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Anybody been to Zambia??? Given the choice between Lower Zambezi or Livingstone, which would you select???

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Mar 9th, 2003, 10:11 PM
  #1
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Anybody been to Zambia??? Given the choice between Lower Zambezi or Livingstone, which would you select???

OK, I am definitely doing the South Luangwa Valley for 4 nights. Then I will either spend 3 nights in the Lower Zambezi National Park or the Livingstone area.

Around Livingstone there are some great lodges like The River Club, Tongabezi and Sussi&Chuma.

However, Lower Zambezi is more like virgin territory and probably has superior game viewing. I have found it hard to find much feedback on the Lower Zambezi area.

I did already spend time around Victoria Falls last year but that was on the Zimbabwe side of the falls. While it would be nice to see Victoria Falls again, it is not a live or die situation for me. What is more important is the game viewing, the lodge and the activities on the Zambezi River.

Has anybody been to Lower Zambezi AND Livingstone. Which did you prefer???????
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Mar 14th, 2003, 06:07 AM
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Livingston area is primarily for viewing Vic Falls and experiencing the zambezi. There is wildlife around, such as hippo, croc, elephant and buffalo, but Livingstone is not the place for real wildlife viewing. There are no major parks around Livingstone except Mosi O Tunya National Park which is very small. However, I loved my stay at the River Club and did some fishing there on the river, under the careful gaze of the hippo families, and also saw elephant and buffalo on the opposite banks of the Zambezi in Zimbabwe. The setting is just wonderful.

I have not been to Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa but intend to go soon, perhaps May. I have heard that in the Lower Zambezi, Sausage Tree Camp is excellent and also organises canoe trips on the river. Chiawa camp is another good place.

South Luangwa is supposed to be excellent for game viewing, especially leopard, and walking safaris. My investigations reveal however that the the flights to these area can be very expensive as there are no schedule services. If you want to lower your cost then I suggest you spend most of the time in one park, say in South Luangwa, but do two different camps for 6 nights. Robin Pope safaris have 2 to 3 camps or you can combine one of Robin Pope's with Kafunta Lodge or Chichele Presidential Lodge. Robin Pope can probably combine these for you.

Regarding Botswana, you do not necessarily have to be stationed at Mombo to have a fabulous time. That is the most expensive camp in the Okavango! There are cheaper ones which will give you an equally good time. One is chief's camp which is on Chief's Island, next to Mombo Island, and is renowned for excellent game viewing. The other is Stanley Camp which offers walks with the elephants. You can also try other camps such as Xigera, Kwetsani, Duba Plains, Kings Pool which are owned by wilderness safaris and provide very comfortable accommodation. Because of the frequency of air charters in botswana, you can hop from one place to another with ease, unlike in Zambia. It is cheaper to go in May/June and Nov as the prices are probably 30% less than the peak season prices between July and October.

You can combine Livingstone with Botswana and try to fly from Livingstone to botswana as you will get the aerial view of Vic Falls.

However, as I have already visited Botswana, I would like to try Zambia.

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Mar 14th, 2003, 12:26 PM
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king,

I am having such a struggle deciding on my final itenerary for my safari. If I were not flying all the way in from Cape Town, I would probably skip Victoria Falls (I was just there last year), but after taking a flight from Cape Town-JNB-VFA (or Livingstone), I do not wish to take another flight to Hwange National Park from Vic Falls. Plus, if I am going to be in Vic Falls for one night, I may as well enjoy it and spend a second night.

My itenerary that I am leaning towards is as follows:

2 Nights - The River Club, Victoria Falls (Zambia)

2 Nights - Makalolo Plains Lodge, Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe)

2 Nights - Chikwenya Lodge (sister lodge of Ruckomechi), Mana Pools National Park (Zimbabwe)

2 Nights - Water Wilderness, Lake Kariba (Zimbabwe)

While on the one hand I am tempted to skip Lake Kariba, on the other hand I am excited by an opportunity to stay in an individual chalet that is literally in the middle of the lake, where you have to canoe back to the "Mother Ship", the main portion of the lodge. Plus, the game viewing is supposed to be really good with plenty of predators.

The costs of the transfers is amazingly high, but the reasonable prices of the lodges helps offset it. For lodges of this quality I would pay much more in Sabi Sand or Botswana, although my transfers would be less, as less distance is covered between locations.

I am literally doing a very abbreviated tour of Zimbabwe's best game viewing locations. One thing that does attract me back to Zimbabwe is that their rangers are reputed to be the best in Africa. My ranger at Matetsi last year was great and if that is the norm in Zimbabwe, then I will be very pleased.

One major aspect that Zimbabwe offers that South Africa lacks is water activities.

I cannot wait to be back in Africa and if all goes according to plan, I will be at Makalolo Plains Lodge in Hwange National Park three months from today listening to my wife curse me as each and every lion approaches the vehicle!
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Mar 14th, 2003, 01:45 PM
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Rococo,

My husband and I are doing a walking safari with Robin Pope this summer. I think you should consider a walking trip, as it will give you a perspective on wildlife that you could never get in the car. I'm sure you've seen Robin Pope's site, but look back to the walking safaris. I'm convinced it's the best thing Africa has to offer.

Enjoy!
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Mar 14th, 2003, 02:48 PM
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owl,

My wife would never do such a thing, at least not until she could outrun leopards and lions!

Plus, like last year, I am scheduling my safari right after I run a marathon (last year the L.A. Marathon in March, this year the Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon in June). I like to use my time in Africa to recover from my marathon and to just be driven around, whether it be Cape Town or in the bush.

The walking safari does sound like it is an amazing thing, though. Have fun!
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