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bluebird

First Timer--Botswana, Zambia, or Something Else?

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@@Atravelynn High praise indeed 😊

 

@@bluebird It's a bewildering choice for sure and for a first safari getting your head around the difference between a "private mobile camp" a "semi-permanent" or "permanent camp" can be a bit of a challenge. Essentially the more permanent the camp, the more bells and whistles you will find. Here is my definition, but it's only based on my limited experience.

 

Permanent = more likely to have: defined walkways (wooden or hard standing), a solid structure for a dining area, perhaps on a raised deck. Tents on decks, some even with sliding doors and aircon. A semi outdoor bathroom with running hot water and a flush toilet. More likely to have some power in the tent and lighting you flick a switch to put on. A pool, a permanent bar area and possibly even a gift shop. Likely to require that you are escorted back and forth to your tent at dawn and after dusk.

 

Semi-permanent = tents, maybe on hard standing or maybe not but not on a raised deck. No sliding doors, probably no light switches but will have some solar lighting in the form of lanterns. Semi outdoor bathroom with a flush loo and running hot water, or possibly a bush toilet and bucket shower. Dining under a non permanent cover, canvass or sometimes something more sturdy. I always felt the semi permanent camps I have been to give that classic "out of Africa" feeling.

 

Mobile camp = a spot, normally exclusive for safari operators or guides to book on a night/by/night basis. Everything is brought in, camp set up for your stay and then everything is packed away when you leave (all outside your own arrival and departure times). Tents, with beds and sealed floors (plenty of room for two and to stand up in). A semi-outdoor bathroom with a bucket shower and either a flush toilet or toilet over a hole in he ground that you throw dirt into (much less eww than it sound). Campfire with a few camping chairs, plus a table under a tree with chairs where you eat. No need to be escorted back to your tent as they will be close enough to the "table" that is effectively the heart of the camp. Likely to be a camp manager, chef and one other "gofer" plus guide. This would be a luxury mobile, you can do more basic style with smaller tents and where you help with the chores, but on your budget this would not be necessary.

 

When I went in my first trip I don't think I could imagine being out in the wilderness with only a canvass tent, a table, a camp fire, good food, a G&T and great stories. Now, I wouldn't do it any other way.

Edited by ld1
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As @@ld1 says above.

 

Now, I wouldn't do it any other way

 

That last sentence says it all and I couldn't agree more if you really want to feel you are in wild Africa.

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@bluebird There are a myriad of choices, all dependent on your level of comfort (and I don't necessarily refer to amenities). Trust me, even in a permanent camp you will feel like you are in wild Africa. I've been stuck in my tent because of an elephant outside (a permanent camp) or had an impala race literally right by me with a wild dog hot on it's trail while sipping coffee in the early morning near the fire pit area (a permanent camp). I am usually a solo traveler so privately guided safaris are not an option- just couldn't afford it. And, part of the fun for me is to meet fellow travelers (I'm kind of a home body so this pulls me out of my comfort zone and forces me to socialize- a good thing :) ). Africa is sensory overload. Smells, sounds, scenes, animals, birds.... all wild. Whatever type of camp/guide system you choose, you will be in wild Africa. And, I predict, will want more.

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