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What camps to visit in Botswana in April??? And some additional advice on Deception Valley, Mashuta and Jabulani (SA actually)??

What camps to visit in Botswana in April??? And some additional advice on Deception Valley, Mashuta and Jabulani (SA actually)??

Old Feb 27th, 2007, 02:57 PM
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What camps to visit in Botswana in April??? And some additional advice on Deception Valley, Mashuta and Jabulani (SA actually)??

Greetings. Never posted to this forum but I read it all the time.

I am taking my parents to Botswana and SA in mid-to-late April--they have never been to Africa. We are making a trip from Northern Botswana down to SSGR. As I am paying for the whole thing, I don't want to make any obvious mistakes in the itinerary.

These are my tentative plans/desires with some holes and I would appreciate some advice and/or feedback:

Royal Livingstone (one night) (no comment needed here)
Botswana camp? (two nights)
Botswana camp? (two nights)
Deception Valley in Central Kalahari (two nights)
Mashutu---tented camp (four nights)
Camp Jabulani (three nights)
Mala Mala Rattrays (four nights)

First, I would like some thoughts on which Botswana camps would make for a good visit in mid-to-late April. I went to all Orient Express lodges at this time of the year three years ago and we saw vitrually nothing at Eagle Island or Kwai River except birds and submerged hippos but lots at Savute Elephant. What camps should I visit this time around? Both camps should have game drive options I think. On the last trip, I unfortunately became somewhat bored taking makoro after makoro and seeing only birds and only hearing hippos.. Once was fine, twice was ok, three times was overkill and I was lulled ot sleep. Crazy I know......

Next, has anyone ever been to Deception Valley Camp in the Kalahari? There is almost nothing about it here. Looks REALLY interesting or is there something I don't know??? I saw the only other camp there is Edo (ker and downey) but the website made it look so bleak.

Also, has anyone been to Mashuta and at this time of year? Looks like a great experience but I don't know anyone who has been. We will surely stay in the tented camps and do the camping option.

Ditto with the elephant safari camp Camp Jabulani in Limpopo? Has anyone been here? Is it worth the trip and expense? The website looks great. I have wanted to go to Abu for years but its simply too expensive. Jabulani is about $550 pppn sharing so much much much less.

I am still stewing about Rattrays but Singita is so expensive. Game viewing is the priority so after reading the posts here, Rattrays seems the obvious choice. Worried about the food though. And I agree, why do they charge for drinks when you are alreeady paying almost $1800 a night??????

Thanks for reading my first post!
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Old Feb 27th, 2007, 04:10 PM
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Marseus: looks like the start of a fabulous trip.

My first recommendation is drop Mashatu Tented Camp -- it is a price bargain and based on my research a terrific place to go but it is difficult to get to from Northern Botswana and a full day drive from the Sabi Sand. I think once you factor in the transfer cost and time involved you will realize its better to drop that spot and add nights to your N. Botswana itinerary.

If you can take those 4 nights I would suggest 3 nights at Deception Valley Lodge, and then do a 3 night/4 night split between a Delta area camp and a Kwando, Selinda, or Linyanti region camp. This would give you the best diversity for viewing.

Don't worry about the lack of reporting on Deception Valley Lodge (DVL), I have been and it is an absolutely fabulous experience. The Kalahari system is harsh and you will not likely see as many mammals as the rest of your trip but it is special and the walk with the bushmen is an incredible experience. With the days you have for other in your face wildlife spots you can enjoy experiencing something different. You will want 3 nights so you have time for an all day trip into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to one of the best areas for cheetah. The fact is that DVL is independently owned and most on this board are going with big operators like Wilderness Safaris which sends clients to Jack's Camp and San Camp for desert experiences so you hear more about them. Being under radar in my mind makes DVL even more special. I will follow up with a link to my trip report so you can read about it first hand.

You could easily do the Kwando Experience and stay at Little Kwara/Kwara where you can do a boat trip and mokoro once each but still focus on excellent game drives for your Delta Camp and then move onto Lebala Camp for more open area game viewing that is legendary for predator action.

Another option would be to combine two Wilderness Safari marketed camps, for what you say you want some of the best in the Delta would be:
Chitabe/Chitabe Trails
Little Vumbura or Vumbura Plains (6 paw expensive)

Then in Selinda/Linyanti every camp has similar excellent viewing:
Selinda
Zib
Duma Tau
Savuti
Kings Pool (6 paw expensive)

A combination of those will be outstanding.

Jabulani looks amazing but I have seen no write ups on it.

Mala mala should meet all your game viewing desires so with that as your focus I can't imagine you won't be pleased.
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Old Feb 27th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Here is the link to my trip report. It is long but includes Deception Valley Lodge and also has the Kwando Kwara and Lebala camps included that would be great choices. If you do go to DVL be sure and request Adriaan as your guide, he is exceptional.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...p;tid=34780788
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Old Feb 27th, 2007, 05:14 PM
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santharamhari
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April this year? you may need to take whatever is available......Botswana is very very busy....talk to your travel agent
 
Old Feb 27th, 2007, 07:17 PM
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Hi Marseus

I am only going to comment on Rattray's. I have been to MalaMala quite a few times, and Rattray's twice, though about to be 3 times as back in March. Have also been 3 times to Singita, and while good, between Rattray's and Singita, I would be picking Rattray's as to me, Singita is looking tired and ultra expensive. Not sure why you are worried about the food, and I for one who rarely drinks appreciate the fact that I am not paying for drinks I am not consumming. I do not get why so many people seem to have a problem with paying for drinks they consume! At Singita, not only did I pay for drinks I did not consume but likewise for a 14 year old, who was charged the same as me!

I am really looking forward to my gameviewing at MalaMala, as they are seeing some fabulous gameviewing now!

Kind regards,

Kaye
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 02:03 AM
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Thanks Predatorbiologist:

Thought your reports were great!

As per you advice, I am going to do DV for three nights. My agent is having trouble booking accomodations in the Delta as one of the above posts warns. If I could plan a year in advance I would but doing it two months in advance is good for me. I suggested some more luxurious camps and she said there is little space. She has suggested Kwara and Xakanaxa but those seem to be very close to one another. Is that a bad idea? Any thoughts about a specific higher-end camp that would complement either? Which one is better--Kwara or Xakanaxa?
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 05:09 AM
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If your travel agent suggests that there is still space at Kwara for April....take it!!!

Higher end camp? the most luxurious will be Mombo, Vumbura Plains, Kings Pool, Chiefs camp, Jao camp

Hari
 
Old Feb 28th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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Marseus: glad you enjoyed my report and that you are going to go to DVL for 3 nights.

I agree with Hari, getting Kwara at late notice is great! They have some wonderful game viewing, in particular cheetah and lions have been very strong there for the last year at least and it has a terrific location with the ability to do a couple of on-water activities plus great game drives.

The last report I saw on Xakanaxa the person had pretty good game viewing but said that it was fairly rustic so if you are looking for higher end luxury you may want to try somewhere else. Perect compliment with Kwara would be any of the camps in Kwando, Selinda or Linyanti concessions that I listed previously. Hari has just given you the highest in luxury and those all typically have great gameviewing and would compliment well with Kwara too. I'd check availability for any of those lodges and see if you have any luck.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 12:38 PM
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Thank you everyone for the comments. I am very much looking forward to Mala Mala. Does anyone ever check avaiability on your own for the Botswana Lodges or do you all do it all through agents? It seems that everyone uses agents as I am doing now.

I am hoping to get Kwara and another Kwando property but who knows. I would feel lucky to get Xakanaxa but would prefer Lagoon or Lebala. I will askmy agent to inquire about all Linyanti concession properties but I now need three rooms as more joined my party??? Kings Pool would be great. Crazy. I may end up splitting up my party for two days if we cannot all get into one camp at the same time. Transfer fees will continue to mount. Someone's making a lot of money here it seems on those.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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More rooms are unfortunately going to make it more difficult to get the camps of your choice at such short notice......however, sounds like a fun trip with a nice like-minded group!!!
 
Old Feb 28th, 2007, 05:43 PM
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Sorry....due to my quick scanning, missed your other question......

Yes, check with your Travel Agent for availability, since they are the ones making the booking for you!!!

Hari
 
Old Feb 28th, 2007, 11:03 PM
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I found three rooms at Stanley camp. They said the water elevels are low now and so no makoros. But we wonl't arrive for 6 weeks so maybe that does not matter. How is Stanley Camp? It seems to get mixed reviews?
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 03:26 AM
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April is at the end of the rainy season for Botswana. The grass is long in the plains and there's still a feeling of abundance. This means that the animals are not concentrated around the permanent water courses (as they are at the end of the dry season). They're still "out there" where the pans have filled up with rain water. In short, this is the right time to visit the drier areas e.g. Deception (I love it), Nxai Pan and Savute. If you're going all the way to Botswana you have to take in the Delta as well. So my suggestion, based on your itinerary, would be: Day 2/3 Savute and day 4/5 Okavango Delta and then onto Deception etc. You'll love it - wish it were me!
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 04:15 AM
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Thanks for the message. Maybe I will be spending too much time in the Delta then. I just got the following itinerary from my agent April 23-30:

Deception Valley 3 nites
Xakanaxa 2 nites
Kwara 2 nites

If I follow the previous advice I should axe one of Delta camps. Which one should I get rid of Kwara of Xakanaxa.

I could also go to Kings Pool for two nights. Don't know if that will be low on game in late April.

Help please!

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