Robin Pope vs. Norman Carr in South Luangwa

Reply

Jan 20th, 2011, 11:00 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 792
Robin Pope vs. Norman Carr in South Luangwa

Hello all,

I'm considering a safari in Zambia for June, and was looking at 7-10 days in South Luangwa. Can anybody give recommendations or pros/cons of the Robin Pope camps vs. the Norman Carr camps? I'm generally sticking with these operators since I can get long stay discount and their rates fit within my budget.

p.s. I did look into North Luangwa as well, but single supplements and the potential cost of a charter flight breaks my budget.
lifelist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 20th, 2011, 11:50 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Can't compare the two, but, did have safaris in 2005 and 2006 at Robin Pope. Nsefu and Tena Tena. Preferred Tena Tena, more remote and tented. Have not been back because rates are too high for the experience, $650 per night Jul-Oct. Compared to other countries/camps. But that South Luangwa has a feel and atmosphere/light to it like no other place I've been. Like primitive, like going back in time 5 million years.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 20th, 2011, 06:02 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
I agree with you Tom. I stayed at Tena Tena and Nsefu in July, 2006 and wouldn't pay what they want now. If I was to spend that kind of money I would rather go back to Tanzania.
raelond is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2011, 12:41 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 118
I've used Norman Carr. Walking between bush camps for a week. Brilliant experience.

There's something about the Pope operation which I don't like. I'm not saying it's not great or professional, but I prefer to go with the original.

The only slight downside to our trip was our last camp, which looked across the river to one of Popes. For some reason, they had put a huge blue tarpaulin up as a roof. It rather spoiled the primitive feel of the area, and why did they have to choose somewhere within sight of a rival?
mcwomble is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2011, 07:54 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Been to both, along with Coppinger's Tafika. Whichever works best for you in the way of itinerary composition, price, and travel dates is what I'd choose. If getting some nice photos is important, make sure whatever you end up with has several outings in a vehicle in addition to walking.

If you can share a flight with others to N. Luangwa, the cost goes down, so if you can delay booking or allow some more time for others to book, it may fit back into your budget. I've found the single supplement at Kutandala (my favorite camp) to be reasonable.

There is a Pope-Kutandala connection that might help you out on charter costs or at least info on when others are going. You could also contact Rod Tether at Kutandala directly as an option.

Kutandala is worth investing the time in exploring options and timing to see if it could work.

"South Luangwa has a feel and atmosphere/light to it like no other place I've been."

I agree with Tom. It really draws you in. Plus it has abundant puku, which are very attractive (cute) antelope that are not as skittish as some.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2011, 01:12 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 792
Hmmm, maybe I'll ask the agent to try N. Luangwa again. Right now, the RPS/Norman Carr camps are coming out at $450-500 a night with no single supplement which isn't too bad. However, I fear that Kutandala is a budget buster. ATR shows the rack rate as $550 a night, and if the single supplement is something like 40% and the flight is $400 rt, then I'm way over.

Part of the consideration is that the mix of Norman Carr camps includes Nsolo and Luwi, which are walking-only camps whereas the RPS camps allow for a mix, but the RPS camps cost a little more.
lifelist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2011, 01:57 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Does the Carr safari have some camps that are vehicle and walking in the itinerary? Do you start or end in Kapani?
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2011, 03:50 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 792
Yes, it has 2 nights at Kapani and 2 nights at Kakuli. He was also able to get 2 nights at Mwamba (Shenton Safaris) which I'm very happy about.

Another agent sent me an itinerary with Kutandala, and she had to make some serious compromises in the rest of the itinerary to get close to the budget, which leads me to believe Kutandala just isn't going to happen.

In fact, if I really wanted to walk, I would just go with an RPS mobile walking safari. That's 5 night of walking from camp to camp.
lifelist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2011, 04:34 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
"2 nights at Kapani and 2 nights at Kakuli. He was also able to get 2 nights at Mwamba (Shenton Safaris) which I'm very happy about."

That's a winner to me!

If Aubrey is still managing Kakuli, please tell him hello from his Zambezi canoeing buddy and honey badger fan, Lynn.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 2nd, 2011, 02:37 PM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 792
So, I ended up with a mix. Norman Carr (Kapani, Kakuli), Robin Pope (Nsefu), and Shenton Safaris (Mwamba). There was an opportunity for Mwaleshi in N. Luangwa, but it still turned out too expensive. The agent was able to find someone headed for N. Luangwa and could have gotten me on that flight, thus eliminating the need for a charter. But, the flight was still kind of expensive along with the cost of Mwaleshi which pushed the budget up about $1000. So, I settled on the current itinerary. I gave up the walking-only camps because I realized that photography was important to me, and a walking-only camp would limit that a bit. I did end up giving up the long stay discount, but I think the mix is pretty good.
lifelist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 2nd, 2011, 03:19 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Better than "pretty good." Should be a fabulous trip!
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 18th, 2011, 06:46 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 153
Did you ever do a TR on this trip, lifelist? I would be very interested in hearing about your overall impression of the various camps you visited.
sangeeta is offline  
Reply With Quote
Dec 18th, 2011, 06:53 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,087
Curious to know if you'd consider the leaders in the SLV of Bushcamp Company?
mkhonzo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 10th, 2012, 06:19 PM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 792
Sangeeta -

I didn't do a trip report - I did leave quite a few comments on each of the camps at Expert Africa's website. If you're interested in seeing those comments here, I can copy and paste the reviews here.

In general, it was a very good trip. I especially enjoyed the Shenton Safari camp, Mwamba. The Norman Carr camps are rather focused on walking which is fine, but it was enough for me. The Robin Pope camps give you a mix and are very flexible in your activities, which better suited my emphasis on photography.

I think my itinerary was just right for what I wanted to do given my budget and timeline. The agent at Expert Africa gave me good advice after working with me for quite a while on the itinerary.

In the Lower Zambezi, I found Old Mondoro to be a fantastic camp in a beautiful forest. Unfortunately, I was unlucky in my wildlife sightings. I also found the use of red light covers for night drives to be disappointing, photographically speaking.

Mkhonzo - I looked at Bushcamp Company, but I didn't want to do too much walking. The agent at Expert Africa suggested I go with the camps I went with because they would offer me a mix, and I have to say that for my purposes, it was the right decision.
lifelist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 12th, 2012, 09:27 AM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 153
Thanks for getting back on this! Your itinerary sounds like a photographer's dream and you seem to have really enjoyed it. Thanks again. I will look at your Expert Africa comments as well.
sangeeta is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 14th, 2012, 08:56 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 469
can we view your photo's anywhere?
I'm currently looking into a south luangwa trip, so this information is very much appreciated
Nikao is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 14th, 2012, 11:34 PM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 792
http://www.pbase.com/escog/zambia
lifelist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 15th, 2012, 01:30 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 469
thx! surprised how well you can photograph at night! ..
Nikao is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 16th, 2012, 07:00 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 180
I see the date has come and gone---I went to Zambia a few years ago and stayed at Nkwali and Nsefu camps which are Robin Pope's safari camps...I loved it. In fact, it had the atmosphere/feel of Old Africa or at least what I imagined it must have been like...a little bit off the traditional safari circuit. I thought the Luangwa River was just what an African river should look like...wide sweeping bends loaded up with hippos and crocodiles...carmine beeeaters nested by the hundreds in the bank of the river...and at Nsefu I saw my first aardvark (only aardvark)which was quite a thrill...strangely I don't think we saw any leopard which is what Luangwa is noted for...we saw loads of everything else except rhino and some interesting speicies endemic to Zambia...the camps weren't too over the top, just right...I'd highly recommend Robin Pope...for years after our visit I'd read their "It's Monday" blog to see what happened in the bush the prior week...sort of puts our everyday life in perspective and would always give me that pang to go back...anyhow, thats my two cents re: Robin Pope safaris...
gatoratlarge is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:44 AM.