WOOHOO! I'm going back to Zambia!

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Nov 17th, 2005, 06:39 PM
  #1
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WOOHOO! I'm going back to Zambia!

Ever since I returned from Zambia 2 weeks ago, I can't stop thinking about what an incredible place it is. So what to do about it? I'm going back! With all the great help and advice I got from Rocco last trip, I let him make all the arrangements and bookings this time around and I'm sure it will be an equally memorable experience!!! The details are :
3/7-Leave Hawaii for San Francisco
3/9-Leave S.F. fly to London with an 8 hour layover (lunch with Kavey?)
3/10-Leave London for Lusaka
3/11-3 nights at Tafika for water safaris (I have to conquer my fear of canoes!)+ a complimentary microflight ride! (I have to conquer my fear of heights!)
3/14-3 nights at Puku Ridge
3/17-5 nights Luangwa River Lodge where I will celebrate my birthday!!
3/22-overnight in Lusaka
3/23-leave Lusaka for 3 nights in London
3/26-leave London for S.F for a few days then back to Hawaii!
Can't wait to see the contrast from the dry season to the emerald season and see the Luangwa full and flowing!!
Dennis
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Nov 18th, 2005, 04:31 AM
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Congrats and a speed record I believe for fastest return booking. Nice birthday present to yourself.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 05:41 AM
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Wow, quick rebound.

Not to throw a wrench in your plans, and the game viewing and parks of Zambia certainly are interesting, but now that you have seen Zambia, there is much better game viewing elsewhere, like Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania. Zambia gets a lot of play on this site b/c Rocco has been there several times, but I don't believe he's yet been anywhere else save the Sabi Sands, and, with all due respect, I wouldn't let his strong affinity for Zambia necessarily color your decision as to where your next trip should be.

In my opinion, and it is of course, only an opinion, I wouldn't return for a second bite of Zambia until I had seen the Okavango or Chobe in Botswana, or the Masai Mara in Kenya, or the Crater or Serengeti in Tanzania, or even Etosha and the dune fields in Namibia.

Zambia is an incredible place, but its only one in a continent full of incredible places.

All I'm saying is that it may be worthwhile, before you again fly over 12,000 miles, to do a little research on the other parks and countries because they are so very different and spectacular in their own right.

Also, its a lot easier to get to South Luangwa from Lilongwe, Malawi, and you can also fly there from the UK, and that can allow a couple of days at Lake Malawi, another spectacular site. There are lots of ways to plan your trip, and all I'm respectfully pointing out is that you are following Rocco's advice, which is uniformly excellent and well researched, but its mostly limited to Zambia.

Respectfully submitted, Michael
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Nov 18th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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Darn right, lunch with Kavey!
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Nov 18th, 2005, 07:47 AM
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Michael-I agree with you that there are many other destinations to choose from, and after my next trip I may venture out of Zambia. I do want to do gorilla treking in Uganda, chimp watching at Mahale, see the sands of Namibia and I could go on and on. The main reason for this trip, and so soon after the last trip is to see the contrast between dry and green season, which is important to me. After that, who knows where I'll go, but while I'm hooked on Zambia, I know there's a whole continent left to explore. Thanks for your input.
Dennis
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Nov 18th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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Rocco
Maybe I'm missing something but I certainly didn't feel Michael's post was anything to do with operators at all...
Rather, I read it as a personal suggestion against narrowing multiple visits to one country without first experiencing the other countries and finding out which one loved the most.
I have often met Africaphiles, both online and in person, who have had such a wonderful first visit that they have restricted future visits only to that country or region. Years later they have relented and visited another place only to regret that they had not visited it sooner as they love it even more than their first destination.
I don't think Michael is criticising Zambia or stating that Dennis will definitely like other countries better, simply raising the possibility of it.
Your post touting prices and camps again seems to miss his points entirely.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 07:57 AM
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Rocco, I have no doubt that other areas of South Luangwa and Zambia are excellent, and while I did stay at Kafunta, I chartered the vehicle for daylong drives and did see a fair bit of the park, and I think its an excellent park. With that I don't disagree -- I would love to get back to Zambia to visit Kafue and Kasanka, as well as the Lower Zambezi. That trip is very high on my list, and I have you to thank for alerting me to the bat migration.

My point, and maybe I should have danced around it a bit more, is that for a second trip (and I don't know if Dennis has been elsewhere, but I think, if I recall his posts adequately, his most recent safari was his first) it may make sense to consider other destinations.

I'm not suggesting Singita, and if you read my post, I didn't even advocate visiting the Sabi Sands, since I don't think the game viewing there stacks up -- to me, the Sabi Sands is much closer to the San Diego Wildlife Park (which is excellent, by the way, for a zoo).

Also, I'm not sure I understand your admission that you were once influenced to post by tour operators. I have used a lot of different operators, and in fact, for my trip to South Africa next July, I am not using an operator, having found it very simple to book directly.

And for my next trip to Africa, to Tunisia this December, I am not using an operator.

I think I'd like to know more about your implication that there is no "free ride."

The only point to my post is that it may make sense for Dennis to consider Namibia or Botswana or Kenya or Tanzania for a second trip. No matter how great the other lodges and parks in Zambia, and I have no doubt that they are excellent, they will be much closer to his prior experience than similarly excellent parks and lodges in other countries in Africa.

I have no doubt that Dennis will have an amazing adventure on his next trip to Zambia, its just that he can have an equally amazing, or even better, adventure elsewhere.

Respectfully submitted, Michael

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Nov 18th, 2005, 08:24 AM
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What are all these lunches with Kavey? Kavey, I'll be in London next week (I'm coming across to see Bob Dylan and also eat at the Fat Duck on Friday).

If you're free on Thursday, I may be in the city, and if I am, I plan on trying St. John, which is near Smithfields Market -- its menu is pretty unique since if focuses on organ meats, but has other things, too. If you'd like to join, lunch is on me, but only if you'll contribute a similar amount to your wildlife charity.

I think you have my email address.

There's a slight chance I'll head to Oxford on Thursday, but I'll make that decision this weekend. If that's the case, maybe we can meet for a pint or two.

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Nov 18th, 2005, 08:27 AM
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Michael,

Yes, I agree with your overall thinking process to a certain extent. It is for this very reason that I have finally taken the plunge and will be visiting Eastern Africa in February.

It is also for this reason that I advised safarinut to consider visiting Tanzania instead of yet another trip to the Sabi Sand and a wet season visit to Botswana at $1,100 pp per night.

Although I can appreciate the fact that you visited South Luangwa, until you have experienced Luangwa River Lodge, you have not experienced South Luangwa at its best. Also, while I also enjoyed Kafunta, and as you know I visited there thanks to your recommendation, it is just such a different experience at different camps/lodges. If Dennis or anyone else has found someplace that he/she really loves, then they should really get it out of their system before moving onward.

I will be totally honest with you...I could go to Zambia for next to nothing now that I am an agent. I mean I could likely pay for my park fees and tariffs and given my stature in Zambia, I could likely stay for free. However, as much as I love Zambia, I am paying big money, at no discount, whatsoever, to instead visit Tanzania and Zanzibar. But, my point is, it took me three consecutive years of visiting Zambia before I felt just an inkling of satisfaction enough to try someplace new, and chances are that I will STILL go to Zambia by the end of 2006. No different than Safarinut and Austkaye love the Sabi Sand, I have that same passion for Zambia, and not just for the gameviewing but also for the welfare of the Zambian people and wildlife. The Zambian people and wildlife are the real reason behind my ambition. Otherwise, Zambia, even at full rack rate is very inexpensive next to Botswana and Tanzania and I could go for a month and it wouldn't faze me.

I respect what you are saying about getting out and trying new places, but the fact of the matter is, is that many Fodorites are creatures of habit and tend to return to the same destinations time after time. Yes, you are an exception and have really visited quite a few different places, and this seems to work for you. But as has been mentioned by others, such as Napamatt, I believe, and Safarinut, to return to the same places and see familiar faces, belonging to both humans and wildlife, that is something very special that cannot be gained through visiting new locations every year without nurturing the relationship that you have developed with the previous destination.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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Anyway, sorry to continue in the derailment of the original post on this thread.

We should be congratulating Dennis on his return to Africa!
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Nov 18th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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Michael,
I'm currently in Florida but will be returning to London on Tuesday next week. I can't remember my work schedule and don't have it (or my email address book) with me...
Drop me a note to my hotmail once you know your plans and I can reply once I get home...
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Nov 18th, 2005, 09:28 AM
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Rocco, well said, and I agree, Dennis, its great you're getting back so quickly. Africa is a marvelous country.

Kavey, I'll email you separately.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 09:31 AM
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Oh, one more thing, I don't think anyone of us have gotten Africa "out of our system." Rocco, as much as I'm sure you'll love Tanzania, I have no doubt that you'll return to Zambia, as will I. I'm dying to see Kafue. ;-)
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Nov 18th, 2005, 10:20 AM
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Congrats, Dennis.

Is there no way you can tack on some gorilla and/or chimp tracking? Within my limited means, I manage to lead quite an adventurous vicarious life.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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WooHoo and Good For You! Whether Zambia as you have stated or elsehwere in Africa. A return is to be celebrated.
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Nov 18th, 2005, 10:57 AM
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Ha...the bug has bitten & you are smitten!

I have always maintained that once you visit Africa you cannot get her out of your system!
It's a great narcotic.

Enjoy
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Nov 18th, 2005, 11:26 AM
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mkhonzo-yes, the bug has bitten and I am smitten!
michael-I read all the posts on fodors, not just the Zambia posts and know there are a lot of other destinations that will probably be just as exciting and fulfilling as my first trip to Zambia and now my second upcoming trip and I do have a list of where I want to go the next 10 times! Living in a place where we have one season all year round, with at most an 8 degree drop in temperature in the winter, rain all year long, always green and Christmas at the beach, I want to see the different seasons somewhere and since I've seen South Luangwa at it's hottest, I want to see it at it's greenest. When I see places with snow on T.V. I wish I was there (it's not the same as going up top of Mauna Kea and playing in the snow in shorts and slippers!) That is one reason I chose to return to Zambia. Next time, who knows, but I have an incredible amount of information thanks to the people on Fodors!
Aloha,
Dennis
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Nov 18th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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Dennis - I would be honored to plan a February trip to Nebraska for you. Just say the word! ;-)
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Nov 18th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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"with at most an 8 degree drop in temperature"

How do you stand such a drop? Just kidding. It must be nice, especially when it was below freezing in NY last night.

But as hard as it may be for me to believe, maybe you can get bored of perfect, mid-70 degree days al year round.

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Nov 18th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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only if we can have a snowball fight! and yes Michael, perfect weather can be boring all year round, but I wouldn't live anywhere else!
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