Which Botswana itinerary would you choose??

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May 7th, 2005, 07:03 AM
  #1
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Which Botswana itinerary would you choose??

I'm considering one of these itineraries for 2006. Both are small group safaris and not flexible in terms of places selected and accommodations. My decision will be based on remoteness of areas, diversity of wildlife and least rustic accommodations. Thanks in advance for checking these out.

Itinerary #!:

Days 1-2 San Camp, Makgadikdadi Pans
Days 3-4 Jacana Camp, Okavango Delta
Days 5-7 Ketumetse Trails Camp, Okavango Delta
Days 8-10 Linyanti Trails Camp, Linyanti and Savuti excursion
Days 11-12 Sussi Lodge, Chobe

Itinerary #2:

Days 1-2 River Club, Vic Falls
Days 3-5 Linyanti Private Camp
Days 6-7 Savuti Camp
Days 8-9 Jacana Camp
Days 10-12 Tubu Tree Camp

phernska is offline  
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May 7th, 2005, 07:10 AM
  #2
 
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Crumbs, that's a TOUGH choice!

Of the camps listed I had a FANTASTIC experience at Jack's, unlike anywhere else, and I'm guessing San would share most of it - especially now that the tents at Jack's have been upgraded, the older Jack's tents have been used to upgrade Sans...

I also adored Jacana so it's good to see it on both itineraries.

Tubu Tree was a wonderful camp - small, intimate, EXCELLENT managerial team AND other staff too, EXCELLENT guiding, beautiful accommodation. Great sightings... wonderful all round. AND does NIGHT DRIVES!

Savuti was a nice enough camp though, during our visit, management was confusing and a little uncohesive, too many cooks spoiling the broth and one of the regular ones not present. We had good viewing here, especially of wild dogs. Meant to be great for eles though they hadn't really arrived by our visit.

Can't comment on the others...

I THINK I'd go for 1 because Kalahari would (and did, for us, in practice) win over Victoria Falls but...

TOUGH CHOICE!
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May 7th, 2005, 09:55 AM
  #3
 
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You can't lose.

In looking up Ketumetse Trails, I think I found your trip provider for #1. I know the provider of #2 and have traveled with them to non-Africa locations. Prices seemed about the same for both and both had the same number of participants, only 8.

Itinerary #1
Advantages from my point of view:

-You include the Kalahari and the diversity of landscape and animals offered here. In particular, meerkats and brown hyena are possibilities. Plus it is a remote destination.

-It is one more day and more is better than less, especially for about the same price.

Disadvantages from my point of view:

-The Vic Falls time is at the end. I prefer it at the beginning to help relax and get over jet lag. Also, should there be any flight problems, it offers a couple of buffer days up front. Others may view ending on a luxurious note to be better. I just don't.

-It seems as though there are 5 days at water camps, with Jacana and Ketumetse Trails. My personal preference is for more land than water camps. However for diversity of birdlife, water camps offer more. Also those little frogs that sit on the reeds.

-Since you mentioned least rustic as a priority, I think this option is slightly more rustic. Ketumetse Trails and Linyanti Trails may be your most rustic accommodations. However, they seem like nice camps and I'd stay there in a minute. Though I do not know their exact locations, I would think these would be more remote.

Itinerary #2

Advantages from my point of view:

-Vic Falls up front.

-More land camps. But that's just because I like land camps more than water camps, you may not feel this way.

-All camps are Wilderness 5 +/- Paws, meeting your least rustic criteria. Plus I have read such good things about Jacana (offered in both itineraries, but 3 days in #2 vs. 2 days in #1) and Tubu Tree. I've seen Tubu Tree listed as a favorite destination. Finally I know from experience the #2 company strives to maintain your comfort and is quite accommodating.

-3 nights everywhere so you get more familiar with an area

Disadvantages from my point of view:

-Linyanti and Savuti are very close and very similar, so there seems to be some repetition. Of course they are good areas so repeating good stuff should be a good time. Linyanti would be used only for your group so that would give you more seclusion and remoteness from others, making this really an advantage.

-Do you have to get a Zambian visa for your initial stay? That could be a slightly added hassle, but as I recall not an added cost. With a letter from my agent, I got one upon arrival, as is the standard practice.

-No Kalahari which means no chance at meerkats, which are unique to that region.

I don't know which I would choose, but meerkat possibilities would weigh in very heavily for me. Either way, you'll have a great Botswana experience and not break the bank.
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May 7th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Here is some Zambia visa info. I must have been in error when I said I did not recall paying anything.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/postrep...0&tid=34615318
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May 7th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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I've become a bit of a thread hog here, distant cousin of the warthog.

I don't know why I thought itinerary #1 was longer than #2--maybe because I thought #1 had days in Vic Falls at the end, which it does not. Perhaps it is time for some glasses!

Anyway, here is what I would do. It would add 2 days and some money, but it still would not break the bank.

I'd go with Itinerary #2. Then I'd have the agent add 2 nights at San Camp, which I know they can do because they also do private/custom safaris.

Ok, I'm done.
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May 7th, 2005, 03:56 PM
  #6
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Thank you!!

Atravelynn, you're on to me!!
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May 15th, 2005, 08:45 AM
  #7
 
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The only place we stayed on your itinerary was the River Club. Great place to stay. Our room was gorgeous, staff was excellent and food was perfect. The only thing we did in the area was white water rafting. It was a dangerous walk down and up and the rapids were crazy but I would do it again. Having said that, I am glad you're not staying there too long because Zambia was the only place I did not feel very safe. The camps are so amazing- I'm jealous!
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May 15th, 2005, 08:58 AM
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sammymalone,

I am interested in learning more about why you did not feel safe in Zambia.

When were you there and why did you feel unsafe? I am assuming it was more than the particular activity you chose that might be a bit scary for anyone.
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May 15th, 2005, 10:44 AM
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hi
i didn't stay at riverclub, but i did spend 2 nights in zambia, and intentionally we went on our own to the heart of livingstone town, walked across the border bridge by ourselves and also (attempted) to visit a village by ourselves. we did all of this on foot and by local taxi.
we didn't feel unsafe at all, and neither one of us are particularly menacing looking.

in advance of hearing why sammyalone felt unsafe, i wanted to put this out there and also ask what was "unsafe"?

was it threat of wild animals? (i almost backed into a zebra at the hotel- oops!)

or do you mean because people made you feel uncomfortable?

was there some local activity going on that drew large numbers of people?

please elaborate, because as a two travelers who have been to many "developing" countries, both my dh and i felt totally normal in livingstone town and surrounds.

yes, there was one small boy begging, but that you find anywhere (unfortunately), but we did not feel threatened.

all of our travels were in daylight....is there a different vibe after dark? thanks for letting us all know what happened to you.
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May 16th, 2005, 06:05 PM
  #10
Lin
 
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phernska, I did not have the best experience at Sussi & Chuma so email me if you would like to hear about it ([email protected]). I completely agree with atravelynn in preferring land to water camps. But, what time of year are you going? It can be hard to spot game from the mokoro during winter. I also second Kavey - if San Camp is ANYTHING like Jack's Camp (it's a sister camp) then DON'T MISS IT!! Although it's located in the Kalahari, its natural feature is the Makgadigadi salt pans which are an unbelieveable geographic phenomenon. And don't discount the wildlife there - the meerkats were a huge highlight of our safari, and we saw lots of zebra, wildebeest and jackals too. Also the salt pans are where 'the stars sing' according to the San people. You will never see a clearer or more beautiful night sky.
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