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Found 187 results

  1. Hi forum! We are newbies (none of us have never been on a safari), so we would love your help! We will be traveling to Southern Africa in March 2018 (our dates are set). Given the climate that time of year in Southern Africa, and to maximize the “authentic” experience, we are trying to decide on the best safari experience for our family that we can afford. We will be traveling with 2 adults and two kids (both aged 10). We have 14 days total from arrival to departure (arrive into Cape Town, depart from Jo'Burg). We are not seeking luxury; our priority is a great family-friendly experience. We are fine staying in tents without plumbing for some of the trip. After 4-5 days in Cape Town exploring the coast (I will arrange this on my own), we basically have 3 options: Option 1: Fly to Maun from Cape Town. From there we would do approx. 2-3 days in the Central Kalahari and then 4 days or so in the Okanvango. Then fly from Maun to JNB to get back home. I understand it might be more expensive because of the exchange rate (we are Canadian), but we might save a bit (compared to high season rates) due to the low season in Botswana. Option 2: Travel to the Tuli region (e.g., Mashatu) and after 3-4 days there, then travel to a private Kruger-area park. From the Kruger area, head back to JNB to get back home. I was considering the Tuli/Kruger combo which from what I understand is amazing for kids and photography (but we might sacrifice some of the optimal viewing because of the time of year). Option 3: Arrive into Cape Town and do the 1st week in Cape Town and garden route. Then do an Eastern Cape lodge for 3 days or so. From there, go to Tuli (e.g., Mashatu) for 4 days and from there get back to JNB to get back home. This would minimize flights and travel time. While the Eastern Cape lodges are less “authentic” it still might be a great introduction for the kids and we “save the best for last” with Tuli at the end. For this option, we would drop Kruger and drop central/northern Botswana. In your expert opinions (and recognizing that the grasses might be high in March at some locations limiting visibility), which option will be: a. Best for kids? b. Best for game viewing? c. Best for photography? d. Best value? e. Most “authentic”? (I recognize that the “best” option may not be the best for each.) While we would love to also see Victoria Falls, I don’t think if we have either the time or the budget to make it happen. Finally, in a perfect world, we would love to be able to all stay in the same tent/room if at all possible, rather than having to split into two tents (since I would prefer to not have the two kids be alone). I really appreciate any advice that you have!! Roger
  2. In two months and a couple of days, we will be winging our way to Kenya! I cannot wait and have nothing left to plan!! I am thrilled that a friend from work and her high-school aged daughter decided to join us at the last minute, which should make the experience that much better (unless I drive her bonkers with my many exclamations.) My boss is retiring at the end of the school year and she considered going with us too; the timing wasn't right as we leave two days after school gets out and she has to stay through the end of June. So now I am wondering about a "next safari," when I haven't gone on the first one yet! What say you, collective Safari Gurus? This might be a teacher's trip, so probably shorter than the 2 weeks that I'm going this year. Daughter will be doing an internship next summer so I won't have to work around her schedule, although we will be pretty much restricted to mid-June to early-August again. PS That we I in the title is going to drive me bonkers. Can someone fix it to we?
  3. I've recently decided to become a more productive contributor to this wonderful forum so I've already introduced myself on the dedicated section of this forum and now I want to start my first ever trip report! I've been reading a lot of them in recent years so I think it's only fair to share my story of a 4-week trip my girlfriend and I made in August/September 2012 to South Africa and Botswana. As I already mentioned in my introduction I've always wanted to come to Africa ever since I was a little boy and in 2010 me and my girlfriend spend 4 amazing weeks in South Africa. To cut a long story short, it was everything we had hoped for and more... We visited Cape Town, Giant's Castle in the Drakensbergen, St. Lucia, Imfolozi, Mhkuze, Swaziland and Kruger National Park and we loved every minute of it. When we were sitting in the plane on our way back to The Netherlands we were already planning our next trip to the continent! At some later stage I will probably post a trip report of that trip also but since than I have developed my photography and Lightroom skills so I think I will revisit my images before I write a trip report about it... After our first trip we wanted to come back to Southern Africa but first we had to decide which countries we would like to visit. We were ready for a more adventurous trip so we thought about combining South Africa with Namibia or Botswana and after much debate we picked Botswana over Namibia because we then thought that Namibia was more about landscapes and Botswana was more about wildlife and we just wanted to see more wildlife. The people who have read my introduction already know we did the Namibia trip last June and we loved it! But also that trip report will have to wait because I want to focus on the South Africa & Botswana trip for now... In my next post, I will explain the exact itinerary, I hope I got you all interested... Cheers, Michel
  4. This will be our first safari for all of us, and the choices are overwhelming! We will be arriving into Cape Town March 2018, and we will be traveling as a family of 4 (2 adults, and twin 10-year olds) for two weeks (we fly home to Canada out of JNB). The approximate first week of our trip will be spent at Cape Town and the Garden Route (self-drive), but I would love help with planning the final 7-8 days of our holiday. We were looking at spending about 6 total days in lodges perhaps at two different sites doing safari. Our priority is experience (rather than the most luxurious room); I am fine with thatched roofs and/or a setting without electricity if it provides better game watching options for all 4 of us. I know that children under 16 cannot go on game walks, but we are interested in doing as much outdoors as possible. I have heard that the Ants Hill is a very child-friendly lodge. However, we are not big horseback riders, so I'm not sure it it is worth the cost if this is not a priority. I know that there are no predators or elephants at Ants Hill, so even if we did decide to splurge on this, we would still likely need to choose another site. Any thoughts on this? I have also read about Mashatu lodge in Tuli. How challenging is it to travel to the Mashatu/Tuli region (especially with kids)? More importantly, how unique is the Mashatu/Tuli region in March? Will our game viewing opportunities be limited due to the end of the rainy season? Would Mashatu/Tuli still be better or worse than the Kruger region given that we will be traveling in March? If we do Mashatu, would we still need to go to the Kruger area to ensure a full experience (e.g., Sabi Sands or Timbavati)? Finally, how does Mashatu/Tuli compare to Madikwe? Are they different enough to do both? In short, I don't think we will do 3 regions (e.g., Tuli, Kruger or Madikwe) in order to limit the travel time and expense. But we likely will do two (if people think it is is worth it); which two would you recommend? Thanks again for your help! Too many amazing choices! Roger
  5. Now is your chance to join one of our expeditions into the stunning wild places of Botswana as we take you on an overland adventure into the heart of wild Africa. No we don’t visit luxury lodges but we do give you the service and expertise that you would expect to find in one of those places and yes we do camp but comfort levels are fantastic, service is superb and our guiding extraordinary. Why Kingfisher Expeditions? Owner run operation and predominantly locally owned, benefiting local people directly Our guides are the best in the industry and passionate about their country, the wildlife and their clients Over 40 years combined safari experience giving the best service possible We know the areas we visit intimately giving you the best chance of seeing the amazing wildlife We only take six people per safari and stay for a minimum of three nights in each area giving our clients the best possible experience Regular set departures give you the opportunity to travel when you want Children Welcome Your Guide Tumelo Charles Known simply as ‘Charles’, Tumelo has been working for and running his own ‘mobile safari’ business from Maun for the last ten years. He has spent time taking his foreign clients all over Northern Botswana to some of the most remote parts of his beautiful country and seeing the amazing wildlife that inhabits these areas. He is from the Bayei people, the water people of the Okavango, and was born on the fringes of this amazing inland river delta and having grown up in a small village, knows the Botswana bush intimately. Click here to read more about Charles Our Safari Expeditions An Expedition with Kingfisher Safaris is an authentic wild African experience that will immerse you in some of Botswana’s most remote and inaccessible places. You will travel between camps on comfortable, specially-designed, 4×4 Game Drive vehicles with your back-up crew ahead getting the camp ready for your arrival. Everything you need for your safari is provided by us so that you can enjoy the experience of being in Africa’s wild heart to the full. We take you to the best destinations in this sparsely populated country giving you the chance to see the astonishing wildlife in their own surroundings. We select all our campsites based on the expert knowledge of our guides and the movements of the animals at particular times of the year. Your Accommodation We use what is known as ‘Bow Tents’ with en-suite bush ablutions so that you have exclusive access to all the facilities you need. These tents are 3mx3m in size and we use these largest of small tents as standard. We provide you with a camp bed, mattress, bedroll & lighting so that you are as comfortable as possible whilst staying with us. Set Departures We have three set departures each month giving you the choice and flexibility to join any safari you like to suit your needs. We have two 6 night safaris and one 9 night safari each month. If you book the whole safari to yourself, it can go where you want it to. Click here for our 6 night Okavango Expedition Price Low season (Jan – Jun & Nov – Dec) US$2,100.00, £1,400.00 or €1,600.00 per person sharing Price High season (Jul – Oct) US$2,500.00, £1,600.00 or €1,895.00 per person sharing Click here for our 6 night Moremi Expedition Price Low season (Jan – Jun & Nov – Dec) US$2,100.00, £1,400.00 or €1,600.00 per person sharing Price High season (Jul – Oct) US$2,500.00, £1,600.00 or €1,895.00 per person sharing Click here for our 6 night Desert & Delta Expedition Price Low season (Jan – Jun & Nov – Dec) US$2,100.00, £1,400.00 or €1,600.00 per person sharing Price High season (Jul – Oct) US$2,500.00, £1,600.00 or €1,895.00 per person sharing Click here for our 9 night Moremi & Chobe Expedition Price Low season (Jan – Jun & Nov – Dec) US$2,700.00, £1,800.00 or €2,100.00 per person sharing Price High season (Jul – Oct) US$3,150.00, £2,100.00 or €2,450.00 per person sharing Click here for our 12 night Okavango Elephant Expedition Price Low season (Jan – Jun & Nov – Dec) US$3,600.00, £2,400.00 or €2,800.00 per person sharing Price High season (Jul – Oct) US$4,200.00, £2,750.00 or €3,200.00 per person sharing
  6. Introducing Unlimited Tours & Safaris and professional guide Moses Ntema Unlimited Tours & Safaris is a local owner operated Safari company that prides itself with a high level of service and real wildlife experience. Founded in 2007, the company is owned and run by Moses Ntema, a professional safari guide with many years of experience from Kwando, Wilderness Safaris and GreatPlains. Moses wanted to create his own company to be able to run safaris the way he wants them, basic camping safaris with great guiding in the nationals parks and community run concessions of Botswana. He wants to show the beauty of the landscape, animals and people of Botswana. Moshe (Moses) Ntema, owner and professional safari guide Our goal is to offer a personalized camping safari in Botswana with professional guide and focus on wildlife and nature. We will tailor you safari to meet your wishes, and can offer both lodge and camping safari. But we excel and pride ourselves in running high quality camping safaris where Moses knowledge of wildlife, nature and culture will give a deeper understanding and insight in to the ecosystem and the animals and people in it. We will post some short stories from the bush and other news that might be of interest. For more up to date info please have a look at our Facebook-site, www.facebook.com/unlimitedsafari. We are extremely happy for questions, feedback or comments on our safaris. Unlimited Tours & Safari Ltd Pty Contact Adress: PO BOX 20604, Maun Botswana Telephone: +267 6862638 Mobile: +267 71112141 Email: booking@unlimitedsafari.com Web: www.unlimitedsafari.com or www.facebook.com/unlimitedsafari Just to make sure there are no misunderstandings I want to make it clear that I first met Moses on a Kwando safari in 2009, and we have kept in touch since. I have been helping him out during the years, and at the moment I hold 20% of the company. cheers, Tom
  7. Introduction of Botswana's Tourism Development Levy Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism has announced a mandatory Tourism Development Levy (TDL) to raise funds for conservation and national tourism development, support the growth of the industry, broaden the tourism base, and improve the lives of the people of Botswana. As from the 1st of June 2017, with the exception of residents and citizens of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, visitors will pay USD30.00 (US Dollars) in cash, or by debit or credit card at ports of entry. A unique receipt, corresponding with the passport, will be generated automatically. This is to be presented to Immigration Officials. The passport and receipt will be stamped and handed back to the traveller and the receipt will be valid for a 30-day period and can be used for multiple entry.
  8. The 10 Coolest Places to Go in 2017 According to Forbes, two are in Africa: http://www3.forbes.com/business/the-10-coolest-places-to-go-in-2017/7/ My friends are so cool!!
  9. Hello Everyone, I have just managed to convince my Wife that we should go to Botswana for the first time in May 2019. I realise it is a long way off but I am already doing some extensive research, and would appreciate any sharing of the wealth of knowledge on these forums. We only have a few objectives these are: 1 Wild Dogs, I understand that there can never be any certainty with them, but I would like to stay somewhere that can give me the best possibility to see them. 2 Active Waterhole (Elephants), My Wife loves Elephants, and it would be nice to stay somewhere were we can see them from the camp. 3 Okovango Delta, We would like to experience the delta, and stay somewhere where we can explore on both land and water. We are all about the wildlife and environment and we are not worried about the level of luxury. At the moment I have two possible itineraries and would appreciate any feedback 1) Kwara Camp x 3 nights Hyena Pan Camp x 4 nights (does anyone have any experience of this camp? it appears to particularly good value with an active pan for Elephants. Lagoon Camp x 4 nights 2) Shindi Camp x 3 nights Selinda Explorers Camp x 4 nights Savuti Safari Lodge x 3 nights Thanks for your time
  10. Hi everyone, This is my first post...I hope it's in the right place. We are looking for help in planning a safari for 2018. We really want to see ***wild dogs*** and predators/elephants/rare animals...as well as all other wildlife. We are avid photographers and have narrowed the trip down to two options...for the most part. The question is which is the better option for what we are looking for, I.e. Wild dogs. Both options are in the same price range. We know nothing is guaranteed but are looking for reliable sightings during the times we are going. Option A - Botswana in late June 2018 1 night Vic Falls 2 nights Lebala Camp 2 nights Lagoon Camp 3 nights Little Kwara Option B - Zimbabwe and Zambia in June or August or September 4 nights Nkwali Camp in S. Luangwa 4 nights John's Camp in Mana Pools *****Which is the best month for option B taking into account what we want to see? We welcome all advice/information/opinion. Thanks in advance for the help. Cheers, Eric
  11. Hi, Safaritalkers, I just got back from my 2017 vacation (Israel and Jordan) and am back on track to go back to Africa in 2018! I realized that is where my heart is and I dream about going back there all the time. (my son is studying abroad in Jordan so that was great to go see him there as well, but no lions....) I've done two Africa trips--one to Botswana in June 2012 (3 camps in the Delta, Sandibe, Okuto, and Shinde), and Victoria falls. The second trip in 2015 I visited in May and went to Mashatu (Botswana), and Sabi Sands, and Phinda in South Africa. I'm very interested in trying a "green season" trip for the different experience, especially in terms of photographic potential, but I wanted to get some frank advice. First of all the bugs--I don't love bugs, but I understand of course there are more of them in the summer. But how bad is it? Are there mosquitos constantly buzzing in your ears all night long? (LOL) Also, I'd like to be able to see baby animals, and am trying to figure out which month is optimal, January, February, or March. Also, the heat--is it really bad, i.e. like you can't sleep? I'm a Southern California person so I'm not used to humidity, but I also don't plan to be doing walking safaris, which I believe is not usually done at that time of the year anyway. I'm thinking Zimbabwe because I haven't been there and I really would like to economize a bit on this trip. I saw some camps in Zimbabwe in green season where you can get specials for as little as $250-$350 a night, and I would like to stay in that range if possible. I also may be traveling on my own, another reason for Green Season since I understand you can often get single supplements waived or lower at that time. Has anyone here done Hwange in green season? Or should I look at going back to Botswana? I think Botswana even in green season will be out of that price range. If I went back there I would be interested in Chobe and maybe the Nxai pans, but I'm not sure about Chobe in green season. Also I am very interested in hides--I loved the hides at Mashatu, but I"m not sure if hides work well in the summer months. I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience with green safaris about your thoughts. One other thing, having done very luxurious camps like Sandibe and Phinda I am actually looking for a more "camping-like" experience this time (although not participatory camping). I'm thinking I may try to include Mashatu and do their tented camp instead of the lodge, where we were last time. Also, I was wondering if anyone has any experience with &Beyond's mobile camping trips in Botswana? They look very nice but are still pretty expensive. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
  12. Working on planning 1st safari. Looking for some feedback from all of you who have visited southern Africa, especially if you have been there in December. If you were going in the first half of December and you want at least one camp/lodge (they could be at the same place or different places for each of the items listed) where you could do or have: a walking safari get on the water in a boat or canoe to view wildlife go on a night drive get up close and personal with the animals watching from a hide sit on a deck at camp/lodge and watch elephants or giraffe (or other wildlife but those would be our favs) walk through great game drives with experienced, knowledgeable guides feel like you are really experiencing what you envision "wild Africa" to be great African décor or quirky, fun accommodations Which of the following places would be your favorites --- both reserves/parks and feel free to share if you have favorite a camp/lodge that you have stayed at there? Botswana - Chobe National Park Botswana - Mashatu Game Reserve Botswana - Moremi Wildlife Reserve Botswana - Okavango Delta South Africa - Kruger National Park South Africa - private reserve near Kruger (if so, please say which one) Victoria Falls (stay on the Zambia or Zimbabwe side? And stay in town or on a property that also has wildlife?) Zambia - Lower Zambezi Zambia - Mosi Oa Tunya Park Zimbabwe - Hwange Zimbabwe - Matusadona Feel free to add a park/reserve if there is one we should consider but not on the list, especially if you have a camp/lodge you recommend there. I ruled out Mana Pools in Zimbabwe because of the time of year we are going but am open to considering it if others have gone in December with good wildlife experiences. We are looking for different experiences at each location and probably 4 different reserves/parks staying 3-4 nights at each. The focus is wildlife but also would like different accommodation experiences such as one with a tent, a tent on a raised platform, a hut/cabin, and/or a lodge but all with en suite toilets and at least sinks for washing up. Outdoor shower would be fine. We are not interested in mobile camping, really want the place to be more permanent. Hoping as it's the green season we can also find some good deals with cheaper prices or free night special. We do have a budget but I am interested to hear what places you would rank among your top choices, where you think you can get great value and where it may be worth splurging a little for a few nights. Thanks in advance.
  13. First time poster from California. Planning a first African Safari trip for my mom and I for 2018. We have traveled to Europe a number of times and China once and I always do my own planning, determining the itinerary, booking hotels (used Trip Advisor reviews to help me decide), figuring out where we may need advance reservations, booking flights and trains (although a few times I have used an agency to help with the in country travel or rail pass prior to leaving the USA). We are fairly laid back, love to see natural beauty, experience different cultures, historical sites, architecture, etc. We like to experience different modes of transportation but we don't want to ride any animals. We try our best to learn customs of the country we are going to so we do not unintentionally offend someone. Planning a trip is half the fun for me. We have a list of must-sees based on what we feel is important to us but we also like to have room to "play it by ear" and do things that we learn about once we are in country. We also like to have some down time to just relax and enjoy being where we are. And while on the trip I take lots of photos (Canon SX280 ) and journal almost every day to capture all the sights and emotions of these new places and experiences and make a digital scrapbook when I get home. Budget is always a concern. I don't select the lowest just because it's the lowest but I go for total value of what I am getting for the $$ spent. While we want our lodging to be safe and comfortable, we prefer fun and quirky (especially if it is a part of the cultural experience) over a standard hotel. We grew up camping for our family vacations but are at an age where we prefer to at least have a soft bed and flush toilets en suite (figuring the permanent camps over the mobile camping for us and are okay with a lodge if it's small). I have had to prioritize and compromise knowing that I cannot afford everything I want to do but am blessed with the traveling I have been able to do. As I have been researching for our trip to Africa, I am feeling a little overwhelmed and very concerned about the costs. Here are some things we do know about what we are looking for and questions we could use some guidance on: 1) Budget is important and we need to be wise in how and where we spend it. Ideally we would like to have 15 nights in Africa and spend no more than $4,000 - 5,000 for lodging/full board/guides/tips assuming it will be another $2,000 or so for international flights and in country travel (total costs around or under 6-7K and the lower the better). We are open to review this if the overall experience is going to be a lot better if we can spend some more. Do we go off season for longer nights or locations that would be out of our budget otherwise? Originally, my thought was 4 nights at 2 reserves, 3 nights at another reserve and 2 or 3 nights at/near Victoria Falls (as we would like to see it - natural beauty). So a total of 14-15 nights as I think we need to stay one night in Johannesburg before heading out on safari. Work-wise, it is better for me to travel either in the month of August or anytime from late September through the end of February but would prefer to avoid being gone over the US Thanksgiving holiday (late November) or over the Christmas holiday. 2) For this trip, wildlife viewing is our number 1 priority with our top 5 being lots of elephants, giraffe, lions, monkeys (any type) and zebra. Next would probably be rhinos, hippos, leopard, cheetah, antelope and buffalo. We enjoy birds too but that is not as big a priority. If we go in the wet season, would we still see a lot of wildlife? Is it just a matter of being more strategic in which locations we stay at? What would you recommend? Originally, I was thinking Botswana and Zimbabwe before I was told that Botswana is very expensive. So, I am trying to decide what's the best places for the viewing and experiences we want. 3) We would like to go to reserves that are not full of large groups of tourists and vehicles. We know these are probably going to be more expensive and eat up our budget both for the full board and the transportation to get there but that is where we could use advice on which ones are worth it and the best time to go to get the wildlife viewing for the best value in costs. 4) We would like some opportunities to get out of the vehicles and be on foot or on the water. We want our camps to be more permanent so not looking to be out all day and overnight camping but want the opportunity to explore the reserves and view wildlife from a vehicle, on foot or from a boat/canoe. 5) We want to sleep in a comfortable bed and want our toilet to be en suite. We don't need fancy or luxury but we do want comfortable and if it has a fun personality or decor, an added bonus. And, great, friendly staff is a huge plus but reading many comments on this site it sounds like that is the norm of the people we will encounter. 6) While my mom will eat most anything offered, I have Celiac and cannot eat anything with gluten or dairy. They make me ill. I will have medications with me to help but would prefer accommodations where they will work with me. 7) We have no problem getting up early or needing to walk a lot as long as we are not trekking uphill for miles. We live near the coast of California so we are used to fairly mild temperatures year round. My home does not have air conditioning as the few days it gets hot enough that you wish you had it, it still cools down at night. Dry heat in the 80s should be fine but hotter or if humid, then I might start wilting. 8) Booking everything - Is it better to use one agency to book everything or try to do it on our own? Or a mixture? We don't want to get in country and have issues that take up time to resolve. For my mom, I think she prefers we use an agency that will handle everything but will that add significantly to our costs? If an agency, would you use one from the USA (where we live) or use one from one of the countries we will be traveling to? Remember, this is our first time to southern Africa (we have been to Marrakech, Morocco but from the airport we had a driver the riad we were staying at arrange to get us to the city center and then we just walked, took a taxi or took a bus). 9) What am I missing? Am I off the mark? Are there other things I should be considering? 10) Itinerary options: Where would you spend 3 nights, where should we try and spend 4 nights? Option A) 1 reserve in Botswana (Chobe?), 1 reserve in Zimbabwe (Huange or Mana Pools?), in or near Victoria Falls (stay in town or on a reserve?), private reserve in Krueger, South Africa Option B ) 1 reserve in Botswana (Chobe?), 2 reserves in Zimbabwe (Huange and Mana Pools or ?), in or near Victoria Falls (stay in town or on a reserve?) Option C) 2 reserves in Zimbabwe (Huange and Mana Pools or ?), in or near Victoria Falls (stay in town or on a reserve?), private reserve in Krueger, South Africa Option D) Other suggestions from those of you who have traveled to southern Africa I know this was a lot so I appreciate you reading through and thank you in advance for your advice based on your experiences and understanding what we are looking for.
  14. Visit Botswana and Kwando Safaris in October and pay only the mid-season rates. Instead of paying US$9,050pp for our Please click here to see the itinerary on our website Other camps included are Tau Pan, Little Kwara and Lebala. Get in touch for your own bespoke itinerary: martin@kingfishersafaris.co.uk +44 (0) 1745 817400
  15. We have just had a last minute cancellation for a Botswana Safari. Rather than let all the dates we are holding go to waste we wanted to offer it to you Safari Talkers! We have tailored this 13 night safari to cover the top game areas with a variety of experiences both water based and land based. This is not a whirlwind tour either with a minimum of 2 or 3 nights in each stunning spot. The dates we are holding are 18 June 2017 - 1 July 2017: 18 June 2017 - you can fly into Maun from Johannesburg Begin at Camp Moremi for 3 nights Pelo Camp or Jacana Camp in the Delta for 2 nights Khwai Tented Camp for 3 nights Linyanti Bush Camp for 3 nights Muchenje Safari Lodge or Ngoma Safari Lodge or Chobe Bush Lodge for 2 nights 01 July leave Chobe and fly out of Kasane Airport to Johannesburg This entire safari including charter flights and all transfers is only $733 per person per day, based on 2 people travelling. Find the full itinerary with information on camps, areas and logistics here: Explore Botswana 13 Night Special - Game Focused Please feel free to contact me with any questions or for further information. Mention that you are a member of Safari Talk and receive a 5% discount. Chloe Cottrell bookings@dougmacsafaris.com We are only able to hold the space for limited time so please drop me an email soon!
  16. Hello everyone - we recently returned from an epic trip in the Kgalagadi and Mabuasehube. I am planning to write a trip report on my website, but it's still a long way off. So meanwhile I thought I would share Mr Cheetah80's video of our trip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1PR6i44Yxk For those who are interested we stayed at Rooiputs, Urikaruus, Kalahari Tented Camp, Polentswa, Grotkoolk, Gharaghab, Nossob, Matopi and Mpaya 2.
  17. Dear All Kwando Safaris in Botswana, which a lot of you know very well, have released a new special for the month of April 2017. US$510 per person per night with a minimum of 6 nights at any Kwando property. This is for new bookings only. Standard rates are as follows: Kwara: US$678 pppn Lagoon, Lebala & Little Kwara: US$831 pppn Nxai Pan & Tau Pan: US$532 pppn These rack rates are based on the long stay discount rate of 6+ nights. This makes our Odyssey Safari a great option for April usually at US$7,175 per person now at just US$5,725 per person, a great saving. This includes all flights between camps. 3 x nights Nxai Pan Camp 3 x nights Kwara Camp 3 x nights Lagoon Camp Please click here to see our Odyssey Safari on our website. Tau Pan Camp Nxai Pan Camp Kwara
  18. Hi everybody, I just did a short introduction in the newbie part of this forum and there I mentioned that we have been to Namibia in 2014. So this is an "old" trip report. I just translated my Dutch trip report into English. This means that some info might not be interesting at all to some of you because it is not only focussed on the animals but on the total trip. This was our first trip to Southern Africa and we booked this trip through a Dutch agent who worked together with an Namibian agent. Just a little bit of background on how we came to do this trip. We had been in Asia a few times and my husband said that he wanted something different this time, so why don't we go to Africa. Africa for me has always been Namibia because I used to work in travel industry and heard that this was one of the best parts of Africa for wildlife and scenary. So Namibia it was. We found out that my favorite animal, the hippo, only lives in the Caprivi area so that area had to be included. This meant that because we only had 3 weeks, we could not travel more South than the Sossusvlei. We are both not into the culture things, such as visiting tribes so that was kept out as well. With this info we headed to the agent and they came back with the following route: 31/08/14 Amsterdam Johannesburg (overnight in a hotel at the airport) 01/09/14 Johannesburg - Windhoek - Sossusvlei (2 nights Desert Camp) 03/09/14 Sossusvlei - Swakopmund (2 nights Cornerstone Guesthouse) 05/09/14 Swakopmund - Vingerklip (1 night Vingerklip Lodge) 06/09/14 Vingerklip - Etosha (1 night Okaukuejo, 2 nights Halali) 09/09/14 Etosha - Grootfontein (1 night Seidarap guesthouse) 10/09/14 Grootfontein - Mahungo (2 nights Mahangu Safari Lodge) 12/09/14 Mahangu - Kwando (2 nights Camp Kwando) 14/09/14 Kwando - Kasane (3 nights Chobe Bakwena Lodge) 17/09/14 Kasane - Vic Falls (2 nights Ilala Lodge) 19/09/14 Victoria Falls - Livingstone - Johannesburg - Amsterdam Monday 18 August 2014 Final preparations It is starting to itch. 12 More days and then we get on the plane to Johannesburg. Last Friday we bought the international driving licenses. Another thing taken of the list after the malaria tablets, the hiking pants, beautiful hats and telephoto lenses for cameras. The crate with things which we certainly must take with us is getting fuller. Sunday 31 August 2014 The African adventure begins At Schiphol, 45 minutes and then our flight back to Johannesburg will leave. The first part of the trip to Windhoek. Tonight at 21:15 we land and then after a short night in a hotel at the airport, we fly at 06.00 to Windhoek. Monday 1 September 2014 An exciting day Where do I start. The flight from Amsterdam to Johannesburg was fine. Upon arrival in Johannesburg we checked where our luggage was because in Amsterdam it already got the label to Windhoek. The lady we asked this told us that we could pick up our suitcases in Windhoek. So we went directly to the hotel (City Lodge) which was fine, and here we had a good sleep for a few hours. At 4:15 the alarm went off already and at 6.00 we were in a cute small aircraft (50 passengers) of SA Express. Croissant and coffee on board is all a person needs. And off course it is nice if your suitcases are on the same plane. On arrival in Windhoek our suitcases did not arrive at the luggage belt. After a lap at the airport we were able to draw up a report and now we hope that the suitcases are quickly found and delivered. At this moment we have not heard anything and it looks as though tomorrow we walk around in the same clothes for the 3rd day in a row. It's now 30 degrees in the afternoon and then a swimsuit is nicer than long trousers. Anyway, we did not let our first day in beautiful Namibia spoil with this hassle. At Europcar we collected our 4WD which will be our car for the next 2 weeks. A very clean white Toyota Hilux Double cab which now is no longer white but a kind of dull gray. Then on the road. First to Windhoek. Some shopping at the Spar. Water, soft drinks and sandwiches for the road. The first part of the route was one of the few paved roads in the country. There was also a fair amount of traffic. Then we went over on gravel and that will remain the next days. Gravel in several variations. Pretty smooth gravel, soft gravel in heaps and gravel with boulders. The first animals we've seen were monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Not wild were the cows, goats, a dog, horses and donkeys. Fortunately, we also saw a kudu, oryx and a few springbok. After a beautiful drive we now sit on the terrace with a drink at our lodge. Tonight we go to bed early and tomorrow morning at sunrise to the red dunes of the Sossusvlei. Tuesday 2 September 2014 What a joy How happy can you be with 2 suitcases? Very happy! This morning, the bags arrived and we could finally change clothes. Our plan today to get out of bed early and visit the red dunes (Sossusvlei) was killed this morning at 5:00. It was pretty cold last night (extra blanket was really needed) and it was nice and warm in bed. So instead of 5.00 am it was 8:00 and we went for breakfast in the Sossusvlei Lodge. Here we had a delicious dinner last night. Kudu, impala, hartebeest and wildebeest from the bbq after starters from an extensive hot and cold buffet. Dessert was also a sumptuous buffet of different types of cake, pudding and pie. The breakfast was quite extensive and the freshly made omelet was more than enough. After breakfast back to the Desert Camp where we were staying and it turned out that our bags were there. Changing into charming safari / hiking clothes and off we went to the Sesriem Canyon. Meanwhile, the temperature had risen to 30 C, but that did not spoil the fun. At the entrance of the National Park we bought a permit for two days so that tomorrow we can directly drive to the Sossusvlei. On to the Canyon and looking for the entrance, which we could not find. After having seen quite a lot from the top we have to be like klimbokkies and climbed down. In the Canyon it was also very hot but also very nice. We had to walk back the part which we had done at the top of the Canyon. And hope that we could get up again somewhere. Tim has seen a snake and there were also some large spiders around so I was really enjoying myself. After some time we suddenly had some oncoming traffic and yes there appeared a kind of staircase just across the parking lot. Which was hard to see from above if you did not know it was there. Now we were in the smallest and perhaps most beautiful part of the canyon. But also the busiest part. After the canyon we eventually did drive towards the red dunes. What an incredibly beautiful landscape. I cannot describe how beautiful. After a brief stop at Dune 45 where arrived in the middle of a sandstorm. We continued the road to the Sossusvlei so that tomorrow we know where to go. On the way back we came in the same sandstorm and in the center of the storm we could not see a hand before our eyes. Luckily our car was faster than the storm, and did we have good visibility again on the last part of the road. For the first time we filled up our car with diesel. Bought some sandwiches for breakfast and back to the Desert Camp. At the bar I started this travel report, but we were approached by a Dutch man who lives in South Africa since the fifties. Though this was not to hear, he still spoke Dutch without an accent. We had a nice conversation with him, his girlfriend was also born Dutch but at the age of two already moved to South Africa and they did not speak Dutch but African. Nice to hear but sometimes difficult to understand. They sought (Desert Camp was fully booked) a place to sleep and we had reservations for a Sundowner Nature drive so after half an hour we had to get back on the road. The Sundowner tour was great fun. Together with two elderly German women we went with our guide Gabriel to see some animals, plants and watch the sunset. And enjoying a drink and some snacks. The ride was around the premises of the lodge and we can add some animals to our list. Ground squirrels, p, an ostrich and a bunch Namibian mice. We were also told a few things about different trees and rock formations. The ride was fun and the food and drinks made it complete. Little mouse waiting for some leftover food during the Sundowner Weavers nest Upon returning we could immediately sit down for dinner and this time it was again delicious. One last drink at the bar and then straight to bed. Tomorrow the alarm goes off really early and after our visit to the Sossusvlei we move on to our next stop, Swakopmund, on the coast. Unfortunately a bit colder as we just saw on the news, only 18 C.
  19. I’ve been back from Zimbabwe for a while now, but it was quite busy at home, so it took me a while to find the time to post this trip report. My wife and I went to Zimbabwe with nothing booked except a stay at Hwange at the end of our 2,5 week trip. This ended up to be our trip itinerary: Flight from Amsterdam to Jo’burg, next day flight to Bulawayo, 3 nights including full day trip to Matopos Bulawayo to Victoria Falls by public bus, 2 nights Victoria Falls to Chobe, 2 nights Chobe to Victoria Falls, 5 nights Victoria Falls to Hwange by Intercape/Pathfinder, 3 nights Hwange to Bulawayo, 1 night Flight Bulawayo to Jo’burg, night flight to Amsterdam We decided to fly in to Bulawayo instead of Harare, as Hwange and Matopos were our main goals to visit. Also, it ended up to be much cheaper, as Jo’burg is very affordable from Amsterdam by KLM and we went to Bulawayo with a low budget company. I was really curious about Zim and after visiting I can say it’s in my top 2 African countries with Zambia. The people were very friendly and easy going. The country is very clean, litter seemed non-existent and (almost) everywhere you could drink water from the tap (which we did and no side effects). Bulawayo probably isn’t visited a lot by tourists. But there are some good restaurants, a nice museum and we had a nice stroll around town. If you decide to visit Matopos, I would definitely recommend visiting the town as well.
  20. I have enjoyed reading the trip reports of others here on Safaritalk so much, I would feel guilty if I didn’t provide a trip report for my latest visit to Africa. Since it is my first such report, hopefully it will work out okay. A little background on why I chose these destinations. I have previously been to Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia, and the Chobe riverfront area of Botswana. My son was finishing up some missionary work in Zimbabwe so we timed our visit to coincide with completion in May. I decided to also include my daughter and my wife so there were four of us. Given my daughter had never been to Africa, I wanted to ensure she had a high likelihood of seeing the Big 5 as well as many others. I also want to give everyone a variation of different types of safari experiences such as walking, boat, safari truck, etc. as well as different types of lodging (lodge, tents, and camping). For these reasons I decided on the following: · 4 Days in the greater Kruger area - Lodge · 3 Days in Victoria Falls – Bed and breakfast · 2 Days in Chobe – Overnight Camping · 3 Days in Hwange – Somalisa Camp · 3 Days in Mana Pools – Zambezi Lifesytles I normally prefer to spend more time at one place and forgo the travel between camps, but decided this was the best way to cover as much as I could given the time and $$$ constraints. One good thing was by going in May which was not very busy, we essentially had a private vehicle for all game drives except in Botswana where we were paired with a few other people. Initial thoughts on the different areas - - Greater Kruger area is great for a first time safari where you want to be sure to check off the boxes, however, coming across power lines, etc. was a bit of a downside. Guides were terrific and they use a driver and a spotter which helped find game more easily. - Victoria Falls is a must see but since this was my 3rd time, I will skip it going forward. - Botswana (Chobe) was again a repeat but this time we went further into the park from Kasane for the overnight camp. I didn't expect much, but the game drive on the way in was the most game filled of all the areas. We stopped counting at 300+ elephants (including the largest elephant by far I have ever seen that walked litteraly just 10 feet from us), 100+ giraffes (my wife's favorite), 25 lions in 5 or 6 separate sightings, honey badger, and much more. Definitely want to go back further into Chobe, Savuti, Moremi, and the Delta next time. - Hwange was a mixed bag. Probably due to the time of year. Not great game concentrations in May around the watering holes since there natural ones around the park still had water. The refurbished Somilisa Camp was amazing. My wife did not want to leave. On the good side we did see some of Cecil's offspring and also had a cheetah kill right in front of the camp main tent. Literally watched it from the pool deck. - Mana Pools was also a mixed bag for me. I really loved the scenery and pure "wildness" of the park but next time I will visit later in the year when the game concentrates more around the river and the four pools. We did find some wild dogs which was the highlight of my trip since I had been unsuccessful seeing them before. Oh, and getting attacked by a hippo while canoeing on the Zambezi we will definitely not forget. Luckily it turned out well for us (not necessary the canoe though) but my daughter is no longer a fan of hippos... We took with us Canon 5D III and Canon 7D II for cameras along with the 24-70 2.8 II, 70-200 2.8 II, and 100-400 II lenses. Also, had the 1.4x and 2.0 extenders. In the end, we took over 10,000 pictures which I have taken over a month to narrow down to the best few hundred. I will start with some of my favorites and then move on to a location by location report in follow up posts (since I didn’t keep good enough notes to go day by day). We came across this leopard resting in the evening. It seemed so peaceful and didn't even acknowledge we were nearby... Next we moved on to the Rhino. While we did spot a black rhino from the distance one morning, we moved on and came across a pair of white rhinos. This trip did include a few species that I had not seen in the wild before including this Nyala and two sightings of honey badgers (heavily cropped). I also have a tender spot for the younger animals... More to come later...
  21. I am planning my first safari for August/September 2018 to celebrate my 40th birthday, and I'm a little lost about where to go. I'd like to bring my dad along with me. He is a wildlife biologist from rural, Western United States, so he's a little picky about big crowds muddying a true "wild" experience. So, I'd like to avoid crowded safari locations with lots of traffic and competing vehicles/outfitters. I assume I'd prefer camps over lodges. My dream trip would be excellent walking safaris, blinds, smaller groups and game drives, and less human-caused noise. Interests: Mammals (they'll all be new!), birding Time: 10-16 days Budget: $8,000 USD-$15,000 USD per person, excluding airfare (is this reasonable?) Currently considering, but absolutely open to other ideas: Shenton Safaris in South Luangwa, Zambia Norman Carr Safaris in South Luangwa, Zambia Many places in Botswana, but I've done less research there. Many of these trips/locales from Safari Specialists look appealing: http://www.safarispecialists.net/safari-collection/safari-specialist/ Other: I'm open to staying in one general area for most of the trip or moving every few days; any recommendations about this would be great. Any help is much appreciated!
  22. Last month while on a family safari in the Okavango delta, we had an extremely scary and disturbing incident occur. This was my ninth African safari (several of which were with my wife and two teenagers) and third safari in the Kwara concession. We were travelling and staying at Little Kwara with another family also with two older kids and all 8 of us were in a Kwara vehicle with one of Kwando’s most experienced guides and a tracker. Towards the end of our afternoon game drive at dusk, we were driving back to camp when a female elephant, totally unprovoked, charged, attacked our vehicle and turned it over. We were driving along a sandy bottomed narrow path with thick bush on both sides we found ourselves close to a small herd of 10 elephants. The matriarch of the herd who was evidently not known to the guides, she charged us initially and the tracker torched (shone the light in her eyes) and the ranger gunned the engine. that seemed to work and she retreated from the charge. I was struck by how aggressive her initial charge was and there were no calves to be seen, only other elephants in the herd. Things deteriorated rapidly from there. suddenly the same elephant went around a small bush and charged the vehicle again on our right. Due to the ground surface (sand berms) we could not accelerate away and she hit the vehicle full-on the side overturning the vehicle on its side with a few of us thrown out. The elephant continued its charge, and then proceeded to ram the half turned vehicle completely overturning it while puncturing the gas tank and putting its tusk clean through a metal door. She then attacked one of the kids (15 years old) both with its trunk and kicked him- fortunately his injuries were not life threatening), There was chaos as we were under a large, heavy overturned vehicle with a couple of us thrown outside. It was extremely fortunate no one was killed right there, crushed by the vehicle or trampled by the elephant, even though my wife sustained injuries (hematoma) on her leg. The guide and tracker tried to distract the elephant with a stick and the tracker ran away with the elephant in hot pursuit- He survived by climbing a tree. Their action undoubtedly saved our lives as the elephant would likely have crushed some/all of us. We were under the overturned vehicle in the bush, obviously traumatized for a full 30 minutes till another vehicle arrived to rescue us. Here are my views this terrible incident, the emergency response experience and ultimately implications for safari-goers: 1. The bush is always unpredictable and the rogue elephant’s completely unprovoked and savage charge could not have been anticipated. We were told later the elephant was new in the area. 2. The guide’s action in hitting the elephant on its trunk with a random stick from the ground, and subsequently leading the elephant away from us, was undoubtedly heroic and as stated earlier, likely saved us from catastrophe. 3. Not having a firearm (or for that matter any weapon) in the vehicle/ with the guide was an extremely serious omission and could have cost us our lives in this encounter. 4. The fact is after the attack for about 25-30 mins or so, we were alone in the dark in an overturned vehicle, with injured, bleeding people. We were in an extremely vulnerable position and anything could have happened. The vehicles radio took a few minutes to get to work till the guide got back and managed to start it summoning help. 5. Upon our return to camp, very fortunately for us, we had a senior doctor in our party (one of us eight), who examined my wife and his own son and concluded the injuries were not life threatening. However, he was not initially sure whether my wife’s femur was broken and asked for a medivac helicopter, only to be told the earliest they could get a chopper was 7am the next morning. Fortunately the doctor subsequently determined that most likely the femur bone was intact. The is a serious issue that needs to be examined and reviewed - what if someone had been dying. The next day, the camp manager told me he was mistaken and if truly required a helicopter would have come in the dark the previous evening. Kwando’s (and possibly the entire Industry's since this is probably not a Kwando issue only) procedures for medical evacuation need to be reviewed and over-hauled with strong communications protocols supporting it. There will undoubtedly be a cost associated with it, which I am sure there will be various possible options for paying for the incremental costs. 6. All Kwando staff were very nice and caring post-incident, but if we had not been fortunate enough to have had a doctor in our party we would have been far more traumatized that night. 7. The condition of roads in the Kwara concession have shown significant deterioration from my previous visits. There are parts of the concession where sand berms have made it difficult to drive more than 5 miles an hour- by unfortunate luck, the elephant struck us precisely on one of these roads rendering us unable to drive away to safety. Kwando needs to get an engineering firm familiar with the Delta ecosystem to come up with a plan and make very specific plans for rehabilitating part of the roads where the sand berms have built up due to various factors I am sure including changes in the flood patterns, repeated use of the terrain, etc. The elephant: Kwando decided that no action would be taken against the elephant. We all unanimously agreed (including the two injured) that the elephant should not be destroyed- however, the elephant should be tranquilized and for Botswana authorities to determine if it was injured causing it to behave the way it did. Certainly that particular elephant is a clear and present danger to all safari vehicles that approach it. Why did it do what it did: my two theories- first, it may have been previously hunted, possibly shot and injured, by hunters from a vehicle, perhaps in nearby Zimbabwe and associated the vehicle with hunters. Second, the Delta has been going through a major drought in the past two years – the floods did not reach this year till August (we were there in July) and elephants in particular are being affected by lack of water. I note we were charged 5 times (3 mock and two real including this incident) at Kwara and Chitabe by elephants- nothing compared to this incident, but still far more so in my previous safaris (another couple at Kwara stated they had also been charged and chased by an elephant for a few minutes on a previous day). Conclusion: We all survived, the young man quickly recovered from the lacerations to his back, neck and hands (this was his first ever safari in Africa), and my wife is the only one who suffered lasting damage, her leg is in still the healing process and her wound still looks horrible but MRIs on our return showed no lasting damage to the bone. Despite the trauma to the kids, the injured and all of us, we hold no ill feelings towards Botswana or safaris and are determined to go back - our love for the Delta transcends this incident. Special kudos to two injured- my wife and friend’s son. The purpose of this public post is (i) to alert travelers to the Okavango in general, and Kwara in particular, that elephants are currently a possible danger that they need to be fully aware of and insist on a firearm in the vehicle. (ii) to solicit views on my theories on why the elephant did what it did, and (iii) to get feedback on what whether Kwando management’s handling of this situation was reasonable and what, or if, more could have been done. I am also in touch with Kwando's CEO on the matter and am awaiting a more detailed response which has been promised.
  23. Great News for all those of you that love Kwando and their excellent two concessions and Desert Camps in Botswana. Their 2017/2018 5 Rivers prices have been frozen. Price US$463.00 per person per night From the 15th November 2016 to 31st March 2017 Desert Camps - Botswana Nxai Pan Camp - Nxai Pan National Park Tau Pan Camp - Central Kalahari Game Reserve Okavango Camps - Botswana Kwara Camp - Private Concession Pom Pom Camp - Private Concession Linyanti Camps - Botswana Lagoon Camp - Private Concession Lebala Camp - Private Concession Victoria Falls Camps The Elephant Camp - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Stanley Safari Lodge - Livingstone, Zambia The following example itinerary is fully costed including flights from and back to Maun: 3 x nights Nxai Pan Camp, Nxai Pan National Park 3 x nights Kwara Camp, Okavango Delta 3 x nights Lagoon Camp, Linyanti Reserve Rainy Season 2016/2017 US$5,150.00 £3,500.00 Rainy Season 2016/2017 US$5,150.00 £3,500.00 Please click here to see the itinerary on our website Central Kalahari in green season (Tau Pan) Nxai Pan in Green Season Kwara in Green season
  24. Massive flocks of Red-Billed Queleas are one of the sights of Africa with colonies often including tens of thousands of pairs. Red Billed Queleas It is quite common to see vast flocks of these gregarious birds swirling around in frenetic aerobatic displays that leave you wondering just how they manage to avoid collisions. Red-billed Queleas feed mainly on annual grasses, seeds and grain. As soon as the sun comes up, they come together in their huge flocks and go in search of a suitable feeding place. Once located, they settle rapidly and can cause serious damage to crops. In the middle part of the day they rest in shady areas near water and preen. In the evening they once again fly in search of food. Because of their huge numbers the species is a serious agricultural pest, damaging millions of kilograms of cereal grains each year in Africa. Despite the fact that there are so many of them, it can be quite challenging to get close enough for a decent photograph and all too often the shot ends up being just a mass of flapping wings as they all take off at once. When I spotted a small flock (only hundreds not thousands) of Queleas descending onto the trees lining the dry riverbed I thought I'd try my luck. As usual I'd stop to take a photo then creep a bit closer. Things were going pretty well and then all of a sudden they were off. Enter an African Hawk Eagle It took me a moment to realize that it wasn't me that had spooked them, they were being hunted. A juvenile African Hawk Eagle had launched an attack from its perch in a tree on the opposite bank and saw the Queleas as his next meal. Once the Hawk Eagle was back on his perch, the Queleas settled back down again. I got ready for his next attack. I didn't have to wait for long. Of course the Queleas saw the Hawk Eagle coming and flew up but this seemed to be his plan anyway as he tried to catch them in flight. On this occasion the Hawk Eagle swooped right in and ploughed straight into the branches. I have no idea whether he was successful or not but the Queleas had had enough and flew off to find somewhere safer. And who said birds were boring?
  25. I am returning to Botswana next month for the first time in 6 years. I have an option to stay at Lebala or Duma Tau for 4 nights for the exact same price. My previous visit I stayed at Lebala. With price not being an issue, any particular reason to choose one over the other? Hoping to get a chance to see wild dogs and get my lion and elephant fix while at either of these two camps.

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