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Independant travel v's prebooked tours in Sth & East Africa

travelling aussies
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Independant travel v's prebooked tours in Sth & East Africa

We have just booked flights for a 30 day trip to Africa.

We fly in and out of JoBurg mid Nov - mid Dec.

Beyond that, we don't really have a plan.

We have travelled extensively and independantly throughout India, the Middle East and Morocco, and are currently debating the idea of organised tours.

Budget is a concern for us (aiming for 150US a day for both of us), and we would really appreciate some advice from people who have travelled independantly in Southern and East Africa. Any info on availability of on the ground tour operators and ticketing services for buses. Also experiences with border crossings...anything and everything really !

I guess we're hoping to join a couple or 3 - 4 day tours with bits of independant travel in between and from a budget point of view, would like to know whether on the ground tours organised thru hostels etc are better value than prebooking.

Also - anyone know of a cheap airline between JoBurg and Nairobi ? Prices are outrageous !

Any tips are greatly appreciated


Linda and Andy

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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1. Re: Independant travel v's prebooked tours in Sth & East Africa

We have something in common, actually. My wife & I have also traveled independently all throughout the Middle East and Morocco. And now in later life I organize trips in Africa for folks who don't want to do it on their own. In Kenya, except for the beaches, you really won't be able to do much on your own. You can't do a safari without a car - which is expensive. And if you do drive into one of the game reserves, accommodations are expensive, it's very easy to get turned around and disoriented. South Africa is just the opposite. So simple to make some plans in advance (booking space in a national park, for example) and then just go. Parks have good maps, signage.

Yes, you will be spending at least $625 for your R/T flight to Nairobi - if you use Kenya Airways. If you are using South African Airways for your flights to and from JNB, then you could check and see what the cost of the R/T ticket to and from Nairobi would add to the cost of your main ticket. it might be less than that.

South Africa
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2. Re: Independant travel v's prebooked tours in Sth & East Africa

You can do a combination of both, like you suggested already. Some destinations are great to do with some kind of organised trip or tour (not necessarily in a big group, it can also be a private and customized tour). Other destinations are so easy and simple to do on your own, in a rental car, that you may prefer a self-drive option over an organised tour.

First step would be to study a map and read some trip reports here on Tripadvisor, and decide on main destinations you want to see. For example, in 30 days you may want to see South Africa's Kruger National Park, the adjacent Sabi Sand Game Reserve, the nearby Panorama Route, Cape Town and surrounds, the Garden Route, northern Kwazulu Natal's beaches and game reserves, the Wild Coast, etc. Further afield but easy to reach from South Africa you may wish to include Victoria Falls, Botswana and/or Namibia, or perhaps the islands of Mozambique. You can't fit all of the above in 30 days, which is why you need to research these destinations and decide which ones you would like to include on this trip. Think about why you want to go and what your interests are. Are you primarily going for the safari experience / game viewing? Is it important to sample a bit of the local culture and history, cities and museums, night life and entertainment? Do you want remote and beautiful wilderness areas? Sunny beaches? Amazing scenery? Lots of adventure and activities? These things will help shape the kind of itinerary that you may want to put together. Once you have an idea of destinations you wish to visit, you can then look at the best way to do these - privately guided tour, organised group trip, self-drive adventure, whatever works for you.

I would suggest with your budget you should look at a self-drive safari. All of South Africa's top destinations can be done on a self-drive basis, and if you have a 4x4 vehicle, Botswana as well. That said, Botswana is a little expensive compared to South Africa, and renting a 4x4 might blow your daily budget. There is enough to see and do in South Africa to spend 30 fantastic days in a rental car on a self-drive basis.

Have fun!

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

3. Re: Independant travel v's prebooked tours in Sth & East Africa

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