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Need Help Creating the perfect Safari

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Need Help Creating the perfect Safari

I am planning a two week honeymoon to Africa in which I want to combine a safari and beach vacation. I am overwhelmed with the amount of options and am looking for some help. We are looking to do a safari with alot of big game viewing, not too many tourists, but some comfortable conditions in the camps / lodges. We seem to have narrowed things down a bit to either Tanzania, Zambia or Botswana. Anyone with some first hand experience that could provide some insight on the greatest contrast between these three would be greatly appreciated.

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Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Need Help Creating the perfect Safari

I am heading out on my ninth safari in August. I have visited South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Most of my trips have been on the high-end of the scale accomodation-wise, so I have stayed in many of the best camps. Please let me know if I can help.

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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2. Re: Need Help Creating the perfect Safari

Well, Zambia is the least visited and some real Zambia experts should advise you on seasons, most suitable locations, accessibility.

Botswana is universally a more private experience than Tanzania - but the wildlife is sometimes elusive. When I was a safari operator, I stressed that you might go an hour or more and see nothing. It happens. And, there is no terrain to Botswana. It is as flat as the desk your computer is sitting on. Lots of good water activities, and the camps range from pretty nice to lush - and are all small. Some can take no more than 10 guests - the larger one perhaps accommodate 16 to 20. On the other hand, tents are not always ideal for honeymooners.

Tanzania offers more variety in your itinerary - Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, various areas of the Serengeti. All of these are scenic and quite different environments. But in high seasons, say mid December through April 1, and mid-June through mid-August, there are a lot of visitors and you will share Tanzania with them.. and with the incredible numbers of wildebeest and zebras that will be moving on into Kenya in August.

If your budget would work for Botswana, which is expensive - it would also cover the pricier places in Tanzania - and I suppose I would advise Tanzani for privacy, comfort, good wildlife.

London, United...
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3. Re: Need Help Creating the perfect Safari


While I've not been to Zambia (yet) I've travelled in both Botswana and Tanzania. Personally I've had excellent game-viewing in both places -- which one would work better for you depends a lot on what sort of safari experience you're looking for.

Most safaris in Tanzania involve driving from park to park with a single driver-guide who will stay with you throughout your trip. As a couple you should be able to have a private vehicle which will be nice as you can set your own schedule. Safari vehicles in Tanzania are closed with 'pop-top' roofs to comply with park regulations -- the best are Land Cruisers or Land Rovers which have been 'extended' to provide more space (AVOID the wretched minivans!). Most safari areas are in national parks which means you can't drive off-road or at night or do walking safaris (though there are designated wilderness areas where limited off-roading are walking are possible, notably in Tarangire and in the Mara Triangle portion of the Serengeti). For this reason, your activities will consist primarily of game drives.

Most safaris in Southern Africa (Botswana or Zambia) involve flying from camp to camp, with a different guide at each camp who really knows the area well. Safari vehicles tend to be open Land Rovers or Land Cruisers, which can give you a stronger feeling of being in the bush. Most safari areas are privately owned which means that off-road driving, night drives, and walking safaris are possible. Driving off-road and at night enables you to see predators in action and to observe nocturnal species. There is a wider range of activities available on safari in Botswana, including mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) trips, boating, fishing, and overnight walking trails with a sleepout in a hide under the stars -- I've done this and it's very romantic and very comfortable!

While the same species are present in both regions, the numbers you'll see and the ease of seeing them will differ. Tanzania is of course famed for the Great Migration, with millions of wildebeest moving across the plains. Cheetahs are much easier to see as they prefer the wide-open landscapes typical of the Serengeti.

Botswana offers a wider variety of terrain, with everything from the stark white salt pans of the Makgadikgadi Pans to the lush wetlands of the Okavango Delta and the mopane woodlands of the Linyanti-Chobe area. While you won't see the sheer volume of animals you'll see in Tanzania you'll see a wider range of species. Leopards are much easier to see in Botswana, as are the highly endangered African wild dogs.

For the beach part of your trip in Tanzania, you could spend some time in Zanzibar or some of the islands nearby. If you'd prefer something a bit more unspoiled and off the beaten track, northern Mozambique is also an option. In addition to spending time on the beach you could go on a spice tour or a historic tour of Stone Town.

You'd have a range of beach destinations to choose from if you went with Botswana -- KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, southern Mozambique, or even the Seychelles. Johannesburg is the transport hub of southern Africa so you could connect from there to almost any destination. You'd also have the option of spending a few days in Victoria Falls or Cape Town.

Personally I love both destinations for different reasons as they offer such different experiences. Hope this helps!



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Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Need Help Creating the perfect Safari

Hey Julian --

I've read a number of your posts with interest. You seem to have a great deal of knowledge and experience when it comes to traveling in Southern and East Africa. Frequently people seem to post incorrect information about Africa, but you seem to be always spot-on, at least in my opinion :) Are you in the travel industry?

I'm headed on my ninth safari next month, so I have a continuously expanding appreciation for and a growing knowledge of the bush, the wildlife and the accommodations. I just love it all.


5. Re: Need Help Creating the perfect Safari

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