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Recently returned from Botswana, Namibia, VicFalls and Cape Town

Recently returned from Botswana, Namibia, VicFalls and Cape Town

Jun 11th, 2002, 04:23 PM
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Recently returned from Botswana, Namibia, VicFalls and Cape Town

Yesterday, I returned from an extraordinary two week safari in Namibia and Botswana, followed by another terrific week in Victoria Falls and Cape Town. It was definitely a great experience and I would be pleased to answer any questions that might help others in planning a similar trip. I will not be posting a trip report.
Jun 11th, 2002, 04:55 PM
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Hi Evelyn!

I am planning a trip for next year July and I wanted to find out your thoughts on Cape Town and Victoria Falls. Did you stay on the Zambian side or the Zimbabwean side for Vic Falls? Was it safe or did you encounter alot of hassels.

Also how safe was Cape Town? S. Africa seems really incredible but I have very strong reservations about the safety. For my trip next year, I'm going with a friend--we are both single and in our 20s and are really concerned about safety issues in S. Africa.


Jun 12th, 2002, 12:54 AM
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Welcome home!
Glad you enjoyed your trip...
Thanks for the email trip report, I really enjoyed reading it.

So, are you now thinking about when you might go back?

Jun 12th, 2002, 03:02 AM
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We stayed at the Victoria and Albert Hotel in Cape Town which is on the waterfront and adjacent to the Wharf, attractions, shopping and restaurants. We felt very safe in this area as it is very active in the evenings. When we went into the city one evening to a special restaurant, we took a taxi. The 10 minute drive cost $3 USD. The city center closes down somewhat at night and is not safe. There is not much there during the day either. July is the middle of Cape Town's winter. The weather June 6-9 was very cool and somewhat nasty. We wore sweaters and jackets the entire time. Table Mountain was in a fog and the cable car was closed and the water was rough so we did not go to Robben Island. We did find the Township tour worthwhile and suggest you do a morning visit.

In Victoria Falls, we stayed on the Zambian side. The Zambian side of the falls was truly spectacular, the Zim side was so full of the mist there was little to be seen. We did spend an afternoon on the Zim side and did find the hassling annoying as the peddlers just don't take "no" for an answer. "Go away" didn't work either. We took an sundowner cruise on the river which was nothing special and visited a very small village with a guide which was an eye opener. Both Zambia and Zim have serious economic problems and the areas around the falls are very depressing. Our hotel provided transportation and guide service which was helpful. Our two night stay was adequate for waht we wanted to do.

Hope this helps.
Jun 12th, 2002, 06:41 AM
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We to are planning a trip which includeds Cape Town and Victoria Falls. We are going in Sep. of next year.
I am thinking of staying at the Commadore hotel in CapeTown at the Water front. Did you happen to notice it? If so did it look ok?
It is just two women traveling alone so I to am very concerned about safety.
Which hotel did you stay in at the Falls? We are thinking of the Zambezi Sun or the Royal Livingstone.
Which airport did you fly into? Did you have any problems with fights to and from Victoria Falls?
I would love to hear more about you tour of the small village. I to am thinking of taking that tour.
What things did you pack for your trip? Also I would love to get a trip Report if you have the time. That is my email at the top
Thank you so much

Jun 12th, 2002, 06:57 AM
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I did not notice the Commadore Hotel in Cape Town so cannot comment. As long as it is at the Waterfront, you will feel safe in the area. I would stay away from places in the city center.

We stayed at The River Club in Zambia as we preferred a small-type hotel rather than the Zambezi Sun. I was not so happy with our choice as the room did not have screening which required us to keep the lights out at dark and the food was very boring with a set meal and no choices. It was elegant and the service was nice, but very English and not my style. We visited the Simonga village which The River Club helps support... a very depressed area. Do the hotels you mentioned supply a driver and guide service? Very important! I have traveled a good deal as an independent traveler, but would not want to be in these areas without a guide who knew the language and the routes.
Jun 12th, 2002, 07:22 AM
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Evelyn, did you go to see the Zambezi Sun while you were there and if so , what did you think of it and the Royal Livingstone? How did the 2 compare?

Also, did you fly into Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)or into Livingstone. If the former, how was the border crossing? Did it take a while or were you expedited through by your guide or driver.

Did you go back and forth to Zim and if so, was there a long wait at the border crossing each time?

Also, glad to hear that your stay at the V&A was good. It is owned by my brother-in-law's father, so I will pass on the comments. We stayed there once and loved it but now will be staying somewhere else that is cheaper. Quite ironic, actually!
Jun 12th, 2002, 07:45 AM
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In Zambia, I stayed at The River Club which is a small facility about 45 minutes from the Falls. They arranged our drivers and a free visitor visa in advance. I did notice the two big hotels that you are considering on our way to the Falls, but do not have any information about them. They are well outside of the town of Livingstone which is good.

We flew from Botswana into Livingstone Airport. On the way to our hotel, our driver took us on a small village which was very interesting although sad. The town of Livingstone is very depressed and should be avoided. The next day, we visited the Zambian side of the falls which was awesome. Saw many rainbows, double rainbows, almost a full circle rainbow. Even with ponchos, we got soaked (put your watch in a plastic bag). We then went through the border crossings from Zambia to Zim. No problems, took 30-45 minutes in all. We bought double entry visas for $45 USD each as we were going to fly out of Zim the next day. Our driver was helpful, but there were plenty of visitors doing it on their own. The driver seemed to know everyone so perhaps it did expedite the crossing.

The Zim side of the falls was disappointing as lots of mist (like rain) and we couldn't see very much. You could actually skip this part depending on what time of year you go and the rainfall. Afternoon shopping in Zim was the same stuff you see everywhere else in Southern Africa. Prices were similar, too. Then back to the River Club. Next day we were driven to the Zim airport at VicFalls, 11:45 AM flight to Jo'burg, changed plans and landed in Cape Town at about 3:30. The flights from this area to Cape Town are very limited and only on certain days so you really need to plan carefully. All the flights were on time.
Jun 14th, 2002, 10:00 PM
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I was in Cape Town in March and during one of my tours, our van stopped at the Commodore to pick up others on the tour. It seemed to be a nice enough hotel but it wasn't exactly on the Waterfront. I had the pleasure of staying on the Waterfront (at the Table Bay Hotel) for four nights and then at the Mount Nelson Hotel in the City Bowl for three nights. I loved both hotels and they both had their own set of advantages. My first four nights in Cape Town were on the Waterfront and this was a good way to ease into Cape Town but by my final three nights I was glad to be in the City Bowl and felt safe enough to do a little exploring even though it wasn't a touristy area.
A lot of hotels promise to be on the Waterfront but the only hotels that seemed directly to be on the V&A Waterfront area were the Cape Grace, the Table Bay Hotel and the V&A Waterfront. During my stay at the Mount Nelson, I did stay a couple nights for half price because they were last second bookings (I was originally scheduled to stay at the Grande Roche in the Cape Winelands for two nights, but after getting stuck in Victoria Falls for an extra day, I chose to pass on the Winelands and instead stay my last three nights in Cape Town.
Wherever you stay, you will love Cape Town. I cannot wait to return, hopefully next April. Good luck.
Jun 15th, 2002, 05:28 AM
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I was in Zim last August and walked over to tne Zambia side. After seeing the falls from that side we walked over to the Livingston Hotel and had some drinks on the patio. The place was only up and running for 3 months. It was extremely elegant. Even though we were not staying there they were extremely helpful to us. We were to meet someone (we thought it was there) and it wasn't so they drove us over to the Sun and I walked through there. It was very Arizonia looking, relaxed place very open. Depends on your style. It is a bit closer to the Falls. You can walk to either place and they have golf carts along the walkways to catch a ride if you wish. I had a friend who just got back from staying at the Livinston and loved it. You are right on the Zambezi River. Hope this helps.
Jun 15th, 2002, 01:42 PM
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To: Evelyn, Just want to thank you for your trip report and all the help.

To Carol and Rocco, I would like to Thank You also.The information is very helpful.

All of you have been very helpful. Your ideas have helped me a lot in planning my trip.

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