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Where in Botswana for good value & game viewing in Chobe, Okavango/Moremi, late Dec.-early Jan.?

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Feb 14th, 2006, 01:05 PM
  #1
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Where in Botswana for good value & game viewing in Chobe, Okavango/Moremi, late Dec.-early Jan.?

After flying into & out of JNB, spending a couple of nights in Pretoria visiting friends, and spending a few days in Kruger, we're thinking of flying from JNB to Victoria Falls for 2 nights on the Zambia side, and from there we would like to go to Botswana -- specifically Chobe and Okavango/Moremi areas -- & are looking for recommendations for safari camps in those areas that are particularly good value at that time of year, which I understand is low season. Any suggestions? I am guessing we will have a minimum of 6 nights up to possibly a maximum of 10 to spend in Botswana. We tend to like to stay at least 3 nights or sometimes even 4 nights in each place rather than moving around every other day. Any recommendations on specific camps/lodges that reduce their rates substantially in this season would be appreciated.
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Feb 14th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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santharamhari
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For December/January........during the rains, i would stick to camps in the delta......that would be the green season (Except during the holiday week)

Chobe/linyanti isnt the best place to go for big game at that time of the year, as they disappear deep into the mopane

My guess for value for money would be, Chiefs camp, Kwara, Chitabe or sandibe.
 
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Feb 14th, 2006, 08:54 PM
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Lisa,

The kwando properties (Kwara/Lebala/Lagoon) have good rates at that time of year. Also the sanctuary lodges (Chief's camp/Baines/Stanley's/Chobe chilwero) are offered at a substantial lower rate.

In terms of gameviewing I would opt for Chief's camp if you are interested in seeing predators.

The gameviewing in other camps is more dependent on the amount of rainfall during that time of year.

For a 10 day-stay I would opt for the following:

- Chief's camp (7 days);
- Kwara (3 days) (access to Godikwe lagoon at its heronry)
 
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Feb 15th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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santharamhari
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Yes Lisa, Johan is spot on.........Chief's for a week is the only way to see lots of predators.....

Kwara even during the rains are reasonably good for predators. For example, Last Dec in a three night stay....we saw 20 different lions at vaious sightings including some stunning males. However, the leopards and cheetahs we came upon were just feeting glimpses (They presumably have other more relaxed cats, however!!!)

Hari
 
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Feb 15th, 2006, 06:43 AM
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Both Kwara and Chief's Camp look great, and I think Kwara is in our price range -- but Chief's Camp looks a bit too $$$ (although I'm sure it's fantastic). Any alternative ideas for another camp that might also be good for predators at that time?
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Feb 15th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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Lisa,

Most other camps (not the 6-paw camps of Wilderness) in the delta I think are in the same price range than Chief's at that time of year. But at that time of year they don't have the quality of gameviewing that Chief's has.

An other thing you can do, is going to Lebala or Lagoon in the Kwando area. Gameviewing is not as good as it is at Chief's but I was there in December 2005 and had fabulous cheetah sightings. And if you are interested in the big cats - I saw lions and leopards too ...

Birding was very good with excellent raptor sightings.



Greetings,

Johan

 
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Feb 15th, 2006, 03:37 PM
  #7
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Thanks for the suggestions Johan -- I will look into these (BTW, we do like all kinds of animal viewing including birds, not only predators). I am starting to think maybe we will spend more time in Kruger to save some $$$ and spend fewer nights in Botswana -- maybe just 3 nights at one camp and 3 at another. Kwara looks perfect, and if we can't swing Chief's then I'll check out Lebala & Lagoon.
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Feb 15th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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santharamhari
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Lisa,

Are you referring to Kruger park or the private reserves in the sabi sands/timbavati??? Yes, Kruger park is cheaper, but you wont see much.

Between Sabi Sands and Chief's that time of the year......the prices are probably similar.....Chief's would probably give you a discount for a lengthy stay........

Also, the Botswana experience is very differnt......you have to experience it for yourself.....

Good luck!
 
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Feb 15th, 2006, 10:20 PM
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Hey is Roccco's computer down? I didn't find the expected " the best place in Botswana in late Dec/ early Jan is....Zambia!" ;-)
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Feb 16th, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Hari -- Yes, I mean Kruger Park. We have been there once before and loved it. In fact we saw all the Big Five in Kruger except for leopard (which we saw subsequently in Sabi Sands). One day we even saw three male rhinos together. I think the rest camps in Kruger are a great value, and I also love the opportunity to do walking safaris with rangers -- I had an unforgettable time on foot watching a herd of elephants take a mudbath. My husband went biking along the Olifants River with two rangers and had breakfast with the hippos! Last time we stayed at Olifants but I think this time we are going to stay in the new tents up in the northern part of the park at Punda Maria and also in the tents in Lower Sabie in the southern part of the park, and someplace in between as well. We like the freedom of being able to drive ourselves around, and actually we saw a lot there too! We particularly loved the massive herds of elephants that we saw. I was also surprised at the amount of incredible bird life. We did miss seeing cheetah in Kruger last time, but that's why I think it's good to mix it up and go to different areas for different game viewing experiences. And the thing is, it's hard to beat the price of the accommodations in Kruger (around $100 per night, not per person!) -- and some of the accommodations are pretty nice! I'm now thinking 1 day in Pretoria, 9 days in Kruger, 6 days in Botswana, and 1 at Vic Falls...but we'll see.
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Feb 19th, 2006, 09:21 AM
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OK, we've now decided for sure: 8 nights in Kruger, 1 night in Pretoria with our friends, and 8 nights in Botswana (we're saving Vic Falls for a future trip to Zambia at a different time of year, maybe August). We've been reading Bradt's travel guide to Botswana & are still debating exactly where in Botswana for 8 nights in early January, and whether to split the 8 nights between 2 camps or 3 (4+4, or 2+3+3). Kwara, Lagoon, and Lebala are all on our short list -- and Chief's if we could manage to swing it although I'm thinking we probably can't unless we can find a super deal. Could use suggestions for safari operators to contact for best pricing if anyone has thoughts on that. Would really like to try to keep this part of our trip around $275 per person per night, or as close to that as possible...keep those ideas coming!
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Feb 19th, 2006, 10:05 AM
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Hello Lisa,

Sounds like a great Botswana itinerary -- if you do only Kwando camps, I'd recommend 3 nights at Kwara, 3 at Lebala, and 2 at Lagoon for the best combination of game-viewing and a variety of environments.

Cheers,
Julian
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Feb 19th, 2006, 10:51 AM
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Thanks Julian! Do you have any particular operator or booking agent that you recommend for getting good pricing?
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Feb 19th, 2006, 07:17 PM
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santharamhari
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Lisa,

I regularly use greenlife for my Botswana trips........

They are great......best pricing i have received and their service is fantastic......

Hari
 
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Feb 19th, 2006, 11:17 PM
  #15
mv
 
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Lisa

I would also suggest Islands in Africa
www.islandsinafrica.com
They have two lodges near Chobe, Impalila and Ntwala. They have very close cooperation with Kwando since both of them are part of the 5 rivers safari and have excellent pricing for the time you are going.
Michael
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Feb 19th, 2006, 11:58 PM
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santharamhari
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Michael,

Impalila?........isnt it in Namibia? Have you been there? how would u compare it to Lagoon/lebala.

Thnaks
Hari
 
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Feb 20th, 2006, 12:04 AM
  #17
mv
 
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Hari

Impalila is very nice. All activities are done by boat on the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers. Some of the best elephant viewing I have ever seen.
For Lisa it would be a nice combo with Lagoon/Lebala and Islands in Africa also act as a very good and competitive travel agent
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Feb 20th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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In doing more research, I have come across a few more camps that look like they may be in our price range for early January -- does anyone have opinions about how any of these might be for game viewing at that time of year, particularly as they might compare with some of the Kwando camps like Kwara, Lagoon & Lebala?
Camp Moremi (Desert & Delta)
Camp Okavango (Desert & Delta)
Xugana Island Lodge (Desert & Delta)
Chitabe Trails (Wilderness)
Stanley's (Sanctuary Lodges)
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