Botswana or Zambia for first-timers?

Nov 11th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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Horizon Bound,

For the 10 night itinerary that LuangwaBlondes suggested, you would only need to fly from Joburg to Lusaka and from Lusaka to Mfuwe.

Approximate Costs:

Kafunta Safaris 10 night South Luangwa/North Luangwa safari: $2,630pps

Lusaka - Mfuwe - Lusaka: $320pp

Joburg to Lusaka to Joburg: $400pp

Grand total: $3,350 pps

One other good thing about this safari for June is that you are far enough north where the early morning and nighttime temperatures will be only mildly cool. On the other hand, Botswana in June gets very cold and cold weather does make game drives in open vehicles, as well as sleeping in tents and thatched chalets, somewhat uncomfortable.
Roccco is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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Rocco is right about the temperatures. June is really nice in Luangwa valley. It is a little nippy in the evenings and early mornings in Botswana. For the Cape area it is into the winter, and it gets cold there.

As far as flights, you should be able to save money by flying into Capetown first, do the safari and fly out of Lusaka to go home.
luangwablondes is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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I have been working on FF seats and it looks like my airfare will be in/out of JNB.

If that is the cost of the extra airfare for Lusaka, then the Zambia itinerary is in the same price range as a mobile safari in Botswana (or at least the example on the site).

So then it would come down to which to choose for a first trip ~~~ not that Zambia is 'subsantially' cheaper... OR, I guess it could be considered substantially cheaper when you are comparing lodges.

Maybe it is more accurate to say that it comes down to a mobile safari in Botswana or lodges in Zambia.

Still tough....

Thanks for all the additional info. Additional info is always good & bad -- more decisions and choices
HorizonBound is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 05:12 PM
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Buffalo Camp-Shiwa Safaris
You can check out their website for the camp in North Luangwa-which Kafunta uses.
luangwablondes is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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One thing that many travelers do not realize is that when getting frequent flier seats on South African Airways, you are also entitled to a free regional add-on flight. If you are, in fact, flying SAA then that means that you would be able to get a free flight from Joburg - Lusaka. I have taken advantage of this twice already on my previous visits.

SAA does not fly into Maun, so you would be footing the bill for a flight from Joburg - Maun for a Botswanan mobile safari.
Roccco is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 05:22 PM
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Just a slight clarification...if you are flying into South Africa from the USA or Europe, then you would be entitled to a free regional flight on one of SAA's routes.

Also, it would be wasteful to use this freebie on a Joburg - Cape Town flight because you could get this flight for a very reasonable price through Kulula or Nationwide instead of SAA.
Roccco is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 08:27 PM
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Thanks, Rocco. I am not flying SAA. It will be a combo of KLM & AF, in/out of JNB. So, all the extra flights from JNB will be 'extra expense'. Thanks for clarifying -- in case others want to use that as an option -- about the SAA routes

I will be looking into Kulula -- I have looked at their site previously.

luangwablondes -- thanks for the additional link. I will review that tomorrow

HorizonBound is offline  
Nov 12th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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As I recall it does not fly international routes. Look at Nationwide as you might be able to get a competitively priced ticket JNB-MUB, surface, LVI-JNB. They had an agreement with Air Botswana that allowed you to surface between Maun and Livingstone using two carriertes Air Bots & Nationwide and for a time this was the cheapest routing.

You might also want to check out Air Botswana's frequency ex Cape Town. not entirely sure but heard that they were introducing this service.

Also check out Air Bots schedules into Kasane, might be less expensive to do that and run with gametrails from Kasane to Maun.
mkhonzo is offline  
Nov 14th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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The recent canoeing post gave me another idea.

5 night Bush Experience
2 nights Kafunta River Lodge
2 nights Island Bush Camp
1 night Kafunta River Lodge

Fly Mfuwe to Mana Pools or Chirundu

3 nights Chitake Springs Bush Camping

4 night canoeing and walking safari

• 1 nights Vundu Camp
• 1 night Chessa Camp
• 1 night Chitembe or llala
• 1 night Chikwenya Camp * this is a great camp, my 1st time there was in ‘87

Fly Mana Pools to Vic Falls

luangwablondes is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 12:19 AM
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Because I was inquiring about something else, I decided to ask about an itinerary for you in Zimbabwe.

1 night Kariba in a lodge.
Transfer by road to....
2 nights Chitake Springs
2 nights Mana Pools.
Return to Kariba by road then air charter to Musango Camp Matusadona for 3 nights
Air charter to...
3 nights Hwange at The Hide
Road transfer to....
2 nights Illala Lodge, Vic Falls

This may have to be done in reverse, depending on internal flights.

If they are able to spend +/- US$3000 then I feel it is worth them doing it properly and not short cutting. The majority of the above is an itinerary offered to us as Tour Operators by the agents for those camps/lodges and for what they include it is a very good and comprehensive deal. This is going to give them an all inclusive safari, with top guides at the top lodges/camps. It includes all food, accommodation, game drives, walks, transfers, Parks fees etc.

.. would also suggest that they consider flying into Lusaka, rather than Harare. They may find it cheaper and it is also 2 hours closer to Kariba and Vic Falls than Harare

*This surprised me. Chitake Springs-National Geographic did a special about lions there over 3 years. I saw wild dog here. Many upmarket safari companies base their walks from the same bush camp. Mana Pools is one of the top parks in Africa. Good canoeing also with lots of wildlife to be seen from the river and on walks. The game have the run or the camps. Matusadona- here I did a walk and tracked a pride of 26 lions to their buffalo kill-all in a semi circle around us with our backs to the lake. Myself, a guide, and a rifle with one bullet.
Hwange-speaks for itself. The Hide is special.
The best part, until Hwange, you may not see many other tourists.
Also, guides in Zim are considered the best in Africa. The hoops they need to jump to be a guide is not easy.
luangwablondes is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 06:13 AM
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luangwablondes ~~~ Thanks for this info I will go over it in depth later on today. If we wanted to go with this, how would we go about booking it? I also have to research the airfare involved. Thanks for the help.
HorizonBound is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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Which one?
The Zambia/Mana Pools with Chitake Sprgs and 4 camps, or the 2nd one?
luangwablondes is offline  
Nov 17th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Not sure which ones interest you so here are a couple choices.

2 nights Kafunta River Lodge
2 nights Island Bush Camp
1 night Kafunta River Lodge $1240ppn

Transfer to Kariba -1 nite

6 Night Canoe/Walk combination
US$ 1134.00

See if you can get a price for Chitake Springs for a 2 nites, before the canoeing.Then 1 nite Vendu, 1 nite Chessa, 1 nite Chitembe or Ilala Camp, and 1 nite Chikwenya Camp * this is a great camp, my 1st time there was in ‘87-for canoeing. The Natureways owner is an excellent guide.

Cameron Harvey Safaris provided the all Zim Itinerary.

I think this one needs a little tweaking to confirm a few details.But, both are good itineraries.
luangwablondes is offline  
Nov 17th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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If you email me at luangwablondes at juno dot com, with what itinerary you are looking at, I will give you several companies to request a quote from and somethings you might to look for. The transfers and flights need to be coordinated.

You're lucky. I've got a couple friends doing something similar, so this hasn't been a hassle. I may even be doing the quite a bit of the Zim-Cameron Harvey type thing with different twists on my next trip.
luangwablondes is offline  
Nov 17th, 2005, 03:45 PM
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Thanks SO much for the offer. I will try to do some more reviewing this weekend and definitely email you in a few days.
HorizonBound is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 12:23 AM
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Please help. I have spent hours on this site researching and trying to plan our first and probably our only trip to Africa. I am becoming more concerned about the pricing the more time I spend. My hope was to do a trip of about two weeks with stops in Cape Town, Botswana and Victoria Falls. We are youmg 60 year olds but no longer want to rough it. I love the look of the 5 paws properties from Wilderness Safaris but not sure if we can afford them. Hoping to spend no more than $6K per person not including air from the US as we will use FF miles. I am now becoming curious about Zambia. I would like to be in the open vehicles and not with a lot of crowds. We are looking at 2007 but it will only get more expensive so I guess Aug or so of 2006. We have friends going then but they are spending $10K each as I have their plans and that was just more than we wanted to spend. Please help.
spiegelcjs is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 02:38 AM
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You could enjoy the very best that Zambia has to offer for significantly less than $10K per person.

Something like this would be a wonderful introductory trip to high season Zambia and about 5K per person excluding international air to Lusaka, Zambia, but including your Zambian light air transfers:

Royal Livingstone, Victoria Falls (2)
Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa (5)
Chiawa Camp, Lower Zambezi (5)

For a 10 night safari, it would not make sense to jump around to more lodges, as this would just add to the expense. By committing to a longer stay at each Luangwa River Lodge and Chiawa, you are realizing a discounted per night charge than if you were to stay fewer nights. Plus, with the experience that you will likely have at these two camps, you would not be well served to hop around too much.

There would be other options to consider, such as a 10 night South Luangwa/North Luangwa from Kafunta Safaris. It is only $2,630 per person sharing and much of the 10 nights would be on a private safari with your own guide and vehicle.

So, the above is $5,260 plus another $700 ($350pp) for your air transfer from Lusaka to South Luangwa. Throw in a couple nights at the Royal Livingstone with air transfers and you are looking at another $1,300 ($650pp) and now you are at only $7,260 total. Stop there or go to Chiawa for 5 nights, adding in another $4,740.

For a total of $6K per person, you would do the following itinerary:

Royal Livingstone (2)
Kafunta River Lodge, S Luangwa (2)
Kafunta Island Bush Camp, S Luangwa (2)
Wilderness Camp, Luambe (1)
Buffalo Camp, North Luangwa (3)
Kafunta River Lodge, S Luangwa (2)
Chiawa Camp, Lower Zambezi (5)

Including your air transfers, your 17 night high season Zambian safari would come out to about $352.50 per person per night sharing. If you take out Lower Zambezi, you would then be looking at about $7,250 ($3,625pp) for a 12 night safari (2 nights in Victoria Falls at the only 5* hotel in Victoria Falls and the closest luxury hotel to the falls in the Royal Livingstone, and a 10 night safari with Kafunta Safaris). That works out to only $302 pp per night sharing for a 12 night high season Zambian safari and leaves you more than enough money to splurge a bit in Cape Town and still come in under your $5K per person budget.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about the above. Best of luck wherever you decide to visit.
Roccco is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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I can suggest a couple of options that might fit the bill.

1) 1 nite Lilayi Lodge-Lusaka
Fly Mfwue
4 nites Kafuta
Fly North Luangwa NP
4 nites Kutendala
Fly Mfuwe to Lusaka to Livingstone
transfer to Vic Falls.
Accomodations less and better
views of the falls.
2 nites Illala Lodge
Fly Capetown
3 nites Capetown Hotel?
maybe hire driver/car
2 nites Lanzerac
Hire private guide for a one day
wine tour

Something you may not of considered.
2)1 nite Harare
4 nites Mana Pools-Chikwenya-
4 nites Hwange-Makalo Plains
2 nites Vic Falls-Illala Lodge
3 nites Capetown
2 nites Stellenbosch -Lanzerac

E-gnu had rates for
Makalao Plains-$380pppn
Lanzerac-approx $220pppn

With flights, transfers, and driver/guides(Cptn)they should come in under the mark. Maybe even room for a couple activities like a microlite flight, booze cruise and ? at VF.

If not, they can be tweaked. Was already looking at these by coincidence.

I think if Rocco has another look, he might have some other alternatives for you.I don't recommend the Kafunta Safari that includes North Luangwa for you. I am afraid that the 8-10 hour road transfer on that particular safari between South Luangwa and North Luangwa might be a bit too much in an open vehicle for young 60 yr olds. Its all tracks and 2 river crossings(these are fun) with a few dry sandy river beds between and plenty of dongas.

luangwablondes is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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If you want open vehicles, not a lot of crowds, and are cost conscious, I think Zambia (or Zimbabwe) would be a good option.

You didn't mention what you thought about hiking and canoeing, something Zambia and Zimbabwe are noted for.

Zambia's South Luangwa does not require hoofing it and the Lower Zambezi does not require canoeing. It just might be a shame not to include those options if you go those places. You can get small motor boat rides on the Lower Zambezi so you can still experience water based safaris there and not do canoeing. I loved my motor boat trip there complete trumpeting eles on the shore.

I know you can do great game drives in Mana Pools in Zimbabwe (in addition to walking and canoeing), but don't know about motor boats.

Really really remote is Zambia's North Luangwa, as has been suggested. My favorite camp of all time anywhere is Kutandala in North Luangwa, but that is all walking. 4-5 nights are suggested here.

Something else you might consider are luxury camping safaris in Botswana. I've done one through Wilderness and it was just lovely and not physically demanding.

Here are some links for a variety of luxury camping options that I am sure would meet your "not roughing it" needs.
Exploration Safaris

Good luck to you and please post again.

atravelynn is offline  

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