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Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

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Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

I'm planning on a January safari - sometime in the first two weeks of January. My interest is in seeing large numbers of wildlife . . . I don't care as much about birds. I'll probably opt for an upscale, tented camp and I'll certainly want to visit multiple locations.

My understanding - please correct me if I'm wrong - is that I would be better off headed to Tanzania at this time, given my interests and the particular time of year involved. I'm posting this inquiry in this forum because I thought persons more knowledgeable about Botswana than me might be able to correct me if I have been misinformed. Thanks in advance for your help.

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1. Re: Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

There are definitely differences between the two.

In Botswana, most of the upscale camps -- for example, most of the Kwando and Wilderness camps -- are on private concessions. That means that the camp essentially owns all of the area on which you do game drives, and the general public or vehicles from other camps aren't permitted to drive on that land. As a result, sightings of big cats, for example, almost never have more than 2 or 3 vehicles at the sighting. Also, many Botswana camps are effectively accessible only by air charter, which adds to the remote sense and the exclusivity.

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Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

On the other hand only Tanzania in January has two million animals gathered on the Ndutu plains along with the attendant Predators.

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3. Re: Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

. . . and that gets to the heart of my question. It sounds like in the first couple weeks of January, Tanzania might offer the best wildlife viewing options. But is this before the migration?

And although I've read that some people consider Botswana a better safari destination, I've also hear that this may not be true for January.

So since I would be on this safari in the first two weeks of January, should I prefer Tanzania to Botswana? Or is it just not that simple? In other words, is Tanzania going to offer far more wildlife, but with the added expense of just so many tourists that it's not as enjoyable?

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Isle of Man, United...
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4. Re: Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

The two million animals I mentioned are what is generally called "The Great Migration". They gather on the Ndutu plains at that time to have their calves etc.,

I have never found Tanzania to be as crowded as say Kenya or South Africa.

The Serengeti is the size of Switzerland. Undoubtedly at peak times the World Heritage Ngorngoro Crater can have many tourists but steps are in hand to ration this out. It is never overcrowded.

There is no simple answer. Only you can decide.

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5. Re: Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

I tend to agree with Mfuwe, that Tanzania is probably a better option than Botswana in January. As he pointed out, the southern Serengeti and Ndutu areas will be a spectacle of wildlife activity, and the nearby Ngorongoro crater will also not disappoint. That said, there are some awesome game viewing opportunities in Botswana with exposed floodplains in the Delta, and definitely fewer vehicles and tourists around. But not the sheer numbers of animals you will see in the Serengeti.

Mfuwe, my experience is that Tanzania is a bit more crowded than South Africa as far as vehicles are concerned, especially peak areas during peak times. Except perhaps the Skukuza area of Kruger and the western Sabi Sand, where there are usually lots of vehicles. Even so, the Sabi Sand manages vehicle pressure and only three vehicles are allowed at a sighting, while I have sat watching a leopard or cheetah in the Serengeti (and in Kruger at times) with upwards of 20 vehicles jostling for position... Guess it depends where you go, and what time of year.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

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Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Kruger National Park, South Africa
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6. Re: Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

Thanks Onne,

I was of course generalising as all I have seen about Maasai Mara and Kruger are "crowd scenes" with many vehicles parked up. Interesting to see that Sabi has the same three vehicle rule and hope they enforce it better than I have witnessed elsewhere.

I have seen maybe a dozen cars in Ngorongoro but not in the Serengeti but I suppose it could happen at peak times around the honeypots. The half day permits in Ngorongoro may or may not help with that. Personally I just drive off and find my own animals. Seen one Lion on his back asleep and seen em all!

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7. Re: Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

Thank you very much for your guidance - very helpful. I'm fairly certain we will focus on Tanzania and the regions mentioned given the time of year.

8. Re: Botswana or Tanzania - first two weeks of January

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