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Your help is needed to start planning our safari to South Africa and Botswana

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Mar 20th, 2002, 09:17 AM
  #1
Joanna
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Your help is needed to start planning our safari to South Africa and Botswana

I do not know where to start and would like know how did you begin your planning. I got Frommer's South Africa but I cannot find any suggested itineraries that would help me in deciding what areas to visit and camps to stay in. We would like to spend a few days in Cape Town but not certain what is a big attraction there. Then we want to go on two week safari but where to start and where to stay? We are interested in small camps where wildlife and birds are plentiful. Is it possible to combine South Africa and Botswana?

What time of the year is the to visit both places without treat of rain?
 
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Mar 20th, 2002, 12:37 PM
  #2
Louise
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I think one good way that you might start is to go into the text search above and read all the posts for your areas of interest. There are also many suggestions of tour operators. You can then request brochures or look up the web sites of the different operators.
 
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Mar 20th, 2002, 12:38 PM
  #3
evelyntrav
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I suggest you talk to the travel agent we are using for a similar trip, Bert at [email protected]. He has been very helpful and accommodating. He answers many questions here on the Africa board and does not advertise. I have never met the man, but he is always available and gives good advice. The trip is being booked through Wildnerness Safaris, in my opinion the best of a very competitive assortment.
 
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Mar 20th, 2002, 01:57 PM
  #4
Louise
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I would have to second Bert. We did our trip to Botswana and he arranged everything including a stopover in Capetown beforehand. He really is super to deal with and our trip was excellent. I am most sure I posted previously about the trip.
 
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Mar 20th, 2002, 06:04 PM
  #5
Taylor
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Hi Joanna - I was in your shoes about 5months ago -planning a 2-3 week trip to Southern Africa. Our plans are complete now and we will be there for 2 weeks in June. I started my reading messages posted on this sight, bought 2 travel guides and checked several others out from our local library. Another aspect that is helpful is to review lots of brochures from organized tours - ie Smartours, Abercrombie etc.. you will be able to see from those brochures of various price levels the different hotels used, the highlights of an area and approx. costs. The guide books will give you more detail on each aspect so you can match accommodations and sights to your interests. Many guidebooks identify the "must-sees" and noteworthy hotels or activities. Once you have found some things which peak your interest start posting more specific messages for one. Also - if you like the sounds of a camp - do a search to see pictures, read descriptions and shop for prices. I have planned trips to Thailand, Australia, Paris and now Soth Africa with this approach. Those first 3 trips were GREAT and glitch-less amazingly. See my next posting here for specifics about our SA itinerary. Good luck.
 
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Mar 20th, 2002, 06:10 PM
  #6
Taylor
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Hi again -
We initially planned to see SA and Vic Falls but the political situation In Zimbabwe convinced us to stay in SA. We are leaving Botswana til te next trip because of time and expense. Our trip to SA in early June starts in Cape Town for 2 days, then we hop the Blue Train to Pretoria. After two days in Jo'burg we will travel to private game reserves near Kruger. We will stay 2 nights at Tanda Tula tented camp and 3 nts at Mala Mala, from there it is back thru Jo'burg to Sun City for a couple of nights. Tanda Tula was chosen because I have experience tented camps in Kenya and LOVED the experience. Mala Mala looked to focus on animal sightings and looked nice even if not a Singita. We are staying at the V&A in CT and the Westcliff in Jo'burg. If you want more info etc.. e-mail me directly. Planning is one of the best parts of travel because you can enjoy the anticipation.
 
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Mar 20th, 2002, 07:25 PM
  #7
Debbie
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Joanna, I did my planning a couple of months ago for my safari in September. I went through what you are going through now but once I started talking to different safari operators and reading books, then it made sense. I would suggest doing an internet search on safari and talk to a few different agents. I got the best advice from Bert mentioned above and Kinda at African Adventure. She was so flexible in getting me exactly what I wanted that I went with them. Both she and Bert use Wilderness Safaris so it is just a matter of who you feel most comfortable with.

I am doing South africa, Botswana, and Victoria Falls and feel like I got great information in making my choices. As far as the best time of year, African Ad. has a chart on their website that shows temperature and best viewing for all areas. I chose late September because it is warming up in Botswana and South Africa then(it is cold at night in June, July,and August)and it is the end of their dry season so still great game viewing. It is also high season so costs are at their highest.
Feel free to e-mail me if you want more info.
 
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Mar 21st, 2002, 02:57 AM
  #8
kavey
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Dear Joanna

What an exciting place you are at right now...

But I should warn you - once you have visited Southern Africa it's in your blood and you spend half your waking hours working out how long it will take to save up and go back!

We also used Wilderness Safaris and found them fabulous, infact the only camp we didn't like was one they hadn't recommended, and we wish in retrospect we had stayed at their camp in that area.

Because we are based in the UK we used Sunvil to book the trip, they used Wilderness Safaris as their local operator.

We visited Namibia and Botswana and I personally felt this was an absolutely winning combination.

I am sure South Africa will also offer you a spectacular experience.

We also missed out Zimbabwe because of the political situation, not so much an issue of safety (though that entered into it) as much as an issue of spending my money in a country which supports basic human freedoms and rights.

Our favourite camp in Botswana was Mombo - of course it was also the most expensive of our choices, but we were continously awestruck by the wildlife sightings, we spent hours and hours on the trot following leopards, cheetahs, lions etc, our vehicle only feet away.

We also liked Vumbura for the contrast, here we concentrated on the water based activities.

In Namibia we adored Wolwedans (an independent outfit) and also loved Wilderness Safari's Damaraland Camp.

I should point out that Mombo was completely rebuilt about 18 months ago (not 100% sure of exact timeframe) and so reports older than that will be accurate in terms of wildlife spotting and staff but not in terms of accommodation.

All our accommodations were tented camps, though you couldn't really say you were camping out... they combined the best parts of canvas and hotel room accommodation.

Please feel free to email...

Yours
Waiting for 2004
Kavey
 
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Mar 21st, 2002, 06:46 AM
  #9
chris
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Don't rule out Victoria Falls. We recently visited there but had the pleasure of staying at the Royal Livingstone which is in Zambia. The hotel was fabulous and it is right on the Zambezi river above the falls. The people in Zambia were some of the nicest people we met on our entire trip, and we had the comfort of knowing we were in Zambia, NOT Zimbabwe, for the obvious reasons.
 
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Mar 21st, 2002, 07:15 AM
  #10
evelyntrav
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Chris, did you get to the Zim side of the falls? How did you get there from Zambia and how much did it cost? One more question... did you take a cruise on the Zambezi River and would you reccommend it?

We are planning to be there in June and staying on the Zambia side.
 
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Mar 21st, 2002, 04:48 PM
  #11
Joan
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Chris and Evelyntrav,
My Daughter and I are plannig a trip and I really don't what to give up seeing Victoria Falls. I am thinking of the Zambia side. Chris,I would love to hear more about what you did while there.
Evelyntrav, Please let me know how your trip goes then you get back.
thanks alot
 
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Mar 22nd, 2002, 01:33 PM
  #12
billyjeff
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here are some web sites you can try

http://www.africa-adventure.com/index01.html

http://www.africantravel.com/wilderness/mombo.html

http://www.ccafrica.com/destinations/southafrica/londolozi/
http://www.singita.com/intro/

http://www.travelvantage.com/hotel/luxury/bots_lux_gametrack.html


http://www.wilderness-safaris.com/default.htm

We have already put together a trip for next year to SA and Botswana through African Adventures. They have been great to work with. Will be staying at Singita, Phinda, Isandlwana, Xigera and Little Mombo ending at Victoria Falls Hotel.

They have been great to work with. They quickly put together an itinerary at what I thought was a very reasonable cost. I sued Sara at African Adventures.
 
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Mar 23rd, 2002, 02:35 AM
  #13
chris
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We were travelling with a group, so I didn't make any of the individual arrangements. We all flew into Jburg and then took a charter flight to Livingston; I am almost positive that some airline has scheduled service there, too. It is about a 15-20 minute car or bus ride from the airport to the Royal Livingstone hotel. It is part of Sun International, and there is also another hotel next door with the same group (the name has escaped me). From what I saw, we liked the Royal Livingstone much more; it is right on the river and you constantly see the mist from Vic Falls. I viewed the Falls directly in 2 ways; one was when the group took a ride on a vintage steam train to the bridge that crosses the river across from the Falls. It is also the bridge that connects Zambia to Zimbabwe; No....we didn't go all the way across the bridge. In addition, there is a path from the 2 hotels that take you directly to the area at the Falls. You have the choice of getting completely soaked from the mist of the Falls or you can take an umbrella or rent a rain poncho. It was spectacular to be so close to the Falls, and the rainbows were amazing. I have a basic camera, and I love the way my pictures turned out!
As for the river, we took a canoe ride on inflatable canoes, and it was a lot of fun. We also took a sunset cruise (I think the boat was the "African Queen", and it was really lovely. We saw elephants, hippos, and giraffes along and in the river, plus the sunset was spectacular! The canoe ride was lots of fun, but if you only travel on the river once, I would recommend the sunset cruise.
 
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Mar 23rd, 2002, 06:54 AM
  #14
evelyntrav
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Chris, many thanks for the information. Is the reason you did not go to the Zim side of the Falls because of the political situation? I'm afraid I'll miss seeing something wonderful if I don't see it all. However, I will be flying over the falls on my way to Zambia so perhaps just the view from the trail on the Zambia side will be enough. Our trip is the beginning of June so will decide what to do based on the political climate at that time. The cost of getting there from the place we are staying in Zambia is very high because of the border crossings and the private driver/guide.
 
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Mar 24th, 2002, 04:33 AM
  #15
chris
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I can't imagine how the view from the Zimbabwe side could be any more spectacular than what I saw from the Zambia side. We did not go to Zimbabwe because of the political climate AND they charge a steep fee to cross into Zimbabwe and also to go back to Zambia. Didn't feel like we missed a thing by not going there.
 
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