Zambia Safari / Vic falls in February??

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Oct 10th, 2005, 09:03 AM
  #1
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Zambia Safari / Vic falls in February??

For several reasons it may be that February will be a good month for my wife and to make a second trip to Africa. We are talking about Feb, 2007, but one can't start dreaming too soon. My wife REALLY wants to se Vic Falls and so we are thinking that Zambia in general would be a good destination for our safari. (I want to go to the Ruwenzori, which is one reason for February).

In doing web research I see that the famous Zambian walking safaris are not going in February due to the rains. But what about just staying in a couple of lodges, and doing day walks or drives from from a base? Will we still have a good safari experience?

One website I found has the following warning: "Deep rains and flood conditions sometimes occur in January and February." This implies that travel in general and game viewing will be difficult. Is that the case?

Should we hold off on visiting Zambia until we do so during the peak season (and then can go walking and see more game) or is February a not un-reasonable time? Thanks in advance.
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Oct 10th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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Nelson.
The smaller camps in the So & No Luangwa valleys close in Feb for essentially practical reasons. THe valley is wet hindering construction efforts. The access to these remote camps is also dodgy as the cotton soils are a mare to drive when wet.

Short answer is, yes if you can get there later in the year you would a greater and more diverse safari epxerience. That said the permanent larger camps remain open year round and are suitable alternates. You will see game and you will have the oportunity to walk from those camps. I would suggest Mfuwe lodge simply because it is the easiest to reach and is close to the main gate of the SLV.

In the event that you would prefer the smaller camp experience I would suggest that you do a combination trip that includes Botswana and Vic Falls.

Ask your operator to advise you on air routing. I do suggest that you enter Bots from SA via Maun, experience the delta, fly to the northern parts of Bots & then continue across to Vic Falls or Livingstone foe a couple of nights.

Nationwide and Air Botswana have an "open jaw" arrangement which alloows you to use both their services between the above ports, for a reasonable fee.

Where in the Ruwenzori are you planning on heading, to my knowledge this is a Ugandan experience of the Virunga range? If this is so getting down to Zambia might be challenging, perhaps you shouold be thinking of continuing your safari experience in east africa instead & do vic Falls when next you are more southerly orientated?
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Oct 10th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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mkhonzo, thanks very much for the detailed reply. Will investigate your Botswana suggestions.

Regarding the Ruwenzori there is a roughly 12-13 day circular trek that allows options to climb Mount Speke, Stanley, and Baker. Several outfitters offer it, and February seems to be prime month. Perhaps the mud then is only 6 inches deep, instead of two feet!

I have enough frequent flyer miles to get us to Johannesburg. From there I see that SA Airlines has direct RT flights to Entebbe for less than $500 USD, according to travelocity. So basically I was planning to use J'burg as a hub, fly up to Uganda, return, then fly to wherever we decided to go for safari and the falls.

This is all still very much in the "is this at all practical and in budget" phase.

Thanks again!
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Oct 10th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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Nelson - just make sure Travelocity really has an agreement with SAA - call their 800 number to be sure. See my Zambia air thread for details. Good luck!
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Oct 10th, 2005, 02:01 PM
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Thanks cooncat. I should have been more complete: I learned about the SAA flight on travelocity, then went to the SAA site to be sure it existed, which it did. If/when the time comes to actually purchase, I'd most likely just go direct to the airline in question, heeding what you reported in that thread.
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Oct 11th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Understood.
And now agree that since you'll be using JNb as the hub then yes Botswana is accessible, likewise Vic Falls etc.

It is a huge amount of flying, JNB- Entebbe is around 5 hours., but I guuess you know that.

Nice trip though, enjoy the hike! If you get down to Cape Town and want to do the Cederburg, Table Mountain or any of those post & I will put you in touch with a great mountain man who can get you off the beaten track.
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Oct 11th, 2005, 09:00 AM
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Thanks again mkhonzo. Yes, the transit time is one of the things that falls into the "cons" column when factoring all these things in, but depending on how much time we can squeeze out from our jobs it may be acceptable.

I will definitely investigate your Botswana suggestions sometime over the next few weeks.

By the way, one of my reasons for wanting to go to the Ruwenzori is to follow in the footsteps of Vittorio Sella, one of the greatest mountain photographers of all time, who was there with the Duke of Abruzzi in 1906.

Thanks also for your offer re Cape Town etc. Will keep that under advisement.
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