Looking for inspiration

Old Jan 21st, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Looking for inspiration

Greetings to you all from an extremely soggy London.

I've just returned from Botswana where the weather was the same as here but with the additional benefits of dramatic thunderstorms, grunting hippos and a frog chorus.

I'm alreay thinking about next winter's escape but really need some inspiration - I've been to Africa, particularly Namibia many times.

I want to know if anyone has been to Zambia - what's the wild life vieiwing like there - any opinions?

Also wanted to say a big hello to MisterAviator who I met out in Botswana and tipped me off to this site - I tried to email you directly but it got rejected - want to stay in touch - its Charlotte btw.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:35 AM
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Welcome back. I am from London and I know what you mean. the weather is awful.

Zambia is awesome. I have only visited SLNP and vic falls. go for it.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 01:40 PM
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Zambia! Going back this late July-Aug. I've only been there during that time frame. Generally June to early Oct is best for wildlife viewing as this is the dry season. Cooler in June and very hot in Oct.

Compared to Botswana, the wildlife viewing was a little less. I like Botswana and Zambia equally. I've never been to Namibia and have some questions for you at the end of this post.

You will probably see no wild rhinos in Zambia, though some were released in North Luangwa a few years back. Cheetah are only in Kafue. Puku antelope are abundant and you don't see these a lot in other countries.

Lower Zambezi--This tied with the southern part of South Luangwa for abundance of wildlife. Really productive night drives. Canoeing is big here and you can see wildlife from the canoe or small motor boats. You can also do walking safaris here and the acacia along the shores make a really picturesque setting. Even more so than South Luangwa, I think. I liked Sausage Tree and Old Mondoro and canoed between them on the Chifungulu Channel. Others have preferred Chiawa over Sausage Tree.

South Luangwa--I've seen leopard on night drives or at dusk at every camp I've been to. Great walking here. I liked Tafika the most. The Robin Pope camps I stayed at were Nkwali (southern-most) and Tena Tena (flagship) and they were good too. This summer I am going to a Norman Carr camp, Kakuli because I really enjoyed the guide who is now the camp manager.

You can also do mobile walking safaris where you walk from small bushcamp to bushcamp and combine it with a permanent camp.

North Luangwa is just about all walking. Kutandala is my favorite camp and you wade across the low flowing Mwaleshi River to get there. There are several NL camps that get good comments, including Mwaleshi (after the river) and Buffalo Camp. NL is a place where you can see lions on foot. I saw 3 in one gathering on my last trip there. Good elephants too. The Cookson's Wildebeest are there (sometimes in SL too) and they're not that common. Very remote beautiful area.

Kafue is best at the end of the dry season. It has big herds of roan and sable. You can spend a lot of time with lion prides here day and night. I don't know if there is walking. I did not. Between Busanga Plains Bush Camp (now operated by Wilderness) and Lunga River Lodge (where you can do boat/canoe safaris) I saw 4 cheetah all at night and 3 serval.

Kasanka and Banguela Swamps would be cool to visit. I'd go more like May for them, especially for the shoebill stork. Or in Nov for the fruit bat migration in Kasanka. Never been.

Now I'm even more charged up about my Zambia trip this summer, only 6 months away!

**************

RE: Namibia

What do you think of the public camping areas in Etosha (Okaukeujo, etc.) vs. the private ones like Ongava for abundance of wildife and for crowds?

Any thoughts on Okonjima-AfriCat?

Comments on Namibia operators, especially if you are NOT doing a self-dive?

Thanks and welcome to Fodors! Hope you had a good time in Botswana.


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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 09:44 AM
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Wow - thanks for all of that information on Zambia - I shall take it all away and digest.

I know that the best time to do game viewing is in between June and October but we always tend to go to Africa around December time as we're desperate to get away from the gloom here.

I've been to Namibia four times now. The first time I went was on an overland truck and travelled for 10 weeks (!) That time we stayed at the public campsites in Etosha - then I thought they were perfectly adequate.

The highlight of the public campsites are the watering holes - in the dry season, of course - I saw a herd of about 22 elephants at mid day one day.

But otherwise you're in a public national park and too be frank it's really not that exciting - especially not in comparison to the fun you've had in Zambia.

At Ongava, you'll see plenty of lions but it does feel like a fenced zoo compared with the wilds of Botswana - maybe I'm just spoilt.

I haven't been to Africat but met a few people who have who all raved about it.

In my opinion, the most exciting things to do in Namibia is to move slightly away from the traditional safari and focus more on landscape and some of the more unusual animals.

Visiting the Namib Desert is absolute must - those dunes have to be seen and touched to be believed.

This time we went to the Skeleton Coast camp - it's expensive but absolutely fabulous - unlike anything else. We saw desert elephants, giraffes and huge colonies of seals - and just the wildness of that coast line strewn with ship wrecks and whale bones.

Otherwise it could be worth going to Damaraland - good chance of also seeing Desert Elephants and rhino have been reintroduced.

Are you completely set on not driving? Namibia is a truly fantastic country to drive through and extremely easy to get round as well as being very safe.

In my opinion, the South of the country is often woefully neglected and full of wondrous sights - feral horse, Fish river canyon, ghost mining towns and the Quiver tree forest. I think the drive from Luderitz to the Namib is one of the best drives in the world.

Hope that has helped - feel free to ask more questions.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 03:06 PM
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Yes it was helpful! It reinforces that whenever I get to Namibia, it will have to be Trip #1 of a trilogy.

I don't want to drive by myself on the opposite side of the road from what I am used to in an area I don't know with my poor sense of direction. There are lots of group trips to Namibia and I may join one of them.

Can you give an account of your experience with the feral horses?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 05:57 AM
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As Etosha gas reared its ugly (i.e. NWR Resorts) again. Has anybody seen two prides of lion and 13 Black Rhinos in one place, if not try Okakuejo!It happens even if you are a less than psh traveller!
 
Old May 6th, 2008, 02:11 AM
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Sorry - I haven't been on here for ages. So hope this is still relevant.

I've had two amazing experiences with the feral horses - the first time when I was on the overland truck and we stopped for picnic lunch and the horses came right up to us. The second time, we stopped and saw them fighting for access to the water.

There is a waterhole provided for them and a little viewing hut. We've stopped each time we've been driving to or from Luderitz. You stand in the hut and wait - like any other type of wild life viewing - it's all luck of the draw. I've got some great photos if you'd like to see them. I haven't figured out how I'd post them here.

Charlotte.
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