Which one? Botswana or Tanzania?

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Jul 28th, 2005, 05:14 AM
  #1
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Which one? Botswana or Tanzania?

Decisions...decisions. We could really use some advice for our first trip to Africa. We're traveling as one adult, one 15-year old teen in mid-June 2006. Dates are pretty flexible and we'd like to keep it around $5,000 pp (without international airfare).

Initial thoughts were to spend our time in northern Tanzania on a private tour. After discussing with family, we decided to look instead for a small tour group to join - we prefer the company of others and would feel safer. I've been in contact with a few local and US operators and have some initial suggestions.

Then I stumbled across some excellent threads here that made me think about planning a trip to Botswana instead where we could fly to 3 or 4 individual camps and spend a few days at each. The variety of activities (elephant back safaris, Victoria Falls, mokoro tours, quad motorbikes, etc.) sounds very appealing especially to a teenaged boy.

I'm really torn and I could use some advice here. I've spent many hours reading various posts and it sounds like I can't go wrong either way but I'd love to get perspectives from others - particularly if you've traveled with kids to these areas.

Thanks for all the help, this board is awesome!
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Jul 28th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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Ninja - Same situation for us about 1 year ago. We (my wife and our almost 12 year old son and I) decided on Kenya and Tanzania over Bostwana. We just returned July 4 and had a great time.

Here is a thread about our trip:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...t=0&dirtyBit=1

We decided to go to East Africa based on these thoughts:

1. Timing - We were able to plan a safari to see the migration during our limited travel window of June/July.

2. First time to Africa - This was our first time to Africa and Kenya and Tanzania offered what I considered to the the highlights of the Africa experience (Migration, Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, Maasai, etc.).

3. Cost - We were able to plan a private, luxury safari for the cost of a basic safari in Bostwana.

4. Children - Our son is 11 and most Bostawanan camps do not allow children under 12. Additionally we liked the idea of meeting other children at the lodges. This worked out great for us.

I have not been to Bostwana and am sure that you would have a tremendous experiece there. Most people that select Bostwana over East Africa beacuse of the amount of people they encounter. I can say that this was not an issue for us, except in the Ngorongoro Serena. You can certainly plan a safari in small camps to avoid crowding. Also check out ther Selous.


I hope you enjoy the research for your safari as much as I did before ours. Your 15 year old will have a great time!
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Jul 28th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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oops...HERE is the correct thread with our report and pictures:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=4

Sorry for the incorrect thread above.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 08:21 AM
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JazzDrew, thanks for your response. It definitely sounds like you went thru a very similar thought process. I actually printed out your report earlier and viewed all your pictures. Your son looks like he was having a wonderful time. Since it's just the 2 of us, we're particularly interested in being with other folks - especially if we could find another family with kids similar in age. Too bad you couldn't wait until next summer so we could tag along with you guys!

Here's how I see it so far:

Tanzania advantages: Our timing would work out well for possibly seeing the migration. Also, it sounds like we'd have a better chance of visiting a local village or school which is something I know we'd both really enjoy.

Botswana advantages - - more secluded safari experience, greater variety in activities and how we'd be able to view game - by 4WD, boat, mokoro, elephant back, etc.

Haven't compared costs yet but it sounds like that may end up being one of the deciding factors.

I just requested info from FishEagle and Africa-Adventure about Botswana and I'll check around for a few other local operators as well. Any suggestions for who we should consider working with if we decide on Botswana?

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Jul 29th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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Ninja,

You have hit the pros and cons of the two countries on the head. If you think you might return to Africa again someday, I'd lean towards Tanzania since you'd be traveling at such a good time and another trip may not be an ideal time to see the migration in Tanzania.

Costs would definitely favor Tanzania, but you can do small group camping trips in Botswana which reduce the price. If you participate in the tent pitching/meal preparation it can be a real deal. But the luxury mobile camping trips where you do absolutely no work are also reasonable too. This is what I have done and loved it.

Wilderness Safari company offers several of these Botswana camping itineraries through their agents, such as Fish Eagle and Africa Adventure.

I've dealt with Fish Eagle and found Bert to be very responsive and knowledgeable. I've traveled with Africa Adventure with great results. A company that specializes in relatively small group trips to Tanzania is Thomsons. Have had positive contacts with them but never traveled with them.

Botswana or Tanzania, you can't go wrong. Email if you wish.
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Jul 29th, 2005, 10:55 AM
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Bert at Fish Eagle is sending me additional brochures and info about scheduled small group departures with Wilderness Safaris. From what I've seen on their website, I'm pretty intrigued already.

The folks at Thomsons and Africa-Adverture have been very helpful already with my earlier Tanzania info requests.

Does anyone know if the mobile camping options (Discover Explorations) with Wilderness Safaris typically include family groups as well? I know the group size is small (8) and the lodges are typically only 5 or so tents so I'm thinking odds are against us running into other teenagers along the way.
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Jul 30th, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Ninja,

Honestly, I don't think you could go wrong either way. We went through a very similar thought process when we were planning our trip. In the end we decided on Southern Africa because 1) political stability. When we were planning our trip it was when the BA planes were getting shot down in Kenya. 2) Our frequent flier miles only got us to JNB.

But, we're already starting to think about our next trip to Africa, and we're leaning very heavily towards Tanzania even though Botswana was spectacular beyond believe. Will just have to do both!

Judy
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