Peter Connan

Who is planning for 2018?

102 posts in this topic

I'll be honest about my plans for 2018, while Zambia is in the lead (waiting for June airfares to open up so I can get a sense of timing and budget), I still haven't let go of Botswana and I'm ridiculously nostalgic for the Mara, especially with all the migration posts I see in social media and the wonderful trip reports I've been reading here.  My head tells me to branch out and try something new, my heart is saying Offbeat Mara....  :rolleyes:

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1 hour ago, amybatt said:

I'll be honest about my plans for 2018, while Zambia is in the lead (waiting for June airfares to open up so I can get a sense of timing and budget), I still haven't let go of Botswana and I'm ridiculously nostalgic for the Mara, especially with all the migration posts I see in social media and the wonderful trip reports I've been reading here.  My head tells me to branch out and try something new, my heart is saying Offbeat Mara....  :rolleyes:

 

I tell you what @amybatt - I had to do Offbeat Mara twice in twelve months to even begin getting it out of my system.  

 

If it's any consolation, I too am torn between Zambia and one more swing through Kenya/Tanzania for my next safari.  And Ecuador now that I have a line on reliable Spectacled Bear encounters...

 

So many places to go, so little vacation time and money!

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

 

I tell you what @amybatt - I had to do Offbeat Mara twice in twelve months to even begin getting it out of my system.  

 

If it's any consolation, I too am torn between Zambia and one more swing through Kenya/Tanzania for my next safari.  And Ecuador now that I have a line on reliable Spectacled Bear encounters...

 

So many places to go, so little vacation time and money!

 

 

 

 

Indeed!  It's good to know that you're suffering as I am with the indecision.  And now that I see that Offbeat Mara redid the dining tent and now has a big deck, and I never got to take a walk with Jesse or get to the hide, it almost seems to be calling to me... Plus they give such good safari!

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I'm starting to "worry" that I only have one trip planned far for 2018! We have Zambia coming up Fall 2017, then for 2018 all I have set is India in Feb-March.  Its time to make a decision on another trip for either late spring or summer/fall 2018 but I've got too many to choose from! One problem is that it seems like the best time frame for many of the trips we want to do is (our) fall--between September and November. Which means too many years to fit them all in, LOL!

 

Right now we are considering Madagascar (best time Nov, and this would be with a group tour as we just can't do that independently); or Puma tracking in Torres de Paine (also best time Oct/Nov); or Svalbaard for birds and polar bears (best time June); or back to Colombia for birding the Western Andes (best time might be Nov/Dec as hubby wants to see orchids in bloom). We also want to get to Australia for serious birding, but that also would have to be in our fall/winter period.

 

Right now probably NOT looking at mainland Africa again in 2018, but...who knows. If the direct flights to Nairobi start up from JFK we might be sorely tempted to return to Kenya....!

 

Help!! We can't plan until we narrow this down, but how to narrow it down is the question... :rolleyes:

 

 

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51 minutes ago, janzin said:

I'm starting to "worry" that I only have one trip planned far for 2018!

 

Luckily I am all set for 2018 :D so let me help you out. Through my eyes, I would recommend you Madagascar. Even if with a group, it is surely a very different environment and wildlife to all other options.

 

Now you can give me an idea for August of 2019 :o?! Not Africa, that will be my target in April/May. BTW March to October ... isn't that just way too many months without a travel :P??

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1 hour ago, xelas said:

 

Luckily I am all set for 2018 :D so let me help you out. Through my eyes, I would recommend you Madagascar. Even if with a group, it is surely a very different environment and wildlife to all other options.  Indeed, we are leaning towards that but I am still undecided..! I will count your vote though!

 

Now you can give me an idea for August of 2019 :o?! Not Africa, that will be my target in April/May. How about the Pantanal, I don't think you've done that yet? (I can't seem to find a way on this new site to search for trip reports by author.) It's hard to find good destinations for August, outside of Africa. In the southern hemisphere its winter, and in India and the far east its monsoon season!  Of course, you could come to America and do our Western parks! Or Alaska!

 

BTW March to October ... isn't that just way too many months without a travel :P??  Indeed! But if we did Svalbaard, that would be June. But that's a really expensive trip and I'm not sure if we did that we'd be able to do anything else until 2019 :(  Another destination we are thinking of is Sicily in May, but that's not safari ;) although for food, wine and culture it ain't bad ;)

 

 

 

 

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@xelas I would second @Janzin suggestion of the Pantanal - a wonderful destination, both north and south or preferably both.  Of course, you could always come to northern Australia or perhaps PNG.

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I am still trying to find others to join me in Brazil next year, hoping to cover the Pantanal, Canastra, Caraca and possibly some SE Atlantic birding. Ideally looking for a female share. Unfortunately the person that I was planning to travel with has let me down as she and her two friends want to do their own thing now. :(

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@janzin, @Treepol - do you own a crystal ball?! After our recent visit to Michael and Andreas and watching their video from Pantanal, it again jumped on top of my wish list. And according to @TonyQ, Northern Pantanal can be done as a self-driving trip. That is a huge plus in our travel book. Other two candidates in South America are Ecuador and Peru.

 

@kittykat23uk - next year (2018) too early for us as Costa Rica is already fixed. But as we will have 3-4 weeks in 2019, I will be following your trip report with great interest.

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@janzin

 

22 hours ago, janzin said:

I'm starting to "worry" that I only have one trip planned far for 2018!

 

Now, that's my kind of problem!  Let me add my vote for Madagascar.  I really want to go there, but, like you, I'm thinking a tour group could make sense.  We always travel independently, but, at least right now, I'm just not feeling overly confident that we can manage Madagascar on our own.  Would be interested in what you find out and what your experience ended up being like.

 

So, yes, definitely Madagascar.  :D

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21 hours ago, janzin said:

Another destination we are thinking of is Sicily in May, but that's not safari ;) although for food, wine and culture it ain't bad ;)

 

 

In the same category you should consider also Corsica and Azores! And if you will go to Sicily, try incorporating a couple of days at the Aeolian islands! 

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2 hours ago, Alexander33 said:

@janzin

 

 

Now, that's my kind of problem!  Let me add my vote for Madagascar.  I really want to go there, but, like you, I'm thinking a tour group could make sense.  We always travel independently, but, at least right now, I'm just not feeling overly confident that we can manage Madagascar on our own.  Would be interested in what you find out and what your experience ended up being like.

 

So, yes, definitely Madagascar.  :D

 

@Alexander33 if we do Madagascar, we would go with a birding tour, because that's our focus--but of course any birding tour would also highlight the endemic mammals and reptiles etc as well.  Like you we always travel independently but there are just some destinations where I think that's not feasible, especially with limited time and budget. Madagascar is certainly one of those places! The logistics there are just so problematic, even with a tour one has to be able to deal with the unexpected flight cancellations etc. I just don't want that stress on vacation! Besides, as birders this is one destination where we'd really want to make sure not to miss any of the highly localized endemics. Anyway, we'd almost certainly go with Rockjumper as we've recently traveled with them to Cuba (another place a tour was needed) and had a great experience; also their prices are much more competitive than most.

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We spent 10 days in Madagascar over Christmas and ended up chartering a plane because I didnt want to deal with the sketchy flight infrastructure. I can recommend a wonderful tour agency if you end up going independently. I loved the trip and we had a great time 😊

image.jpeg

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Wow, @BeatNavy that's a stunning shot of the avenue of the baobabs.  I would love to get the name of the agency you used.  I, like many others that travel independently, would prefer to book a tour for Madagascar.

 

@janzin, if you can't tell I vote for Madagascar too.  

 

For 2017, we are thinking about a return trip to Borneo in May/June and also a return trip to Brazil for the southern Pantanal and possibly the Amazon in Aug/Sept. Nothing is booked yet though so I wouldn't rule out a Madagascar trip if the pieces fell into place.  Anyone up for a ST trip to Madagascar?  :)

 

@kittykat23uk, sorry to hear that your Brazil plans hit a snag. I know that originally our itineraries didn't align well.  But, if you are possibly interested in either the Amazon (Christalino) or Southern Pantanal legs let me know.  I will start making plans in the next few months for that.

 

@xelas, Our Pantanal trip last year (North and South) is the best trip we ever had.  So, in case you needed any more encouragement...;)

 

Alan

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7 minutes ago, Atdahl said:


 

@janzin

 

For 2017, we are thinking about a return trip to Borneo in May/June and also a return trip to Brazil for the southern Pantanal and possibly the Amazon in Aug/Sept. Nothing is booked yet though so I wouldn't rule out a Madagascar trip if the pieces fell into place.  Anyone up for a ST trip to Madagascar?  :)

 

Firstly I assume you mean 2018 :)  An ST trip to Madagascar....hmmmm...that sounds intriguing...I'd be interested! Actually a small organized group tour is not bad if you can pad it out with friends....
 

 

 

Edited by janzin

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@janzin - if I were going to Madagascar with a bird tour, I would not use anyone other than the Wings tour that Brian Finch leads!  In my opinion, nobody else can come close to showing you the birds of Madagascar as well as he.  He spends a lot of time in Madagascar and at one point was managing a hotel there and doing lots of birding.

 

They have a tour in August-September 2018:

 

http://wingsbirds.com/tours/madagascar/

 

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@Atdahl the company is Cactus Tours. They did a terrific job and were very kind. Be warned--their bank doesn't do AMEX 🙄 And can you believe that is an iPhone shot? Untouched. The place is just that stunning. I would absolutely recommend a charter plane--the roads are terrible and the commercial flights unreliable. If you do a ST trip, it could be reasonable 😬 Also, I'm always fascinated by a "best trip I've ever had" comment when it comes from a well-traveled person. Can you expand on why Pantanal was so wonderful? Finally--if Borneo is worth a return visit, I am intrigued. We had talked about it, but my husband thinks it's less than safe. We would be going with our son. 

 

 

image.jpeg

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2 minutes ago, offshorebirder said:

@janzin - if I were going to Madagascar with a bird tour, I would not use anyone other than the Wings tour that Brian Finch leads!  In my opinion, nobody else can come close to showing you the birds of Madagascar as well as he.  He spends a lot of time in Madagascar and at one point was managing a hotel there and doing lots of birding.

 

They have a tour in August-September 2018:

 

http://wingsbirds.com/tours/madagascar/

 

Thanks, I've actually done quite a bit of research, Wings is a lot more expensive than Rockjumper and Rockjumper has been doing Madagascar for many years...I have total faith in their guides and their knowledge of the area. We've actually compared many birding companies and RJ seems to be best for our needs (we also don't want a tour as long as the Wing's tour; two weeks is really our max.) If we go it would likely be this one: http://www.rockjumperbirding.com/tourinfo/madagascar-highlights-ii-2018

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@janzin, yes I meant 2018.  I too would be interested in a small group tour of like minded individuals.  But, I am not sure if a dedicated birding trip would be for us.  While we do like birds a lot, birding tours don't tend to be our favorite way to spend time.  I would rather look for mammals and herps over birds if pressed.  But, that doesn't mean we can't have a discussion about who might want to go and figure out if anyone's interests align.

 

@BeatNavy, thanks for the tour company name.  Regarding the Pantanal, take a look at my trip report.

 I think it rated it my favorite trip because I built it up in my mind in advance.  So, I really wanted to see Jaguar, Tapir, Giant Otter, Giant Anteater, etc.  And the Pantanal exceeded my expectations.   Also, it was our first trip to South America so 95% of the wildlife we saw was news. Borneo is one of my favorite trips ever for the same reason.  I didn't feel unsafe for one second.  Take a look at the trip reports from both myself and KittyKat since our itineraries were similar.

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On 20/07/2017 at 5:54 PM, Alexander33 said:

@janzin

 

 

Now, that's my kind of problem!  Let me add my vote for Madagascar.  I really want to go there, but, like you, I'm thinking a tour group could make sense.  We always travel independently, but, at least right now, I'm just not feeling overly confident that we can manage Madagascar on our own.  Would be interested in what you find out and what your experience ended up being like.

 

So, yes, definitely Madagascar.  :D

Why not? I ended up going on my own , just hired a guide who sorted everything out for me. 

@Janzin I couldn't tempt you to join me in Brazil? :)

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@BeatNavy welcome to Safaritalk! Brazil Pantanal is just fabulous, absolutely teeming with wildlife! If you are interested I am trying to to get a small group together for next September/ October, 2018 Link is in my signature.

 

I went back to Borneo this year, it is safe, no worries there. If you do go, I strongly recommend you book with Adventure Alternative Borneo and got to Deramakot forest reserve. I need to go back there again after missing clouded leopard, but they are seen fairly often in that reserve! :)

 

 

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On Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 8:54 PM, Tdgraves said:

 

Interesting you should mention that @Towlersonsafari I was looking at KNP availability on sanparks earlier and also looked at KTP out of interest. You could easily get a great trip in January if you booked now, including all wilderness camps except urikaruus, it is just that pesky peak season which is a problem....

Yeah getting a bit nervous about still waiting for Nossob to open up for our last couple of nights in October!  :/

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@Atdahl so currently  my plan is:

 

2-3 nights south east Atlantic  birding at ubatuba 

3 nights canastra national park 

3 nights Caraça Monastery 

3 nights pousada alegre,  North pantanal 

4 nights porto jofre lodge , North pantanal 

2 nights piuval lodge,  North pantanal 

3-4 nights san francisco farm  south pantanal.  

 

Ideally I want to try and stick to around  3 weeks all in. :) 

 

 

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7 hours ago, kittykat23uk said:

Why not? I ended up going on my own , just hired a guide who sorted everything out for me.   Thanks to the link to your trip report, I'd forgotten you'd gone. Planning ourselves just seems really daunting and possibily over budget, but if we had a small group of like-minded folk it might work.  Do you have a link to the company you planned it with?

@Janzin I couldn't tempt you to join me in Brazil? :)  Sigh, it looks like a great trip and I do want to go back to the Pantanal but it just seems like there are other places higher on the list at this point...as it feels like we were just there. Next trip to Brazil would more likely be a birding trip to the Northeast.

 

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@janzin Aww that's a shame! For Madagascar I just hired a guy that came recommended on Lonely Planet forum, but he's got his own tour company now: http://www.madagascar-natural-tours.com/

 

To be honest I found it to be a lot cheaper than booking with a group tour and I saw pretty much everything I was hoping to see, barring a few birds...

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