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Thread: Safari recommendations

  1. #1

    Safari recommendations

    SWMBO has decided that we're going on safari next year...

    I'd welcome recommendations, i.e. personal experience on what you saw on your holiday and what the accommodation was like.

    Thanks.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  2. #2
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Safari recommendations

    It depends on what you are after really? South Africa is the obvious choice with Kruger being the standout destination.
    Botswana is the place I would head to followed by Namibia though. You won't see the big five there but they are nicer countries.
    If you like to rough it (not rough by any measure but a bit more spartan than the big resorts then I would head to Mana pool Zimbabwe. It's a national park and you will stay in tents but you can't get any closer to the animals.
    The in laws know a camp owner up stream from Mana on the Zambezi and it's my favourite spot on earth. You will see everything bar Rhino and Giraffe, the Elephants will interrupt your breakfast, Hippo interrupt your evening Brai and you will wake up surrounded by lion prints as they sniff around you whilst you sleep!
    This thread is useless with out pictures, these are few taken with my phone whilst out and about in the Zambezi valley.





    Last edited by Sinnlover; 12th November 2017 at 10:32.

  3. #3
    Master ditchvisitor's Avatar
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    We went to place called Garonga, http://www.garonga.com it was an absolutely amazing experience and we have recommended a few other people to go there and they have had equally brilliant experiences. It's a private game reserve and has a much more personal feel than some of the big places in the Kruger.

  4. #4
    Master
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    Although I've no personal experience, one of my customers owns this place:

    http://spiritofthemasaimara.com

    I've heard great things from a few people now. Hope to go myself sometime.

  5. #5
    I visited the Kruger two years ago with a South African colleague and his wife, both of whom had trained as game rangers and worked in numerous reserves. The Kruger is well worth a visit, and easy enough to do from Johannesburg. We saw the Big 5 in just one day, which spoiled us a bit. I took plenty of photos, and easily could have stayed there a couple more days and not covered the same ground twice.

    Our hosts both recommended that for a "proper" safari my wife and I should first go to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Of all the reserves they worked in the Okavango was the one they felt offered most variety in terms of both scenery and wildlife.

    Having just returned from working in Kenya I now have the urge to return. Because I was there for work I only managed one day in the Nairobi National Park, which holds a surprisingly large amount of game though no elephants. The Masai Mara sounds spectacular, and I definitely plan another trip.

    Personally I fancy a walking safari, though my wife is not so keen.

  6. #6
    We went to Amboseli (Eselenkei) and the Masai Mara. Amboseli has far fewer tourists and some incredible sights of the elephants and giraffes, plus lots of the smaller animals (at that camp you are on Maasai land).

    Kicheche, just outside the Mara itself, is an amazing camp which again is a bit off the beaten track, so quieter. Saw lions, a leopard, cheetahs, and all the large herbivores there.

    It depends what you want but we loved the, luxury, camping rather than lodge.

  7. #7
    Master IAmATeaf's Avatar
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    Amazing timing for this thread, my wife is from Kenya and she’s been bleating about going back to visit Mombasa for the last few years, more frequently this year but I said I’d only go if we went on safari. Dave looking at that link, looks amazing although a bit modern, will suit my wife but I might also look at something a bit closer to nature.

  8. #8
    Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Northern Namibia and Botswana are fantastic and now that the Caprivi Strip is pretty safe you can take in both on one trip; Etosha, Chobe, Moremi, Vic Falls, etc.

  9. #9
    Craftsman
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    We often sell safaris to our clients as add ons to their trips with us. Many many recommendations and really comes down to what you want to see, when you can travel, and how much you want to spend. A mid/ high-end safari is about £2k per night, some are much less, some are much more. Very welcome to PM me and I will add some recommendations once back at my computer tomorrow for the benefit of others looking.


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  10. #10
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    I hear Ceredigion County Council run an interesting one. You might even get to shoot a rare animal!

  11. #11
    Grand Master
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    This must be a typo

    "A mid/ high-end safari is about £2k per night"



  12. #12
    Master Neilw3030's Avatar
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    I’ve done Kruger Park a few times but found it so big, and it depends on how much water is about to how much you will see.
    Have been to a couple of much smaller ones in SA and generally see more in less time, highlight was rounding a corner and almost running into a white rhino, a slow back up to a safer distance, then it disappeared into the bush.

  13. #13
    Craftsman
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    We combined a Mombasa beach holiday with a safari in Tsavo a few years. I don't think I will ever forget watching a heard of elephant approach across the plain to a watering hole close to our lodge (Voi safari lodge). There was a viewing hide right down by the water hole so we watched them drinking and washing from no more than 20 feet away. We also stayed in Salt Lick Lodge, which has rooms up on stilts with the animals wandering below, except nothing turned up while we were there!

    It was a magical experience but I'm not sure I would risk Mombasa now - I may be wide of the mark but I get the impression the security situation could be a concern these days sadly.

  14. #14
    We've done three, all within Tanzania. The most recent was almost a decade ago, and started in Arusha, taking in Tarangire (excellent for birds), Lake Manyara (hippos), the Ngorogoro Crater (like a small zoo full of trapped animals) and a private reserve in the rarely visited southernmost end of the Serengeti called Ndutu. The migration starts down there, so it was full of animals and calves. The Lodge in Ndutu was excellent, and the guiding superb. There was a lovely family of genet cats that hung out in the lounge. We stayed at the Ngorogoro Crater Lodge, looking out over the crater, which was basic but pleasant. Tarangire was similar. I think we used Go2Africa, but I might be wrong. Flights into Kilimanjaro Airport are possible, but I seem to recall that we flew into Nairobi and drove down and over the border into TZ. We added a week's diving on to one of the trips and went to Pemba (via Zanzibar). Makes me wonder whether we shouldn't do it again - Ndutu was a very cool place.

    Warthog kill by Noodlefish, on Flickr

    Hippo Fight Contact Sheet by Noodlefish, on Flickr

    Play time.jpg by Noodlefish, on Flickr

    Battling giraffes.jpg by Noodlefish, on Flickr

    Looking right atcha by Noodlefish, on Flickr

    Migration.jpg by Noodlefish, on Flickr
    Last edited by Broussard; 13th November 2017 at 09:47.

  15. #15
    Grand Master
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    Visited Kenya several years ago, hated almost every minute.

    Have a couple of days at Chester Zoo instead.

    Paul

  16. #16
    Grand Master Velorum's Avatar
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    I think that there are tours on foot of the Whitley Wood area of Reading.

    The guides are armed but all the same participants are asked to try and blend in by wearing track suit bottoms and smoking tabs.

    The more cautious can opt to be driven round in a Citroen Saxo with lowered suspension and a very loud stereo.

  17. #17
    Citroen DS for me

  18. #18
    Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    I liked version 5.1.10 on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, before they introduced the new sidebar.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Visited Kenya several years ago, hated almost every minute.

    Have a couple of days at Chester Zoo instead.

    Paul
    Never been but I'd prefer to watch them on Planet Earth etc. and go somewhere else for a holiday.

  20. #20
    Craftsman
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    A bit more detail for any others who might also be considering a safari... My wife and I have a high end adventure travel company and frequently sell safaris as add ons. As such we've both spent a lot of time on safari, and I've probably spent about 1 year of my life in East Africa.

    If you want a guaranteed safari experience, the Ngorongoro Crater is a sure fire place to see lots of lions, hippos, hyena etc. The crater makes for an ecosystem in its own right. You could do Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater from Arusha. Further afield you've got the Serengeti too. Fly in to Kilimanjaro Airport, it's very accessible. I would describe the experience as like a giant Longleat, certainly not a zoo, but for sure the animals are very used to humans. It can be a good first safari with kids as they're almost guaranteed to spot some animals.

    Someone upthread mentioned safari near Mombasa. Tsavo is a great spot for elephants, and there are some great stories about the "man-eaters" aka the lions who ate the railway workers. Mombasa itself can be intimidating, but nowadays there are light aircraft flights from Nairobi Wilson Airport straight to private runways at the better lodges.

    The Masai Mara has a lot to offer. June is the great migration, with 2million wildebeest and zebra on the move. It's the "real deal" like Planet Earth in front of your very eyes! You can watch them try to cross the river amongst the hungry crocs. It's carnage.

    Another worthwhile option if budget permits is to go private, whichever place you choose. My wife loves giraffes so we always have our own Land Cruiser which means we can sit and watch what we want for as long as we want. I'd always recommend this over the Toyota Minivans you see whizzing around from hotspot to hotspot, occupants shoulder to shoulder in the pop top. It should be on your own schedule. Dawn and night drives are also not to be missed. I tracked a mother and son cheetah for miles in the darkness once. Magical.

    There's a huge cost variable. Mostly it comes down to location though. To be within the parks is always more costly but it means you get the choice early and late drives. We use andBeyond a lot, but there are many, many beautiful lodges at all price points. It's usually fun to move around a bit from place to place rather than do a whole trip in one lodge too.

    And finally, we prefer tented safaris. Forget what you know about camping though, they are super luxe!

    Will try to upload some gratuitous safari shots later..!

  21. #21
    Craftsman
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  22. #22
    Photos.....now we're talking













    Joking aside, anyone contemplating a safari should buy, beg, borrow or steal a good camera. Your iPhone will not be good enough! There are so many photo opportunities on safari that when it comes to the photographs the problem will be sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

    Also do the same with a good pair of binoculars - good optics will make a big difference in terms of being able to identify something, as opposed to just see something.

  23. #23
    Craftsman
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    Great shots! Your hyena looks in considerably better condition than mine!

    Totally agree on the camera. I borrowed a 70-300 lens for my SLR, worked a treat. Ditto good binoculars are an essential, you don't want to be waiting for the shared pair in the vehicle.

  24. #24
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Did someone say "giraffes"?








    And others:







    My apologies for continuing with the slight diversion...I couldn't help myself.

  25. #25
    Drifting increasingly off topic, but watching male giraffes fighting was one of the most surreal, brutal experiences on my last safari. I'd never seen it before and was totally unprepared for the violence of the fight, or for the rifle-crack noise their heads make as they strike their opponents. Bonkers.

  26. #26
    Craftsman jamesianbriggs's Avatar
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    In my experience it's very dependent on when you go and what you're looking for.

    A friend (ex safari guide) runs this company - his name's Clyde and I'm sure he'll get you to the right place at the right time.

    https://www.tailormadeafrica.com/




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  27. #27

    Depends on what you're looking for

    A Safari depends on what you're looking for but the best parks are probably the Kruger National Park in South Africa (It has amazing options for family safaris: https://www.rhinoafrica.com/en/exper...with-kids/2255) or the Maasai Mara National park, a top spot see the Great Migration: https://www.rhinoafrica.com/en/exper...migration/2257.

    The Kruger is probably the best National Park to see the big 5, especially if you visit the private concessions around the park as those have a higher density of wildlife with lower foot traffic from people.

  28. #28
    Master
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    RhinoAfrica do you have any commercial links to the site you have linked to?

  29. #29
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    RhinoAfrica do you have any commercial links to the site you have linked to?
    Probably just a coincidence.

  30. #30
    Grand Master Raffe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave O'Sullivan View Post
    Probably just a coincidence.
    At least he is transparent about it in his profile.

  31. #31
    The truth is most reputable safari operators will have access to an incredible space with good guides who can "almost" guarantee you sightings of most of the animals in their area.

    I've done Kenya three times now and seen basically everything each time. The Samburu region, mainly. Intrepids is an amazing camp which, at times, has elephants roaming through it...watch your back! :-D

    The main thing is to have a good camera but also remember to put the camera down for periods of time and just enjoy the memories you're making. It's a mindblowing experience.

    Here are some pics...















  32. #32
    I live in Mombasa but have been leading photosafaris in the Maasai Mara for a couple of years now. PM me and I am happy to help you with any advice that you want. Be very careful - you go with the ‘wrong’ tour agent and you can end up paying triple of what it actually costs....mark-ups in this business are crazy


    https://www.chekaphotography.com/maa...-photosafaris/


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  33. #33
    I went on a day safari in South Africa a few years ago and loved it. However, one day was enough for me. Didn’t need a safari groundhog experience.

  34. #34
    Craftsman
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    If your doing a Safari don’t get hung up with the big 5, there good to see but there’s some spectacular birds that always get missed.


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