REVIEW OF MY TRIP, PART 2 coming soon

Sept 29th. I am at Heathrow airport waiting for my flight back to the US.
The Zam, Bots and SA tour is fantastic. As our excellent tour director Chris said, it is like 5 mini vacations in one.
It is A hot time of year to go until you get to Cape Town and then if you experience the same as us, it was cool and rainy one minute. Then windy amd Sunny the next. But we know weather can be funky in Cape Town so we were prepared. I have tried to post various topic headings on the tour, so look for any that interest you. Some of the itinerary was changed, such as no Boat ride in Cape Town because of weather on our particular tour and no tour of the market there because the previous groups had experienced pick pockets and over aggressive vendors---this one is a permanent change. There are numerous extra on the tour. Some worth hundreds of dollars, some just a wonderfully spiritual experience.
Our favorite animal sitings were the Honey Badger---rarely ever seen--- read about this animal before you come to Africa, it is fascinating and you will know what to took for, we knew all about them, so it was thrilling to spot one!
The Wild African dogs, on two occasions with puppies! A very rare animal to see in Africa. Hyenas with their puppies. The rhinos at the walking with rhinos park. Ok, more, the copulating lions and the leopard in a tree with it's stowed kill.
Compared to the East Africa safaris, you will see far less quantity of animals, except elephants, you will see hundreds here. Even though we saw many hippos, we saw far more in East Africa. But the chances to see the Honey Badger and wild dogs outweighs that. For us, viewing the different landscapes is high up on our interest level. We especially liked the Chobe River and Salt pans on the Kalahari. Anyone who went on our particular tour will know how excellent Mr B is at identifying birds, we loved all the different birds.
Food was good, I do not think anyone had issues with upset stomachs. The sun is very strong, I personally recommend long sleeve and long leg clothing, it saves a lot of money on sunscreen and insect repellent.
Clothing, not everyone wears safari gear, that is fine. Laundry, free at camps, but needs organization because you cannot have laundry done on the second day of each lodge change because you move on before it would be returned. Every location, I found if you washed your smalls, they dried very quickly.
Binoculars, we used and needed them quite a lot. Those who did not bring them were definitely at a disadvantage. To loan mine, I would have to remove my hat and camera from my neck and by then it could be too late and you miss your leopard or lion. Ok , gotta catch my flight!

Comments

  • bumping this only because i want it near part 2 and I love reading it over and over.
  • edited November 2018
    shescha wrote:
    To British and anyone else who has taken either SA and/or Kand T tours:

    Love reading reviews by some of you "seasoned Tauck travelers"

    This will be our 10th Tauck tours although the others were "tame" by comparison. We are "young" at 72 and 82 and this would be our first and probably only African adventure. We are certainly up to an activity level of 2 and probably a pace of 4, as listed in the Tauck brochure. Any suggestions as to which of these tours is most advisable. We are anxious to see as many animals as possible but are also concerned about the accommodations and proximity to modern healthcare if needed. City/cultural sights are desirable too, but not at the expense of wildlife and natural beauty. Thanks in advance. (Private email is xxxxxxxxx)

    shescha, first I suggest you remove your email address from you post! This site draws a lot of spammers and you don't want your email address harvested by one of them. You can camouflage it, but that only works with auto-spammers, or make arrangements with someone willing to exchange emails to post it for a short time then remove ("edit") it from your post.

    Neither K&T nor B,SA,Z (nor probably, SA,EA- I haven't been) are physically demanding from a strength perspective- you spend most of the time riding in a safari vehicle- a bit of a step up, but little to no walking- anywhere! One minor exception is walking to the top of Observation Hill in Amboseli, but only if you want to. But, there are many early mornings followed by long days and some nighttime game drives. You will be riding in safari vehicles (stretch Toyota Land Cruiser) over unimproved roads and muddy/rutty dirt trails and be jostled around quite a bit which can be physically demanding.

    The accommodations on all are outstanding- except for the Mount Kenya Safari Club and the Four Seasons, Serengeti on K&T and the Royal Livingstone in Livingstone and the One&Only in Capetown, on B,SA,Z you'll be in smaller lodges and camps- They are not the Ritz but generally very nice. As to the proximity of modern healthcare, I suspect you will be closest to hospitals on South Africa, Elegant Adventure. That being said, Tauck has a contract with MedJet (or some similar company) to evacuate people to the nearest hospital, and in some cases all the way to the US. Be sure to take Tauck's insurance!

    If you were to do only one of the three, I think most of the regulars will suggest K&T.
  • shescha wrote:
    To British and anyone else who has taken either SA and/or Kand T tours:

    Love reading reviews by some of you "seasoned Tauck travelers"

    This will be our 10th Tauck tours although the others were "tame" by comparison. We are "young" at 72 and 82 and this would be our first and probably only African adventure. We are certainly up to an activity level of 2 and probably a pace of 4, as listed in the Tauck brochure. Any suggestions as to which of these tours is most advisable. We are anxious to see as many animals as possible but are also concerned about the accommodations and proximity to modern healthcare if needed. City/cultural sights are desirable too, but not at the expense of wildlife and natural beauty. Thanks in advance. (Private email is [email protected])


    Yes, I also suggest removing your private email!
    Have you booked the South Africa, Botswana and Zambia tour already or do you just want to ask about which tour to recommend to you?
    I also think the best tour for you would be the Kenya and Tanzania. But really, whatever African tour you take is well away from hospitals. Local doctors seem to be available at most locations because I have known them to be called quite often on my tours, but not for anything serious. If you had a heart attack, stroke or broke a leg, you are only going to be able to get first aid treatment. Aditionally, there is almost always someone on the Tauck tour who is a doctor.
    As far as levels and pace, the most taxing thing you will do on any of the Southeren Africa tours are climbing into the very high vehicles that are nothing like the Toyota land cruisers but are literally an imported truck bed, like a Ford F 150 or Toyota equivalent which then has seating put on the top. These are very high to climb into, there are step ladders or steps embedded into the side of the vehicle which are even more difficult to get up because you have to put the sides of your foot on them to clamber up and your leg over the side of the truck, and no, there is not always anyone to help you get in. If you have a dodgy leg or knee, or when moving, a bad back, you could have difficulty.
    You will also see the most animals on the K and T tour.
    You will know that when I write about Africa, I always say that it is not all about the animals for us. Hope this helps
  • Really like reading your posts.very informative.did you need a prooof of yellow fever vaccination to enter South Africa on the Zambia,Botswana South Africa tour.heard South Africa considers Zambia a low potential threat.
  • Catia, If you look at my review posted in June, you will see that there was an inquiry about what countries travelers under age 60 had visited to determine whether they were in high incidence places when we went through immigration going from Zambia to Botswana. Travelers over age 60 were not asked about yellow fever. The issue did not come up going through Cape Town immigration.
  • Catia wrote:
    Really like reading your posts.very informative.did you need a prooof of yellow fever vaccination to enter South Africa on the Zambia,Botswana South Africa tour.heard South Africa considers Zambia a low potential threat.
    Yes, we were all asked for proof of Yellow fever vaccine when we crossed over the river from Zambia to Botswana. Everyone had had the vaccine so I don’t know waht would have happened if they had not.
  • edited November 2018
    British wrote:
    . . . the most taxing thing you will do on any of the Southeren Africa tours are climbing into the very high vehicles that are nothing like the Toyota Land cruisers but are literally an imported truck bed, like a Ford F 150 or Toyota equivalent which then has seating put on the top.

    Au contrare, they are not the Toyota Landcruiser that you would buy at a typical Toyota car dealership, but at least on K&T, they are indeed a Toyota Landcruiser that has been significantly modified.

    More precisely, according to Motor Trend Magazine, it is a "sixth-generation 70-Series model that has been produced since 1984 but was never imported to North America. The rest of the bodywork was hammered out and grafted on in Arusha, Tanzania, by Rajinder Motors, LTD.

    The company starts with a Land Cruiser Pickup model, ditches the bed, stretches the chassis to accommodate three rows of seats in the back, raises the roof and installs four large removable hatches for wildlife viewing."
    Hatches differ on some versions, but it is still classified as a Toyota Landcruiser. Other companies besides Rajinder also provide their own versions of essentially the same vehicle.

    You can see photos and read about it in this older MT article: https://www.motortrend.com/news/land-cruising-exploring-east-africa-in-an-indigenous-toyota-1926/

    There have been a couple of different designs over the years with different side windows, hatches, etc. Asilia, who supplied vehicles and drivers to Tauck and a few other outfitters have started getting a few of the new photographers' model with drop away sides, swivel chair seats, etc. for private photo safaris.


  • Indeed correct. But unfortunately Tauck is no longer using Asilia and the vehicles they are using now are not as comfortable as the Asilia vehicles. On the Tanzania part of the trip we had four ‘other’ vehicles and one older Asilia vehicle. Everyone wanted to be on the old Asilia vehicle. Our TD said Tauck switched tour operators cuz Asilia kept raising the prices. Love the trip, but I did critique the safari vehicles they are using now. The front two rows of seats are OK but the back row is not adequate for someone over six feet. When it was our turn for the back, I started riding with the driver.
  • edited November 2018
    Sealord wrote:
    Indeed correct. But unfortunately Tauck is no longer using Asilia and the vehicles they are using now are not as comfortable as the Asilia vehicles. On the Tanzania part of the trip we had four ‘other’ vehicles and one older Asilia vehicle. Everyone wanted to be on the old Asilia vehicle. Our TD said Tauck switched tour operators cuz Asilia kept raising the prices. Love the trip, but I did critique the safari vehicles they are using now. The front two rows of seats are OK but the back row is not adequate for someone over six feet. When it was our turn for the back, I started riding with the driver.

    When I was researching, I discovered, Asilia has grown to be quite a large tour operator and outfitter which may account for price increases.

    Recent press release, "One of the new generation of young Tauck executives, this one with an auto racing and hot rod background, has selected new Toyota Landcruiser safari vehicles for 2019."

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  • Don’t think it will work. No ‘above water’ exhaust and not enough ground/water clearance. (;-)

    Going to amboseli (K&T) we traveled for miles in water up to the doors due to their wet/flood season. I have no idea how they knew where the road was.
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