Which areas to combine on first Africa trip?


Jun 29th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Which areas to combine on first Africa trip?

My head is swimming with all the info....

The basic decision I need to make first is where to go so that I can plan for airfare (see how far FF miles will get me). But that is a HUGE decision (obviously).

I was first going to try to fly into Jburg and out of Capetown.

Now I wonder if we shouldn't try to add in another area? Tanzania? Kenya? Zambia?

I am looking to travel the last week of May 2006, for 3 or 3 1/2 weeks (including travel time from California).

I've read a lot on Kruger and things around Capetown, but not much so far about the places farther north.

I was thinking we should START in Capetown because we are going in late May and the weather might be best then? Or doesn't it really matter?

Thanks in advance
ALadyNCal is offline  
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Jun 29th, 2005, 12:08 PM
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If you're going out in late May, I'd agree with your assessment to start in Cape Town.

That's exactly what we did last year for that reason - we arrived in Cape Town in early May and then went across the garden route, then toured several game parks in the East.

We spent 5 weeks doing that before spending 3 weeks in Botswana and Namibia, two of our favourite holiday destinations.

With only 3 weeks I'd personally opt for no more than two countries. Depending on your interests...

South Africa and Namibia would give you the incredible landscapes of the Namib desert, the fantastic city life of Cape Town, the winelands, garden route, coast and safari too.

South Africa and Botswana would give you the fantastic city life of Cape Town, the winelands, garden route, coast plus some hard core safari experiences in remote and romantic camps. The Botswana environments (the Okavango Delta and the Makgadkgadi Pans are both true wonders).

On our first trip in the region we combined just Namibia and Botswana for an absolutely magical trip but since you mention South Africa and Cape Town I assume that spending time in SA is a given?
Kavey is offline  
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Jun 29th, 2005, 12:10 PM
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many people have asked this question so if you look you will find some information.

The issue is -- what is important to you -- is it wildlife or culture or other things? What is your budget? Why are you going in May? The seasons there are very different -- there is a definite rainy season and a definite dry season. So I would look at that to see if it is a good time to go where I want to go.

There is so much variety in South Africa itself that you will not be sorry if you spend the whole time there. You will not run out of things to do. However, you could split your time up and go to another country. I would not add Kenya or Tanzania from South Africa because it is so far. I would consider zambia, Botswana or Namibia.

sorry -- got to go.

mpkp is offline  
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Jun 29th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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I agree that you would probably be best off starting in Cape Town in May. You may still be able to get some nice days even at the end of May. I was there in the first week of June 2003 and the weather was still quite acceptable, raining only one day and not yet too chilly.

Personally, if you are committed to Cape Town, I would definitely stick to Southern Africa. It would be a piece of cake to get to either Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe or Zambia from Cape Town, requiring no more than about half a day regardless of where you choose.

Early June will still be shoulder season in each Botswana and Zambia, and due to the political situation it is always low season yearround in Zimbabwe.

Assuming you want to spend about two weeks on safari, I would say that it would be quite possible to mix Botswana with South Luangwa. I would not recommend Lower Zambezi in early June as more than likely the elephants and other wildlife will not yet have come down from the escarpment (although this year is an exception and I have read that gameviewing is already strong in June due to a very dry season).

Some may view saving South Luangwa for last after Botswana as anticlimatic but certainly not anybody who has actually experienced South Luangwa. I am not saying that the wildlife will necessarily be quite as strong, but I am saying that it will be incredibly beautiful in South Luangwa and should be much warmer, allowing you a few days to thaw out from Botswana.

Perhaps about 6 nights Moremi, 4 nights Linyanti, 1 night Victoria Falls, 4 nights South Luangwa?

There are just so many possible combinations out there, so it all depends on what you are looking for. Speaking from experience, however, I would say that I would be hesitant to visit any Zambian destination other than its strongest wildlife park, South Luangwa, in June. By August there are a lot of choices such as Lower Zambezi, Kafue and North Luangwa but you would be best off spending your time in Botswana or Hwange (Zimbabwe) for the majority of a June visit, in my opinion.

However, South Luangwa is such a big place, that you would not be disappointed in even 8 - 10 nights spent at a variety of lodges. Just the same, though, it would be very easy to spend all of your time in Botswana between the different destinations.

Bottom line...ask yourself what you are expecting out of your safari, from the animals you wish to see to the activities you want to do, and that will help you narrow it down some. Once you have a better idea then it will be possible for others to better direct you. Right now it is just too undefined for anybody to provide definitive answers.

Good luck.
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