Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > kwando trip nov 2005. looking for help south luangwa 2006

kwando trip nov 2005. looking for help south luangwa 2006

Reply

Nov 23rd, 2005, 03:54 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 41
kwando trip nov 2005. looking for help south luangwa 2006

hail roccco and luanwablonds and hi all fodorites!

got back home a couple of days ago after a trip of a lifetime. had 12 days spread over all three kwando camps in botswana (lagoon, lebala + kwara) and every single day was an adventure. had seen much discussion re seating configuration in kwando vehicles.....is a bit cramped with 6, but still ok. usually only four per vehicle however and we often had vehicle, guide and tracker to ourselves. anyway, camps were beautiful and very comfortable with good vibes, food excellent and the guiding was just superb!! we´re a bit exteme - we do a lot of 4x4 self-drive adventure travel in australia and often find we know far more than resident guides (we´re seriously into conservation and wildlife). at kwando however we met our match. those guys don´t just have eagle eyes they really know their stuff! hugely impressed with birding and even more stunned by night spottings. won´t go into too many details just now, tho i am preparing trip report, but we saw amongst other wonders two packs of wild dogs (on four seperate days - yippee!!!) one pack was unusually for november denning in the lagoon area with 5 five week old pups. they had lost a previous litter earlier in the year. the other pack was much larger (21dogs) and had pups from july. we also saw leopards, cheetahs (male and on another day female with cubs), pangolin (!), roan + sable antelope, caracal, cerval, genet, bat-eared foxes denning (day and night), wild cats mating, lions mating, giraffe mating (all very active as you can see!)...some hugely exciting lion hunts and just incredible birding....oh, i could go on and on..........

before the trip we had a few days in maun at audi camp. we needed to do a few things in the area, also organised some birding with an american maun resident paul and generally used the time to acclimatise. it was well over 40°C for most of the trip so that was a good thing. audi have recently added some luxury meru tents, en suite, veranda, tea+coffee making fac........incl full cooked breakfast for 360pula per tent per night. excellent value and we can recommend highly. their restaurant has gone up in the world too. all very civilised and enjoyable. much nicer than riley´s and quite as good as the other "posher" camps in maun. they also do private mobiles (quite fancy too) at a decent price. if they are anywhere near as well run as the camp itself they should be worth a try for the more adventurous. cost about 2000US pp for minmum 2 people for 7 days.....not bad eh? whole complex was very clean and efficiently run.

as i said i will post full trip report in the next couple of weeks, but i´m now trying to organise trip to zambia in 2006. we´re not in the big income bracket so i really have to compare prices (and value of course!) really would love to go to tafika and the coppingers other camps but their prices have truly rocketed in the last couple of years. noticed that kafunta offer 10 night S/N luangwa combi with walking camp too. have you seen heard any reports on this? any ideas on relatively affordable itineries????guess i´m not always too clever at tracking down info. have only become computer literate at all in the past 18 months. we really have more time than cash, can rough it and are pretty adventureous. game viewing and good guiding is far more important to us than luxury and comfort.
would ideally like to spend approx 18 days in zambia. may/june rates would look relatively painless and climate at that time sounds good for walking too.

have wondered about hunting in GMA. had a horrific and traumatic experience a few years ago trying to prevent illegal "sports" in malta. it was like being in a war zone. broke my heart seeing all the senseless carnage. has left me even less able to deal with hunting "issues". do you hear much gunfire along the edge of the park towards the GMA? could this be a problem (?)if we stayed at kafunta or nkwali.
have you picked up on any reports of tstetse fly plagues? we met several people at kwando camps who said they´d been badly bitten in the s luangwa......is it maybe a bit less of a problem in cooler months?


oh... by the way - believe kwando camps are already booked solid for november next year. guess the good news of lower november rates coupled with excellent game viewing has reached everybody!!!

thanking you in advance for any help, all the very best and keep up all your good work - lorraine (brit resident in germany)
judithlorraine123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2005, 05:09 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,087
Oh how your post has caused my blood to flow....sounds like kwando is coming up trumps again. I share your enthusiasm for their guides; Quality, quality quality...

18 Days in Zambia is a dream...
Prices need not kill you though. Get in touch with the Bushcamps Company, they will arrange a sweet deal should you decide to spend seven or more nights with them. Since you are adventurous, discuss the "luangwa encounter" with them, focus is on walking that explores the "untraversed" western/northern side of the luangwa river. I believe the experience is a tad less expensive than staying at their regular camps.

Also and I agree with you on Coppinger and his crew, since I was with them earlier in the year, they run a great ship.. you'll also find a displaced kiwi in the camps, who's pretty much become an African...

I'd suggest to avoid rocketing costs that you hike the ckikoko trails area with them instead of Tafika, but that is just to curtail costs. then get them to fly you up to Mwaleshi in the North for a couple of days.

So the itinerary I would encourage.
1- 10 days with BCC. Combination of Luangwa encounter and maybe a couple of nights at a bushcamp.
10 - 18 Eoth john. 5 days walking chikoko & 3 up in the North Luangwa.
Then head home
mkhonzo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2005, 05:49 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thanks for the glowing Kwando report. It does seem to be a hot spot!

I can second the Tafika recommendation.

If you go to North Luangwa, I'd consider 4 nights at Kutandala. The couple that run the camp both used to work at Tafika.

Cooncat on this board has a Zambia trip in June 2006 I believe and just went through the planning and budget issues.

atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2005, 05:55 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 859
Budget? What's a budget? ;-)
cooncat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2005, 07:15 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 859
I guess in trying to be funny I wasn't very helpful! I would just suggest that you get going on this and get something booked - things are filling up - at least for May/June in some of the camps! Good luck. (And your Botswana trip sounds great.)
cooncat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2005, 07:23 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Cutoff date for low season pricing in each South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi is May 31st.

Kafunta Safaris offers great pricing on many different itineraries.

Chiawa, Chongwe and Luangwa River Lodge all offer very good discounts on luxury accomodations. I have been corresponding with Chris Liebenberg, the owner of Chongwe, and he has said that Chongwe is being further upgraded this offseason. It was already pretty nice so now it appears that it will try to compete with Sausage Tree and Chiawa.

Unfortunately, unless you go by the end of March, there are no low season offerings for Tafika or Kaingo. High season pricing starts at Kaingo on May 20th when they open for the season and it is similar for Tafika. Puku Ridge, however, is an excellent alternative, although in a completely different area of the park. Unfortunately, Puku Ridge starts its high season around April 15th, very early in the season but probably because this is one area where it will not be nearly as affected by the rains as the northern part of the park.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2005, 07:41 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 859
OFF TOPIC SORT OF

I have been trying to stay off this forum because it's a looooong haul to May 25 when I leave...but when I read others' words about "my" camps ...I just want to jump out of my skin... Hurry up May!!! (I will try to keep the excitiment to a minimum until then...)
cooncat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:33 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,367
Tsetses in the area have never been a problem in my experience except a little south of the tip of South Luangwa NP.

As far as and itinerary,I would try Kafunta and a Malawi Company that owns Marula Lodge and Thornibill in Mfuwe.

www.landlake.net/page28.html

But maybe try to get a little variation on their trip- I can make some suggestions. Depends how long you want in Luangwa Vly-the 18 days?- and where to stay. Or split to the Zambezi, add Vic Falls?

If you want to go to the Zambezi, I recommend the Mana Pools side because the camps in LZNP maybe more than you want to spend. The inexpensive camps in Zambia side are not in game rich areas. Also, the canoeing/ walking safaris are very good in Mana Pools. Canoeing short distances between canps with walks.

This is about as cheap as it can get for camps and lodges. You need a budget and wish list to work with.
I take it you have seen this post--
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=4

luangwablondes is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:36 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,367
Wrong thread, sorry.
The thread is :
Botswana or Zambia for first-timers?
luangwablondes is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 24th, 2005, 07:21 AM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 41
many thanks to all of you for your help to date. and happy thanksgiving to those of you celebrating today. will have a look at all the suggestions. sorry about the spelling btw luangwablondes! this time last year we were trying to decide between kwando in november (which we in the end booked) or bushcamp co in sept. just had a look again at their quote from last year and it was very good indeed for a longterm stay (over 10days). kwando actually had glossy leaflets in all their tents advertising the bushcamp co. so maybe it´s a "sign"....(got the idea for kwando while at shinde "footsteps" the year previous year btw). does any one know if there are there any business connections between kwando + bushcamp co??? like the look of the bushcamp very much, but must admit i´m not toooo sure about the strong bias on walking if we stay for a long period. enjoy a mix of drives and walks . the kafunta N/S luangwa package appeals cos of price, variety of location and activities AND the one night spent at luambe allows us a peek at a project which is supported by our local (köln, germany) zoological society. was hoping there´s someone out there who´s already done the trip.
will end this message on a sad note....have just picked up my photo´s and the ones of the painted wolves are sooo disappointing! must have been too excited. at least my better half adrian got some good digital shots in so maybe he´ll let me post some of those. so thanks again...photo´s to follow

lorraine
judithlorraine123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 24th, 2005, 08:21 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,367
Hi Lorraine
I have driven that route many times, South Luangwa- North Luangwa, staying at Luambe once while they were first trying to get established. Nice bush camp on the river. All I know is that they have had a positive effect. Poaching was rampant before building the camp and starting antipoaching. To me it is a wonderful drive. Some remote villages along the way. You see a couple mosques-don't blink. You'll see how stores are stocked, by bicycle. People who are into subsistance agriculture. Ngos have had a little effect like in some places they have helped the villages build boreholes so they don't need to carry water for miles. Planted fruit trees and given some seeds for veggies. Little things that would go unnoticed if it wasn't pointed out.

When I managed a bush camp in North Luangwa, I started to take tourists cross the river to a couple villages as an excursion to shop for veggies and fruit. In otherwords, support the community and give a small cash infusion in a barter economy. Everyone loved that trip.

It is rare oppotunity to see North Luangwa. Kafuntas tour-or the other one- is a good way to do it.
luangwablondes is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 24th, 2005, 01:17 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 382
A question about Kwando camps. When you say camps is this different than the lodges or permanent camps I see at Wilderness SAfaris. We do not want to say in a"hotel" but also do not want to "camp'. I can't tell from the pictures on the Kwando site. What is the difference between the Wildernessproperties and the Kwando .. properties. We are still trying to decide on Cape Town, Botswanta, and Victoria Falls or Zambia, VF etc. As I said in another thread we would like to bring this trip in at about $12K for two without international air as we will use FF miles. Since this is our first trip to Africa and probably our only trip we are interested in seeing the big five and both dry and water camps.

spiegelcjs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 24th, 2005, 05:58 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,087
I don't know if there is a definition for camp or lodge that encapsulates the variety on offer in Africa.

With Kwando you'll be housed in tents with en-suite bathrooms. No fear of being in a hotels. These camps only have a maximum of eight tents to accommodate 16 travelers.
mkhonzo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2005, 03:26 AM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 41
hello there spiegelcjs!

well it´s all relative isn´t it? for us kwando camps are luxurious far beyond our requirements (huge tents, real beds, hot running water, perfect service, excellent food) for those used to very comfortable travel it may even seem sparten. we discussed this with other guests during our recent trip - some of them found the whole experience far too primitive! (why is beyond me - the mind boggles what they would think about the way we travel usually!!!!) what i would point out that kwando isn´t about comfort and luxury and THANK GOODNESS it isn´t! it´s all about top game viewing and guiding. there were some strange guests who´d missed the point completely and were complaining about early starts and rough tracks amongst other things. well kwando camps do do a LOT of off-roading and sometimes the game drives are very long. perfect for me, but not quite the thing for those who feel the heat, or cold, don´t like the dust, don´t like flies..... or simply want a "softer" safari. there are plenty of more luxurious, resort style camps around and you´ll still see animals at them. frankly i wish there were more camps with less opulent facilites for those of us who prefer a adventurous trip. having reread your post maybe you´d be happier at mombo or jao? not actually sure if this won´t blow the budget tho. you´ll not see the big five anyway at kwando concessions, but it´s all about the fun of being out there and tracking and what´s wrong with the little five? we always feel privileged to be with the animals at all and thankful for any thing we see.
i´m guessing you´re from germany....if so why don´t you give christl nennstiel at AST reisen (excellent agent) a call (tell her you´ve seen lorraine´s mail on this forum) and ask about a more gentle safari? she loves kwando too, but i guess she´s as hardcors as we are!! good luck - lorraine
judithlorraine123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2005, 03:58 AM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 41
thanks again luangwablones for the description of ride between s+n luangwa. sounds jus the things. have just sent mail to anke at kafunta to see if/when they´ve got room for us.

cheers - lorraine
judithlorraine123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2005, 04:25 AM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 41
hello again spiegelcjs

just had another thought....recently met graham maskell - a hugely personable and knowledgable travel consutant who tailors tours/safaris for all tastes in africa. why not get in touch with him? take look at his

www.africa2000tours.co.za.

he´s particularly expert at finding the perfect cmap/lodge to fulfill expectations .he might be just the man for you. all the best - lorraine

judithlorraine123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2005, 05:50 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 41
hi all! still hoping someone might respond to this in respect to south luangwa....

"have wondered about hunting in GMA. had a horrific and traumatic experience a few years ago trying to prevent illegal "sports" in malta. it was like being in a war zone. broke my heart seeing all the senseless carnage. has left me even less able to deal with hunting "issues". do you hear much gunfire along the edge of the park towards the GMA? could this be a problem for us at any of the lodges(?)not just bottling out on this - really do have a big problem as a result of previous involvement."

cheers - lorraine
judithlorraine123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2005, 08:20 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 382
judithlorraine123

Thanks for the reply. We are not from Germany but from the US. California. We have traveled quite a bit in Europe and although when in Europe we do not stay in luxury hotels, we do stay at either a Marriott if I am using my points, or at my preference a small botique hotel. When I refer to camping I guess what I mean is that I want , as you said, indoor plumbing, good food and nice people. I am looking forward to early morning and late day game drives as that is the reason we are going. I do not,however, want to spend several hours in the jeep just getting to the specific area that the guides know the animals are located. In reading posts on this board I understand that some of the camps are located closer to the sighting areas than others. STaying at Mombo would be great but not in the budget. I guess in looking at properties I would say we are looking to spend between $350 and $500 US dollars a night per person as I do not see much for less than this in Botswana. I believe Kenya is cheaper but I really like the open vehicles used in Botswana and SA.
spiegelcjs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2005, 09:12 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
spiegelcjs,

I do fear that a high season Kwando safari may be out of your budget. The good thing is that there are very good prices for other times at Kwando.

You would looking at 2006 rates of $450 pppns for April 01 - May 31st and from Nov 01 - Nov 30th.

High season rates for 2006 at Kwando are $675 pppns.

If you were to wait until December 01st (2006), the rates would really plummet, down to about $325 pppns.

Here is a monthly calendar for Kwando to let you know what to expect:

http://kwando.immedia.co.za/content/view/40/41/

Good luck.

Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2005, 04:31 AM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 41
hi spiegelcjs! if that´s what you like then you´ll LOVE kwando. jumped to conclusions that you are from germany cos of your screen name (mirrorcjs). we´re resident here in germany but from the UK. we took advantage of the lower rates that rocco that has posted and had an absolutely fantastic trip in november. you may even do better than the rates mentioned. we got a really good deal, but then we spent 12 days with them! wish it had been 24 days....all their camps are quite different and the game viewing is outstanding at all.believe that may is a great month too. we certainly know at least one professional photographer who travels there twice a year every year in may and november. will keep fingers crossed for you that you find the trip of your dreams. all the best - lorraine
judithlorraine123 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:09 PM.