Return of the rustic bush camps

Nov 17th, 2007, 09:07 PM
  #21  
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Hari -- why looking for something new? I already told you about a wonderful alternative in the Busanga Plains, in a prime location, right between the WS camps. Only three tents, comfortable, but very close to nature.

Here are some of my photos:
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200....MainArea.jpeg
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...pfireArea.jpeg
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...ndParking.jpeg
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...amp.Tent1.jpeg
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...1Interior.jpeg
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...FromTent1.jpeg
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...rBathroom.jpeg
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...eaAtNight.jpeg
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...t1AtNight.jpeg

The name of this place is The Plains Camp. It's run by a small independent Zambian operator, Mukambi Lodge (www.mukambi.com), who is operating in this area for years.

So why throwing more bucks in the mouth of that big corporate operator?
nyama is offline  
Nov 17th, 2007, 09:31 PM
  #22  
 
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Nyama,

I get the hint!!!

Always looking for something new - just visited Pench national park in Central India this past weekend.

Btw, nice pictures - loved the bush loo next to the big tree!!!

Cheers,
Hari
HariS is offline  
Nov 17th, 2007, 09:58 PM
  #23  
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"loved the bush loo next to the big tree..."

Well, I regard this bucket shower under the big fig tree as one of the most romantic I ever used.

Well, I guess this is the most romantic one:
http://www.bums-aus.de/published/200...mp.Shower.jpeg
(unfortunately you couldn't use it at night...)
nyama is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 12:01 AM
  #24  
 
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The Plains looks wonderful, Nyama. Just my kind of camp.

And your most romantic shower? I like it a lot, but Y isn't so sure...not keen on having everything hanging out in daylight

John
afrigalah is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 12:09 AM
  #25  
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John, none of animals complained.
nyama is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 10:05 AM
  #27  
 
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Nyama - Plains Camp looks intriguing. A couple of questions:

1) Do they walk or is this mostly drives?

2) Single supplements?

3) How did you get there? Fly,self drive or driven?

4) I love staying longer periods in fewer camps rather than hopping around. Is this a camp from you perspective that would be good for +5 day stay?

Thanks

Thanks
GreenDrake is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 10:58 AM
  #28  
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GreenDrake - to answer your questions:

1. Drives. I wouldn't regard this as good walking area.

2. Yes

3. Driven. You should plan extra nights at Mukambi Lodge. Driving time from Lusaka Intl to Mukambi Lodge is about 5-5.5 hours, from Mukambi Lodge to Plains Camp another 5-5.5 hours. You can self-drive to Mukambi Lodge, but self-driving to Busanga Plains is no longer an option since WS enforced the new rule that you must be accompanied by a ZAWA guide. Mukambi will do the transfers Mukambi Lodge to/from Plains Camp, but you must organize your own transfers to/from Lusaka. (Mukambi sent me an address of someone who drove me - 380US$ for one transfer.)

4. YES (if you stay there from mid-August to mid-September)
nyama is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 11:20 AM
  #29  
 
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Plains Camp looks awesome.
Leely is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 11:38 AM
  #30  
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The only drawback: sometimes the peace of nature is disturbed by the noise of helicopter transfers to/from the neighbouring camps...
(Wasn't this called 'low-impact tourism'...? Reminds me on Ian Michler's comments on 'greenwashing' in the latest Africa Geographic...)
nyama is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 01:06 PM
  #31  
 
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Thanks Nyama

That is very helpful. You thoughts are similar to those of my guide in the North Luangwa who had who had previously guided in the Busanga Plains - great gameviewing and wild, but the expansive flat plains are not good for walking.
GreenDrake is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 01:21 PM
  #32  
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I guess you're talking about Ernst Jacobs... I made my first walks in Africa with him.
nyama is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 02:51 PM
  #33  
 
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Yes Nyama it was Ernst. He spoke highly of his experience in the Busansga Plains, which really convinced me that I should consider that area for future trips. I just won't pay the current Wilderness Camp rates in that area, so the Mukambi camps may be a nice alternative.
GreenDrake is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 02:54 PM
  #34  
 
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bit of a newbie here,so apologies if this is a stupid question.... but one thing puzzles me - why do WS always use "young South Africans", in various countries, and, why do they think that's an attraction?

I've nothing against young South Africans, but the ones I've met in Namibia and Botswana, make me think that local guys could probably do a better job half the time.

Certainly the Botswanan guys in Kwando didn't seem to be pining for a "young South African" to help them.
mcwomble is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 04:20 PM
  #35  
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Maybe since the market demands it...?

When WS overtook Shumba they banned local John Chibwantu from guiding there and replaced him with a young South African. John had guided in the Plains for nearly 25 years and knew almost each animal, literally. The lion pride males had his name, Big John & Little John. And you can find John's name in François d'Elbée's Busanga books.

No, they didn't fire him - he was still allowed to guide in the Lufupa area. His 'fault': he is a more quiet man and not an entertainer (whereas his replacement really knew how to entertain, knowledge of wildlife secondary...)

It broke John's heart (and nearly mine). This is one of the several stories why I have become very critical regarding a certain operator who always praises his support of local communities.

But most clients don't care, never ask questions, just believe the big marketing blitz. And that's why such stories will happen again and again...
nyama is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 05:46 PM
  #36  
 
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Regarding McWomble's comments on staffing at WS camps...the term "young south Africans" was used. However, if it supposed to be a quote from Nyama's first posting - it is misquoted -

Here's the first posting by Nyama:
Quote from the press release: "Safari & Adventure Co. camps staffed by young and enthusiastic southern Africans offer a return to a rustic bush camp experience."

With the word "southern" not capitalized I would take it to mean the general southern Africa area - not South Africa in particular. Am I correct in this assumption?

VeeR is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 05:58 PM
  #37  
 
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I agree with VeeR, the website (and press release quoted here) definitely says young southern Africans, not young South Africans, so I guess I don't see what some people seem to be reading into this. I've only been to WS camps in Botswana, but definitely all of our guides have been from Botswana, and I believe most of the staff. Granted, some of the managers have been South African (or maybe even from UK?).
brandywine is offline  
Nov 18th, 2007, 06:44 PM
  #38  
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"so I guess I don't see what some people seem to be reading into this..."

Maybe you read the 12th post in "Predator Biologist to explore some of Botswana's independent camps", http://www.fodors.travel/forums/thre...4&tid=35045458

After my visit in Zambia last year I found the situation in certain camps very similar to that described in the quoted paper of that post.
nyama is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 08:30 AM
  #39  
sniktawk
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Most of the South Africans employed by Wilderness do not even have work permits but use touriast visas stay for 3 months and then leave and return. Who honestly bel;ieves their bull sh*t?
 
Nov 20th, 2007, 07:02 PM
  #40  
 
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Ken,

I would be very keen to try some their "rustic bush camps" if they are in prime wildlife viewing areas and the gameviewing is acceptable. I personally think it's a great new venture!

Hari
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