When to go?

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Apr 1st, 2004, 07:12 AM
  #1
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When to go?

Hi, I'm new to this message board and have found much of the information helpful. I am trying to decide when to go to Botswana and I think I'm getting hung up on the idea that I must go during July, August, or Sept. to see great wildlife. I'm not a birder, so it sounds like their summer may not be the best time for me to go. I'd love to hear people's opinions and perhaps let go of my worry...
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Apr 1st, 2004, 09:10 AM
  #2
 
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It may depend on how tolerant you are of hot weather. It is getting hot in September...hotter still in October. But October is the very end of the dry season, and thus a great time to see animals. (I don't think I'd go after October, especially for your first trip. Too hot, and a higher probability of rain.) The advantage of doing Botswana this late in the season is that you can tack on Capetown at the end...because October is getting into nice weather again for Capetown...

This year I am going to Botswana in late May/ early June...so I'll be able to report back to you after that... Are you planning this trip for 2004 or 2005?
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Apr 1st, 2004, 11:08 AM
  #3
LizFrazier
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It sounds like we have people going right along from this month on. Should have the bases covered for trip reports during this time period for historical purposes. Am I the first or do we have someone going to Botswana before the middle of this month? I just got my tickets today. Hurray! It really seems real now. Liz
 
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Apr 1st, 2004, 01:58 PM
  #4
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Tashak,
I'm planning to go in 2005, so I have time to read everyone's posts. I was thinking of June or October to go...it sounds as though it may have alot to do with personal preference. I like the idea of tacking Capetown on the end of the trip. Also, this being my first trip to Africa, I really have no idea what I should expect to spend, though it seems like I could go as expensive as I want to! We do not want to do participatory camping, though good quality camping would be ok. What do you suppose the range would be for a safari with lodges or a safari with some non-paticipatory camping or is it just too hard to say? A ballpark figure just to get us started would be appreciated- it seems like at least $3000+airfare is the minimum...
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Apr 1st, 2004, 10:21 PM
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Hi doxy...
Yeah, Botswana is expensive but absolutely worth it. I think Roccco has posted lots of info about prices at various camps, and one website (e-gnu.com??? can't recall, but it is mentioned in several of these threads on Wilderness Safaris--) has the per person prices posted. An average figure, including transfers by air between camps (the only way in the North of Botswana) is in the range of $500 per day per person...with some deals available in the non-peak season. (Of course the big names like Mombo and Jao you can double that...) So a trip in June or October should qualify for off-peak prices.

Since you are planning ahead for 2005, you are in good shape...we can report back on the May and June experience, and you can check later for trip reports from October. You should still be able to get pretty much what you want if you book shortly after that. (This year I booked in January for June, and got all the camps I wanted, although we did have to juggle order and dates to make it work. ) But you are very wise to start planning early for Botswana...and you'll have a whole year of the excitement associated with thinking and planning for this trip!
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Apr 1st, 2004, 10:35 PM
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Tashak and doxyprice,

Here is that excellent link to Botswana's finest lodging:

www.botswanasafari.info

I think for high season that $500 per person per night is a fair average requirement, but if you go in late June, the price may be as low as about $350 per person per night average.

Also, Kwando's camps look pretty nice and are a lot less expensive than Wilderness Safaris camps. Kwando Lagoon and Kwando Kwara should definitely be considered:

www.kwando.com

Hopefully, I will also get to Botswana next year, although if I do go, I will likely go in late June, just before high season prices begin. Neither my wife nor I care for hot or even warm weather, and we will gladly sacrifice a little gameviewing in favor of comfortable daytime gameviewing temperatures.

I have an itinerary in mind of three nights in Durban, followed by one night in Johannesburg, followed by three nights at Kwando Lagoon, followed by three nights at Kwando Kwara and ending with Savuti (Wilderness Safaris). I imagine that the whole package should cost $4,000 per person, with a likely "free" flight from LAX - Johannesburg, and Johannesburg - Durban, using frequent flier miles.
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Apr 3rd, 2004, 09:21 AM
  #7
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Thanks so much! Your information has been really helpful and I will continue to read the message board and follow up on your trips. I feel like I have numerous travel agents working for me! I love to see people travel (I'm addicted to it really) and it's fabulous to read about everyone's adventures. Thanks again and I look forward to keeping track of everyone.
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Apr 5th, 2004, 04:08 AM
  #8
LizFrazier
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David-
You're not a travel agent are you?
You might edit out the canned paragraphs, but better yet, you can contact Fodors and pay for advertising. You shouldn't be advertising here. This forum is for travellers sharing information. Liz
 
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Apr 5th, 2004, 04:30 PM
  #9
 
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David,

Okay, you bravely volunteered. Make sure that you give me pricing that is so excellent that I will not even want to talk to 2Afrika or Natural Events after receiving the unbeatable quotation from your company.

I just sent my request in for a 9 night Botswana safari for June 2005, with the first three nights at Kwando Lagoon, the next three nights at Kwando Kwara and the final three nights at Savuti.

All of your credibility is riding on this quotation, so please don't disappoint!
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Apr 5th, 2004, 04:57 PM
  #10
 
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Thanks, Roccco...please post a report after you have been at Kwando's places.

This year's itinerary for Botswana is already set. I'm travelling with a friend who has moved heaven & earth to clear time for this trip, so I needed the absolute "insurance" of an over-the-top great time that WS provides. My experience with them has been so exemplary, that I can't imagine not using them on this trip. I'll do the exploration of exciting new options on another trip. (hopefully sooner rather than later).

I am going to try a few days at Kafunta ( I have friends who live "nearby"-- well nearby for being in the bush!) and Kaingo on the Zambia part of the trip this year, however. Think I'll also take advantage of the Green Season RPS prices (had a great time there on previous trips too). But I'll probably also spend some time at Flatdogs...and maybe Wildlife Camp. Hows that for a mixed bag?
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Apr 5th, 2004, 05:40 PM
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Tashak,

That sounds like an amazing itinerary!

I, too, wanted to have somewhat of a mixed bag so I chose four different lodges in South Luangwa for my seven nights there. I am mixing what I hope will be an authentic and down to earth experience with two nights at Kaingo and two more nights at Kaingo's bushcamp, Mwamba, with three nights of the more exclusive and over the top Star Of Africa (two nights at Puku Ridge and my final night at the beautiful Chichele Presidential Lodge).

If I had the time, I would love to add an extra night to Kaingo and an extra night to Chichele Presidential Lodge, but due to my pre-safari Italy tour, I just don't have the time. Since I have never seen the Lower Zambezi National Park area before, I did want a fourth night there.

I think the mix of Botswana and Zambia will offer an amazing contrast, although I have not yet experienced Botswana but am very close to giving my deposit for next year.

How soon before you leave, Tashak? For Green Season pricing, I imagine that you must be going in the next 50-60 days, at latest. I would love to hear the exact itinerary of your trip, if you've got the time to post it. Thanks.
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