Zambia-More Questions

Aug 31st, 2008, 06:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Zambia-More Questions

Thanks for all the suggestions. I contacting the Luangwa River Lodge and it looks like that will be a great place for the six nights. The next question is where else should be go. I would love to have feedback as to the Lower Zambezi vs going to perhaps another lodge in the Southern Luangwa, Northern Luangwa or Kafue. I love the idea of the Mana Pools but read that there are some safety issues with Zimbabwe. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
lhgreenacres is offline  
Aug 31st, 2008, 08:05 PM
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I haven't yet been to Zambia, but am leaving in mid Oct for 3 weeks on two "packaged" itineraries that include Kafue:
and N & S Luangwa:
Not sure what your travel dates are, but I plan to post a report on return...
rickmck is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 01:40 AM
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Just to set the record right about Mana Pools. There are really no more safety issues with going to that park over any of the Zambian parks. This park is across the river from LZNP- its actually much bigger and contain more of the plains area of the valley than LZNP. Less expensive, a wider variety of activities in the park at all price ranges, to name a couple things. The only reason to go to LZNP is if you like to name drop some luxury lodges, and pay a rediculous price to do that. But then I like to get close to nature which seems not to be a priority to alot of travelers. Sorry about the rant. Just my perspective. Its a great place to canoe- btw, you will find out that the Zambian safari companies often take you to the Zim side(when canoeing the GMA section) for wildlife viewing. Too bad they can't camp or bushwalk there too.
Then there is the bushwalking and camping-luxury or otherwise, that you can do in Mana Pools.

An exerpt of an email from someone who just left Mana Pools and is on her way to ZLNP.
"it was such an incredible experience!!!! Such an amazing contrast with only having been in a town so far to get out so remote and truly in the midst of all of the wildlife, it was literally all around us and coming thru the campsite."
luangwablondes is offline  
Sep 1st, 2008, 03:20 PM
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i don't know anything about mana pools - it's a white spot still for us which needs to be covered in 2009 - but i may asure you in view to safety: zim is absolutely worthwile to consider!
there are some fodorites who just visited and these folks are very pleased with the experience.

i myself will be briefly -( ) going to zim in mid nov 08 visiting vic falls and hwange. and i am by far not willing to cancel as i don't see any reason to do so.

so pls. go ahead with your zim-planning! give these people a chance to earn a buck in order to get some relief from their misery.

happy planning

divine54 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 08:15 PM
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We were in Zambia last year and spent two nights at LRL. Enjoyed it very much although there were alot of vehicles from other camps around. The food was great and we thoroughly enjoyed it but two or three nights was enough. We also went to Kaingo where we had the best sightings and would go back again in a heartbeat.

Our last camp was Chiawa which is in the lower Zambezi. We had very few animal sightings there so I can't recommend it but we were told that was just a fluke and that normally it is quite good. I didn't care for the rehearsed nature of that camp and the planned outings, it all seemed too forced. We did have an amazing tent there that made the stay better.

Let me know if I can answer anything else.
dwc0201 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 08:42 PM
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I would just like to agree with the comments by Luangwa Blondes and DWC0201

We found Lower Zambezi to be almost totally void of wildlife, we also sayed at Chiawa and were told the same thing.

You should visit Mana Pools it is exceptionally beautiful,has plenty of interesting wildlife and is also a lot cheaper.
Sep 29th, 2008, 05:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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We were in LZNP last September at Chongwe River Camp and enjoyed it very much -- particularly the water activities. We saw lots of game. My trip report describes our stay in detail: I seem unable to insert the link, but search for "Part I - Kenya" or under my name. The Zambian part is at the end. Hope you have a great trip -- wherever.
samcat is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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DWC0201 & Sniktawk,

What month were you in Zambia and the Lower Zambezi?



Cheweyhead is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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i would like to put something in perspective in view to lwer zambesi NP:

we spent almost 1 week in LZNP at several camps and i have to agree it's expensive but worth any penny if you are looking for more upmarket camps.

regarding wildlife:

we saw different leopards in different locations - one walking just beside our car for almost 20 minutes!

we watched a coalition of 2 male lions asking for a showdown with the resident male and its pride which eventually happened. that was a particularly exciting experience which we hadn't seen before and haven't witnessed after!

we saw big groups of elefants incl. a breeding herd.

we also were rewarded with all sorts of game.

i would not call LZNP an empty place - especially in june when we visited it was pleasantly worthwile to visit!

we are visiting again in early nov which we wouldn't IF experiences had tought us LZNP being a "void" area.


"... we also sayed at Chiawa and were told the same thing."

cannot make anything off that statement.

divine54 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 06:06 PM
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Do consider Kaingo & Tafika (SLNP) where we had a memorable 17 nights (this time) last year,
See trip report here:

africaddict is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 06:09 PM
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We were at Chiawa in early August which should have been good game viewing. Who knows if it was just a fluke but if I were going again I would consider Zimbabwe or another camp in Southern Luangwa that does not have many other camps sharing the area.
dwc0201 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2008, 07:10 PM
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africaaddict- Thanks for the suggestion regarding Kaingo. It looks great. Has anyone also stayed at their bush camp Mwamba as well. I thought it might be good to stay at both but was told that it might be too similar. Would anyone also recommend staying in an additional location besides Kaingo in S. Luangwa or would that be repetitive and would it be better to just stay in one place. It looks like this trip is really going to happen and I am more than excited.
lhgreenacres is offline  
Oct 7th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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Yes. I've just returned from Kaingo & Mwamba.

Both camps use the same gameviewing areas. An added bonus is the hides allowing for activities during the quiet hours around midday.

GeoffG is offline  
Oct 7th, 2008, 07:40 PM
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If you put puku in the search box, my report (Penguins to Puku) which contains lots on Kutandala in N. Luangwa will come up.
It is all walking there.

LZ not so productive in Aug, at least at Chiawa? That seems like it might have been a little bad luck. If you want some water time, then LZ is perfect. Canoeing is king there. The Chifungulu Channel between Sausage Tree and Old Mondoro was an amazing day long canoe trip.

Regarding the LZ vs Mana Pools comments, I can only compare the two based on 4 days in each, but MP had better wildlife viewing. LZ was very good though, and I walked with honey badgers there.

Here is an excerpt from something I had posted on Kafue:

In the 3 days in Busanga Plains, we spent most of our time hanging out with a pride of about 8 lions. Their unsuccessful hunt under the full moon with all of them thundering past the vehicle in pursuit of a puku was heartstopping. Later that night at dinner we heard them make a kill just outside camp and immediately took off to join THEIR dinner.

Also spotted: a pair of cheetah, 2 separate serval sitings, a honey badger, sable, oribi, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, roan antelope, reedbuck and huge herds of red lechwe.

Some interesting bird sitings were: purple heron, Fulleborn's longclaw, rufous-bellied heron, lesser jacana, numerous watled crane (including a pair feeding their chick), flocks of open billed stork, and black bellied korhan.

Because the Busanga area is so remote and distant, I spent a day at the very lovely Lunga River Lodge, also in Kafue, both before and after Busanga Bush Camp. (That totals 5 nights in Kafue) It is a 3-hour drive from Lunga River Lodge to Busanga Bush Camp. (I think they do a helicopter transfer now) At Lunga we could do walks, day & night drives, plus canoeing and boat rides on the Lunga. Sightings included: tree hyrax, otter, roan antelope (on foot,) a serval (on foot), and 2 cheetah brothers. Other people saw elephant on a game drive.

Interestingly, all 4 cheetahs in Kafue were spotted on night drives.

To see more and better views of the anteleope, which Kafue is noted for, September or October would be better than July, when I went.

You may see this in the report if you read it, but let me mention this point here too. In late July I saw WAY more hoofed wildlife in the Mfuwe sector of S. Luangwa than the Nsefu sector where Kaingo and Mwamaba are located. A combo of some time in Mfuwe and Nsefu is ideal. I really loved the walking I did from Kakuli in Nsefu and we saw 2 leopards and a lion pride on drives there. But the abundance of zebra, eles, giraffe, puku, impala, warthogs was far greater closer to the airport.

I second the Tafika suggestion. Kaingo is high on my list to try, though.

Good luck planning.

atravelynn is offline  
Oct 8th, 2008, 03:00 AM
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We stayed at Kaingo and Mwamba in 2005 and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is further away from the entrance than most so there were not many other vehicles there which is a plus for us.

They do use the same areas if that concerns you. We stayed at two other camps so we did get diversity there. The feel of the two camps is quite different with Mwamba being a lot more rustic.

We also enjoyed the hides and it was one of the reasons we chose that camp -- in essence an additional activity included.

Of the places we stayed, the wildlife was most abundant at Kaingo/Mwamba. The Luangwa River Lodge was the plushest. We would stay at either but there were a lot more vehicles around Luangwa River Lodge.
mpkp is offline  
Oct 8th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Sounds like Lynn was MUCH luckier than I was in Kafue, in July of 2007. We did witness the reunion of two lionesses who had each had cubs in separate seclusion. That was incredibly sweet, but otherwise almost nothing. One camp manager confessed that they had been struggling with the lack of game, and that beginning in August, things were more reliable. FWIW.
Pula is offline  
Oct 8th, 2008, 05:37 PM
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Pula, I saw a pride of 7 lions in Kafue but no cubs. There was one in seclusion that never appeared during my stay. You never know.

That Kaingo hide is what intrigues me the most about the place.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 8th, 2008, 08:56 PM
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Another option would be The Bushcamp Company has a number of camps in the remote southern portion of South Luangwa. Their specialty is walking safaris and you can walk a circuit between camps, they have a reputation for exceptional guides. I won't be there until October 2009 but I have heard great things from everyone who has been. There is a very good report from Greendrake on Fodors.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Oct 9th, 2008, 09:41 PM
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It looks that we are narrowing things down. We are pretty set on Kaingo(the hides for photography are a huge factor) and are considering Mwamba or Takifa as a second camp. We are then thinking about 4 nights at Chongwe. I am extremely excited about this trip. Do you think this would be a good first trip to Zambia? It would be seven nights in South Luangwa and four nighs in Lower Zambezi.

Would any suggest another camp in combination with Kaingo in the South Luangwa that would be better than Tafika or Mwamba?

Thanks again,

lhgreenacres is offline  

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