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Advice 4 a single female planning 5week adventure..please!!

San Francisco...
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Advice 4 a single female planning 5week adventure..please!!

Hello fellow travelers., I am trying to decide if I can create a trip in east and/or south Africa starting about June 20 till the first week in August. I need some advice for a single traveler and the best way to approach my goals for visiting. Of course I want to do a safari, but am very picky about the type of safari I want and the experience it will offer me. I've been looking at safaris in Tanzania and Botswana..please see details below...

- The stay will be between 4-5 weeks. My idea is 3 or 4 weeks independent travel and 2 weeks safari.

- I am on a budget of about $5,000 USD for the whole 4-5 weeks including airfare from California.

- I want to do:

trekking, hiking, wildlife viewing and immersion into local culture and nature...would love to meet lots of locals. Travel by local transport-train, bus, etc...I don't mind roughing it, but I want to be safe and avoid getting ripped off, of course! I am very interested in indigenous tribal communities and would love to stay in a village for a week or more before or after the safari ..I am thinking along the lines of the Hadza tribe in Tanzania or the bushmen in south Africa..ia am NOT interested in cultural safaris where a jeep pulls into a village every day and the locals dance for you and sell you trinkets, as has happened with much of the Masai culture in Kenya. Is it possible to travel by bus as far as possible towards a tribal area and then find a local to take you by hiking or car? Something like this is what I have in mind. I have done this sort of thing in other countries, but don't know if it's possible in tanzania, Mozambique,or south Africa.

- .I have met a guy through another travel site who was looking for more people to join a safari in Botswana. He is doing a 15 day safari with a guide who is a friend of his so he says the itinerary will be smewhat special and personalized. He has offered me to join for $2,300. I think 3 or so 4x4 jeeps with 4 people in each jeep. It sounds really remote and beautiful, My only reservation is that I have read that in Botswana you don't see as much wildlife as in Tanzania...the great migration is happening in Tanzania in July and that shouldn't be missed..BUT, I have also read that Tanzania is much more touristy and on a budget camping safari of the type I am looking for I might be thrown into a group of 20 people staying at crowded camps and be one of many vehicles

crowded around wildlife action...This would be a nightmare for me! I am looking for a budget camping safari where the Groups are not large (10- 12 people?)the camps are wild and intimate..where your safari may be the only one around the wildlife action at least most of the time...If i choose tanzania over botswana, i am looking for the best safari company To achieve this criteria..i am hoping to spend about $2,000-&2,300 for 2 weeks. I don't need luxury camps, a tent with a sleeping bag on the ground is fine with me! Any advice of safari companies that would meet my needs?

- From what I've written so far, should i not pass up the Botswana opportunity? Should I go with Tanzania because of the great migration? I picture millions of wildebeest and the predators that follow them..and I would prioritize this spectical over anything else if a safari company guaranteed it and they met the criteria I outlined above.

-given my $5,000 budget, is that enough to fly to either Tanzania or S.Africa, travel independently for 3 weeks, do a safari in my last 2 weeks and then fly home? Airfares are incredibly expensive. I am seeing $2,000 for flights from California to Johannesburg ...please keep in mind that while traveling independently I would be looking for the cheapest accommodation and hopefully family stays.

In trying to figure out if tanzania would be better than botswana, I've been reading the forums and doing my own independent research and have been overwhelmed with the number of tour operators and their custom packages. I am now lost on which to pick based on my needs. If there are others who have already done this type of research of have traveled with this type of criteria please feel free to share your thoughts. Also if anyoneis experienced traveling independantly through any of these areas and has itenerary recommendations or ideas, please let me know! I am looking to book as soon as possible as June and july is fast approaching.

Thank you in advance for reading this long post and taking the time to reply...

Naracoorte
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1. Re: Advice 4 a single female planning 5week adventure..please!!

I am not sure you can achieve exactly what you want for your budget.

Botswana isn't the easiest place to get around with public transport but you can do it if you are flexible. Accommodation options at the low end of the cost spectrum are also not as numerous as Botswana tourism is aimed at low numbers/high cost. I also don't know how realistic your chances are of being able to do a village stay. That is something you may have to work out once you are there.

The migration in east africa would be potentially incredible but on your budget you may be, as you say, joining a very budget outfit with a lot of others in an already crowded park. The safari you mention that you can join in Botswana I think would be what I would go for if the itinerary and inclusions sounded right. But if you want to continue there for another couple of weeks independently you are going to be very tight for money.

South Africa would offer a lot more flexibility and options IMO with the budget you have although it would still be quite tight.

Stanley, Falkland...
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2. Re: Advice 4 a single female planning 5week adventure..please!!

"I have met a guy through another travel site who was looking for more people to join a safari in Botswana."

Really? Met him in the flesh? Have you looked on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum? Probably several hundred similar offers on there.

Suggest you put your trip back a year and do some more research. It will pay for itself and you won't have these dilemmas in 12 month's time. The animals will still be there. (Although you might miss out on the guy, but whattheheck).

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Advice 4 a single female planning 5week adventure..please!!

Thanks for these replies ..tryhard, I would not be traveling independently in Botswana.. I would be just going there for the two week safari, and my independent travel would be in Mozambique or south Africa.. My preference would be Mozambique as I speak Portuguese pretty well....

a 3 week loop from Johannesburg into Mozambique and back? Or travel overland from Tanzania through Mozambique to johannesburg in time for the safari into Botswana?how much money would I need per day...if saying with locals and in the cheapest hotels and hostels?

Also, peterscot...I have thought much about your suggestion to put off my trip for other year, except Tha I do not know if I will have 5 weeks off work next summer to travel as I do now...and I really won't to do an adventurous trip while I have this opportunity of time off work....I may be wrong, but it seems that the safari being offered in Botswana is a little special because the guy I have met, no, not on the flesh, is friends with the safari guide...he has given me the name and info of the safari company and guide and all the contact info, so I doubt if it's a scam....

Edited: 11 March 2012, 03:13
San Francisco...
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4. Re: Advice 4 a single female planning 5week adventure..please!!

Whoops.. Sorry for the typos above.. I meant" and I really WANT to do an adventurous trip while I have this opportunity of time off work"

Damn spell-check! :P

Naracoorte
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5. Re: Advice 4 a single female planning 5week adventure..please!!

If you went with the 2 week Botswana safari for $2300 plus flights for $2000 that only leaves you $700ish for 3 weeks travel. I just don't think it's doable. Even if you found accommodation for $20-$30/night it doesn't leave much for food, travel costs and other activities.

6. Re: Advice 4 a single female planning 5week adventure..please!!

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