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African Safari
Old 04-21-2014, 04:51 PM   #1
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African Safari

I'm just starting to look into possibly going on a African Safari. I'm thinking maybe summer of 2015. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go? Do you know of any specific resource to help me gather information?
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:02 PM   #2
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Have you picked out an area yet? The two main safari areas are Kenya and South Africa. Different experiences.

Our family visited a game reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa and had a really great time. It was awesome to see so many game animals up close - 10 feet from a black rhino and we watched a cheetah running down an antelope right in front the the Land Rover.

Keep in mind that Africa is a long way from the US - we took a 16+ hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg and back (nonstop on a 777LR). That's a looong flight. We also continued on to Malawi for a wedding, so even more flying! You may want divide up the flying time by going to Europe first, then down into Africa. More hours flying, but dividing it up helps a lot.

Here's an article on the Atlanta to Jo'burg flight:

Deltas Atlanta-to-Johannesburg among longest non-stop flights | The Biz Beat | www.ajc.com
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:08 PM   #3
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My favorites are 1) Botswana*, and 2) The Selous in southern Tanzania.

It's been ~ 28 years since I was in Kenya, and it was overcrowded then.......I'd avoid it like the plague.

Zambia is on our wish list, also Namibia.

(*Here's a link......we stayed at their Lagoon camp ~ 5 years ago...great place to see African Wild Dogs: Kwando Safaris | Kwara )

Haven't been in contact with him for a couple years, but we have the e-mail addy of the guy who was our guide in Chobe....very knowledgeable, and last I heard he been placed in charge of his own camp.......PM if you want the addy.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:10 PM   #4
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Have you picked out an area yet? The two main safari areas are Kenya and South Africa. Different experiences.

Our family visited a game reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa and had a really great time. It was awesome to see so many game animals up close - 10 feet from a black rhino and we watched a cheetah running down an antelope right in front the the Land Rover.

Keep in mind that Africa is a long way from the US - we took a 16+ hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg and back (nonstop on a 777LR). That's a looong flight. We also continued on to Malawi for a wedding, so even more flying! You may want divide up the flying time by going to Europe first, then down into Africa. More hours flying, but dividing it up helps a lot.

Here's an article on the Atlanta to Jo'burg flight:

Deltas Atlanta-to-Johannesburg among longest non-stop flights | The Biz Beat | www.ajc.com
I haven't spent much time looking yet but, right now, i'm thinking maybe Sarengeti National Park and other nearby places. I'm open to suggestions though.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:15 PM   #5
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Wow, can you afford it? If so, glad to hear it! I don't have any specific info or I'd share.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:15 PM   #6
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Keep in mind that Africa is a long way from the US - we took a 16+ hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg and back (nonstop on a 777LR). That's a looong flight.
Try flying from Toronto to Jozi via NY, with an hour+ sitting on the runway, (not allowed to leave the plane), in Senegal.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:19 PM   #7
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Further to my initial post.....here's the outfit where we met the guy I mentioned:

Khwai Tented Camp ׀ Botswana | Expert Africa

(We were there when it was still mobile....and waaay more basic.)
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:25 PM   #8
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Wow, can you afford it? If so, glad to hear it! I don't have any specific info or I'd share.
My Mom turns 59.5 at the end of 2014 so she offered to cover the majority of the cost for my brother and I to join her on the "once in a lifetime" trip. Her only other travel companions(my dad and my aunt) are no longer in good enough health for such a trip. She won't be able to go on a trip like this much longer either so even if I have to chip in a few grand, i'll do it. My brother has less money than me and will likely have to be 95-100% subsidized for the trip.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:26 PM   #9
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That DOES sound like a trip of a lifetime, for all of you! I am so happy for you. I know you will have a wonderful time.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:53 PM   #10
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Try flying from Toronto to Jozi via NY, with an hour+ sitting on the runway, (not allowed to leave the plane), in Senegal.
Yeah, that's the other "direct" option to JNB. My wife returned the next year to visit the new grand-nephew in Malawi and took that flight. She prefers the direct flight.
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:02 PM   #11
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I went to several parks in South Africa and loved Kruger which is huge and also Imfolozi. If you have lots of time then explore other parts of South Africa, especially Capetown and the Garden Route. It is a long way to go so the longer you can stay the better. I have been to Kenya several times but never on safari. A friend went to Masai Mara and stayed at the Kicheche Bush Camp and thought it was truly remarkable. Very luxurious and she got some of the best amateur safari pictures I've ever seen. She said the guides were amazing. If you go through Nairobi, stay at the Fairview Hotel. Much nicer than the big names for half the price. Have a great time.
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:37 PM   #12
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I did a two week trip to Kenya and Tanzania is 1996 through International Wildlife. I especially loved Tanzania. The down side was long days traveling in a minivan on rough, dusty roads, arriving late at luxurious hotels only to be whisked away early for another long day. If you can afford it, fly between parks.

My second trip in 2003 was through Earthwatch and it was spent on a rhino preserve in Kenya where we literally walked among the animals every day. That was a fantastic experience, but may be too much for an older person.

In any case, Africa's wildlife is fantastic and fast disappearing. The Africans were met were very nice to us and we felt safe.
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:47 PM   #13
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I did a two week trip to Kenya and Tanzania is 1996 through International Wildlife. I especially loved Tanzania. The down side was long days traveling in a minivan on rough, dusty roads, arriving late at luxurious hotels only to be whisked away early for another long day. If you can afford it, fly between parks.

My second trip in 2003 was through Earthwatch and it was spent on a rhino preserve in Kenya where we literally walked among the animals every day. That was a fantastic experience, but may be too much for an older person.

In any case, Africa's wildlife is fantastic and fast disappearing. The Africans were met were very nice to us and we felt safe.
Probably need to keep the walking to a minimum. My mom can maybe handle 1 mile per day...maybe. Did you find Kenya to be overly crowded as mentioned by another poster? Tanzania is at the top of the list right now. Anything specific you can tell me about that region? From what i've read, it sounds like July-Sept. is the best time to go. You agree?
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:06 PM   #14
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Probably need to keep the walking to a minimum. My mom can maybe handle 1 mile per day...maybe. Did you find Kenya to be overly crowded and mentioned by another poster? Tanzania is at the top of the list right now. Anything specific you can tell me about that region? From what i've read, it sounds like July-Sept. is the best time to go. You agree?
At Waterbuck Lodge it was all driving around in Land Rovers. They said that as long as you in the Land Rover the animals don't pay attention to you - and the lions, cheetahs, hippos, elephants, and rhinos did seem to ignore us. We were amazingly close to them. Got some excellent photos!

We didn't find crowds to be a problem in South Africa. In fact, we thought it was kind of comical that the guides spent so much time on the radio making sure we didn't run into the other folks in the area.

I'm told that there are basically two types of people on safaris: birders and everyone else. If you are a birder, make sure you are with other birders and if not, vice versa.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:22 PM   #15
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At Waterbuck Lodge it was all driving around in Land Rovers. They said that as long as you in the Land Rover the animals don't pay attention to you - and the lions, cheetahs, hippos, elephants, and rhinos did seem to ignore us. We were amazingly close to them. Got some excellent photos!

We didn't find crowds to be a problem in South Africa. In fact, we thought it was kind of comical that the guides spent so much time on the radio making sure we didn't run into the other folks in the area.

I'm told that there are basically two types of people on safaris: birders and everyone else. If you are a birder, make sure you are with other birders and if not, vice versa.
I'm not interested in birds, I'm very interested in being in close proximity to the larger mammals listed above.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:53 PM   #16
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What rifle will you be bringing? 30-06? 45/70? Something bigger? Make sure you have cartridges rated for dangerous game.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:57 PM   #17
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What rifle will you be bringing? 30-06? 45/70? Something bigger? Make sure you have cartridges rated for dangerous game.
We would be part of a tour with guides that have rifles. We won't be bringing our own.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:07 PM   #18
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We would be part of a tour with guides that have rifles. We won't be bringing our own.
You are paying for this, why should they have all the fun?
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:08 PM   #19
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Probably need to keep the walking to a minimum. My mom can maybe handle 1 mile per day...maybe. Did you find Kenya to be overly crowded as mentioned by another poster? Tanzania is at the top of the list right now. Anything specific you can tell me about that region? From what i've read, it sounds like July-Sept. is the best time to go. You agree?
At some game parks it can be crowded. Ridiculous to see 20 vehicles surrounding some poor lion trying to eat a kill.

The major places to see in Tanzania are Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti . We also enjoyed the other less famous parks in Tanzania.

Ngorongoro Crater - Tanzania - Reviews of Ngorongoro Crater - TripAdvisor

Best time to visit Ngorongoro Crater (Month by month)
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:30 PM   #20
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I'm not interested in birds, I'm very interested in being in close proximity to the larger mammals listed above.
They talk a lot about the Big Five: lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.

They strive to show you all five. We saw four. We did spend a fair amount of time cruising along a dry riverbed trying to spot a leopard, but they are very reclusive and we didn't see one. We did get to see both black and white rhinos though - including a nursing white rhino calf.

Other animals that we really enjoyed seeing were cheetahs (they are easy to see since they hang out on the roads and aren't shy), hippos, giraffes, wart hogs, zebras, wildebeests, lots of types of antelopes. Hearing the lions roaring during the night was very cool - and a bit surreal. We also saw a civet one night.
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