Tanzania vs Vic Falls/Chobe - Where should we go?

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Nov 8th, 2003, 02:35 PM
  #1
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Tanzania vs Vic Falls/Chobe - Where should we go?

We've been thinking about and planning this trip for several months and now it's time to make some decisions. We thought we had absolutely decided to go to Tanzania but were also hoping to have a side trip to Vic Falls. We're working with 2afrika and they designed a special trip to the Falls which includes Tanzania, but it just about doubled the cost for only one actual day at the Falls that we decided to just skip it.

Then I saw that 2afrika offers a trip to Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park for the same cost and number of days as the Tanzania trip. So now we're kind of torn between the two. I hope that some of you experienced travelers can advise us.

We are especially wanting to see the animals. I understand Chobe has lots of elephants, but would we see as many different animals and quantities as we would at Ngorongoro or Serengeti? In your opinion, which trip would be a better Africa experience for first time visitors?

I haven't heard much said about Victoria Falls? Is it not wonderful worthwhile experience? I read where some people suggested that it wasn't safe? Any thoughts there? Also if we switch and go Victoria Falls/Chobe, is it still OK to go in February? Or is that not a good time of the year?

Thanks for your help. We will need to make a decision by next week.

Pooh
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Nov 9th, 2003, 05:47 AM
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Pooh -

So many choices - but there is a saying "that one falls in love with their first safari country". In my case it was Kenya, but in no ways takes away from the wonderful experiences and adventures in the others (including Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana).

For an overall first safari experience I personally believe East Africa is the place to go, so Tanzania is an excellent choice. You'll find diverse environments at the different national parks and, of course, Ngorongoro Crater. The only animal you might not see much of is Rhino, or NO Wild Dogs, otherwise, there is plenty of everything else there. And the wonderful thing about the open plains of the Serengeti is that it is "open" and easier to spot animals.

I don't know what type of accommodations 2afrika is arranging for you, but do spend a few nights under "canvas" - that is truly Africa.

As to Chobe in Botswana, yes, they are known for their large herds of elephants, but on our trip we only saw 3 of the maybe 30,000 that are suppose to be in the park. It might have been the time of year, but can assure you will see plenty of ellees in Tanzania.

About Victoria Falls - it is beautiful, but the area doesn't really deserve more than 1-day. We didn't find the area dangerous, and after our Falls tour we walked freely around town and were most comfortable. And while the political environment in Zimbabwe is in upheaval, Zimbabwe is one of the most beautiful countries to visit and tourists aren't bothered there.

If you wanted to visit Southern Africa I would spend time in all the countries there So.Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, but that is alot and quite expensive - or Botswana (the Delta* area and Chobe), Vic Falls and maybe Kruger in So.Africa.

*the Delta area is relatively expensive on it's own.

So I'd stick with Tanzania mainly with entry via Nairobi, Kenya (can do a day or two doing the tourist sites in NBO) and then heading to Tanzania for the balance of your time.

Victoria Falls will always be there to do on another trip, and if you don't ever get down that way - well, there are lots of places many of us would like to travel to and never make it, yet life goes on.

East Africa will be a most wonderful adventurous experience.
 
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Nov 9th, 2003, 10:21 PM
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I have been to Vic Falls (pre-troubles) and Tanzania on separate trips. Both were wonderful, but if I had to choose between the two it would be Tanzania.

Chobe indeed has many elephants. Our guide estimated we saw about 1,000 on one day, both by boat on the river and from roads in the park. We saw one lion, no other big cats, but lots of impala, kudu, etc. On the river you will see elephant, hippo, crocodile, and many magnificent birds. Chobe also has large herds of buffalo.

The nothern circuit of Tanzania includes Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire. If you time your visit correctly, you will see the migratory herds on the Serengeti plains, accompanied by lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. Go during the short dry season (Jan-Feb), or around June, just after the long rains, when the herds move out of the shortgrass plains enroute to the Masai Mara. You have an excellent chance of seeing leopard in the Seronera Valley, as well as elephant, giraffe, and other game. Ngorongoro Crater is packed with virtually all the East African animals except giraffe. Lake Manyara and Tarangire have their own special qualities.
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Nov 10th, 2003, 03:19 PM
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Thanks so much for your replies. You've helped us decide. It's Tanzania for sure! Now that we've decided we'll really have to get moving. We hope to schedule the trip to leave from NY on February 2. We'll probably have a million more questions. It's so nice to know that there are people out there who will help. Thanks again. I'm getting soooo excited!

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Nov 10th, 2003, 09:09 PM
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Glad I could help. February is a perfect time to go, both to get away from your NY winter for awhile, and for game viewing. I was there in February a few years ago, and the highlight of our trip was the day we drove from Seronera Valley in the Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater. The shortgrass plains teemed with wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, antelope, ostrich, and other animals. We saw cheetahs stalking Thompson's gazelle, and lions basking in the sun on the kopjes (rocky hills) that dot the plains. The migration hasn't started yet at that time, but the wildebeest are calving, which is what attracts all the predators.

Have a wonderful trip.
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Nov 11th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Heimdall -

>>Ngorongoro Crater is packed with virtually all the East African animals except giraffe.<<

Except that I'm looking at a photo of giraffes in the Ngorongoro Crater - yes, right there in front of me, three of them in fact. Even our driver was kind of surprised, but they must have got in there somehow.

Pooh - giraffes or not, Tanzania is a wonderful choice.
 
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Nov 12th, 2003, 01:33 AM
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Okay, Sandi, I stand corrected. I certainly didn't see any giraffes while there. Now someone had better tell the guidebooks!
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Nov 12th, 2003, 03:48 AM
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Heimdall - Guess most were surprised, even my tour operator when showing her my photos was surprised to see Giraffe, but there they were. One is often surprised at many things one sees in Africa.
 
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Nov 15th, 2003, 06:22 AM
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Are you saying that we won't see giraffes at all in Tanzania, or just not at the Ngorongoro Crater?

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Nov 15th, 2003, 12:49 PM
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Pooh -

There are plenty of giraffe in Tanzania. Besides the surprising fact that I saw some in the Crater - I have photos of them in the middle of the roads throughout the Serengeti and in fields eating off the top of accacia trees - six heads popping over the top of the trees. And at waterholes and even one brave one drinking at the Grumeti River oblivious of the crocs nearby. You'll see giraffe!
 
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Nov 15th, 2003, 01:09 PM
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Okay, thanks for clarifying, Sandi. I want to see giraffe! We're getting so excited. We read (for the umpteenth time) through the brochures and itinerary and we can hardly wait! Everything sounds so wonderful and exotic...sitting on the private verandahs overlooking sweeping panoramic views of rolling plains of the Serengeti. Wow!

I think we're going to splurge and go on the hot air balloon ride. That has got to be fantastic! Has anyone done that? Was it great?

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Nov 17th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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For my two cents...

I have been to both East Africa & South Africa and in fact, went to Tanzania with 2Afrika in June of this year (2003). You should have a great time.

Although I immensely enjoyed both East & Southern Africa, I would hands down recommend your first safari be in East Africa. I've been on safari in East Africa three times (Kenya twice, Tanzania once) and in Southern Africa (Zimbabwe and South Africa) once.

In addition to a broad spectrum of animals, the Seregenti plains are seemingly endless and just beautiful.

As Sandi says Vic Falls will be there next time (it is tremondous and I recommend it highly). Besides, if you are anything like the rest of us Fodorites - once you get the safari bug, you will be hooked and it won't be long until you figure out how to get back!

Good luck! Make sure you let us all know how it went.

P.S. I sure hope you are in Tanzania during a full moon - the full moon over the Seregenti is a memory I will cherish forever.


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