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Trip Report Zambia Trip Report May 2010

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One of the ways to occupy yourself on a 14hr+ flight home--- put down trip report notes, so here goes my contribution to the Zambia files:

We spent 11 nights in Zambia during the latter part of May, visiting Victoria Falls(Livingstone), South LunagwaNP and Lower Zambezi NP., here are some highlights-

The trip was arranged through Voyagers Travel , a local Zambia agent. I do not hesitate to recommend them-- pre-trip, we received prompt replies to emails, and they were very patient with the going back and forth of working out an itinerary that met our moderate budget. It would be nice to have the option to use credit card rather than wire transfer, but everything worked out.

Livingstone(Victoria Falls)- Stayed at Maramba River Lodge, which I believe was off the main road, about 4km from the falls. Loved having breakfast on the river terrace each morning with background music of hippo laughs, and one morning a group of elephants were breakfasting on the opposite river bank- what a treat! Victoria Falls were in full force-- on the knife's edge bridge, I feel like we experienced the Falls with all 5 senses-- not a mist but a rain--- definitely glad to have the ponchos and the $1 rental of the croc shoes was the best $1 spent on the trip. Voyagers arranged a tour of the falls for us throught Bushtracks-- the guide was informative and patient with picture taking, and provided rain coats and water. We also did a helicopter flight-- the 15 min one was sufficient , and was good to have this overview of the area since at ground level it was difficult to get the full perspective with all the mist this time of year.

South Luangwa NP- I had never heard of this park until I started reseaching Zambia, I have only ever been in Africa once, to South Africa, so am not a safari expert(need more time and $ ha, ha), but I thought it was a real gem. We stayed outside the park, at Wildlife Camp in a chalet-- no complaints there- its not fancy but what had everything we needed and great people, and Sylvester our guide was not only knowledgable but very personable as well. Even though it was still kind of early in the season, we were not disappointed with our sightings. Highlights were seeing lions each day, including a pride of maybe 15 one night, one leopard (better than zero leopards), finding ourselves in the midst of a huge herd of buffalo, elephant close encounters, seeing a green field full of zebra and impala grazing in the morning sunlight ( the phrase animal eden came to mind at that scene), and eagle flying low over us onto perch in a tree with his catch of a snake, and beautiful sunset colors.

Lower Zambezi NP- had a bit of a splurge for us, stayed at Kasaka River Lodge --wonderful, professional staff and bit more luxurious accomodation than the previous ones, and elephants were also enjoying visits to the lodge-- I was able to see one step over a rail to get closer to a tree on the property, wild elephants are much more graceful than I thought! For game viewing, could not compare to SLNP, and the river was pretty high, but we were still able to add some animals to our list, such as a hyena sleeping in the sun and a jackal pair in a field, and to see a group of elephants walking single file in a line to their next destination was also special to see. We also got to go canoeing on the river. (With the current it was just as much drifting as canoeing, but still a pleasant way to spend a morning). Scenery here was different from SLNP, so it was a nice change of pace.

Overall, I am happy we chose Zambia for this trip, it did not disappoint, and will end by mentioning how wonderfully pleasant, polite, and helpful we found most of the Zambian people to be.

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