Zambia vs Zimbabwe

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Mar 11th, 2005, 01:05 PM
  #1
Lin
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Zambia vs Zimbabwe

I'm trying to decide between a safari in South Luangwe and Lower Zambezi parks versus Hwange and Mana Pools. Does anyone have any advice for me, besides noting the politics in Zimbabwe? Thanks
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Mar 11th, 2005, 02:28 PM
  #2
 
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Lin,

Do not allow anyone to dissuade you from visiting Zimbabwe due to the leadership, or lack thereof, Robert Mugabe. The wildlife of Zimbabwe is in dire need of the support of visitors.

That being said, however, much of Zambia is in the same boat, and also is in dire need of more tourism.

My opinion on all the parks you mentioned that if you are in search of luxury lodges/camps, as are seemingly the majority of Fodorites, you will have a much wider selection of lodges in Zambia in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi.

The only camps I would even consider in Hwange are Wilderness Safaris two lodges Makalolo Plains & Linkwasha. It is worth noting that Hwange is very popular amongst South Africans and there are quite a few places that are not necessarily up to the level that international visitors may desire.

Likewise, the only place I would consider in Mana Pools is Wilderness Safaris' Chikwenya.

In South Luangwa there are quite a few places to choose from. Honestly, there are no fewer than 10 places that I would personally visit in South Luangwa.

www.star-of-africa.com
Puku Ridge
Chichele Presidential Lodge

www.robinpopesafaris.net
Nkwali
Tena Tena
Nsefu

www.kaingo.com
Kaingo
Mwamba

www.luangwa.com
Kafunta River Lodge
Kafunta Island Bush Camp

Bushcamp Company - about four different bushcamps. www.bushcampcompany.com

www.luangwariverlodge.com
Luangwa River Lodge

www.luamfwa.com
Luamfwa Lodge

www.remoteafrica.com
Tafika + a couple bushcamps

In Lower Zambezi there are also quite a few options in top lodges/camps.

www.kasakariverlodge.com
Kasaka River Lodge

www.chiawacamp.com
Chiawa Camp
Old Mondoro Camp

www.sausagetreecamp.com
Sausage Tree Camp

Chongwe River Lodge
website unknown

Mwambashi
website unknown

Regarding pricing, I think Zambia will be slightly more expensive, but not necessarily. For example, Kasaka River Lodge in Lower Zambezi is only around $285 pp per night sharing, while you will likely be able to stay at a place like Kafunta River Lodge for about the same price, both prices for high season.
I doubt such prices are any higher than what you will find in Zimbabwe.

The seasons should be similar where the best times will be August - early October. After that it will be too hot and before then it may be a little chilly and the bush will be a bit too full for the best game viewing.

I suggest working with a good local tour operator such as TAGA Safaris in South Africa. www.tagasafaris.co.za

Let me know if you have any specific questions and I will try to assist you.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 03:18 PM
  #3
Lin
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Rocco, Thank you for the specifics and the links. I'll spend some time this weekend researching them. The 'luxury' of the camp, to me, is its location and atmosphere - I'm not worried about amenities. I'm surprised that Zambia has an edge on camp quality - I would have thought the British influence would have left many classic camps in Zimbabwe. My agent did say that several camps in Zim are closed to individuals now, taking groups only, due to the drop in tourism. I don't know, if people are being drawn to Zambia now, maybe it's a great time to visit Zimbabwe! Anyway thanks for your info and I'll certainly ask you if I come up with questions.
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Aug 12th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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YOu may want to think about mobile tented safaris or private canoe safari in Mana Pools -- we just did that and it was FABULOUS! We booked through Africa Adventure and had an amazing trip! Zimbabwe is not to be missed!
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Aug 12th, 2005, 09:45 PM
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Is there a reason why Mana Pools and South Luangwa cannot be combined. That would be your best scenario.
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Aug 13th, 2005, 02:57 PM
  #6
bwanamitch
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Lin,

May I draw your attention to my accommodation listings that link you to the original websites of the camp/lodge operators. Unfortunately it's not in English, but the camp/lodge names below the clear headings speak for themselves.

For Lower Zambezi NP and bordering Chiawa GMA (west or upstream) and Rufunsa GMA (east, downstream):
http://www.safari-portal.de/Lodging.ZM.Central.d.html

South Luangwa NP and bordering Lumimba GMA (northeast) and Lupande GMA (east, around Mfuwe):
http://www.safari-portal.de/Lodging.ZM.East.d.html

Mana Pools NP and bordering Sapi Safari Area:
http://www.safari-portal.de/Lodging.ZW.North.d.html

Hwange NP and bordering areas, listed by park gate areas:
http://www.safari-portal.de/Lodging.ZW.West.d.html


Rocco,

it surprises me that you don't know the website of one of your favourite camps, Chongwe River Camp. Here is something for your bookmark list:
http://www.chongwe-river.com/ (main site)
http://www.chongwe.com/
http://www.chongwecamp.com/
http://www.chongwerivercamp.com/

Mitch
 
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Aug 13th, 2005, 04:14 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Mitch,

Five months ago, when I posted my response, I was not even considering visiting Chongwe River Camp. However, after seeing their advertisement in Travel Africa and reading about the camp in the Bradt Zambia guide, I learned more about the camp.

Originally, I was supposed to split 12 nights between North Luangwa, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi. Unfortunately, however, I cancelled North Luangwa after my mother and sister were unable to accompany my wife and I. If I could do it over again, I would have kept North Luangwa in the itinerary, but it will just have to wait for another time.

Anyway, when I cancelled North Luangwa, it opened up four nights, and I split those four extra nights between South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, for six nights at each camp. When I decided to do that, I also decided to cut one night from each Luangwa River Lodge and one night from Kasaka River Lodge so that I may add three nights at Puku Ridge and three nights at Chongwe River Camp.

Hopefully I made the right choices. I was really expecting to struggle more with the budget than I have, or else I may have chosen Sausage Tree Camp or Chiawa over Chongwe River Camp. I may have even chosen to be a glutton by staying in the Superior Safari Tent at Chiawa:

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

I may even have considered a return visit to Kulefu, even though the camp pretty much sucked last year. It has experienced a major upgrade and I thought that the managing couple Andy & Catherine were great, as was Morad who was a fantastic guide and fearless in a canoe even in the face of pods of hippos two dozen strong.

Anyway, even though it was clear that I would be able to afford to upgrade to Sausage Tree Camp or Chiawa, I did not want to cancel with only a couple months to go before the safari. Instead I will apply the savings to my upcoming Tanzania safari in February.

17 days and counting. Need to find my lost passport, need to go get a new meningitis vaccination, need to get a new laptop w/ dvd capabilities and may need a smaller backpack in forest green!
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Aug 13th, 2005, 04:28 PM
  #8
bwanamitch
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Rocco,

Hopefully you find all these things right in time...

?? days and counting? Fortunately I don't know the exact time until my Zambia departure... could be a little stressy.

Mitch
 
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