Zambia: affordable dream safari for Sharon

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Sep 1st, 2005, 10:24 AM
  #1
bwanamitch
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Zambia: affordable dream safari for Sharon

Sharon,

my suggestions for an affordable Zambian dream safari are:

Lower Zambezi NP: Mwambashi River Lodge (www.lionroars.com)

Kafue NP: Lufupa Lodge and Shumba Bush Camp (www.busangatrails.com) - no single supplement!

South Luangwa NP: Luamfwa Lodge (www.luamfwa.com)

Even the most luxury camps can't provide you better game sightings.

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 10:28 AM
  #2
 
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You are reading my mind!!!!!! I was just going to post about this! I have a couple of places in mind to stay, but I definitely want my decisions to be based on best game viewing. Kafue looks really great...my alternative to the Serengeti!? Thanks for the post!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 10:47 AM
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bwanamitch
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Sharon,

You can't compare Kafue to the Serengeti. On the contrary, my first impressions were more negative than expected - they had big poaching problems in the area and the huge herds in Busanga Plains are gone. What I like there are an interesting mix of activities and accommodations at Lufupa/Shumba/Kafwala - river cruises & angling tours, swimming near the rapids, bush walking, wild dog research, the best leopard night drives available, and the rest of the standard program.

One word to South Luangwa: if wildlife is your priority, Luamfa is far better than any of those luxury camps outside the park (Kafunta, Nkwali, Luangwa River, etc.).

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 10:53 AM
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Mitch - I should clarify - I really meant for the open plains feel of the place, not the concentrations of game. Did you see cheetah when you were there?

Sharon
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:10 AM
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bwanamitch
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No cheetahs for me in Busanga Plains. Really bad luck!

We saw a lion kill on our way to the Plains, and radioed the group that just were leaving the bush camp - and they had a fantastic morning drive: lions, roans, buffaloes, pukus, elephants, cheetahs, wild dogs, ...

Apparently after that morning the animals made a weekend break - it was very quiet the next two days. Nevertheless, I still was happy because I saw my first wild dogs the day before.

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:19 AM
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What time of the year were you there?
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:20 AM
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bwanamitch
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October.
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:32 AM
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Wow! Wild dogs in October, very cool!

Thanks for the information..
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:32 AM
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In July I saw two cheetahs in Busanga Plains, oddly at night. Although I saw herds of sable and roan at a distance, I think October would provide better antelope viewing.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:40 AM
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bwana-stupid question-how do the animals know to stay in or out of the park? i'll be going to luangwa river lodge in october and are you saying i won't see that many animals? (you just deflated my "high"!! #39;(
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Sep 1st, 2005, 11:41 AM
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bwanamitch
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I would say September must be the best time - a good compromise between wildlife concentration at the water places and the dusty landscape of the proceeding brown season.

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Matnik - I have the same question! Your lodge is on my "pretty definite" list. May I ask who you used to plan your trip?
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Sep 1st, 2005, 12:12 PM
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cooncat-with suggestions from Rocco, i contacted Barry at Luangwa River Lodge and he put together everything i needed-internal air flights, reservations at the other two lodges i will be staying at (chongwe-river in lower zambezi park and stanley safari lodge at vic falls all transfers etc. he seems like a very nice guy and did all the work. from their website it looks like a fantastic place and with being there for 5 nights i'm sure i'll see some animals!! we'll just have to wait until Rocco returns for the total picture. Anyway, i am happy with my decision and only have 47 more days of waiting!!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 12:17 PM
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bwanamitch
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Dennis,

Sorry, I didn't want to deflate your high - I'm sure you still will have a great time.

To answer your question:
There is a BIG river between the Park and the Game Management Area where all these lodges are located. You still will have your occasional elephants (they don't care about rivers), but the density of other wildlife is much lower than in the Park. Game drives usually take place in the Park, the operators are using pontoons for getting there, and there they all share the same area for their activities (remember the trip report by Lin?). Even at Tafika (located in a different GMA in the north) where no river divides the GMA and the renowned Nsefu sector of the Park, you have remarkably less wildlife than in the Park (animals know very well the areas where people are living), and even there you always make your 10-15 minute drive into the Park.

All the big operators (Robin Pope, Remote Africa, Kafunta) usually promote their base camps (Nkwali, Tafika, Kafunta) as starting or refreshment point for a walking or mobile safari in the Park - and they certainly know why.

For me wine cellars (Kafunta), stylish decor (Luangwa River) or other luxuries have no priority, I prefer wildlife in front of my door - but to achieve this in South Luangwa you have to stay IN the park.

Mitch
 
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Sep 1st, 2005, 12:51 PM
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thanks Bwana-now I understand. will file it away for next time!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 02:52 PM
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Bwana - For me a big issue, besides the wildlife, is the people I'll be spending time with. You can relate as a solo traveler. I really like the people I've been in contact with at one of the "luxury" lodges you mention. I also like what I read about the guiding at these places. How would you rate these things at your recommended places? (Getting on with the people, good conversation, not feeling left out because you're the "single" one in camp?

Thanks!
Sharon
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Sep 1st, 2005, 02:57 PM
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One other thing, Mitch and others: Would you skip Kafue or keep it in the plan? Honestly I'd like to go to Zimbabwe, to Hwange, but I haven't brought that up yet to the person I'm working with. Which would you do? Or how about just staying longer at South Luangwa - at places both inside and outside the park? And while I'm at it, what does North Luangwa have that these other places don't? And when I go to the Lower Zambezi, if I'm across from Mana Pools, is that just as good as being AT Mana Pools?

OK - That's it for now. Hey - thanks again everyone!
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Sep 1st, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Hi Sharon,

So have you decided on Zambia?

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 1st, 2005, 03:08 PM
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Well, as I said in another post I am leaning heavily in that direction. See the other thread of Leely's on her itinerary for a bit of rationale. But again. Nothing is final until I send money or sign on the dotted line! ;-)

Now...go get some sleep.
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Sep 1st, 2005, 04:01 PM
  #20
bwanamitch
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Sharon,

All the people in these camps are nice (especially if they want to sell something ;-)). At which camp you feel more happy depends mostly on your fellow travelers and is unpredictable. There might be a small tendency to meet the more adventurous and nature lovers in the bush camps and the more pampered and elder people in the main camps. Decide yourself. Flush toilet or long drop? (Okay, all the bush camps in South Luangwa have flush toilets.) And you certainly will find the best guides in the bush camps, and not in the 'administrative centres'.

Hwange? Personally I don't like these multi-country tours. So again, decide yourself.

Inside AND outside South Luangwa Park? Why? Like Rocco? Three days Luangwa River Lodge, pontoon riding to the Mfuwe Sector, and then game driving in the same area for another three days without pontoon riding? That doesn't make sense to me at all. If you want to stay longer in South Luangwa go to different parts of the Park, either in the south, Mfuwe Sector or northern part/Nsefu Sector.

Can't say much about North Luangwa now, but a little bit more in five weeks.

Mitch
 
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