Planning a trip to Africa the Boglehead way

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bighatnohorse
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:04 pm

Planning a trip to Africa the Boglehead way

Post by bighatnohorse » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:04 pm

Need a little help here. Africa is a huge continent and I think I want to visit places in Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa.
My international experiences have found that many hotels can provide or arrange for tours and local experiences - much the same as a tour company would provide. And local guides are usually available for hire.

I want to do at least one safari, possibly two, plus visit some of the tourist spots plus the vineyards in South Africa.
Four to six weeks in country all total.

So my questions are, can one find the same tourist services from a local hotel as one would find via a tour agency? Or guides?
Do the best tours/safaris fill up in advance (forcing one to make future reservations through a tour agency)?

Hopefully, some Bogleheads can provide a little Africa experience for this do-it-yourselfer who is planning a visit to Africa.
All advice and perspective welcome. . .

Utahdogowner
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: Planning a trip to Africa the Boglehead way

Post by Utahdogowner » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:10 pm

As a medical student I backpacked along the Garden Route of South Africa. There was a bus service (really a van w/ a trailer) that would pick you up and transfer you hostel to hostel very inexpensively. I also ended up renting a car. We found it very inexpensive and a ton of fun. We did safari's in Kruger national park and one of the elephant parks, I think Addo. Both were great. Kruger was amazing. Highly recommend taht and hiking in the Drakkensburg mountains. We picked most of our outings by talking w/ the hostel staff. My other best experience there was "diving" in a metal cage off the coast of Hermanus with the Great White's.

Didn't see Jo-berg but spent a week in Cape Town and just used a guide book to pick our itinerary. We did a day-drive around wine country and some hiking at the national gardens there. That wasn't my favorite but was still fun. Don't miss riding the cable car up to the top of Table Mtn as well as going out to the prison where Mandela was kept and seeing those museums.

Still miss the "bunny chow" indian food of Durban.

stan1
Posts: 6694
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Planning a trip to Africa the Boglehead way

Post by stan1 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:15 pm

You are describing the budget, independent way to see Africa. The Boglehead way might be business class airfare, a tent lodge in a game preserve, and a private air conditioned Land Rover so you can go where the animals are and the other tourists are not.

jminv
Posts: 782
Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Re: Planning a trip to Africa the Boglehead way

Post by jminv » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:18 pm

bighatnohorse wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:04 pm
Need a little help here. Africa is a huge continent and I think I want to visit places in Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa.
My international experiences have found that many hotels can provide or arrange for tours and local experiences - much the same as a tour company would provide. And local guides are usually available for hire.

I want to do at least one safari, possibly two, plus visit some of the tourist spots plus the vineyards in South Africa.
Four to six weeks in country all total.

So my questions are, can one find the same tourist services from a local hotel as one would find via a tour agency? Or guides?
Do the best tours/safaris fill up in advance (forcing one to make future reservations through a tour agency)?

Hopefully, some Bogleheads can provide a little Africa experience for this do-it-yourselfer who is planning a visit to Africa.
All advice and perspective welcome. . .
For South Africa, rent a car and do a driving tour. Rental cars in South Africa are not expensive. First you can go to Kruger area (you can drive there or fly to Hoedspruit and rent a car there), then after seeing the animals you can drive (or much better, fly) down to Capetown to drive the Garden route. There are good safari opportunities on the eastern portion of this route. Install tripadvisor on your phone, get a sim card when you arrive so you can use your phone on the go, and you'll find all the places you want to go (wineries, things to do, restaurants, hotels, etc) without having to involve a tour guide. I use tripadvisor to plan out what I want to see in an area, where I want to eat, what hotels I'll stay at. For the garden route drive, I wouldn't book too much in advance, do it more as you go.

I guess for Botswana you want to go to the delta, for that pick a lodge that interests you and book, fly in to the lodge from the airport. Even the budget lodges (ie budget tents) are pricey, though. Tanzania, pick some places you would like to stay and have the hotels arrange things when you're there day by day.

TravelGeek
Posts: 2903
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: Planning a trip to Africa the Boglehead way

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:44 pm

I don’t really know what “Boglehead way” means here - maybe do-it-yourself cost-effective travel planning?

If so... we have done some travel in various parts of Africa, including some of the countries you mentioned. A lot of it was self-planned and self-driven without a human tour guide. The much cited Garden Route and Kruger National Park are examples, as are lots of sites/areas of Namibia. We have also gone of guided Safari wildlife drives. In our experience the latter was less satisfying because we were with other people, the trip was ultimately controlled by the driver/tour guide and we couldn’t just hang around a water hole a bit longer to observe animal X as long as we wanted. Self-drive may have meant that we missed a lion somewhere because we didn’t know where they hang out but it felt more “natural” to us to find our own animals and control our experience. Also was a lot cheaper than the prices we see for those private game lodges/parks.

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