Zambia - The "Real Africa"

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Mar 2nd, 2005, 01:40 AM
  #1
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Zambia - The "Real Africa"

(While many of the regulars on Fodors Africa Forum are already familiar with Zambia, this message is mostly intended for newbies to the forum or those individuals not yet familiar with Zambia)

Unfortunately, one of the very best destinations in Africa does not yet have its own branch on this board. I am speaking of Zambia, a truly amazing destination.

While many will only venture as far as Livingstone to visit Victoria Falls, there is so much more to Zambia.

Zambia features some of the very best safari destinations in Southern Africa with South Luangwa National Park and Lower Zambezi National Park. These are truly wild destinations and not the over-commercialized luxury lodges that you will find in South Africa. Honestly, South Africa is a very good introduction for a safari, but once a person wants to "graduate", they would be well advised to visit Zambia.

Zambia can be anything you want it to be, other than commercialized crap. Whether you want luxury or rustic, Zambia will offer an amazing experience in very remote places. Furthermore, Zambia is home to the walking safari, in addition to game drives, cultural visits, canoeing and fishing. Anybody is bound to want to go home after only 4 or 5 nights worth of strictly game drives, but in Zambia, with so many activities available, one really has the opportunity to enjoy a lengthy safari, really soaking in Africa in a much more intimate way than one could ever hope for in South Africa's more visited lodges.

Here is just a small sampling of some exclusive Zambian lodges and camps:

www.robinpopesafaris.net www.star-of-africa.com www.kutandala.com www.kaingo.com www.kasakariverlodge.com www.sausagetreecamp.com www.chiawa.com www.luangwariverlodge.com www.experienceafrica.com www.kasanka.com www.mutemwa.com www.busangatrails.com www.bush-buzz.com www.mukambi.com www.bushcampcompany.com

For the true authority on Zambia, the Zambian Tourist Board has an amazing website:

www.zambiatourism.com

Another benefit of visiting Zambia is wildlife conservation. While Kruger NP (including the Sabi Sand Game Reserve) receives upwards of 1 million visitors each year, the parks in Zambia all receive less than 1% that amount. These parks are totally unspoiled, yet need visitors to ensure conservation of the wildlife. Otherwise, without visitors, there are no jobs for the locals and they have little option but to turn to poaching wildlife to feed themselves and their family.

While a persons visit to South Africa will literally be like a raindrop in a swimming pool, a person visiting Zambia will have a much larger impact on helping the wildlife.

It is worth noting that Zambia is a much more affordable option than either South Africa or Botswana since Zambia uses the U.S. Dollar for its tariffs. So, while South Africa and Botswana have literally doubled in price within the last 3 years, Zambia has remained mostly the same, meaning even the very best lodges are no more than about $400 per person per night in high season. In comparison, it is not unusual for similarly luxurious lodges in South Africa or Botswana to be double the price at about $800 per person per night.

I strongly encourage anybody planning a safari to Southern Africa to take a nice long look at Zambia. I promise you, a safari to Zambia will not disappoint. For the unfamiliar, Zambia is a democracy and is a peaceful country, never having fought a war in its short history, not even for its independence.

Just to give you some ideas on what is possible, here is a copy of my own itinerary for my 14 night Zambian safari:

Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi National Park (4 nights). Activities will include canoeing the Zambezi River, game drives and bush walks. www.kasakariverlodge.com

Kutandala, North Luangwa National Park (4 nights). This is one of the most remote parks in all of Africa. This park is more than 6 times the size of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, yet only allows a maximum of 24 guests at any given time. At Kutandala, there is a maximum of only 6 guests, guaranteeing a very high level of exclusivity and a very personalized safari experience. Walking safaris only are permitted in North Luangwa National Park, but after you have gone on a couple bush walks, you really start to treasure them. www.kutandala.com

Luangwa River Lodge, South Luangwa National Park (3 nights). This is a new luxury lodge with a maximum capacity of about 10 guests. www.luangwariverlodge.com

Puku Ridge, South Luangwa National Park (3 nights). This is a very luxurious tented camp, with a maximum of only 12 guests. Each camp measures about 1,000 sq. ft, has a sunken bath in the room, an amazing balcony overlooking the open plain below, a shower outside your room (as well as another inside your room) and the common area has an awesome swimming pool overlooking the plain below. I have toured this camp before and it is a great place. www.star-of-africa.com

For the price of my 14 night safari, I would have been limited to no more than 7 or 8 nights in South Africa or Botswana at similar camps. Whatever a persons budget is for a luxury South Africa or Botswana safari, just know that you would most likely be able to spend double the time at incredible places in Zambia.

Although there are direct flights to Lusaka, Zambia, from London, the easiest way to get to Zambia remains Johannesburg, where one may fly into either Livingstone or Lusaka on a short 2 hour flight.

I invite anyone currently looking at South Africa to just spend a few minutes looking at some of the websites I posted for Zambia. You will not be sorry and may end up saving thousands of dollars while actually having a more enjoyable safari in the "Real Africa", as the Zambian tourist board has appropriately marketed itself.

I am not a travel agent or a Zambian official. I am just a 33 year old guy from Los Angeles who was looking for a little something deeper than another luxury safari to South Africa after first staying at Singita three years ago. With Zambia I have found what I am looking for and I only wish to share this amazing destination with others!

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Mar 2nd, 2005, 03:32 AM
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Only 33 - I had you down as 40+, or even 50+.

Look, you are not the only person ever to travel to Zambia.

I would be more than happy to share my experiences there with anyone who wants to arrive by boat.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 08:34 AM
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Roccco - You have at least one convert. As you know from another thread, my husband and I are leaving for Zambia in 2.5 weeks. After going to S. Africa as a newbie, I looked at Botswana next, but your many posts about Zambia convinced me. Thanks for all the advice you've offered.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 11:06 AM
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Rocco is certainly not the only person to travel to Zambia and not even one of the pioneers. Whilst it's visitor numbers are low compared to Botswana and East Africa they aren't insignicant.

But he's the main source of information about Zambia in terms of this board.

You may have been there, and many other places besides, Alice, but you haven't really shared much of your experiences here nor made much of an effort to help people.

Instead of making snide comments about other peoples' ages and enthusiasm why not use some of your energy doing something positive for a change?
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 01:54 PM
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I totally agree with Kavey. Alice you seem like a very unhappy and unsatisfied person to me. Is that the reason you bitch others around? By the way I am 29...

Rocco, sincerely its because of you that i will be going to Zambia oct 10-21 and will be staying at Kasaka (3)Royal Livingstone (2) Puku Ridge (2) and Laungwa River Lodge (3). I ve never been on safari, it will be our first time. I thought about Kenia, Tanzania and south-africa but after reading the Africa part of the forum and read your stories and plans about Zambia it only took a minute to pick Zambia instead of the others. Thanks for that.
Alex, www.madelza.nl
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Rocco can I ask how much your safari is costing? It looks awsome.

Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm it is appreciated.

J
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Rocco,
I have been reading these boards for the past month and am very grateful for the enthusiasm and tips you've provided about Zambia. I am planning our first trip and now am very excited about visiting this beautiful country. We plan to visit in September 2005.

I know that time is of the essence since that is only a few short months away so I'd appreciate any additional advice you can provide.

We currently have air travel on hold from Los Angeles arriving in Joburg on Friday, September 16 at approx. 6:45 am and returning home on Monday, October 3rd at 8:15 pm.

I've sent e-mails to a few tour operators including Mark at Taga, of course, but am getting a little anxious about the slow response. Mark has made an initial response with clarifying questions but I'm biting my nails here!

There are a few places (thanks to you)which we've settled on trying to work into our itinerary but could use some help, i.e. how much time at each? Here goes:

-Sun City - Palace of the Lost City
-Kruger National Park - lodging open for recommendations
-Victoria Falls - Matesi Water Lodge or Sussi / Chuma
-South Luangwa - Puku Ridge
-Lower Zambezi - Kasaka River Lodge

With 17 nights available, we have room for more on the itinerary. By the way, Sun City is a must do, for at least one night, as my husband has been talking about it for years. I figure we can do it on either the front or the back end.

Thanks,

Cindy
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:47 PM
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Alice13,

I may be to blame for this posting, if you took offense. Here's what happened: While looking at the Frommer's travel site, I noticed there was no Zambia information. So I emailed Rocco to see if he would like to copy and paste some of his pro-Zambia messages on Frommers. He did and then put that message here too.

The goal is to have more people head to places, like Zambia, that can use tourist dollars to help sustain the environment. You can add your Zambia comments to the Frommer's site to help give Zambia more of presence and maybe send some people over there.
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:07 PM
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I have begun to hog this thread.

For Cindy, did you want your additional nights in Zambia?

If so, maybe you'd enjoy about 4 nights in Kutandala in North Luangwa--

In 2003 I went to Kutandala and thought it was the best Africa camp I have ever stayed at. It is not the fanciest, but its owners, a married couple Rod and Guz, have put their heart and soul into the place. Its location and the setting of the dining areas are lovely, along the Mwaleshi River. In fact most game walks start and end with removing boots and wading through the ankle deep Mwaleshi.

The tents overlook the river and have giant ensuite sandy floored bathrooms. Guz is a marvelous cook and Rod guides the walks.

In the 4 days I was there, our walks included meandering among a herd of buffalo, observing two bachelor elephants cross the Mwaleshi, getting snorted at by a bushpig, watching a nose-to-nose exchange between a buffalo and a croc, and seeing three lions with six other species of hooved animals fleeing the lions. Plus lots of other interesting sitings.

There is just something magical about Kutandala where all the elements of a great bush experience come together.

You could add a night in Kawaza village in South Luangwa. You spend a day (and night if you wish) observing and partaking in life in a normal village. I still have a penpal from my Kawaza stay.

Five or six nights in Kafue would provide a very remote experience. The herds of rare antelope (sable, roan) would be at their max in Sept. I saw some in July. The resident pride of lions would likely be in the trees by Sept, as is there habit in the heat.

You could also add some more South Luangwa nights in the Nsefu part of the park and spend more time there.

17 days is wonderful!
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 06:25 PM
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Thank you for all (well, most of) the feedback on this thread. It is my pleasure to help others discover such a beautiful place, and I look forward with great anticipation to trip reports from those of you who are going to Zambia as a result of my Zambian threads.

I am more than happy to help anybody going to Zambia, even if you are not arriving "by boat." (???)

Cindy...I would be more than happy to help suggest an itinerary for you and your husband. First, though, I know that it is nerve-racking, but don't lose heart with TAGA Safaris just yet. They are taking excellent care of me, and I am sure they will also take excellent care of you.

With 17 nights, and with Sun City being MANDATORY, here is what I suggest:

Sun City, Palace Of The Lost City (2) (a mere 2 hour drive from Joburg)
Sussi Lodge, Livingstone (Victoria Falls), Zambia (2)
Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi (4)
Puku Ridge, South Luangwa (4)
Westcliff Hotel, Johannesburg (2)
Simbambili, Sabi Sand Game Reserve (3)

I strongly suggest that you start out with Sun City and Victoria Falls due to the fact there is a full moon on September 17th. Unless there is cloud cover, my not so expert opinion is that night game drives are pretty dead during full moons as the predators cover of darkness is blown and therefore, they do not waste their energy hunting.

I suggest Simbambili not knowing your budget. You are probably looking at about $575 per person per night for Simbambili, about half the price you may likely pay for Singita or Londolozi Tree, yet Simbambili although in a smaller concession, is located in the not so busy north-eastern? part of the Sabi Sand. Plus, it features beautiful accomodations, each chalet with its own private plunge pool. By early October, the daytime temperatures should be absolutely perfect for the plunge pool!

Mala Mala, for example, would not have a plunge pool unless you stayed in their Sable Unit, for $750 pp per night.

While Singita is beautiful, I just think it would be a sin to pay for $1,100+ per person per night when you will have just had an amazing experience at a place like Kasaka River Lodge for $285 pppn and an equally amazing experience at Puku Ridge for only $400 pppn. At least the $575 pppn at Simbambili will not seem so out of whack, and Simbambili does feature excellent interaction with predators, so you should have some excellent opportunities to introduce yourself to lions and leopards.

The above itinerary would be an excellent introduction to Zambia, with 11 nights on safari, including 8 consecutive nights in the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa.

As an option, here is another possible itinerary that, besides the visit to Sun City and Victoria Falls will concentrate strictly on Zambia for your safari, if this proved to be within your budget. Trust me when I say this...while you and your husband may very much enjoy Sun City and Victoria Falls, it is your time on safari that you will TREASURE, and that may revisit you in your dreams if you are so lucky.

With that said, I do think that this option would be a little more special than the first one, with the only sacrifice being rising early on your departure day from Sun City:

Palace Of The Lost City (2)

Sussi Lodge (2)

Mutemwa (2), Mutemwa Sioma Ngwezi Fly Camp (3)
http://www.mutemwa.com/package_Sioma.htm
While this is way off the beaten track, it may be very simple to do since you are already in Livingstone. This would be a nice alternative to a place like North Luangwa, and may be much more cost effective since the flights to North Luangwa are pretty expensive.
An experience like Sioma Ngwezi may prove too much for a first timer, especially just a couple nights after leaving the Palace Of The Lost City, but if you want to dive into Africa head first, this would be a very good way to do so!

Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi (4)

Puku Ridge, South Luangwa (4)

I could go on and on with different possible itineraries, but really, you need to find the places that most appeal to you. I would be lying if I did not disclose that my inclusion of Mutemwa & Sioma Ngwezi National Park was not to use you as my guinea pig, but it does look like a great place!
Plus, it fits quite nicely right after Livingstone. Alternately, however, you would be very well served in staying 7 or 8 nights in South Luangwa, or in flying up to North Luangwa for a 4 night stay at Kutandala.

My final suggestion is to just REALLY know what you want, nail down your desired dates, have an alternate lodge in place for each area you are visiting in case your desired lodge is taken (being flexible enough to accept the higher priced Sausage Tree Camp, for example, if Kasaka River Lodge is taken), etc. Doing this, will avoid a lot of back and forth with the agents, as the lodges are filling up very quickly by now and you are going at the absolute best time.

Oh...this is too fun...one more itinerary, and with this one, if your dates hold firm and if there is any availability for one more couple, I will buy you a beer at Simbambili! (okay, so the beer is included, but it is the thought that counts)

9/16 - 9/17 Palace Of The Lost City, Sun City.
9/18 - 9/20 Simbambili, Sabi Sand. (I will be there on the nights of the 17th - 19th and I will be able to tell you all about my just completed stay at Kasaka River Lodge and Puku Ridge by then).
9/21 - 9/22 Westcliff Hotel, Joburg.
Do yourself a favor...do a half day tour of Soweto, go shopping in Sandton, and enjoy a couple nights at the plush Westcliff Hotel. Honestly, you will be pretty insulated at most places, and I do think that you will appreciate a tour of Soweto, even if you may think that it may not be your cup o' tea. Plus, you have an extra night to kill anyway with this itinerary so may as well enjoy a relaxed 2 nights in Joburg rather than only an overnight!
9/23 - 9/24 Sussi Lodge, Victoria Falls.
9/25 - 9/28 Kasaka River Lodge, Lower Zambezi.
9/29 - 10/02 Puku Ridge, South Luangwa.

Hope this all somehow helped instead of just confusing you more!
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 07:13 PM
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>>>Rocco can I ask how much your safari is costing? It looks awsome.

Jules,

I am actually paying very close to rack rates for my itinerary. Any savings is mostly due to the fact that I do have a party of four rather than any deals cut by any of the lodges. I do not wish to disclose my exact pricing, but like I said, it is pretty close to the rack rates, as follow:

pppns = per person per night sharing

Kasaka River Lodge (4) $285 pppns (total rack rate for 4 nights for 4 guests is $4,560 USD)

Kutandala (4) $400 pppns
(total rack rate for 4 nights for 4 guests is $6,400 USD)

Luangwa River Lodge (3) $350 pppns
(total rack rate for 3 nights for 4 guests is $4,200 USD)

Puku Ridge (3) $400 pppns
(total rack rate for 3 nights for 4 guests is $4,800 USD)

Additionally, including all of my charter flights beginning and ending in Lusaka, I am looking at another $3,500 total. It is useless to include a per person price, as the pricing would have been nearly the same for 2 guests or 4 guests since I am choosing to fly directly from Lower Zambezi to North Luangwa. This flight alone, accounts for nearly half of the entire total, but I would not have saved much by returning to Lusaka, flying to South Luangwa and then flying to North Luangwa.

So, the total price is around $23,500 USD for the four of us, just under $6,000 USD per person. This is independent of my 2 nights at the Westcliff in Joburg, and my concluding 3 nights at Simbambili.


TOTAL BREAKDOWN

LAX - LHR - $3,400 USD (economy class, no frequent flier miles)

LHR - Joburg - Lusaka in SAA Business Class = 80,000 frequent flier miles x 3 persons plus taxes) = $600 USD & 240,000 frequent flier miles

LHR - Joburg - Lusaka = $1,400 USD for 1 person in economy class (not enough miles to go around for my younger sister, but she is very petite, unlike me, so she should be just fine!).

Kasaka River Lodge = $4,560 USD

Kutandala = $6,400 USD

Luangwa River Lodge = $4,200 USD

Puku Ridge = $4,800 USD

Westcliff Hotel & transfers = $1,200 USD

Half Day Soweto Tour = $300 USD

Joburg - Hoedspruit (for Simbambili) = $1,200 USD

Simbambili, including transfers from/to Hoedspruit = $7,000 USD

GRAND TOTAL = $33,000 (GOD HELP ME!!!).

This one did spin out of control, once I invited my mother, and she asked if my sister could join us (she is paying for a portion of her trip), and especially once I decided to replace 7 nights in Cape Town with 7 additional nights on safari.

7 nights in Cape Town, at a luxury self-catering apartment would have been about $2,250 USD TOTAL. Instead, I will be spending an extra $1,000 per night extra for those 7 nights, but I just could not, in good faith, spend 7 nights in Africa in the city, even a city as beautiful as Cape Town.

It is a real struggle to pay for this upcoming holiday, but I am totally committed, as I know it will be the most amazing 19 nights of my life so far. To be able to share this with my mom and sister (in addition to my wife, who is used to this by now), just makes it really special. It will be the first visit to Africa for both my mom and sister, who have both, otherwise, pretty much traveled the world extensively. About 25 more weeks to go, and I suspect that time will fly! Due to the costs, for the first time, I am not in a hurry for my departure date, as I NEED THE TIME just to pay for this trip! While some people are good little boys and girls by contributing to their IRA's each month, I, instead, commit each month to a hefty contribution to Africa, by making a monthly American Express charge to TAGA Safaris, my agent for this and likely future trips to Africa!
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Mar 3rd, 2005, 08:36 PM
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Talking strictly Zambia:

Kasaka River Lodge $285 pppns
Kutandala $400 pppns
Luangwa River Lodge $350 pppns
Puku Ridge $400 pppns
Internal transfers between the above lodges $1,000 pp (which in this case adds an extra $70 pppns for a 14 night itinerary to the above lodges.

Even so, it is an average of $428.75 pppns RACK RATES including transfers beginning and ending in Lusaka.

Therefore, for a 14 night itinerary, a couple could stay at the very best places and experience an amazing Zambian itinerary of Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa and North Luangwa for $6,000 per person.

I do think that anything less than a 10 night Zambian safari would be cheating yourself, and at that point you may be better off just sticking to South Africa.

Zambia is not a place to fly in and out of in 7 nights. It is a place that after about a week you really start to feel connected with, and after the same amount of time, instead of looking forward to going home, you look forward to each additional sunrise and sunset, and treasure the time you have left before having to go home.
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Mar 4th, 2005, 05:47 AM
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Thanks for the rate info Rocco

J
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Mar 4th, 2005, 06:10 AM
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Jules,

No problem.

On a general note, there seems to be very good things happening in South Luangwa at Star Of Africa's lodges (Chichele & Puku Ridge).

The new managing couple at Chichele come over from Jao, a very esteemed Wilderness Safaris camp in Botswana.

Also, the new manageress of Puku Ridge, has previous managing experience at the 5* Meikles Hotel in Harare, the Victoria Falls Hotel, and at hotels in London.

Best of all, Star Of Africa has just been granted a new concession, which I suspect will put them in the same area as Kaingo and Tafika. It is in an area known as the Chipembi Hub and there will be two bush camps operated by Star Of Africa, that they will offer as part of a 6 night walking safari (although I am sure that it would be possible to book for less than four nights). Don't quote me on the location being close to Tafika & Kaingo, but that would seem to be the case.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 09:33 AM
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Did you book everything yourself, piece by piece? Or, thru an agent? How much did this trip cost you?
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 01:52 PM
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Cinymac
Here is a couple ideas that you might wish to consider in your itinerary;
Sun City - Palace of the Lost City
-Kruger National Park
-Victoria Falls - Matesi Water Lodge
Mana Pools-Chikwenya–
Transfer overland to Zambia
Canoe on Zambezi to lodge
Kasaka River Lodge or?

-South Luangwa - Puku Ridge or?
S.L –bush camp maybe with Norm Carr or John Coppinger
Transfer overland to Luambe N.P. –Wilderness Camp
Transfer overland to North Luangwa N.P.- Pick Kutendala(Rod extremely knowledgeable and Guz good chef) or Mwaleshi camps(don't know the current mgr.) or Buffalo with Mark Harvey-rustic but best for seeing lions on walks everyday when I was there and Mark is a real character-speaks Bemba and will keep you entertained
Transfer overland or fly to Shiwa Ngandu-stay with David Harvey

I suggested overland through sections of itinerary to see a portion that 99.9% of tourists just don't see and experience. You pass through some villages along the way that don't see many tourists. There is a river crossing of the luangwa river that makes more exciting. This is below the spot where John Coppinger canoed down the river and was attacked by aggressive and huge crocs. I spent 4 hours in the river once pushing my vehicle through with 16 bembas when the river was higher and harder to cross-earlier in the season.
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Jul 31st, 2005, 06:49 AM
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For those of you who have been to Zambia what did you do in Lusaka? What are some nice places to see there. Also what kinds of medicines or vaccinations should we get before we go? Thanks.
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Jul 31st, 2005, 06:56 AM
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mariannn,

The best hotel in Lusaka is the Taj Pamodzi, which is $175 per night, plus road transfers from the airport.

The only reason one would need to spend the night in Lusaka is if you wanted the direct return flight from London to Lusaka, instead of flying into Joburg and then back up to Lusaka.

If you are only intrested in Zambia and you are able to fly in and out of Lusaka, it would save you about $300 pp to spend the night in Lusaka, rather than adding in the cost of a return flight between Joburg to Lusaka.

What parts of Zambia are you interested in visiting?
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Jul 31st, 2005, 07:41 PM
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Hello all, I actually just emailed some of this info to Rocco so sorry for any repeats. I have just returned from a fantastic trip to the following camps: Little Makololo, Savuti, Tongabezi Lodge, Sausage Tree Camp (in the Lower Zambezi NP), Tafika and Puku Ridge (in the South Luangwa NP). Last summer I visited several camps in Botswana, and before that in South Africa. I can say without hesitation that Zambia is a much wilder place. My sister and I were in danger several times and this adrenalin type of experience became commonplace! The animals are NOT accustomed to vehicles and humans as they are in other places. We had an elephant put his head into our tent and sweep the floor with his trunk, keeping us hiding in the bathroom for an hour, at Sausage Tree (everyone tells us the animals never approach the tents!!). We had a hippo charge us during a walk in Hwange. We canoed a fabulous wild channel of the Zambezi at Sausage Tree, which took us among and around huge pods of hippos - also quite dangerous and very exhilarating as they spouted up out of the water all around us. We were scared to death, so we did it again the next day LOL!! Tafika was a dream. However, as I emailed to Rocco, we found that the game drives at Puku Ridge were very crowded. VERY crowded. We ran into other vehicles at least every 10 minutes. It was noisy and busy and the guides often use a main road through the park which is a wide gravel road, doesn't contribute much to a feeling of remote wilderness. The Puku Ridge camp is luxurious and beautiful and the manager is EXCELLENT. But if you are going to Zambia to experience a remote wilderness, be forewarned so you're not disappointed. I must qualify that by saying that it would probably be quite different if you did the walking safaris to the bush camps at Puku Ridge (they are just opening those up). I really don't want to get down on this wonderful camp but I believe you Fodorites deserve to know what the game drives are like. For example, we were looking for leopard (who isn't at night?). About every 10-15 min, we'd run into a car from another camp and the guides would discuss what they've run into, and tell each other where the game is. Then we drove right to the leopard where there were 2 other cars also watching it. We enjoyed seeing the leopard. But is it better to see the leopard no matter how, or is it better to track it down yourselves and see it all alone? I think some of you will understand this dilemma. I think it would be OK to start your safari at this camp and then you won't be disappointed. Well I want to post a trip report soon about all of the camps but Rocco has got it right, Zambia is a superb destination.
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Jul 31st, 2005, 07:54 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 330
One thing I also want to mention is that you must be very careful of your transfers between camps in Zambia. It's a big place and it isn't easy to get all your transfers done during the siesta time. You can easily miss one of your game-viewing activities. If you travel between the Lower Zambezi NP and South Luangwa NP, try your best to get a direct transfer from Jeki airstrip to Mfuwe without stopping at Lusaka. Mfuwe airport is still quite a ways from most of the camps, for example over an hour's drive from Puku Ridge and an hour and a half from Tafika. We screwed up on this and missed our evening game drive at Tafika and had to combine our transfer out with a 'sort of' game drive in the morning. Try to stay at Tafika for 3 nights if you go there. It's worth it and the transfers are difficult otherwise. We actually had a road transfer from Tafika to Puku Ridge which took nearly 4 hours. We convinced them to give us a game drive through a section of the park before going back on the main road. Just be very conscious of the transfer times when you plan your trips and it'll be fine. It is so easy to transfer during siesta time in Botswana because the camps are so close to one another (relative to Zambia). This just isn't the case in Zambia. So plan ahead.
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