Yet another Honeymoon Safari

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Apr 25th, 2005, 02:35 PM
  #1
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Yet another Honeymoon Safari

Hi- I have been lurking for a week or two now and am ready to post. My husband and I just keep getting more and more confused about what we want to do. Here is what we are thinking in general: Two weeks (or a bit more) doing Kenya and Tanzania or Botswana. The time-frame for the trip would be mid-August to mid-September (high season). Is it too late to be planning this?

We were thinking about doing a pre-planned safari as this is our first trip to Africa. We have looked at Abercombie and Fitch and Micato but reading everyone here makes me think that coming up with our own itinary might be the best thing. We are a little worried that a package tour will be too constraining (it's time to eat again!). We are looking for very comfortable lodges or tent camping. We have some travel books and have looked at some websites. A question I have in general is: What are the "best countries" to Safari in?

Our budget is pretty flexible as the honeymoon is a gift. We don't want anything to tame but don't want to touch crocodile teeth either. A combination of walking, 4 wheel drive sighting, boating on a river and maybe an exotic elephant ride would be cool.

Thanks,
Karmagal
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Apr 25th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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Abercrombie & Fitch...are you buying new clothes or going on a safari?

(Abercrombie & Kent is actually the name of the tour operator)

As an experiment I suggest you do the following...

Take one of the itineraries from Micato or A&K and send it out to a smaller operator such as Africa Serendipity and see how the prices compare.

http://www.africaserendipity.com/contact.htm

You will be getting the exact same product (same lodges, same type of vehicles, etc.) but once you do it through a smaller operator, you should see a significant cost savings. Give it a try and let us know how it comes out.

Congratulations on your engagement.
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Apr 26th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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Karmagal,

Congratulations!

Not too late to be planning, but I wouldn't dawdle. For one thing that is such a wonderful time of year to be going that others will have the same idea. You planned your wedding at a good time for Africa.

Looking at your comments, that may direct your decision.

"We don't want anything to tame but don't want to touch crocodile teeth either."
-Botswana has the open vehicles (less tame) while Kenya and Tanzania have the popups in the national parks. The private reserves may have open vehicles in East Africa.

"A combination of walking"
-You can do some of that in Kenya, Tanzania, and Botswana. It is Zambia and Zimbabwe that are really noted for walking safaris. I believe there are more options in Botswana for walking in some of the delta camps. Wilderness Safaris even has a several day mekoro/walk safari in the delta.

-This summer I plan to stay at Chitabe Walking Trails Camp (Wilderness owned) where you sleep on an elevated platform under the stars and then walk out and do a walking safari the next morning. That is relatively new.

"boating on a river"
-The Botswana Chobe River cruise (in a small motor boat) at sunset is a highlight of any safari with abundant wildlife.

-Botswana also has many mokoro opportunities in the delta. A small motorboat safari is also available at Duma Tau (Wilderness owned) in the Linyanti area of Botswana.

"and maybe an exotic elephant ride would be cool. "

-I only know of these in Botswana or Victoria Falls nearby.

1 Abus, a Wilderness Safari camp in the Okavango Delta, is the premiere place for elephant safaris. Very expensive and 3-day stay minimum, I believe. Never done it, but those who have gone have raved.

2 At Matoba Hills near Bulawayo, Botswana I did some elephant back safaris at Amanlinda Lodge, which was a luxury cave. A great time and tracked and found rhino on foot. (not tame)

3 In Victoria Falls, easily accessed from Botswana (and maybe a good thing to see on a honeymoom) there is a lodge that does elephant riding safaris. I think it is called Elephant Camp or Lodge.

4 Stanley's in Botswana lets you walk with elephants (no riding). That's going to be my next elephant personal encounter activity.

You may have to endure the "it's time to eat again" as the food is wonderful and plentiful and there are always delicious treats at tea. Any good lodge/camp will have the safari activities take precedence over dining.

"4 wheel drive sighting"
-possible anywhere

I'd do Botswana if I were you, based on what you stated was important. If you do 7 nights in Wilderness safari camps, you get a bit of a price break.

Have fun!

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May 5th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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Hi-

I am still here. I just realized after the last post that I had some research to do. In reading the posts on this site I became very interested in Zambia as a possible destination (thanks Rocco!) and decided to see if I could get an interesting itiniary planned including Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania! Seems like a tall order. Here is what my travel agent came up with:

Fly to Johansburg from Europe (where we plan on spending a couple of days in London or Amsterdam to break up the trip) and directly to Victoria Falls where we will spend two nights at the Royal Livingstone. (we may try the elephant ride here)

Fly to Puku Ridge Tented Camp where we will spend three nights.

Fly to Nairobi and spend the night at the Norfolk hotel.

Fly the next day to the Masai Mara where we stay at Bateleur Camp for three nights.

fly through Nairobi to Ngorongoro Crater Lodge where we spend three nights.

Fly to Zanzibar for six nights at the Mnemba Island Lodge then to Dar es Salaam for a flight to Europe.

I like the fact that we spend several nights in one place between flying days. I might want to break up the Zanzibar portion and include Stone Town. I am not a super duper beach bunny!

I am open to the idea of exluding Zambia and doing it on another trip if I fall in love with Africa as so many of you have (expensive habit) and doing something in southern Tanzania instead.

Thanks for your comments about lodging, travel plans etc.!
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May 5th, 2005, 01:02 PM
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Have your travel agent checked availability at these properties? This is Aug/Sep 2005?

I have no inside info, but experience tells me Mnemba is probably full by now, and that the Crater Lodge & Bateleur are both iffy (full with only a glimmer of hope for cancellations).

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May 5th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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sandi
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I wouldn't try to do both southern and eastern Africa in one trip. One or the other, but not both... too taxing and you never quite catch up!

As to the properties mentioned - I'm with Climbhigh...... it'll take a miracle to get 3-consecutive days at Bateleur, Crater and Mnemba. Aug/Sept is the high season and most of the high-end properties have been booked since last year.

That's not to say that there aren't other properties in the same category and price range to suit your needs, again, based on availability.
 
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May 6th, 2005, 01:12 PM
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Thanks Sandi and Climbhighsleeplow for your comments. We do have a hold for a short time on the places I mentioned. So it is mostly a matter of deciding if three countries is too much to do in three weeks.


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May 6th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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I think if the 3 countries are Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia it may be too much for 2 weeks.

I've seen other 3 country itineraries that might work in 2 weeks.

If you did exclude Zambia this time, you could combine it with Botswana, which you mentioned in your original post, for the next trip.
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May 6th, 2005, 06:18 PM
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Coming from the biggest Zambia pusher on this board...save Zambia for when you have more than 3 nights to give it.

Your time will be much better spent in East Africa.

However, when you are ready for Zambia, make sure that it has your undevoted attention so that you could spend an ample time in South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and possibly beyond.

I am going to Zambia for 12 nights this year, and I would need to double my time to be completely satisfied (adding six nights in Kafue National Park 4 nights in North Luangwa and maybe another night each in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi).

Although Puku Ridge is a beautiful camp, it is not worth all the extra jumping around that it will create.

After you fall in love with Africa, you can come back to Zambia next April or May for a very nicely priced Emerald/Green Season safari. As an added bonus, it is usually very inexpensive to fly to Europe from the USA up until about April, so who knows, maybe you will be coming back for Zambia within 7 months of East Africa!
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May 6th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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undevoted attention should read undivided attention.

undevoted attention = only 3 nights in Zambia!
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May 26th, 2005, 01:45 PM
  #11
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Me again. I have done some searching using keywords but haven't found the exact information I am looking for.

We have decided to limit our trip to Kenya and Tanzania. Thanks everyone for helping me with this decision. I think it really does make sense to limit one's scope when planning something like this.

My question is: If I must choose three days in one of these Kenyan parks which should I choose? Amboseli or Samburu?

We are going to the Mara, Ngorongoro and possibly (cross my fingers) Mahale to see chimps. Which of these parks compliments this itinary best? I am looking for first-hand comparisons to help me out.

Thanks so much,

Karmagal
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May 26th, 2005, 07:16 PM
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I hope the chimps work out!

Either Amboseli or Samburu would be great parks. You might see which works out best logistically. Amboseli could be placed between your other Kenya activities and Tanzania because it could be reached enroute by vehicle. Samburu is in the north of Kenya and requires a long drive or a flight.

For either park 3 days is longer than many itineraries allot, although I am planning over 3 days in Samburu on my next Kenya trip.

Amboseli gives possible views of Kilimanjaro with great elephant viewing and good game viewing in general. If you were there 3 days, you'd really increase your odds of seeing the mountain. There is also a camp in that area that Iíve investigated, but never stayed at, Shampole. It is very small with 6 beds. You could drive to Lake Natron from there and see flamingos because it doesnít look like youíll be at other lakes. Though Iíve seen flamingos in the Crater. Shampole also offers night drives. A night or two at Shampole would offer a more secluded experience than Amboseli, so this combo could be appealing for 3 days.

Next to the Mara, Samburu has the most game in Kenya. Many animals are different here than the other places you'll visitóGrevy Zebra (more mule like, thinner stripes) Somali Ostrich, Gerenuk (antelope with giraffe-like neck), Reticulated Giraffe (bigger patches), oryx or gemsbok. Very good place to see leopard and elephant. Camel safaris are offered here. Though Iíve not stayed there, the Elephant Watch Camp allows you to track elephant with trained experts, though this is expensive. A night here combined with another Samburu camp could be a great experience.
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