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Dennis's Trip Report: Caprivi Strip, Vic Falls and Hwange Park, Zimbabwe

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Nov 20th, 2006, 07:49 PM
  #121
santharamhari
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Thanks Dennis, for incorporating a bit of info on the current situation in Zim. Lovely report that i enjoyed reading.

Kind regards,
Hari
 
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Nov 20th, 2006, 10:15 PM
  #122
 
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Dennis,

Truly an interesting, informative and enjoyable report. Thanks. No doubt Africa's in your heart.

One thing I have deep reservations about, no matter how well it is done...releasing captive-bred or captive-raised lions back into the wild, especially in Zambia. I described it in another thread as akin to 'lambs to the slaughter' because of the hunting industry in that country, a shortage of mature males mentioned on one hunting website, and the talk we've heard of hunting concessions luring lions out of SLNP. On your trip, was there any discussion of where in Zambia such lions would be released (far from hunting concessions?) or why Botswana is not a destination? As you are probably aware, trophy hunting exists in Botswana but hunting of lions has been banned for some years. There doesn't appear to be a shortage of mature males there.

John
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Nov 21st, 2006, 03:27 AM
  #123
 
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Dennis,
I'll miss this good read. You have such a wonderful way of making one feel like they're along for the ride.
You've made me excited about adding Zimb. to my Bots. trip.
Sherry
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Nov 21st, 2006, 05:06 AM
  #124
 
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Bravo Dennis! Thanks for such a great report and taking us along for the journey! Sounds like Zimbabwe is a viable and safe destination. Glad things took a turn for the much better!

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Nov 21st, 2006, 08:13 AM
  #125
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John, I agree. I don't have all the answers and didn't ask all the right questions. I just hope the program is successful and the lions will be released in safe areas with the purpose of increasing the lion population and not turning them over to the hunting concessions. Will have to wait and see when they do the release.
Thanks Sherry and Cooncat! Sherry, you're going to love Zim!
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Nov 21st, 2006, 08:25 AM
  #126
 
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Loved your trip report Dennis! I remember asking our guide in Chobe NP where had all the 20,000+ elephants I have read about gone...all he did was point and say "way out there somewhere". Guess now the translation meant Angola!

Will be following the Lion Encounter situation..would love to do this!

Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to see your photos!!!!

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Nov 21st, 2006, 09:57 AM
  #127
 
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Dennis: Great report with some tremendous experiences. No doubt something like your rum run can become such a special experience as you enter the daily lives of the community (even if only for a short time) as opposed to living in the tourist world.

It would be great if you would paste your Lion Encounter thoughts on that previous discussion thread since you have some first hand thoughts that would really add for those researching it.

John: my understanding from exchanging some emails with the Lion Encounter folks is they are totally dependent on finding parks/reserves that need to boost their lion numbers or even restore from a zero lion population and the one Zambia location is the first to be interested (and from Dennis it sounds like they have a second site now too). They did not tell me anything about the locations so I'm not sure what the hunting situation is. It seems to me that Botswana and South Africa are way ahead on modern wildlife management practices and they would be more likely to move nomads or prides from well managed high density areas rather than the very risky undertaking of introducing a captive population. I really hope their reintroduction efforts succeed and I just hope they don't over breed because I think finding suitable/sustainable habitat is the tough part and the big reason for lion decline. I believe it's more of a not enough good homes left with shrinking habitat leading to lions on the edge disappearing rather than lots of great lion habitat that is unoccupied, but hopefully the future will bring more land rehabilitation projects that lead to the need for stocking new wildlife populations as that is the role the Lion Encounter project could potentially fill.
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Nov 21st, 2006, 10:15 AM
  #128
 
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Oh no, it's over. But what a trip and trip report it has been.
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Nov 21st, 2006, 03:37 PM
  #129
 
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Sipping amarula with the elephants...
where else but Africa??

As Foster might say, "Oh my God what a fabulous trip report!" Enjoyed the read immensely, thanks, Deb
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Nov 21st, 2006, 04:51 PM
  #130
 
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Dennis,
I'm sorry to see your trip report come to an end. Because of your engaging report I'm seriously considering Zimbabwe as part of my next trip. Tented camps like Somalisa are what I'm interested in. And Foster sounds like the kind of guide I'd follow anywhere! What is the average cost per nite per person at Somalisa? Please keep us posted on the cultural visit he is working on.
Lily
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Nov 21st, 2006, 06:17 PM
  #131
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Lillipets~I will keep you posted on Foster's cultural village tour, mail is slow to/from Zimbabwe!
We paid around $1500. each for four nights at Somalisa and that included the charter flight to/from Victoria Falls/Hwange. Very reasonable considering all we got to see and do while there.
Pred~I can't find the original thread to post on.
Carla, Lynn, Deb~thanks, i'm sorry to see it end too...would have liked to write about 30 more nights there!
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Nov 21st, 2006, 07:07 PM
  #132
 
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Dennis,
Here's the thread where the lion walk discussion originally started http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34862160

I'm happy you finished your trip report before I leave but at the same time sad that it has come to an end.

Do you know how much of that $1500 was for the Vic Falls/Hwange charter flights?
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Nov 21st, 2006, 07:39 PM
  #133
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Thanks Patty! I don't know how much the flights were, it wasn't broken down on the invoice. Was Sefofane about 45 minutes each way if you have anything to compare to. nothing on sefofanes website with pricing.
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Nov 21st, 2006, 07:42 PM
  #134
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My understanding is, Hwange is easy and safe for a drive transfer from Vic falls to any of the camps....maybe more economical and a good way to see the country side?

Hari
 
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Nov 21st, 2006, 07:47 PM
  #135
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Hari~yes it's a two hour drive from Victoria Falls on a paved road and there is a campsite (no tents, just small huts) available to rent, would love to do this and just sit by the waterhole and have the animals come to me....thinking about it for next time!
the only problem is availability of fuel. you'd have to load up in Livingstone with enough to last your stay, unless the situation improves. Foster even offered his car to us if we want to do it next time.
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Nov 21st, 2006, 08:55 PM
  #136
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True Dennis....but, i think travel agents can organize this type of transfer vs flying into Hwange. I say this because, originally i wanted to do the Hide for next June along with my trip to Kwando...however, i want to go to Hwange one of the years that i will be travelling to Southern Africa later in the dry season.

So, i think Hwange it will be for 2008!!! Your report certainly puts Somalisa in my list.....

Hari
 
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Nov 21st, 2006, 09:30 PM
  #137
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you're right Hari, I was only thinking of the self-drive, not an organized transfer which would be fairly easy. we did one from kasane-suswe 3.5 hours, almost double from vic falls-hwange. it's nice to get there fast but i did enjoy the drive looking at the scenery.
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Nov 22nd, 2006, 09:43 PM
  #138
 
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"John, I agree. I don't have all the answers and didn't ask all the right questions. I just hope the program is successful and the lions will be released in safe areas"- Dennis

Dennis, I'm sure that had I chosen this experience, like you I would have been thrilled by it. I share your hopes, too. Sitting at home in front of the PC, though, my natural cynicism about human motives with wildlife emerges. The only people I'm never cynical about are those who work with wildlife with a great deal of sacrifice and no profit, either in cash, kind, PR or 'spin'. There are many such people (I know a couple). I don't apologise for my cynicism because I figure it does no harm to try to make people think a little more before they get a warm and fuzzy feeling.

John
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Nov 22nd, 2006, 11:13 PM
  #139
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John, I understand what you're saying and agree for the most part. I don't think that ALL for profit agencies are not worthwhile. The jury is still out on the Lion Encounter and won't decide the verdict until the actual release. It is a money making venture (20 people X $100 X 2 tours a day X 365 days a year + $3200 for volunteers X 10 volunteers while we were there = BIG BUCKS!) All I can say is I hope it works for the lions sake, and ours as well. This subject could be debated for eternity, and I'm still not sure what side of the fence I'm on, though I AM glad I did the encounter just for the sheer pleasure of touching lions.
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Nov 26th, 2006, 06:59 PM
  #140
 
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"This trip has only deepened my desire to keep returning to Africa and soaking in all it has to give."

From the ridiculous to the sublime. Thank you, Dennis, for a fascinating and ultimately very touching, thought-provoking report. Who knew you had it in you???
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