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MoiraS South Africa, Botswana, Zambia Itinerary 2008...comments please!

MoiraS South Africa, Botswana, Zambia Itinerary 2008...comments please!

Old Feb 10th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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MoiraS South Africa, Botswana, Zambia Itinerary 2008...comments please!

Hi,

It's funny, but after hesitating about going my sister has really gotten into planning this trip! We've sent so many emails back and forth I created a special trip planning folder for them.

So far we have this basic itinerary...looking for some feedback from the experienced people here!

Johannesberg - 1 night
Sabisands - 4 nights (Malamala Main Camp)
Makadikadi Pans - 3 nights ? San Camp ?
Okavango Delta - 2 nights "water camp" ? Seba, Little Vumbura, Kwara ?
Okavango Delta - 3 nights "land camp" ? Chitabe ?
Linyanti area - 3 nights (Savuti Camp)
Victoria Falls - 2 nights (bungee jumping and white water rafting!) ? Not sure where to stay here... ?
Lower Zambezi - 4 nights (2 Chiawa, 2 Old Mondoro...or maybe Ruckomechi?)

We're definitely sure about Malamala and Savuti since my sister loves elephants. But we're not certain about the other camps.

Can you do all the activities at San Camp that you can at Jack's Camp? Has anyone stayed there recently?

We are pretty confused about the "water camp". We want a camp where we can do the mokoro but which also has good game viewing...we really want to see big cats. My sister likes Seba because of the elephant research but it looks like not many people have stayed there...what is the game viewing like? From what I read Little Vumbura and Kwara sound good.

Chitabe seems to have very good game viewing...is this a good choice for a "land camp"? Tubu Tree was also mentioned but it looks like not many people have stayed there. We can't afford Mombo!

Vic Falls...we're not really sure where to stay here. We don't like big hotels so we don't really want to stay at the Royal Livingstone or Zambezi Sun, but they seem to have the best location on the Zambia side. Does anyone know how easy it would be to do the activities if we stay at somewhere like River Club? We want to go white water rafting and bungee jumping, and maybe do the helicopter flight over the falls. I read somewhere that this can be combined with rafting...

We had pretty much decided on Zambia but now we have read about Ruckomechi in Zimbabwe which also sounds like it might be a good option. Has anyone been to both Mana Pools and Lower Zambezi?

Thanks!

Moira
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Which time of year you want to go?

In the delta: my favorite mixed (wetland/dry land) camps which also provide good chances to see game are the following: Kwara and Little Vumbura. Tough choice between them but I would opt for Kwara (because of the possibility to go to Godikwe lagoon).
I would stay at least three nights in one of those camps. Actually, because you gonna see lots of game in other places, I would opt for Jacana or Xigera if you really want to experience a wetland camp.

Chitabe is a very good choice and all the times I have been there, the gameviewing (especially predators) was superb.

Savuti is excellent. Duma Tau also won't disappoint you if you are looking for ellies. In fact, most of the camps in the Linyanti/Kwando/Selinda are quite good for ellies. My personal favorite is Lebala.

A place I like in Livingstone is "Islands of Siankaba".

I wouldn't go to the Lower Zambezi, now for the simple fact that Zambia's parks deserve an entire holiday on their own. If you still want to go, Chiawa is probably your best bet.

If you are going to Mala Mala lion and leopard are almost guaranteed and with the places you gonna visit, you'll have a good chance to see cheetah too.

I can't help you with San but I am sure lots of others can.

Greetz,

Johan
 
Old Feb 10th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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Nice itinerary Moira -

Only suggestions if your sister is so enarmoured with ele's is to add a day in livingstone in order to do a day trip across the border into Botswana (Kasane) to do a Chobe River cruise. There you will see the famous swimming eles that cross from the Botswana shore to Sidudu island (a 60 ft deep channel!)

Alternative lodging in Livingstone -
Haven't yet stayed here but our 2008 trip is being finalised with our agent now and we had listed River Club - but they have recc. Taita Falcon Lodge - http://www.zambiatourism.com/taita/ many activities are included in cost.
Happy Travels
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Hi Moira, I don't know what your dates of travel will be; but we are going to be staying at the River Club on our two week travels thru Bots - Kruger...Our T/A highly recommended it and sent journals written by clients. We loved the look especially overlooking the river - the chalets look very appealing. But,more importantly we were very "activity oriented" and all the ones we requested have been booked - from elephant safaris to utlra-lights and bungee to rafting on the river. The RC will take us to everything and then if you look at their website include quite a bit of activities, from sunset cruises to visits to a game reserve. They take you to the falls every day inclusive. If you search on this forum you can read where fordorites answered many questions I had about River Club. Don't want to dissuade you from your agent's recommendaton - just FYI. Have a great trip with your sister. Its one in a lifetime! D.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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I know what you are going through Moira, re. trying to figure out the "best" itinerary. I'll confuse things more by adding my 2 cents (again) re. how much fun it was canoeing down the Chifungule channel to Old Mondoro. Out of the most wonderful of places we stayed, Old Mondoro was exactly what we imagined the "real" Africa to be. Wild, intimate, rustic, but with a touch of real class, and no other people.

It has only 4 tents plus the eating/lounge area. Elies wandering through our camp snarfling up winterthorn pods, day and night.

The closeups of ellies in these pix were taken from our tent or eating area and are just a sampling:

http://picasaweb.google.com/steeliej...aAndOldMondoro

Another real treat was watching elephants up close while on our game walks. Definitely a different perspective and different feeling than from a vehicle or boat.

But, two nights is not enough!

Jim
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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Moira,
For canoeing on the Zambezi, check out www.africanbushcamps.com click on the 4 day canoeing walking safari. I did this in 05, and enjoyed it so much that I am going back for 8 days this year in June. You will canoe quite near big bull eles. I got some great photos right near one with the sunset behind him. His trunk had been caught in a snare years before, and was cut almost in half, but the main nerve track was not damaged, so he could still use it. We also walked for about 3 hours a day- up near eles (quite safe- great guides), saw wild dogs, watched lions on foot etc. It was my favorite part of a 31 day itinerary! Suzi
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 05:53 PM
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Moira,

Just to add to Johan's comments....you need to add one more night at your water camp....whatever your choice!!!

Vic falls, everyone have given suggestions.....the white water rafting i have done when i stayed at Kwando's Songwe Village.....best rafting experience i hv ever had!!! Wherever you stay, insist that your lodge books your trip with "Bundu Adventures" they are fantastic and i watch my dvd from my experience every once in a few months to re-live my experience.....

Cheers,
Hari
 
Old Feb 10th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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What an itinerary!

As Johan asked, when are you going? That could make a difference in the advice you receive.

Mala Mala-excellent start, my first visit is this June.

Pans-3 nights is perfect. Jack's and San have identical activities. I stayed at San in Aug 05 and liked it because it was smaller, slightly more rustic, had better views of the pans, and was less expensive.

Delta water camp--Only stayed at Vumbura. I stayed 2 nights and would have liked one more because of the excellent game there too. The Kubu lion pride is there and I saw a lot of them, including a buffalo kill. Cheetah and leopard were seen during my stay or right before/after, but not by me. Vumbura is exceptionally strong in game for a water camp. Plus the elusive sable is there.

Seba threads
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...p;tid=34943012
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...p;tid=34902668


Chitabe-3 nights there is good. Main camp or Chitabe Trails are the same price. You can also do a night or more at the Walking Trails camp, which you can walk to/from or drive to/from or do a walk/drive combo to/from. You spend the night on a raised platform with a mattress and mosquito netting. Your guide is in a pup tent a little ways away. Great choice.

Savuti-another great choice from what Iíve heard and from my experience game viewing in the area, but not staying at the camp.

Vic Falls--I've only been on Zimbabwe side at the classic, lovely more expensive Victoria Falls Hotel with the closest access (5 min walk maybe) to the falls. Also the very nice, less expensive Ilala Lodge, which is 5-10 more minutes away from the falls. No personal experience on Zambia side.

I agree with Thembi on a Chobe River cruise if it works. Outstanding for eles.

Iíve been to both LZ and Mana Pools but not Ruckomechi. I liked the terrain better and I saw more wildlife that on a mobile walking safari in Mana Pools vs. LZ. But the canoe trip along the Chifungulu Channel from Sausage Tree to Old Mondoro that Steeliejim talks about is The Best. I also echo his Old Mondoro accolades. Two nights Sausage Tree and two nights Old Mondoro is what I did and it fits into your plan. Zambia does merit a trip on its own, but a 4-day LZ trip would certainly whet your appetite for more in the future if you are able to return.
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Old Feb 11th, 2007, 07:16 AM
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Hello Moira,

Glad to see that your planning is coming along well. I agree with the other posters that you're likely to want 3 nights at a mixed land/water camp like LV or Kwara, though if you do a water-only camp like Xigera or Jacana you may feel that two is enough.

I'm not sure how much time you have, but you'll most likely need an overnight in Joburg between Mala Mala and Botswana. It may be possible to squeeze onto the afternoon Air Botswana flight, but this would mean losing some game-drive time at MM which I'm sure you don't want to do.

If you don't want to stay in a big hotel but do want to stay on the Zambian side, there are a number of lodge-style places (River Club, Tongabezi, Islands of Siankaba) which may be more what you have in mind. They're more expensive per night than the hotels, but they include meals, drinks, and some activities which can make them very good value for money.

If you'd like to stay close to the falls, you could also look into staying on the Zimbabwean side. The Victoria Falls Hotel and Ilala Lodge are both within walking distance of the falls.

Cheers,
Julian
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Old Feb 11th, 2007, 05:09 PM
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MoiraS,

Three days, at any camp is ideal. You dont want to just skim the surface to do?

I understand from prior posts, that Johan has spent some time at Jacana and considers it a fabulous camp......so, should you choose a water only camp...3 nights would still be good.

A land/water camp would be fantastic.....water activities and game drives in good big game country. They are all different from the land only delta camps and so offer up something for everybody......

Do keep us posted on your plans....

Good luck,
Hari
 
Old Feb 11th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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Moira,

Julian makes a very important point, imo that is to schedule transfers so that you don't miss a game drive.. the camps are very expensive and you want to make the most of it. We were at Mala Mala in late September and stayed at the smaller camp, rattrays which is more expensive, but you might want to look at that option.

victoria falls - we took a microlite flight which was great fun.

if you want elephants, we saw little of them in savuti in september and saw that there had been a very extensive fire in area near there (drove for 11 hours across northern botswana which I would not recommend) but you can stay in Kasane and visit the Chobe River for magic elephant experience plus many other animals in the late afternoon. In the evening Mr. Margaret, the hippo, grazed on the lawn of our little in in Kasane which was quite the sight, especially when another hippo came on the seen and Mr. Margaret (the innkeepers don't know if it is male or female) was not too happy.

I would also recommend spending some time tenting. we stayed in both permanent tent camp - honeyguide in SA which was quite nice, not too big and saw all animals and we mobile camped in botswana which was really great -- just ourselves with staff in the bush.

have fun,
bonnie
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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picking malamala wase your best choose.we been there three times .small piece of advice.the time you spend going from place to place you miss game drives that you could have taken if you stayed in one place.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 07:29 PM
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What about stanleys camp with the interaction with elephants, mokoro and game drives?
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 09:05 PM
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I second bots idea to stay at Stanley's or Baines Camp on the southern tip of Chief's Island. There you'll have mokoros (seasonal), game drives and the Elephant Encounter with Doug Groves and Jabu, Thembi and Morula. Check out www.livingwithelephants.org
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