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Trip Report Dennis's Trip Report: Caprivi Strip, Vic Falls and Hwange Park, Zimbabwe

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“Travel without an element of danger, is mere sightseeing” (source forgotten)
No stapler, no hemmoraging, no spa-girls, no side trip to Burundi, no Arielle, no baboon attack (well almost), no lost luggage, just another great trip (for the most part) to AFRICA!

Itinerary:
Air: Hilo-Oakland-San Francisco-Heathrow-Johannesburg-Livingstone
3 Charter Flights: Susuwe to Kasane, Vic Falls-Hwange Main and return
Road transfers: Livingstone-Vic Falls Vic Falls- Kasane Kasane-Susuwe Vic Falls-Livingstone
Hotels/Camps/Lodges: 1 night Ilala Lodge, Victoria Falls 2 nights Ntwala Lodge on the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, 3 nights at Susuwe Lodge also on the Caprivi Strip, 4 nights at Somalisa Camp, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, 1 night Victoria Falls Hotel.

Game Seen:
This trip we saw 19 new species of animals that we had not seen before. Roan, sable, chacma baboon, lesser bushbaby, African wildcat, duiker, eland, bat eared fox, gemsbok (oryx), black backed jackal, red lechwe, dwarf mongoose, slender mongoose, springbok, springhare, steenbok, tree squirrels, tsessebe, wildebeest. We also saw hundreds of elephants, probably 50 giraffe, zebra, impala, kudu, buffalo, bushbuck, waterbuck, a genet, some hippos, 3 hyena, 10 lions, (not including those on the Lion Encounter), 8 wild-dogs, warthogs, and some vervet monkeys. Birds too many to mention or remember, incredible birding at all 3 places. Also an Egyptian Cobra and a python with a kill (more on this later). Didn’t see any leopards, cheetah or rhino, but I’m more of an elephant than a cat person, so I was extremely happy with what we saw.

Here we go again!
Shortly after returning from my last trip to Zambia in March, I was looking on Luxury Link and there was a 5 night package from Islands in Africa that was dirt cheap, so I bid, I won, I’m going back. With Julian and Rocco’s help in deciding on an extension to the Islands In Africa package, I chose 4 nights at Somalisa Camp in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, with a night in Victoria Falls before and after the safari. So glad I chose Somalisa, as it is now my favorite tented camp and Hwange, my most productive game viewing to date. (Luangwa River Lodge remains my favorite place on Earth, but Somalisa is right up there).

58 Hours Later, We’re Back in Africa
My friend Tom and I left Pahoa, Hawaii at 6:00 a.m. on October 25, flew from Hilo to Oakland where my step-mom picked us up and took us over to a hotel near San Francisco Airport. Had a nice dinner at Hungry Hunter, went to sleep and the next afternoon we were on our way! Flew VirginAtlantic to London where we had a nice lunch with Mandy (who would be leaving for Zambia in 2 days) and Julian. Good food, good conversation and back to Heathrow for our flight to Johannesburg. No problems with immigration or security at Heathrow, Tom did have to throw out his tube of Ultrathon, I buried mine in my backpack. As opposed to the U.S. security, they were not letting ANY liquids on board no matter what size container. I took an Ambien on this leg and slept most of the way, staying awake only for the dinner and breakfast, missing the ice cream and snack, the only meals I missed on the whole trip! With all the hype of Virgin being so much better than the rest, other than the video on demand, it wasn’t any different from the BritishAirways flights we took in March. (we flew economy so maybe the Upper Class might be better), but there has to be a better way of getting there from Hawaii!

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