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Tongabezi or River Club or Toka Leya or Little Makalolo

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Nov 22nd, 2011, 05:11 PM
  #1
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Tongabezi or River Club or Toka Leya or Little Makalolo

Has anyone stayed at any of the following camps?
Tongabezi or River Club or Toka Leya or Little Makalolo
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 08:04 PM
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I stayed at River Club in 2006 for two nights and loved it.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 08:57 PM
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Hi Jim,

I have stayed at all of them except Tongabezi. I have been to River Club four times, Little Makalo twice, and Toka Leya once. Tongabezi is the immediate next door neighbor of the River Club. Each time I have been to River Club I walked next door to check out Tongabezi so I am familiar with the property.

Little Makalolo is one of my most favorite safari places in all of Africa. I took my wife and teenage daughters there in July this year and went by myself in May of last year. Go!

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 12:59 AM
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Hi.

Ive stayed at Tongabezi and loved it. Tranquil location, wonderful cottages and great service. They certainly try and make your stay unique and special, I always think those personal touches really add the whole experience. Its also fully inclusive, so there are few "extras" that tend to add up whilst you are at Vic Falls.

I also love the community focus (they do so much good work in the area) and overall atmosphere of the place, Its definitely a top option for the Vic Falls area

Hope this helps

Hazel

www.toescapeto.com
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 04:28 AM
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We really liked Sindabezi, the "rural" option for Tongabezi.
http://tongabezi.com/sindabezi.php
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 09:00 AM
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You might also check out Somalisa Camp in Hwange, near Little Makalolo. They have one of the best guides in Zimbabwe, Dudley. When I was there last year, all the WS cars (Makalolo and Little Makalolo) were encroaching on Somalisa's concession because we had better sightings.
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 11:30 AM
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I have stayed at Toka Leya twice and add it to my list of favorite safari camps. The smaller private boat cruises on the Zambezi enhance the wildlife viewing opportunities versus the large river boats like the African Queen, which I have also used twice. The tents are wonderful and I especially like this less crowded venue. Food is excellent and
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 11:33 AM
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Sorry some how I hit the submit button before I was finished. The food is excellent and who can forget their wonderful pizza out of their own pizza oven. Side trips to a Zambian village or out to see the white rhinos are a plus.
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Nov 23rd, 2011, 09:55 PM
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Another option, which we stayed at for two nights this past October, is Waterberry Lodge - a great location on the banks of the river, lovely accommodation, very friendly and helpful staff, excellent food and great activities, including bird walks with an excellent guide (Webby). CR
http://www.waterberrylodge.com/
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Nov 24th, 2011, 05:37 PM
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I stayed at Little Makalolo over 10 years ago. Its nice to know its still a great place, thanks Craig. I loved it, however, the game viewing when I was there was definite sub par compared to other places I have been. That being said, it was still a great experience.

Mike
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Nov 24th, 2011, 09:26 PM
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Hi Mike - I think the Hwange has improved greatly in the past ten years. I know you are a longtime and respected contributor on Trip Advisor. Check out the reviews there for Little Makalolo. They are excellent. Hwange has the highest animal diversity in all of Africa with 108 mammal species. I know you have been to Lion Sands many times. Animal sightings will never be like that at Little Makalolo because you can't track animals off road anywhere in the Hwange but you do get wide open spaces and one of the lowest human densities in Africa. We saw lions on 5 of 6 game drives and, of course, hundreds of elephant and buffalo on every game drive. We saw plenty of other animals as well including civets!

ShayTay - I was at Somalisa for lunch in July. Dudley is now the camp manager so I don't think he is driving anymore but I could be wrong. Dudley was the long time manager at Duba Plains in Botswana. I do have trouble believing guests of Wilderness Safaris would leave their (large) private concession to go into the public park and game drive near Somalisa. Do you mind sharing your source of information on this? Did you really see this or did someone tell you this? Including the OAT vehicles Wilderness has something like 20 land rovers. In addition, it takes almost 2 hours to get from Little Makalolo to Somalisa at game drive speed so this would be the entire morning or afternoon game drive just to get there (2+2 = 4 hours). Most game drives last 4-5 hours total. I have sent more than 100 clients to the Hwange this year. I was at Davisons/Little Makalolo with my wife and kids this August. I asked Wilderness safaris to take me to Somalisa and only Tendai Mdluli knew the way. He is their head ranger and also the concession manager so he took me. I think it is a bit odd for you to make such a bold statement. According to Travel & Leisure, I am the only A-List agent on their 2011 list for Zimbabwe. In addition to constantly going to Africa, I prowl all Africa forums and read any online reviews I can find, I feel like I would be "in the know" if Wilderness clients were going into the public portion of the park. Lastly, one of my many clients would have mentioned poor animal viewing and frustration with their experience at the Wilderness properties if this were the case.

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
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Nov 24th, 2011, 10:06 PM
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Craig,is it possible to make a direct booking for the Little Makalolo Camp.If so is there an email or website I could visit.Planning Hwange in the first week of May'12.Thanks in advance.
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Nov 25th, 2011, 08:12 AM
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inquest - Wilderness Safaris ownes Little Makalolo. They do not take direct bookings except on a last-minute, space available, walk-in basis to thier office in Victoria Falls. Ron Goatley runs the office. It is in a residentail neighborhood in the town.

I looked and Little Makalolo is sold out on May 17, but has 1 or more tents available the rest of the week.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Nov 25th, 2011, 08:22 AM
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If you want to work with an agent in the USA two of the best Zimbabwe specialits are Diane Ebzery at African Portfolio in Connecticut http://www.onsafari.com/history.php or Mark Nolting/Alison Notling at Africa Adventure Company in FL.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Nov 25th, 2011, 08:48 AM
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Craig when I got two quotes from Zimbabwe agents for my trip next August, they encouraged me to use other camps besides Wilderness even though I had requested Davison's and Ruckomechi. I realized that these small companies would not have the rights to book Wilderness camps and were therfore saying negative things about the camps. When I mentioned Ruckomechi on Safaritalk, one poster said there would be little game there. After reading your comments and checking back with Chris Worden at Zambezi Safari and Travel Company, whom I booked the trip with, I know I picked the right camp.
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Nov 25th, 2011, 10:11 AM
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raelond,

You will not be disappointed at Ruckomechi at all. It has some of the highest animal densities I have ever seen in Africa on 29 visits. Any of the lodges in Mana Pools down by the historic flood plains will offer the same excellent game viewing so Ruckomechi certainly does not have the market cornered. It simply caters much more to the first time (perhaps more timid) safari enthusiast.

Given the price point of travel, I think a safari combining Mana Pools and Hwange offers the best high season value anywhere in Southern Africa (most safari per dollar spent). You don’t need to go to Wilderness either. Somalisa combines well with Kanga or Ruckomechi. The Hide combines with them as well. Vundu is great for canoe focused safaris and Goliath for walking safaris. Hwange and Mana Pools can also be combined with Lake Kariba/Matusodona.

Enjoy!

Craig Beal – owner – Travel Beyond
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Nov 25th, 2011, 11:21 AM
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Thanks Craig. I am also going to Musango in Lake Kariba and ending off the trip with 3 nights at Kanga Camp.

Didn't mean to take over the thread Jim.
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Nov 25th, 2011, 12:28 PM
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raelond - At Musango, just make sure the owner is your guide. His name is Steve Edwards and I feel it makes a big difference.

Craig Beal - owner - Travel Beyond
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Nov 26th, 2011, 11:25 AM
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Craig I noticed you said no off road safari in Hwange. Are you aware of any camp in Zimbabwe that offers off road?
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Nov 26th, 2011, 05:05 PM
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Probably Singita Pamushana. It is a private conservancy.

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