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How many safari days is enough and not too much

Vancouver, Canada
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How many safari days is enough and not too much

We are planning our dream honeymoon to southern Africa and are thinking of doing 6 nights in Botswana (2 nights at each of 3 camps)and also 3 nights at Sabi Sabi. Are we going to be sick of game drives by the end or is this reasonable?? Thanks for any advice.

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

If you don't know, how am I to know? I have no idea what your tolerance of game drives is. :-)

It's a risk everyone takes on their first trip. But I have yet to hear of anyone saying that the safari part of their trip was a waste of time or too long, so maybe that gives you some comfort....

If it was me, I wouldn't split the trip in two. I would spend all the time in one region. There is plenty of variety in Botswana - Chobe, Linyanti, Kalahari, Tuli, etc.

What would time at Sabi Sabi give you that you can't get in Botswana?

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2. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

Answer: Till the money and the vacation days run out.

Sick of game drives? You blaspheme! Halt such nonsensical drivel! Immediately!!!!

But that's me.

To help YOU answer the title of your post:

-What made you choose a safari for your honeymoon as opposed to something else?

-Do you enjoy nature at home?

-Are local birds and animals something you appreciate?

-Do you like wildlife shows on BBC, Discovery, NatGeo, etc?

-Does getting your hair messed up from an open vehicle, experiencing some dust, or tiny lizards/insects on the walls freak you out?

-Would being without TV this long be problem?

-Would cities and shopping or culture and architect be more appealing to you?

-Are there any particular animals you hope to see or species that are favorites?

-Has a safari in Africa always intrigued you?

Basically the interary you suggest is typical and should provide a top notch safari experience. I personally am not a fan of 2-night stays, and prefer to settle in for 3. But 2 nights in 3 places will allow you more diversity in scenery/terrain and the species that live in those terrains. Certainly one of the Botswana camps should be in the Okavango Delta. Perhaps one in the Linyanti area as well.

I'm sure your agent knows it is your honeymoon. There can be some romantic private bush dinners, etc. planned if they are aware.

I agree with Peterscot that nobody comes back disappointed or bored.

"What would time at Sabi Sabi give that that you can't get in Botswana?"

1. I don't know exact rates, but 3 nts Sabi Sabi may be less than some of the typical and expensive Botswana camps. If you are flying in and out of Joburg, then you're already in SA. You could ask for a price breakdown to see how Sabi Sabi compares with the Botswana part of your trip.

2. Rhinos--unless the $1500/pp/pn or more Mombo is in your plans or Chief's (a little less expensive) is in your plans, then you won't see rhinos in Botswana in the typical upscale honeymoon itinerary. There is a rhino sanctuary, but doubt it is in your schedule.

3. Potential excellent leopard viewing--Sabi Sands is known for outstanding leopards. In my experience (aside from Mombo many years ago) no place else had the CONSISTENT quality of leopard sightings.

Of course rhinos, leopards, or anything except maybe impala in Southern Africa cannot be guaranteed.

From another angle, if you are ho-hum* about a safari, why not stay put in South Africa and just do a Sabi Sands camp and another nearby--maybe in Timbavati. Never been but King's Camp in Timbavati has lots of people cheering.

Or pair Sabi Sands with Phinda in South Africa, a cheetah sanctuary that offers at least 7 activities besides traditional game drives. I combined Sabi Sands and Phinda for a great safari, all in South Africa. Note: Phinda is fenced but at 55,000 acres it is huge and plans are to increase the size in the future, RETURNING (Phinda means "return") the area to its original state. By contast in Botswana you would likely never be in an environment where a fence exists.

Staying in SA would save you lots of money by not flying to Botswana and staying in expensive (though worthwhile) Botswana tented camps and you'd see a lot of animals and perhaps even have time for the beautiful city of Cape Town.

*My ho-hum comment is not meant to say South Africa is ho-hum. Not by any means. But why invest extra time and money in an experience that you are tentative about by adding Botswana? I'm also not knocking Botswana, a fabulous destination, just trying to get the best match of destination and trip cost for the honeymooners' expectations and interests.

Good luck and please post again as your honeymoon plans take shape.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

Thank you for all the information atravelynn. Our trip is not exclusively Botswana and Sabi Sabi. We are visiting Cape Town and the surrounding area for one week and then planned on visiting Sabi Sabi and Botswana following by a relaxing resort in Mozambique (Azuara). We are not tentative about safari but in fact super excited. We were thinking of doing Wilderness Safari's camps in Botswana, perhaps Mombo plus 2 Classic camps. When we travel we love experiencing the best of the best hotel properties which is what lead us to look at Sabi Sabi (or Singita) and Mombo but we also wanted to experience some more rustic camps too. I am thinking that maybe be should order the camps Sabi Sabi, classic camps X 2 and then end with Mombo. Your idea of just sticking with South Africa is also an option but we wanted to experience some authentic safari nights too.

Horsham, United...
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4. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

Botswana has to be one of the best wilderness areas left in this part of Africa, so well worth a visit. However, nowhere does luxury in the region like South Africa, so go to Botswana for the destination (although the camps/lodges are good) & SA for the lodges (although Sabi Sands is also good for game viewing. Singita also have 2 lodges (Lebombo & Tswene) in the eastern part of Kruger bordering Mozambique, which are truly stunning - they do nice 4 night packages combining Sabi Sands lodges with the other 2.

Philadelphia...
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5. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

10 days is probably a really good amount of time on safari. My sons and I did 14 days. By the 11/12th day, we were excited about the drives, but also wanting something a but different. Mind you, we were camping the whole time and the creature comforts became more important as time went on.

The only concern about doing less is that animal sightings are very unpredictable. Less time on safari just may limit your chances of seeing some spectacular things.

Listen to your guide, maximize your time in the bush, and enjoy the trip.

USA
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6. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

Ryzee,

Knowing a little more about your trip and expectations, I think you have an excellent plan. Although it is the most expensive, if you can manage 3 nts at Mombo for a grand finale that would be good.

Houston, Texas
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7. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

We asked ourselves the same question before we did our safari. It is a difficult question. Noone wants to be out doing a game drive for the 14th day, spending thousands per day and thinking, "when are we leaving?" We did our first safari in South Africa in June for 5 nights (3 nights at one lodge and 2 nights at another). It was not enough, so we are planning our second one for summer 2011 in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Botswana. I think that what you are planning sounds perfect, with lots of variety.

Port Moody, Canada
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8. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

We did our third Africa trip last year.. spent 11 days on safari in Botswana.. 3 nights x 3 camps then 2 nights at Deception Valley. Botswana was fantastic.. have been before to Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania...no rhino but tons of other animals...3 different leopards in one day in western Chobe. Loved the Okovango Delta. Agree with the idea that 3 nights one place is better..otherwise you spend all your time moving...enjoy your honeymoon.. ....for me I'd spend at least 14 days on safari if I could....

Cape Town
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9. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

No way will you be sick of it. But why not focus on just one area? Enough variety in just Botswana - between the Kalahari, Moremi, Savuti, Linyanti and Chobe areas (maybe quick side trip to Vic Falls). Give yourselves time out from game drives with a mokoro trip, cruise up Chobe, quiet time in camp overlooking waterhole with your books - spend enough time in one place and the game comes to you. - you will be on honeymoon after all. Worth getting a Southern Africa bird and mammal book before you come. African sunsets - stuff of dreams - wise choice for a honeymoon.

Stanley, Falkland...
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10. Re: How many safari days is enough and not too much

Jayb - I agree. I sometimes wonder whether the publicity for certain Kruger reserves and lodges has meant that people feel they are missing out if they don't visit them. And then end up rushing through more camps than need be to fit them all in.

2 nights at a camp is only ONE FULL DAY. You spend time getting there, sundowner drive, eat, sleep; next day - up at dawn, 2 game drives, eat, sleep, and then move on. You are hardly able to know which camp you are at.

And Botswana has so much more to offer than the Delta. My $0.02 :-)