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Where would you go if you could only go on one more safari....ever?

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Dec 5th, 2004, 04:02 PM
  #1
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Where would you go if you could only go on one more safari....ever?

While that's not exactly my situation, I am not sure when I'll be able to return to Africa after 2005. So, please help me decide between Southern Tanzania and Zambia.
I have been to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Uganda and I like the remote less, popular destinations.
Now I'm considering Thomson Safaris Serengeti & Selous safari, which includes the Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Ruaha and Selous. I'm also considering W ilderness Travel's Zambia Walking Safari, which goes to both South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi.

Helllppppppp!!!!
phernska is offline  
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Dec 6th, 2004, 05:50 AM
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Well, if you like the remoteness, Ngorongoro Crater is NOT going to be ideal. While it's a perfect spot to be guaranteed of spotting wildlife (and at least most of the big 5) it's extremely crowded compared to other spots. Selous from what I've read is more isolated, but I would suspect a walking tour in Zambia would trump them all.
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Dec 6th, 2004, 05:54 AM
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(Rocco here)

Wherever you ultimately decide to go, you should forget about each of the pre-planned itineraries and plan your own. Usually planned itineraries have some fluff in them and take you to at least one place you really do not want to visit, OR take you to game lodges/camps that may not be your first choice.

Of course, I would suggest Zambia over any other place, but I have not been anywhere else except the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. However, I think highly enough of Zambia that I will be visiting for my 3rd consecutive year next September.

Zambia is perfect if you are willing to spend at least 9 nights on safari (and if you have more time, it makes it only that much better).

Ten nights would allow a perfect combination of Lower Zambezi National Park and South Luangwa National Park, spending 4 nights in Lower Zambezi, and 6 nights in South Luangwa, allowing you to spend 3 nights in the northern "Nsefu" sector of the park (excellent birding, plenty of elephants, hippos & crocs) and 3 nights in the middle "Mfuwe" sector of the park (more giraffes, antelope--puku, impala, kudu and more--leopands and lions).

Maybe it is just because I am so passionate about Zambia, but there are really so many choices on quality places to stay, yet this should not be interpreted as the area is overrun with tourists, because it definitely is not.

In Lower Zambezi, the highest regarded camps are Sausage Tree Camp and Chiawa Camp, yet I think I found a hidden gem in Kasaka River Lodge, and Kasaka is where I will end my Zambian safari next September.

The Lower Zambezi area is incredibly beautiful and I cannot tell how much of a rush it is to go canoeing in the Zambezi River, often going through walls of hippos and seeing crocs jump in the water just a few meters in front of the canoe, while enjoying the incredible landscapes passing you by. By early September, the elephants food supply on land is supposed to be at its minimum and the elephants venture into the Zambezi River to get food from the river islands, making close encounters by canoe possible. For that very reason, I am saving Lower Zambezi for last, visiting in mid-September.

In South Luangwa, the highest regarded lodges in the Nsefu sector are Tena Tena, Kaingo and Tafika. Although I enjoyed Kaingo earlier this year, I have chosen Tafika for next time, due mostly to the fact that they have a microlight, the only game lodge I know of in existence that offers microlighting as an activity (plus, I thought Kaingo was petty for not offering a past guest who has referred other guests any better rate than rack rate).

In South Luangwa, the highest regarded places are Nkwali, Chichele Presidential Lodge and Puku Ridge. However, I am going out on a limb next year and staying at a new place named Luangwa River Lodge (www.luangwariverlodge.com). This place looks very stylish and I like the fact that it is a smaller camp (catering to only eight guests, I believe).

The rooms at Luangwa River Lodge look amazing and I believe it is the only place in South Luangwa where it is possible to enjoy massage.

At Luangwa River Lodge, I have been told by another past guest that they do things a little differently regarding the meals. While they employ local guides (from the indigenous population), once it comes to meal times, the guides return to the staff quarters and the guests enjoy their meals with the owners of the lodge (a British couple in their mid 30's who gave up life in London to come out to South Luangwa and build their dream lodge). I kind of like this idea since conversation often seems forced with some of the guides. I mean who better to host dinner, a local indigenous guide, or an outgoing and more cosmopolitan British couple who certainly has a lot more in common with their guests than a local indigenous guide.

Just to give you an idea, you can stay at Kasaka River Lodge for $285 per person per night sharing in high season (Chiawa and Sausage Tree Camp are about $400 per person per night sharing).

The high season rates for Tafika are equal to Tena Tena at $450 per person per night sharing (Kaingo is $400 per person per night sharing).

The high season rates for Luangwa River Lodge are $350 per person per night sharing (while Chichele is $450 per person per night sharing and Puku Ridge and Nkwali about $400 per person per night sharing).

Zambian lodges do not charge extra for road transfers, even if, like in South Luangwa, the road transfers are 90 minutes in duration.

If you have no interest in visiting South Africa, it is possible to get a direct flight from London to Lusaka. Otherwise, it is best to fly into Johannesburg. Best time to visit Zambia is August - September, although it is very pleasant to visit in June, as the whole Luangwa Valley is still very green with beautiful lagoons all around but this does cut into the quality of the gameviewing some. By October, it is very, very hot, but this is when the gameviewing is supposed to be best. Becuase I intend on doing some game walks in South Luangwa and North Luangwa, I have chosen early to mid September for my next safari, as game viewing should be nearly at its best, and while it will be warm, it will not yet be unbearably HOT.

If you have more time than 10 nights, you may want to consider adding Victoria Falls (minimum of 2 nights) or North Luangwa (minimum of 3 nights).

Good luck.
scaredtodeath is offline  
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Dec 6th, 2004, 07:33 AM
  #4
 
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Sorry to carp about this, but your title is misleading. It is not "where would I go if I could go on only one more safari ever," but which is preferable: Zambia or Tanzania. When I read the headline, I was prepared to write "Ruckomechi Camp on the Zambezi in Zimbabwe." Since you have limited the range, however, I'll mention Tarangire in Tanzania. The tsetse flies are bad, but it is a super area. I haven't been to Selous yet, but hope to visit in March. ZZ
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Dec 6th, 2004, 10:06 AM
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On a somewhat related topic, my husband and I are heading to Tanzania in three weeks (my god, that feels good to say!!!). It's our first trip to Africa, and we were wondering whether we're going to be in spots where hippos are seen... In terms of national parks, we're hitting the Serengeti, Ngorogoro (with a trek in the Crater Highlands) and Tarangire and we're climbing Mount Meru... I know that hippos are definitely common in Selous (which we unfortunately didn't have time for), but haven't been able to find whether we'll be likely see hippos in the places we're heading(something I'm really hoping to see).

Thanks for any info!
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Dec 6th, 2004, 11:17 AM
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You'll see them right in the middle of Ngorongoro for one. Also in the Serengeti but it depends on where you are. It is a big place!
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Dec 6th, 2004, 11:29 AM
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Message: to Alwaysafrica: on both trips to Tanzania (2002 and 2004) we saw hippos in Serengeti NP and the Crater. In the crater we saw them in small (and I mean small)pond, lake where we took lunch break and along the larger freshwater lake. That day it was rather overcast and they were still on land and rather close to road! In the Serengeti we saw then in the "hippo" pool where a small dam impounds a small stream and in tall vegetation further up the watercourse. I particularly enjoyed seeing the first one on land as until it moved I thought it was a large boulder!When you stop to see them be sure to do a 360 degree view as you will be amazed at other wildlife in the area.
Have a great trip!
Dick
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Dec 8th, 2004, 02:30 PM
  #8
 
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I would go to Namibia (Etosha) and south to SA (Tranfrontier/Kalgagadi)and score two of the most incredible parks in all of Africa.
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