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Hi all - Have been reading way too much and trying to figure out an itinerary for a late July/early August 2018 trip to Africa. We would be a party of four with 2 adults and 2 children (11 and 17). To complicate matters, we MIGHT have an additional adult (age 19 - brother of other kids), who might join us. I realize that the 17 year-old is an adult in most pricing scenarios....we are coming from the West Coast of US I was sold on Tanzania: Tarangire (3N) /Ngorongoro (2N) /Serengeti Lamai (4N) / Grumeti (2N) - same company (e.g. Asila, Nomad) for Tarangire/Ngrongoro and hoping for some savings - booking Serian Serengiti Lamai with private vehicle, Nomad camp is not available at this time - then one of the Grumiti properties for a private reserve Then I started researching and came upon Botswana: Linyante Waterfront (3N), Delta (3N), Delta (2N) - was thinking Lebala - then young explorers at Shinde in the Delta - and then 2 more nights somewhere? - would probably tack on Victoria Falls / Capetown No one in our family has ever been to Africa before. Would probably get private vehicle on either itinerary. My estimates are that 11 night Tanzania itinerary will be close in cost to the 8 night Botswana itinerary. I haven't put either itinerary out to TA's yet. It's high season in both countries, so probably not much flexibility. I think kids will want to see predators, elephants, large herds of animals. -Our dates are a little flexible. But late July/early August works best. Which itinerary is better with those dates? -For kids (they are not really kids), whom will not most likely get back on safari without their parent's dime, what do you recommend? -Any additional suggestions?
rzemek posted a topic in AfricaHi 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
Saili posted a topic in AfricaWe are trying to decide on itinerary and tour operator and would welcome any advice and suggestions from more experienced safari travelers. About us: We are three generations travelling together, 8 people, ages 11-68. All 6 adults have been on safari in Kruger and Chobe a few years back. We had some fantastic experiences, especially in Kruger. This time we are considering a new area. We have seen the big five in Kruger, and we have seen large herds in Chobe. We want to get close to the animals. We hope to see a variety of animals, there is no particular animal we feel we need to search for, though it would be great to see wild dogs and cheetah. We are worried that the safari experience could be diminished by lots of vehicles in the same area. And we would prefer to stay in tented camps or lodges that are not too large, and that are situated inside the parks. We don't need luxury, but do appriciate comfort and good food. All of us are used to driving long distances, and have no problems with all day road trips. Our budget for the trip, for the whole group is about $ 30 000, including some days at the beach, excluding international flights. We can travel for 15-21 days, in the period 16th June - 15th August 2018. So.. we have been in contact with a couple of tour operators with offices in Tanzania. One tour operator suggested that the parks in southern Tanzania would suit us well. We have received an itinerary that we find very interesting. But other tour operators seem to feel that this itinerary is not to be recommended, or needs 1-2 days extra. Itinerary (with two 4x4 and drivers/guides for the entire safari part of the trip) Day 1 Arrive and stay in Dar es Salaam Day 2 Drive from Dar to Selous, boat safari in the afternoon Day 3 Game drive in Selous Day 4 Game drive to the North in Selous, then over the Uluguru Mountains to Mikumi, perhaps time for game drive before dinner Day 5 Drive to Udzungwa, walking safari/Sanje Falls Day 6 Drive to Ruaha, pit stop in Iringa Day 7 Game drive Ruaha Day 8 Game drive Ruaha Day 9 Drive to airstrip, walking safari, flight to Zanzibar Day 10-13 Zanzibar east coast Day 13-15 Stone town Day 15 Ferry to Dar, and fly home So, what do you think about the itinerary? Is it doable? Should we change something? The tour operator suggested we leave in June to get a better rate at the camps. Is late June a good time to visit this area? We will be travelling and doing the game drives in the same vehicles. The cars have pop up roofs. In our previous game drives we have had open safari vehicles, and I am a bit worried that this effects the experience. Camps/lodges: Rufiji river camp, Vuma Hills, Hondo Hondo, Ruaha river lodge, anyone who knows these camps? To reduce costs we could choose camps outside of the park borders, but we like that animals also can be seen in and around the camp. About the tour operator, he doesn't always answer when he says he will. I know we have plenty of time to plan our trip, but I find it hard to trust people who don't follow through. A lot of questions and concerns, I hope you can help me.
We traveled to Alaska from August 2 through 11, 2013. Itinerary: Fly from SFO to Anchorage at 8 pm (a 5-hour flight but we got an hour back). Arrive in Anchorage at midnight - sleep at motel near airport Day 1: back to airport by 8 a.m. for 9:30 flight to King Salmon, then King Salmon float plane to Brooks Camp - arrive by noon. Day 2: Brooks Camp Day 3: Brooks Camp - fly back to King Salmon then Anchorage; drive to Seward Day 4: Seward Day 5: Seward then drive to Soldotna Day 6: In a.m. Fly to Lake Clark National Park, Silver Salmon Creek Lodge Day 7: Silver Salmon Creek Lodge Day 8: Fly back to Soldotna; drive slowly back to Anchorage, stopping at scenic points and spending time at AK Conservation Center. Fly home at midnight Our family, consisting of me, husband and our two daughters ages 11 and 14 spent a wonderful 8 days in Alaska in early August. We were not lucky with weather (rain or drizzle almost constantly - when the sun came out on the last day it almost seemed strange to see it there!) but we were pretty lucky with wildlife sightings. There were some weather-created problems and a mechanical problem causing a plane cancellation leading to a bad travel delay but still, it was an excellent trip. Day1: After not a lot of sleep at our motel, we boarded a 30-seater plane from Anchorage to King Salmon, about an hour flight. We then had to switch planes which entailed taking a little van from the main airport (which just consisted of one room with very little in the way of amenities - more about that later as we were to become intimately familiar with that room) to the even smaller room with even fewer amenities by the water to wait to board our float plane. Little waiting room by the float plane dock: IMG_0933 Sign in above room re max occupancy, evidencing local sense of humor: IMG_0932 Float Planes: IMG_0935 The float plane was a fun experience. This is coming from the person who’s very anxious about flying in small planes. But someone who was on the plane with me told me she looks at it this way: float planes feel much safer than other small planes because they can actually land on water, and we’d be going over so much water that there was a really good chance that if the plane had to make an emergency landing, we’d be over water! The take off and landing were really smooth, and it was a very pleasant half hour or so flight. We were excited to arrive at Brooks Camp, in Katmai National Park, where we hoped to see bears. And actually, it wasn't very rainy that first day. Here's Mr. SafariChick and the SafariChick kids: IMG_0944 As soon as we’d had lunch and put our things in our room, we set off to visit the Falls and look for bear. We’d been watching the bears on the wonderful bear cams run by Explore.org for weeks prior to the trip, and had become familiar with some of the bears that visit frequently. The Rangers there come on to the chat under the cameras and answer questions, and have a bunch of resources about the bears online, including a list of the most commonly seen bears there with the ID number (and sometimes nickname), photos, and identifying marks or characteristics. I was hoping to see some of the bears I had come to “know” from these cams. Before getting to the Falls, one must cross the Lower River floating bridge. At this time of year, we didn’t see any bears in this area, but in September, when the bears come back for the dead and dying fish, apparently there will be many there. We took some photos of ourselves in this picturesque spot. P1120927 P1020912 View from viewing platform at the other end of the floating bridge: P1020913 I had told some of the other folks who watch the bear cams that I’d be at Brooks, and the days I’d be there, and that I’d try to wave at the Lower River camera. I had to ask a Ranger where the cameras were as they weren’t readily apparent. (Hanging off of the viewing platform seen in photo above). I waved to the camera a couple of times during our stay, feeling a bit foolish and wondering whether anyone would actually see it. Turns out that they did and they took quite a few screen caps of us! I was touched. Here are a couple: Bridge 4 Bridge 6 To get to the Falls it’s another mile or so walk, through pretty woods. We’d had bear safety training - the path we had to walk on to get to the Falls is the same one the bears take to get there - but we didn’t see any bears on the trail. IMG_0949 Before we went to the main Falls viewing platform, we stopped at the other platform at the spot called the Riffles where you get a longer view down to the Falls - didn't see any bears from that vantage point, but it was pretty and fun to see the spots we'd seen on the cams so many times but now in person P1120984 There is a long, raised walkway to get to the main Falls Viewing platform P1120979 and some educational displays along the way P1120981 When we finally got to the Falls Viewing platform - well actually, just before we reached it while still on the walkway, we saw a crowd of people pushed against one of the railings and looking over at the embankment. There was our first bear! He (or she?) had caught a salmon and was eating it off on the side of the river, parallel to the walkway that leads to the Falls viewing platform. It occurred to me that if one were watching the cam, one wouldn’t see this and it made me wonder how much happens beyond what the cams see. We watched this one bear for an hour or so. s/he went back in the water and caught another salmon, took it off to the same area to eat, then lay down and spent quite a while licking his/her paws and eventually settled down for a nap. We watched the napping bear for a bit, and then went back to the Falls, but nothing else was happening and the kids were antsy so we headed back to our cabin. Here are a few pix: P1130015 P1020954 P1130069 P1130078 P1130082 P1130087 Nap time: P1130126 This one is not a good shot of the bear but shows our vantage point and where it was compared to the walkway - this was when it was heading back to the Falls after eating the first fish IMG_0958 and the crowd - including me in the brown fleece happily peering through my binocs - watching the bear while it was eating: Looking at Bear from Walkway with Binos Next post: a little more information about Brooks.