Trip Report Zambia - Bushcamp Company

Sep 24th, 2004, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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wow greendrake that is awesome. what did you guys do after you saw the leopard? did you walk the other way? try to get closer? i'm always curious about interactions with predators on foot. my wife doesnt find the same fascination. haha. anyway that's really cool.
bigcountry is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 08:06 AM
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Did he do that bizaare imitation of someone in the boot of the car? That one kills me... he used to be an actor and a musician too amongst the various jobs he held before finally discovering the art thing. If you get any good photos do consider asking him to do a commission for you based on your own work. It's a thrill. But tell him you'll only confirm the commission if he promises not to make you ride the scary contraption!

I love having pics that relate to my Africa pics up on my walls.

Would this be a good time to plug (again) the prints I'm selling to raise funds for DSWF charity? Jonathan is a strong supporter of DSWF and has been associated with it for years. Watching him and David Shepherd tease each other is like attending a comedy show... Anyway, do have a look at - all prints with DSWF in the title are being sold for the charity.

So... how did your photos come out? AND WHEN WILL YOU BE GOING BACK TO AFRICA?!

Kavey is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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That should read:

I love having pictures that relate to my Africa TRIPS up on my walls...

Kavey is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 08:14 AM
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Scratch the question about your photos... I just remembered that I did indeed look through them only days ago!

Kavey is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 08:56 AM
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bigcountry - when we spotted the leopard we were in a wooded area looking down on a large open field. Tis field was were the puku were grazing. The leopard was across the field on a wooded ridge. I don't believe the leopard ever spotted us and we would have had to cross down into the field to get closer which was not an option.

We watched him for several minutes thinking we may actually see a kill. We saw him twice dart on the ridge very fast from one spot to another and just lay down. In hindsight - Gavin the guide said that this really was not stalking behavior and his quick movements were quite unusual. He eventually got up and disappeared into the woods.

Kavey - please plug away for this worthwhile cause. Yes Jonahtan spoke highly of David Shepherd. (I believe I have several photos of Jonathan in my ofoto linked photos.) I don't recall him doing the boot of the car imitation. I can easily see him being an actor. I actually got to play camera man for a short shot he was doing for a television show he was airing in the UK. It was a show about doing wildlife painting in the UK (stags in particular) and he wanted to do a short 30 second piece from the banks of the South Luangwa for the piece. Quite comical as he is continually swatting away sweat bees while trying to remain serious.
GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 06:45 AM
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Journal Entry #4

September 10, 2004 - Chendeni Bushcamp, Zambia

I am sitting on the deck of my new home- Chendeni, Bushcamp and I am trying to recount the previous night's game drive at Chendeni before heading out on foot here this morning. The mysterious cat of the night graced us with another appearance. The 4th beautiful leopard I have seen since this trip began. We had spotted a field full of puku in their "hunting dog pointing position" and heard their warning cries and so we knew a predator was nearby. We all scanned the field up and down and finally our guide spots the leopard on a ridge. We killed the lights and shut off the engine and sat silently in the blackness of the night and waited to hear the sounds of a kill. The night sky is full of stars and the night eerily quiet. We wait for about 15-20 minutes but do not hear any sounds of a kill and when we turn back on the spotlight the leopard has disappeared.

We would later spot several more denizens of the night - a civet pose in the middle of the road for us as we all admired its rich lavish coat of fur and several solitary white-tailed mongoose would also stop briefly to say "hello". Gavin, the Zimbabwean guide, towards the end of the drive directs the spotter to position his spot light over a broad field to our right. Gavin is an expert on insects and wants to show us one of his favorite treasures of the night. The spotlight reveals hundreds of small shimmering reflections across the field. It appeared as if someone had sprinkled small gemstones across the savannah. These "gemstones" were actually the eyes of hundreds of predator funnel spiders that were waiting for their prey to enter their "killing field".

The Chendeni camp has 4 raised tents that sit overlooking a fairly large lagoon. I will be here for the next two days after having walked completed a morning walk of about 9KM from the Chamilandu Bushcamp. It is about noon and we have just had a great morning brunch and I am observing the lagoon and I am wondering what caused the formation of these two very large dark mud piles that extend out of the mossy lagoon. I look closer and these mud piles have pinkish ears and realized I will have some hippo friends serenading me during my stay. For those of you that have never heard the sounds of hippos exercising their vocal chords, they sound exactly like several gas powered lawn mowers on full throttle!!!

The morning walk to Chendeni was superb. We see numerous elephants a few kudu and have some great raptor sightings. A couple of tawny eagles fly overhead protecting their territory from a Batoleur eagle that had invaded their airspace. Derrick (our guide) was fascinated that the Tawny eagles were nudging the intruding Batoleur eagle off in a "gentlemanly" fashion instead of outright attacking it. The Batoleur eagle is truly a large beautiful eagle. Looking it up in my field guide I learn the word Batoleur is French and it refers to the way a tight rope artist balances himself while walking a tightrope. That is the flying pattern of these eagles as they tip back and forth as if flying on a tightrope.

Our leisurely tea stop on the walk is abruptly interrupted as the scout motioned for all of us to get up and start moving. A bull elephant was rapidly approaching the shady spot under a large acacia tree that we have chosen for our morning break. We hurriedly get up and moved away about 30 yards and in no time "our" tea spot is now claimed by three elephants munching way. The elephants had not spotted us up to that point, but the wind suddenly shifts and they catch our scent. They raise their trunks and all three in unison run quickly in the opposite direction from where we are standing.

I believe this group of three were the only elephants of the numerous ones we saw that morning that actually spotted us. Gavin tells me they that they have very good senses of smell and decent hearing but only fair vision acuity. Thus, we always try to stay down wind in our elephant encounters. He added that they could easily pick up our scent, especially if anyone wore aftershave, perfumes or other scented products. He really caused me to pause later on our walk as he relays a particular "chilling" encounter with one angry elephant. He witnessed this upset elephant charge and chase after a guided group of 5 people. The group successfully had run off and hidden. The elephant then tried to use his superior sense of smell to actually track down the hidden group by placing his trunk on the ground and following their scent!!

Our morning walk the next day produces an "unusual" lion escapade. We are scouring a ridge about 400 yards away with out binoculars when one of the guests thinks he sees a lion. He directs our vision to what appears to be a log, but this log has a long tail and is swatting away flies. It is a male lion and he gets up and races along the ridge a short distance and picks up something in his mouth. We think maybe he has a small kill in his jaws. He shakes his head and now we see he actually has a fisherman's net rolled up into a ball and is playing with as if he were a housecat with a catnip toy.

We arrive back to camp and while eating brunch on the veranda I spot my first large herd of cape water buffalo in the distance off the edge of the lagoon. A herd of about 100 are gathered and nearby are several waterbucks, puku and a few elephants. That's enough for me to cancel any plans of an afternoon nap and I spend the next few hours observing them.

On our evening drive we encounter a teenaged elephant that is a bit unsure to what to make of us. We spot him feeding in the bush next to the road and observe him for a minute or two. He looks towards us and he sways his head back and forth for a moment, but makes no other menacing moves. We decide to drive away and only when we pull away does he trumpet and make a very short charge after us before breaking off is chase. Gavin comments that the young teenagers will often make this charge when you are leaving to show a bit of "safe" bravado. We end the night by spotting a huge porcupine sitting amongst a herd of puku and I get a brilliant shot of him - well almost brilliant as I neglect one small detail. It helps to remove your lens cap!! My colleagues put me on a Mosi restricted diet (Zambian beers) for all subsequent night drives!!

GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for letting me promote the prints again. So far have raised about US$299 but sales have now slowed to a halt as I am not really getting new people to view the prints. I'm getting some traffic but generally not from Africaphiles and animal lovers. Ah well... I'll keep pushing.

Looked through your photos again. Last time I used the album summary and expanded the ones that intrigued me. This time I looked through all of them and did indeed notice Monsieur Truss in a few.

So do you think you might commission something from him? Pencil sketches are great value for those of us who can't afford his paintings!

I wish I had a trip to Africa in the pipeline. I can't complain but after the big 2 monther earlier this year we really can't afford many trips next year and also we want to look at some of our non-Africa wishlist destinations which have been pushed aside for too long.

But I still yearn for Africa...

Kavey is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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This is a wonderful trip report, I'm living every sentence. I have actually copied it into word &, once complete, will present it to my BH in the hope that it will persuade him to consider this trip for next year.

However I know his concern will be around the walking part. So would you mind describing this in a bit more detail - How long did it take to walk 9km, how hard going is the terrain and how fit do you think you need to be etc etc.
Thanks, Ruth
RuthieC is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 07:59 AM
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Kavey -I thought a full oil painting reproduction of any of my photos would be out of my price range, but you bring up a great idea of a pencil sketch. I bet that would fall into my budget. Now deciding which one!!!

I would encourage all those that have not seen Kavey photos to take a look. They are excellent!!

Ruthie - The Bushcamp Company did not screen me in terms of physical ability before embarking on the walks and after doing the trip I can now see why.

The walks are really were quite easy and done at a very relaxed pace. You would stop quite often as the guide would explain various aspects of flora and fauna. The morning walks would just be ending as the heat of the day started to build up and there would be frequent stops to drink tea/coffe or have a cold beverage.

The terrain would vary between human and animal created footpaths and in some places be rocky and uneven, but no substantial elevation changes.

On the walks between camps a vehicle would transport your luggage and all you really needed to carry were your binocs and camera. I would say unless you have a physical handicap that inhibits you to walk several hours or possibly a cardiac condition that most people would do fine on these walks.
GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 27th, 2004, 08:10 PM
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I love your report! But, would you please stop before everyone abandons Botswana all at once!!!

I do think we are facing the last year or two that Zambia has reasonable pricing, as I think the secret is getting out. Already, I have been quoted $400 pppns for Kaingo! I enjoyed my time at Kaingo, but I don't think I will visit again, at least not at those rates.

You really capture the essence of a Zambian safari, and you do it so well, I believe, because with your trip focusing on walking safaris, I really think you were able to make a connection that few visitors to Africa will ever make by just going on game drives.

Now, if you want to take it to the next step, you should really consider adding Lower Zambezi NP to your next trip. Canoeing down the Zambezi River, dodging hippos, crocs and elephants is an amazing adventure.

Just imagine seeing a wall of hippos a hundred yards ahead of a narrow channel...there is no stopping...your expert guide rows you closer and closer...100 yards quickly becomes 50 yards...50 yards quickly becomes 25 yards...the hippos are not moving, just snorting and daring you to come closer...15 yards and the hippos finally part, mostly...there is that one stubborn hippo that you see go down right in the middle of your path...your guide reasons that the hippo can only hold his breath for five minutes and that it may be best to wait it out...two minutes pass as you sit there, surrounded by hippos and crocs, and just to get your heart racing further, once in a while a duo or trio of waterbuck will sprint through the shallow water ask yourself if the current is actually current or the submerged hippo coming closer to introduce itself...four minutes pass and still no hippo...a couple of terrapins jump into the water just a few yards away but you don't realize they are just terrapins (turtles) until after they have scared you silly with their plop into the nearby water...six minutes and still NO HIPPO...your trustworthy guide at that point says, "well, let's make a run for it", before he paddles for dear life and you plot your escape route to the shore that you will surely need after the submerged hippo surely comes up and tips over the canoe!!!

Then, after you successfully escape unscathed, you go through this routine, oh, another half dozen times during your three hour canoeing trip!

Really, I am finding it hard to justify anyplace BUT Zambia right now. There is something for everyone, from the bush camps that you so much enjoyed to the very luxurious game lodges that will appeal to the Singita / Wilderness Safari clientele, if they could only convince themselves to be bold enough to go beyond South Africa or Botswana.

Here is my next trip, at least for the next five minutes:

Lunga River Lodge, Kafue NP, 2 nights

Busanga Bush Camp, Kafue NP, 3 nights (tree climbing lions, cheetah and the largest assortment of antelope in all of Africa)

Kasaka River Lodge or Chiawa Camp, Lower Zambezi NP, 4 nights

Tena Tena or Tafika (for its microlighting opportunities), South Luangwa NP (Nsefu Sector), 3 nights

Puku Ridge, South Luangwa NP (Mfuwe Sector bordering its sister lodge Chichele but with a lot more game viewing from the lodge possible as it overlooks a wonderful plain), 3 nights

Westcliff Hotel or Michelangelo Hotel in Joburg, 2 nights

Simbambili, SSGR, 4 nights

Anyway, GreenDrake, you are doing an amazing job with sharing your experiences. Thank you.
Roccco is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 01:06 AM
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Greendake, I am sure it would. I love mine!
When you email Jonathan send him that picture of the three of you on the trip or any other nice ones with him in. I'm sure he'd appreciate it!
Kavey is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 08:07 AM
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Roccco - Thanks for the kinds words. It has been fun reliving the trip as write up my journal notes. As you, I truly appreciated the warmth extended to me from all the Zambians I encountered and I will return and really want to spend some time in S.A. on my next trip.

Your hippo canoing description has me sold on the Lower Zambezi. I was hoping to get there this trip.

I must say I really like the itinerary you have drafted. In addition to the Lower Zambezi, the Kafue area intrigues me. One of the groups I stayed with on my Zambia trip had a similar itinerary excluding the S.A. portion. They started at Puku Ridge (they had an excellent young Zimbawean guide there that Gavin Ford knew) , then did a few nights at the Bushcamp company- Bilimungwe, moved on to Chiawa on the Lower Zambezi and they were ending their trip in the Kafue National Park(can't recall where).

Kavey - yes I must send the "mad professor" the several photos I have of him. Only wish I had brought a tape recorded to capture some of his imitations!!

He really had the poor guide spinning his head several times in the vehicle. Jonahtan would be doing his fake radio calls spotting big cats and the guide would turn to the radio and try to tune in the call!! Then the private guide along on our trip would be in the back with - his partner in crime Jonathan -and he would mimic to perfection various bird calls. These were so realistic that our guide driving up front would instantly announce the bird and start searching the tree lines for the "phantom bird". James- the native Zambian -guide discovered the ruse and in his good natured Zambian way just would shake his head and laugh!!
GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 11:04 AM
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September 12-15, 2004 - Bilimungwe Bushcamp and Mfuwe Lodge Zambia

This journal entry marks the end of my Zambia narrative and covers my visit to one more bushcamp - Bilimungwe-and a return to the Mfuwe Lodge before departing home.

I go out on my last evening game drive at the Chendeni Bushcamp before embarking on foot to the Bilimungwe Bushcamp in the morning. As night falls our expectations rise as our guide stops the vehicle suddenly. I hear a dog like barking sound in the bushes. I had up to this point in the trip not heard this sound and our guide James tells me these are "warning" call barks from baboons. He points out the puku frozen in their tracks in the adjacent field and now I also hear the puku's distinctive warning calls. James decides to go off road to follow the baboon barking calls and try to find the predator. A fallen log blocks our path and several of us jump off the vehicle and lift the log out of the way and off we go into the bush. We, however, never discover the big cat causing all the commotion.

For the second evening in a row we spot a giant eagle owl on the ground. The eagle owl hops a short distance and we see him grab a gerbil with his talons. He takes flight and with one silent flap of his large wings he disappears with his prey into the trees. I had heard owls my entire life, but up until this trip had never spotted one and I am thrilled at spotting these mysterious birds. The guide tells me they viewed with great trepidation in the local villages.

At the break of dawn we quietly sipped some coffee and then embark on short 6KM walk to the Bilimungwe - Bushcamp. Bilimungwe means chameleon and it is a very fitting description of the four small thatched chalets that blend in perfectly into surrounding bush. A very small lagoon sits about 15 yards from the central thatch covered dining area. We are not there more that 15 minutes when a large bull elephant comes through the underbrush and enters into the lagoon, lowers his trunk into the mud and starts throwing mud onto his back. This small lagoon would be a true treasure as over the course of the next two days I would spend much time sitting on the central deck areas observing the water high jinks of other elephants, warthogs, impala, puku, waterbucks and baboons. A single hippo one afternoon tromps down several hundred yards from his home in the Luangwa river and slowly plops himself right in the middle of the small lagoon - this created a comical scene that was somewhat akin to watching a 250 pound man plopping himself down into a small two-year olds rubber wading pool.

Later that afternoon I would return to my thatched hut and right next to me at my neighbor's doorway stood a large tusked elephant stripping bark off the tree. After several days bush walks it has now been ingrained into me to be very careful of elephants and here was one now about 25 yards away and no one else around. I ducked in and out of my hut and would periodically take a photo and duck back in. He kept munching away and was oblivious to me. Still I knew he could just trample my humble abode in case he got upset with my photo taking antics. I wondered for a moment if this was the "camp elephant" - meaning a frequent visitor known to the staff. I would learn later the staff had never seen this elephant before and he would later prevent my neighbor from entering her hut for almost the entire afternoon.

The next morning we all decide it would be nice to catch the sunrise out on our bush walk so we rose at 5am. It was well worth getting up that early as the sunrise was spectacular and the wildlife was quite active. I only wish now that we had done that each morning. At about 6am I hear another unfamiliar loud call and our guide - Manda - whispers to me that it is the call of a hyena summoning the rest of the pack. I had only seen solitary hyena up until that point and I had not seen any in the daytime. Manda tells us this sound is a hyena's call to arms and usually means a confrontation over a kill is happening or about to occur with something big - most likely lion. We stood dead still and listened to pick up the direction of the call, but unfortunately we would not hear it again.

We later spot a fish eagle posing on a barren branch. He let us approach within 20 yards before taking flight. The morning walk would also produce several Cape buffalo sightings and an up- close view of a regal giraffe.

Manda, our guide, made a point of engaging the scout and support staff on all the walks. He wisely said this kept them full engaged and preventing them from getting bored with the same old routine. He would ask their advice and tap their knowledge about the local plants and animals. He had them point out some of the plants they used in the local villages for medicinal purposes including the Zambian wild plant version of Viagra. (No this is not the only reason I want to return ASAP).

Manda once stopped under a Sausage Tree and encouraged one of the scouts to tell us about how important the Sausage tree is to young male adolescents in the local villages. In local lore the sausage tree fruit can affect the size of one's manhood. The sausage tree produces huge melon like fruits - fruit so large and hard in fact that small children are warned sternly to stay clear away from standing under the tree as the large hard fruit would cause serious damage to one's noggin if one were fall upon you. When boys reach age 12 or 13 in the villages they will find a sausage tree and identify a young un-ripened fruit and take a clipping from this fruit. They will make an infusion from this fruit and drink it daily. They will also visit this tree daily and when the fruit reaches the size they would like their manhood to be, they climb the tree, cut the fruit, being careful when they cut it that its falls straight and vertically to the ground!!

Now before you guys all start racing to Zambia to find a sausage tree - Manda winked at me and said of course this will only "works" for young growing boys who happen to be at that special age in life where mother nature assists in this process with a few natural born hormones!!

I would leave Bilimungwe the next day and drive 3 hours back to the Mfuwe Lodge. I would have one last game drive before sadly leaving this incredible place. This game drive was magical. Up until this point I had only seen solitary giraffe, but that evening right at sunset we encountered groups of 3-5 giraffes galloping towards us from the horizon. As soon as one group would disappear we would be treated to another! The evening drive would end with one more leopard sighting. We spotted him in a tree and watched him very slowly climb down from a branch. You could see every muscle move with each lithe, graceful step. He slowly walked away from us and into the woods. At the base of the tree we saw a single hunch backed spotted hyena tearing away at the remains of a kill. He had apparently stolen the kill from the now vanishing leopard.

I would enjoy my last dinner at the lodge under the stars and below us in a gully not more than 40 yards away a hippo also was grazing away enjoying the beginning of his night long meal. Oh Africa what have you done to me!!! I could feel the addiction racing through my veins!!

GreenDrake is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 11:31 AM
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Too funny about the sausage tree but very interesting...

And about Jonathan and the second guide acting up too! Sounds just like him!
Kavey is offline  
Sep 28th, 2004, 12:00 PM
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Hmmm wonder if anyone is doing research on that sausage fruit...there are examples of traditional remedies demonstrating real results when tested!
tashak is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 06:29 PM
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Forgive me...I spent a few minutes going over your report and I cannot find which camp of the bunch that you declared your favorite.

I have some serious decisions to make in the next couple months and I am leaving no stone unturned. Well, I will probably leave Norman Carr's stones unturned, as those camps just do nothing for me. But, I am open to Bushcamp Company, Robin Pope Safaris, Star of Africa, Kafunta and even Tafika.

I will probably also not return to Kaingo now that they have raised their rates to higher than what I can get Robin Pope Safaris and Puku Ridge. While Kaingo is a very high quality camp, I do think they should offer past guests (especially guests whose referals have led to other bookings) a better than rack rate, but that is not the case with Kaingo.

I am not even too proud to consider staying at Flatdogs Camp, especially in the event that my better half takes me up on my offer of sending her and a guest on a two week tour of Europe, while I go off on safari (why force someone to do something they are not passionate about?).

If I stayed at Flatdogs, I would likely spend about 4 nights at Flatdogs, 3 nights at Kafunta Island Bush Camp, and then go down to Kafue NP for another 7 nights, mostly in the Busanga Plains. It would be SOOOO inexpensive.

Flatdogs in my own private chalet with everything included (they charge separate for everything here) would only cost me about $160 per night ($60 per night for the chalet, $45 per day for two game activities, $20 per day for park entry fees, $25 per day for food and drinks, and maybe $10 per day for other incidentals such as laundry).

Therefore, a four night stay at Flatdogs would only run me $640 USD + $360 USD for my return flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe. Then I would also add 3 nights at Kafunta Island Bush Camp, and that would run me another $750 USD.

Seven high season nights in South Luangwa including air from Lusaka for only $1,750 USD.

Next, I would spend my 7 nights with Busanga Trails divided between their three camps (Kafwala Rapids, Lufupa Lodge and Shumba Bush Camp). I was quoted a price of only $1,750 per person for a 6 night stay for two persons sharing, so I imagine that a 7 night stay for a single may be as low as $2,500 including my transfer from Lusaka.

I would definitely spend 5 nights in Busanga Plains (3 at Shumba Bush Camp and 2 at Lufupa, while spending 2 nights at Kafwala Rapids).

In the end, a 14 night Zambian safari in high season would only cost $4,250 USD. Even if I were to substitute my four nights at Flatdogs with a nicer lodge, I would probably only be looking at an extra $750, and still get a 14 night Zambian safari for $5,000 USD.

Anyway, sorry to ramble, it just all comes out of my head. If you are still with me, please tell me your favorite Bushcamp Company camp, and if you also really liked the others, let me know, as well.

Roccco is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 06:41 PM
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For the record, in Kafue NP, Experience Africa's camps, Lunga River Lodge and Busanga Bush Camp, are a lot more expensive than Busanga Trails camps. I would say they are 50% more expensive, and, in all honesty, they are really not that much nicer.

There is one more camp that really interests me, and it is called Hippo Lodge. It is the only one, I believe, that offers fishing excursions to its guests. If for no other reason, click on this link to see the most amazing hippo photo that I have yet come across! (and my new wallpaper on my computer)

I could imagine either focusing entirely on Kafue NP, or at least spending 9 nights in Kafue NP and 4 nights in Lower Zambezi. 4 nights is too few to spend in South Luangwa, in my opinion.

The only drawback is that Lunga River Lodge appears to be the only camp offering canoeing, but maybe it is because it is too dangerous in these parts (just as you will not find canoeing possible in South Luangwa, although the canoeing I did in the hippo and croc infested Lower Zambezi was enough to make a grown man (nearly) cry (me!).

The Busanga Plains are said to be very similar to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and for this reason, I will not pass it by on my next trip. Despite Kafue NP being the largest NP in all of Africa, I would be very surprised if there were more than 150 beds for photosafaris in the entire park. It is more than twice the size of Chobe NP in Botswana, for example, so there is a very high level of exclusivity offered here, even if the lodges/camps are still pretty basic.
Roccco is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 04:57 AM
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Roccco - now that is one great hippo shot!! I remember you also got some great yawning shots out of the blind at Kaingo. I could watch these guys all day.

Speaking of Zambia and desktop wallpaper. Here is the one I use:

Its the second shot listed on the page and was taken in the Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia.

Your travel ideas are very similar to my next planned trip to Zambia. I also plan on going to S.Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue NP. Have not gotten down to detailed planning and will utilize some of your research.

As to my favorite Bushcamp Company camp that is a tough one. If "a gun was placed to my head" and had to choose I guess I would say Bilimungwe. This primarily because I really liked the setting on this very small lagoon which attracted a lot of wildlife.

A brief summary of the 3 I visited:
(All 3 can be described as away from it all- no other people or vehicles from other camps around)

Chamilandu - probably the nicest physical accomodations. Thathed tree top house overlooking the S.Luangwa River. Beautiful vistas with elephants often crossing the river and marching across the horizon. Nice porch with rocking chair.

Chendeni - Raised tent accomodations on a large lagoon. Hippo heaven!!! Nice porch overlooking the lagoon.

Bilimungwe - Thatched huts. Inside accomodations similar to the other 2 and very nice. Porch view here not nearly as nice as other 2 camps. I, however, spent my afternoons hanging arond the central deck area adjacent to the small lagoon and really enjoyed the abundant wildlife coming to the lagoon to sip water.(puku, waterbucks, warthogs, elles, baboons, elles) (Only 4 chalets in the camp)

In case you have not viewed them I have a separate album on Ofoto that has strictly accomodation shots of the 3 camps.
GreenDrake is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 08:43 AM
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GreenDrake, thy name is indeed, as tashak said, Cat-Man!

Do you write for a living? This report made me feel as if I were there. The worst part of it is, my husband WILL be there next week, without me! (He's doing some volunteer work in Malawi right now, and some of the people in the group will spend 3 days at Mfuwe Lodge when they finish in Malawi.) I don't know whether to dance for joy that he will most likely be seeing leopards, or gnash my teeth that I won't be seeing leopards!

Roccco's enthusiasm for Zambia has made me consider it for our next trip, and this thread has clinched it. Your wonderfully evocative descriptions have just enchanted me, and brought back all the thrills of past safaris for me.

Thank you!
Celia is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 12:22 PM
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Celia thanks for the kind words!! No, writing does not pay the bills for me.

Your husband will have an outstanding couple of days at the Mfuwe Lodge. You have every right to be envious and full of joy!! Sounds like a bit of schizophrenic teeth gnashing dancing is in order!!
GreenDrake is offline  

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