Aug 04 itinerary help

Jul 12th, 2004, 08:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 20
Aug 04 itinerary help

We have some unexpected time in August and are trying to put together a last minute trip to Zambia/Botswana. We would like some diversity in scenery and activities and would prefer small, private, less commercialized camps. With no where near the time to research adequately, I am reaching out to you for help. Could anyone comment on the following proposed itinerary?

Islands of Siankaba, Zambia - 3 nights
Selinda Camp, Botswana - 3 nights
San Camp, Botswana - 3 nights
Jacana Camp, Botswana - 3 nights

Thanks for your help!
ac23 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 11:10 PM
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Haven't been to San Camp or Jacana, but I've been to their "sister" camps, Jack's Camp and Kwetsani.

Now that Jack's has been completely renovated to make it more consistent with the rest of the Wilderness Safaris camps, San Camp is really more like the old Jacks than the new one is... and I loved the old Jacks. The tents are old-fashioned safari tents-- but large enough to be comfortable...and you'll have your own bathroom & shower-- but open to the stars. Toilet is long-drop (not flush) and shower is a bucket shower. (Note: this area is so dry, that the facilities should be fine...not at all distasteful!) The area is spectacularly beautiful...and if I was going again,today, I'd pick San Camp over Jack's because it retains the old style. There is nothing else quite like amazing experience.

I expect Jacana is an excellent camp, because it it run by the same management team that runs Jao, Kwetsani and Tubu Tree. All have great reputations and have been getting great reviews this year. I'd have no doubts about this one...If you haven't already done so, visit the camps section you can see the newsletter for Jacana with a rundown of the wildlife action they have had there in the last few months. (Note: I'd advise taking a fine mesh mosquito net-- the type that goes over your hat for your mekoro trips... there are tiny gnat-like bugs that will bother your nose and eyes while low in the water in a mekoro. (We didn't have a problem with these in other boats.) The mekoro trips are absolutely beautiful, but you will enjoy them more if you don't have to worry about these tiny flying creatures.

I've heard general good things about Selinda...hope others have more specific knowledge for you.
tashak is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 12:30 AM
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As Tashak says, Jack's has been renovated and San is now as Jack's was. I just want to add though that Jack's has been redesigned to WS standards but not to WS style. Your tent is larger than the older Jack's tents. The interior canvas is still made from that beautiful patterned terracotta fabric. Beds are from Zanzibar and are a really unusual and very high design; they provide you steps to get up into bed. The bathroom in ensuite and under canvas but is absolutely charming - your "toilet" is an old fashioned wooden commode (like a wooden throne) and the bathroom is wood panelled inside. You have an outdoor shower too. They certainly haven't lose any of the charm or the unique design and ambiance though there are no longer bucket showers and drop loos.

Jacana is a magical camp and one of my very favourites of those we have visited. We were there last month. Managers David and Karen are very welcoming but also the entire staff are particularly good at really looking after you. With the exception of Mombo which is a different thing entirely, the food here was the best of any of WS' standard (classic and vintage) camps. The setting on an island in the middle of water (at this time of year) is also magical, the view from the tents over the water is just beautiful. In dry season though this camp is very different as the water recedes a LOT.
Kavey is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 06:53 AM
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Thanks so much for your thoughtful input. Jacuna sounds wonderful. We are comparing the above trip vs.

Matesti Water Lodge
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Chobe Game Lodge
Sanbibe Safari Lodge

We liked Matetsi and Sanbibe but were unsure about the other two and thought the first itinerary would offer better all around options. Would you recommend booking the first itinerary as is or do you have any suggested changes?

ac23 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 07:19 AM
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I know many do but I am reluctant to make comments on places I haven't stayed at myself as it's never easy to tell from websites/ prices alone what the true experience will be like.
Having not stayed at Siankaba or Selinda or any of the four you mention in your last post I find it hard to compare.

We haven't (yet) visited Vic Falls but in terms of Botswana I'd recommend including both a land camp (for standard game drive activities) and a water camp (if you're going when the floods are in) so that you can see what the "delta" is all about.

Different camps are known for different things... Savute (Wilderness Safaris) is known for wild dogs and elephants (though nothing is ever guaranteed) as well as a good range of other animals (we saw cheetah too). I believe Duba Plains is well known for lions and kills are frequent. Other camps might be better for hippos, yet others for leopards and cheetahs.

What animals/ experiences are you most looking for? Some people aren't interested in birds and smaller game or in the scenery itself and those people are often disappointed in water camps (we met a group like this ourselves) whereas others, like us, just love the contrast, the tranquillity, the beauty of water camps.

I'm probably not helping am I?
Kavey is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 07:40 AM
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You are helping, and I'm thankful that you take the time to respond. This is our first trip to Africa and I am thrilled to be going but overwhelmed with the limited time I have to research. For this trip, we are interested in seeing a variety of animals and scenery. We are not birders, but are always interested in learning. While we would like to see some big game, that is not our only focus. The water camps sound lovely and I'm sure we will enjoy the mekoro trips very much. I guess it's hard to go wrong - we'll be booking shortly!
ac23 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2004, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I think it IS hard to go wrong when choosing amongst camps that are all well thought of...

With limited research time it's worth ensuring you have an agent who is actually familiar with the country and camps in question.

Though we didn't book through him, Bert from Fish Eagle Safaris, based in the US, was very helpful.

We're in the UK and booked through Steppes Africa, between them they know everything I needed to know and are very patient and helpful.

Do you have an agent whose opinions you trust are based on your requirements rather than on commission percentages? Or are you booking directly with a local operator?

Kavey is offline  
Nov 20th, 2004, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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We were in Botswana and Vic. Falls in Aug. 03 and loved the WS camps we stayed in, especially Chitabe Trails. I would recommend highly The River Club on the Zambian side of the falls. It has individual chalets all open on one side to the Zambezi so you not only have this incredible view when you wake up but also can see/hear the hippos in the river. It's very colonial and breakfast and lunch are eaten outside on the lawn, buffet syle and it's quite a romantic place(marigold petals strewn all over your bed/bureau/bath). The service was great and they offer sunset cruises, visits to a local village, falls excursions, etc. It's all on the WS website.
moremiles is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2004, 05:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 244
Hi Moremiles,
I am considering the River Club for our May 2005 visit. Wondered what the temps were like in the evening and the open sided rooms ??
That property looks beautiful...
Like ac23, I also have been trying to find out more about the Islands of Siankaba.

wallybrenda is offline  

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