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Review: South Luangwa River Lodge, Victoria Falls and Tauck-Tanzania and Kenya tour

Review: South Luangwa River Lodge, Victoria Falls and Tauck-Tanzania and Kenya tour

Old Nov 12th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 55
Review: South Luangwa River Lodge, Victoria Falls and Tauck-Tanzania and Kenya tour

We loved our first African venture in September. We started in Livingstone at the Royal Livingstone which is a beautiful place with first class accommodations within a short walking distance of the falls. Even though it was the dry season, we thought the falls were awesome. We walked there our first evening and then went back the next day. The Zambezi Sun property is even closer and looked very nice. It may have been a bit more of our style; sans butler! We went into town for dinner at the Funky Monkey which had surprisingly good pizza. We went on the microlight over the falls which was incredible. We only did the 15-minute trip and wished we had more time!
From Livingstone we flew to Mfuwe where we stayed at South Luangwa River Lodge for 4 nights. We really cannot say enough good things about our experience there. It was everything we dreamed an African safari would be. The lodge is beautiful with all the creature comforts. It sits beside the river and is pure serenity. The owners, staff, chef, and,most importantly, our guide, were just great. We enjoyed dinner with very interesting people and enjoyed the time by ourselves as well. James, our guide, was so knowledgeable about the animals and the area. He located lions mating, leopards, and even a cheetah. He told us all about termites which was fascinating! I should add that Rocco arranged the Zambian leg of our trip and did a great job. I would highly recommend his services to anyone interested in going to Zambia.
The last part of our trip was the Tauck tour in Tanzania and Kenya which began in Arusha. We have traveled with Tauck before and loved it. Although many people advised against a tour in favor of a private tour at a lower cost, we decided to go with Tauck again and did not regret it. It is so carefree and we enjoy the social aspect of meeting other people and sharing our experiences. There were never more than 6 persons in a vehicle and the service and accommodations were top notch.
The only glitch in our trip was Kenya Airways. I made our African connecting flights on the internet and called to confirm about a week before we left at which time everything was fine. However, when we arrived at Lusaka, we were told we were not on the list. Even after showing our confirmation and credit card statement showing payment in full, the manager told us that the rate we were given did not include taxes and asked us to pay $120 more! When we refused to do so, we were delayed and barely made the flight with a later connection that we also had to stand in line and argue over to get on board. The whole day was a complete aggravation courtesy of Kenya Airways. However, one day, we shall return!
nankar123 is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2006, 06:33 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
glad you liked Luangwa River Lodge, it's a great place! James and Victor are excellent guides and the staff and location are great. Too bad about your problems with Kenya airlines.
matnikstym is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2006, 06:03 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790
Glad that you had a good trip. Will you give more details about your tour with Tauck? It will help others who are considering a group tour.
bat is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2006, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
You saw a good cross section of Africa. The Kenya Airways fiasco sounds like bribery and corruption to me.
atravelynn is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Posts: 55
As to details on the Tauck tour, you can see the complete itinerary on their website if you wish. Generally, we traveled from Lake Manyara in Arusha, to Ngorongoro Crater, stopped at Olduvai Gorge, to Serengeti National Park, Amboseli, Samburu and then to Masai Mara. We stayed in Serena properties except at the Mara where we stayed at the Mara Safari Club. The accommodations were all wonderful. There were about 25 in the entire group but we traveled in separate vehicles while on game drives, usually in groups of 4 or 5. We are not usually "tour" travelers but have taken several trips with Tauck when we thought making the arrangements on our own or coping with transportation would be too much hassle.
Tauck has never disappointed us. You can be totally involved with the group and participate in all activities or do your own thing if you wish. Although the fee may seem high compared to other tours, there are no additional fees on the tour for activities, tips, etc. In Africa, all meals were included as was the balloon ride over the Mara. It is very convenient to have someone else worrying about luggage and getting to and from the airport. The tour directors are very knowledgeable about the areas or contract with local guides who are. They usually have one or more special events in addition to the opening reception and final dinner the last evening. It is fun to meet fellow travelers from all over the US, Canada, and elsewhere. Please let me know if you have any specific questions.
nankar123 is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2006, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 309
Hi nankar123

Tell us more regarding the Cheetah sighting at LRL. This would be a rare encounter indeed!
africaddict is offline  
Old Nov 13th, 2006, 08:48 PM
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I repeat Marc's question.....Cheetah in the South Luangwa?

Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:40 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 352
Let me add an Amen to the positive comments re. Luangwa River Lodge and Rocco, who set up our wonderful 6-night stay there.

But no Cheetah!
steeliejim is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2006, 02:17 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 309
..................I'm still holding my breath !!
africaddict is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2006, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 323
Just a FYI.

My wife and I have been on 5 Tauck Tours and even though they are expensive, we feel you get the best bang for your buck by staying in 5 star accomodations, meals usually included and all tips and entrance fees. We rate all 5 trips 5 star.

But, when it came to Tanzania, we read and read many posts on Fodors and Trip Advisor and decided to do it ourselves.

The cost of the Tauck Tour that we liked was $5900.00 pp. We took that intinery and went to many of the recommended outfitter and settled on Roy Safari's. We upgraded the accomadations, such as, instead of the Ngorongoro Serena, we choose the NCL (Tree Camp). We were promised a new vehicle with A/C, etc. Total cost was $4900.00. A $1000.00 per person savings and we are staying in better accomodations.

Just my $0.02.
dssxxxx is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2006, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
When are you going?

I'm wondering if the cheetah wasn't really a leopard and the slip was in the correct name. But if there was a cheetah that would be outstanding.
atravelynn is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 323
We have booked for June 18 - 30 flying ERW - KLM - JRO, using continental sleezy pass.....

If you need/would like the itinerary I can list it.
dssxxxx is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
It is always nice to see what others are doing, where, and when. Please post here or in your own thread when convenient.
atravelynn is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2006, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 323
June, 2007 safari. Will be using Roys. They will provide A/C cruiser/rover and will also provide sim cards for cell phone and top off minutes.

Here are the finals:

1 nt - Mt. Village Serena
1 nt - Manyara Serena
2 nt - Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
2 nt - Sergengeti Serena
3 nt - Kirawira
1 dayroom - Mt. Village Serena

Kennedy - AMS - JRO June 18, 2007
JRO - AMS - Kennedy - June 28, 2007

Business/First - KLM - 400,000 miles (AMEX) Easy Pass.

dssxxxx is offline  
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