Zambia: wildlife sightings at Bilimungwe?

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Sep 10th, 2005, 03:41 PM
  #1
bwanamitch
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Zambia: wildlife sightings at Bilimungwe?

Has anyone been at Bilimungwe Camp, southern part of South Luangwa NP, and can tell me about wildlife sightings in this area?

This camp emphasizes walking trails. Since I'm more interested in good wildlife photos then 'training my body' (I already will do three days walking in North Luangwa) I am considering to opt for a private vehicle. Question is whether this is worth the additional expense, and that depends on the wildlife in the area.

Before someone is asking, I've decided for this camp because of the location and not the activities.

Mitch

PS: Can't deny that there is some influence from the "Pop goes the budget!" thread.
 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 04:19 PM
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Hi Mitch

Been in the locale a couple times and game viewing varied because of the time of day, but was there on a mission instead of looking.

Once, I was in the area in '96 and the game was prolific. Went on a game drive with Norm and Adrian Carr. We spotted a white-faced Buffalo(this was in herd of hundreds) around there.

Which camp in NLNP are you going to?

Robbie
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Sep 10th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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bwanamitch
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Hi Robbie,

In NLNP I will be at Mwaleshi. When leaving Tafika three years ago, I promised John to visit his camp there. I'm not quite sure if he believed me then, but I'm always trying to keep my promises.

You can find the other camps of my next trip on my interactive Google Maps itinerary here:
http://www.virtuellesafari.de/Itiner...bia2005.d.html

You are a lucky man that you've met Norman in person. Unfortunately I've learned about this great man when he already was dead. I'm in possession of all of his books and really like his very British style.

Mitch
 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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Mitch: I know it's been three years, but did you enjoy your stay at Tafika? I'm considering a few days here when I go next year. Thanks!
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Sep 10th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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I think you will like the camp. The camps are somewhat more rustic in the park, but it is a remote location.

Been there a number of times for various reasons. Have spotted a pride of lion one nite hunting just a couple hundred metres across the river from the camp.
Don't know the current manager, but John has had good ones working for him in the past.
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Sep 10th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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Luangwa: Are you speaking of Tafika or Mwaleshi?

And Mitch: sorry to have attempted to hijack your thread!
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Sep 10th, 2005, 05:47 PM
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Sorry Cooncat- Mwaleshi
It was directed at Mitch.

I have been to Tafika once for about a half hour to drop a guide off.
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Sep 10th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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Luangwa: What did you think of Tafika? I've been doing a ton of research on the web, but it's all really daunting. In addition to a lodge that I feel committed to at this point, I'd like to include a bush camp within the park as Mitch suggests. I'm just not sure which one, but maybe it doesn't matter? The guiding would be really important to me. Do you know anything or have experience with Chikoko Trails? Thanks.
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Sep 10th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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bwanamitch
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Robbie,

Actually I feel far more comfortable in 'rustic' camps because they are much nearer to nature than all those 'Disney World' accommodations. Lying in bed and hearing elephants browsing near of your tent, only one metre away, on the same level - can't imagine more safari excitement. Not to mention predators. Even at Mombo they can't offer you this!

Sharon,

I've enjoyed my stay at Tafika, mainly because of the nice people there - John, Carol, Bryan, Ernst. My decision to go there was based on the microlight flights that John offers - and those are really a great unique adventure (I made two of them). I already told you in the other thread (remember?) that Tafika is located outside the park and that they have to drive for 10-15 minutes for getting into the park. They also have a small hide at the lodge where you can watch pukus and bushbucks. If you can live with this, okay. But I prefer wildlife at my doorstep - so I will certainly not go back to Tafika. After Tafika I stayed at Nsefu Camp (same area, but inside the park) - and that was a dream!

I also combined my stay at Tafika with a 3-day walking trail to Crocodile and Chikoko Bush Camps. Nice experience and nice camps, too. However, I remember that at one of these camps the only sounds that I heard at night, were the drums and singing of a party in one of the villages of the neighbouring GMA. So if I ever make a walking trail in South Luangwa again, it will certainly be with a different operator in a more remote area (maybe with Robin Pope, or the Bushcamp Company).

Mitch
 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 06:52 PM
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Mitch ~ What are you doing awake?!!!
Thank you for the information. Ahm yes...Now I do remember you saying that Tafika is outside the park...I am still easily confused at this point! I do like the looks of Nsefu - so I am assuming that since you liked it they have good guides? I, too, have heard good things about the guides at Tafika. Thanks again as always!
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Sep 10th, 2005, 06:58 PM
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bwanamitch
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Sharon,
it's weekend - and I'm doing preparations for my upcoming trip. And I've just entered a state of emergency because there is no more beer in my fridge - I have to switch to Mumm.
 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 07:05 PM
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bwanamitch
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I would say that all of the old established operators in South Luangwa have good guides (Ropin Pope, Remote Africa, Norman Carr). In case of Nsefu Sector I'm not sure if you really need a good guide - there's plenty of game, you can't miss it. In Nsefu I had the luck that the manager liked the same movies as I (5th Element, Matrix), and so I won some exclusive private game drives with him.

Mitch
 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 07:20 PM
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bwanamitch
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...and at the end of my stay he declared me 'best-dressed client of the season'. That came a little surprising, because often clients regard me as staff member when they meet me the first time. (Hhmm, after thinking about it, maybe not so surprising - most clients expect that white guides are looking good.)

Mitch
 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 07:27 PM
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Mitch ~ Don't you think you've maybe had enough beer for one night?! ;-)

My Bradt Zambia Guide will be here shortly. I hope it contains some maps with the different park sectors and which camps are lcoated in them. I know many of you are into your GPS stuff, but I really need something a little simpler, just show me roughly which sector is which, and the camps therein. Anyway...congratulations on the best-dressed honor. This worries me because I am hoping to remain in my "grubby clothes" at dinner, etc. I wasn't planning to get all "fixed up."

Happy planning!

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Sep 10th, 2005, 07:43 PM
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bwanamitch
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Sharon,

Bradt Zambia is the best guide about Zambia you can find, and yes, you will find some useful maps there. (However, it contains no information on Hwange - I checked this today.)

Mitch
 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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Don't worry about the dress code. Zambian safari camps are still under British 'rule' - and Britons are not known to be very tasteful during their spare time.

 
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Sep 10th, 2005, 07:49 PM
  #17
bwanamitch
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Julian & Kavita,

please don't take the comments of this near friend too personally.

Mitch
 
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Sep 11th, 2005, 05:05 AM
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Hi Mitch,

Don't worry -- everyone knows Brits (especially British men) are colour-blind. The shirts on offer on Jermyn Street and Savile Row confirm this.

There is a short bit on Hwange in the Vic Falls section in the Bradt guide -- primarily just logistics of getting to Hwange from Vic Falls.

BTW, Bradt is currently researching a Zim guide and will hopefully be publishing in 2007. Not much use for Sharon, I'm afraid, but sure to be of interest to others.

Cheers,
Julian
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Sep 11th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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To respond to the Tafika question, I really liked my stay there and felt the management and guides were great. I received very personal service over several days.

We had sizeable elephant herds crossing the river at sunrise, though not in the camp, water monitors running and lounging about, chameleons!! and of course other lizards in the shower, and my hut was marked nightly by a hippo requiring me to walk out carefully each morning.

This is the only place you can go on the microlight in S. Luangwa, that I am aware of. But I did not go up.


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Sep 11th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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bwanamitch
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My god, atravelynn, you've been at Tafika and havn't made those flights?! Flying like a fish eagle over hippos, crocs, elephants, lions, and even other eagles. I can't believe it.
 
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