Botswana/Zambia Trip - Need Tips!

Jul 1st, 2005, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
We are going to Kaingo and mwamba at the end of September and we did book everything through Juliet at Shenton safaris. She took care of bookinh the other camps and flights. Will let you know when we return how it went if you are interested.
mpkp is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,216
Agree with Tashak re the repellent impregnated clothing.
a) Mosquitos don't really bite through clothing - they go for unexposed areas of skin such as ankles, necks, hands etc.
b) Insects aren't too bothersome at this time of year
c) Some camps (such as Wilderness Safaris) provide sunblock and repellent and repellent doesn't take up much space in your luggage anyway, since you won't need much as you'll find that you'll wear long sleeves and trousers in the cool evenings anyway and the mossies won't be biting in the heat of the day when you have more skin exposed anyway so you won't need to use that much repellent anyway!

PS, I'm female
PPS, I don't travel that much! I did one 2+ week trip to Botswana and Namibia in 2001, one short trip to Masai Mara in April 2004 and one 9 week trip to Southern Africa in May and June 2004. I guess because I was away for 9 weeks we fitted in what might usually take 3 or 4 trips to do so...
There are many here who have been many times more often and to many more places too!
Kavey is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Last year I did book directly with Shenton but I would probably book with a good agent in the future. I have a couple very good contacts for Zambia so if you need any help do not hesitate to e-mail me and I will put you on the right path.
Roccco is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Also I should mention that there are so many good looking camps in South Luangwa that it is very hard to choose between them.

At the end of next month I leave for what will be my 3rd Zambian safari in as many years, and despite this being my 3rd visit to South Luangwa I am not revisiting a single camp that I have previously visited. I have been completely happy with my past experiences at Kafunta River Lodge, Kafunta Island Bush Camp, Kaingo and Chichele Presidential Lodge, but the lodges keep getting better and better.

The two newest lodges in South Luangwa are also possibly the two most luxurious lodges in two of the very best locations. These are the two camps that I am choosing for this year and here are the links to these camps:

Luangwa River Lodge

Puku Ridge

I had the chance to tour Puku Ridge for about 30 minutes last year and its location is FABULOUS and its tents are amazing. The swimming pool is really nice and offers the best views of the plains below and the views from the spacious balcony from each tent is equally amazing.

Kaingo or Tafika ( combine very nicely with a place like Luangwa River Lodge.

With Tafika you have the opportunity to microlight, and this is the only safari camp that I know of in all of Africa that offers this activity.

I actually tried to book into Tafika for a couple nights this year but it was unavailable.

In my opinion, a minimum of six nights is required for South Luangwa, splitting it between two different camps (such as a Luangwa River Lodge / Tafika combination).

Roccco is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 859
Thanks Rocco! I wouldn't have even thought about Zambia until I saw your posts. It looks great. Have you stayed near Mana Pools? It looks quite groovy online. With no previous experience with this, is it possible to combine Zambia and Botswana in a 16-19 day Safari? I would def. be interested in your Zambia contacts. I'll e-mail you after the fourth weekend, unless I can get my home computer to work again....Thanks much
cooncat is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

It would be a piece of cake to combine Botswana with Zambia. Victoria Falls is the gateway to each country and would be the middle point.

E-mail me and we'll talk further.

I don't know when you are planning your visit, but if budget is any concern (a 16-19 day safari may get awfully costly), you may be best off starting in late June in Botswana (just before high season pricing starts on July 01st) and then moving over to Zambia for early July. Zambia is good pricing yearround, but is REALLY GREAT pricing between November 01st - May 31st.

If budget is not such a concern, August - September may be the best times to visit. We'll talk more when you e-mail me.
Roccco is offline  
Jul 1st, 2005, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814 my opinion, Luangwa deserves a longer stay. I'd say a minimum of 8 or 9 nights, though I've done more and enjoyed every minute. I also enjoy time chilling, with maybe a few game drives, at one of the pay-as-you go places like Wildlife Camp and Flatdogs. Then on to some of the fullout camps or lodges with a bit more luxury.
tashak is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9
Hi Canechick,

I just returned from May and June in Botswana, including a 10 day safari and two days in Livingstone. Our safari was a mobile one, so I can't comment on the lodges, but during my whole time in Bostwana I never felt unsafe attention (I am also tall and blonde).

Also, I loved Livingstone. The Falls were, of course, wonderful, but there are lots of things to do there other than the outdoor adventure things. It is a pretty little city and we enjoyed just walking around, especially after 10 days of no physical activity.

Our safari was June 1 to 10 and we had great weather, but be prepared for COLD mornings. Layer layer layer.
lizly is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2
My wife and I just returned from Botswana (our 5th trip there). Duba Plains is great. Wonderful lion/buffalo interaction; Dereck & Beverly Joubert were there filming their next National Geographic piece (will air in Feb. 05. The staff headed by Paul, Molosi and Ashleigh are great fun.Lebala is a beautiful camp, again, good game viewing. Savuti is special. Try to get tent #7. Be sure to plan a morning in the woodpile hide watching the elephants at the waterhole. You will be as close to elephants as you'll ever get on the ground. Tongabezi is a spectacular lodge. Be sure and visit the Tujatane Trust school there that Vanessa Parker (wife of the owner Ben Parker) started in 1996. A great success story. You are going to have a beautiful trip.
dray8211 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Thanks for the feedback on Savuti and Duba Plains.

Was this a repeat visit at each camp?

Did you visit any other camps on this particular safari?

How do you insulate yourself from the June weather?

I am thinking of a mid June - early July visit next year but I am scared of the cold weather. However, if I go earlier I don't think gameviewing will be as strong. If I go later then prices will go up about 40% for high season. A case of pick your poison.
Roccco is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2
Rocco, it was a repeat visitto Duba, first to Suvuti, although we had driven to Savuti from King's Pool on prior trips. July is the coldest month in Botswana. You might try late May or Early June. It's still cold, but not as bad as July. Polar fleece shrits worn under your jacket will keep you warm. Take a wool scarf and 2 hats; one polar fleece that will cover the ears in the early emorning, and one that has a visor to shade your eyes from the sun, after you no longer need the polar fleece. By 9:30-10a.m. it's warm enough for shorts.
dray8211 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2005, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

Thanks for the tips on staying warm.

Were you fortunate enough to see Wild Dogs while at Savuti?

One reason I want to wait until mid June is in the hopes that the Wild Dogs will have picked a den by then. That and the fact that I am delusional and think there is about a 10% chance that I will run the Comrades Marathon...probably not finish it before the cutoff, but at least give it a good go. The Comrades Marathon is legendary and is regarded as one of the toughest road races in the world. It happens on Youth Day (June 16) every year and is run between Durban - Pietermaritzburg.

I am considering an itinerary such as this:

Durban (3) 6/15 - 6/17
(Kwando) Lebala (3) 6/18- 6/20
Savuti (3) 6/21 - 6/23
Duba Plains (3) 6/24 - 6/26
(Kwando) Kwara Island (3) 6/27 - 6/29
Paris or Amsterdam (2) 7/01 - 7/02
Arrive home on 7/03 in time for 4th of July.

Not sure whether or not I will be able to afford Mombo at the end. It is more than double the price for Mombo than any of the other camps on my itinerary. 12 nights seems like it will be a good introduction to Botswana.

Have you been to Kwando's camps before?
Roccco is offline  
Jul 4th, 2005, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,276
Hi Canechick,
We just got back from a trip to Africa that ended in Botswana. We stayed at Nxbega, so I can't comment on your camps, but you will love it no matter where you are, i would think. Don't worry about mosquitos in June. We didn't see a single one and never put on any repellent. I can confirm the little gnat or whatever they are, but they don't bite. There were also a lot of just regular flies during the heat of the day in the trees. By the way - heat of the day is accurate. it will be fairly cool at night (although we had some pretty warm ones) and then warm and sunny during the day. Definitely bring sunscreen. And depending on how susceptible you are to cold, you might want ot bring some long johns to sleep in. I only needed them one night but I was glad I had them.

I want to put in a plug at this point for seeing Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side. Very safe, very friendly and very beautiful. We stayed at Ilala Lodge right in Vic Falls and had a marvelous time. We walked to a local restaurant at night and never felt unsafe. The only problem is that you need to make sure you have cash since most places (except for the hotels) can't take credit cards. You see a much larger pedrcentage of the falls from Zimbabwe and the people there are desperate for tourists and the "hard currency" they bring. They will bend over backwards to make your stay pleasant.
jcasale is offline  
Jul 5th, 2005, 06:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 42
I did not realize Ilalya Lodge was on the Zimbawbwe side of the falls. We stayed at River Club, on the Zam side, and it was lovely, very calm and peaceful, and about a 25 minute drive to the Falls.
Carol_Hill is offline  

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