Zambia + Namibia trip -completely unrealistic?

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Nov 10th, 2015, 05:04 PM
  #1
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Zambia + Namibia trip -completely unrealistic?

Finally planning a trip to Africa!!! so excited but now next hard part is trying to pick where to go. Have pretty much decided to go to Zambia but have been intrigued by trying to combine with Namibia just because it seems to be so fascinating and unique. would be travelling from California so significant travel time involved just getting there. Maybe a 3 week trip total time and would fly between sites (though I know it would be expensive). Would this be completely crazy? I can't seem to find any posts that combine these 2 countries which makes me think that this is completely unrealistic.
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Nov 10th, 2015, 08:44 PM
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Hmmmm I spent 3 weeks last year in Namibia alone and didn't get thru it all. It's an amazing country!

Maybe start by making a list of where you want to go & what you want to do in each place. Then work on a loose itinerary to see if both countries are doable together in the time you have.

What is it that intrigues you about these places?

To me a big part of Namibia is experiencing how desolate parts of the country are and this can only be done by driving.

I travelled solo and did fly into a few places to cut down on travel time but then hired a vehicle & guide for 8 days which worked out really well as I wasn't comfortable driving on my own thru Damaraland.

As I got closer to the Brandenburg area I rented a vehicle & drove myself.

Chances are this will not be your last trip to Africa - it has a way of grabbing hold of you - so maybe you can do the other country next time.
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Nov 10th, 2015, 09:03 PM
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You wouldn't do justice to either of the countries in just 3 weeks.I did a self-drive Namibia last May ,all of 10 days and barely scratched the surface.Click on my name and looked for Namibia - Its dawned on me - under recent topics.Some of the fodorites gave me sound advise.I did manage to comfortably complete the planned itinerary.Could have been better off with a few more days.As KathBC has advised,make out a list and work towards it. Come back with specific plans.

As to Zambia ,I would not recommend you combine it with any other country.So much to do.South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi, Kafue NP Vic Falls...simply awesome.
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Nov 11th, 2015, 08:42 AM
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On the other hand, you can certainly split your time between the two countries and get a good sampling. I can't imagine one ever sees all there is to see in any country. My husband and I split South Africa and Namibia last year, spending 9 days in Namibia, seeing quite a variety of areas of the country. We might return to some later, but thoroughly enjoyed what we did. This was my 9th trip to Africa.
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Nov 11th, 2015, 05:24 PM
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Thank you for the comments - I will do more research about Namibia. I think that it is exactly the desolate geography of Namibia that is intriguing which by that very feature would also make it more difficult to combine it. I haven't completely given up on the idea but I suspect it might be better to plan a more realistic itinerary.
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Nov 11th, 2015, 06:22 PM
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I tend to agree with samcat - no matter how many times you go to Southern Africa, you'll never see it all. On my first trip (that was a long time ago and I thought it would be the only one ever - HA!!) we went to Botswana and S Africa. We didn't see everything and never will, but I wouldn't change that experience for anything. We have done different areas of Botswana and S Africa a second time and loved that, too. It's just a flight between the countries - not a big deal.

If you do 10 days in Namibia and 10 in Zambia, you'll create a fantastic trip. I've lived in the U.S. for fifty years and my list of places to go, at different seasons and reasons is longer than the list I've done. You'll never see all there is to see anywhere.

Do the trip you want. Split Namibia/Zambia or just Namibia or something entirely different. You'll be back. Southern Africa (the whole continent apparently - hear the same about everywhere) grabs your heart and doesn't let go.

Have fun planning your first trip!
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Nov 12th, 2015, 12:54 PM
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Hi61luv2travel, thanks for posing such a great question. I see that you’ve received some sound advice.

I may be the minority in stating that I think you can do something rather meaningful in both countries in a 3 week time span. It’s not uncommon to have a 10 day trip is either Zambia or Namibia – combining both for a 20 day trip seems doable to me! As previous posters have mentioned, you won’t see everything in 3 weeks and both Zambia and Namibia are what I consider to be stand-alone destinations. Meaning – they are worthy of a trip just to that 1 country, but that’s not to say that it shouldn’t be combined.

If you are coming from CA (using either SFO or LAX as the departing city), you can fly non-stop to Dubai (DXB) on Emirates. From DXB, you can book a non-stop flight to Lusaka, Zambia (LUN) on EK713. This flight arrives in LUN at 240PM and operates 7 days/week. You can either overnight in Lusaka, or if you wish to gamble a bit, you can take a 4PM PROFLIGHT flight to Mfuwe (MFU) which is the gateway to South Luangwa. I don’t recommend such tight connections, but it is considered a legal connection. Given that you will likely fly during our summer (May-Oct as Zambian safari season is short), you are fairly unlikely to run into any weather related delays out of LAX/SFO/DXB. Emirates is also very reliable as a carrier.

If you’ve got 10 days to spend on safari in Zambia, I recommend spending 6-7 nights of that in South Luangwa (inter-camp transfers are free in S. Luangwa) and 3-4 nights in Lower Zambezi. Those two parks complement each other well and my recommendation based on 10 nights. If you wish to allocate some time for Victoria Falls, I suggest 1-2 nights.

Now, to combine Zambia with Namibia! Air Namibia operates flights between LUN and Windhoek (WDH) x2 times/week on Sunday and Wednesday. It departs LUN at 1:55PM and arrives into WDH at 4:15PM. This is too late to connect onto safari so you will be forced to overnight in Windhoek.

That leaves you with 9 nights for Namibia. You can do 3 nights in 3 different areas/camps/lodges. I think that is sufficient time to capture the highlights. If you want the desolate geography of Namibia, you can get a good sense for that in Sossusvlei, Skeleton Coast and along the northern reaches of the Kunene River. Alternatively, and budget permitting, you can look at doing a safari with Skeleton Coast Flying Safaris. Although expensive, they cover tremendous ground in fashion using private aircrafts. Check then out here: http://www.skeletoncoastsafaris.com/

I don’t think you are being realistic. It’s your holiday after all and 3 weeks is a good chunk of time!

Best luck in planning your safari,
Kota Tabuchi – Managing Director: Africa – Travel Beyond
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Nov 13th, 2015, 05:41 PM
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Hi 61luvtotravel,

To help everybody answer your question of whether Zambia and Namibia is reasonable or too much, here are a couple questions for you.

What drew you to Zambia and what sort of things would you like to do/see there?

You're right about Namibia being fascinating and unique. There are dozens of fascinating and unique things in Namibia. As mentioned, no way can you see all the fascinating and unique things in 3 weeks if you did nothing BUT Namibia. So was there something in particular that you'd like to see in Namibia? Maybe you could include just that one thing, along with Zambia.

What time of year are you planning to travel? As mentioned above May-Oct is best for Zambia--unless you are doing something more unusual like the fruit bat migration or Liuwa Plains when the zebras are migrating through the pink lilies.

Is there a chance this will be the first of a couple, or several, or even many trips to Africa? Even if you answer this is the one and only trip, you might find you have fibbed to yourself.

Have fun planning and have a wonderful safari.
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