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Zambia: rates from e-gnu vs. direct rates from lodges

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Nov 17th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Zambia: rates from e-gnu vs. direct rates from lodges

Has anyone used e-gnu for bookings in Zambia.
Their rates for Chiawa and Sausage tree in May are substantially less than the rates I was given directly from the lodges.

Would you just book with e-gnu/greenlife or ask the lodge to match the rate you found?
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Nov 17th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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Cruisinred,

Do you have any examples? E-gnu is such a big database that it has been my experience that sometimes their rates are not updated for the next season. You may be looking at prices that are good for 2005 but not for 2006.

Despite their promises of discounts, I have never found E-gnu/Greenlife to offer the best pricing.

Let me have some examples of pricing and I will let you know what I think.
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Nov 17th, 2005, 10:56 AM
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I had been looking at that too. Natureways in Zimbabwe recommends them as someone to book their safaris with.
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Nov 17th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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The lowest price I found on the e-gnu site (comparing 2006 price for April/May) was a price of $394ppn for the honeymoon tent at Chiawa vs. list price of $788ppn list price.
Even though I am not planning on going 'til '07 I might email Chiawa to see if they will offer that rate directly.

www.egnu.com/chiawa_safari_camp_zambia.html
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Nov 17th, 2005, 01:07 PM
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cruisinred,

The rack rates for Chiawa for April 15 - May 31st 2006 are the following:

Luxury Safari Tent $395 pppns, rack rate or $415 pppns for the honeymoon suite. Not speaking as an agent, I would, in fact, recommend a 5 night stay at Chiawa. I stayed 6 nights in Lower Zambezi on my last fully paid trip as a non-agent and I thought it was nearly perfect, but would have probably been better if I was at Chiawa for the duration instead of splitting my time between Chongwe and Kasaka.

I would advise you to e-mail me to talk about your various options. I know this area intimately, now that I have visited Zambia for three consecutive years.
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Nov 17th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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If you email me at luangwablondes at juno dot com, with what itinerary you are looking at, I will give you several companies to request a quote from and somethings you might to look for. The transfers and flights need to be coordinated.


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Nov 17th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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Thanks Roccco (aka HRH King of Zambia, currently living in exile in SoCal)

At the end of May, how would you divide your time (whatever the # of days) between South Luangwa (LRL) and Lower Zambezi (Chiawa)? 50/50, 70/30?

$395 for the Lux tent at Chiawa is not bad...I am a sucker for those romantic old fashioned bathtubs

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Nov 17th, 2005, 01:34 PM
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Rocco
There is a place down river called Kulefu I believe. Its in the game rich part of the park. Have you been there?
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Nov 18th, 2005, 05:04 PM
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luangwablondes,

Yes, as a matter of fact, I stayed four nights at Kulefu in June of last year. It is an incredibly beautiful area with the most amazing birding that I have ever seen. However, I would not return here before about August.

While the birding was incredible, and the canoeing was quite literally death-defying considering the narrow channels that we went through that were full of hippo pods and too many crocodiles to count, there was only a couple elephants spotted during my entire visit and no lions, leopards or other noteworthy predators.

I have been told by a trusted source, Ian Salisbury, the former manager of Kulefu, before it became a Star Of Africa camp, that Kulefu is incredible for its wildlife by about August, but usually in June, the wildlife has not come down from the escarpment.

I would really like to visit Kulefu again, especially since it just went through a complete renovation and the tents were upgraded both in size and decor, as well as being moved much closer to the edge of the river, much the same way that they are at Chongwe River Camp.

The Lower Zambezi is a beautiful, beautiful park and I could easily spend 9 or 10 nights here, split between Chiawa, Old Mondoro and Kulefu, all three of them enjoying positions within the national park.


Cruisinred,

Actually, the luxury tent is the standard tent...sorry for the misunderstanding. The Superior Safari Tent is probably what you think I have mentioned for $395 pppns, but the Superior Safari Tent is actually

The way that E-Gnu/Greenlife is able to offer the price it has is that they likely sell enough bed nights to qualify for a higher commission. For a new operator, however, a lower commission would apply, but this is not to say that a new operator could not offer the same or better rate. Just so a new operator could sell enough bed nights to then qualify for the higher commission rate, it would be worthwhile to match or beat the rates of an E-Gnu/Greenlife.

The Chiawa rack rates are as follows:

April 15 - May 31st
Luxury Safari Tent $395 pppns for a stay of four nights or shorter.

Luxury Safari Tent $325 pppns for a stay of FIVE nights or longer...this is a great value, in my opinion, and at this time of year you may be able to spot wild dogs in each Lower Zambezi or South Luangwa.

Honeymoon Safari Tent $415 pppns.

Superior Safari Tent $445 pppns. In my opinion this is one of the best values in all of Southern Africa. The accomodations are amazing, as shown in this link:

http://www.chiawa.com/pages/superiortent.htm

HIGH SEASON RACK RATES CHIAWA FOR JUNE 01 - NOV 15 2006 (closes after Nov 15th until April 15th)

Luxury Tent $495pppns for four nights or less. $430 pppns for FIVE nights or longer.

Honeymoon Suite $515pppns

Superior Safari Tent $565 pppns

Other possibilities:

OLD MONDORO BUSH CAMP pppns (open May 01 – Oct 31) $ 445pppns or £ 265 pppns

PRIVATE USE OF ENTIRE “OLD MONDORO” PER NIGHT $ 3115 or £ 1855

Eight beds, on the banks of the Zambezi deep inside the Park 35 kms downstream from Chiawa Camp. Natural lighting, en-suite flush loos, and old-fashioned canvas bucket showers. Emphasis is on walks – no canoeing or fishing. We recommend 2-3 nights at Old Mondoro combined with 3-5 nights at Chiawa for the ultimate Lower Zambezi safari.

7-ULTIMATE COMBO (4 NIGHTS Chiawa + 3 NIGHTS Old Mondoro $ 2995 pp sharing or £ 1735
5-ULTIMATE COMBO (3 NIGHTS CC + 2 NIGHTS OM $ 2175 or £ 1325

Deduct 10% from COMBO prices for Emerald Season (May 01 – May 31); Single Supplement is 50%, and waived in May
__________________________________________________ ______
KIDS SHARING W/ PARENTS (3rd bed in tent) * $ 185 or £ 120

PRIVATE VEHICLE & GUIDE (PER DAY) $ 300 or £ 165
PRIVATE FISHING BOAT & GUIDE (PER DAY) *$ 300 or £ 165
* Not available at Old Mondoro

My recommendation for May would be about a 8/5 split in favor of South Luangwa. Perhaps Puku Ridge (3), Luangwa River Lodge (5), Old Mondoro (2), Chiawa Camp (3) or Puku Ridge (3), LRL (4), Chiawa Camp (4) if you wanted to cut it down to 11 nights. I would probably do Lower Zambezi first and finish with South Luangwa as it will be a stronger gameviewing experience, but the Lower Zambezi will just flabbergast you with its beauty.
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Nov 26th, 2005, 08:52 PM
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I usually book through E-gnu.com/Greenlife, for all my African travel, they are a small personalized and highly professional company. I must add something to this discussion which is very relevant when planning arrangements in Africa.

If a tour operator is able to offer a good discount below that of the property, then the establishment has usually decided that the operator is worthy of a special rate. It is the discretion of the tour operator to pass this benefit on to the client. E-gnu really do this and offer added value by having an office in southern Africa and another in East Africa to back you up during your travels.

The role of the tour operator is to facilitate your travel plans for you. The consultants have an everyday working knowledge of what works in Africa. It is really not necessary to think you’re cutting costs here. On-line tour operators in Africa are highly efficient and take the stress out of planning a trip. They are specialists in addition to saving to you a fortune; there is no reason to want to cut them out.

Let safari lodges and camps look after their guests and focus on delivering a value experience. These establishments need specialist tour operators to put them on the map and keep them in business.

It’s your call!
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Dec 29th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Back to the e-gnu question...I use that too to get an idea of rates. Is there a better site for lodging rates in Africa? Thanks.
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