Safaris

What we can offer you:

Fish Eagle Safaris is managed by Bert Duplessis, a native of South Africa who spent almost 40 years crisscrossing the subcontinent before immigrating to the USA in 1990.  Now a naturalized US citizen, Bert and his two sons Lyndon and Jason have more than 20 years of experience in the safari industry and have made multiple trips to all the areas marketed by Fish Eagle Safaris.

As a result, we are able to compare and contrast the pros and cons of various safari destinations at various times of the year, and point out the strengths and weaknesses of specific operators.  We can help you to select the most appropriate small-group trip and book it for you together with any air or other services required.  Or we will work with you – at no cost to you – to design a customized itinerary which will suit your specific needs.  Our prices are the same or in most instances less than what you would pay even if you booked direct with an Africa-based company.  And you get the benefit of our many years of experience and expertise plus the assurance of dealing with a well-established US-based company at no extra cost.

We offer a wide range of scheduled small-group departures as well as packaged & customized trips, and it is not a problem for us to work to a budget. Once you have had a chance to review the material, please feel free to call or e-mail any time, should you have any questions.  We pride ourselves on our ability to work with clients to design customized itineraries.

A small-group trip is ideal for a single person or a small family group, particularly for a first safari, and most offer some cost advantage compared with customized trips. A fly-in safari is recommended especially if you have limited time at your disposal, or if you prefer to travel independently.

RECOMMENDED SAFARI COUNTRIES AND TRIPS

BOTSWANA

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Our favorite country for a safari is definitely Botswana, in Southern Africa.  As a safari destination, Botswana is similar to what Kenya and Tanzania were like, 30 years ago.  It still offers few people and lots of wildlife in a relaxed and safe setting, with some of the best guides in the business.  Accommodation in permanent tented camps is top-notch, and transfers between all camps are by light air charter, enabling you to make the most of every day you will spend in this diverse area.  Activities are in open 4-wheel drive vehicles, which enables unobstructed views of the animals and scenery.

The ‘classic’ Botswana combination is a mix of the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe-Linyanti with a possible extension to the Kalahari.  Best over-all time of the year is from June through September or October.  Best value months are April, May & first half of June.

We would suggest adding a couple of days in the Victoria Falls area; either on the Zambia or Zimbabwe side of the Zambezi River.  Two excellent Zambia lodges are River Club and Toka Leya.  Stanley’s Safari Camp is another of our favorites. If you prefer to spend just 1 night in the Victoria Falls area (if you basically just want to see the Falls) then the Victoria Falls Hotel on the Zimbabwe side of the Zambezi is the ideal choice.  It is a well-run hotel with a superb location overlooking the Zambezi River gorge.  Ilala Lodge is also a good choice. The views of the Falls are much better from the Zimbabwe side, especially from about September through December.

Recommended safaris:

1. Custom fly-in safari combining Okavango Delta, Moremi & Linyanti: this could be anything from a few days (such as 5 nights at two camps) to a couple of weeks and could be combined with Victoria Falls and/or the Kalahari.  We’d be happy to discuss some of our favorite combinations and properties with you; specific combinations depend on the time of the year.  In the Green Season our associates Kwando Safaris operate a ‘Five Rivers’ safari (custom fly-in safari) which offers unbeatable value for money.

Example itinerary for 2015:

Day 1: Overnight in Johannesburg at City Lodge OR Tambo
Day 2-3: Fly JNB-VFA (not included in price), 2 nights at Victoria Falls Hotel
Day 4-6: Road transfer to BBK, fly to Linyanti. 3 nights at Savuti/Dumatau
Day 7-9: Light air transfer to Chitabe, 3 nights at Chitabe Camp
Day 10-12: Light air transfer to Tubu, 3 nights at Tubu
Day 13: Light air transfer to Maun, flight MUB-JNB (not included). End of services

13 day arrangements starting at $8,800.00 per person sharing

2. Wilderness Dawning “Best of Botswana” safari. This safari starts and ends near Victoria Falls but includes visits to the Nxai Pan, Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango and Chobe National Parks. This is a 14 day serviced mobile safari with extremely good value for money. Private sites, small groups and some amazing game viewing all at a budget price.

Example Itinerary:

Day 1: Depart Livingstone and drive to Makadikadi Salt Pans ( Lunch, Dinner)
Days 2 & 3: Drive to Nxai Pan National Park, Nature Drives (Breakfast, L, D)
Days 4: Depart Nxai Pan, drive to Maun (B, L)
Days 5 & 6: Depart Maun and Drive to the Xakanaxa region, Moremi Game Reserve (B. L, D).
Days 7 & 8: Nature drive and transfer to the Khwai Region, Moremi Game Reserve (B, L, D).
Days 9 & 10: Nature drive/ transfer to the Savuti region, Chobe National Park (B, L, D).
Days 11 & 12: Nature drive/ transfer to the Chobe River region, Chobe National Park (B, L, D).
Day 13: Nature drive and then transfer to Zambezi Waterfront Lodge, Livingstone (B).
Day 14: Arrangements end after Breakfast

14 day arrangements starting at $2,940.00 per person sharing

3. Scheduled Great Wilderness Journey:  This Journey takes the time to explore Botswana’s contrasts and extremes in prime areas where few guests travel—from the lushly vegetated wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the game-rich Linyanti and Chobe River systems and the Victoria Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world.

4. Scheduled Green Desert Safari: The route takes the time to explore the stunning contrasts of two habitat types: the “petrified” river valley of Deception Valley in the Kalahari Desert, and the fertile green islands of the Okavango Delta and its crystal-clear waterways – all the while enjoying spectacular summer congregations of wildlife.

KENYA

In Kenya we work with Origins Safaris who specialize in privately guided safaris, which is undoubtedly the best way to experience this amazing country and all it has to offer in the way of wildlife, scenic beauty and culture. Nowhere else in the world can offer comparable diversity of habitats, and variety of wildlife as experienced on their Rift Valley Classic Safari. In only 12 days you will see over 35 big mammal species, 350 bird species, 3 distinct traditional tribal groups, and much much more. And all this while accompanied by your own private, custom-built, four-wheel drive Land Rover vehicle, guided and driven by a well-qualified guide.

 Recommended trips:

1)  Rift Valley Classic Safari with Origins Safaris:  This 10-day trip (can be extended to more than 2 weeks) ‘Rift Valley Classic’ safari (please see detailed itinerary attached) which is an ideal trip for first-time visitors to Kenya.  It includes the three major ecozones (plains, rift valley and dry north) and contains a very diverse range of activities and experiences, but mostly focused on wildlife and nature.  The safari can be extended to the coast (Diani Beach, Lamu or Tana Delta) or to Zanzibar.  Gorilla-trekking extension available to Rwanda (we recommend 3-night/2-gorilla trek option).

2)  6-night ‘Best of Kenya’ safari with Liberty Africa:  This introductory trip departs every Friday from Nairobi. This 7-day road safari features both traditional safari lodges and a luxury tented camp experience.  From the snowcapped peaks of Mt. Kenya, the safari traverses the arid yet beautiful northern Samburu district, the world-famous Maasai Mara National Park, Lake Nakuru (home to over one million flamingoes) and an overview of other lakes and volcanoes of the Great Rift Valley.

MADAGASCAR

Madagascar is a fascinating destination.  We recommend an 8 or 9-night itinerary which includes the dry south (spiny desert), the west coast (Morondava) and the Perinet rainforest.   Berenty and Perinet both have lots of lemurs and you ought to get some amazing views of ringtailed lemurs and sifakas at Berenty, as well as Indri (and several others) at Perinet.  Cultural interaction is never far away in Madagascar – the people (especially the children) are fascinating.

It helps to have a little French, even though you will be guided on activities.  While Madagascar offers much in the way of wildlife and culture, it is lacking in infrastructure and travel can be a bit vexing at times.  So if flights are delayed or re-routed, or a hotel/bungalow room has either cold or hot water but not both, please accept it in the best possible spirit.  Things don’t always work exactly as planned in Madagascar, but it is such a unique place with a wealth of endemic species (many of which are endangered) that one can – almost – overlook its other deficiencies.

 Recommended trips:

1)  Introducing Madagascar:  A customized fly-drive trip which includes the unique dry succulent habitat and woodland of the south (such as Berenty), the lemur-rich eastern rainforest of Perinet and the baobabs and interesting wildlife of the western (Morondava) area.  Any number of days from about one week to 10 days+ with numerous extensions to various islands, the north, luxury camping options, and more.

For further information or a cost estimate, please contact:

Bert, Lyndon or Jason
Fish Eagle Safaris

MALAWI

Malawi offers diverse and exciting experiences due to the geography of the area and the people which inhabit it.  “The Warm Heart of Africa,” as it is commonly referred to, boasts a very different experience to the safari veteran.  From the beauty of Lake Malawi and the Mulanje Mountains, the scenery is breathtaking.  You can go from plains to forested mountaintops to Caribbean-like settings in mere hours.

The people are wonderfully friendly and it is recommended that you spend some time in a local village or marketplace learning first hand their customs and culture.  Game viewing is limited but there are destinations that mix game and culture seamlessly such as Mvuu Camp located on the enormous Shire river and birding is excellent in many areas.  No trip to Malawi is complete without a stop at Lake Malawi to see it’s crystal clear beaches and incredible snorkeling and water activities.  After a long Safari, it is the perfect way to wind down your trip.

NAMIBIA

As far as Namibia is concerned, it is a ‘desert and dune’ destination, so we would suggest focusing on those aspects by visiting areas such as Sossusvlei (for the massive red sand dunes) or doing the amazing 3 or 4 nights Skeleton Coast fly-in safari.  Another interesting trip – which enables one to cover quite a bit of ground in a relatively short period of time – is the 7-day ‘Best of Namibia’ circuit safari.  This safari visits Sossusvlei for the massive red sand dunes; Damaraland for its desert-adapted elephants and barren landscapes as well as Huab ‘river oasis’ and Etosha/Ongava for good big-game viewing including practically ‘guaranteed’ white rhinos.

 Recommended trips:

1)  Custom Namibia Fly-in Safari:
Any number of days combining Sossusvlei, Damaraland and the Etosha area.  Far northern Namibia (Serra Cafema) makes an intriguing extension (superb landscapes and Himba interaction) and other possible extensions include a 3 or 4-night Skeleton Coast Safari as well as the Waterberg region (Okonjima Lodge) or even a few days at a traditional German guest farm.

2) Scheduled Great Namibian Journey:  Namibia is a land of stunning landscapes, endless skies, barren deserts, rugged mountains and spectacular wildlife – and the Great Namibian Journey encompasses it all. This cross-section explores the dunes of Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert, the stark beauty of the Skeleton Coast, amazing marine life just off Swakopmund, the volcanic rock-strewn landscape of Damaraland and the game-filled savannah of Etosha.

3)  Scheduled Diverse Namibia:  This Exploration reveals the elusive wildlife of the desert, the life-rich rugged Atlantic Coast and the immense moving dune fields of the Namib Desert. Surprisingly, the seemingly barren desert comes to life with an amazing plethora of plants and animals that have ingeniously adapted to their harsh surroundings – and in fact thrive.

4) Best of Namibia Circuit Safari: Create your own Namibia safari: experience the enormous red dunes of Sossusvlei, the nutrient-filled coasts of Swakopmund, the starkly beautiful plains and river valleys of Damaraland and the bushveld of Etosha National Park.

5)  Scheduled Skeleton Coast Fly-in Safari:  The safaris spend all 3 (or 4) nights in the superb Skeleton Coast camp (Classic category) and participants are taken on half and full day excursions from there to the various geological formations and other points of interest such as the dunes, Himba village, game-viewing outings, etc.  Maximum group size is 10, the price is from and back to Windhoek and includes full board accommodation, all meals, lodge activities, park fees and local drinks. Departs every Wednesday and Saturday.

MULTIPLE SOUTHERN AFRICA COUNTRIES

Safari for All Seasons:  This wing safari takes in an awe-inspiring range of habitat types: the ancient river valley in the Central Kalahari Desert, the fertile green islands of the Okavango Delta and its crystal-clear waterways, the Kwando wetland system and adjacent savannah woodland, and finally to the luxuriant riverine forest along the banks of the Zambezi River.

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa offers much in the way of safari options as well, particularly the Kruger Park area. Here, private game parks such as the Sabi Sand Reserve and Timbavati Reserve are studded with an array of game lodges which offer superb hospitality and consistently good game-viewing.  Of the myriad of choices, we favor MalaMala as well as Kirkmans due to their location right along the Sand River.  Leopard Hills is also an excellent choice.  In the Timbavati we are keen on Kings Camp as well as Tanda Tula.

Here are some recommendations for a South Africa trip which focuses on game-viewing but also including some culture/history:

About a week in Cape Town and the south-western Cape, which is very rich in culture and history.  In addition to the Peninsula itself, you may wish to spend a few days in a Cedarberg lodge such as Bushman’s Kloof, specifically for San (‘Bushman’) rock art.

If you would like to spend some time along the coast, the Cape Garden Route is very scenic, and it also offers interesting cultural experiences and some good game-viewing in places such as Addo Elephant Park.

Another very interesting area from a historic & cultural perspective is Kwazulu-Natal and in particular the Drakensberg, the Natal midlands and northern Kwazulu-Natal.  Amongst areas of interest are the Zulu culture & traditions, historic battlefields, and several good game reserves in the far northern part of the province. An Indian Ocean lodge such as Rocktail Bay (scuba diving available) is a good ‘beach’ option. This can be combined with a game-viewing such as Phinda.

I would suggest spending about a week to 10 days on safari, in one or two areas, such as the Sabi Sand Reserve (MalaMala game lodge or similar) and the Timbavati area, or alternatively Pafuri.  You could also include Mashatu, in the Tuli Block of Botswana (with Mala Mala and Pafuri) on what would be an excellent trip offering good value for money.

 Recommended trips:

1)  Best of South Africa fly-in safari:  This 12-day trip combines two areas adjacent to Kruger Park (Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Timbavati Reserve) with Cape Town and the southern Cape (Grootbos Lodge).  Extensions available to Victoria Falls, Botswana, and Namibia.

2)  Baobabs and Beaches:  Experience the best of South Africa’s bushveld and coastline on this amazing 10-night itinerary which includes 4 nights at Pafuri Camp in far northern Kruger Park, 1 night at Tintswalo Waterfall or the Grace Hotel in Johannesburg and 5 nights at Rocktail Beach Camp.

TANZANIA

In Tanzania, we offer a wide range of programs including small-group scheduled trips (maximum 10 persons in two vehicles) in Tanzania such as the tried & tested ‘Journey into Tanzania’ which offers a great introduction to northern Tanzania including Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara area, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plains.

We can also assist with packaged and customized trips to some of the less well-known parts of Tanzania including the southern area (Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve) and Ras Kutani Resort on the Indian Ocean.  Southern Tanzania is wild and lightly traveled, offering excellent game-viewing in an area where you will see few other visitors.  We especially recommend it for our clients who have been on safari previously, and are looking for new, exciting places to visit.

For the ultimate Tanzania safari, you may also wish to consider visiting Greystoke Mahale, a fairy tale fantasy camp where you trek high into the rainforest above Lake Tanganyika, in search of man’s closest relative, the chimpanzee who inhabits the Mahale Mountains National Park.  This property is coupled with Chada Katavi – Mahale’s ‘wild brother camp’. Here you will have the Katavi National Park and its animals all to yourself in a remote, wild, and far-flung landscape – one of the most dramatic places you’ll ever see.

Recommended trips:

1)  Customized Tanzania Fly-drive Safari: Any number of days including either the northern or southern circuit.  A typical northern circuit trip from and back to Arusha includes Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National park.  The Southern Circuit includes Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.

2)  Journey into Tanzania safari:  A scheduled small-group departure which includes Tarangire, Lake Eyasi, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.   I have done this trip myself and can highly recommend it; the guides are excellent.  Maximum group size is 10 in two vehicles, guaranteed window seat.  This is a good middle-of-the-road trip, nothing too fancy – small camps with a high level of personal service, making for an authentic African safari experience.

3)  5-night ‘Tanzania Showcase’ safari with Liberty Africa: Departs every Friday from Nairobi or Arusha.  This 6-day road safari showcases the fascinating and unique Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge archaeological site, the bountiful wildlife of the Serengeti and the beautiful Lake Manyara area.

ZAMBIA

6549987305_2668f691f8_oWhen it comes to wildlife, Zambia offers impressive diversity as well as large concentrations and numbers, and some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent. It was in Zambia that the concept of walking safaris originated as the best way of enjoying the rich flora and fauna of the country’s 19 national parks. Add to this numerous adventure activities on the Zambezi River, and Zambia qualifies as an all-round excellent travel destination. Here one can catch some of the biggest tiger fish in Africa within sight of a large elephant herd on the Lower Zambezi, fly over the mighty Victoria Falls in full flood, or view leopards on a kill at night in the South Luangwa.

Wilderness Safaris and our other associates Robin Pope Safaris operate exciting bush camps and lodges in Kafue National Park, South Luangwa National Park, and the Victoria Falls area.

Recommended safaris:

Customized Zambia fly-in safari:  Combine any number of camps in the Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi areas (or just one or two of these areas).  Superb game-viewing, excellent accommodation & guiding in a setting which reminds one of Botswana about 20 years ago.

ZIMBABWE

6629827639_da05d5c34e_oThe Wilderness Safari camps in Zimbabwe are being filled by savvy Africa travelers who know that it is during these times that one enjoys the finest wildlife encounters, at attractive prices.  Safari prices in Zimbabwe are very reasonable and the quality is exceptional, as the staff in the camps go out of their way to ensure that each and every visitor has a great stay.  There have been no problems at all in Victoria Falls, Hwange, Kariba and Mana Pools, the areas which our clients visit.

Game-viewing in Hwange—and other Zimbabwe parks—is generally excellent in late winter to early spring (July through October), and you should see between 25 and 35 different species of mammals.  You simply can’t beat Hwange for elephant, at the right time of the year.  Zimbabwe has many small safari camps which offer a high quality, personalized service.  And it’s also near Victoria Falls which offers not only the spectacle of the famous falls, but also lots of adventurous activities such as white-water rafting, canoeing, bungee jumping & flights by helicopter and micro-light aircraft.

Recommended safaris:

1. Customized Zimbabwe fly-in safari:  Any number of days combining the Hwange area (Little Makalolo or Davissons’s Camp) with Lake Kariba, and Ruckomechi (Mana Pools).  Fantastic wildlife experience in remote, unspoiled areas.  Private concessions with few to no other visitors arounds.  Possible to include the Mana Canoe Trail safari.  A few days in Zimbabwe (especially the Hwange area) also makes for a good combination with Botswana.

2. Mana Canoe Trail: Canoeing down the Zambezi, one of the greatest rivers in Africa, past hippos and elephants, encountering wildlife on foot and bedding down on the banks of the river—this must rank as one of the greatest adventures on the planet.