zambia or namibia

Feb 8th, 2005, 05:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
zambia or namibia

We are thinking about going to one of these countries for about two weeks starting around Sept 23. My husband is concerned about seeing a lot of wildlife and we were wondering which country would be best for this? What is the weather like in these countries at that time of year. If you have been to both which did you prefer and why?

Thanks for all your feedback
mpkp is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
I cannot speak for Namibia, but late September - early October will put you in Zambia at the very best time of the year for quality gameviewing. Plus, if your primary goal is to see wildlife, Zambia has quite a few options of different national parks that you may select.

The most celebrated Zambian game reserve/national park is South Luangwa. I will be visiting South Luangwa for the third consecutive year this coming September. It is a very special park with beautiful landscapes and a wide assortment of wildlife (you will have a hard time finding a destination with more hippos and crocodiles, a rarity amongst game reserves, at least in the numbers found in South Luangwa).

Besides South Luangwa, there are also other Zambian parks such as Lower Zambezi National Park, Kafue National Park (the largest park in Africa, and 3rd largest in the world) and North Luangwa.

If that were not enough, there is also Victoria Falls (Livingstone), which will be celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

With two weeks, you have a plentitude of different options. It all depends on your budget and whether or not you wish to spend both full weeks at game lodges...not a bad idea and one that I am following myself with the following Zambian itienrary:

Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi National Park (4 nights)

Kutandala, North Luangwa National Park (4 nights)

Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa National Park (3 nights)

and for a grand finale,

Puku Ridge, South Luangwa National Park (3 nights)

The people in Zambia are the friendliest I have come across in my travels and the guides at the lodges are excellent. Furthermore, the prices are right...far below the pricing for similar lodges in South Africa and Botswana (and probably Namibia). Zambia uses the U.S. Dollar rather than the South African Rand, so the prices have stayed pretty constant over the last couple years while South Africa, Botswana and any other place that relies upon the South African Rand, has nearly doubled in the last couple years.

Here are a few websites that will further help you with Zambia: (a very highly regarded tour operator with three different camps in South Luangwa. For some interesting reading, go to their website and have a look at their "It's Monday" column that provides weekly updates on the gameviewing of the most recent week, but also featuring reports from as far back as at least a year ago, as well). (for your air transfers) (a very highly regarded camp in Lower Zambezi National Park) (another highly regarded camp in Lower Zambezi) (a tour operator operating a camp in South Luangwa, a camp in North Luangwa and a couple bush camps...also the only camp I know of in all of Africa that offers microlighting as an activity). (the best regarded tour operator in Kafue National Park)

Also, by visiting Zambia, you are really helping the survival of the wildlife. Although there are definitely a few luxurious lodges in Zambia, it is still very wild in comparison to South Africa. It really relies upon overseas visitors to help fund anti-poaching efforts, etc.

Unlike Kruger National Park (which includes the Sabi Sand Game Reserve), no Zambian park comes close to attracting 1 million annual visitors. Instead, even the most visited parks, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, likely does not even receive 1% of the amount of visitors of a Kruger National Park. The other parks, Kafue National Park and North Luangwa each receive, from what I understand, under 1,000 visitors per year. So, as a result, each and every visitor contributes significantly simply by visiting Zambian parks.

For whatever it is worth, I have stayed at what many believe to be the most exclusive game lodge in Africa, Singita Private Game Reserve. While it was wonderful, I get far more satisfaction by visiting Zambian lodges where I really feel like I am making a difference in the welfare of the animals.

Sorry to rant and rave so long, but I really am passionate about Zambia, and with each new visitor I can get to visit, I am helping conserve the wildlife of Zambia a bit longer.

Bottom line, you will not at all be disappointed with Zambia as it is, what the Zambian National Tourist Board labels it, and that is "REAL AFRICA."

Best of luck and do not hesitate to ask me anything that may pop to mind about Zambia.
Roccco is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 09:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 43
I live in Namibia and this country is usually described as 'the land of contrasts' because if you travel the whole country the landscapes, climate and terrain will change many times along the way. There is also a lot of wildlife here, most of which can be seen in Etosha National Park or at private game reserves. Etosha has 4 of the big 5 and if you want to see the 5th of those (buffalo), you can see them in the Caprivi region in northeast Namibia (close to Vic Falls). I haven't been to Zamibia but my impression from others that have, is that if you want to see huge herds of animals, Zambia is a better option for you. You can do a lot of fantastic safaris in Namibia, but people generally travel here because in addition to animals, they also want to see the beautiful landscapes in places like Damaraland, the enormous sand dunes in Sossusvlei, visit the Himba people - one of the last nomadic tribes in Africa, etc. Another thing that I think sets Namibia apart is the feeling of space that one has here. There are only 1.8 million people in the whole country which is geographically 4 times the size of the UK.

Hopefully that helps you a bit but if you'd like any more info on Namibia, just let me know and I'd be happy to help.
Oipuka is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 09:26 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 43
Sorry, I forgot to mention that September is also a good month to travel here (and I think most countries in southern Africa for safari). The rainy season will have been over for a few months (since about April/May in Namibia) which means the bush will not be very thick and it's easier to see wildlife through it. Also, because there isn't water available all over the place, the animals will frequent the waterholes more often which give you a good opportunity to see them there.
Oipuka is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 44
I have quickly read through some messages on this site. The prices are frightening. I went to Africa 15 years ago and never imagined spending even $100 per person per night.
My budget now is $100 per person per night times 3 people. I do not want luxury but prefer basic.
I wonder after reading if this is even possible. I had hoped Zambia or Namibia were less expensive destinations. Has anyone planned a true budget vacation?
kmjmmm is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222

Having a little sticker shock?

I'm sure someone much more knowledgable will answer (hopefully soon), but let me first point you to the Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum: lots more budget travellers over there.

That said, when I first planned my (only far) trip to Africa I wanted to go to Namibia for the reasons listed above (wow, those dunes; I really want to see them!!!). The season was a little off for me, so I ended up going to TZ.

But I seem to remember from my initial planning that Namibia offers some good participatory camping groups and it's easy to self-drive many places there. So I think one could save a bit there.

But start scouring the Thorn Tree for threads. I think you'll find something to make you smile. Or grin anyway.

Good luck!
Leely is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,916
The restcamps within Etosha, especially Okakuejo, are excellent and less than $100 pppn. And Etosha can be visited easily in a 2WD rental car, and its about a 5 hour or so drive from Windhoek.

And Flatdogs is the budget camp at South Luangwa, Zambia.

So, you can visit affordably.

thit_cho is offline  

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