Your fav safari park in Southern/Eastern Africa
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Dec 8, 2012 6:32 PM Last Post By: saspence
Dec 6, 2012 1:32 AM
Your fav safari park in Southern/Eastern AfricaHello out there! My friend and I are heading on a year-long adventure in Southern + Eastern Africa where we will visit Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We aren't safari obsessed but definitely want to do atleast one awesome (and budget) safari. We will be doing a morokoro trip in the Okavango Delta, but I just wanted see if people had recommendations/raves for specific parks? There are so many options and somehow we have to choose between them all. Are there any parks that are more budget-friendly than others? I think we would prefer something not overly crowded (maybe not Kruger or the Serengeti), we're happy for something off the beaten safari path and camping is absolutely fine for us. Anyway...what are your favourites and why?
Dec 6, 2012 3:07 AM
1It depends on what you are looking for. Many tourists want to see as many of the big 5 as they can in as little time as possible. There's nothing wrong with that. For me the wilderness experience is the thing I enjoy most. So I would much prefer a few nights in the bush listening to the lion and hyena at night with no other tourists around to a few days rushing around tracking down sightings that come through over the radio - regardless of whether that means I see less.
Tanzania - Serengeti/Ngorongoro have iconic scenery and good sightings (there is a reason they are famous) but they are very expensive.I like the southern parks best eg Ruaha. They are a little cheaper and have stunning scenery and a wilder feel. But it will be relatively difficult to organise a safari on the spot compared to say the Serengeti (if it appeals try Iringa Riverside Camp for Ruaha).
Uganda - it is fairly cheap to go on a budget safari to Murchison or QEP (you can organise trips via backpackers in Kampala but not they are not really comparable in terms of sightings with Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, (or Kruger or Etosha). You'd still enjoy it I'm sure but it would be something of a compromise.
Malawi - cheap as chips but usually pretty limited game - try and visit places like Liwonde but don't see it as your "safari experience". If you travel through Malawi in the dry season try and get to Vwaza Marsh. It's easy to access the camp and all the game including elephant come down to the Lake where you camp. I have had 100+ elephant a few metres from camp on many occasions.
Zambia - Places like Kafue will be too expensive as there is limited camping and it is so big. But South Luangwa would be a great option for you. You can stay outside the gates to save money and go on game drives with the camp you stay at. Prices are less than Tanzania (but more than SA/Namibia). If you are on a budget and happy to go on a group trip then get an organised safari out of Lilongwe (it is much closer to the park than Lusaka). If you happen to be coming down the Great North road in November or December then visit the bats at Kasanka. Biggest mammal migration on earth - 8 million big fruit bats. It is amazing to see them take off together at dusk and return at dawn. The sky turns black ...
Botswana - for me has the best game viewing on the continent plus the best wilderness camping but it's hard to get to many places without your own transport or an expensive mobile safari. The exception is Chobe (riverfront). Stay in Kasane and do day trips in. One of the best parks in Africa. Plenty of cats plus big elephant and buffalo herds. You may be able to organise a safari to Moremi for reasonable money in Maun.
Mozambique - not so many parks (on land anyway). Gorongoza sounds interesting (I haven't been) - it used to be a favourite holiday destination for famous film stars in the 50's - Cary Grant etc but fell into ruins during the civil war. I haven't been but I hear there is still not too much game. Niassa in the north would also been exciting (again I haven't been) but it is miles from anywhere and I imagine too hard to get too - plus only one lodge/no camping I believe. Perhaps best to focus on the beaches/diving/snorkeling here.
South Africa - great value for money. Kruger can be busy but there are less busy areas and times (mid week) and you will get great value for money. Lots of other parks but Kruger will give you the best chance of spotting the Big 5.
Namibia - parks in the Caprivi are great but not really practical without your own transport. I think Etosha is a gem. Excellent value for money. It isn't really wilderness game viewing but still has stunning scenery and you'll see loads.
Hope that helps. I'd try and get to South Luangwa, Chobe, Etosha and Kruger. The first two are premium parks you can visit for not too much money. The second two are more commercial but very easy to organise and really good value for money.
Dec 6, 2012 4:07 AM
Dec 6, 2012 4:45 AM
3I'd vote for South Luangwa in Zambia and Ruaha in Tanzania (good to combine with Selous).
From what I've seen of Mana Pools so far it has potential to make my favourites list but I'd like to make a longer visit.
Reasons- I love the scenery in South Luangwa, it's not too busy, it's great for leopards (especially on the night drives) and you can walk as well as drive. It's much better visited in the dry season June-Oct.
Ruaha is remote, hardly any visitors, stunning scenery (lots of baobubs!), lots of game (especially lions, with some very big prides). Combined with Selous I think it makes a great trip as Selous has quite different scenery and has a few things Ruaha doesn't offer like game viewing from a boat and a better chance of wild dogs.
With any park that has few visitors it's likely to be more expensive- less people means less demand for cheaper mass market trips, and often these parks have few visitors BECAUSE they are difficult and/or expensive to get to.
South Luangwa is fairly doable on a budget. Kiboko safaris in Lilongwe does some budget trips. Or get there on your own and stay at one of the cheaper camps like Flatdogs.
Dec 8, 2012 6:32 PM
4Thank you so much for all your great replies. All your recommendations are super helpful. I think we'll definitely look into South Luangwa, Chobe, Etosha, Kruger and Ruaha and see how we go. Thanks again!!
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