Kafunta vs. Robin Pope


Aug 14th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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Kafunta vs. Robin Pope

Since we just got back from a Robin Pope Safari, I thought I'd respond to a couple of points Roccco makes here and there. First, I agree with Roccco that Kafunta is probably a better bet for the Mfuwe area of South Luangwa park. He's right that Kafunta is very close to Robin's Nkwali camp. I will say, however, that the food at Nkwali was out of this world. So if food is a high on your list, you may want to go for Robin's camp.

But if I ever returned to South Luangwa I would not return to Mfuwe. It was VASTLY more touristy than the other parts of the South Luangwa. We never passed that many cars on safari in Botswana. Our days at Tena Tena in the northern part of the park were much more serene and beautiful. There really is no reason to return to that over-touristed Mfuwe area.

We also did a walking safari with Tafika--where Robin has been sending his short 3-day walking trips this year. This was the highlight of the trip and if I returned I cut out Robin Pope altogether and just go with Tafika. Walking for three days through the bush is not for the faint-hearted and there were times I feared for my life. But it was wonderful. There are no roads in that section of the park and only our small group was walking in the area. Pretty amazing.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth. Let me know what you think, Roccco.
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Aug 14th, 2003, 08:58 AM
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I'm not Rocco but I really appreciate your succinct report and your very clear reasons...

This is just the kind of information I like to squirrel away for future reference...

Thank you and welcome back!
Are you going to post about the trip in more detail?
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Aug 14th, 2003, 11:14 AM
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There are a concentration of camps near the Mfuwe area, and it doesn't help that Flatdogs is nearby (camping and chalets). However, by going in early June, as I did, I honestly only encountered a couple other vehicles per day and it wasn't nearly as commercialized, in June, as Sabi Sand, for example, was in June.

I know for a fact that there is just about nothing out where Kafunta Island Bush Camp is located. It is a 3+ hour drive from Kafunta River Lodge and although it is supposed to be for walking safaris, Kafunta is flexible enough so that I am sure that they would offer game drives, if they were advised ahead of time and could do the proper planning (it's not as if there is a Texaco gas station nearby).

So, just as Robin Pope has other camps outside the Mfuwe area, so do many other game lodges, including Kafunta. I will not say that the food at Kafunta was anything to write home about, but to me, food is not worth an extra $250 USD per day. The accomodations at Nkwali did not look nearly as nice as those at Kafunta River Lodge.

One thing that I found at Kafunta that I have yet to find at any of the other game lodges I have stayed in was the excellent personal service. Also, I enjoyed hanging out with the owners and managing couple, something that I have not experienced at the other game lodges (one of the owners of Djuma Vuyatela didn't even bother to make eye contact, yet less introduce herself and welcome my wife and I during a shared lunch).

Owl, didn't you also stay at Shenton Safaris for a couple nights? If so, how did that rate against Robin Pope???

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Aug 14th, 2003, 09:19 PM
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Kavey, thanks for your note. Yes, I will post more later, but I've got a boatload of work to do, so the detailed report is going to take awhile

Roccco: Actually, we didn't end up doing Shenton Safaris. We decided to spend more time in Namibia--a fantastic decision! We spent one week camping in Kaokoland (after chartering a plane up there)--the highlight of all highlights. And then self-drove to Sossusvlei and stayed at Desert Homestead (which I thought was the nicest hotel of our trip, and also the best value). This trip really highlighted for me the fact that spending more money in Africa does not yield a better trip. For us, the most expensive portions were not half as wonderful as the other parts. I thought that our participation camping safari with Wilderness Safaris in Botswana (1999) was much better than Robin Pope. (Although, as I said, the Tafika walking trails were spectacular and made you feel like you were at a zoo when you got back to gameviewing in the car!)
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