Zambia: affordable dream safari for Sharon

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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:15 AM
  #41
 
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The ATR web site has a photo of one of those horrid cruises somewhere in Botswana. Apparently the passengers were even sort of hassling the elephants that were crossing. I would have gotten violent. I was on a "booze cruise" accidentally off St. John, USVI last year. I will never do that again. ..."Remember, the more rum you drink, the more fish you'll see.." How irresponsible is that? Ugh!
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:16 AM
  #42
 
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I say accidentally because I had no idea what to expect. The brochure made it look better than it was.
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:22 AM
  #43
 
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Hi Sharon,

That's awful (both the bit about the elephants and the bit about encouraging people to drink on boats -- the number one contributing factor to deaths by drowning is alcohol).

I've heard (from Rocco, I believe) that it's possible to escape the crowds if you avoid the 'honeypots' like the Chobe waterfront, but then you probably won't see as many animals either. My trips to Botswana have missed out Chobe mostly because of the crowd factor -- I'm not enough of an ellie person to put up with the crowds.

It sounds like the river cruises in Kafue might be more productive, game-wise, than those in Botswana, which are more about soaking up the atmosphere of the Delta. Don't get me wrong -- I really enjoyed my time on the water in Botswana, but not based on the game-viewing.

Supposedly, river cruises on the Rufiji in Selous are great for seeing leopard.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:26 AM
  #44
bwanamitch
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Julian,

As I said, you can't escape from this booze/floating aspect if such a noisy boat stays 20 metres away.

I can't say much about LV (I only used the boat for the camp/car port transfers) and Lake Zibalianja (not much water left during my stay), but at Kwara I had hippos, snakes, antelopes and, of course, really huge flocks of water bird. But you are right, if it comes to wildlife sightings the great rivers are more rewarding. (Unfortunately, at Chobe I only saw the elephant herds from the lodge, and not during my river cruises - a question of luck, as always on safari.)

In North Kafue (Kafue and Lufupa rivers) you have the wildlife sightings of great rivers combined with the exclusiveness of a quasi-private concession.

Mitch

 
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:33 AM
  #45
bwanamitch
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"Remember, the more rum you drink, the more fish you'll see.."

Hhhmmmm, I'm just reflecting why I drink so much Mosi in Zambia... to see even more leopards and wild dogs?
 
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:36 AM
  #46
 
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Hi Mitch,

By avoiding the honey-pots, I meant that one could avoid the areas frequented by the 'standard' booze cruises, which would mean going either further up or downstream than they usually go.

In terms of the Delta, I think it also depends on when you go. I was there in June and July, so I wouldn't expect to see a lot of water birds. If I recall, you were there a bit earlier in the year, which may be why you saw more than I did.

Kafue sounds great -- I'm reading through the Bradt Zambia book Rocco gave me, and it is definitely going on my Zambia list.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 10:51 AM
  #47
bwanamitch
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Re avoiding the honey pots: on Chobe River you have no chance to escape because all the lodges are centered around Kasane. Upper Zambezi is different because there are even lodges and camps 30-40 kms upstream of VicFalls. One of the best places for river cruises must be the Zambezi at Impalila Island, near Kasane/Chobe but in Namibia. But I think, it's more a birder's paradise.

Mitch
 
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 11:19 AM
  #48
 
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Try this link - it's from the ATR site regarding the ellies being hassled.

http://www.africatravelresource.com/...01/lows/02.htm

Hope it works. Cheers, all!
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:23 PM
  #49
 
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Thanks cooncat! Interesting link...52 cars at a sundowner at Chobe? Glad I cancelled that trip and chose Zambia!
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:33 PM
  #50
 
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I hear you. I am 99.9% committed to Zambia next year. Very exciting to be able to REALLY plan a trip now!
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:44 PM
  #51
bwanamitch
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Sharon,

This ATR link is great. I find the term 'retirement lodges' most amusing.

99.9% Zambia 2006? Or is this more a 'Rocco decision'?

I don't know where I will be next year. If I follow my alternate rhythm it will certainly be East Africa...

Julian,

Reading about the low 'safari ratio' at ATR a question comes to my mind. Up to now I've encountered the worst open safari vehicles at WS camps. My question: are WS still using the same 3-row vehicles in Mombo and other 6-paw camps?

Mitch
 
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:46 PM
  #52
 
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The place where Rocco stayed, Matetsi, is 40km upstream of the Falls -- that was probably why he said he had a crowd-free experience.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:48 PM
  #53
 
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Hi Mitch,

Sorry, our posts must have crossed or something - I didn't see your question. I'm not sure, as thus far I've stayed in all 5-paw camps.

I actually found the WS vehicles a bit more comfortable than some of the older vehicles -- the bucket seats (rather than bench seats) were easier on my back. They did seem a bit more cramped in terms of leg room, however.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:49 PM
  #54
 
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cooncat-what's the .1% holding you back?
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:55 PM
  #55
bwanamitch
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Julian,

re Zambezi: I thought more on the camps on the Zambian side - but you are right with Matetsi.

re WS vehicles: sorry, I already have this Julian-Mombo association in my mind. Now I realize that this is your future trip.

Mitch
 
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:57 PM
  #56
 
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Interestingly, ATR's site doesn't have 'highs and lows' for any of the other countries they operate in, only Botswana. I would have been interested to read about the highs and lows for the other countries too.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:59 PM
  #57
 
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Mitch - What do you mean "Rocco decision?"
Dennis and Mitch: the 1% represents, more or less, my irritating inability to make decisions! Mitch - I'll admit that Rocco has been very persuasive, but my first introduction to Zambia came in a travel magazine a few years back; some of you may remember it was about a group Gavin Blair took to the Bangwualu (spelling?) Swamps. I thought it looked intriguing.

East Africa is someplace I've always wanted to go. I'm going to need more time and money to do properly.
Sharon
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 01:00 PM
  #58
 
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Julian - ATR isn't finished with their web site.
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 01:09 PM
  #59
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Sharon,

'Rocco decision'? Well, one day Rocco is posting his 'definite' trip itinerary, and a week later it sounds quite different. Or his lodge and/or operator recommendations... I remember his praises on ATR - but his most current post on this operator seems to be by a different person...

East Africa? Yeah, the Mara was my first love. But in the meantime I have lost my heart somewhere in the Delta...

Mitch
 
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Sep 2nd, 2005, 01:12 PM
  #60
 
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I think he means a decision which isn't really a decision -- you know how Rocco's plans are in a state of flux until virtually the day he leaves

Cheers,
Julian
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