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Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

We are planning on being in Africa for a total of 24 days, most likely beginning our trip in mid August 2014. We will be traveling from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Any suggestions on the best route to get to Africa would be appreciated.This is what we have so far. We are pretty set on the itinerary from days 1 – 16, but days 17 – 24 we are still working out. We know we want to do two gorilla treks and a chimp trek or habituation, whatever is feasible. We are not interested in any cultural excursions, concentrating on wildlife. If it would save travel time somehow, we would be fine with flip-flopping the itinerary to see the gorillas first, then on to Zambia and Botswana. We know it's a busy schedule, but we want to see the maximum wildlife on this trip of a lifetime. We decided on Botswana based on people on forums saying how great the wildlife viewing is, with fewer crowds. We are NOT interested in seeing the migration,but rather a larger variety of animals, especially predators. We have also seen a lot of positive comments on Uganda.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Day 1: Arrive Johannesburg. Spend the night in Africa Sky Guest House.

Day 2: Fly from Johannesburg, South Africa to Maun, Botswana, then fly to Xakanaxa. Mobile camping in Xakanaxa Okavango Delta/Moremi Game Reserve area.

Days 3 and 4: Mobile camping in Xakanaxa Okavango Delta. We will also do a boat and mokoro excursion.

Days 5: leave Xakanaxa, drive to Khwai. Mobile camp there for days 5 and 6.

Day 7: Leave Kwai, drive to Savute. Mobile camp there for days 7 and 8.

Day 9: Leave Savute, drive to Chobe. Mobile camp there for days 9 and 10. We will be camping in Serondela/Ihaha area.

Day 11: Leave Chobe. Drive to Livingstone, Zambia. Spend the night near Victoria Falls at Royal Livingstone hotel.

Day 12: Leave Victoria Falls,fly to South Luangwa National Park to Kaingo Camp, spend days 12 and 13 there.

Day 14: Leave Kaingo Camp. Either drive to walk to Mwamba camp, spend days 14 and 15 there.

Day 16: Leave Mwamba camp, fly to Lusaka, spend the night at Chiminuka Lodge.

Day 17: Leave Lusaka. This is where the itinerary is not certain. We will probably fly to Entebbe, but not sure the route to get there. Then we would make our way over to Bwindi for gorilla trekking, then chimp trekking.

Day 24: Leave for the United States.

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

I'm not an expert, especially about South Africa, but I don't like to see your post go unanswered, so I'll give you my 2 cents and this will bump up your question and maybe someone else will answer - also, for the South Africa, Botswana and Zambia part of your itinerary, you'll be better off posting in those forums. The Uganda forum is pretty quiet.

First, have you priced this out? Travel within Africa is very expensive and this would be a very expensive trip - but maybe that's not something you need to worry about. Like you said, it's packed. Personally, I wouldn't want to move so often. You'll be spending a LOT of your time in transit. I'm also not sure about the transit times on the roads. In Africa, a few km can take a lot longer than you'd expect by looking at a map. Also, you'll likely have to deal with more than one Tour Operator -- all of this adds up to more complexity but not necessarily a better wildlife viewing experience. I'm curious why you did not think of Tanzania? It really has everything - and even if you're not interested in the migration, there is so much more. We didn't go probably 10 minutes without seeing something and you can stay at some really wonderful lodges/camps that aren't nearly as "dear" as Botswana. Seeing the Serengeti alone is a life-changing experience.

Good luck planning and I hope you get more advice from others.

Edited: 12:13 pm, April 02, 2013
San Francisco...
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2. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

Okay, so I just read your post again and it sounds like you're set on days 1-16, so you're leaving 7 days to see the gorillas/chimps. It looks like there are several options to fly between LUS and EBB, including Ethiopian, Kenya Airways, Precision Air and SAA.

So, you could do something like this:

Day 1: Arrive EBB. Flight between EBB and Bwindi.

Day 2: First gorilla trek.

Day 3: Second gorilla trek.

Day 4: Drive to Kibale (very long day's drive - could break it up at Queen Elizabeth NP if you have the time or you could see chimps at Kyambura Gorge in QENP).

Day 5: Chimps at Kibale.

Day 6: Overnight Kibale or start heading back toward EBB, which is probably a better idea.

Day 7: Fly out.

I really don't know how doable this is. You could contact some tour operators in Uganda to help you flush this out. Overall, I still think you're trying to fit too much in. I know you think this will be your only trip to Africa, but it might not be. I went for my "once-in-a-lifetime" trip to Africa and am now going for my second "once-in-a-lifetime" trip to Africa.

Entebbe
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3. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

The first thing you have to know about Gorilla tracking is that you have to book early since there is only a specific number of people who are allowed to track per day. If you are planning to spend seven days in Uganda then you could also do other activities other Gorilla and Chimp tracking. For Chimp tracking i would recommend Kibaale Forest since it has the highest concentration of Primates in the world. This is how i would arrange your Ugandan Safari Day 1 Arrive in Ebb, fly to Bwindi, Day 2 Gorilla Tracking, Day 3 Drive to Kyambura for tree Climbing lions. Day 4 Chimp habitaution in Kibale Day 6 Back to Ebb via Mabamba swamp to view the rare shoe Bill stork, Day 7 Fly out. You can send an email to info@wildadventures.ug. They can help in organising for you your Ugandan bit of the Safari

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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4. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

Sea-lon: Thanks for replying to our post. We were beginning to wonder if we would get any replies. We know it will be expensive, but it will be tailored to our liking. It is packed, but we also figured, if we have to travel 24 hours to get to Africa and spend a lot of money on airfare, we may as well spend as much time seeing things as we can. We did a 17 day whirlwind trip to Scandinavia last year that left us about half-dead by the end of it, but it was the best trip ever.

Your suggested itinerary in Uganda looks reasonable to me, but I really don't know about the travel times there. We definitely want to do two gorilla treks, just in case we don't see them the first day. We were wondering about seeing the chimps in Kyambura. Is that much closer to Bwindi that Kibali? If so, is it worth going on to Kibali to see the chimps or would Kyambura suffice?

We did consider Tanzania, but from the posts I have seen on TripAdvisor, it seems that much of it would be more of a zoo or Disney World experience, rather than a wild-life/ wilderness experience. Even though the crater at first appealed to me, as I would most likely see the big five there, I have seen many reviews that the crater has so many vehicles and it is crowded. And with the time of year we will be going, there will be more people traffic elsewhere in Tanzania due to the migration. Our goal on this trip is to see and photograph wildlife and to see few people. We are going with the private mobile safari in Botswana so that we can be out all day on the game drive if we so choose and we wouldn't have to be considerate of what others want to do.

We have been working with a tour operator out of England named African Explorations, but we wanted to see what people who have been there have to say.

Ivan: Thank you for your suggestions, but we would like to do two gorilla treks and it looks like it is a bit busy - even for us. We know the gorillas need to be booked far ahead. We are looking at going in August or September of 2014. Have you been to the Kyambura Gorge?

I appreciate everyone's suggestions. I hope we get some more.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

I hope you get more suggestions for Uganda too. From what I've been able to figure out, Kibale is the best place to see chimps.

I'm sure you'll have a great trip, but I have to say that thinking that Tanzania is like a zoo is just not the way it is at all. The only place where you might think that is the crater but even that is a natural occurrence - there are no fences. I can't imagine any place in Africa better than the Serengeti for a real African experience. If you want to avoid other vehicles, it's not hard to do. The migration is always in Tanzania, it's just in different areas, so going in September is no different than any other time of year. The most popular time to go is February when the zebras and wildebeest are having babies.

But, enjoy your whirlwind trip! I hope you'll come back and give a trip report. I was thinking of staying at Kaingo Camp in Zambia - it looks amazing - but we won't be making it there on our next trip so I'll be interested about your stay there.

Entebbe
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6. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

I have been to Kyambura but only for the Tree climbing Lions. Haven't done Chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura because the Chimps in Kyambura not fully habituated therefore seeing may not be that easy. Like San-lon has said Kibale is the best place for Chimpanzee Tracking. Am very sure you will enjoy a road trip from Bwindi to Kibale because it has a very beautiful scenery and further if you are into birds, you'll see a number of bird species

Kampala, Uganda
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7. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

Tree climbing lions in kyambura or ishasha sector???

Kampala
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8. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

Hello, sorry for not replying. Mf who's usually hot on itinerary queries is away, and I have also been up-country on safari.

He has been to Zambia several times I believe, so if you are happy to wait for a little bit, he'll be round soon am sure to advise.

Are the gorilla treks your top priority? Is there anything else in Uganda you want to see?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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9. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

Gorilla treks are the top priority while in Uganda, but the chimps are a second. Not too much into birds, but will stop, look and take a picture of an interesting bird. I really like all types of wildlife, but especially primates and predators. As far as other things in Uganda we would like to see is any type of wildlife and interesting scenery. Even though I am sure it is all very interesting, we are not interested in cultural activities. This trip is all about the wildlife and nature. When you said Mf, do you mean Mfuwe? I have noticed he has very good replies to posts. Hopefully he will chime in whenever he gets back.

For the Uganda part we have the below itinerary, but we are glad for any suggestions:

Day 1: Arrive Entebbe. Stay at Karibu Guesthouse one night.

Day 2: Fly from Entebbe to Kihihi airstrip to continue on to Mahogany Springs Lodge for 3 nights.

Days 3 & 4: gorilla tracking

Day 5: Drive through QENP to Mweya. Two nights at Mweya Lodge. Game drives and boat cruise.

Day 7: Drive to Kibale. Stay three nights at Kyaninga Lodge.

Day 8: Full day chimp habituation.

Day 9: Crater walk and Bigodi swamp walk.

Day 10: Fly back to Entebbe, connect to flight home.

Oakland, CA
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10. Re: Draft Itinerary - Suggestions, comments please.

There are more convenient places to stay for the chimps at Kibale, and Bigodi, than Kyaninga. The lodge is very unique, but it will be a loing daily round trip to the chimps.

The crater walk--do you mean walking around the crater lake at Kyaninga? or a different crater lake? If you are staying AT Kyaninga, youj dont need to do a separate crater lake.

Have a look at Ndali also, or some of the accomodatin right in Kibale, unless that is too rustic for you.

Good luck with planning!