Rocco..Rocco, Rocco...

Mar 13th, 2004, 09:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 133
Rocco..Rocco, Rocco...

Does every post have to be about Rocco. Haven't been visiting here long and trying not to be overbearing, especially as one so new, but is Rocco the center of everything?
Sprig is offline  
Mar 14th, 2004, 12:18 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 48
scaredtodeath is offline  
Mar 14th, 2004, 06:19 AM
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scaredtodeath -

While you are a women of few words when it comes to your dear hubby Roccco, what you have to say are words of wisdom and have such impact.
Mar 14th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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You aren't the first to suggest this possibility, but it doesn't seem to change. I guess get used to it or ignore it. Not trying to be trite, just agreeing with you but not wanting to start a major war which usually happens. Liz
Mar 14th, 2004, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Sorry girls...I was accidentally logged in as STD on her laptop yesterday and that was MY tongue-in-cheek response.

Hey man, I just love Southern Africa and have no other outlet. Even the most cultured of us would be hissed off the Lonely Planet's forum due to our desire to go on safari rather than spending our entire time in villages with the locals drinking tainted beer and staying in $5 per night accomodations.

Also, keep in mind that many of my posts are in direct response to those that request my assistance. I have no doubt that I have saved people thousands of dollars and I only wish that I had someone to ask these same questions on each of my last two trips.
I mean I am basically staying at the very best lodges in the entire South Luangwa (Puku Ridge and Chichele Presidential Lodge) for LESS money than I paid at Kafunta last year. While Kafunta had nice accomodations and personalized service, the food was lacking and I did get dinged with a nice little bar bill at the end (and I thought they were just being nice offering me drinks all the time...not to see that I was a drunken slob, but I did enjoy possibly three drinks per day which adds up after five nights).

Honestly, I am providing some of the same services as a tour operator would offer yet ask for only a thank you in return (something that I do not always get).

Ultimately, people are free to ignore my threads and my posts. I do think that Sprig would have a different opinion if I, or anyone for that matter, had bothered to respond to a couple of his/her threads asking for help when not a single response came back. To start a new thread with my name is doing nothing but compounding what he/she sees as a problem, but Sprig was already aware of that, right?
Roccco is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 12:53 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 596
Sprig, Rocco contributes a lot to this forum not only in terms of info but also vim, vigor and excitement. I enjoy his posts where he decides which African country to visit and which camp to stay at. For the years that I am unable to return to Africa, I live vicariously through this kind of planning.
This is a terrific forum, we have so many interesting people from Africa, US, UK, Canada and other countries, all contributing good info based on their personal experiences. And Rocco is one of them. If you don't like someone's posts, don't read them.
Clematis is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 76
Im glad Rocco is here. Because of him wife and i are heading to Botswana on our first trip to Africa. Tubu Tree and Savuti. Also staying one night in Vic Falls. Will prob stay at 12 Apostles as well when in Cape Town. If not for him and others here(many of them) I sure I would have blindly wandered around and not taken in/experienced the sights my wife and I want to see when in Africa. So for my viewpoint thanks Rocco, I read every post here and you have expanded my limited knowledge of the Dark Continent!
Wulfstan is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 109
God knows we've had our differences, but without Roccco this forum would be blander than an omelet at Dennys.
Steveboy is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Just did you decide that Puku Ridge and Chichele were the very best? Been to either of these before? I believe that Puku Ridge just opened so it may be premature to annoint it the very best.
Which other camps and lodges in South Luangwa have you stayed at for comparison?

chessie is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 08:04 PM
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Roccco is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 08:06 PM
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Roccco is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 11:58 PM
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Sorry about that...every once in awhile STD needs attention, too.


To answer your question, I have only visited two other lodges in South Luangwa and they are Kafunta River Lodge and Kafunta Island Bush Camp. I loved the accomodations of both places, especially the very simple but beautiful Kafunta Island Bush Camp.

I have seen every single camp that exists in the South Luangwa through photographs on their websites and have heard a variety of reports from past visitors on many of the lodges.

I am very aware of the location of each of the game lodges, and probably half or more of the game lodges are located outside the actual South Luangwa National Park boundaries. This creates an unnecessary drive in and out of the park twice per day, easily taking up an hour of game drive time each day. As the following maps will demonstrate, the lodges of Robin Pope Safaris, Norman Carr's lodges, Kafunta River Lodge and The Bushcamp Company are all located outside the boundaries of the actual National Park:

Only the game lodges belonging to Star Of Africa (Chichele Presidential Lodge), Shenton Safaris (Kaingo and Mwamba) and a couple others are actually located in the National Park, allowing for much easier access. Also, of all the game lodges that I have seen, Chichele Presidential Lodge and Puku Ridge seemed to have the most favorable locations, with views for miles. Most of the others were located right alongside the Luangwa River...a great thing in most circumstances, but just like nearly every other game lodge in South Luangwa, and you may not enjoy having hippos grazing literally two meters away from you when you are likely only separated by a thatched wall.

Taking all the above into consideration and then throwing in the price factor, I have no question that Star Of Africa offers the best deal for the traveller that is unafraid of negotiating a better deal than the rack rates offered. Believe me, Chichele and Puku Ridge are every bit as expensive in their rack rates as Robin Pope Safaris and The Bushcamp Company, yet they offered me such a deep discount that I am paying less than I paid last year at Kafunta.

To their credit, I learned that Robin Pope Safaris gave an incredible discount to another Fodorite, matching the low price that I am paying to Star Of Africa, and even lower than Star Of Africa was willing to go for those particular April dates. Unfortunately I had a preconceived notion that RPS would not negotiate on their rates so I did not even contact them this year.

Instead, for my other lodges in South Luangwa, I went with Shenton Safaris (2 nights at Kaingo and 2 nights at Mwamba). Shenton Safaris has an excellent reputation and the only game lodges in South Luangwa with both a hippo hide and an elephant hide. To be honest, I don't know if any other camp has either. Plus, I was able to get an excellent rate and even was able to reserve the honeymoon suite at Kaingo for a very deep discount.

This safari will allow me to see four different South Luangwa lodges, evenly divided between the central part of the park in the Mfuwe area, and the northern part of the park in the Nsefu sector. Last year I was lucky enough to see the very beautiful southern part of the park at Kafunta Island Bush Camp. All told, I will have visited six lodges between this year and last year and spoken to just about every game lodge out there in South Luangwa with the exception of the budget minded Flatdogs and the Wildlife Camp.

In the end, while Robin Pope, Norman Carr and The Bushcamp Company all seem to offer top notch operations, either their position or their pricing does not make them as desirable as either Star Of Africa's lodges or even Shenton Safari's lodges. Kaingo may not be much to look at, but for the pricing, location and excellent reputation for safari experience, I put it near the top. Mwamba, Shenton Safari's bushcamp, may be even less than Kaingo to look at to the untrained eye, but to anyone that has stayed at a bush camp, it looks like paradise.

While I know it sounds pretentious to unilaterally declare Chichele Presidential Lodge and Puku Ridge THE BEST in South Luangwa without having visited most of the other lodges, I believe I make this declaration only after relentless research, whether online or by seeing many of the lodges locations firsthand last year. There is simply not another lodge like Puku Ridge in South Luangwa. It more resembles a very top-notch Botswanan lodge than the typical thatched South Luangwa lodge. And about Chichele Presidential Lodge, it is simply the most remarkably placed lodge in South Luangwa, and offers creature comforts, including fine spirits and cigars, that is unmatched by any other lodge. It is truly the former Zambian Presidential Retreat of the first democratically elected President of Zambia, converted into a game lodge only three years ago. After ten prior nights on safari, Chichele Presidential Lodge is the absolute perfect way to spend my final night in Zambia.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 18th, 2004, 12:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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STD (actually I shouldnt abbreviate - those initials mean something quite different here)

It may be Roccco now but I'm sure I remember your dearheart posting as Rocco originally, before registration. I think someone beat him to it in securing the user name Rocco hence he registered RoCCCo instead. Am I remembering correctly? And in any case, neither Rocco nor Roccco is his real name, right?

I sometimes find Rocco's manner to be disconcerting, but simply call him on it when I think he's stepped over the line.

But he has as much right to post here as anyone else.

I wouldn't go as far as saying the board would be blander than an omelette without him but he certainly adds something to the board.

For me personally, the fact that I sometimes think he creates a proliferation of threads rather than continuing threads he has just started is overwhelmingly outweighed by the helpful information he provides.

I did have to laugh out loud at the second message in this thread... shame it turns out not to have been by STD at all!!!!
Kavey is offline  
Mar 18th, 2004, 10:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 417
Thank you, Kavey
z is offline  

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