Why Botswana?

Jul 5th, 2011, 08:43 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Oregonmaiden, I live near Eugene (not too far from ya!) As for MP routing, your best bet is to call and have an agent work out an itinerary for you. They've been rather creative in order to get me to Africa. On my last southern Africa trip, I was originally routed through Sao Paulo, Brazil (United to SP, then SAA to Joburg.) That's an alternative that's not usually used and more flights might be available that way. I changed my flight to Joburg, so the routing was changed to go through Europe, but I kept the Brazil routing to return to the US.

I traveled on the Ichobezi safariboat last year and loved it! I'd recommend it over the Zambezi Queen, which is a larger boat with a lot more people. Also, because of its size, it's not always able to negotiate the river when it's low. You might find your trip on it cancelled at the last minute. The game viewing from the Ichobezi and their small speedboats was outstanding (there are actually 2 safariboats.) We only had 2 days aboard the boat, but I'd recommend 3, in order to go further upriver away from the swarm of dayboats near Kasane. You can see some of my photos from the experience at sharontaylor.smugmug.com in the "Best of Botswana" album. There are photos from Mapula camp there, as well.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 5th, 2011, 11:13 AM
  #22  
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Hi Sharon,
Great pix of your trip---I appreciated the view of the safariboat and Mapula plus your thoughts about creative routing.Thanks.(I remember something called a "square" trip---or some such---years ago that did a USA > Brazil > South Africa > Europe route.Gone the way of the dodo by now I expect.)

As I start my in-depth research on trip specifics, my husband expressed some health concerns that I will throw out to the group without belaboring the surgical whys & wherefores. Suffice it to say that they were not an issue when we did our driving safari through Kenya and Tanzania in the 90's.

He is noting severe pain (from a hip replacement) with prolonged sitting although it can be alleviated with a brief stand-up.

Could someone give me a refresher course on how long he might need to sit in a 4x4, etc. where he would NOT be able to stretch periodically? Up to an hour seems to be OK for him (he drives to Eugene three times a week, Sharon ;-)

My continuing thanks to everyone,
Diane
OregonMaiden is offline  
Jul 5th, 2011, 12:09 PM
  #23  
 
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Firstly, if you have your own private, vehicle, you can stop any time you want for as long as you want. A safari like done by Roy Safaris out of Arusha, Tanzania.

Typical game drives are 3-4 hours long with a 10-20 min stop for morning coffee/tea and again for the afternoon sundowners drinks. If hubby would have to stop every hour for 5 mins to get out and short walk, others on the vehicles might not appreciate that, I would not. But if all he had to do was stand up and stretch out for 30 secs, that would be fine with me. Usually you're stopping frequently for any number of reasons anyway, but when at a big 5 sighting you must remain seated.

And you also remember from previous safaris that the ride can get rather bumpy at times.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2011, 01:43 PM
  #24  
 
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Open vehicles are usually used in Botswana, so you don't stand and look through roof hatches as is normally done in East Africa. That said, you should be able to work out something with your driver/guide, especially if it's just a brief "stand up" between sightings. He won't even have to get out of the vehicle if he doesn't need to walk around. As Tom points out, you don't stand while you're at a sighting, but you're not usually seeing wildlife every moment on a game drive, even in Botswana! Also, there is usually a stop or two on each game drive (depends on the camp and their schedules.)

BTW, if you guys would like to discuss this more with me (or if your husband would like to stop by on his next trip to Eugene), e-mail me at divedive99 at aol dot com. I've been to Bots on three safaris and love it!
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 5th, 2011, 02:48 PM
  #25  
 
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Cateyes,

Can't hurt to throw out a reminder about your wishes prior to your departure and then of course upon arrival.

If it is brief, like a minute, should be no problem to find some spots to stretch the legs right in the vehicle.

Now, a mekoro might be a different story. I've spent 2 hours at a time in a mekoro in the Okavango. But you could arrange to avoid a lengthy mekoro trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 6th, 2011, 08:18 AM
  #26  
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Thanks for the excellent information. Looks like my husband may indeed to able to handle it without being a pain in the (ahem) patooty to others.

Regarding a private vehicle---can anyone give me a guesstimate as to how those costs might compare to a pre-set itinerary? (Can't request an actual quote until I figure out where we'd be going...I'm awaiting delivery of the Botswana and Namibia Bradt guides even as I type...)

Sharon: thanks for the offer for additional Bots info---I might indeed take you up on it once I get my "Ducks" in a row. (For those out-of-area folks---Sharon's Eugene turf is home to the University of Oregon Ducks

Over 'n out for now
Diane
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Jul 6th, 2011, 01:54 PM
  #27  
 
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Go Ducks! You probably won't need a private vehicle if quick stops are all that are needed. They can be several hundred dollars a day, I think. The other guests probably won't mind a chance to stretch, either.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 6th, 2011, 05:00 PM
  #28  
 
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Private vehicles in Botswana are expensive. It was an extra $400 per day about 5 years ago. I don't think you need a private vehicle for your situation.

Quack!
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 08:25 AM
  #29  
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Thanks.

Since I have inadvertently involved you all in addressing the health-related issues concerning our family...I now find that my physician-husband is freaking at the HIV/AIDS statistics for Botswana.

I've been following the current travel insurance/med-evac thread on the site but oddly enough could find no reference to the very high % of HIV/AIDS in Botswana.

Any advice in this regard that might reassure him? (before I decide to make my life easier and go solo )
Diane
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Jul 7th, 2011, 08:57 AM
  #30  
 
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Very surprising comment. In the 1980s, people thought you could get HIV from a drinking glass. We've known better for a long while, though. The HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa is surely a tragedy, but it's hard for me to understand how it would impact a safari-goer or other tourist.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 11:30 AM
  #31  
 
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Agree with DonTopaz.... why would a physician be freaking out about going to Botswana because of HIV prevalence there?
Cateyes555 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 11:55 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Well if he is that concerned I would gladly go in his place on a trip to Botswana. I even think my wife would understand. I do fly first class though. : )

I went to Botswana in 2007 and HIV was the last thing ever on my mind...come to think about it did not even cross my mind. I went to Mashatu which is a different Botswana experience than the Delta. But it is beautiful and breathtaking as well. Mashatu was my first taste of Africa and it will always have a place in my heart.

I am going to try to do Mashatu and the Delta in 2012.....I do not fly anymore which means no airline points which means paying for plane tickets...which I hate more than an ingrown toe nail.

Tell your husband to go and enjoy himself.
scootr29 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 12:16 PM
  #33  
 
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Botswana does have one of the highest AIDs populations. Unless you engage in activities that transmit bodily fluids, you'll have no problems. You'll be fine on safari. If you were going on a medical mission, I think a little more caution would be advised, but not on a safari.

I'm no big risk taker, but never worried for a moment about the prevalance of AIDS in Botswana or anywhere else I went.

Do concern yourself with sun poison and always wear a wide brimmed hat and apply sun screen and high SPF lip balm liberally.

I take malaria prevention and make sure my vacines are up to date by visiting a travel clinic. I suggest the same for you. You could talk with the travel clinic about AIDS if you are concerned. I'm sure they get those questions.

You can take me in place of your husband, and I don't fly first class.

Worry about how to pay for this adventure not about AIDS.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 01:38 PM
  #34  
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Thanks all.

In answer to your questions about WHY he is concerned---given his health situation, I suspect he is worried more about having a repeat cardiac "event" in which he would need to be hospitalized immediately and faced with more surgery. Regardless of precautions, bodily fluids can indeed be exchanged in medical settings.

On the other front, because we have traveled so much---the good news is that we are vigilant about keeping vaccinations up to date and always take malaria prophylaxis where recommended.

It's nice to have some "replacement" travelmates on tap in case his worrywart status takes over...;-)
Diane
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Jul 7th, 2011, 01:43 PM
  #35  
 
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"Regardless of precautions, bodily fluids can indeed be exchanged in medical settings."

I have heard of travelers taking their own new needles with them to Africa.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2011, 05:06 PM
  #36  
 
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Beyond your own needles, some people take a whole medical pack. Worth checking into. I think it would be worth it for you to cart along. Also check into your evacuation insurance and see what country/hospital you'd be evacuated to.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 8th, 2011, 02:09 AM
  #37  
 
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OregonMaiden, you might consider a specialty insurance policy from Medjet Express. Unlike many policies, this one is simple: if you are hospitalized for any reason (except a simple broken bone), MedJet Express will get you transported from the faraway hospital to the hospital of your choice. Check their website for details of course. I don't know of any other policy that includes this specific benefit.

Don
DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 8th, 2011, 07:41 AM
  #38  
 
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If this is the last safari, I'd splurge on needles, medpacks, Medjet, and whatever else it takes to make it a good one and go.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 8th, 2011, 07:48 AM
  #39  
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Don, atravelynn, Tom---thanks for the suggestions. I will check out Medjet and also see what medical supplies might be easily transported. (Hubby already sets off the airport detectors with his hip and metal chest wire "zipper"...so I guess a few more security questions wouldn't matter, eh what?)

In the "travel insurance" thread I know that the fellow who writes in all capitals (smile) mentioned checking the competence/excellence of hospitals but it was unclear how he researched them (I did ask...)

I am assuming that the "best" hospitals closest to Botswana would be Cape Town or Johannesburg in terms of dealing with medical emergencies.

On a more fun note, I have been delighted to see the food on safari in Botswana gets positive reviews. I well remember the volume of cooked carrots we had to consume in Kenya and Tanzania. By the river in Arusha one of my favorite non-animal pictures was the "carrots 'n car wash" where dozens of locals were washing huge net bags of carrots while they alternately washed their vehicles (LOL)
Diane
OregonMaiden is offline  
Jul 8th, 2011, 08:10 AM
  #40  
 
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OM, my impression also is the best hospitals in Africa (whole Africa) are in Johannesburg or Cape Town.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  

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