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Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

DMB
Southern CA
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106 posts
7 reviews
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Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

I'm looking for good quality Tour company to see Okavango Delta & Chobe, etc. Are these 2 parks too much alike, or should I do them both? Moderate priced company. When is the best time of year to go? Thanks.

Maun, Botswana
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532 posts
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1. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

Well worth visiting both the Okavango and Chobe. Each area offers different safari activities and different game viewing possibilities.

It would be easier for you to deal with a local Tour Operator who specialises in Botswana,

Best time of year depends on what you are interested in doing. I often recommend June as a good time - prices are not at their peak, the number of tourists is lower, temperatures are reasonable and the water levels in the Okavango are good, as the new waters arrive in May. On the other hand, November to Feb are the best time for birds - the Okavango is a major destination fro migrating birds. Game viewing is best Feb - April when the water levels are low and game is concentrated around what little water there is.

DMB
Southern CA
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106 posts
7 reviews
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2. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

THANKS. Not so much interested in birds, more into game.

I understand Feb.- April is drier so animals congregate around watering holes, bt is that rainy season for us humans? Any suggestions on Tour operators? and distances -can we drive between okavango & Chobe?

Thanks,

Maun, Botswana
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532 posts
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3. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

Yes, Feb-April is the rainy season. Rainfall is usually short sharp bursts rather than continual rain, so when on safari carry a waterproof which you can tie around your waist when not needed (these are usually supplied by the Lodges)

Check local Tour Operators / Travel Agents who specialise in Botswana

Although it is possible to drive between the Okavango and Chobe, the majority of tourists fly between camps. If you particularly want to drive, consider taking a mobile safari or even a self-drive, once again a good Botswana specialist Agent can advise you

Australia
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123 posts
128 reviews
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4. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

I have been thinking of a tour package for the Okavango & Chobe areas, and got quotes from a few companies in South Africa. I read here that I should deal with a local tour operator. Does this mean one in Botswana? Or a local tour operator where I live, who specialises in Botswana.

A company in South Africa (no review other than those on its website) has given me a lower quote than 2 others (also in South Africa, but I read reviews about them). How do I know if I pay the money to this company that my trip will be safe (ie bookings with the lodges and transfers are done etc).

Maun, Botswana
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532 posts
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5. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

There are a number of excellent Botswana specialists in Australia. Working through them will be easier, and any money you pay will be covered by Australian consumer law in case anything goes wrong.

Whoever you choose to book with, pay by Credit Card to obtain the protection that gives, and they have an Australian Travel Agency Licence are members of AFTA (Australian Federation of Travel Agents) and also participate in the TCF (Travel Compensation Fund).

If you choose an African Agency once again, pay by credit card, and check they are bonded members of SATSA Southern African Tourism Services Association.

Australia
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6. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

Thanks, safarichild, for your reply. Forgot to say that I used to live in Australia, but am living in the UK now.

The website of the SA tour company which gave me the lower price does not indicate if they are a member of SATSA. How do I check for this? They only have 3 persons in the company: the founder, and 2 staff.

Maybe I should find a UK based tour company specialised in Botswana? Am I allowed to ask for recommendations on this forum?

Edited: 09 January 2014, 22:53
London, United...
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7. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

We have used both http://www.africatravel.com and http://www.audleytravel.com for various trips to Africa and they were both excellent. They are both UK based and therefore have Abta/Atol protection.

london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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4,481 posts
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8. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

I've used Expert Africa in the UK for trips in Zambia and Tanzania, but for Botswana I've always used a local company in Maun, Safari Specialists.

Maun, Botswana
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532 posts
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9. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

Okavango Tours and Safaris are UK based and are serious specialists for the Okavango

Australia
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123 posts
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10. Re: Choosing a tour company, destination,& best time to visit

Thanks, brittraveler31, stokeygirl and Safarichild, for your recommendations.

I have contacted 2 UK based companies mentioned for quotes - to compare against the ones I received from 2 companies based in SA. On balance, if the prices are competitive, I probably prefer to use a UK based company.