Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Blinkman987
Jul 10, 2008

Gender roles guilt me into being fat.


Hi there. I'm playing around with a trip to Africa and there are two things I'd like to do: Victoria Falls Devil's Pool and the Serengeti Migration. I did Cape Town and Johannesburg in my last trip to Africa.

For Victoria Falls, how did you arrange a visit to that area of the falls? What else did you do there? Did you stay in Zambia or Zimbabwe?

Has anybody done a viewing of the Serengeti Migration? I'd like to get some general thoughts on it, as well as tips. I would like that experience of seeing the actual migration if possible, not just a safari. I apologize I can't give any dates in advance yet, though at this point I would give a rough estimate of December-ish which puts me in the southwest area of the migration.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Blinkman987 posted:

Hi there. I'm playing around with a trip to Africa and there are two things I'd like to do: Victoria Falls Devil's Pool and the Serengeti Migration. I did Cape Town and Johannesburg in my last trip to Africa.

For Victoria Falls, how did you arrange a visit to that area of the falls? What else did you do there? Did you stay in Zambia or Zimbabwe?

Has anybody done a viewing of the Serengeti Migration? I'd like to get some general thoughts on it, as well as tips. I would like that experience of seeing the actual migration if possible, not just a safari. I apologize I can't give any dates in advance yet, though at this point I would give a rough estimate of December-ish which puts me in the southwest area of the migration.

Victoria Falls: Haven't been, but several friends went and said the Zambia side is way nicer, and the Zimbabwe side is sad and full of beggars and desperate people. This was back in 2010-2012 when their country's economy was in freefall, but then they hit bottom and... are still at bottom, so I bet it's the same. You don't really have to arrange anything in advance, a friend of mine even just went with some random guy offering an ultralight flight, and she didn't die and also got a loving awesome view of the falls. If you have no fear of heights or death I'd recommend that.

Serengeti: This I have done, also in December, but not from the air, which I hear is the only way to really appreciate it. From the ground it just looks like a lot of animals. I've seen large cattle herds before and while it was more impressive, it was not world's apart either. The balloon thing is crazy expensive though. If you do end up going to the Serengeti make sure to hit up the other nearby places -- Ngorongoro Crater is amazing. For the Serengeti you will want / need to organize a trip in advance.

Sub Par
Jul 18, 2001

Hi. I'm Mitt Romney, and I make way more than you.

Dinosaur Gum

Just went to Vic Falls last week as part of a road trip around Southern Africa. It was incredible. Couldn't do the Devil's pool because of the season (high water) so can't report on that except to say that if it is your main goal, go during low season which iirc is Sept-Mar. Not sure so check that. That said, here's what we did:

We entered Zimbabwe over land from Botswana. This is expensive: something like $60 per person for the visa (USA here, check visa reqs and cost before travel) - cash only. Then we paid $55 for mandatory car insurance and then $55 more to "guarantee" it because the car was a rental. So $200+ for the two of us. We stayed at a campground in Victoria Falls and walked to the falls in the morning, maybe a 15 minute walk at a leisurely pace.

We didn't enter the park straight away, rather walked another 15 mins across the bridge to Zambia. Watched the falls from the bridge, ate at the café there, watched people do the bungee and swing. Was fun, I recommend it. From there you can walk to a few viewing points on the Zam side. We didn't because the high flow of water kicked up too much spray and given the wind conditions we wouldn't have been able to see the falls from Zam.

Entered the park ($30/person), stayed 3.5 hours. We walked the length of the thing (~2.5k) and then left. We also saw a group of elephants on the walkway to the falls from town, about 20feet away. Was amazing. During the walk you constantly feel the need to take a picture or render an oil painting, it is simply stunning. Not sure about low water season but we rented rain jackets for $3 from one of the guys outside the park (due to the spray) and it was money well-spent. Also met 3 people who had their cameras and/or phones crippled from trying to take picks and getting soaked from the spray, so be careful. At times you would swear you were in the middle of a freak thunderstorm.

Next day we did a sunset river cruise on the Zambezi river. There are like 50 boats doing this, they are 2-3 hours each and generally involve an open bar and passed hours d'oeuvres or light food and cost $45-90 per person depending on the niceness of the boat. There are also proper dinner cruises but we didn't do one. The cruise was awesome, only 9 of us on this huge boat, awesome staff, tons of booze, saw crocs, elephants, hippos, and several huge raptors of some species. We did the most expensive one in town, Zambezi Explorer, because we were celebrating something. It was $65 per person. If you use them, post here first so I can facilitate an intro with one of their staff who we met, named Bheki. Great guy.

We then left and drove to Johannesburg. Notes:

1) We did it on our own but There are a million tour operators who will pick you up in Cape Town, Joburg, or Windhoek (or Vic Falls and either just do stuff there or start a tour in VF and drop you in one of those cities) and take you to the falls and do everything for you. Met many people at our campsite on such tours, consensus was that Intrepid does it best. Not all of them are round trip so you could fly to Joburg, get on the tour, then they leave you in Vic Falls and you continue on your own or with another operator to the Great Migration.

2) Just stay in Vic falls, Zimbabwe. Better infrastructure, walk to the falls, etc. Visiting Zam is easy enough, just walk across the bridge. No passport needed if you stay on the bridge (eg to bungee jump or sightsee). Need your passport if you want to enter Zambia proper and view the falls. NOTE: If you enter Zambia and have your passport stamped you MUST get a yellow fever vaccine or you bay be denied entry to other countries. Get it at home or in South Africa. Must have it for 10 days before it becomes effective. Plan ahead.

3) Most places only took cash and the currency is USD or Euro, with the overwhelming preference being USD. ATMs dispense USD but come with plenty of 5s and 1s if possible because change is sometimes an issue. South African Rand and Namibian Dollars are also accepted but you will get unfavorable pricing. Credit card machines usually are mysteriously not working, so take signs saying "we take Visa!" with a brick of salt.

4) If you do a boat tour, book in town in person. They don't sell out and the prices are negotiable in person.

5) If congruent with your plans, I simply cannot recommend Namibia enough. It was absolutely amazing and one of my favorite places in the world.

6) If you enter Zimbabwe over land and plan to exit over land, you will need to specify which border crossing you will use to exit. If you are leaning this direction, let me know so I can give you some additional suggestions.

Finally, I know a fantastic AirBNB host in Joburg who has done the falls and the migration, was born in Zim and is all around amazing if you are interested.

Sub Par fucked around with this message at Jul 7, 2014 around 12:53

Blinkman987
Jul 10, 2008

Gender roles guilt me into being fat.


Thank you both.

Saladman: What do you mean by "ultralight flight?" I do have a bit of fear of heights, but I'm also stubborn and push myself through it. I definitely get where you're coming from about the great migration now that you've verbalized why it's not impressive. I think I'd pass on a $500 balloon ride as it's a little tough for me to get a sense of the value. I appreciate the recommendation on Ngorongoro Crater. I'm definitely looking for other things to do in that general area.

Sub Par: Low season is the plan. Was Zimbabwe significantly cheaper than Zambia (if you compared prices)? I would have to get across to the Zambia side to do Devils Pools. How were the crowds on the boats? I'm typically a solo traveler so I love meeting up with groups of people who will adopt me, then get drunk and have fun. I'm unsure on how I'll be traveling to and from cities. My RTW ticket allows overland travel, so I'm definitely flexible. Namibia is good, eh? Anything in particular that you loved? I've never airBNB'd before, but I am definitely up for trying! I have PMs if you do.

funkmaztafox
Dec 9, 2007

"What's it going to be then, eh?"

Blinkman987 posted:

I appreciate the recommendation on Ngorongoro Crater. I'm definitely looking for other things to do in that general area.


Ngorogoro is good because it is packed with a plethora of species and all of the big 5. But it is overpacked with vehicles too. So be prepared to try to parallel park in new york city type traffic just to see a couple lions sleeping or a black rhino spotting. Ngorogoro definitely worth it by all means but absolutely not more than 1 day.

Lake manyara was fun for a day. Lots of baboons, good giraffe, elephant and hippo sightings. Nice big old boabab trees. And catching a lion spotting in there way more thrilling than in ngorogoro.

funkmaztafox fucked around with this message at Jul 8, 2014 around 03:06

Sub Par
Jul 18, 2001

Hi. I'm Mitt Romney, and I make way more than you.

Dinosaur Gum

The boat I was on had 9 people including my wife and me. By the end of it ẃe were all wasted and inviting each other to our hotels or various bars for food, more drinks, and world cup watching. I imagine most of the cruises are like that. The staff member I met, Bheki, invited us to his village to spend the next day and night with his family, which we took him up on, and had an awesome experience there.

Namibia is the poo poo, the scenery changes every 150k (drastically). Everyone is super nice and helpful, and it is the second least densely populated country in the world. Not sure what solo travel would be like, I was with my wife and we drove around in a pop-up camper and slept at campgrounds. There is a lot of adventurey-type stuff to do (ride ATV through the desert, hike a massive canyon, skydive, kite surf, that sort of thing) and lots of wildlife. May be kinda hot in Dec though. Anyway, our favorite places were Swakopmund, Fish River Canyon, and Sousousvlei.

Didn't price stuff on the Zambia side. Once we learned we couldn't do Devil's pool, we just liked the convenience of the Zim side. Our campground was in the area of $40 per night. Would be cheaper for you because they charge by the person and charged for our car/camper. They have tents with proper beds inside you can rent, and also little one bedroom cottages. Called Victoria Falls Rest Camp.

We are doing an RTW thing right now as well and Airbnb often so we can get access to a kitchen and save on food costs. Obviously in places where hostels are not an option or are expensive. May not be as worthwhile for a solo traveler but I will PM you the details.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Saladman
Jan 12, 2010


Blinkman987 posted:

Thank you both.

Saladman: What do you mean by "ultralight flight?" I do have a bit of fear of heights, but I'm also stubborn and push myself through it.


One of these. Also not a stock photo, just a friend's photo taken with a lovely point and shoot camera.

Edit: Actually on closer inspection of her shoes, that is my friend, so I have no idea who took the photo or with what camera. I guess something mounted on the wing or someone flying WAY too close.


http://imgur.com/VYIuWNj

Saladman fucked around with this message at Jul 8, 2014 around 07:30

  • Locked thread