Photography safari in oct./sept. - where to go


Feb 14th, 2012, 07:55 AM
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wow.. one leopard is still a leopard cary .. i only saw leopard on my third safari....
Currently looking into nsefu and tena tena as part of an itinerary .. do you have more info? what other camps did you go to and is it worth it to go to both nsefu and tenatena (as they are in similar area of the park ?)
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Feb 14th, 2012, 08:43 AM
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Hi Tom
No, you are not the only guest to see only one Leopard. I had guests last year who went to South Luangwa and did not see a single Leopard nor a Lion. I was devastated for them. The only place IMO to see Leopards besides Lions with a guarantee is the Sabi Sands. Period! Botswana is on a par as well. Just updated our blog and Leopards and Lions are frequently seen.

Yours on Safari
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Feb 14th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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A glimpse of a leopard in spotlight at night?? Didn't impress me, maybe because I'd been to Sabi Sand. BTW, Timbavati reserve just north of SS also good for leopard, will likely see them every day.

Soooo, anyway, I would NOT recommend Zambia for anyone's first safari. But that S Luaungwa is very special, the feel/mood/atmosphere there as if you have gone back in time 100,000 years.

Of Nsefu and Tena Tena, we liked Tena Tena more, it is/was tented. Go to both Nsefu and Tena Tena?? Sure, but as you say same park area, really no difference in wildlife.

regards - tom
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Feb 14th, 2012, 08:45 PM
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We're going to ZImbabwe in Oct. part of which will be tenting in Hwange. Mana Pools was originally on our wish list, but you need to fly to get there, which pushed it out of our price range. I'm working with Zambezi Safari & Travel Co. They might be able to help you put together a trip that fits your budget.

Our first safari was to Botswana with & Beyond. They don't charge single supplements, but unless you can go on a short notice special deal, will likely exceed your budget. But you might want to check with them. We saw a leopard on our very first evening drive, off road at Sandibe.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 12:28 AM
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thx for the suggestion uhoh_busted... Hwange looks great as well, especially the prices are very reasonable as I can see..

Anyone who has been to both Hwange and South Luangwa who can share some experiences?
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Feb 15th, 2012, 01:33 AM
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The last time I did a 10 day trip to South Luangwa(2010) I saw 11 leopards, which is pretty good since I did probably 40% walking. SOme were glimpses, but others were much longer sightings, both in the day and at night. My parents went last year for 10 days and did practically no walking, and they said they saw a leopard on almost every drive.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 01:44 AM
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Oh, and I was at Tafika, Lion Camp, Chindeni and Kuyenda. My parents were at Lion Camp, Mfuwe Lodge and Kafunta River Lodge.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 02:04 AM
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I have spent a lot of time photographing wildlife in Hwange, South Luangwa and Botswana. From a photographic perspective, I would rank accordingly:

1) Botswana
2) Hwange
3) South Luangwa


This place is simply stunning with incredible opportunities, particularly in the private concessions. Based on your budget, I recognise these are probably slightly of budget.

A mobile safari would provide an excellent option, and you could probably get a private mobile for 10 nights if you negotiate well.

My recommendation would be to contact Alwyn Myburgh. He can run his own mobiles from Maun to Kasane. I also use him as my private guide when visiting the private concessions.

Alwyn is an excellent guide and will really push you as a photographer....(Email me if you would like more details) Though here are some behind the scene images from some of our safaris together

There are a couple of options available, though this itinerary would be good.

3 nights Moremi
4 nights Khwai
3 nights Savute


This place in September/October is what I would label 'cheat photography'. The water holes are all pumped and provide the only water source for miles around.

I spent over a month in and around the Wilderness Safaris concession in 2007. You simply sit at the water holes and wait for the wildlife to arrive. It is not the most pure experience if that is a consideration.

Dave Carson at Kazuma trails could setup private camps for you and easily combine the area with Botswana.

South Luangwa

You are not supposed to drive off road and the photographic experience is not the greatest...There are some interesting photographic opportunities, though compared to Botswana and Hwange, it will probably be more limited.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 02:26 AM
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thx lbj2, can I contact you via facebook to get a bit more info on the Botswana suggestion?

Hwange sounds as a no-no to me as I don't want human-pumped waterholes to attract animals.. would feel to much like a zoo to me..
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Feb 20th, 2012, 08:44 AM
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ive got some replies and by far the best itinerary was the one I got from Norman Carrs;

10 x NCS camps (2 x Luwi, 4 x Kakuli, 1 x Return to the Wild Sleepout, 3 x Mchenja)
Peak Season = $5390 per person
Shoulder Season = $4390 per person

SInce their shoulder season starts already at october 15, I can make that. Including the flight from lusaka to mfuwe of just above 500$ it fits my budget nicely.

The replies I got from both &beyond and Robin Pope only included 8 nights for this price, guess that's the SS / high season they are charging.

Any opinions on the order I should do the camps in?
I was thinking 4x Kakuli, 2x luwi, return to the wild sleepout and finish with 3x mchenja.
They suggested the other way around if Im correct, but mchenja seems like a nice camp to finish the trip
also I'm not sure about the sleepout yet, seems awesome but as I'm my own I still considering if I think it would be boring to be out there on my own instead of sitting around the campfire with the other people in the camp
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Feb 20th, 2012, 09:42 AM
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To be honest I don't think the order really matters that much. I think both Kakuli and Mchenja are similar standard. I wouldn't rule out a couple of nights at Kapani either. Although the central area is busier, it means the animals are nociceably less skittish. Also, from Kapani they can enter the park via the main gate or via a pontoon which takes you into a section of the park around Chichele lodge, which is quieter than the main area and is a lovely area.

ANother point of interest might be- if your trip runs into early Nov and you spent the last few days at Mchenja, you would have the whole northern part of the park to yourself. The only other camps that drive in this area- Kaingo, Mwamba and Lion Camp, all shut down on 31st Oct, whilst Mchenja stays open about a week into Nov. So you'd have the whole area to yourself.
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