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Sep 24th, 2005, 08:22 PM
  #1
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To matnikstym....

Dennis - Have you shared your upcoming itinerary? I can't seem to find it....

Thanks!
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Sep 24th, 2005, 09:23 PM
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Sharon-it's here somewhere but I'll be happy to share it again:
10/18-Leave Hilo to Honolulu to Oakland
10/19-visit family in Bay Area
10/20-Leave SFO to JFK then on to Johannisburg
10/21-Overnight at Inter-Continental Sun Airport hotel
10/22-JNB to Lusaka to Mfuwe. 5 Nights at Luangwa River Lodge
10/27-Mfuwe to Lower Zambezi. 3 Nights at Chongwe River Lodge
10/30-Lower Zambezi to Livingstone. 2 nights at Stanley Safari Lodge
10/31-day trip to Chobe already booked
11/1-Livingstone to Johannisburg to Atlanta to SFO. Arriving 11/2
11/4-Oakland to Honolulu to Hilo, 30 minute drive to Home Sweet Home and my dog and 2 cats!
I think if I had to plan it again, the only thing I would have changed was the time at Victoria Falls, but wanted to check it off the "wonders of the world" list and probably would have stayed at a more "wild" place than Stanley (with the fence around it), but probably a good place just to relax after my first safari!
Thanks for asking!
Aloha,
Dennis
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Sep 24th, 2005, 11:14 PM
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Dennis,
I remember answering a query or two from you on tripadvisor, and would like to wish you a great first safari. Whatever our preferred destinations, I know you'll be thrilled. I think Vic Falls is something you have to see at least once and I hope the Zambian side is a good experience for you. I've used the Zimbabwean side as a safari starting point four times now, without regret. The way Air Bots has been performing lately between JNB and Maun, I might be using Vic Falls again to enter Botswana by road.
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Sep 24th, 2005, 11:42 PM
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thanks afrigalah-yes you were helpful! The reason for going to Vic Falls was to see the falls, at least once, and I don't regret going there, even if i have to pay the $30.00 to cross to the Zim side. the falls were a "must do" this trip and I'm sure all well go well!
Dennis
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Sep 25th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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Thanks Dennis! Looks like a winner!
(I'm still working on mine, in case you're wondering...)

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Sep 25th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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Thanks Dennis! Looks like a winner!

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Sep 25th, 2005, 12:10 PM
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I too had been wondering about your exact itinerary. It sounds great! And October 18...Tick-tock.
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Sep 25th, 2005, 08:01 PM
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Leely~ yes the countdown has begun! 23 more days! not bad considering my first post was 145 days ago! just hope my time in Zambia will not go as fast!!
Dennis
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Sep 25th, 2005, 08:25 PM
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The time in Zambia will go too fast, I can assure you! The only thing I regret about my safaris is that I cannot afford longer, but it's not much of a regret. I could have gone once or twice for several weeks at a time and saved a lot of money in air fares, but the depth of experience (in such things as photography) would have been far less.

I'm impressed by the time you've been preparing for this. I've seen and been gobsmacked by many posts elsewhere by people seeking advice about all sorts of things (especially health) only a few weeks before departure. I've never been less than fully prepared a few months before departure and usually book as long as a year ahead. The one big exception was the year after 9/11 when camps were desperate for clients and started offering big deals to regulars at short notice.
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Nov 9th, 2005, 12:56 AM
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Hi matnikstym

I saw from your itinerary that you should be back now so welcome home! I wondered if you could give you impression of Vic Falls and in particular Stanley Safari Lodge as I will also be staying there in early Dec. I have the choice right now of there, or Victoria Falls Safari Lodge or Stanley and Livingstone Lodge. Are 3 nights enough and what did you do whilst there? We are keen on the elephant safari, helicopter ride and rafting, as well as Livingstone Island tour.

I need to confirm bookings this week so grateful for any advice you or others have!.

Thanks
John
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Nov 9th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Here is a bit of Dennis' report that might help:

Stanley Safari Lodge.
Temperature 7:30a.m.- 89 F temperature 11:00-97 F
After a gruelling 7 hour taxi ride from Lusaka, we arrived at Stanley at 1:00 a.m. and went right to sleep. Got up in the morning, had breakfast, looked around the place and was told by the manager Pasquel (a Belgian pr*ck) that the activities director was off for the day and there was nothing for us to do but wait until we left for the airport at 11:00. I think the least he could do was call for a cab to take us to the falls or the market, but he was quite insistent that there was nothing for us to do since we arrived so late. I was too burnt-out to argue, or even think about it, so we enjoyed the plunge pool and waited for our ride to the airport. The place was beautiful, lots of interesting decorating touches. The room was open air with a sitting room, private plunge pool, large bathroom with double sinks, and a deck outside to see what is supposed to be the falls. This was the only place on our trip that we saw and felt mosquitos-they even got through the mosquito netting on the beds! The rest of the trip was uneventful, full of sadness for having to leave Africa!
Highlights: The room was beautiful
Lows: The manager and his lack of accomodating any activity for us, even a taxi ride.
Would I go back to Stanley: NO! Not just because of the manager, but it is 20 minutes from the falls (which would have cost $15.00 each way), 30 minutes from the airport, if you want to see the falls, Iíd recommend a hotel right near the falls. And worse of all? No game which means no game drives!

Overall, the trip to Zambia was the most thrilling, wonderful adventure Iíve ever been on and hope to go back. Iím seriously thinking maybe April/May for the green season...Iím hooked and will go back until the money runs out! Africa was a sensory overload- the sights, smells, sounds were awesome. Waking up to the roar of lions, the grunting of hippos, elephants munching the trees next to the tent-incredible. The smell of the dust, elephant dung and ďPeaceful SleepĒ will forever be etched in my mind-I will go back!

Tips from my experience:
Get a comfortable camera/binocular strap and test it before going, it will be around your neck for 6-8 hours a day!
If youíre getting a new camera- practice, practice, practice!! I thought I knew mine but when I saw elephants, lions, impala-all brain cells went dead so the camera was on auto the whole time which seemed to work out o.k., but it has more capabilities than just auto.
Take plenty of batteries!-We had 5 sets, 1 set was a dud so check them before leaving, all the camps had charging abilities but bring your own charger. ( I left mine at Chongwe with all the confusion and frustration)
Travel alarm clock with temperature reading was great to see just how hot it actually was.
If at all possible, break up the flights with a layover somewhere. San Francisco-New York-Dakar-Johannisburg was just TOO long-21 hours flying with only a 2 hour layover in New York!
Hope you enjoyed my report, hopefully Iíll be writing another one in the spring!
Aloha,
Dennis




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Nov 9th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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to jsc chan- when relaying my complaints about Stanley Safari Lodge to the other camp owners when I got back, 1 of them said that at the beginning of the year he had no complaints about the place, but throughout the year he had many complaints from guests, particularly about the management. i'd stay elsewhere. Thanks for relaying my report to jscchan
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Nov 9th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I got a good rate from them and no it is becoming obvious why! However I do want to stay on the Zambian side for obvious reasons so what others would you recommend? We want to do some of the activities but also be able to relax in relative luxury (which Stanley Safari Lodge at least does seem to be). What was the food there like?

Thanks
John
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Nov 9th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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You're welcome!
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Nov 9th, 2005, 04:54 PM
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we were only there (stanley safari lodge) for a breakfast and was only 1 of 2 meals on the whole trip that i requested ketchup.(the other was at a restraunt in lusaka with fries and you gotta put ketchup on your fries!) i'd recommend (from my limited experience there) a hotel close to the falls, forget about the lodges, there's relatively no game in the area anyway, so enjoy a nice air-conditioned hotel room!
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Nov 21st, 2005, 04:09 PM
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My husband and I spent a couple days at the Stanley Lodge during our honeymoon, and were very disappointed with the service at the lodge. The property itself is beautiful and the staff at the lodge is great; however, the treatment we received from the management was below average, especially considering they position themselves as a luxury property. The airlines had lost our luggage and we were four days into our trip with only the clothes on our backs. At this point we had run out of the tiny tube of toothpaste we had acquired from the airline and were desperate for some basic necessities. We had to ask the manager several times if we could get toothpaste and a razor. When we did finally receive a travel size tube of toothpaste and a packet of plastic razors, we were also presented with a bill for $11 USD for the two items. Even the Holiday Inn will provide guests with free toothpaste and razors!! In addition to this, we were also downgraded from the open-aired honeymoon suite we had booked to a closed room because the lodge had overbooked. We met the couple they bumped us for...they were not on their honeymoon. We made the most of it and had a wonderful honeymoon; but I would not recommend this place to anyone. We did here Tongabezi has both wonderful accommodation and top notch service in the similar price range
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Nov 21st, 2005, 04:18 PM
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sorry you also had such a bad stay there. you would think that the price they charge, the management would be top-notch! $11.00 for toothpaste and razors, that's outrageous! Did the manager keep telling you that the Queen of Belgium stays there every year? We must have heard it 6 times on our short stay there, but lah-dee-dah, she still squats to pee!
Dennis
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