King's Pool and Selinda - 2 Night and 1 Night?

Old Feb 6th, 2008, 10:01 AM
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King's Pool and Selinda - 2 Night and 1 Night?

I thought I was booking my Zambia/Botswana safari for late August in plenty of time when I contacted my travel agent two weeks ago. Wow, was I wrong. I had no idea that many properties fill 12 months in advance. Anyway, we have worked out the following schedule with one big hole in the middle about which I need advice.

2 Nights Sandibe in O. Delta
2 Nights Little Kwara in O. Delta
3 Nights NOTHING - The Problem
2 Nights Songwe Village - V. Falls
3 Nights Kaingo - South Luangwa
3 Nights Chingwe River Camp - Lower Zambezi

Originally, Lebala Camp told the agent that they had a room available for the three nights, but they told her this morning that they were mistaken. She has now forwarded to me all the availability sheets for tons of lodges to look over. Based upon the info, King's Pool as availability for the first 2 nights and Selinda has a room for the last night. Is this a good idea or should I keep searching?
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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Sorry, that was Chongwe River Camp
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 10:56 AM
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Do you have to do a 2-1 split? One night almost anywhere in Botswana is not a good idea--unless you went to Selinda for 2, then did 1 night at their Walking Trails camp. Or if you did 2 nights at Chitabe Main Camp or Lediba, then spent 1 night at their Walking Trails camp. I've done that at both places and enjoyed it very much, especially Chitabe.

But if you did Chitabe, then you probably wouldn't want Sandibe, since they are next to each other. However, there might be more availability during your first 2 nights for swapping other properties with Sandibe.


I assume there is no room at Lagoon.

Did the agent mention waitlist? Sometimes being waitlisted is promising. You could also ask to be waitlisted for Lagoon along with whatever Plan B develops. Not sure how long you can hold double properties, though.

How about 3 nights at Kwara, then two at Kings Pool?

Would Kwara 3 nights, then 2 nights at one of these camps OR keep Kwara 2 nights, then 3 nights at any of these work?

Chitabe (either camp-but not with Sandibe also in the itinerary)

Duma Tau
Savuti
The Orient Express Savuti Camp, which is called Savuti Elephant Camp, I believe.

These are more delta-like, as is Kwara:
Vumbura or Little Vumbura
Kwetsani
Mapula--where Predator just went

Something different:
San or Jack's if you are interested in the desert. Aug is a slower time there for wildlife but the quad biking is pretty much guaranteed and the meerkat colonies are present year round. I booked San in Aug for 4 nts and stayed 3 due to delayed flights.

Maybe even Duba Plains for 3, but to see more of a spectrum of the lion-buffalo activity, I think four is better.

I don't know how flexible your dates are, but how about shifting the whole thing a few days? A pain for the agent, but that's how it goes. Or how about doing Zambia first? When I visited Zambia and Botswana in the same trip, I did the active stuff in Zambia, then sat and watched in Botswana.

Whatever you choose, you should pay no more than your original cost with Lebala, assuming you had put down a deposit. If it was all just in the planning stages, I could see the costs of the new itinerary changing from the original.

You could also try a different agent and see what the story is with them.

Good luck!
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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Thanks Atravelynn -

Here is the run down (since I have the availability sheets for half of Botswana)...

Selinda only has one night available, August 22, which is the one night that is the source of all my problems. However, they do not have the preceding nights, which is where King's Pool comes into play. KP only has the two preceding nights available. This is how I came up with the combo idea out of desperation.

As for the other ideas you had, no rooms at all at:

Lagoon
DumaTau
Savuti
Duba Plains

I could get three nights at Little Kwara but I cannot get the appropriate two nights at King's Pool because once again neither property has rooms the night of the 22nd.

I really want to see a different part of Botswana because we already have 4 nights in the Delta.

My agent is looking into Savute Elephant and Savute Safari Lodge tomorrow.

I am interested in your idea about the walking trail at Selinda. I will ask her if we can do the walking trail for the 1st two nights and then Selinda Camp the final (e.g. big problem) night.

I have also found two CCAfrica new semi-perm camps, but I am a little wary because they are inside Chobe. They are Savute Under Canvas and Chobe Under Canvas. Is Chobe a disappointment because of the number of people and the restrictions?

My final resort is exactly what you said, which is the desert to see the meerkats.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 11:38 AM
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Based on Predator Biologist's recent rave review of Mapula (near Duba Plains/Vumbura) that's where I would check. Maybe since it's on the newer side it won't be as full?
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Are there any three night mobile safari options for the Linyanti area?
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 03:25 PM
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Dawn: you might want to have a look at Linyanti Bush Camp, it's up a little further from Kings Pool/Duma Tau but has the similar draw of big elephant and buffalo herds during August, and I believe is a bit cheaper than the WS camps with more of the traditional tented camp flavor. They also have a 3 day walking circuit between tented locations in their private concession if you wanted to do something different but regardless it would meet your need of going to a different area that still features big game.

Lisa is right that I would definitely recommend looking at Mapula too but it's more similar to Little Kwara so Linyanti would add your more diverse experience.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 04:33 PM
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DawnRainbows,

I would NOT under any circumstance, do KP and Selinda main camp for one and two night visits - you need to note that rushing around only adds to the cost of the trip, and you certainly don't see too much gameviewing with a one night stay! - Yes, walking trails will work out with main camp ...... i have seen many people doing game drives from the trails camps also besides just the walking.

Btw, Kwara justifies a 3 night stay minimum - you can easily combine Little Kwara with Kwara as they both have identical gameviewing. Since you talk about availability concerns ........

Alternatively, if i were you - i would seriously try to switch my trip to later - September or so to see if i can fit in the camps of choice! Good luck!!!
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 04:47 PM
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One more thing! if you are not into adrenaline activities at Songwe village - i would recommend just a one night stay there and ask if you can add that date to Kwara/Little Kwara to accomodate more gameviewing!
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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You all have convinced me that the 2/1 Combination is not a good idea.

Here are some of my options based upon the availability:

I could drop Sandibe (my husband may not agree) and spend 3 nights at Little Kwara and 3 nights at King's Pool. I would then have two nights to deal with, one of which there is nothing available.

I could do Little Kwara for 2 nights and Linyanti Bush Camp for 3 Nights. Linyanti only has rooms for the middle nights that we are in Botswana.

As for Songwe Village, we really want to do the WW Rafting.

I sent my agent an e-mail a few hours ago based upon my research today outlining the options are I see them. Here it is:

Option 1 -

Sandibe - 2 Nights
Little Kwara - 2 Nights
King's Pool - 2 Nights
Songwe Village - 2 Nights
Kaningo - 3 Nights
Chongwe River - 2 Nights plus 2 Nights at their Bushcamp OR
Canoe to another lodge (prefer Old Modoro) down for the Zambezi for the final 2 Nights

*Essentially, the big change involved for Option 1 is for their to be enough flexibility on the Zambia side to move everything up one day because we are essentially leaving Botswana one day earlier than planned because there is nothing available for the night of August 22nd.

Option 2 -

Selinda has a room available for August 22. Is there any availability for their walking trail safari for the nights of August 20 and 21?

Option 3 -

CCAfrica has two new semi-permanent camps in the Chobe and Savuti areas that open next month called Chobe Under Canvas and Savute Under Canvas. While I am a little worried because they are both in the park, I thought I would bring up the idea because I am not very interested in the larger Savute Safari Lodge that you mentioned.

Option 4 -

Explore a different area of Botswana or Zambia for those three nights such as Jack's / San Camps to see the meerkats or Kafue NP.

Option 5 -

As I mentioned today on the phone, we can move our trip back one month to arrive in J'burg on Friday, September 19.

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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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As a Chobe fan, I'd really like #3.

If meerkats are of interest, then #4 would be good. But if the desert is not something you'd like to do, I wouldn't throw that in just as a sub.
So #4 depends on your interests.

#5 would be hotter, but fine too.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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If i were you, i'd go Option 5 and look to secure first choice camps -

Agree, white water rafting is a good activity! I had a great time a few years ago, also when at Songwe.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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Your option #1 looks fine too.

I'll pass on the whitewater rafting, though.
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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I was a little reluctant to suggest the option of going inside the park because of the restrictions on walking and night drives. Do you not think those are big issues since we are going to so many places where these activities are allowed?

If we went with one of these CCAfrica camps, which would you choose based upon the locations. The Chobe camp is up north along the riverfront and the Savute camp is, obviously, in the Savute area. The actual campsites change on a regular basis to follow wildlife trends, but they do stay in the same basic locations.

I am also really thinking about moving everything to the following month to have more choices (also so I can see the Carmine Bee-Eaters).
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 11:40 AM
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I spoke with my travel agent this morning and here is the rundown:

We were not able to do option 1 because then some of the camps in Zambia were not available.

Option 3 did not work because both of those camps were full.

Option 5 did not work because moving the dates resulted in Kaingo and Chongwe River Camps were not available.

After moving some things around, here is our final itinerary:

2 Nights Sandibe
2 Nights Linyanti Bush Camp
2 Nights Kwara
1 Night Little Kwara
*We are on a wait list so we can stay the entire 3 nights at Kwara.
2 Nights Songwe Village
3 Nights Kaingo
2 Nights Chongwe River Camp plus
1 Night at their Bushbuck Camp in the hills above the Zambezi
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 05:16 PM
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Yes, staying in one camp will save you all the packing and unpacking - but, they are both right round the corner from each other!
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 07:30 PM
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Looks good. I'd do it.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 08:34 PM
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I have seen carmine bee eaters in late August, but, maybe not in the big numbers ......
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 04:54 PM
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I hope I can see at least a few of the carmine bee eaters. Kaingo Lodge has a carmine bee eater blind that they open once the birds have arrived to their usual nesting site nearby.
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