Zambia Safari HELP!

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Mar 13th, 2006, 04:21 AM
  #1
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Zambia Safari HELP!

My husband and I are planning a safari to Zambia for the summer of 2007. Our interest is wildlife photography. We have already done private safaris in Kenya and Tanzania. Our desired accomodation level would be 5 paw Wilderness Safari Type, no camping. The plan is, 12 days plus a day in Victoria Falls. What month would be best, June, July or August? What camps for the very best game viewing? Please help with an itinerary?
CJ
USA
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Mar 13th, 2006, 05:36 AM
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Hi CJ - For down and dirty details you'll have to get with Rocco Morelli on this forum. He is also the operator of Destiny Africa so I need to say that up front. Wilderness is actually opening a camp or two in Zambia but I'm not sure when. Rocco has those details. I leave for Zambia at the end of May. I'm staying at fairly upscale places but they are still characterized as "camps." Check out: www.chiawa.com, www.luangwariverlodge.com, www.remoteafrica.com - these are my camps. There are many others. Robin Pope, Norman Carr, all these places operate top-end camps. Just do a search on Zambia and you'll come up with a lot of choices. Time of year depends on the climate you like. I like it on the cool side. In August it's pretty warm. High season for game viewing is considered to be Aug-Oct, if I'm not mistaken. There are others on this forum who can help you with first-hand knowledge. I'll be reporting back when I retun mid-June. This is just my 2 cents; Good luck!
Sharon
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Mar 13th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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sandi
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Rocco is presently in - Amsterdam or is it Paris - on his way home from East Africa. Figure he's due Stateside by mid-week.

We're all waiting to hear about his trip, and I'm sure he'll be posting as soon as, but we should give him some time to catch his breath and simple catch up.

He'll have the information you need.
 
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Mar 13th, 2006, 06:53 AM
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meanwhile, does anyone know where Kiboko can find Phil and Dennis's Zambian trip reports and photos?
Sherry
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Mar 13th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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Jambo from the Serena Inn in Zanzibar, where I am nearing completion to my stay in East Africa!

Kiboko, for a 12 night safari to Zambia, I would suggest an itinerary such as the following in September 2007:

Chiawa Camp, Lower Zambezi, 5 nights
www.chiawa.com

Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa, 6 nights if you want the most luxurious lodge with a stay 5 night get 6th night free discount. Otherwise, I would propose 4 nights here and 3 nights at Tafika.

www.luangwariverlodge.com
www.remoteafrica.com (Tafika)

Tafika is located in the northern part of the park and although not as luxurious as Luangwa River Lodge, it will offer you a very remote part of the park and specializes in walking safaris and microlighting (a hang glider with an engine, basically, where for about $85 you may go up for a 20 minute flight and fly low over wildlife and see the South Luangwa from the sky).

Another option to Tafika would be either Puku Ridge or Chichele Presidential Lodge. Each of these camps is in the 5 paw Wilderness luxury style but Puku Ridge is a tented lodge while at Chichele, it is more of a 5 star boutique hotel atop one of the highest points in South Luangwa with 360 degrees views for miles in every direction.

In my experience, the food and service is better at Chichele, but I still prefer Puku from a wildlife standpoint as during each of my two prior visits to Puku, I have seen ample wildlife right from the lodge each time, including elephants, lions and even a leopard.

The reasons for 5 nights at Chiawa are because a 5 night stay qualifies you for about a 15% discount and you will likely find the area so beautiful that 5 nights should be the minimum, regardless.

August or September would be the best times to visit.

For Victoria Falls, the Royal Livingstone, Sussi Lodge, Tongabezi or Songwe Village would offer the best accomdations on the Zambian side of the falls. However, the Royal Livingstone will prove to be the closest to the falls and with only a one night visit, I think that is probably what you are looking for...proximity to the falls.

The website for each Puku Ridge, Chichele Presidential Lodge and Sussi Lodge is as follows:

www.starofafrica.com

Regarding your request for "no camping", I can assure you that the camps I have mentioned will all provide all the creature comforts you could hope for while on safari.

Cheers.
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Mar 13th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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Ha ha ha!!! Sandi - what was that again about Rocco needing to catch his breath upon his return!!??? ;-) ;-)

Sharon
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Mar 13th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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Here is the link to Dennis's report:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34702199


and the link to his photos:


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34702567
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Mar 13th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Cooncat,

At this point, I am ready to go home...I want nothing more than to see my dogs and to be sitting down at my kitchen table with a Petrillo's Pizza, Sausage and Pepperoni that is, laid out before me. If ever in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles, I would urge all to visit Petrillo's Pizza located in Glendora or San Gabriel...best pizza I have ever had and I have been eating it for about 25 years now (and they just had their 50th anniversary, I believe).

At least being online helps me think about home a little less! One more night at the Serena and then I fly back to Amsterdam for two nights and onto Paris for two nights, although I am trying to save Paris for another time but I am having a hard time finding a flight home...does anyone know if I would get any mileage credit if I were to purchase seats home and not use the second half of my frequent flier seats? 90,000 miles I used for the business class seats from LAX - AMS, but if I could save half the miles, I would buy a flight home in a heartbeat in order to arrive on a Friday afternoon, rather than a Sunday afternoon.

Sorry for the threadjack...this is Kiboko's thread.

Regarding the wildlife photography, Kiboko, it is worth noting that you have permanent electricity at each Luangwa River Lodge and Star Of Africa's lodges (Puku Ridge and Chichele) and you will find this useful in recharging batteries or if you take a laptop computer along with you.

Cheers.
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Mar 13th, 2006, 09:12 AM
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Rocco,
If you don't take the return flight on your award ticket, it's still 90,000 miles since Delta awards cost the same amount of miles regardless of whether it's one way or roundtrip. You won't get half of the miles credited back to your account.

You will however have one year from the original date of ticket issuance to use your return portion provided you can find award seat availability and pay a change fee of $50pp. But would you have much use for 2 one way flights from Europe to the US?

Have you called Delta's partner award desk? There should be availability in business class for 2 passengers on the following flights on 3/17 -

KL601 AMS-LAX 11:35-13:50

OR

KL1223 AMS-CDG 7:25-8:45 connecting to
AF62 CDG-LAX 10:15-12:55

getting you home on Friday afternoon
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Mar 13th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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wow patty.
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Mar 13th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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No kidding!
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Mar 13th, 2006, 10:27 AM
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sandi
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Sharon -

I guess not!
 
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Mar 13th, 2006, 12:36 PM
  #13
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Thanks Rocco, Sharon and others. I will start with Rocco's suggestions for
an August 2007 safari. After 2 1/2 weeks in Tanzania and Kenya last month we are hooked on Africa.
CJ
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Mar 13th, 2006, 07:19 PM
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Wow!!! Kiboko........head start for August, 2007........way to go!!!
 
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Mar 13th, 2006, 08:28 PM
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Patty,

A huge thank you...I spent 18 minutes by satellite phone with Delta yesterday but the hapless operator was unable to find anything. I will now phone them back and enquire about your suggested flights. I would love to get home by 1PM on Friday the 17th!

--------------------

Kiboko,

Glad I could be of service. Zambia is an amazing country that will not disappoint.
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Mar 14th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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Rocco,
Make sure you speak with an agent at partner awards. This department isn't open 24/7. IIRC their hours are something like 5:00am-11:00pm Pacific time but I'm not positive. Other agents may only be checking Delta inventory and not other carriers.

The sequence to get to a partner award agent through the automated voice-bot is:

Press 2 for reservations
Enter your Skymiles #
Press 2 for international
Press 1 to answer yes to Skymiles redemption
Press 2 for partner airline
Enter your pin #

Voila! Or just ask any other agent to transfer you to partner awards

Good luck!
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Mar 14th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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June through August is good. But later in the season is best due to less accessible water, so game is more concentrated. I've gone twice in July and found weather and game to be wonderful.

Do you want to do caoneing and walking?

South Luwanga offers walking, night drives, and day drives with lovely tented camps. I've stayed at Tafika (most highly recommended in my opinion) and Robin Pope's Tena Tena and Nikwali (both very good too in my opinion). Good game at all-lions, leopard, many elephants. I didn't do the microlight flying at Tafika but those who did had a grand time. The personal attention at Tafika was exceptional.

For my one stay in the Lower Zambezi, I combined Sausage Tree (5 paw calibur) with Old Mondoro, which was more rustic and not 5-paw. Sausage Tree, along with most LZ camps, offers walking, canoeing, fishing, small motor boat safaris, night drives, as well as the traditional game drives.

For me wildlife viewing was just slightly more prolific in LZ than SL, but would highly recommend both locations, which is what most people do.

I would think you'd want about 4 nights in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, each. More would be enjoyable too.

With 12 nights you might want to consider Kafue or North Luangwa. Kafue is noted for lions, and I did experience a resident pride at Busanga Plains. (probably not quite 5-paw but the food was great) Kafue is also the only place in Zambia to see cheetah. I saw 4 in a total of 5 nights in the park, with 3 at Busanga Plains and 2 at Lunga River Lodge (now that's 5 paw). Kafue is quite remote, as is North Luangwa. My favorite camp is Kutandala in North Luangwa. Not sure if it is 5-paw but extremely comfortable with outstanding food. Game is not as prevalent here and walking is the main activity.

You mentioned wildlife as opposed to cultural interaction, but there is also Kawaza Village, where you can stay overnight. You can also just visit for the day. I stayed there in 2003 and had a marvelous time. It offers a new dimension to the safari experience.

That's a nice long time in Zambia and you are planning well in advance.

If you wanted more details on any of the above, you can email. Didn't want to ramble here.

Have a fantastic safari.

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Mar 14th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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Hey Lynn and Kiboko: I believe Wilderness is taking over those two Kafue camps Lynn mentioned. Rocco has those details; I've got the press release somewhere but not handy at the moment! Just FYI.
Sharon
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Mar 14th, 2006, 09:52 AM
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North Luangwa is an excellent option for walking safaris, but given Kiboko's interest in wildlife photography, I do think that more time in South Luangwa is warranted.

South Luangwa will be the strongest park for leopard viewing and given Kiboko's time in Kenya and Tanzania, I think more time may be warranted for leopard viewing. Plus, each South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi are great for birding. With only 12 nights, I am hesitant to recommend a third park, especially since I think a stay at Luangwa River Lodge & Tafika or Luangwa River Lodge & Puku Ridge (or Chichele which is located less than a mile away from Puku) would be best.

The reason I am so high on Luangwa River Lodge is that they just get everything right. The food is excellent...like you nearly expect to be handed a check at the end of the night for $100 per person minimum. Also, I have never stayed at a lodge where I was provided with a 12 hour game drive as I was at Luangwa River Lodge. Just myself and a guide AND a tracker...left right after an early breakfast, had the best picnic lunch in the bush I have ever had (fresh fruit, salad, chicken, freshly baked bread and an entire freshly baked cake), took a nap under a sausage tree with the guide and tracker and saw as much of the park in a single day as I would expect to see in three days. Never mind that the accomodations and lodge is to die for, it is so luxurious. Probably the best value of any lodge that I have yet visited and it is owner operated, run by Barry & Tara Van der Mass, a dynamic couple in their early 30's who really go out of their way to make sure their guests have an incredible time.



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