Star of Africa Safaris

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Mar 24th, 2004, 09:19 PM
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Star of Africa Safaris

We are planning a trip with our three daughters for two weeks to Southern Africa in July 2004 and three Star of AFrica safari camps in Zambia have been recommended - Sussi and Chuma, Kulefu, and Chichele Presidential Lodge. Can anyone comment on Star of AFrica vs. other safari camp operators such as Wilderness Safari, and also the game viewing in Zambia? Thanks.
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Mar 24th, 2004, 10:28 PM
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msdonut,

I will be staying at two of those three camps in early June. My itinerary is as follows:

Day 1 - Arrive Lusaka. Air transfer to Jeki airstrip. Transfer to Kulefu Tented Camp in Lower Zambezi National Park.

Day 2 - Kulefu Tented Camp.

Day 3 - Kulefu Tented Camp.

Day 4 - Kulefu Tented Camp.

Day 5 - Air transfer to Mfuwe airport (South Luangwa National Park). Transfer to Kaingo in northern part (Nsefu Sector) of South Luangwa National Park. www.kaingo.com

Day 6 - Kaingo.

Day 7 - Three hour bush walk to Mwamba, Kaingo's bush camp on the banks of the Mwamba River. www.kaingo.com

Day 8 - Mwamba.

Day 9 - 2 hour road transfer to Puku Ridge, a Star Of Africa lodge located near Chichele Presidential Lodge, but more in the style of the more modern Botswanan luxury tents than any other camp in the South Luangwa.

Day 10 - Puku Ridge

Day 11 - Bush walk to Chichele Presidential Lodge. Final night at Chichele Presidential Lodge.

Msdonut, I do suggest that you contact Star Of Africa directly to enquire about their best possible pricing, Even in July, with five persons travelling, you may be able to negotiate a deal well below rack rates. Although I am going at the beginning of high season, I am getting about a $100 per person per night discount.

Also, I do not really suggest more than four nights at any single lodge, and really for Victoria Falls, three nights is more than enough.

For variety, you may want to stay three nights in the Nsefu Sector of South Luangwa at a place like Kaingo, and then stay three nights in the Mfuwe Sector of South Luangwa at either Chichele Presidential Lodge or Puku Ridge.

Star Of Africa's website, in case you do not yet have it, is:

www.star-of-africa.com

They really appear to be a first rate operation. However, if they are not offering discounts in July and you are asked for full tariff, I would also consider other lodges in South Luangwa such as The Bushcamp Company's lodges, Robin Pope Safaris lodges, Kaingo's lodges, and Kafunta's lodges.

Their addresses are as follows:

www.bushcampcompany.com
www.robinpopesafaris.com
www.kaingo.com
www.luangwa.com (Kafunta)

Other options in the Lower Zambezi National Park are as follows:

Sausage Tree Camp
www.sausagetreecamp.com

Chiawa
www.chiawa.com

Kasaka
www.kasaka.com

Of the three lodges above, only Kasaka offered me a discounted rate down to $320 per person per night. However, I saved an additional $120 per person per night with Star Of Africa's Kulefu Tented Camp.

For your Victoria Falls stay, besides Sussi & Chuma, you should also consider the following places:

Tongabezi
www.tongabezi.com

Songwe Village
http://www.kwando.com/campsongwe.asp

Sussi & Chuma looks great, but if you can get equal rates at Tongabezi, that would probably be the better option.

However, let me stress that Star Of Africa has been wonderful and has acted as a tour operator for my entire trip, not minding one bit that I will be spending four nights of my itinerary away at Kaingo and Mwamba. They have arranged all my flights, given me excellent pricing and have been in constant communication with me.

Star Of Africa never took offense at my negotiation of the prices and neither did Kaingo, who is also offering me a substantial discount, basically low season Southern African resident pricing.

If you do find yourself with a couple extra nights, you may be interested in Lechwe Plains, another Star Of Africa lodge in Lochinvar, not far at all from Lusaka where you will likely be flying into or out of, unless you are flying in and out of Victoria Falls or Livingstone. Lechwe Plains is one of the premier places in Southern Africa for bird spotting and also features plenty of other wildlife but few predators.

Regarding the game viewing in Zambia, I visited Kafunta in South Luangwa last year, staying three nights at Kafunta River Lodge, not too far away from Chichele Presidential Lodge, and two nights at Kafunta Island Bush Camp, in the very southern part of the South Luangwa NP. Since I have not visited Botswana yet, I cannot compare the game viewing to Botswana, but having visited Sabi Sand, South Africa, twice in the last two years, I may compare it against the Sabi Sand.

While there is a better concentration of game in the Sabi Sand, the landscapes of the South Luangwa are far superior with giant Baobab Trees, Palm Trees, probably the tallest termite mounds that you have ever seen, sometimes with trees growing out of them, and other amazing sights.

While you will not see any rhinos in South Luangwa, you should see everything else, including possibly the highest concentration of hippos anywhere in the world. You should be treated to a fair amount of elephants, giraffes, elephants, thick herds of buffalo and tons of Puku and other antelope.

I can promise you that the weather should be more agreeable in Zambia than it would be in Botswana or South Africa during July. While it may be a little crisp, because it is farther north, it will not be freezing like it may be in Botswana during the same time.

Stick with Zambia and you will not be sorry. Negotiate your prices with Star Of Africa and also compare them to the prices of the other lodges that I listed. I am sure that for a family of five, price will be a real consideration. Price-wise, I don't think anywhere else will come close to offering the value that Zambia will.

Best of luck and please feel free to ask any questions that you may have about South Luangwa or any other subject that I may be able to help.
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