Poll on Zambia options

Sep 25th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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Poll on Zambia options

Hello - I am still making my plans, but thought it would be fun to take a poll: For the end of a Zambian safari you have three options:
A. Spend 3 or 4 nights in Kafue Nat. Park
B. See Victoria Falls
C. Remain in South Luangwa/Lower Zambezi for the entire, roughly 15-night trip.

Please select A, B or C, and then briefly explain why. Thanks!!!
cooncat2 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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B and C

Asssuming you have not been to Victoria Falls before, I'd spend 1-2 nights there at the very end. When you are this close to such a spectacle, it is nice to take advantage of the opportunity to see it. Depending on when you arrive in Vic Falls and your international departure flight, one night might be enough. If you wanted to do some of the activities around the falls, like the flightseeing or a helicopter tour, 2 nights might be needed.

Spending 1 to 2 nights in Vic Falls would allow 1 or 2 more nights for S. Luangwa or Lower Zambezi where the safari action is. (I figured you had 3-4 additional nights since that's what you mentioned in Option A)

Didn't vote for Kafue even thought I enjoyed my time in Kafue, but 3 nights would be insufficient. Maybe 4 nights would work. At least when I went in 2003, in addition to the charter flight, a several hour drive was needed to get to Busanga Plains. I spent 5 nights there total.

I'll be interested in seeing the other votes in your poll.
atravelynn is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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Thank you so much for the response, Atravelnn!
May I ask - what time of year were in you Kafue and what kinds of animals did you see? Four nights is certainly a potential option. I know I could really get slammed on this one, but...I'm not sure Vic Falls shouild take precedence over more time in the wild...It is a beautiful sight, to be sure, but I have seen waterfalls before. Oh well. We'll see how it all shakes out.

Thanks again!
cooncat2 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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I was in Kafue in late July, 2003

Here is an excerpt from something I had posted earlier on Kafue:

In the 3 days in Busanga Plains, we spent most of our time hanging out with a pride of about 8 lions. Also spotted: a pair of cheetah (Kafue is the only place in Zambia for cheetah), 2 separate serval sitings, a honey badger, sable, oribi, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, roan antelope, reedbuck and huge herds of red lechwe. Some interesting bird sitings were: purple heron, Fulleborn's longclaw, rufous-bellied heron, lesser jacana, numerous watled crane, open billed stork, and black bellied korhan.

Because the Busanga area is so remote and distant, I spent a day at Lunga River Lodge, also in Kafue, both before and after Busanga Bush Camp. (That totals 5 nights in Kafue) It is a 3-hour drive from Lunga River Lodge to Busanga Bush Camp. At Lunga we could do walks, day & night drives, plus canoeing and boat rides on the Lunga. Sightings included: tree hyrax, otter, roan antelope (on foot,) a serval (on foot), and 2 cheetah brothers. Other people saw elephant on a game drive. Interesting birds: wattled crane, African finfoot, purple crested lorie.

Interestingly, all 4 cheetahs in Kafue were spotted on night drives.

To see more and better views of the anteleope, which Kafue is noted for, a little later in the year would be better--September or October. Also in Busanga Bush Camp, the lions took to the trees frequently in the hotter weather, again September-October.

The amount and diversity of game was greater in both S. Luangwa and Lower Zambezi than Kafue.

My recommendation for Vic Falls was based on promoting a well rounded, typical safari that encompasses all the attractions and wonders of the region. But I must admit, that personally, I am more like you in wanting to maximize the time in the bush even at the expense of other lovely sights. I too go for bush over natural beauty! The visits I've made to Vic Falls were convenient layovers or transistion days and not planned visits on their own.

atravelynn is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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Having been there, and spoken with the lodge owners and others, how do you suppose game and so forth would be looking in the early part of the season - beginning of June?

thanks again!
cooncat2 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Hi Sharon,

I agree with Lynn 3-4 days seems too short a time for Kafue -- it seems more like a one-week destination to me. It also depends on the time of year -- the part of Kafue I'd really like to see (Busanga Plains) is often inaccessible until later in the dry season.

So I'd vote B (2 nights) and C (1-2 nights).

jasher is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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Again, B and C

Matetsi Water Lodge, Vic Falls - 3 nights (no single supplement and a rate of around $275 per night)

South Luangwa - 6 nights @ Luangwa River Lodge

Lower Zambezi - 6 nights @ Chiawa Camp

It will be nice to go this route in my opinion, as you will start out with luxury lodge on the water & Vic Falls activities, to next your best gameviewing and most luxurious lodge/best food/best hosting, to the very best location with varied activities. Plus, although it is the most expensive of the bunch, Chiawa will really give you that rustic African safari yet with just the right touch of luxury that you will come to expect after Matetsi and Luangwa River Lodge.

After my recently concluded trip, I will not be so eager to hop around from camp to camp to camp to camp. Instead, I will find the best camps in an area and really soak them in. A great lodge like Luangwa River Lodge or a great camp like Chiawa will ensure that it is not a repetitive experience, even after 6 nights.

Now, stop beating a dead horse and make your decision already!
Roccco is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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OH MY STARS......Look who's talking!!! ;-)


Thanks guys.....
cooncat2 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Just FYI - I've gone and posted before going back and searching on these posts, (wrong order again!) which I"ve since done on Kafue. You're all probably right about the time needed to do Kafue properly....

cooncat2 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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I think Roccco has it spot on although
I'd probably do the falls at the end of the trip so that you can relax and look back on what you've seen while sipping a cocktail or 2 (or microlighting or taking a helicopter ride over the falls).

Chiawa remains a very special memory from last year - as Roccco states, 6 days isn't repetitive when there are a variety of activities to undertake (canoeing, boating, walking, game drives and if you are so inclined, fishing - any catches must be put back). The atmosphere in the camp is so relaxed, yet so totally open to the wildlife. It's worthwhile just spending an afternoon in the hide overlooking the dried up river bed where up to 100 elephants come down in the afternoon to drink, play and cause general mischief (with more than a few taking detours through the camp on the way out).At the end of May 2004 we saw leopards, lion kills, more elephants than I could imagine, hippos and a fair few crocs from the canoe and boat. But also lots of the smaller stuff (especially when out wlaking and from the canoe). Birding was particularly good.

The Luangwa River Lodge looks and sounds amazing - we stayed at Nkwali which was a bit disappointing after Chiawa although we forgive it everything as we were fortunate enough to see wild dog while staying there.
daviesg is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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Thanks Davies. I am all set for Lower Zambezi. It's South Luangwa that I'm still uncertain about. I'm staying at Luangwa River Lodge for a minimum of 3 nights (possibly more) but I'd like to see another area of the park. Question is, in May, which area should that be? Questions, questions....
cooncat2 is offline  

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