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Where to go on 2nd trip to Africa - same or different area

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Mar 16th, 2012, 06:53 AM
  #1
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Where to go on 2nd trip to Africa - same or different area

My husband and I had a very delightful trip to Kenya and Tanzania in June of 2007 on safari with others (not traveling with us). I have always wanted to go back and are thinking of doing so but don't know whether to go to the same area or to travel to South Africa and the reserves in that area? We really loved everything we saw on the first trip and am sure we missed lots there and would benefit from going back but also think it would be great to see different areas. Would love to have some advice from those that have been to both places. Thanks
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Mar 16th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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We just came back from Tanzania, and were wrestling with this exact question (but in reverse), as our first trip was to Botswana.

Comparing the two:

- There are definitely more animals in Tanzania, except for the Moremi area (Chief Island/Mombo Camp). Of course, TZ has the migration, which is unique.

- Being able to drive off-road in Botswana was a huge advantage, as you can get much closer to the animals

- There are a lot more tourists in TZ. We had sightings in the Serengeti where there are 15-20 trucks. In Bots, you're usually alone, there's rarely more than 1-2, and I don't think we ever saw more than 4.

- The landscape in the Okavango is stunning, like no place else. But Tanzania had that "of of Africa" grandeur.

- I like having our own vehicle and guide for the entire trip in TZ, and I liked driving from place to place and seeing some of the villages. In Botswana you fly and use camp guides.

So, both are fabulous, which was why we chose to go to a different place after much debate. We definitely think it was the right decision as we're so glad we went to Tanzania.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 09:39 AM
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Linjudy has given you an excellent comparison of Tanzania vs. Botswana. Those are my favorite safari destinations, but I've come to the conclusion that Tanzania is better. Certainly, there will most likely be places in Kenya and Tanzania that you didn't visit. There are private reserves and even national parks where you can go that don't include all the usual crowds. For instance, you could combine the Serengeti with Katavi NP and Mahale NP in western Tanzania. Katavi only has about 1000 visitors per year and at Mahale, you stay on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and go chimp trekking.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Here's a perspective from a professional photographer and guide. Down about 1/4 way he starts comparing safari countries.
http://www.bythom.com/botswanaworkshop2.htm

regards - tom
ps - short answer is: South Africa
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Mar 16th, 2012, 06:04 PM
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Rather than return to the same area, why not choose a different area, and mix the environments and the styles of travel?

South African reserves have a lot to offer, Kruger is a great wildlife destination and provides self-drive and rest camp accommodation options. The private game reserves along the western border of Kruger are also very good areas for wildlife - I enjoyed my visits to both Shindzela and Umkumbe last year.

If you combine this with say a coastal and arid park you would continue wildlife viewing in contrsting environments e.g. Kruger, maybe some of the KZN Parks like Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, the Isimangaliso Wetlands and coast at St Lucia and then fly to Upington for Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which has good wildlife set against stunning red Kalahari sands. Again its possible to do a self-drive and stay in Sanparks accommodation or you could contact a local provider such as Kalahari Safaris for a tailor-made guided tour.

Namibia also offers dryland game viewing and some spectacular coastal scenary and National Parks. Etosha NP provides exceptional dryland game viewing, Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast give visitors an amazing sense of space and isolation and there are many privately owned lodges offering reasonably priced game viewing options. I posted some ideas recently on this thread, http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...uth-africa.cfm Namibia also is a good self-drive destination, however if you are seeking a tailor made itinerary I can recommend Gemma Dry of Discover Namibia Tours and Safari.

If you are seriously considering Botswana, I encourage you to discuss the impact of rising water levels in Savute and Moremi. I was there last August and compared to my first trip in 2004, access to rich wildlife areas was restricted by high water levels.


Happy planning,



Pol.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 05:12 AM
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My DH and I had this rule that if we wished to return to an African country we had to combine our return visit with a visit to a country we had not been to previously. So, when we wished to return to South Africa, we combined the trip with a visit to Namibia. When we wished to return to Namibia, we added on Botswana. When we wished to visit Botswana a second time, we added on Zambia. However, after we visited Kenya and Tanzania in 2009, we loved both countries so much that we threw out the rule. We wished to spend all of our time in Kenya and Tanzania. We will return to Kenya and Tanzania this July/August, and we cannot wait.

Of the African countries we have visited, it would be very difficult to pick a favourite. We love them all for different reasons - South Africa for Cape Town and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Botswana for Moremi and Chobe, Namibia for the dunes and Namib Desert, Kenya and Tanzania for the culture (the Masai) and migration/animals, and Zambia for the amazing guides, Old Mondoro Camp, and our night in the elephant hide at Kaingo Camp.

I do not believe you can go wrong with either destination that you are considering. New experiences are great, but there is nothing wrong with returning to old favourites. You could always select different areas/camps in Kenya and Tanzania from those that you visited in 2007. CR
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Mar 18th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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on our first trip to Africa, we spent about 3 weeks doing the typical Northern circuit - Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Samburu, Mt. Kenya, Masa Mara. We flew in and out of Nairobi, traveling via car to Arusha. This was a packaged tour with a reputable company. I'm sure you can still find my post on this board. I think its the first one in the Africa Index post. We stayed at Olivers Camp, Kirawira, Larsens Camp, Serena Lodge Crater, Little Governors Camp, Mt. Kenya Lodge and the Norfolk in Nairobi.

What I loved were the animals and some of the camps, what I didn't love was that we stayed only 2 nights in each place before moving on. In this way, we never really had the opportunity to take advantage of the camps, get to know anyone, or wait patiently for things to happen in a natural way. Having said that, I adored Africa and could not wait to return.

Ten years later, we started to plan our return. I have a good friend who works for Royal African Safari in Toronto. They do VERY HIGH END private safaris (ie. Bill Gates), so I talked to her about where to go. I just wanted to see lots and lots of animals again, and wanted to spend time in some nice camps. She was quick to say -- "you should go back to Tanzania". So that was the beginning. I did lots of reading and began to fall in love with Southern Tanzania.

We spent four nights in each of four camps. This safari gave me just what I wanted, time in each place to enjoy all the area had to offer at a leasurely pace. You can read my whole trip report posted at "TC". I would absolutely recommend Southern Tanzania!
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Mar 19th, 2012, 02:18 AM
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I don't think there is any "best" place for safari- everyone will have their favourites, for different reasons. I think you just need to try a few different areas (like canadian_robin) until you find your favourite. Even though I have found mine, I still like to go to other places.

So I would try something different from Northern Tanzania. The South African self drive is an idea- it would certainly be a different style of travel, if that appeals to you.

However, I'd be inclined to suggest just going for a more remote area with less visitors, and perhaps with some different activities on offer (walking, water based activities). My suggestions would be:
Botswana
Southern Tanzania (Selous and Ruaha)
Zambia (especially South Luangwa)
Zimbabwe (Mana Pools and Hwange)

I think any of these will give you an experience of much more remoteness, with fewer vehicles around. They will also give you a chance to try other activities. Of these options, Botswana would be the most expensive if you go in high season and, whilst I like Botswana, I personally think the others offer better value for money- my top two out of those four would be Zambia and Southern Tanzania.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 06:20 AM
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To add to the "mix" another suggestion. Maybe consider some of the same area(s) but at a different season. We enjoy returning to Tanzania and now Kenya but always attempt to add either a new area to the trip, a different lodge/camp or in one case going in November instead of a May/June visit. The Nov visit was at the end of a prolonged drought (the rains were just beginning) and the landscape particularly in Tarangire was quite different from the lushness of May/June.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 08:23 AM
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Hi All
A very interesting post.
There will always be favorite places to go back to but there is always the possibility of discovering a new favorite place. We have guests who go back to their favorite place time and again and then we have guests who want to explore new places and thank us for it. IMO exploring new places is the way to go.

Happy Safaris
Mark
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Mar 20th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts. I don't see a discussion about cost of Eastern vice Southern Africa. Perhaps those who have done both could comment because when planning my first trip to Africa in 2006, I recall that Botswana and Zambia (at the time, at least) were much more expensive than Kenya/Tanzania. I expect this was because of the regional flights eluded to by linjudy.

"Being able to drive off-road in Botswana was a huge advantage, as you can get much closer to the animals"

For what it's worth, I've had lions, leopards, hyena, cheetah and just about everything else (except buffalo and rhino) within inches of our vehicle in Tz.

I've been to Tanzania 3 times, adding new places to visit on each trip. This year it was an overnight in a Maasai boma, Mkomozi National Park and Pangani/Tanga on the Swahili coast.

Have fun with the planning,
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Mar 20th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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My view on costs is that it is possible to do Kenya/Northern Tanzania more cheaply as there are cheaper accommodation options available eg lodge chains like Sopa/Serena. However, if you compare like for like ie smaller tented camps with all inclusive rates (game drives, food and drinks)eg Mara Plains, Rekero, Kicheche, Serian then the costs of Kenya/Northern Tanzania are similar to the costs of Southern Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Botswana is in another league. In my experience, the standard of camp where you'd pay an all inclusive rate of, say $500-$700 pppn elsewhere would be double in Botswana (in high season). AND you have to pay for flight transfers.
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