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Zambia and Botswana trip

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Oct 3rd, 2009, 03:41 PM
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Zambia and Botswana trip

In planning a trip for September 2010, to visit Botswana and Zambia, is it best to fly from the US to LHR, then on to Zambia first and see that and Vic Falls, then go on to Botswana and home, or the reverse? Opinions from those who have done such a trip appreciated. Thanks in advance. Liz
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Oct 3rd, 2009, 08:09 PM
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hi liz,

my answers to your questions totally depend on where you are going and where you are coming from.

are you starting in the US or are you from the UK? does the city you live in have a direct flight to LHR?

in zambia, are you only going to victoria falls (livingstone) or do you plan on visiting a national park like south luangwe, lower zambezi, or the kafue?

also - where do you plan on going in botswana? one reason i ask this question is that wilderness safaris and santuary lodge are two companies with camps in both countries. some of their logistics are designed around assisting guests visiting both countries.

craig beal
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Oct 3rd, 2009, 09:01 PM
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Liz Frazier,

It is so nice to have you back and planning a return to Africa. It appears Tanzania will not be your last hurrah in Africa, after all.

Here's why I've visited Vic Falls on the front end of a few trips.

-It was a good place to have an initial relaxing day or two and recover from jet lag before the more intense safari activities.

-If there were a delay with flights, it would be easier to rearrange my schedule in Vic Falls (or Livingstone) than on the safari part of the trip.

-It's easier to track down somebody in Vic Falls to reunite them with lost luggage than at safari camps scattered far and wide.

-One mobile safari started in Vic Falls, so we all met up there. In that case it was logistics that dictated where we started. Logistics, as mentioned above, might play a role in your itinerary.

-I would rather do the non-safari activities up front with the anticipation of the safari stuff yet to come. But that's a personal preference.

-With Sept being lower water levels, would one or two weeks make a difference in the quality of what you're seeing? If so, then going first may be best. I don't know.

-It depends on when you schedule your bungee jump. You ARE bungee jumping, aren't you?

I'm also curious about your whole trip.
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Oct 4th, 2009, 10:10 AM
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This is just too cool! Thank you both for your responses. First to Craig, we live in Nevada, and will fly to LAX and catch the nonstop to LHR there. We will not stay with one group of lodges, rather I plan on Chief's Camp, one in Linyanti, one in Savuti, one in Moremi or the Delta. Then one more in Botswana was the plan. But in looking at the Sanctuary site, I noticed Puku Ridge. We liked the looks of it and I remember Rocco when I was here before. If I'd have had his phone number, I would have called him to dicuss his ideas, but now I find other such experts here, so I am very glad I asked. After reading lots about Zambia last night on the internet, I'm thinking we have passed the mark where we would be willing to put up with the ruggedness of Zambia with all the tetse flies, etc. So I don't know now. I have to make the going part of the plane reservations on Tuesday and am in a dilemma. I think I decided I'd have to go to J'berg and maybe the return from Zambia or even J'berg if I can't decide quickly. The idea came on just now and there may not be time to change my mind so fast. Gotta be sure we can do it. Botswana I know, Zambia I know is rugged. We aren't rugged anymore. We have been to Botswana around 4 times and I was in a study group there in 1993 for a few weeks. Botswana was always my favorite.

Now to Lynn, didn't we call you Evelyn before? I've been trying to remember, but 5 years is a long time. I figured it would be Jan who caught me on this since she was the one who doubted by ability to stay away. Well, cruising got tiresome, and we once again had the milage points with AA to go First Class to Africa, so here we are. I get Max there by promising those wonderful beds in 1st, and I get to satisfy my craving for Botswana. But thanks so much for the welcome.

I like your comments and they make good sense. We have been to the Falls before in September, and that isn't the most important of things we wanted to see, but bungee jumping had never entered our discussion I can assure you. tee hee. I won't even answer that question if you don't mind.

Since we have to get the tickets so far in advance there is lots of time for planning since we probably won't decide before next Spring, but once the tickets are in our hands, the direction is decided. I think we'll stay about three weeks with every third day resting at the camp we are in. I know we can't take the strain of days on end rising so early and dashing out. Once we passed the 70 mark, the decline is much more rapid than we thought. Safety is paramount since the last trip to Botswana ended with my second back surgery. Probably no mokoro or mekoro trips this time.

Big birds are half of it. Madikwe Island is one spot we want to return to and Kanana has another Heronry near by that is only theirs. Hadn't planned on K&D this trip, but Kanana would be just for the birds. No Wilderness camps planned. But Kwando, Orient Express both have camps we like a lot. Sanctuary is only for Chief's. Otherwise it is far too fancy for us. Mainly now the plane reservations are first and foremost. That dictates when and for how long we go. The camps will come later. I'll be back for more info since this is has worked out so well. It's been a long time and formats here have changed, but your advice is as always, spot on and much appreciated. I do believe I don't have enough time to put Zambia first though. I'll have three weeks now to mull over that decision. Do you think just visiting Puku Ridge would be worth the deviation from Botswana to Zambia? More later. Liz (hope all this makes sense)
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Oct 4th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Liz, I can't help with your itinerary but I'm very happy to see you and Max are planning another trip. I gather you recovered from the back injury from your last trip?
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Oct 4th, 2009, 11:08 AM
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hi liz,

ok - that is some good information.

here is what i suggest: fly to LHR and then connect to Lusaka, Zambia. the BA flight arrives in the morning and you should be able to connect on pro flight to mfuwe the same day. if not, stay in lusaka at the taj or intercontinental. when you get to mfuwe you can visit puku ridge for three days.

after puku ridge, you may consider going to lower zambezi. puku ridge has a sister camp here called kulefu. there is also the royal zambezi and sausage tree if you are looking for other luxury. i leave for zambia next sunday and i will be visiting both puku and kulefu.

from lower zambezi, it is a schlep, but you can get to livingstone and spend one night (since you have already been there). NOW - from there you mentioned savuti AND linyanti. savuti is a camp within the linyanti. linyanti is private land immediately west of the chobe and it has three wilderness safari camps: savuti, duma tau, and kings pool. all are fantastic and especially in september. if the flow rate continues, the savuti channel water will reach the savute marsh by late september next year! you could consider chobe chilwero if you want to stick to sanctuary properties but it is in the much more crowded eastern part of the chobe.

why chiefs instead of mombo? mombo is on the northern tip of chief's island. chief's is on the soutern tip.

you also mentioned wanting a camp in the moremi. both chief's and mombo are inside the moremi.

you did not mention a camp in the delta. perhaps consider joa, vumbura plains, or some other camp in the heart of the delta.

for proper geographic sequencing, i would go to linyanti/chobe first, then the delta, then end at chief's or mombo. from there, fly to maun. your agent can book you mub-jnb and you can fly home on BA that night.

craig beal
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Oct 4th, 2009, 11:10 AM
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FYI - if you wait until spring to book this mombo and chiefs will be sold out. the rest of the camps will likely be ok, but i would at least lock in mombo or chiefs as soon as you have tickets.

any reputable safari agent can send you a screen capture of camp inventory from the wilderness safaris web site or request the info from sanctuary so you can judge for yourself when this decision needs to be made.

craig eal
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Oct 4th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Thanks Cindy, my back really is not a problem. I do whatever I want. Mekoro rides just remind me when I fell and that trip was a nightmare, but after the surgery all was well. I didn't realize what a decision this trip would be. Take care.
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Oct 4th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Liz Frazier,

You're right about the new format.

Your choice of camps looks great!

The tse tses in Zambia are bad in just a few areas such as Kafue. Even there, it is the forested parts that are problems. There are lots of nice camps in the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa that are along the lines of the camps in Botswana. Even though walking and canoeing are big in Zambia, you can do drives as well. In fact many times the afternoon activity is a drive that continues into a night drive. It is on drives that you see the most animals, anyway.

I've always been Atravelynn, never Evelyn.

How exciting to be planning another trip, this one sans mekoros.
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Oct 4th, 2009, 12:41 PM
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Craig-
Without going into detail, we do not use Wilderness at all. I'll do without a few animals if I must. Thanks anyway, appreciate your effort. We may just skip Zambia altogether and stay in Botswana. I hadn't researched it before and there are other things I haven't seen there. I'll see what, if anything else someone might recommend in Botswana. Have a nice trip to Zambia. Liz
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Oct 4th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Liz

Sounds like you had some bad experiences with Wilderness Safaris. No problem - they are not the only places out there!

If going in September and now you have more time, then you should for sure consider a trip to the Makgadikgadi Pans. Unlike the Kalahari which is best in the wet season, the Pans will be good in September. Leroo-La-Tau would be a good option. This camp is owned by Desert & Delta.

Chiefs is still a fine choice. I just wanted you to be aware of the alternative on the same island. You could spend two days at Chobe Chilwero in the Eastern Chobe and then head to Savute Elephant Camp in the western Chobe. If you are looking for a good high-end water camp then maybe Eagle Island would be an good choice.

You should also consider the pan handle of the Delta in September. Tiger fishing will be at its best that month.

Hope this helps.

Craig Beal
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Oct 4th, 2009, 06:08 PM
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I think Makgadikgadi is where Kavey went when I was still posting. Isn't that where Jack's Camp is. She sounded very impressed with that camp. I haven't looked at any there yet, so this may sound off base. I'll have time to check those out later.

I think Chobe Chilwero is a little over the top for us and there are more people there. We like tents. Tiger fishing isn't something we are interested in. Lagoon Camp sounds good, but I'm not sure right here where it is in relation to Chobe. I've done some looking, but nothing definite yet. The one I like best of Orient Express group is Kwai River Camp, I think it is called. Lagoon is for wild dog. Now I'm not sure where these are here as I've only scanned the camps and haven't pinpointed them all on the Botswana map of the Delta. Plane reservations first, trip after that. American limits free first class drastically. That is why they have to be booked 329 days out as soon as they come online.

Lynn- Sorry, I just forgot your handle. I have you mixed up with someone I think. You make Zambia sound good, but I don't have time to get comfortable with it before we make the flight reservations. Thanks again. Liz
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Oct 4th, 2009, 08:26 PM
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Liz,
Jack's is in the Makgadikgadi Pans. This is a beautiful desert area and if you like meerkats, you'll love it.

Handle, hey that was CB talk. Remember those days? It's easy to mix up people, especially with a 5 year absence.

Lagoon is in the Linyanti area and you are right that wild dogs are often seen there. Kwai is in the Moremi area in the delta. These two would be a nice combination along with Jack's.

You're right to get those plane seats first.
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Oct 4th, 2009, 09:44 PM
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Lynn- So many choices, this is going to be great planning. I've got lots to look at. I took a sneak peek at the Panhandle area and found a real nice camp there that Max liked too. Let's see, Tuesday I start trying to get airline seats, then it will start to become a reality.

CB? Is that what it was called? What a memory! It just sounds so strange. CD sounds better. haha. At least it sounds better now. Oh well. TTYL. Liz
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Oct 5th, 2009, 04:32 AM
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Liz, welcome back, so lovely to hear that you and Max are going back on safari!

You are right that Jack's Camp is one that I really enjoyed during our 2004 visit. What stood out for us was a) the very high quality of guiding and service and b) the unique environment and wildlife here.

It's a fabulous contrast to the Delta and Chobe areas.

The rest of our camps on that trip were Wilderness Safaris so can't help on that front.

Oh wait, actually, Jacana and Tubu Tree are not owned by WS, so may be of interest, though I guess as they are marketed/ reserved by WS you may still prefer to avoid them.

In any case, there are Kwando and Sanctuary and others to consider!

In 2008 Pete and I ventured to Kenya and Tanzania, and had a wonderful trip. I remember you posted long ago about East Africa.

Anyway, lovely to hear from you! Happy planning!
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Oct 5th, 2009, 05:06 AM
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jack is no longer marketed by wilderness safaris either.

craig beal
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Oct 5th, 2009, 05:23 AM
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Kavey, how lovely to hear from you. When I opened this thread this morning, I was very happy to see your name on the post.

Thanks for the news on Jack's camp, I will definitely look it over. I thought that was the camp, glad that was true. I remember you said something like everyone should go there at least once in their life. I think that was yout comment anyway. Someone said it. Take care. Glad you got back to East Africa. Those last two trips to E. Africe we took were the best I think. Still remember them well. We got to see the migration in both the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. Paradise. (Of course, Botswana is the best though.) Liz
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Oct 5th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Yes, I really loved it. Wildlife is more scarce, though one can have fantastic sightings of meerkats, brown hyena, large zebra herds and flamingoes, depending on season and luck. And of course, there are many other animals and birds about too.

But the environment, the history, the artifacts discarded by our ancestors, the fabulous knowledge of the guides... it's wonderful!
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Oct 5th, 2009, 04:51 PM
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That's good for Liz if Jack's no longer has an association with Wilderness.
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Oct 5th, 2009, 05:46 PM
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I looked at Jack's Camp today and was surprised because all of the internet sites say it is a Wilderness Camp. I didn't know it was before. I know they don't update things real fast and I can verify that later. I really liked a lot about the camp though. I also looked at Leroo La Tau recommended by Craig. I liked them too. I especially liked the East African Meru style tents. We particularly like those when we are in Africa. Too luxurious isn't our first choice. I'm glad I have time to weigh the pros and cons. We really love the Meerkats, but doesn't everyone since Meerkat Manor became a series on Animal Planet.

Oh, I got the reservations for the going over part of the trip today. Got it on the first try too. Just hit it right. I'm so excited now. It really will happen. Talk to y'all later. Liz
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