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Anyone do an African tour?
Old 10-07-2016, 03:10 PM   #1
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Anyone do an African tour?

We are just starting the research on this....looking to do a 2ish week tour including safaris. Tour companies you would recommend, not recommend?

My husband lived a few years in South Africa, but that was 40 years ago, so we definitely want to use a tour company.

Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2016, 03:19 PM   #2
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I used Micato Safaris and was very pleased with them
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Old 10-07-2016, 03:23 PM   #3
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subscribed - DW wants to go visit her sister in Zambia (no, I'm not going)
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Old 10-07-2016, 04:13 PM   #4
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A few years ago we did a tour with Wild Wings Safari. We flew into J'burg and did a tour inside Kruger. The first few days there were six of us on the tour. On the second, just us. After that, through Wild Wings, we arranged travel to Zambia, Victoria Falls etc. This is a South African company. No fancy lodges in Kruger. We were very happy with the trip. We saw so much.

After Victoria Falls we flew to Port Elizabeth, rented a car for two weeks, and ended up in Cape Town.

We want to go back....and would definitely deal with Wild Wings again. South Africa is a wonderful country. It pains us to see the turmoil that that they have been going through over the past few years.
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Old 10-07-2016, 04:56 PM   #5
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In 1996, I did a 3 week tour though National Wildlife which I believe they had subcontracted through International Expeditions, in Kenya and Tanzania. It involved many long hours packed in a van with a half dozen other people driving down dirt roads at little more than a crawl. We saw a lot of great wildlife, but if I was to do it again, I'd pay extra to fly between featured locations.
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:25 PM   #6
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I'd pay extra to fly between featured locations.
Since the OP is contemplating a 2 week time frame, I'd suggest that using bush planes is essential, or at least highly desirable, (late wife & I were in Tanzania in 1988...due to fairly heavy rains the landing strip in the Selous, down by the Rufiji River, was washed out, so we had to drive from Dar....fun, but a short flight would have been eminently preferable).

Last African trip, to Botswana in 2010, DW & I flew from bush camp to bush camp......superb!
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:47 PM   #7
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Since the OP is contemplating a 2 week time frame, I'd suggest that using bush planes is essential, or at least highly desirable, ...........
Yes, agree, but the added cost will get your attention.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:20 PM   #8
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I did 6 days on safari in Tanzania and Kenya a few years ago. Awesome experience but near the end I grew a little weary from the dusty, bumpy dirt roads. As I recall, we were in the vehicle about 7 hours a day. I do not recall the tour group we used.
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:23 PM   #9
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Yes, agree, but the added cost will get your attention.
Definitely. It may be that the OP's research would be well served by initially determining how much is viable in a 2 week (or so) visit..........(I recall, but not in any great detail, another thread a while back where a poster winnowed down a proposed extensive European trip into something more manageable.)
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:33 PM   #10
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Lived in RSA and toured many nearby countries from 2006-2008. We did all the touring on our own but I thought I would share some experiences. Great places to see and fun things include Ngorongoro Crater (best animal viewing safari), Great Ape Safari in Rwanda or Uganda (need to be healthy enough to make the walk but amazing to be the Great Apes in their environment), Zanzibar (a unique wonderful place), Capetown (for fun, museums and obviously Robbin Island), Vic Falls, Apartheid history in Jo'Burg (plus other sites), hluhluwe park in RSA is an alternative to Krueger (having said that Krueger was good), and if you could find a way to visit a more traditionally village in RSA, I think you would find that interesting.

I know this is more than two weeks. But, I hope this gives you some ideas. We loved RSA and people there. And, the neighboring countries were terrific too.
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Old 10-08-2016, 07:30 AM   #11
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I travelled to Jo-berg and Zimbabwe last August.

Absolutely amazing experience. We spent a couple nights in Jo-berg to acclimate to the time change and see the Mandela museum.

Then we flew into the bush. Spent about 10 nights in 2 different camps. Best vacation of my life...by far.

The trip was organized by a friend who specializes in African travel - her name is Julie and i'll include a link to her site. PM if you want more detailed info.

Eyes On You Safaris

camp #1: http://chilogorge.com/
camp #2: http://singita.com/lodge/singita-pamushana-lodge/
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Old 11-09-2016, 05:07 PM   #12
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thanks everyone. we decided to table the trip. with the election results and the likelihood of losing access to health insurance we are considering going back to work and cutting our travel budget in half.
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Old 11-09-2016, 06:48 PM   #13
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thanks everyone. we decided to table the trip. with the election results and the likelihood of losing access to health insurance we are considering going back to work and cutting our travel budget in half.
Do you mean your retirement was entirely contingent on getting subsidized health insurance? With how often ACA comes up here I wonder how many others would be in the same boat.
That said, I think you are jumping the gun here.
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:18 PM   #14
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Do you mean your retirement was entirely contingent on getting subsidized health insurance? With how often ACA comes up here I wonder how many others would be in the same boat.
I'd bet most folks here have multiple fall back plans ("reinforcements"). I know we do. Walking away from a successful career is such a big risk that most people check, and recheck (X4!) their plans before they make the leap. How else do you get to retire "early"?
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That said, I think you are jumping the gun here.
Big time.

Maybe you are living on a financial razors edge, but many people just need to take a deep breath. Maybe a few deep breaths. Then put some distance between any life changing decisions and the overheated rhetoric of elections.
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:53 PM   #15
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Do you mean your retirement was entirely contingent on getting subsidized health insurance? With how often ACA comes up here I wonder how many others would be in the same boat.
That said, I think you are jumping the gun here.
I didn't see where any subsidized health insurance was mentioned, just health insurance.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:39 AM   #16
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IF you have a travel bucket list and the resources to accomplish items on the list in a travel fashion that you are comfortable with then my advice is get busy and do it while you have the health and the will to do it.

Don't make excuses. Find a way to make it happen. Africa was high on DW's list, not so much on mine. We went for a month, now it is high on my list for a return visit.

There are a number of ways to reduce the cost of a trip. Not all of the safari offering are $400-500 night fancy lodges. We found that the local TA's were pushing us this way. We went on the web and found alternatives with people based in RSA. For us it was much less expensive than dealing with a local TA. And we got, what we thought,was much better information.
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Old 11-10-2016, 12:19 PM   #17
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If you are confident and flexible, a trip to RSA and neighboring countries can be done inexpensively. Here are some thoughts:

1. Plan to stay at hostels
2. Hostels will have services for safaris and other sites
3. Car rental in RSA is fairly inexpensive.
4. Scheduling your own transportation - buses, trains, boats - can also be done if you are planning to go to other countries and not returning to your starting point.

Having lived in RSA, it was much easier to figure things out for traveling around there. But, we also visited Mozambique, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, & Tanzania in low cost, figure it out as you go, fashion.

Locals are more than willing to help. And, you will meet other people on your travels who will also provide advice.

I know the DIY, approach is not for everyone. It has worked well for us.
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Old 11-10-2016, 12:40 PM   #18
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IF you have a travel bucket list and the resources to accomplish items on the list in a travel fashion that you are comfortable with then my advice is get busy and do it while you have the health and the will to do it.

Don't make excuses. Find a way to make it happen. Africa was high on DW's list, not so much on mine. We went for a month, now it is high on my list for a return visit.

There are a number of ways to reduce the cost of a trip. Not all of the safari offering are $400-500 night fancy lodges. We found that the local TA's were pushing us this way. We went on the web and found alternatives with people based in RSA. For us it was much less expensive than dealing with a local TA. And we got, what we thought,was much better information.
I agree 100%! I have been active on both traumatic brain injury sites and on bereavement sites due to the injury and loss of my wife.
A recurrent thread on both these sites was -"We planned to do it after he retired but XXX happened and he/she/we were unable to do it."
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Old 11-10-2016, 05:32 PM   #19
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wow! a little harsh for a personal decision. we get no subsidy....not living close to the edge at all.

we have been retired for 5 years and have traveled plenty with about a 30k budget per year. we decided long before we retired that we would cut budget in years where we feel anxious...we will still do things like camping in our trailer, us/can roadtrips, etc.

i left this part off, but i am still recovering from a badly broken humerus which will remain a little vulnerable for up to a year. i would not want to be in africa and re-injure...

lastly, we were able to retire at 54 by being conservative when appropriate. we have 5 years until medicare, so will play it safe. this has worked for us so i don't see any reason to change course.

getting access to health insurance (and the resulting cobra period) may or may not be needed. i can't work now....
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Old 11-10-2016, 05:51 PM   #20
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i left this part off, but i am still recovering from a badly broken humerus which will remain a little vulnerable for up to a year. i would not want to be in Africa and re-injure...
getting access to health insurance (and the resulting cobra period) may or may not be needed. i can't work now....
I apologize if that seemed harsh- the part about the broken humerus puts an entirely different light on the subject. My late wife broke hers and had to have an open reduction with a steel plate and screws

Good decision! Getting bounced around on dirt roads in a safari vehicle is not a risk you should take
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