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About firmin13

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  1. Road conditions 'in general' are not a problem. You may have to (or not be able to!) to cross seasonal desert streams (Riviere), both happened to me. Some 80 miles more to go, so plan accordingly. Lüderitz with showers, great light great skies ... Hoanib after the rains (with sunshine) was great, the contrast of the greens in the desert. Rains are very regional, rivers start to run from far though you haven't seen a cloud for days. It's very patchy. From my very personal perspective, i would put it that way: if you want to go to Namibia, and are free to choose the time, go later. If you're looking for a destination for a vacation in March and Namibia is on your bucket list, go for it; compared to peak season, it ain't worse, but may be diffrent.
  2. That's what I had on y mind, though Tafika ain't cheap. Excellent camp and guiding.
  3. We flew from SLNP to Lusaka, had a (private) road transfer to the border at Chirundu, where we changed cars and arrived at Goliath (to stay for a week) at dusk, so it's a whole day of travelling. All arrangements/bookings done by Expert Africa. Can't comment on Lower Zambezi NP, as we haven't been there, but it's simply the other side of the river ... Yet, Mana is special and so is Goliath (highly recommended). For only three nights I wouldn't take costs and effort to get to Mana or Lower Zambezi, I'd rather stay in SLNP at a different camp or go to North Lungwas for walking. But that's just my personal preference. You should be aware that June is start of denning season of the wild dogs in Mana, so sightings aren't as good as in Sept.
  4. @xelas: I shoot on XQD only, backing up to the sd card afterwards when I'm bcak in camp. Takes some time, but doesn't reduce the speed during the shooting. Then I'back up the SD-card and proceed with formatting the XQD. Aren't there two suppliers (Sony and Lexar)?
  5. For a first time safari SA and Kruger is ideal, as it was just said, touristic infrastructure is good. I assume, you're curious what african safari might be like and not going to let happen what you dreamt about for decades?! You have probably a comparably short period of time to spend on safari? If that's true and you are willing to pay the price mentioned before, then go for a private reserve west of Krugers. I'd recommend differently for a full 2 to 3 week holiday, but for just a few days after a business trip I would not like to go into details like what type of car should I hire for self driving, getting the reservations for the huts (which are good, but at times sold out early) and dealing with much logistics in general. Finding animals on your own is possible, but what you are going to see in the private reserves, where they go off road whenever it makes sense and vehicles communicate by radio sharing sightings but avoiding each other, is simply much more. You're as close to guaranteed sightings as you can get outside a zoo - and still out in the bush with literally nothing in between you and the wildlife. The safari vehicles are open, your rental wouldn't be. Browse ST, maybe or the website of the travel agent you already planned to work with to get an impression of the camps, the prices and so on. Consider self drive only, if your budget is the issue. In that case, Kruger is the ideal place to start self driving in Africa. Just my 2 cents, I got hooked in Timbavati and returned to southern Africa almost every year since ...
  6. For Bots, you're going to come during the rains. It's difficult to predict, which months will be 'worst'. In March this year Khwai was flooded to the extent that planes couldn't land and take off anymore, so tourists had to use a heli. As inyathi said, sightings will still be extraordinary, though. Best time for Bots is July to September, so if this is your highest prority, start the southern Africa part of your journey in Bots (coming from Windhoek or consider JNB); keep in mind, prices drop in Bots in Nov., so you know when you're going to be closest to 'prime time'. As far as I know, you can book campsites on your own at Khwai, but I'm not sure about that. IMHO, it is a much better idea to go with a guide. In that case it's pretty unlikely you miss lion and leopard, assuming you stay there for 3 nights plus. You have chance for wild dog as well. It is prime time for CKGR, but - unless you are travelling as a group in two vehicles - think twice. This year even the towing truck from Maun got stuck. If you're comfortable driving 4WD under dismal conditions (and positive about being able to dig your car out, if necessary), that shouldn't put you off going there, it's worth it.
  7. A broad topic. My two cents, knowing it doesn't exactly fit your intended itinerary. If you at some point spend some time in Zambia (e.g. South Luangwa) you can make your way to Zim (Mana Pools) and maybe some other park (Matusadona, Chizarira) in ZIM, ending Hwange and Vic Falls, before crossing into expensive Bots for the Delta. Oct in ZAM/ZIM is hot, sightings are excellent including wild dogs, skies are spectacular because of all the traditional burning going on. Mana closes down for the rains - I think - anytime in Nov. Discounts in Bots start for rainy season in November, so you could plan accordingly. The heavy rains are variable, but you should be fine if you don't put it right to the end of your mentioned 5 months (it's pretty unpredictable, though). Christmas and New Year are good for the Cape, but that's definitely peak season. The big herds are (experts will correct me on the exact timing) in the southern Serengeti around Feb, giving birth, so you could try to go to Tanzania at that time. Sorry, can't comment on Gabon and Chad, but as you are going to be close to that area, had an excellent time in Rep. of Congo (Brazzaville) for low land Gorillas in January (followed by rain in the Masai Mara, in Jan as well). 5 months in Africa ...
  8. The intended emphasis was on the difference of private concessions (with a more or less limited number of guests/safari vehicles) compared to NPs with more vehicles (the TO mentioned the busiest places in Tanzania). In that respect, you couldn't find greater differences than between Ngorongoro or Tarangire and Lebala or Shinde. If you're not in for that kind of luxury, I wouldn't rate one destination higher than the other. If the more remote and more movie like 'Out of Africa' feeling is of great importance to the TO, I'd discourage to go to (espec. the mentioned) Tanzanian parks; for that there are better options in Tanzania (or SA, Kenya ..). It's all about your expectations. But aside from the high probability of excellent sightings at all mentioned places, the experiences couldn't to be more different than between the two alternatives sdfamily started with. Btw., that aspect is true for many Safari destinations (eg Kruger vs Sabi Sands) and should be considered anywhere. Considering prices: In Zimbabwe rates are lower, Hwange borders Chobe (that wasn't on the list, though), Vic Falls is close, so you could cross the border there to go to the delta. On our research for Bots we found Kwando being the most affordable. As a party of 4 or 5 you could consider private camping (the luxury type with ensuite drop toilet and bucket shower, without any participation) should still be cheaper than sharing two tents in the concessions. You're in a national parks then, so it's not as private (on sightings), but you have your own guide and vehicle.
  9. You are comparing private cocessions (limited number of guests) in Bots with national parks at peak season in Tanzania (with tourists standing on trucks and traffic jams at bridges). Two ends of a scale, the Delta being the arguably number one safari destination in sub-Saharan africa. The experience in Bots will be better; but comes at a price. If you haven't been to southern or eastern africa, you might want to have look at the private cocessions bordering Kruger in SA (Timbavati, Sabi Sands). Kenya offers a lot of opportunities, with both the possibilities of national parks and concessions, as well. Both are more moderately priced and easy to get to.
  10. An angle not yet mentioned: Lightroom is both: a powerful database for the managemnt of your pics including rating, geo taggging, key words AND a raw converter with editing software, that allows general adjustment like white balance, saturation, lens corrections, some repairs, a bit of pano and so on. For the 'organization and management' it's arguably number one, for the raw converter you could have a look into DXO an dCapture one as well. With LR, if you don't need the catalog, the key words and the ratings with flags, stars and colors, you're going to pay for a lot you're not going to use. Going deeper into twisting the pixels, programs like photoshop have much more options. If that's what you're looking for, there's software for free you could have a look at (e.g. GIMP), but I can't comment on them.
  11. Hi ice! I have no information about Green Season rates for 2017/2018, but in February 2017 accommodation at Kwando was 440 USD pp and a private vehicle incl. tracker 320 USD per day. Hope this helps!
  12. South Luangwa is a prime location for leopard, and by far not as crowded as the northern circuit in Tanzania. Staying in South Luangwa you've got (almost) a guarantee for al leopard if staying a few nights including some 'evening drives' (~1h after sunset). For leopards, it's one of the three places I'd go (Masai Mara, Okavango, SLNP). For extremely useful information on Luangwa visit tripadvisor! In Selous and Ruaha you can expect far less people than in the north, as well. If you are lucky, you might see a leopard (we were lucky in Selous, saw wild dogs as well). In Ruaha we had lions in large numbers and I love it for the scenery. Staying in South Luangwa you've got (almost) a guarantee for al leopard if staying a few nights including some 'evening drives' (~1h after sunset). For leopards, it's one of the three places I'd go (Masai Mara, Okavango, SLNP). For extremely useful information on Luangwa visit tripadvisor! In general, budget prices attract people, understandably, so it's not easy for most, without pushing the limits.
  13. Back from Bots in February, a very good (rainy) rain season this year. Bugs are a bit more than during the dry season. It's much less than I witnessed in June in BC, Canada. Can't comment on ZIM from experience, but Hwange is very close to where we've been (Khwai River, highly recommended with stunning wildlife sightings) If you know that region in the dry and you want to see and photograph the animals in front of a green background (or more precisely within, the grass gets in your way all the time) AND MOST IMPORTANT YOU DON'T CARE that you might get stuck, will probably get wet, may have days of overcast and will definitely see less animals, than go for it. If you are planning to Nxai Pan, think about going to CKGR as well. Instead of camps you could consider a mobile safari to reduce cost (works for a couple), but if you're travelling single, you have to do the math. There are different offers, starting with participation and ending up with quite comfortable tents with en suite facilities
  14. Walking: best is ZIM, but it always depends a lot on the guiding. It's possible as well in South Luangwa and the private reserves near Kruger. For a boat trip it's Matusadona and the lower Zambezi (Mana Pools and Sambia). Camps with en suite toilets are available at all parks, ask for it with your travel agent. July to September is perfect. Depending on where you end up you'll probalby be surprised by the morning temperatures on a game drive vehicle ... Only the driver in his shorts has a heater ... The best months are depending on the NP you choose and your taste, or 'target animal'. For a first timer I would recommend Kruger and the private reserves on its west, but no boating, as far as I know. I travelled from there to Hluhluwe Park and stayed on that way at Pongola where I did some boating. South Luangwa is a bit of either, I combined that with Mana Pools: flight to Lusaka and hours by car to the border crossing at Chirundu (swift service there) ... If you really want to go to ZIM, you can fly into Harare or VicFalls. If you choose Harare you can go to Matopos Hills (good Rhino), Hwange and VicFalls (ie Zambia, if you like) by car (tar). Matusadona is possible as well, but it's a long way and the road is bad.
  15. For a first time safari I recommend NOT to opt for the green season; it's common place that wheather is unpredictabel, but for southern africa you can rely on the wheather during the winter months (July to Sept.), i.e. during high season. This February cars got stuck in the mud in the Kalahari and there have been weaks of predominantly overcast skies since end of december... If your out on the safari vehicle during a thunderstorm, you are going to get soaked despite the rain gear provided. Camps provide laundry service, but may rely on the sun for drying, so you may end up dressing damp clothes ... You'll see a lot more birds, esp. migratory, and witness a lot more mosquitos.. I would recommend not to visit too many countries during one trip, you'll spend a lot of time and money for transfer. You can have all or at least most of your 'wish list' in Bots, but at a price. Asked for advice where to go as a first timer, I recommend Timbavati and Sabi Sands bordering Kruger, but I can't comment on December. Hwange and Chobe are famous for elephant and are bordering each other, so I wouldn't go both places. After a long dry season you can see the effects of too many elephants on the vegetation, I doubt that is 'healed' already in december. If you are planning to fly between all your desired destinations it doesn't matter, but if you planning on going by car, Lower Zambezi NP and Kruger are a bit off. There's a good road connection from Harare to Matusadona, Hwange, Vic Falls (both sides) and on to Bots where you'll probably end up flying into the desired camps.

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