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Any Questions: Just back from Ntwala Island/Songwe Camp/Victoria Falls?

Any Questions: Just back from Ntwala Island/Songwe Camp/Victoria Falls?

Sep 3rd, 2006, 03:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 78
Any Questions: Just back from Ntwala Island/Songwe Camp/Victoria Falls?

Hello Everyone,
My husband & I just returned from Ntwala Island, Songwe Camp and Victoria Falls; had a wonderful time!! The tandem gorge jump was terrifying, but weíre glad we took the plunge (backwards due to safety reasons). And the 30 minutes micro light flight was outstanding. The views just donít get any better from there!! We decided not to try the white water rafting trip to do several portage stops; plus the board surfing was cancelled due to high waters.

I will have to make this short, since Iím getting ready for 6 weeks trip to Thailand/USA on Sept 20th. Please let me know if I could answer any questions. Iíll be more than happy to give you my view point.

All the best,
jiggylou is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 04:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 5
Glad you had a cool time in Africa!
We are hoping to go March 2007 to Vic Valls staying at Tongabezi and the 4 nights at Susuwe and the 4 nights Ntwala. Any suggestions re room numbers to request.
We also are keen birders.
Any advise would be great RegardsJG
JeanieG is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 08:51 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
Tell me about Ntwala, I'll be there next month! Welcome back!
matnikstym is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 09:33 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
matnikstym is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 11:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 78
Dear JeanieG,
Okay, hereís the scoop. Tongabezi sounds great. That was our first choice, but they didnít have any rooms available during our visit; so, we ended up staying at Songwe Camp, which we enjoyed immensely. Songwe Camp offers 5 activities included in the price (which we were unaware of) to choose from during your stay: Victoria Falls Tour, Sunset Cruise w/drinks included, Songwe Village tour, Museum, and Sunset or Sunrise Bath. We had the opportunity to take advantage of the sunset cruise (the African Queen ship), Victoria Falls tour, village museum, and sunset/sunrise bath, which I would recommend them allÖ.especially the bath!!!! The sunset cruise was very relaxing, especially after traveling 24 hours! The bath views are to die for!! And, donít forget to check-out Songweís library if anyone stays there!! The only reason I bring this information up is that I couldnít find any information on Songwe Camp on any forums!!

I personally thought that two nights at the Falls were just not enough!!! So, if you have the time/funds, try to stay a minimum of 3 nights. There are just too many activities to choose from.

Now, hereís what to expect on Ntwala Island camp. We took a (20 minutes) 4 persons Cesena plane from Livingstone airport to Impalila airstrip. Then, drove (10 minutes) to Botswana Immigrations to get our passports stamp. From immigrations, the river dock is a 5 minutes drive where a speed boat was waiting for us. There were plenty of birds, cows, and villagers on our 30 minute boat ride to Ntwala Island. Yes, to my surprise I couldnít believe how much traffic (boats, people, and cows) I saw along the way. I just thought this area was ruralÖ.

Anyway, our room at Ntwala Island camp was absolutely beautiful. The food was very good and they cater to all diets. Itís a perfect place to relax, enjoy bird viewing, read a book, great outdoor shower, outstanding bath, or, take a cold plunge in the pool, and if youíre not too tired take a boat ride to Chobe National Park 45 minutes away and see plenty animals and boats/vehicles. Just be aware in the 6 nights that we were there, we saw one hippo, and two elephants not far from our camp, and lots of cows!!! However, on the positive side, there were plenty of birds!!!! So, don't forget your binoculars! Also, if you enjoy fishing ($100 US Dollars surcharge, which was we had waived) we managed to catch 3 fish, but lots of nibbles. There were just too many boats around, or, most likely, the fish are just too smart!! Ha!

Having said all this, this was our 9th safari. My husband & I really enjoyed our stay at Ntwala camp room #3, which has a swing in front of the river...highly recommend. The facilities are outstanding and the staff was wonderful...very accommodating. However, if you are looking for a concession which has a family of hippos in front of your room and plenty of animals roaming around your camp, this place is not for you. Youíll be very disappointed. If youíre looking for a romantic place to relax and enjoy great food/wine, this place is for you! I would recommend 2 nights maximum. Hope this answers your questions.

PS-The weather in JNB was cold early morning/late evenings. A medium size fleece jacket is enough. Also, Livingstone/Namibia (Ntwala Camp) gets warm from 9am-6pm. Not worth taking a heavy jacket. Remember to take your sunscreen/mosquito repellent.
jiggylou is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
With one gorge jump under your belt, the whitewater rafting may be best for next time.

Glad you enjoyed your trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 02:36 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
thanks jiggy. we'll be there for 2 nights then to susuwe camp for 3 nights. this was a luxurylink buy so the price was right. did you do the mekoro at ntwala?
matnikstym is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 09:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 78
No, we were unaware of this activity (mekoro), and no one ever offered this during our stay.

Since you're only there for two nights, I would try very hard to leave your suite (believe me the rooms are beautiful) @ 3pm to take a sunset trip to Chobe National Park, which is 45 minutes away. There are plenty of birds and crocodiles to see along the way. Before you leave, request to have dinner @ 8pm in your room (there are too many bugs outside) & ask for a bath to be drawn for you prior to dinner. The bath tub could easily accommodate two persons.

On your 2nd day, I would return to Chobe National Park after breakfast around 8-9am, unless you prefer to get up early and see the sunrise from there. This area is least congested with boats and vehicles during this period. We personally enjoyed watching the sunrise from our deck drinking our coffee from our swings watching the otters, and birds fishing on the river in front of our suite. Life really doesnít get any better!! Also, on your way back from Chobe, you could stop off and visit a fishing village if you wish, but keep in mind the children are very curious and love to touch you. Fishing hooks are great gifts. I couldnít believe how many villagers in mekoro stopped us requesting them. The remainder of the day is your choice.

If youíre interested, and need to get some exercise thereís a two thousand year old balboa tree nearby that you could walk to. The walk begins from Impalila camp (just around the bend) and itís approximately a 1 hour walk, and a 20 minute bumpy drive back to Impalila camp. Thereís nothing much to see along the way.

There are only two rooms with swings available; rooms 3 & 4. All drinks, beer and local wines are included. I would also recommend that you get your laundry turned in on your first night.

Hope this helps.
jiggylou is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 10:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 5
Thank you very muchly for all your advise and wisely tips.
I have read quite a few reviews and cannot believe how generous of time and knowledge this site holds and its down to you.

Kind regards
JeanieG is offline  
Sep 4th, 2006, 11:18 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
jiggy, thanks for your reply. after your first reply, I was having doubts, but now I feel better. so there are things to do there, that's good! Will bring some fish hooks and visit the village. Thanks again for your help. Will report back when I return. Otters?
matnikstym is offline  
Sep 5th, 2006, 05:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 78
Youíre all very welcome. I firmly believe we could all help each other by contributing our inputs on this board. Even though Iím an experienced traveler (visited over 50 countries), Iím always learning from other Fodories. This forum beats having to purchase a travel book!! Plus, if you think about it, weíre the writers and see these countries first hand!

In referenced to the otters, I was surprised how many we saw swimming around. I donít know where they came from.

Matnikstym, youíll be surprise how quickly 4 days goes by. All Iím saying is donít expect to see a lot of animals roaming around. The facilities are absolutely beautiful. Just take a good book and enjoy the sounds of all the birds on your deck. Be sure to ask for a room with a swing. And, do take a shower outdoors, itís so refreshing.

jiggylou is offline  
Oct 6th, 2006, 10:51 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
I wrote to islands in africa asking what size fishing hooks the villagers use when fishing as I wanted to bring some to hand out.

i received this reply: "I just received a call from Impalila Island Lodge and they wanted to thank you for your kind offer, but regrettably the lodge was told by the chief of Impalila Island not to give anything including hooks, sweets and money to the local villages as he doesn't want his people to become a nuisance on the island by harassing/begging anybody they see.

So I guess I won't be packing fish hooks!
matnikstym is offline  
Oct 7th, 2006, 12:56 AM
Posts: n/a

I'm glad you enjoyed Songwe Village....i enjoyed my stay immensely in 2005.


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