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Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

Shoreline...
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Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

My wife and I are in the research stage of an Africa trip (our very first) for 2013. Dates are yet to be determined.

I would not want to be anywhere when it is too hot though as I am a northern climate guy and am used to Vancouver BC temperatures.

We are both in our lower 40s and in very good overall physical health.Total number of days would be about 9 to 12 days total in Africa.We have traveled already by ourselves (non group) through the bottom third of South America, parts of central and northern India, and parts of western Europe.

However, for the Africa visit we are considering for the first time being part of a group.We prefer a smaller group of less than say 8 other people besides us in it.

We would like to visit the South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique area, yet have not decided which country(s) or where/which parts yet, and we are budgeting no more than $ 6000.00 for both us of together in total, and then we will have to pay of course for our airfare in addition to that and any necessary visas, and misc other items.

We do not mind "some" work as far as cleaning and prepping vegetables and setting up as I have seen is required by some tours and safaris I have looked at online, yet we do not want "lots" of work, we would like a vacation, not a work trip.Several tour websites I have seen say you will be doing this job or that every day, and I really do not want that much work, "some" work would be okay though.I want more of a vacation than daily chores.

As well, I don't mind being in a jeep or other vehicle for a few hours in a day, say three or four max, but do not want to spend lets say 7 or 8 hours all day driving, that would not be my idea of fun at all.

We would arrive at Johannesburg as far as I can tell so far.

We would like to primarily see wildlife and be immersed in nature, yet of course with a knowledgeable guide who knows where and what to see when.

All thoughts and advice would be appreciated.Thanks to all who answer.

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

Look at either overland truck tours and/or small-scale participatory camping tours.

I am very surprised that you aren't considering Namibia, as it is very accessible and affordable (relative to Botswana), and has some of the "best" landscapes and wildlife on the planet.

I don't know what your budget will buy (but do make clear what kind of dollars you are mentioning!), but you could do worse than look at a couple o sites of agents like ATR and ExpertAfrica, or Wild about Africa

http://www.wildaboutafrica.com/

(Edit - look at those sites to get an idea of whats on offer, costs and so on)..

Edited: 03 July 2012, 23:31
Maun, Botswana
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2. Re: Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

Africa is very hot throughout. If you are really worried, travel in winter (May to August). Safe travels

Mfuwe
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3. Re: Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

Zikomo Safari Camp has a special this year for South Luangwa National Park in Zambia and Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Two top wildlife parks in Africa. Might still work for next year.

Melbourne,Victoria
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4. Re: Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

My husband and I are both in our 40's and have just returned from a trip to Botswana and South Africa with a short amount of time in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I have travelled to Africa before in my 30's and did an overland trip with a group in a truck. I absolutely loved both experiences but would have to say my most recent trip was definitely the right trip for this stage in my life. I don't know if you are considering the group because you are a "beginner" or for cost? We stayed at a mixture of lodges and hotels (stopovers in vic falls, Joberg, Cape Town) our transfers were organised so getting around from place to place was obviously not an issue. Accom did cost more than your budget but we stayed at some luxury Lodges - there are other options. We met one Dutch couple who were driving themselves around Namibia & Botswana. The lodges then provide accomodation and safari activities. They said the roads were great and the driving easy. Compared to what we have seen on the roads in Cambodia Vietnam and Thailand we could definitely believe this. Good luck with your plans.

Nashville, Tennessee
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5. Re: Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

If you are looking for a group trip for the companionship, then stay with that thought. If it is to save money, then possbile considering Namibia and an independent driving trip would be better. Botswana is much more expensive on an apples to apples comparison compared to some other countries (especially Namibia) and your budget would net a quite luxurious vacation in Namibia for 2.

If you are set on camping, either Namibia or botswana can offer great options, but agree with Peter, Namibia should be considered.

If you are set on Botswana and, say, victoria falls, then you may need to trim the level of luxury/work expectations for 10 days in that area. $300/per person/ per day in Botswana including food and activities may require a participatory camping group trip.

The same trip in Namibia would be 1/4 to 1/2. South Africa is slightly cheaper than Botswana (depending on where you stay).

In only 9-12 days, then hard to do much more than a couple of places in a couple of countries. Fly in would not really be an option at that price. Driving in these areas in much further than we realize before we go and do it.

You may look and compare things like Kruger in south africa, Victoria falls, Etosha and Damarland in Namibia, Caprivi strip and then the BOtswana parks/camps to see what appeals to you most.

I agree with the suggestion of going during winter months.

Have fun planning, I think it is part of the fun (others hate it....)

Cape Town
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6. Re: Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

Hi There, i recommend you book yourself on a tour a Lodge or Camping Safari that offers no participation in the daily activities such as pitching tents and cooking and cleaning. Some operators offer such service whereby the guide is skilled in looking after the needs of the entire camp and this is part of the tour. For example on tours we run we find a lot of clients request this and we decided to run a maximum of 10-12 clients and no minimum, this helps keep the tour intimate with less people and you will either be accompanied by a driver/guide (or) a driver and a guide. Most meals are catered for in the restaurants of the lodges and on some occasions the guide will prepare a traditional dinner around the fire for a real African experience.

Botswana as a country is known to be hot and dry, with the exception of the lush oasis of the Okavango Delta in the north of the country which is reputedly one of the most beautiful places in the world and this is what actually makes Botswana Safaris a firm favourite for tourists as well as being a haven for wildlife. Safari game viewing is fair from November to April, good in May, June and October and excellent from July to September.

Zimbabwe as a country is very blessed with great natural beauty, amazing safari and game reserves. The diverse landscape does changes from mountainous to wilderness to typical Bushveld and is a great place to consider when you do start planning your Southern African trip. The Zimbabwean area is also home to large animals and a large bird population, making this country a great place for a safari

There is so much to learn about this great region for a safari expedition as you plan your trip, take the time to do your research and if you need more information feel free to drop us an email at info@jenmansafaris or read up on africa a bit more at (www.jenmansafaris.com/african-countries.html)

Have fun planning, like one of the above people who responded 'it is part of the fun'

Regards

Jenman Safaris

7. Re: Advice on tours and safaris please for a beginner

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