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kwando trip nov 2005. looking for help south luangwa 2006

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hail roccco and luanwablonds and hi all fodorites!

got back home a couple of days ago after a trip of a lifetime. had 12 days spread over all three kwando camps in botswana (lagoon, lebala + kwara) and every single day was an adventure. had seen much discussion re seating configuration in kwando vehicles.....is a bit cramped with 6, but still ok. usually only four per vehicle however and we often had vehicle, guide and tracker to ourselves. anyway, camps were beautiful and very comfortable with good vibes, food excellent and the guiding was just superb!! we´re a bit exteme - we do a lot of 4x4 self-drive adventure travel in australia and often find we know far more than resident guides (we´re seriously into conservation and wildlife). at kwando however we met our match. those guys don´t just have eagle eyes they really know their stuff! hugely impressed with birding and even more stunned by night spottings. won´t go into too many details just now, tho i am preparing trip report, but we saw amongst other wonders two packs of wild dogs (on four seperate days - yippee!!!) one pack was unusually for november denning in the lagoon area with 5 five week old pups. they had lost a previous litter earlier in the year. the other pack was much larger (21dogs) and had pups from july. we also saw leopards, cheetahs (male and on another day female with cubs), pangolin (!), roan + sable antelope, caracal, cerval, genet, bat-eared foxes denning (day and night), wild cats mating, lions mating, giraffe mating (all very active as you can see!)...some hugely exciting lion hunts and just incredible birding....oh, i could go on and on..........

before the trip we had a few days in maun at audi camp. we needed to do a few things in the area, also organised some birding with an american maun resident paul and generally used the time to acclimatise. it was well over 40°C for most of the trip so that was a good thing. audi have recently added some luxury meru tents, en suite, veranda, tea+coffee making fac........incl full cooked breakfast for 360pula per tent per night. excellent value and we can recommend highly. their restaurant has gone up in the world too. all very civilised and enjoyable. much nicer than riley´s and quite as good as the other "posher" camps in maun. they also do private mobiles (quite fancy too) at a decent price. if they are anywhere near as well run as the camp itself they should be worth a try for the more adventurous. cost about 2000US pp for minmum 2 people for 7 days.....not bad eh? whole complex was very clean and efficiently run.

as i said i will post full trip report in the next couple of weeks, but i´m now trying to organise trip to zambia in 2006. we´re not in the big income bracket so i really have to compare prices (and value of course!) really would love to go to tafika and the coppingers other camps but their prices have truly rocketed in the last couple of years. noticed that kafunta offer 10 night S/N luangwa combi with walking camp too. have you seen heard any reports on this? any ideas on relatively affordable itineries????guess i´m not always too clever at tracking down info. have only become computer literate at all in the past 18 months. we really have more time than cash, can rough it and are pretty adventureous. game viewing and good guiding is far more important to us than luxury and comfort.
would ideally like to spend approx 18 days in zambia. may/june rates would look relatively painless and climate at that time sounds good for walking too.

have wondered about hunting in GMA. had a horrific and traumatic experience a few years ago trying to prevent illegal "sports" in malta. it was like being in a war zone. broke my heart seeing all the senseless carnage. has left me even less able to deal with hunting "issues". do you hear much gunfire along the edge of the park towards the GMA? could this be a problem (?)if we stayed at kafunta or nkwali.
have you picked up on any reports of tstetse fly plagues? we met several people at kwando camps who said they´d been badly bitten in the s luangwa......is it maybe a bit less of a problem in cooler months?


oh... by the way - believe kwando camps are already booked solid for november next year. guess the good news of lower november rates coupled with excellent game viewing has reached everybody!!!

thanking you in advance for any help, all the very best and keep up all your good work - lorraine (brit resident in germany)

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