Chiawa Camp vs Kulefu in Zambia?

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Mar 28th, 2004, 02:13 PM
  #1
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Chiawa Camp vs Kulefu in Zambia?

Does anybody have comment on a comparison between these two camps in Zambia in the Lower Zambezi National Park? Thanks in advance......
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Mar 28th, 2004, 03:22 PM
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Unfortunately, I don't think any Fodorite I know of has stayed at Chiawa. It does look like an amazing camp, and as their website states, they were selected by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the top 10 in all Africa.

If money is not an object (or if Star Of Africa will not offer you discounted prices at Kulefu) then I would say that Chiawa looks like it is the way to go, although the Sausage Tree Camp also looks great (as does Kulefu).

Also, since I believe you may also be planning on going to South Luangwa, there are some amazing looking itineraries listed on Chiawa's websites, under "Safari Options." Here are my personal favorites and I suggest you send these out to a few different tour operators for prices:

As a general guideline, the following all-inclusive safaris (excluding international airfares) will cost approximately US$440 per person per night sharing. However we recommend that you contact a reputable, specialist safari tour operator to assist you with information and reservations.


GEM OF ZAMBIA I
(Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa, Kafue-Busanga)
14 nights ? Robin Pope Safaris, Chiawa Camp, African Experience
5 Nights South Luangwa (Nkwali and Tena Tena / Nsefu)
4 Nights Lower Zambezi (Chiawa Camp)
5 Nights Kafue-Busanga (Lunga River Lodge and Busanga Plains Bush Camp)


GEM OF ZAMBIA II
(Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa, Kafue-Busanga)
10 nights ? Robin Pope Safaris, Chiawa Camp, African Experience
4 Nights South Luangwa (Nkwali and Tena Tena / Nsefu)
2 Nights Lower Zambezi (Chiawa Camp)
4 Nights Kafue-Busanga (Lunga River Lodge and Busanga Plains Bush Camp)


ZAMBIA SPECIAL 14
(Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa, Victoria Falls)
14 nights ? Norman Carr Safaris, Chiawa Camp, River Club
8 Nights South Luangwa (Kapani Lodge and Bush Camps)
4 Nights Lower Zambezi (Chiawa Camp)
2 Nights Victoria Falls (River Club)


ZAMBIA SPECIAL ? 10
(Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa, Victoria Falls)
10 nights ? Norman Carr Safaris, Chiawa Camp, River Club
6 Nights South Luangwa (Kapani Lodge and Bush Camps)
2 Nights Lower Zambezi (Chiawa Camp)
2 Nights Victoria Falls (River Club)

Good luck.
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Mar 31st, 2004, 06:50 PM
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Was that a thank you I heard? Guess not.

Please, if I take the time to answer not one, but two of your posts, the least you can do is say thank you.

But, as people say, I shouldn't blame you for a lack of manners, I should blame your parents.

In both occasions I was the only person to take time to respond, yet a simple "thank you" proved to be too much effort on your part.
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Mar 31st, 2004, 06:55 PM
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And forgive me if the "thanks in advance" should apply in this case.

Reminds me of the recent Larry David episode in which Ben Stiller has a birthday party with the instructions to his guests of "No Gifts Please."

Ultimately, all of the guests except Larry David bring gifts, knowing that although it was stated that there was a request of "No Gifts Please", that nobody really follows that rule. EVERYBODY knows that it is just said to be polite.

So, even when I see a "Thanks in advance", an after-the-fact simple thank you would be appreciated. I thought everybody knew that, and I do think one week after the first post and three days after the second post is sufficient response time.
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Apr 4th, 2004, 10:33 PM
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hi msdonut,
Are you still looking for info about these camps (and about other operators in Zambia)? I have spent a total of 5 or six weeks in Zambia over the last two years, and have been at Star of Africa camps (including Kulefu), all the RPS camps, and others. Unfortunately I have not been to Chiawa...but may get there this season. Email me directly if you are still looking for info...
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Apr 24th, 2004, 11:05 PM
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Hello Tashak,

Zambia intrigues me,have you heard of Remote safari? What are your suggestions & thanks in advance?
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Apr 25th, 2004, 07:45 AM
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Patty,
Sorry, haven't heard of Remote Safaris...do they own their own camps? Where are they based? Or do they offer tours (eg fixed itineraries) .
What is it that you are looking for in Zambia?
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Apr 25th, 2004, 11:22 AM
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Tashak,

I think she is talking about Remote Africa. Remote Africa's main lodge is Tafika in the Nsefu Sector (close to Kaingo) and Remote Africa also has some bushcamps. One thing that Remote Africa may boast that others may not is that they offer microlighting, kind of a hangglider with an engine attached to it. I do hope to go microlighting, but I will only be able to do so if it is not booked up by the guests at Tafika.

www.remoteafrica.com

Remote Africa is just another example of a top quality operator in Zambia. Only Tafika and Tena Tena earned an "A" rating in Mark Nolting's guidebook.

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Apr 25th, 2004, 12:14 PM
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Thanks, Roccco...I knew I had heard the name somewhere, but couldn't remember where. They also have a camp in N. Luangwa, Mwaleshi Camp. I didn't stay there, I did the only other camp in N. Luangwa, Kutandala Camp. Kutandala (and N. Luangwa) is incredible... but not for a first trip, unless one has lots of time. That is mostly because this is the area that was almost poached out of existence...made famous by Mark & Delia Owens and the book "Eye of the Elephant". Thanks to Mark's plan, and financial help from the Frankfurt Zoo, the poaching has been curtailed, but there are fewer animals there than in S. Luangwa. Also, the activities are totally walk oriented there.. Wonderful wilderness experience however as there are only accomodations for perhaps 16 people in the WHOLE PARK.

Patty, if you (or Roccco) are interested in N. Luangwa, do a search on Zambia on Slate Magazines website. There is a series of articles by Richard Bangs, including on his stay at Mwaleshi Camp in N. Luangwa.

There are so many wonderful places still to visit in Zambia...
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Apr 25th, 2004, 03:13 PM
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Thanks Roccco & Tashak.

Like you,Tashak,I also read Mark & Delia Owen's Eye Of The Elephant-what fabulous work they've done. I was totally captivated.
You're right Roccco, it's Remote Africa(I suppose I was also thinking of safari hence remote safaris-haha). Reading that book makes you want to go to Zambia.
You need a PHD just to know "all" these names!
Is Tena tena also operated by Remote Africa? I'm going to take a look at the e-mail sent & get right back to you.
Roccco,you mentioned that only tafika & tena tena received an A.
Would you believe,friends of mine could have gone on a safari(to S.Africa)for free but due to her teaching schedule could not go.
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Apr 25th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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Tashak & Roccco,

I went on the Owen's website. I think remote operates in N. Luangwa. Apparently,someone said that John & Carol Coppinger give an experience of a life time! Their camp is on the Mwaleshi river & is the stuff of dreams.
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Apr 26th, 2004, 09:27 AM
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Hi Patty,
Tena Tena is a Robin Pope Safaris camp, and it is my favorite (so far) in Zambia. Tented camp-- which is a bit unusual in Zambia, where many of the upscale camps (and the moderate ones) tend to go for thatch chalets. I love tents of the ground, there is just something about being in a tent that is lovely in Africa. And these tents have a veranda (unzip in the morning) and a private but open-to-the-sky shower/loo at one end (again, you zip this off at night, but can go there if necessary!)

Had fabulous guides, game experiences...everything there. (Robin still guides, and I had him several times there. Once I was the only guest, and it was an incredible drive. Incomparable experience... The other guides have been with RPS for years, and are also super (so don't think a visit is contingent on Robin being there...he loves to guide, but isn't always available to do it. I'd go again this year, without question, but Tena Tena doesn't open until June...

Now, I should mention that many of the chalets in Zambia are very open, and many are made of thin reeds, so you do feel very much part of the environment, not at all cut off. But there is a magic about being in a tent. Unless you already know that you prefer one or the other, I'd really recommend a combo of experiences so you can sense it all, and decide for yourself where your preferences lie...

In any case, a visit to TT is highly, highly recommended...
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Apr 27th, 2004, 08:30 AM
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Thank you Tashak;do you know anything re Tafika?
Thanks again
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Apr 27th, 2004, 08:09 PM
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Hi Patty,
No, sorry, don't know anything (from personal experience or those of anyone I know) from Tafika. I don't even recall seeing it on any of my travels (which doesn't mean anything...I only say that because I been past Chichele and Puku Ridge, even though I didn't stay there, and that often provides an idea of the environment, construction, etc.

Hope you can find someone here who does...sounds like they have gotten very good "press" reviews. Are you dealing with them directly, or with a travel agent?
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Apr 27th, 2004, 10:05 PM
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Tashak,

How did you feel about the location of Kulefu Tented Camp? I am noticing that Kulefu does not appear to be set against the Zambezi River, unlike Chiawa, Sausage Tree Camp and Kasaka. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing.

How did the game viewing compare to the South Luangwa?

Whatever else of interest that you may recall about Kulefu will be appreciated.
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Apr 28th, 2004, 06:40 AM
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Just a quick one here Roccco...
When I was there in 2003 they said they were moving the site of the camp, but it is still on the water. If it is not on the Zam proper, it is still just a little distance up one of the tributaries feeding into the main river. I thought the new site actually looked prettier than the former one...

I don't think game was as concentrated as in SL...there are lots of lion there, but in 3 days we didn't see any. The guide said they had been around, alot, the previous week but had, in the way of lions, were just moving around. (The big flood in 2000 had disturbed alot of the lions territories (removing all scent-marking identifiers) so when the cats moved back, they were still jousting for territorial claims in 2003, or so we were told.) Absolutely super leopard sightings, and lots of them. Hunting. Getting prey stolen by hyena. Just sitting, regally for some of the best photos. Some elephants, along the river, but not alot...all the usual prey animals, but in smaller quantities than in SL. And all the usual river inhabitants-- hippo, crocs, etc. Wonderful birding. And sport fishing, for those so inclined... It is definitely worth a visit, but not as intense, game-wise, as Luangwa.

Big difference between Kulefu and other camps I've visited in Zambia and Botswana were the tents. They were smaller (raised platforms) and older. Smaller meant less light got in, too.. so less stylish than TT, Lechwe Plains, BushCamp company or Botswana tented camps.

A bit more like really camping, in that they are not decorator places to lounge...But I wonder if they have replaced them..could be they were just waiting to move the camp and start fresh.

Still, for the rate you got, I think this is a very good value...but be warned, the tents and decorating are stylish. Comfortable, serviceable, but definitely not stylish...
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Apr 28th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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PS to Roccco-- I hope I didn't create the wrong impression about Kulefu...I will always pick a great guide and great wildlife experience over accomodations, and I loved Kulefu for those reasons. But I know you have been to places like Singita that have really striking, beautiful accomodations, and enjoy them. (Who wouldn't?) The old Kulefu (2003 and prior) is not in that category.
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Apr 28th, 2004, 08:56 PM
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Tashak, I really want to thank you again. I have not planned anything but I am very interested. That being said,your advice is really great & when I do decide I will certainly ask you.
I've enjoyed reading your posts.
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Apr 28th, 2004, 09:19 PM
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Tashak,

Thanks. It sounds like a great place. Perhaps not as breathtaking as Chiawa or Sausage Tree Camp, but with a lot of substance and quality gameviewing. Looking forward to those leopards and hope that the lions have returned.
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Apr 28th, 2004, 09:32 PM
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Patty, Have fun planning...and I can't believe that someone would have to pass up a free trip to Africa. What a shame!

Roccco-- I think you will enjoy Kulefu...and there is always a Sausage Tree or Chiawa for the future. Were you the one who first mentioned Chiawa here? The more I learn about that place, the more I want to go there on a future trip.
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