trip to chobe national park

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Aug 28th, 2005, 10:39 AM
  #1
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trip to chobe national park

I would like to know which is better of the two - masaimara game reserve or chobe national park in terms of wildlife ? I have two kids of 5 and 12 yrs of age.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Hello,

If you can give us a bit more detail, you can help us help you. When do you plan to go? What do you want to see? What is your budget? Kenya is, in general, much less expensive than Botswana, because there is a wider range of accommodation choices.

You should be aware that travelling with a 5-year-old will place some pretty serious limits on your options. Many of the smaller camps (which give a better game-viewing experience) do not allow children under 12 for safety reasons. Even if children are allowed, you will almost certainly need to pay for a private vehicle as children have very different requirements from most other guests.

This factor alone makes Botswana a less attractive option, as there are far fewer 'child friendly' lodges there. The Masai Mara has many more child-friendly options. There are dedicated children's clubs at some of the larger lodges which will enable you to have some adults-only time if you wish. For your family, I would recommend the Mara.

You may also wish to think about the risk of malaria, which is a factor in both places you have suggested. Many people are uncomfortable with giving their children (especially ones as young as 5) anti-malarial drugs (not taking them is not an option). If you would prefer a malaria-free game-viewing experiece, you should consider South Africa, which has many wonderful malaria-free game-viewing destinations.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 28th, 2005, 10:59 AM
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Hello,

Here's a link to the website of Heritage East Africa, who run a number of child-friendly lodges.

http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/

Look under the 'clubs' tab for information on their children's programmes.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 28th, 2005, 11:07 AM
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hello jasher,
We plan to visit during 1st nov to 12 th nov. Our main purpose is to show wild life to kids. We will be coming from mumbai - india. we would like to visit cape town , victoria falls and either chobe nationa park or masai mara . our budget for the trip is 8000$.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Hello Pranav,

Since you are already going to Cape Town, I would suggest considering one of the reserves in South Africa rather than Chobe or the Mara, both of which are far enough away to add substantially to your costs. The South African reserves are much closer and have the benefit of being malaria free, and internal flights in South Africa are much less expensive than international flights.

A great malaria free reserve is Phinda Game Reserve near Durban. The game-viewing is excellent, and CCA has a great children's programme. Take a look on www.ccafrica.com

You can do a weekend (2 nights) in Vic Falls flying in and out of Joburg. 2 nights is usually fine for most people, unless you want to do whitewater rafting or one of the other more time-consuming activities. The Zambezi Sun is a moderately priced hotel right next to the falls which is very popular with families.

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 28th, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Hi Jasher ,
Thanks.
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Aug 28th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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To answer the original question, I would recommend Masai Mara. Especially in November, after the first rains, there is still a lot to see in the Mara while in Chobe all has disappeared in the bush.

Mitch
 
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Aug 28th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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Actually, if you plan to visit Victoria Falls, I would recommend Chobe, which is less than two hours from Victoria Falls. With kids, you could stay at a place like Chobe Game Lodge, which offers four game activities per day, and isn't as stuffy or exclusive as some other places. My visit was in August, when there were buffalo in the thousand, and elephant and hippos in the hundreds, and also saw lion, wild dog, all sorts of antelope, giraffe and birds. I would say that Chobe and Masai Mara are two of the best parks I've visited. Kruger would also be good since you can drive yourself, which I would think would be better for small kids -- they can talk, yell, scream and you can stop as often or as little as you like.

Michael
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Aug 28th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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Michael has a good point if you are definite about going to Vic Falls. When I posted my original reply I wasn't aware you were including the falls in your itinerary, but if you are then Chobe (or South Africa, since you are going to Cape Town) makes more sense from a logistical standpoint, though I think the Mara will have better game-viewing in November than Chobe.

When you start looking at safari camps, you may want to ask if they limit how many children can stay in a room with the parents. In some cases it's two, and and in others it's one. If it's one, you'll need two rooms rather than one, which will have a large impact on your budget. Some camps have two adjoining rooms which can be joined to create a two-room family suite.

Does the $8000 include international flights, or is that for the non-flight portion of your trip?

Cheers,
Julian
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Aug 29th, 2005, 04:14 AM
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While the Mara will probably provide better game viewing then Chobe in Nov/Dec... it doesn't make sense to be flying to Southern Africa - planning stops in Capetown, Victoria Falls and Chobe - then trying to get to Kenya.

Even the trip from South Africa to Vic Falls can be expensive for a family of 4 with flights and hotel accommodations. So if Vic Falls is a must on your itinerary, then Chobe makes sense; only a short drive (2-hrs) to/across the border to Botswana; November, however, isn't the best time for game viewing at Chobe.

Why not concentrate your time in Southern Africa with Capetown and those camps (at any number of game parks - malaria free if preferred) and that allow younsters less then 12/yrs on game drives. You can do self-drives within Kruger Park where they provide nice accommodations at reasonal prices and where the age of your children shouldn't be a problem.

 
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Aug 29th, 2005, 10:39 PM
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Thanks for your responses.I will do some planning on this basis
pranav
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Aug 30th, 2005, 03:06 AM
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Please be aware that Kruger National Park is NOT a malaria-free zone. You may want to choose Pilanesberg (National Park near Sun City) or Madikwe (North of Pilanesburg, close to the Botswana border) for a truly malaria-free area. Madikwe has some really nice private lodges at a lot less money than a private game reserve near Kruger. Pilanesberg is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Johannesburg, and Madikwe about 6 hours.

If you choose a self-drive through either Kruger or Pilanesburg, your children may not see much. Sometimes the grass is so high that even adults have a hard time seeing out of a regular car - a vehicle where you're sitting higher up is definitely a major advantage!

What a special treat for your children!!!
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Aug 30th, 2005, 08:44 AM
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Hello,

Personally, I would not recommend either Pilanesberg or Madikwe. PIlanesberg is small and very crowded, with lots of large tour groups, and feels a bit like a zoo. Madikwe is a very nice reserve and will no doubt be wonderful in a few years, but right now it doesn't really feel like it's quite ready for 'prime time' -- there are telephone poles and wires overhead (there are plans to bury them), and you are constantly running into the fences on game drives. The game is also very thin on the ground relative to other parks.

For the best malaria-free game-viewing experience, I would suggest Phinda Game Reserve or, if you prefer to self-drive, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi. If it's your first safari, you will see a lot more if you stay at a private reserve -- there are professional rangers and trackers who will spot animals you would never have seen, and you can drive off-road and at night (neither of which are allowed in a national park).

Cheers,
Julian
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