Walking and Overland Safaris in Botswana

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Mar 1st, 2006, 06:57 PM
  #1
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Walking and Overland Safaris in Botswana

Hi! Well I have been researching and while at first my husband and I said "no way" to any sort of camping trip (we have never been camping), we are rethinking the idea b/c it seems like a pretty amazing way to see Botswana at a more reasonable price, and it sees like the "camping" is not really "camping" like we think of it since your guides are taking care of it. So my questions are:

1) How good of shape do you need to be in for a walking safari? We are in our late twenties, go to the gym on a regular basi, and walk a lot in NYC, but we are not regular "hikers."

2) What is the camping like on a walking safari or overland safari? Will we be ok and feel comfortable if we have never camped with the "serviced" camping?

3) Can anyone recommend a good walking safari or overland safari company to use in Botswana? CCAfrica has one that looks like it might work for us: http://www.ccafrica.com/expeditions/...-EBBP/type-2-2 , but I would like to look into some others as well.

4) Is it preferable to go with a group (most look to be 7 or 8 people at most) or with a private guide?

5) Would we have a "better" first tie safari experience do this or a self-driver Kuger trip?
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Mar 1st, 2006, 07:54 PM
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santharamhari
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If you are regularly active......like you sound........you should be in decent shape to do the walking safaris........bear in mind, on the walking safari.....you do the walk at a slow pace taking in the full extent of nature and learning about every little thing.......about 4 hrs at a time i think, but at a leisurely pace.....

I cant recommend any specific safaris......i only do the conventional jeep safaris.....with some walks incorporated here and there.....
 
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Mar 1st, 2006, 08:25 PM
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santharamhari
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Wilderness safaris may be able to help you out.......they also have a walking trails camp, called Chitabe walking trails......www.wilderness.co.za

 
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 03:20 AM
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Hello,

It sounds like you will be fine on a mobile safari in terms of physical condition, though this may very well depend on the time of year that you travel. In the summer (November-February), it is extremely hot and humid in Botswana and you may find it quite unpleasant to be walking. Personally, I would avoid walking during that time of year because of concerns about insects, comfort, and above all safety -- you wouldn't want to stumble over a pride of lion resting in the shoulder-high grass!

Some mobile safaris use open Land Rovers to move between camp sites and do game drives from the camps. You will see more game and have better photographic opportunities on a vehicle-based mobile safari as the vehicles disguise the human scent and profile which would cause the animals to flee. However, you will feel closer to the bush on a walking safari. An itinerary which combines both would give you a taste of each.

CCA's mobile safaris are very well-regarded and will offer a good combination of comfort and reduced expense.

You might also want to look into Game Trails Botswana, who have some nice luxury mobile itineraries.

http://www.gametrailsbotswana.com/

Wilderness safaris offer some itineraries which combine walking and fly-camping with staying in one of their permanent camps. This is likely to be the most expensive option. The walking trails in the Selinda and Chitabe reserves are known to be very good.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 05:37 AM
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I'm not a "camping" type person and most people were shocked when I told them that's what I was doing for 17 nights in Botswana (Oct05). It was non-participatory and I had a great time.

I personally wouldn't want a walking safari only. I love the game drives in vehicles. I've done the game walk that they do during mid-day and that's enough for me. In my mind it's more for exercise than game viewing.

I've promised my college age twins that I'll take them to Africa when they graduate from college. I want to take them on the mobile safari in Botswana and I'll probably use either Game Trails http://gametrailsbotswana.com/index.htm or Masson Safaris http://www.masson-safaris.com/ . Their expected grad dates are 2007 and 2008. I'm hoping my DD will wait one year for DS and we'll all go together. I'm already excited about it and it's so-o-o far away. I don't know how many of us will end up going but we'll plan a private safari even if it's just the 3 of us. We'll do what we want, when we want. And the price is reasonable for a 2 person private mobile safari. There is a little more info regarding prices in this post http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...start=0&screen with a link to a Masson Safari trip report. My trip report and photos are here http://www.pbase.com/cjw/image/51334626. The trip report is beneath the picture.

I haven't been to Krueger but I have been to the Sabi Sands (adjoins Krueger). I would choose Botswana over Krueger/Sabi Sands. I am taking my 9 & 11 yo to the SS in June this year but only because we only have 5 nights.

Good luck with your decision!
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 07:05 AM
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Thanks everyone. I think we will nix the walking safari and focus o na mobile safari.

I've been in contact now with Masson (private safari), Jack & Eve Drew / Travelling Botswana (they have a private couples safari and lodge safari package), CCAfrica, and with an agent who books Gametrails. I can't figure out how to contact www.wilderness.co.za. They don't list agents on their website, or have a contact number.

Any furthur thoughts on these companies and private v. Lodge trip? The lodge trip is about the same price and includes:

„h Scenic air transfer from Maun to Oddballsˇ¦, Okavango Delta,
„h 3 Nights accommodation at Oddballsˇ¦ including all meals, teas and coffees, park fees, guided walks and mokoro excursions,
„h Scenic air transfer from Oddballsˇ¦ to Kasane,
„h Airport pickup at Kasane,
„h 3 Nights accommodation at Kubu Safari Lodge including all meals, park fees, Chobe River boat cruises and 4 x 4 game drives in Chobe National Park,
„h Road transfer from Kubu Lodge to Livingstone to Islands of Siankaba, Zambia,
„h 2 Nights accommodation at The Islands of Siankaba including all meals, drinks, laundry service and return airport transfers, a trip to the Zambian side of the falls (1 x trip per stay), sundown cruise, mokoro trips, nature trail and village/school tour.
„h Road transfer from Siankaba to Livingstone Airport,

Any thoughts on this trip v. a private mobile safari? It seems like a pretty good deal because the private trips are all about $300 pppd. Are these lodges decent? Or would we better off with a private trip?
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 07:24 AM
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Hi Punky,
I've just booked a mobile safari in Botswana for May, with camping in
3m x3m tents with verandas, cots and bedrolls, regular toilets and bucket showers (not really sure what that means, but I'll find out!). I get the impression these are permanent camps with a mobile "feel" to them.
I'm also from NYC and have never camped either, but this sounded like great fun. It's a combination, fly and drive, with game walks and drives. It's on the Wilderness Safaris website, "Migration Routes".
Just another option to look at, along with the good advice you've already received from the experienced safari goers above. I booked with go2africa and have been extremely satisfied with the service. Good luck.
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 07:29 AM
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Hi Punky,
I just saw your above post. There's a link on the Wilderness Safari website for you to submit questions. They will respond that they don't deal directly with clients, but will have someone contact you. I got a call from an agent in Greenwich, CT., but by then I was already working with go2Africa so I just stuck with go2. If you'd like, I'll give you the name and email address of the CT agent.
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 07:51 AM
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I also have a great agent that represents WS who is located in Philadelphia. We talked by phone a couple of times first then emailed each other for the next 6mos and the service was wonderful. He's from SA himself and extremely knowledgable-send me an email if you're interested.
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 08:41 AM
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Thanks! I didn't relize Go2Africa was Wilderness Safari's agent. I'll get in touch with them. Their Migration route looks like what we are looking for. It is seems pretty similar to the GameTrails Northern Explorer. Any thoughts on one company versus the other and on these v. a private trip?
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 09:58 AM
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Hello Punky,

A large number of agents can book with Wilderness, not just Go2africa. If you work with a Botswana specialist they should have access to CCA, GameTrails, and Wilderness.

Whilst the itineraries are broadly similar, the Wilderness option is posher and is likely to be more expensive. Because Wilderness manages a large number of private concessions in Botswana (e.g. Xigera and Linyanti), you will be spending more of your time on private versus public land, which may make for a more exclusive experience.

Cheers,
Julian
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 06:48 PM
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Punky,

For Wilderness Safaris, two agents in the U.S. that both do a lot of business with Wilderness are:
fisheaglesafaris.com eyesonafrica.net

I'm sure there are others also, but that should give you a good starting point. Fisheagle website usually has a price list for the group safaris for Wilderness (if it has been updated lately).
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Mar 2nd, 2006, 07:22 PM
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As far as I can tell, you aren't going to get a walking safari with the companies you've named unless you pay more for their camps. Companies that operate in Chobe and Moremi aren't allowed to 'walk' in those parks. Only in the concession areas. If you want to do walking safaris, try South Luangwa NP with Kafunta Safaris and maybe an extension to Buffalo Camp in North Luangwa. With flights dropping from Joberg to Lusaka this year, and the cost of the walking safaris in Zambia, it is well within your range.

Alternately there are a few places in Matusadona and Mana Pools(Zimbabwe) that are excellent. You could add canoeing with the walking.
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