cats) year round. Combine that with a good 'mixed activity' camp in the Okavango Delta and a few days in either Linyanti or Chobe, and you've got yourself a nicely balanced trip.

The migration is a tough call in November, as it depends on the timining and extent of the short rains. In most years, the migration is already moving south into Tanzania by November. By selecting some camps in the far northern Serengeti (such as Klein's Camp or Migration Camp) or in the Western Corridor (Kirawira or Grumeti) you are likely to enjoy excellent game-viewing regardless.

I'm afraid I do not have any experience of Ruaha and Selous - that's my next trip...
 
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Sep 18th, 2000, 03:27 AM
  #5
Celia
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Bert,
Have you had any experience of the following camps in Botswana:
Duma Tau-Linyanti
Chitabe-Moremi
Vumbura-Okavango
Are they a good selection or are there better camps that you would recommend for a visit in early November. We've looked at Mombo Camp as well but they charge a very high supplement compared to most other camps.
 
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Sep 18th, 2000, 06:36 AM
  #6
Bert
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I've stayed at all three of those camps (Dumatau, Chitabe & Vumbura) and rate them highly. I have lately been receiving reports of very good game-viewing at Chitabe (by the way there is a good article about Chitabe and Kings Pool on the New York Times travel website). Dumatau can be very lively as it is located on the edge of the mopane forests with some good riverine forests around. However by November a lot of the elephant in the area will probably have moved away. Vumbura has lots of sable antelope and there should be some good buffalo herds in the area. I do have some personal favorites other than these three but overall it is a good combination.
 
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Sep 18th, 2000, 06:48 AM
  #7
Celia
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Thanks for you help! You mentioned that you had some personal favourites.Which camps would that be?
It seem like most of them cost the same(part from Mombo) so it is just a question of choosing the best ones.

You also mentioned that the elephants had moved away from Chitabe in November. That is a worrying sign to me. Does that mean that we'll have a disappointing trip as far as gameviewing goes. We went to the Masai Mara and Samburu in September last year and we saw an enormous amount of game. I though that Botswana would be even better but maybe I'm wrong here.
 
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Sep 19th, 2000, 03:52 AM
  #8
Bert
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I am particularly fond of Duba Plains Camp (in the same general area as Vumbura). My other favorites include camps such as Kwetsani and Jacana Camp which are both quite small and located in a beautiful area of the Okavango Delta. Jacana Camp is a true water camp, while Kwetsani offers both water activities and game drives. However I wouldn't suggest them for a short visit as there are better game-viewing camps, such as Savuti Camp. It is located on the edge of the Savuti channel, and it has a water hole which attracts lots of game. Last year when we were there we came back from a game drive only to see one of the 'resident' lions sitting next to one of the tents, acting much like a guard dog!

Northern Botswana has lots of game and I don't think you will be disappointed. While the big concentrations of elephants may have moved out of the Linyanti area (Dumatau, Kings Pool, etc) by November, there are still plenty of elephants around.

 
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Sep 20th, 2000, 09:44 AM
  #9
Ceilia
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Bert,

A)Is there any risk that the waterholes and waterways will be dried out by November?
It would be such a shame to visit the Delta to find that we can't use canoes/mokoro for gameviewing or watch the game by the waterholes from the camp.

B)Would you happen to know if any of the camps have hides where you can watch the game?
 
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Sep 20th, 2000, 10:03 AM
  #10
Bert
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Of the Linyanti camps, both Kings Pool and Dumatau have great hides. The one at Dumatau looks out over the source of the Savuti Channel - a great place to observe hippos, especially in the late afternoon as they start getting active.

If you want to be sure of enjoying mokoro outings, consider selecting a camp in the central part of the Delta, where there is permanent water year-round, such as Xigera (recently re-built) or Kwetsani or Jao.

Dumatau is right alongside a permanent lagoon which is unlikely to dry up, but the camp does not offer canoe or mokoro outings.

 
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Sep 20th, 2000, 10:20 AM
  #11
Pat Manning
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Celia, just wanted to put my two cents in. I just returned from a trip to Northern Botswana (that Bert put together for me by the way) and will heartily recommend it. We stayed this year at Dumatau and loved it. The area is very diverse even though we missed the elephants also (they were late this year). We saw 14 different lions in one day, wild dogs hunting impala, hyenas demolishing a (poor guy) dead lion. Also stayed at the new Mombo, and I must say that even with a surcharge it is well worth it. The game is so relaxed there that you are practically guaranteed to see all the predators you want. We saw 4 different leopards in 2 days, lots of cheetah, wonderful groups of lions. Not to mention the camp itself (fantastic).

Haven't been to Tanzania (yet!) so can't comment.

Pat
 
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