Zambia May 2006

Jan 29th, 2006, 03:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 19
Zambia May 2006


A question from a new member here.
We(my boyfriend and myself) are going to Zambia in May.
Our trip:
Victoria Falls 3 days (Nyala Lodge)
South Luangwa (3 days Kapamba)
South Luangwa (3 days Kafunta)
Lower Zambezi (4 days canoe-trip)
Lower Zambezi (3 days Chiawa)

Has anyone here been to Zambia in May before? How is the game-viewing? Any idea what we can expect from the lodges we booked? Is the canoe-trip as scary as it sounds? (I think I will love it, but I am a bit worried about those hippos ;-)

Thanks in advance for your help!
esmeralda is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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I have twice been to Zambia at the very beginning of June, so the experience of May should be similar.

I think you have chosen some pretty good lodges, although I think you will find for May that Kapamba will be more productive for walking safaris than for game drives. It is a beautiful camp, however, and should be a nice introduction to South Luangwa.

Kafunta, while not as stylish as Kapamba, is in a very good area for wildlife, sharing its game drive areas with Puku Ridge, Chichele Presidential Lodge and Nkwali. I stayed at Kafunta and enjoyed my stay, as well as enjoyed the hospitality of Anke, one of the owners who acts as the manager of the camp. Perhaps you or your agent could e-mail Kafunta ahead of time and request Josephatt as your guide, as he is an excellent and very experienced guide with a very good personality.

For the Lower Zambezi, I think you have made an excellent choice with Chiawa. It enjoys an excellent location within the national park and its accomodations are excellent.

The canoe trip is only scary when you are going through narrow channels. When you are on the wide open Zambezi River, it is not at all scary, at least not for me, but there were times when going through the narrow channels, when, sorry to say this, I thought I was going to die. The hippos and crocodiles are to be found in both the main river and in the narrow channels.

The reward, however, for going through the narrow channels, is that you get to see so much wildlife and birds close-up. You may canoe silently to get close up to Waterbucks, Cape Buffalo, Elephants (keeping a respectable distance from the Elephants and Buffalo) and other widlife. Usually the Nile Crocodiles will jump in the water about 10 meters before you reach them and disappear underwater...some say this is in anticipation but I think it is out of their own fear of humans.

The hippos are definitely the scariest, but it is such a thrill. You will be canoeing through a narrow channel and perhaps there will be 10 hippos. 9 out of the 10 hippos will part to the side of the riverbank, but there will be one hippo, probably the dominant male that will refuse to move and just sit there in the middle of the channel, almost, it seems, daring you to keep coming forward. A good guide will be able to intimidate the hippo by tapping the paddle against the canoe to make a disruptive noise, but then the hippo may just decide to submerge itself instead of visibly going to the riverbank. This happened frequently during my own stay at Kulefu a couple years ago, a camp deep inside the park that enjoys narrow channels all around. After waiting for about five minutes, about the length of time that a hippo may hold its breath, my guide theorized that the hippo must have moved on to somewhere where we could not see it, as it would have needed air by now, and at that point we basically paddled as fast as we could to get through the area, not knowing where the hippo was.

On a couple occasions, a hippo did come up for air not more then a couple meters away, and that is pretty scary, but forunately each time, the hippo got a quick gasp of air and then went back down again...good enough for a nice scare!

Just listen to everything that your guide says and don't take any chances that may put you in further danger. Also, if there are many canoes, you may be best off being in one of the middle canoes, rather than in the front or back. Also, if you are able to have a guide in your canoe, obviously this is preferable.

You should have an amazing experience. Please come back here with a trip report and photos!
Roccco is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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Re Kapamba: Just curious,why would walking be more productive than game drives in May here?
ddgattina is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 09:15 AM
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Thanks Roccco! That was very helpfull.

Off course I'll make lots of photos and post my experiences as well!
I can't wait to go!
esmeralda is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 02:13 PM
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Esmerelda- Several of us will be there in May. What are your dates?
cooncat2 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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Hi Cooncat,

Would be nice to see some members in Zambia

We're going to be in:
Livingstone: May 16h, 17th and 18th
Kapamba: May19th, 20th and 21st
Kafunta: May 22nd, 23rd and 24th
Canoe-trip on the Zambezi:May 25,26,27,28
Chiawa: May 29th, 30th and 31st

esmeralda is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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Looks like we'll all be together at Chiawa. I hope we like one another!

cooncat is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 11:18 AM
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I hope so too Cooncat

Looks like Chiawa is fully booked with fodorites in May
So it's Cooncat, Stamiya, Tigerpaw and myself that will be there the last couple of days of May?
It's small world!

esmeralda is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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Esmeralda - we will pass you on your way out of Livingston - we arrive on the 19th for 2 days there! We will definitely be the fodorite foursome (squared) at Chiawa Cooncat and I will have to do something about names. Unless she is also really short, I guess I'll be "short Sharon" and she can be "tall Sharon". I've been called "anklebiter" before, but I'm sure we can come up with something better than that to tell us apart!

stamiya is offline  
Jan 30th, 2006, 07:59 PM
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Hi! I've had a wee bit too much wine this evening, (it's not a problem or anything, I promise) but if anyone wants to start chatting before our May get together at Chiawa I will offer my e-mail - [email protected]. Send me a message!

(Ahem... We promise not to totally leave everyone out, know...)

cooncat2 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 04:51 PM
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Anyone know if canoeing is an option at Chiawa? All the posts about canoeing the channels make it sound so exciting, I think we might like to do something like that on the lower Zambezi.
stamiya is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 05:38 PM
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stamiya-according to a website I found, yes canoeing is an option at Chiawa. It's scary but fun!
matnikstym is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2006, 06:51 PM
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Lynn (Atravelyn) and others have recommended canoeing to Old Mondoro from Chiawa. It does sound intriguing, but it also scares me a bit. Hippos and crocs.....hmmm. Guess I'll have to cross that bridge when I get there. Chiawa also has a great boat. I'm sure we'll get out on the river on that!
cooncat2 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 04:01 AM
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hi! we´re going to be at kapamba mid-may. still hoping for reports on this camp too! had no response to last attempt. anybody out there???
judithlorraine123 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 05:58 AM
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I have been to Zambia 3 times in May/June. The weather is warm during the day and cooler to cold at night.
Wildlife sightings are good.
We normally see herds of Elephants, occasional Lion. Large herds of Buffalo and quite a few Leopards.
Be very careful caneoing. Its an amazing experience but ust listen to the guide.

All of my experiences of Zambia is the Lower Zambezi. Its a marvelous place .
barnetda is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 07:40 AM
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Just curious - should we expect nights and early mornings to be colder than, say, 50 degrees farenheit? I'm still struggling with how to pack!! thanks
cooncat is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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Cooncat. It gets below that for the first hour and last hour of the day.
After saying that the lodge should have ablnkets for the game ride.
It probably goes down to 38-40 f i guess.

Fantastic during the day.

Any questions re lower zambezi feel free to ask.
barnetda is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Thanks! I always thought May was end of summer and therefore a bit warmer. Good thing I live in the Midwest! My So. Cal. counterparts are going to have to toughen themselves up a bit! ;-)
cooncat is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 06:35 PM
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We also will be in Zambia in May/June---arriving in S. Luangwa on May 18th. and staying at Luangwa River Lodge until the 23rd and then to Kapamba May 23rd thru the 26th. Then to Lower Zambezi and staying at Chiawa thru May 31st and then to Old Mondoro June 1 and 2.
We look forward to seeing Cooncat, Staymia,& esmeralda at Chiawa, and maybe judithlorraine at Kapamba.

Where have you stayed in Lower Zambezi?
Did you see many tsetse flies or mosquitos during May/June?
Thanks for the information on the temperature during that time. I, like Cooncat, am also struggling with what to pack. I want to avoid checking any luggage, so am really trying to pack light!
As this will be our first trip to Africa, any tips you might have would be appreciated.
Thanks so much
tigerpaw is offline  
Mar 27th, 2006, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 157

You will love Zambia.

Firstly full disclosure. I am one of the owners of the Kasaka River Lodge. I obviously stay there when in the Lower Zambezi.

I rarely see any flies/mozzies at all. The weather is excellent in May June apart from the first and last hours when it can get a little cold.
Game viewing is excellent. We saw quite a few Leopards last May as well as many herds of Buffalo and Elephant.
Its well worth going on a boat trip on the Zambezi. Some excellent wildlife sightings along the river, elephant ,buffalo and occasional Lions are seen by the RIver. Many many Hippos of course.
I havent stayed at Chiawa but I am sure it will be good.

We are at Kasaka from the end of May for a week so may well see you in the PArk!
he great thing about the Lower Zam is the scarcity of other game vehicles. Its almost like you have the camp to your self.

Any questions feel free to ask.

I am actually off to India this am for the first time ever but I will keep an eye out for posts.

I am sure you will have a wonderful trip.
barnetda is offline  

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