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raelond Apr 13th, 2011 08:27 PM

South Luangwa with Mana Pools and Hwange
I had been thinking of Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, but after doing some research I am leaning towards South Luangwa, Mana Pools and Hwange. Any thoughts on this combination and best way to get to these parks. I know I would fly to South Luangwa and back to Lusaka before heading to Zimbabwe.

luangwablondes Apr 13th, 2011 08:57 PM

Flying or driving in Zimbabwe?
Camping, lodges, mobile safari or?

raelond Apr 13th, 2011 09:07 PM

We plan to go mid August,2012. It will not be a self-drive, but will look at flying to parks or road transfers in Zimbabwe. We stayed at Nsefu and Tena Tena last time we were in South Luangwa, so we want tented camps which are a little less in price than Robin Pope camps.

luangwablondes Apr 13th, 2011 09:27 PM

Look at taking the Zambezi Trader between Kariba and Mlibizi(connecting to Vic Falls) on Lake Kariba.

stokeygirl Apr 14th, 2011 02:10 AM

I did exactly this last year- I was originally thinking of Kafue + SLNP and ended up with Mana Pools + SLNP. I stayed at Ruckomechi in MP and they do road + boat transfers from Lusaka. The drive is 3-4 hours to the border, then cross the border then 1.5 hours on a boat. Quite a long transfer but not particularly tough. Ruckomechi is owned by Wilderness and they fly between there and Hwange.

I flew from Lusaka to Mfuwe for SLNP and stayed at Tafika, Lion Camp, Chindeni and Kuyenda.

raelond Apr 14th, 2011 01:08 PM

Stokeygirl did you go to Hwange also? For your international flight where did you fly in and out of?

stokeygirl Apr 15th, 2011 01:41 AM

I didn't go to Hwange, but plenty of people staying at Ruckomechi were doing that combination. I was (pleasantly) surprised how many people had chosen Zim as a first time safari destination.

I didn't fly in or out of anywhere as I did this trip as part of a year in Africa, so I was already there! I started and finished this part in Lusaka- I did Mana Pools first, then back to Lusaka, overnight, then on to Mfuwe, then back to Lusaka.

stokeygirl Apr 15th, 2011 02:15 AM

Another interesting option at Ruckomechi was the 3 or 4 day canoe trails that depart from the camp. I've done a canoe safari before so didn't take up that option- I suspect the level of luxury on the camping was a bit higher than the one I did a few years ago!!

africa_fan Apr 15th, 2011 09:39 AM

We did something similar in Nov 2011. We flew London to Lusaka direct with BA, road/boat transfer from Lusaka to Rucko (you can also fly this route via Kariba), then flew from Rucko to Hwange, then flew Hwange to Vic falls, then from Vic Falls to Job and back to London. The logistics were pretty straight forward.

raelond Apr 15th, 2011 02:41 PM

Thank you stokeygirl and africafan. I have been in contact with two safari companies and it was suggested I might want to drop South Luangwa and do Mana Pools, Hwange and either Matusadonha or Mantobi Hills in order to keep the cost down. One company spoke highly of Mantobi and the other company encouraged a visit to Matusadonha. I like the idea of not having to go to Harare in order to fly out of Zimbabwe. One company suggested I do this and the other suggested what you did africafan.

africa_fan Apr 15th, 2011 11:37 PM


I didn't go anywhere near Harare. All of the flights/transfers I outlined above were direct and organised by Wilderness Safaris who owned the camps I visited - Ruckmomechi and Little Makalolo. It was all organised by Imagine Africa in London but many agents in the UK, US and elsewhere deal with Wilderness and would be able to organise such an itinerary.

phernska Apr 16th, 2011 11:02 AM


I did the suggested itinerary in October. Flew from San Francisco to Jo'burg to Vic Falls to Matusadona (stayed at Musango) then flew to Mana Pools (Ruckomechi), then flew to Hwange (Little Mak), then was driven from Hwange to Matobos (Camp Amalinda), finally driven from Matobos to Bulawayo, where I flew to Jo'burg and home. I used London-based Ngoko Safaris.

africa_fan Apr 16th, 2011 11:38 AM


How was Musango? We had a choice between Little Mak and Musango and chose Little Makalolo.

phernska Apr 17th, 2011 06:42 AM

Musango is situated on its own island, just off the shoreline of Matusadona park. I was the only guest for the 3 nights I spent there and had a fantastic time with Steve, the owner/guide, who was interesting, informative, and hilarious. I felt like a guest in his home. The highlight was tracking black rhino on foot in Matusadona. I also stayed at Little Mak (where I've stayed before) and being in Hwange is a totally different experience as there are no water activities. I, personally, prefer camps/lodges that offer a combination of water/land activities.

stokeygirl Apr 20th, 2011 06:10 AM

Like africa_fan, my trip was also organised by Imagine Africa. I think they were sending quite a few people to Zim last year as there were some good deals around.

I wouldn't skip South Luangwa myself- I abslutely love the place, but I recall from another thread that you have been there before so perhaps you might prefer to go to some new places. Certainly all the flights to Mfuwe will add to the cost.

raelond Apr 20th, 2011 09:10 PM

Yes I was in South Luangwa before so I have decided to skip it and go to Hwange, Matusadona and Mana Pools.

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