where to go in africa

Aug 17th, 2016, 05:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2007
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where to go in africa

I am hoping to book a tour to Africa in 2017, probably between March and May. My main interest is, of course, seeing the animals. I'm thinking of Tanzania but wonder if that might be too touristy. Also, I need to avoid the rainy season. Any suggestiong as to the country/time of year would be greatly appreciated as this is my first, and probably last, triip to Africa.
bobbye7 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2016, 06:42 AM
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This table may help you decide where during that time. It is rainy season for much of East Africa, including parts of Tanzania:
amyb is offline  
Aug 17th, 2016, 10:42 AM
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Perhaps also take a look at South Africa. We were there on our first visit in April this year and loved it. We had sunny and dry days almost every day of our trip.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2016, 12:02 PM
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East Africa has short rains Nov/Dec and long rains March- May, whereas Southern Africa has one long rainy season starting around Nov, and finishing around March, with April/May being generally fairly dry. So for the time period you are looking at I would be looking at Southern Africa, probably South Africa or Botswana. In May, Zambia might be worth considering. My choice would be Botswana- March will get you cheaper pricing as it is typically still classed as low season, but you might get some rain. May will have more favourable game viewing conditions and practically no chance of rain but will be shoulder season so a bit more expensive.
stokeygirl is offline  
Aug 18th, 2016, 12:40 AM
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Hi Bobby,
Taking all factors into consideration between March and May, weather, rainy season, potential for game-viewing, and tourist situation, I really do think South Africa is going to be your best option.
Tanzania may still be do'able in March, but is not at it's best.
Botswana is a 'maybe', as it starts coming into it's own in May.
The other option you may wish to consider at that time of the year is Namibia.

I hope this helps a little,
Debbi - Travel Guru, Southern Destinations, Cape Town
Deborah_WH is offline  
Aug 18th, 2016, 07:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Hi there,

I’m thrilled that you are going to Africa for your next trip! As you’ve learned, I would not recommend Tanzania in March-May. You are highly likely to run into the rains and your trip could be somewhat miserable. I know people who have traveled in early March or late May and weren’t completely washed out, but for an investment such as a trip to Africa I’d rather suggest Southern Africa where you’ll get great value during those months, and could still have some rains, but it’s a completely viable and pleasant time to travel there. The rains generally come as short downpours leaving the rest of the day open for game viewing. I’d recommend South Africa or Botswana personally, but this would be largely dependent on your budget. Additionally, I love this season in these two countries because the foliage will be lush and green – great for photography!

Botswana practices low volume, high-end tourism and for this reason it can be one of the most expensive places in Africa to lay your head at night. That being said, it’s one of my favorite destinations in the entire world and offers superb value during the months you are considering. Botswana is known for their pristine wildlife reserves that have never fallen victim to intense farming or other development. Furthermore, camps in Botswana range from simple tented camps (with proper beds) to luxurious 5 star canvas “tents” (I put it in quotes because rooms as beautiful as these with private plunge pools and indoor/outdoor bathtubs or showers can hardly be consider tents. They are marvelous!

I especially love Botswana because if this is your once-in-a-lifetime trip to the African continent I think a safari here would give you everything you are looking for in terms of fantastic landscapes, beautiful sunsets and of course a plethora of game from lion to wild dog, zebra to impala, and so much more!

However, if your goal is to check off as many species of wildlife as possible and rhino is something you’d like to see, there are only two camps you can visit with the potential to see rhino. I prefer not to post about them online as I don’t want this information to end up in the hands of poachers, but just know that you won’t see rhino unless you go to the right spots! Botswana’s conservation efforts when it comes to rebuilding their rhino population is remarkable.

You could also combine a safari in Botswana with a 3-4 night safari in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park for some action-packed Big 5 game viewing. Depending on which camp you choose, and without EVER guaranteeing wildlife sightings, seeing the Big 5 is almost a sure thing at MalaMala Main Camp or their premier camp Rattray’s on MalaMala. These camps share the same land and are the located on the largest private concession adjacent to Kruger National Park. There are no fences between the park and MalaMala’s land so the game viewing there is virtually unmatched!

My camp and itinerary suggestions would vary quite a bit depending on factors such as budget, weather you choose to travel in March or May, and how long you have to travel. If you can make this a 14-20 day adventure you could cover some if not all of the following:

- 1-2 nights in Johannesburg
- 6-9 nights safari in Botswana
- 2 night stay at Victoria Falls
- 3-4 nights on safari in the Greater Kruger (such as the Sabi Sands, Timbavati, Manyeleti)
- 4+ nights in Cape Town if you’d also like some city time. Cape Town is my favorite city in the world! If you are foodies it’s not to be missed! Also, you can see penguins or shark cage dive + so much more!
- 2+ nights in the Winelands for some R&R and wine tasting before heading back home

If your travel time is shorter than 2 weeks a safari would still be very doable, I would just remove some of the elements above. For example, if you have no interest in Cape Town and the Winelands that would cut off almost a week of my suggestions above. I wouldn’t recommend any less than 6-8 nights on safari for a first time/only time safari-goer. For the money you’ll pay to get to Africa and to visit all of these remote locations it’s worth spending some time enjoying it.

If you share some of your thoughts about budget, time you have to travel, etc. I can share some more ideas. My recommendation would be to go as late in your timeframe as you can. May would be AWESOME as June-October is really peak season in Southern Africa for game viewing so you’d be right on the cusp of that. May should also offer some significant savings in Botswana when compared to travel even just a month or two later.

Hope this helps!

Kayla Torgerson – Safari Consultant – Travel Beyond
TravelBeyond is offline  
Aug 19th, 2016, 09:22 AM
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Hi Bobby,
Am not a tourist guide, consultant nor company owner so it makes no difference to me when you go. Don't know if your schedule permits a May safari or not. We have enjoyed several safaris to East Africa particularly in May particularly in Tanzania. Rates are lower, crowds less, countryside beautiful and wildlife plentiful. Yes, some rain but not much to inconvenience us. Yes, maybe earlier in the season rains can be problematic. Even when it did rain on us in May was often at night or of a short duration during the day. Afterwards the atmosphere seemed clearer and of course the dust was less.

In May, 2015 we had a great time on the northern circuit in Tanzania in early to mid May with the wildebeest migration in full swing moving from the Ndutu area into the Serengeti proper. On game drives on two days we had huge concentrations of wildebeest and zebra all around us with nary another vehicle in sight. To and from those concentrations we also saw leopard, cheetah and lions not to mention elephant, cape buffalo and various antelope.

Everyone has own opinion of "best" time for safari. All depends on one's interest and budget. Have never been in Tanzania for the wildebeest calving season but I understand that time is also spectacular, a bit pricier and crowded.
rsnyder is offline  
Aug 19th, 2016, 04:41 PM
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Another vote for South Africa. We went late April/early May this year. Days were warm to hot with cool nights & early mornings. Only one morning of rain in 3 weeks. That said, they really need some rain in Kruger. We self-booked & went to Cape Town & wine area, Namib desert in Namibia, with Kruger Park as our dessert. In Kruger we self-drove for 4 days & then went to a lodge for 2 nights of pampering & game drives with a guide. Despite the drought we had amazing sightings.

We loved it so much we are going back next April for 2 weeks of just Kruger public camps. The thrill of discovery in Kruger is intoxicating. Bear in mind that Kruger is scrub rather than open savannah so while you don't see really massive herds like the migration. But you will see an amazing variety of animals & birds.

See http://imcarthur.weebly.com/south-africa--namibia.html for my trip report for some ideas.

Ian is offline  
Aug 20th, 2016, 05:24 AM
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Return to this post later for good info.
samcat is offline  
Aug 25th, 2016, 02:50 AM
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I have between twice in Kenya during the rainy season in May and once in Namibia in March.

"Rainy season" means that there are thunderstorms, not every day, but maybe on two or three days in a week. Usually, these thunderstorms are locally (you see these big clouds scattered over the country) and usually they last for about an hour or so.

However, such a thunderstorm can be severe. Quite frequently they cause mild floodings (meaning that roads will be blocked for several hours), rarely they cause major floodings with damages to houses etc.

The plus of the rainy season is that the bushland is green and the animals are more active because they have all these fresh green grass to eat.
traveller1959 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2016, 07:43 PM
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We visited Botswana (Okavango Delta and Linyanti) the second half of May 2016. Weather was perfect, we saw a ton of animals, and we benefited from shoulder season rates before they bumped up in June. Stayed at 4 camps but best sightings for us were in Chitabe and Kwara reserves.
ktblax is offline  

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