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Tanzania vs. southern Africa

Tanzania vs. southern Africa

Old Dec 21st 2004, 5:26 pm
  #1  
Hh
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Default Tanzania vs. southern Africa

May I solicit your opinion of two tour destinations? I have taken groups to
northern Tanzania twice and loved it. I am pondering going back a third
time, perhaps adding some areas that we haven't visited. We've visited
Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Manyara. Alternatively, I may take a
group to southern Africa, including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. If
the latter, in addition to visiting wildlife regions, we would wish to
experience something of the culture of the three countries. I would
particularly want to visit Great Zimbabwe.

Thus my questions. I realize that there are many considerations in a choice
between the two destinations, but I would appreciate hearing your opinion.
If one's primary objective is to view wildlife, which would you recommend,
Tanzania or southern Africa? Further, taking all attractions into
consideration, wildlife and culture, which would you recommend? If southern
Africa, please recommend a U.S.-based tour company that has experience in
the region. (If I return to Tanzania, I will use Thomson Safaris.) If
southern Africa, is a visit to Kruger National Park or the adjacent private
lands rewarding, or should we focus on wildlife viewing elsewhere,
especially in Botswana? Finally, what is the best time to visit southern
Africa? Of course I will research in the literature and online resources,
but I have found that objective comments and recommendations by people who
have been there are also very helpful.

Many thanks for your comments

Harlan
---
[If you reply to my email address, please delete the word REMOVE from the
address.]
 
Old Dec 21st 2004, 8:41 pm
  #2  
Rita Daggett
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Default Re: Tanzania vs. southern Africa

"HH" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:us8yd.793790$8_6.465231@attbi_s04...
    > May I solicit your opinion of two tour destinations? I have taken groups
to
    > northern Tanzania twice and loved it. I am pondering going back a third
    > time, perhaps adding some areas that we haven't visited. We've visited
    > Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Manyara. Alternatively, I may take a
    > group to southern Africa, including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
If
    > the latter, in addition to visiting wildlife regions, we would wish to
    > experience something of the culture of the three countries. I would
    > particularly want to visit Great Zimbabwe.
snip
    > If one's primary objective is to view wildlife, which would you recommend,
    > Tanzania or southern Africa? Finally, what is the best time to visit
southern
    > Africa? >
I would be concerned about visiting Zimbabwe at the moment; I understand
that Vic Falls is OK but Great Zimbabwe might present difficulties.
I havent been to South Africa, but have been to Botswana and Zambia. If
you've been to Tanzania twice already, I can recommend Zambia (its not
really a first-time safari destination). Victoria Falls from the Zambian
side is fantastic (and from the Zim side too).
Both Zam and Bots tend to go for smaller, 'luxury' lodges/tented camps (I
dont know what type of place you've stayed in before), with more flying
between places than driving.
The scenery is different from N. Tan - not the rolling plains - and you dont
get the HUGE herds of herbivores.
I dont know anything about US agents I'm afraid, but we have used A&K for
Bots and Zim.
The 'best' time to visit Zambia is probably early July - its still a bit
green, and can be very cold at night, but as the 'summer' draws on it can
get unbearably hot. I think we've always gone to that area in July/August.
I can recommend RemoteAfricaSafaris for Zambia
(http://www.remoteafrica.com/default.asp); we also enjoyed Old Mondoro Camp
on the Zambezi, and I've fancied Tongabezi for a long time but not got there
yet!
Have stayed in various camps in Botswana; Jack's Camp in the Kalahari is
different, but not much wildlife in evidence.

--
Rita Daggett
 
Old Dec 22nd 2004, 3:36 am
  #3  
Dave Patterson
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Tanzania vs. southern Africa

HH wrote:

    > May I solicit your opinion of two tour destinations? I have taken groups to
    > northern Tanzania twice and loved it. Alternatively, I may take a
    > group to southern Africa, including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. If
    > the latter, in addition to visiting wildlife regions, we would wish to
    > experience something of the culture of the three countries. I would
    > particularly want to visit Great Zimbabwe.

I recommend against a trip that reaches out into Zimbabwe. Since you are
organizing the group, I suggest that the risks of having plans not
work out as expected places too much responsibility on you.
Going to Victoria Falls, though, is still OK.

    > If one's primary objective is to view wildlife, which would you recommend,
    > Tanzania or southern Africa? Further, taking all attractions into
    > consideration, wildlife and culture, which would you recommend?

You have seen the best of Tanzania, and it remains a great destination for
wildlife. I send (or escort) clients there through the first 6 months of the
year.
If you haven't considered Kenya, please do. Great wildlife, great value.

Southern Africa wildlife experiences are quite varied. Botswana offers the
remote, wilderness feel, though it has none of the interesting topography
and varied environments of east Africa. Camps are quite small, and can
be difficult to reserve for a group in anytime but low season,
unless you can place a substantial deposit.

Private reserves in South Africa are all more costly than the places
you would have stayed in east Africa, and some are very expensive.
But they are also all-inclusive - no park fees, no vehicle costs, though
you will have land or air costs to get to them that they do not include.

Kruger Park has such a range of accommodations and is so well
patronized by residents of South Africa that you probably should
only consider one of the few privately operated upmarket camps that
are within the park, if you do include Kruger.

One significant difference between your experience in Tanzania and
what it would be in southern Africa is the pattern of the safaris.
Instead of traveling with the same guide/driver in a vehicle for the
duration of your trip, you will fly (or transfer by road) to each safari camp
and your game drives will be done by the staff at that camp.

It works very smoothly in Botswana, for example.
The company that operates the camps you use provides
the flights as well. Game drives are done in open Land Rovers or
Land Cruisers rather than the pop-up roof vehicles of east Africa.
(This is the case throughout southern Africa.)

I operate tours there and use the Wilderness Safari camps.
They are the largest company, and simply outstanding.
But CCAfrica, Orient Express, and other companies also
have top quality facilities and staff. Any US tour operator that
incorporates one of these companies has made the right choice.

Remember that most US operators are working in concert with
long established southern Africa companies to construct a travel
package. It will usually include all land and air transfers, perhaps
Vic Falls and maybe Cape Town. These suppliers, camps, hotels,
air services, etc., in southern Africa are very professional and
reliable. But rarely does the US company have its own staff
in southern Africa. A&K does, but it is also asking some of the
highest prices for its trips. I'm not sure these costs reflect a
qualitative difference that you would notice.

I do recommend that you deal directly with whatever company
you choose, since you are providing them with a group. This is
probably something you already know, but still worth mentioning.
You deserve discounts and special service, and I would not
go forward with any company that resists that.
 

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