Help with May itinerary

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Nov 21st, 2005, 09:07 PM
  #1
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Help with May itinerary

We've received an initial itinerary for our trip to Africa in May 2007 from Eyes on Africa, and we'd really like input on a couple of things:

Chiawa Camp - 3 nights; we've seen many good reports on this camp, but we'd like to confirm that it's a good location in May.

Kapamba Lodge; 3 nights; this seems to be a relatively new place; has anyone been there?

Victoria Falls (1 night)

Kwetsani (botswana) - 2 nights
Chitabe Camp (botswana) - 2 nights

We would probably prefer just one camp in botswana, for 3 or 4 nights; which of these two (or any other) would you recommend?

The price seems pretty reasonable given what I've seen on this board - $6000 - $6400 per person, including internal air transfers (depending on whether travel begins in April or is all in May). Any and all comments would be greatly appreciated. This board is soooo helpful! Thanks, Sharon T.
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 05:37 AM
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Sharon - I'll be at Chiawa in May as will Tigerpaw who posts here. When will you be there?

Another Sharon!
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 03:41 PM
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cooncat - not sure of our dates yet, when are you and tigerpaw there? (i think i need a new screen name as mine is waaaay boring. I'm still in the preliminary stages of putting this all together! Also haven't done the airlines yet, so some will depend on what flights are available from LA to Lusaka. It would be fun to meet up with other "posters".
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 04:44 PM
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There are so many wonderful camps in Botswana, it's hard to choose. We have stayed at both Chitabe and Kwetsani and both are first rate. Kwetsani is our favorite of the two for several reasons. There are so few 'tents' that it's very intimate. The tem 'tents' really isn't adequate to describe the thatched rooms...they are stunning and the views just breathtaking. Perhaps the main difference is that Chitabe is a land camp and Kwetsani a water camp. The game viewing is comparable and we were driven to a large hippo pool at Chitabe. Also, Chitabe has wild dog which are collared, so the guides have success in locating them for guests. You really might want to consider two nights at each, as they are both special, special camps. Just an idea...
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 06:07 PM
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Stamiya - We'll be there May 27-31, then 2 nights at Old Mondoro, its sister camp. Join us! (I'll just be starting my trip; Tigerpaw will be ending hers.)

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Nov 22nd, 2005, 07:02 PM
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Hi Stamiya and Cooncat,
Our trips (mine and Cooncat's) are in May of 2006 and stamiya's post says she is going in May 2007. Is that correct stamiya? If so, I guess cooncat and I will give you our review from 2006!
Tigerpaw
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 07:08 PM
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stamiya,
I forgot to mention that we (my husband and I) will be going to Kapamba also in May. I believe cooncat is going to another bushcamp and we are both going to Luangwa River Lodge. Hope May will be a good time for wildlife viewing.
tigerpaw
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 07:33 PM
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Tigerpaw - good catch on the date! I read right over that!
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Nov 22nd, 2005, 09:54 PM
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how can anyone wait that long? the anticipation would kill me!! it was bad enough waiting for the 6 months to pass on my first booking and trip, only 4 months on this next trip...but 18 months!!
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 03:15 AM
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Sharon

I can only comment on your Botswana camps and it's hard to do that without knowing what your criteria were in terms of choosing them.

I assume you were looking for one water and one land camp? Are there particular animals you're keen to see? How many are in your party? Is size of camp important? Will you be booking a private vehicle or going on drives with the other guests?

Any info you can give on your criteria will make it easier to comment on how well your choices fit!
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:21 PM
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I must be getting dyslexic or something - we are going in May of 2006 so maybe we'll be able to meet up with you, cooncat and tigerpaws. As to the Botswana camps, Eyes on Africa picked them, and we know nothing about them other than what it on the web. We will not be traveling with a group, just my husband and me, and we like the idea of small camps. Since this is our first trip, we don't have any real criteria as to which animals we'd like to see - elephants, lions, giraffe, hippos, leopards would all be good if available. We also like to fish. We probably wouldn't opt for a private vehicle unless the groups were too large to see anything or the company was lousy. thanks to everyone for their input - I've learned so much from this board, and we can't wait to get booked and then go!
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:47 PM
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stamiya,
Glad to hear that your trip is May 2006 instead of 2007!! As cooncat said, we (cooncat, my husband and myself) will be at Chiawa May 27-31 and Old Mondoro June 1 and 2.
My husband and I will start our trip at Luangwa River Lodge May 18-22, then Kapamba 23-26 and then finish with Chiawa and Old Mondoro.
We decided on this itinerary after much research--mostly from reading all the helpful information on Fodor's--and recommendations from Rocco. He put me in touch with Barry at LRL. Barry has been great and has made all of the reservations at the camps and arranged the internal flights. We chose May because of the price advantage and also both Barry and Rocco tell us that we will not be disappointed with the game viewing during May.
Hopefully we'll be at some of the locations at the same time!
Tigerpaw
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Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:55 PM
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tigerpaw - thanks so much for the encouraging post! The one thing we've been worried most about is that by trying to stretch our available safari bucks we would end up going at a time when we would have disappointing animal encounters! We will definitely try to be at either Luanga River Lodge or Chiawa at the same time you guys (and cooncat) are.
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Nov 25th, 2005, 07:04 AM
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Hello Stamiya,

If you're only going to do one camp in the Okavango Delta, I'd recommend one which offers both water and land activities -- Kwetsani or Little Vumbura. There is something magical about gliding through the reeds in a mokoro as the sun rises over the Delta, which really should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Of the two, I'd recommend LV for the range of activities (game drives, walks, fishing, birding, boating, mokoro-ing) and the intimate feel of the camp.

The Vumbura concession has better game-viewing than the Jao concession where Kwetsani is located, but the Kwetsani area is more scenic with very classic Okavango Delta terrain. I've had excellent cat sightings (lion, leopard, serval, African wild cat) at Little Vumbura, and it's also the best place in the Delta to see sable antelope. I'll be returning to LV next year.

Chitabe is a great camp, but it's a land-only camp; however, you would have the option of sleeping out in a hide at Chitabe, which you wouldn't have at the other camps. If this interests you, you may want to check if it will be possible during your visit before you make up your mind.

Cheers,
Julian
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Nov 25th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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I was at Kapamba in early September. It is in a great location, practically the confluence of the Kapamba and Luangwa rivers. I suspect this camp is as about as remote as you can get in SLV. I rate it highly.

Yes it is brand spanking new. The rooms all look out into the wilderness and are "open plan" so you really do feel at one with nature. Should you fear the critters that roam freely at night, they have created a wrought iron spider webbed design gate that closes the rooms to the outside world. Quite a unique and appealing design. The rooms are lit with kerosene lanterns and there are plenty of them.

A feature that is quite a departure from the balance of the BCC properties is the HUuuuuuuge bathtubs. I was hard pressed to stop calling them heated plunge pools.

The game is great and the young lass that leads the walks & drives and American, was charming and insightful.
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Nov 25th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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mkhonzo,
Thanks for the report on Kapamba. We will be there May 23-26. Sounds like a great place. We are hoping for good wildlife viewing in May.
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Nov 25th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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I believe that you should be fortunate, certainly with three days, you have given yourself a fighting chance. The SLV is rich with game!
And a pleasure to give you the heads-up!
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Nov 25th, 2005, 06:45 PM
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mkhonzo,
one more thing.....could you recommend which might be a good room that we could request and also the name of the guide that you had?
Thanks so much
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Nov 26th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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Frankly, that trip had me at remote Africa's camps too plus a couple of other jaunts south of the Zambezi, I don't recall my gguides name: She was an American lass & as I understand it, the guide for the camp. I have been out with Manda who opertaies from Chindeni in the past, he is great too.
I will look through my journal and see if I noted her name & will pass it on if I did.

Room selection: Wow never thought to look at which room was best, they are all similarly located so would find it challenging to recommend one over the other. I stayed closest to the bar/lounge/dining area, so really get to bed was little less than a stumble. I appreciated that particularly in the morning when the path to the rooms was covered in Lion tracks.
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Nov 27th, 2005, 05:36 PM
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mkhonzo,
Thanks. Sounds as though any guide we have will be fine as well as the rooms. Guess I won't worry about that.
Thanks for your reply.
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