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Old 08-18-2013, 10:47 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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I'm curious how many of you have traveled to national parks in Africa. I have a list of parks I would like to visit someday. I am not considering doing all of these parks in one visit but am asking which ones would be the best to visit, according to people who have been to any of them. Please let me know the good, the bad, and the ugly. Also, do all of these require shots and/or pills before you go to them? I'm not opposed to that, just want to know. Which of these countries is the easiest to visit as far as visas, etc? Also feel free to recommend some not on the list. Thanks for your info!

Here are the parks I'm curious about

Etosha
Kalahari Gemsbok
Kruegar
Serengeti
Gombe
Ngorongoro Crater
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:04 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Gombe is very isolated. There’s not much else in that part of Tanzania as far as parks are concerned. If you really want to see chimps it’s the place to go, but it will take a lot of travel to get there. If you’re on a tight schedule, it might not be worth it. I used to travel to Kigoma for work and went because it was close.

Serengeti is beautiful and Ngorongoro Crater is amazing. Because the crater is contained you’re more or less guaranteed to see lots and lots of animals—which is not true of other parks. On the other hand, it’s very popular and can get super crowded.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:17 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Originally Posted by tpk-nyc View Post
Gombe is very isolated. There’s not much else in that part of Tanzania as far as parks are concerned. If you really want to see chimps it’s the place to go, but it will take a lot of travel to get there. If you’re on a tight schedule, it might not be worth it. I used to travel to Kigoma for work and went because it was close.

Serengeti is beautiful and Ngorongoro Crater is amazing. Because the crater is contained you’re more or less guaranteed to see lots and lots of animals—which is not true of other parks. On the other hand, it’s very popular and can get super crowded.
Thanks for the info! I don't have to see all of these parks but Serengeti is a must and Ngorongoro Crater is also high on my list. When is the best time of the year to go? Summer is the best time to travel for me. Is there much for lodging in any of the parks you've visited? I normally like to camp in a tent but that idea isn't so appealing in Africa.
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:52 PM
 
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I haven't been to the ones on your list. But I would recommend the ones that I have been which are the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa (near Johannsburg) and the Chobe National Park in Botswana (near Kasane).
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:56 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
I haven't been to the ones on your list. But I would recommend the ones that I have been which are the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa (near Johannsburg) and the Chobe National Park in Botswana (near Kasane).
I've never heard of Cradle of Humankind, I'll check that one out. Chobe would be a neat one as well. Isn't that a good place to see wild dogs? I know their elephant population is huge.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:25 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Originally Posted by WyoEagle View Post
Thanks for the info! I don't have to see all of these parks but Serengeti is a must and Ngorongoro Crater is also high on my list. When is the best time of the year to go? Summer is the best time to travel for me. Is there much for lodging in any of the parks you've visited? I normally like to camp in a tent but that idea isn't so appealing in Africa.
I was surprised—and even embarrassed—at how cheap it is to travel in Tanzania. I was there for work so I had my own driver with an SUV and took day trips here and there.

You can get a decent, quasi-Western quality hotel (nice, but not luxurious) for $70+ a night. There are much cheaper options that the locals use, but I wouldn’t stay there.

If you go with a packaged tour it can get crazy expensive. Hotels that are actually inside parks are usually very, very high-end. I’m not a camping kinda guy, but people camp in the parks all the time. The animals are afraid of fire. If you keep a fire burning the animals stay away in it’s perfectly safe. I had a picnic at a campground in Mikumi. There was a huge fire pit with campers all around it. You should get a Lonely Planet guide and go on their Web forum. They have lots of posts from campers.

Summer is best because it’s dry season and the animals are forced to congregate near watering holes.

If you’re in Tanzania be sure to check out Zanzibar. No parks and animals, but great beaches and architecture.

I’ve never been to South Africa, but my friends who have say that Botswana is a much nicer experience.

Africa is such an amazing place and I’ve found the people to be extremely friendly. You’ll have a great time.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:35 AM
 
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I would say south africa - specifically Kruger and Kwa-Zulu area. Extremely accessable, inexpensive, and good infrastructure. No need for the expensive "safari" excursions. Just get a rental car and drive-in, similiar to US type national parks except you can only get out of the car at designated areas. They have reasonable lodges inside the park.
Avoid Josburg if you can (which is another type of "wildlife" area all it's own) and fly into a closer town.
No visa required, but you might need malaria pills depending on the season.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:56 AM
 
Location: India
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Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya Best for: Big cats and the great migration.
Every year during the great migration an estimated 2.5 million animals make a round-trip journey of 2,000 kilometers across the Serengeti ecosystem between Tanzania and Kenya.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:02 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
I would say south africa - specifically Kruger and Kwa-Zulu area. Extremely accessable, inexpensive, and good infrastructure. No need for the expensive "safari" excursions. Just get a rental car and drive-in, similiar to US type national parks except you can only get out of the car at designated areas. They have reasonable lodges inside the park.
Avoid Josburg if you can (which is another type of "wildlife" area all it's own) and fly into a closer town.
No visa required, but you might need malaria pills depending on the season.
Which towns do you suggest flying into?
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by WyoEagle View Post
Which towns do you suggest flying into?
This was years ago but I think we flew into either Durban or Richard's Bay and left out of a little town with an airport right at one of the Kruger entrances called Hoedspruit. This was all using Delta airlines, or Delta codeshared flights. We changed planes in Josburg but never left the airport. After picking up our rental car in Durban or whever it was, we never entered the big cities at all. The highways are very good, you just have to watch out for the random local and skinny cow walking on the highway. We even drove into Swaziland.
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