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Old 02-15-2018, 12:48 PM
 
Location: On the road
5,957 posts, read 2,897,780 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I have to confess I was underwhelmed by Victoria Falls. In the winter the flow is low so the visibility is improved, but of course there isn't much water.
This is a great point. We were there in May, and the flow was so heavy there was a permanent rainfall in areas near the park, and a constant cloud that was visible from in Livingstone town.
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:38 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lieqiang View Post
Yeah Kaza gets you both, and since Botswana is free you've got that whole triangle on one visa.

Yes, went to Etosha. Two good things about Etosha:
1. Black rhinos. They have horns sawed off to prevent poaching but it's still a freakin black rhino, pretty exciting to see.
2. Really cool watering hole setup with floodlights at night, can just sit in a chair with a beer and watch the animals come.

Chobe has a ****-ton of elephants, everything from big bulls to infant calves, they go down to the river in the afternoon to splash around so fun to watch.

These are cell phone pics I took, top is rhino in Etosha and next to are from Chobe.




You're really selling Southern Africa. I'll have to do some number crunching as well to see what is cheaper when flights, transportation, and visas are figured in. Who do you contact to get visas anyway? Is it all online?
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,319 posts, read 4,164,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDak15 View Post
You're really selling Southern Africa. I'll have to do some number crunching as well to see what is cheaper when flights, transportation, and visas are figured in. Who do you contact to get visas anyway? Is it all online?
If you're a US citizen and are visiting for tourism purposes and staying less than 90 days, you don't need a visa to enter Botswana, Namibia, or South Africa. You just need a valid passport which is good for at least 6 more months at the time the trip ends.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:18 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I'd just throw out a third option, that of South Africa.

The safari options are comparable (in fact I'd say preferable, but just my opinion) but the real advantage is being able to travel independently. Get a car and drive all over - the roads are good, accommodation options are far greater than in east Africa or Botswana/Zim, and the real benefit is incredible variety. In the north, the Kruger complex of national park and adjoining fenceless game reserves is without parallel; you can see watery wildlife in the St. Lucia area of KZN, dramatic mountain scenery along the Panorama Route and the central Drakensberg mountains, desert in the northwest, stunning coastal scenery on both the Indian and Atlantic Ocean shores, incomparable Cape Town... it goes on and on. And the human geography is incredible - numerous cultures and languages, terrific food, historic cities, a vibrant arts scene...

I'd look at timing, too. The summer is the wet season in most of southern Africa, and also the bug and malaria season in areas prone to that. Our trips have mainly been in the late winter or spring (August - September) when the wildlife viewing is at its best (no leaves on the trees to obstruct visibility) and because it's the dry season, the animals come to water. And in the spring the wildflowers in the Namaqualand region (between Cape Town and the Namibia border on the Atlantic coast) are justly famous worldwide.

I have to confess I was underwhelmed by Victoria Falls. In the winter the flow is low so the visibility is improved, but of course there isn't much water. In the summer the flow is much greater, but the mist and spray makes the falls all but invisible, so it's a devil's bargain. Combining that with the cost of getting there, well, for me... meh.

Anyway, just suggesting you give it a look.
I have considered South Africa as well. Did you ever go to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lieqiang View Post
This is a great point. We were there in May, and the flow was so heavy there was a permanent rainfall in areas near the park, and a constant cloud that was visible from in Livingstone town.
To respond to both of you, the only time I can go is June, July, or August.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:41 AM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,428 posts, read 1,679,997 times
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In short, if you put yourself in the hands of an outfitter for a safari tour, you will quickly forget that you are in Africa. A tour is a tour, no matter where it is, and the only cultural variable is whether or not they arrange for native dancers to put on a display for your group. Except for your tour crew, you will not meet any Africans, nor be exposed to anything African .

I'm not trying to say this is a good thing or a bad thing, but only that you will not be exposed to anything that is culturally African. Virtually every person you have an encounter with is a professional who deals all day and every day with foreign travelers, and they have long since learned to be un-African (or un-South American, or un-Chinese or un-Samoan or un-whatever.) They will smile and tell you what you want to hear. Nothing you can do or say will surprise them, and they will be completly unimpressed with your American-ness, they've seen a million like you before.

All of this changes if you structure your visit to include extra days aside from your tour. Then you are free to wander about in the real Africa, limited only by your own imagination and courage.
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:41 AM
 
Location: On the road
5,957 posts, read 2,897,780 times
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The funniest thing about the people in those fancy lodges is how geared up they are.

My wife and I arranged a trip on the Zambezi from our little guest house in downtown Livingstone Zambia. We get to the dock in Botswana and these minibuses come rolling up packed to the gills with people from the lodges in Botswana. They all look like they spend $500 emptying out an REI store before they came, with all this fancy convertible travel gear clothing it was like a majestic wave of olives and tans. I remember a couple of them had the complete outfit where they not only had the travel vest with 20 pockets but also the wide brimmed hat with some kind of net thing that could hang down. They were disdainfully looking at us with our t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops, and we were looking at them wondering why they needed all that crap when they were mainly riding in jeeps or boats.

Cebuan is right if you're doing lodges the only Africans you meet are serving you cocktails or doing the little show at the village. We stayed in town when we could, some were great experiences while others (like Windhoek) be careful where you stay and whether you walk about at night.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NDak15 View Post
You're really selling Southern Africa. I'll have to do some number crunching as well to see what is cheaper when flights, transportation, and visas are figured in. Who do you contact to get visas anyway? Is it all online?
There are advantages to the Kenya/Tanzania route as well, people talk about seeing the great migration and have tears in their eyes, you won't get stuff like that in Etosha/Chobe/Delta.

Don't worry visas, all you need is a pulse and some money.
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:45 AM
 
32,089 posts, read 32,994,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I'd just throw out a third option, that of South Africa.

The safari options are comparable (in fact I'd say preferable, but just my opinion) but the real advantage is being able to travel independently. Get a car and drive all over - the roads are good, accommodation options are far greater than in east Africa or Botswana/Zim, and the real benefit is incredible variety. In the north, the Kruger complex of national park and adjoining fenceless game reserves is without parallel; you can see watery wildlife in the St. Lucia area of KZN, dramatic mountain scenery along the Panorama Route and the central Drakensberg mountains, desert in the northwest, stunning coastal scenery on both the Indian and Atlantic Ocean shores, incomparable Cape Town... it goes on and on. And the human geography is incredible - numerous cultures and languages, terrific food, historic cities, a vibrant arts scene...

I'd look at timing, too. The summer is the wet season in most of southern Africa, and also the bug and malaria season in areas prone to that. Our trips have mainly been in the late winter or spring (August - September) when the wildlife viewing is at its best (no leaves on the trees to obstruct visibility) and because it's the dry season, the animals come to water. And in the spring the wildflowers in the Namaqualand region (between Cape Town and the Namibia border on the Atlantic coast) are justly famous worldwide.

I have to confess I was underwhelmed by Victoria Falls. In the winter the flow is low so the visibility is improved, but of course there isn't much water. In the summer the flow is much greater, but the mist and spray makes the falls all but invisible, so it's a devil's bargain. Combining that with the cost of getting there, well, for me... meh.

Anyway, just suggesting you give it a look.
If one is going to South Africa, I would suggest going to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site:
Cradle of Humankind
https://www.places.co.za/html/cradle_of_humankind.html
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:52 AM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
4,428 posts, read 1,679,997 times
Reputation: 8066
Quote:
Originally Posted by lieqiang View Post
The funniest thing about the people in those fancy lodges is how geared up they are.
.

We noticed that when we did the Tanzanian parks, even in the 1970s. All the rich Americans in the Land Rovers, wearing brand new safari outfits that they ordered from L L Bean before they left home.

You're not going to impress anybody. You'll be rubbing shoulders with people a lot richer than you are. Relax, see the animals, get all you can out of your own personal experience.

Last edited by cebuan; 02-16-2018 at 05:03 AM..
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:11 AM
 
1,091 posts, read 1,600,130 times
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We visited South Africa and Swaziland on a group tour with Gate 1 Travel. It was excellent and provided many opportunities to get out among locals. In some places, like Johannesburg, that included an element of risk since the crime rate is astronomical. We flew over on Emirates Airline and took advantage of the "free stopover" they allowed in Dubai for four days. We skipped the add-on to Victoria Falls since the 3 day extension nearly doubled the cost of the entire trip.
When I was young I backpacked around the world but now I like the luxury and convenience offered by a tour. We have used Gate 1 all over the world. The prices they offer are hard to beat even compared to independent travel.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:47 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,742 posts, read 9,037,388 times
Reputation: 11138
I will definitely not try to impress anyone. I lived in Montana and we used to laugh at the tourists coming in to fly fish who looked like page 12 of the Orvis catalog. You could always tell a local from a tourist by the clothing. I do plan on adding a few little side trips in Nairobi, Windhoek, and/or Victoria Falls, depending on where I go. I'll also look at Gate 1 Travel. I'd never heard of them.
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