How to "design" a Zambia safari itinerary

Old Jul 30th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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How to "design" a Zambia safari itinerary

My husband and I are planning a safari to Zambia in June 2009. This will be our first trip to Africa and while I have planned many trips to Latin America this is proving most difficult for me.

We plant to visit South Luangwa for 7 nights, Lower Zambezi for 3 nights, and Victoria Falls for 2 nights.

We would like to begin in VF for the down time and recuperate from jetlag (we'll be coming from Austin, TX). We don't intend to do much there but relax, see the falls, do a sunset cruise, and some shopping. Knowing this will probably be the "low point" of the trip for us we'd rather not end here.

Then our thought was to go on to Lower Zambezi and then to South Luangwa.

We are having a time trying to figure out the most timely and financially prudent way to get from Johannesburg to Livingstone and then from Lusaka to Johannesburg. We really don't want to spend any time in Johannesburg or Lusaka unless absolutely necessary. The agents we're currently working with act as if it can't be done. Perhaps it cannot, but I'll have to confirm that myself.

We are also wondering how stringently the rules for luggage are enforced. I have read that only 12K are allowed, then I read 15K, no extra camera equipment, then a reasonable amount of camera equipment, no backpacks, then yes, backpacks are allowed.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.
nombres02 is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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We ended up cutting out Victoria Falls and Zambia from our itinerary, but I can tell you it was impossible to get back from the lodge in Zambia in time to make an international flight out. First, when you are spending that kind of money, you don't want to miss the game drive in the morning. Then it takes time to fly one of those puddle jumpers to a real airport. Then you have to transfer from where the puddle jumper arrives to the commercial airline terminal, leaving yourself plenty of time to check in and go through security for your INTERNATIONAL flight. Then you have to fly a commercial plane to Jo'burg, but you are at the mercy of flight schedules. Starting to see the logistical nightmare?

As for the luggage restrictions, the max depends on where you are going, so you may hear different numbers. You'll have to stick with the lowest number on your itinerary once it's established. From what I've learned here, it's unlikely your bag will ever be weighed as long as it looks like it fits within the guidelines and/or when they pick it up it isn't obvious that it exceeds the limit substantially.

As for your camera equipment, technically its weight is included in the weight limit, but no one here has seemed to have had trouble carrying on a photo backpack or such onto the puddle jumpers. They just put it on their lap. If worse came to worse, everyone plans on taking the camera out of their bag and wear it on their neck onto the plane, but I haven't heard of many people having to do so.

Fodorites, correct me if I'm wrong.
hills27 is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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Plus, who wants to travel an entire day just to get on a long haul flight. I'm thrilled were staying overnight in Jo'burg. I'm scheduling a massage and going shopping.
hills27 is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2007, 08:47 PM
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you could possibly do this by buying 1 way tickets from JNB to VFA and Lusaka to JNB. Fly to Johannesburg arrive in the morning, take a noon flight (thereabouts can't remember what we took, but maybe 3-4 hours layover in JNB. Fly to VFA (Nationwide or SAA 1 way) Do your Vic Falls time, Lower Zambezi time and South Luangwa time which should be arranged by your agent. Then leave the SL lodge in the morning for the Mfuwe-Lusaka flight and take the Lusaka-Johannesburg flight (1 way) which leaves at 1:50 and arrives at 4:00 and if you get a late departure from JNB (which most are), you should make it without having to spend the night in Lusaka (nothing to do) or JNB.
matnikstym is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2007, 09:51 PM
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Would you miss the morning game drive on your last day?

Morning flights into JNB...that would have to be through Europe, right?
hills27 is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2007, 09:54 PM
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hills- your trip to the airport could be considered a game drive depending on where you're leaving from. have always seen elephants on the way to Mfuwe and of course zebras and pukus.
yes, would probably have to fly to Europe, do a layover then early a.m. arrival in JNB, but still better than a night in Lusaka.
matnikstym is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2007, 10:06 PM
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Gotcha. I'd rather spend the night in Jo'burg and get in that last game drive. Plus, as I said, I want a good night's sleep between the trip to JNB and the flight home.
hills27 is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2007, 10:10 PM
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Not to mention, I prefer taking one long flight back home versus a day-long layover in Europe somewhere.
hills27 is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2007, 10:37 PM
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Hi Hills

We are taking that same early flight @ 09.30 Mfuwe-Lusaka-JBN in Sept, which means you miss a proper game drive. And the reason why we are spending an extra (and last night in Africa) @ FlatDogs Camp
where the game drive is extra & optional ;-)

africaddict is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2007, 10:41 AM
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In South Luangwa these transfers to Mfuwe Airport can be quite exciting, and I would call them real game drives, at least if you're staying at camps inside the park and not at those lodges in the GMA (Nkwali, Kapani, LRL, etc). Actually I had two of my most exciting leopard sightings on those transfer drives - one after leaving Nsefu Camp when a leopard did a mock charge on us, and a second one after leaving Kakuli when we saw two mating leopards.
nyama is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Last summer we flew into Johannesburg on British Airways, visited camps in Botswana, Victoria Falls and ended up with camps in South Luangwa. We flew from Mfuwe to Lusaka and stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka before departing for London the next morning. We then spent a night in Windsor and visited Windsor Castle among other sights and left the next day for home. We felt it was a great way to end the trip and also break up the long flight home.
raelond is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2007, 08:17 AM
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Thank you all for your suggestions. We are now thinking of by-passing Victoria Falls and adding more days to the Lower Zambezi segment of the trip.

Has anyone out there done the "vintage safari" in the Lower Zambezi?

nombres02 is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2007, 02:40 AM
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nombres, we are just finishing up time in Zambia and ended with a few days in London. We really wish we would have spent more time in the camps and left out the London portion so I would say spend as much time as you can on Safari. Having said that, many people we ran into this week really enjoyed Vic Falls.

dwc0201 is offline  
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