All about the game drives

Hello everyone , I would like to know from people that have gone on this safari, if they feel like it was short on game drives? I know it's not like the K&T safari, but do we get enough of them threw the trip?
Also, the animal sighting? is there an abundance of animals around the camps and around the Okavango Delta?
How does the Heli ride works, how many per Heli? How long is the Heli ride ?
Please advice.
Thanks

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Comments

  • It’s a wonderful tour and very different than the K and T. You see different animals like wild dogs and meerkats. We even saw a honey badger on our tour, a rare sight. One of our most favorite times ever was having the opportunity to sleep out in the Kalahari desert, watching the stars and satellites go by. Close second was seeing the meerkats sitting on Mr. B’s knee, the pregnant one chatting away to him. There are plenty of animal viewing opportunities. If you don’t do both these tours to see how different they are, you miss out on the whole picture about what safaris can be like. Viewing rules are also different.
    I recommend going a couple of days earlier to Zambia and taking the flight over the falls. Then staying on in Cape Town for a few days. Sorry, I can’t remember specifics of the hell ride.

  • British Thanks! I can always count on you :)
    Question what you mean about, Viewing rules are also different?. I'm planning on going next Sept. 2022 but I'm going to go for a photographic 3 days walking safari to Mana Pools Zimbadwe , that's why I wanted to know what the animal game drives frequency is.

  • Wow, that sounds awesome! Safari vehicles are much higher, you really do have to clamber up to get into them. You must remain seated, no standing up to photograph in these very open Ts the kind of thing I mean. Private message me and Give me your email and I’ll try to send a link to my Shutterfly photo book for you to see.

  • Mil, we went in May 2018. I can't compare to K&T since it was just cancelled for this August. Throughout this community forum there were lots of threads on the Z,B and SA trip that might be helpful, it sure was for us. There is Cathy and Steve that went last year and they posted a lot of pictures. We generally went on two game drives a day, one in the morning, and the second late afternoon/early evening. Since I don't have K&T to compare I was told the variety was very good on ours just not the volume. We saw the big five very quickly and as British said there are unusual experiences like the Meerkats climbing on you. My recollection on the heli is that there were four passengers at a time and it was around 20 minutes. We were assigned a time to show up and go. I enjoyed it but it wasn't a highlight of our trip. My wife does not enjoy traveling as much as I do, when we left Capetown she cried and insisted we go back to Africa!

  • milmil
    edited June 10

    Taxare thanks, Yes! Africa is addicting... once you visit , you fall in love! and always want to go back. It's what Heminway used to say..
    “I never knew of a Morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy.”
    :))

  • We have done K&T twice, and Z,B, and SA once. it was a difficult choice to determine which trip to repeat versus doing a totally new trip. It came down to a choice between the two, which we enjoyed equally. But, we felt the ‘non-safari’ part of Z,B, and SA we did not need to do a second time. We felt K&T could be a different experience every time ... which it was. First we did the drought, and then we did the flood.

  • edited June 11

    We did both- both fantastic! We give a slight nod to Zambia, SA, Botswana. Animal viewing is a bit different- we saw a wider range of sizes and more animal species in Z,SA,Botswana. With the exception of hippos and maybe elephants, there were larger gatherings (herds) of animals on K&T- once you've seen 1000 zebra or wildebeest, what is another 1000. :)

    We were satisfied with number and duration of game drives on both. More varied locales and activities on the Botswana tour- helo ride, Victoria Falls, dinner on the steam train, river safari, ATV ride and nite on the PAN, etc. The guides in both were great, but in Botswana our guides seemed to get us to key animal sightings in a shorter amount of time and didn't need to travel so far. The amount of water over Victoria Falls and in the Okavango Delta can vary over the course of the tour season and also from year to year- depends on rains in the mountains of Zambia and Angola.

    The helo flight in Botswana- 4 pax 1 pilot all with headsets and mics to communicate, everyone has a window, no one stuck in the middle- 2 facing fwd + 2 facing aft in the back, 1 next to pilot in front, doors off, about 30 - 40 max min. within a few mile radius of Eagle Island Camp in the Delta- viewed various species of antelope, herds of elephant, and huge gatherings of hippos. You can book pre-tour activities on both but more to do do on Botswana - K&T- tour Arusha National Park; Botswana there are various animal encounters in Livingstone (see my posts and photos in the archives), microlight or helo flight over Victoria falls, etc. We also took helo flight over Cape Peninsula on our own during free afternoon in Capetown, SA but unfortunately there was a lot of clouds.

    Botswana:

    From the get go- animals, of all sizes, close to and sometimes "in" camp!!

    Royal Livingstone:

    Kwai River Lodge:

  • Sealord, Alans nice to hear from you guys! always so helpful, hope you're doing well.
    So, I have now a better idea of what Botswana, Zam.,SA trip is like. So as I understand U.S citizen do not need Visa for South A. only for Zambia & Botswana? and another question.. in Cape Town do you get to see the penguins?
    AlanS, I love the pictures and I might do the Helo flight, it all depends on when we arrive to livingston from Mana Pools.
    Have a lovely day... Thanks.

  • I don’t want to talk abut visas, as they change frequently. We did not see penguins, We did go looking for great whites on a boat, but only saw many many sea lions. Great Whites were out of season. I think we had more water than what Alan’s picture shows.

  • Yes it was very dry in the Okavango Delta at the end of May 2019 and got drier with time. In a "normal" year the grassy area between the small stream and the lodges and grasslands in the foreground in my photo above are flooded . If I remember from subsequent posts, later that summer the flow over Victoria Falls was just a trickle, too. The next year the flow was gangbusters.

    We went via boat (windy, rough and drizzly) to Seal Island from Capetown (actually from Simon's Town on the opposite side of the peninsula)- tons of seals, a few penguins, no Great Whites. The Two Oceans Aquarium is next door to the One & Only Hotel and has an area with a small group of penguins. They had a few strange varieties of Clown fish, too! :D

  • AlanS - Looks like a perfect COVID protection suit. Love the picture.

  • milmil
    edited June 12

    Great! I actually prefer a chance to see the great white and seals instead of the penguins, but I wanted to know anyways...
    What a great Clown fish that is.... I would called ALS , South African blue manfish.Lololol!!
    Sealord what a difference between those 2 pictures... still beautiful. Thanks

  • edited June 12

    Penguins....
    The tour includes A boat ride to see the great whites and sea lions but is often very rough. Ours was indeed canceled because it was too rough and rainy, so we went to see the. penguins. We had been there before but we still enjoyed seeing them again.
    Cape Town has funky weather, especially in their winter. We have been there three times, last it,e it was dull and miserable and lots of construction in the tourist area.
    When choosing a time of year to go to Southern Africa, be very aware that it gets very cold in their winter. Safari mornings can be frigid until the sun comes up, hats, gloves scarves and blankets cold.
    We have that same photo In the aquarium Alan.

  • We had a choice to do the boat ride or the penguins. We decided to see the penguins and enjoyed that very much.

  • We had pretty good weather for our boat ride. A little rough but fun.

  • excellent!, thanks cathyandsteve.
    I'll check out your pictures, I always like to see how creative I can be with different scenarios and all these pictures are giving me an idea..
    Yes, the penguins I was thinking of are the little group of them at the Simon Town.. no need to go the xtra mile to see some, the seals and maybe a White S. would be exciting .
    I cannot wait to do this trip, Love Africa! and I have discovered how much I like wild animals.. ( even more than humans, now a days...)
    Well, now let's keep our fingers crossed and possitive thoughts! so we can jump on the planes again and enjoy life like the old days..... when we were happy and didn't know it. :)))
    Have a great weekend and take care. .
    Mil.

    Sealord, great shut! , the water looks pretty clean crystal, and the sea lions healthy. Great!
    keep posting. Have a great weekend, be safe.
    M.

  • milmil
    edited June 12

    cathyandsteve hello again... So Cathy, I just finished all your pictures, amazing ones! Lolol!! I'm @ work and seing them...
    tell me something, please. the attach swiming pool at the tent camp, was the water freezing cold like in Serengeti?
    and in average how long were the game drives, 3-4 hours?
    Awesome pictures!
    Thanks

  • You mean the hot tub cold tub fridgid tub attached to the deck of each dwelling at Eagle Island Camp? :o:o I don't remember if any were heated, but not ours!! It was as cold or colder than the infinity edge pool at the Four Seasons in the Serengeti (We were at Eagle Island Camp in May and the Four Seasons in June.)

  • milmil
    edited June 12

    AlanS this is an Epic picture of yours! and you were right, the Serengeti pool was horrific. Lolol!!
    I was at the Four Seasons late Sept. 2018 still horrific!

  • edited June 13

    Re the plunge pool, we were in ours no problem. The Four Season’s pool was ridiculously cold, we were extremely disappointed that such a high end hotel should not have a heated pool. When I asked, they said they were going to get heating. Considering there is ‘free time’ there, it was just not good enough. The K and T tour became much more expensive when that hotel and the Mount Kenya Safari hotel started to be used. We much preferred the accommodations on our first K and T in 2007. I hope they don’t still use that hotel when we do the Bridges tour with them. We don’t usually put high priority on hotels but this was an exception. The public areas were so dark, especially the dining room, even at breakfast, you could hardly see each other.

  • edited June 13

    I guess we are now talking about ‘two’ tours ... B,Z, & SA, and K&T. Just to point out once again that there is something for everyone. We enjoyed the Four Seasons on the K&T very much:

    The lady in the picture hates cold water, but she did go in at the Four Seasons (our pool is 88 degrees).

    And the Mount Kenya Safari Club is perhaps our favorite place on the planet. We have thought about doing a dedicated trip built around the place:

    And some of us love boats and hate buses, and vice versa. Some of us think that getting a temp check, and sometimes having to wear a face mask is intolerably inconvenient. ... but masks and temp checks are a cakewalk, if you are on your way to have some fun.
    I do know that sitting at home for a year, if not absolutely necessary is a waste of a year that we have fewer and fewer to waste. The first Tauck departure that we have booked that actually departs ... we will be on it.

  • edited June 13

    cathyandsteve

    6:55PM edited 7:06PM

    The pool at eagle island was cold yes...but not unbearable. We stayed in it for a good while drinking wine and watching the animals. It was the only pool we ventured into the entire trip. We were not there to swim...we were there to experience the animals. The room was amazing as was the black soaker tub.

    Where was the pool Eagle Island Camp (Xaxaba Is.)? Was it new? All we had there were the soaker tubs on the back decks. Are you confusing Eagle Island Camp with Khwai River Camp which had a 20 yard +/- pool near the dining area (that is the pool in your photo). That was very cold too, I got in, slowly walked towards the deep end, then dove in sprinted to the end, did a flip turn, sprinted back and got out as fast as possible it was cooooollld (in May)!

    Mil- Don't be disappointed if you don't have Four Seasons a pool view like Sealord. You might see a pretty lady, but you might only see a geezer like me and no animals- the two days we were at the Four Seasons there there were no animals at the watering hole- NOT A SINGLE ONE, ever!!!! :/

    As for the pool at Camp Kalahari in the Makgadikgadi Pan- it looked scuzzy, and no one even considered getting in.

  • Hi Cathy, you did not misunderstand, Mil asked about the B,Z&SA as compared to K&T. I did recall you had great pictures which obviously Mil enjoyed. Our Eagle Island plunge pool was too cold for us in May, but like Sealord we keep our FL pool very warm. Our K&T trip this August was cancelled so we are delaying it until 2022. I believe I recall we finished a Australia/NZ cruise in Auckland just when you were getting on. Haven't been to Antarctica but we loved India. Enjoy your continued travels when we are all able to!

  • edited June 13

    Where is that dead horse, it needs more beating? :D

    Both photos from cathyandsteve's gallery-

    Eagle Island camp- this is NOT a "pool" - call it a hot tub, cold tub, soaker, large foot bath, but not a pool-

    Khwai River camp- this IS a "pool"

  • AlanS, :) Yes I was talking about the soaker tubs, the temperature at the end won't matter, I will get in... regardless. In India it is the same.. the pool at the Leela Palace hotel is like swimming inside a glacier.
    AlanS it looks like you had the same experience as I at the Four S. we didn't see a single Ellie at the water hole, Mid Sept. it was raining like crazy! it was so disappointing... but the bright side was that I didn't feel any guilt by going to the Spa for about 4 hours... came out as new!
    Yes, even do the Serengeti FS is a beautiful hotel the dining are is a little too dark, but still is a great hotel.

    *Cathyandsteve I have done several Tauck trips and already signed for 3 more... it is an excellent company, great service, and super destinations... you will get hook! and what to say about Africa, it is out of this world! I love it.
    Yes, I was talking about the plunge big size outside soaker tub, Jacuzzi, Love tub..., pedicure soaker.... the one in your deck. :))

    Also, I would like to thank you for your offer. I will message you if any question comes up. :) and same to you feel free to ask me any.

    *Sealord, you guys were very lucky, that picture in the pool with the ellies was my dream, I'm happy someone was able to do it. Amazing. Also, I agree The Mount Kenya Safari Club is fantastic! I got my horse and also visited the Spa. the food there is incredible and the bar lovely...

    Thank you, guys! have a great weekend, keep safe and keep posting ...
    I'm going to look for photos of my back yard Olympic pool. :0

  • Ah, we all keep mixing up these two tours because some of us are lucky enough to have been on both.
    FYI the milky colored little pool at Camp Kalahari is supposed to be that color, I can’t remember the specifics at all, but we all checked about it and I think the whole small group got in and chatted for a couple of hours neck deep in the water, it was the only way to keep cool as we were there at a very hot time of year. We even managed to get cocktails in there too. It was so hot at Camp Kalahari that you could wash your smalls and they would be dry in minutes so no need to worry there are no laundry facilities.

  • CathyandSteve, we will be keenly interested in seeing if your Antarctica December trip goes as planned, as we are ‘going’ on the January 16 trip. I’ve seen ads from cruise lines that plan on visiting Buenos Aires and Ushuaia during that time frame, so I will try to watch that as well.

  • edited June 15

    My daughter lives in Buenos Aires, so if anyone has any questions. They were on strict lockdown and had to get permission just to leave their building for other than food and medical. Our son-in-law works at State so he comes and goes- only a block from where they live. Part of the problem with Buenos Aires is that Argentina is next door to Brazil - I believe Brazil has just moved into the #2 COVID-19 spot in the world, just behind the US! Crazy govt there too.

  • Here’s negative Nellie. Tauck is at the mercy of Ponant for this tour to go ahead. From the other tours that Tauck shares with Ponant and what others have said here, it seems that Ponant were a little behind Tauck in cancelling back then. Weeks ago, I got an email from Ponant laying out all the new precautions they have put in place on their ships. I noticed it is no longer anywhere to be found on their actual website But the restrictions on the ship Looked dismal. No bar, meals in rooms etc. I guess that is why it can no longer be found. I see that all the dates in December and January are now completely open so lots of people must have canceled which surprises me. Even if the tour goes ahead, maybe there will be no flights to get you there. Keep looking to see if your flights get canceled because they will not inform you, it will just happen. That was certainly our experiences with an October flight we had booked. So now our tour is not canceled but our flight is.
    We really enjoyed Buenos Aries when we were there and would like to return, there are a couple of places we did not get to see. Our plan had been to take the Essence of South America but they changed the itinerary when we last looked and it no longer appeals.
    Denver Miller who gave a live Tauck talk On Zoom that we watched last week, was the photographer who said or is that we really should go to Antarctica but we are still not convinced, or rather, there are other places we would dream to see first. At this rate, if the tours go ahead In December and January, it looks as if we could take a last minute decisions to go, it might be the only place accepting tourists, though goodness knows how one gets evacuated from there as, as I understand it, the extra insurances you can take for emergency evacuation will not go to Antarctica. So I guess if you One gets a sudden bad Covid sickness, you have a problem.

  • edited June 15

    British
    10:40AM

    Denver Miller who gave a live Tauck talk On Zoom that we watched last week, was the photographer who said . . . we really should go to Antarctica but we are still not convinced, or rather, there are other places we would dream to see first.

    Not to hijack the thread; I know many who have taken it say Antarctica is a wonderful trip, but I just don't get it- I've seen penguins in the Galapagos and South Africa. I've been aboard ship in calm, in storms, in the Arctic. And, I've experienced cold, icy, snowy, but incredibly beautiful landscape during Yellowstone in Winter. It is not that I don't want to do it, but at this point it is more of a bucket list item. I have too many, what I consider, far more interesting places to see first. :) (Given a choice- Antarctica or going back to Botswana, SA, Zambia- Africa wins by large margin.)

    Back on topic- when you sit down and actually examine all the pieces that must fall into place for tours to start back up, it is downright depressing- COVID in the US, COVID in the tour countries, Airlines, Airports, Ships, local tour operators, hotels, restaurants, motorcoaches, etc., etc. You just can't turn all that stuff back on in and instant. Fauci's latest statement is not very reassuring. Hope springs eternal, however.

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