Zimbabwe camps

Jul 16th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Zimbabwe camps

Well just when I thought I had my itinerary set, Zibalianja raised their prices (the stinking rats)

At any rate, this has given me the chance to rethink adding a bit more in Zimb. and possibly adding Planet Baobob at the end for a cultural and desert fix.

Here's my current itinerary;
22 July 08 - Southern Sun J'burg

23 July - Ilala lodge

24 July - mana pools canoe trip 3n.

27 July - Matesi Water Lodge this can change

28 July - Zibalianja 5n this must change due to price

02 Aug - L. Vumbura 3n.

05 Aug. - Chitabe trails 5n. could shorten

So my question is - should I omit Matesi Water and replace with a longer stay in Hwange or another rec. Zimb. location?
I just haven't heard rave reviews about Matesi - am I missing the boat?

If I eliminate Zib. entirely due to the cost what would be a good replacement?

Also, I'd love to hear thoughts on Baobob - how does it compare to Sans.

I like the idea, btw, of seeing some real people from Botswana and think 4 wheeling would be fun. My understanding is that there won't be much wildlife which is ok.

p.s. seeing dogs is always a plus as well as not being around too many people.
cybor is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 08:55 PM
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There is a simple answer to replacing Zibalianja, it is Kwando Leballa it's next door neighbour. The rate for High Season 2008 is $825ppn. For the saving you achieve you could consider a private vehicle. I can recommend Classic African Safaris for your visit to Mana Pools, they can do a private camp or canoes.
Jul 17th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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Thanks, but even 825. is high for me.

At the very most, I could possibly think of doing only a couple days at that rate.

This brings me back to Zimbabwe which can be had for somewhere around 300.
Unfortunately, getting good info. on Zimb. isn't easy.
cybor is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 07:39 AM
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I am sure that Vumbura and Chitabe will be just as expensive as Leballa, I would check out next years rates if I were you.
Here are the details of an Australian Travel Agent who can give you all the assistance you need regarding Zimbabwe (she and her husband used to run Safaris in Mana Pools and are Zimbabweans!!)You can pay by credit card in US$ and they are totally reliable!

African Encounter

[email protected]


I only know Hwange and Mana Pools so my recommendations would be Somalissa in Hwange ( if you search for this on the forums you will find many recommendations from Fodorites)and Classic African Safaris in Mana Pools

Jul 17th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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May I ask how much the air transfer from Vic Falls to Mana Pools cost?
Patty is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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To add to Patty's question - how have you arranged this transfer? (From Vic Falls to Mana Pools.)

Thanks Sherry!
cooncat2 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 03:22 PM
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Thanks for the replies.
See below for some flight and transfer info. and pricing - hope that's what you're looking for. I'm not booking this myself as I have an agent who's provisionally booked the camps for me - was that your question cooncat.

22 July 2008: JOHANNESBURG
ORT International
shuttle bus from ORT International to the Southern Sun JIA for 1 night on a Bed & Breakfast basis.


Guests make use of the complimentary shuttle bus from the Southern Sun JIA to ORT International.

Flight JNB/VFA

Road transfer from VFA Airport to Ilala Lodge

Road transfer from Ilala Lodge to VFA Airport.

Light air transfer from VFA Airport to Ruckomechi for the start of the 3-night/4-day Mana Canoe Trail on a Full Board basis + activities and local drinks.

Light air transfer from Chikwenya to VFA Airport.
Road transfer from VFA Airport to Matetsi Water Lodge for overnight on Full Board basis including activities.iv) ADDITIONAL COSTS OF SCHEDULED FLIGHTS: $520.00 P.P. (subject to increase by airlines).
1. BA 6285 23 JUL JNB VFA 1125 1300

2. BP 211 10 AUG MUB JNB 1500 1640


Fare: $240.00 p.p. incl. taxes


Fare: $280.00 p.p. including taxes.

cybor is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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I am wondering - this must be a charter flight? Is it just your party or are there others going? Thanks!
cooncat3 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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No charter, I believe, as I thought it was a scheduled flight but don't quote me. It's been so long since I put this together and now it's all subject to change.
I should have more flight particulars by the end of the week that I'll gladly post for you.
cybor is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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Light air transfer from VFA Airport to Ruckomechi

I was wondering how much this part costs (not the scheduled BA flights) if you know and have the breakdown. Thanks!
Patty is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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See above comments - I think we posted at the same time.
cybor is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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You have confirmed that the Zib changes will cost us all. It may cost us the ability to go there.

Here's a suggestion. Are you canoeing each day on the canoe trip? If so, you might want a day just in Mana Pools riding or walking around. It is a beautiful park.

You could add Hwange. There are several possible accommodations.

Is one of the main attractions of Matesi Water Lodge seeing the falls? Or do I have that wrong? If it is the falls, then you have Ilala Lodge for that.

If Zib went up more than Duma Tau or Savuti Camp or the Kwandos in that area, you could switch Zib for one of them. (I see Kwando was already suggested.) If they are all the same cost, then that's not an option.

A couple nights in the desert would work well with your itinerary. You could contact Uncharted Africa directly and ask the difference between San and PB. I believe it is in the level of luxury and activities are all the same. There was one guy who stayed at PB and posted that he liked it. Does searching this site for Planet Baobab work to find his report?

You are right you won't see animals while quad biking. I had a great time on the bikes and thought I would not when I booked San Camp.
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 05:17 PM
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Hi cybor

I was at Matetsi last July and while the gameviewing was not fantastic, it certainly was enjoyable, especially the river gameviewing. The price was very reasonable. Look at their gameviewing on the wildwatch, and it has been really good since I was their. During the day, I went into the Falls with their shuttle bus and as I was on my own, the tracker, who was actually a ranger, came with, and it was a very enjoyable outing, and I didn't miss a gamedrive.

Certainly, it was the most beautiful setting for lunch and breakfast that I have ever stayed at, being on the banks of the mighty Zambezi. I stayed 6 nights, possibly a few nights too many, but I was desperate to see Sable, but for the time I was there, they had virtually disappeared, but did end up seeing 3 bulls, though not close up.

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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Hello Lynn,
I was hoping you'd show up.
Matesi, was mostly added in as a stop over rest point, as we'd be flying in too late to justify arriving at Zib. very late in the day.

I'm looking at Selinda camp (it may come in less costly) as well as the other camps you mentioned - I know you've been to Duma - are you familiar with the other camps?

Although Duma sounds wonderful, I fear that I won't be patient enough to wait for a buff. encounter. I also feel that I'd be increasing my viewing by going to Selinda area - true? As stated seeing dogs is always a plus.

I feel that I'll be missing out if I don't go to Selinda/Linyati do you agree.
This may mean staying for a few days only and/or shortening Chitabe. Does that sound reasonable?

As for Baobob, yes, I've seen a couple great reports. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of info. out there about the area. I would hope to see some merceets (sp.) and spend time with natives. The money that this will save will hopefully enable me to splurge elsewhere and lenghten my stay.

Hello Kaye,
Yes, I read your wonderful report, thank you. I appreciated your insights on Matesi - honestly between your report and a handful of others, it just sounds like Matesi just isn't going to deliver as much as something in Hwange. Do you agree?
Sounds like you're a better match in S.Africa.

I will be staying at Ilana which will give me my Falls fix and possible the ambiance and beauty of staying on a riverfront that you've stated about Matesi. I may be delusional on this, if so please tell me.

cybor is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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Hi Cybor

I have no idea if you are delusional or not, far be it for me to say! I have not been to Hwange, so cannot comment, and Matetsi certainly did not offer the gameviewing I was hoping for, and I wasn't going there for the big 5, in fact I do not go anywhere for the big 5! But I was told Sable are like Impala there, but they had a week off when I was there. The river gameviewing was also very enjoyable, the eles in particular, and I got some fantastic photos.

What is the per night cost of Hwange?
Certainly my breakfast and lunch view at Matetsi is the best I have ever had. If I was in the area of the Falls, I would stay there again, but I would not go there especially as a fair bit of time wasted on travelling.

Good luck with the planning.

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 07:00 AM
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Thank you Kaye,
One of my hope's as well, is to see sable (such beautiful creatures). I'm told that I may see them at L. Vumbura (one of my reasons for choosing L.V.) and in the Hwange area.

As for pricing on a few Hwange camps, I believe that Makalolo and Somailisa (sp.) may be around 350. USD, pppn. (this may be another of my delusions)This, for me, is more of many to go to Hwange.
I should have better and more up to date quotes soon, which I will gladly share.
cybor is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 08:04 AM
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hi cybor- Somalisa is around $360.00 pp/pn but I believe there is a discount on the 5th night. We did see sable in Hwange and agree, beautiful creatures!
matnikstym is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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Hi Dennis,
Thanks for confirming that. Is Soms. pricing online somewhere? Your reports are actually what made me even think about Som. Besides Makalolo are there any other camps to consider?

Did you get to see Makalolo, by chance?
I believe that they have 2 styles of jeep, one holds 7 and the other 9. How many do those smaller jeeps hold in Som.?
Do you know of a good Zimb. travel book?
cybor is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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Hi Sherry,
Don't know where to find online pricing, I got it from Sophia @ african bushcamps (owners of Somalisa), she'd be happy to answer your questions, just email her-she's a very nice, interesting woman. Have you considered Matobos Park? It's on my list for next year and combining with Hwange and ???

We didn't see Makalolo or any of their vehicles while we were there. Didn't see any of the other camps either including the Hide, so for 4 days without seeeing anything you can see how spread out the camps are.

"Willy", Somalisa's jeep holds 3 passengers and 1 guide-my favorite safari vehicle!! We only used the land rover/cruiser 1 time and it was just the two of us but think it had 3 rows of seats.

Can't help you on the travel book-most of mine are on Zambia.
matnikstym is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Cooncat and Patti,
Here's a ballpark (don't quote me, as this is a very rough estimate) but the cost from VFA to Ruckomechi will be about 800.rt. - it's a 2 1/2 hr. flight, on a charter using Sefofane Air.
Hwange to VFA about 200. (one way) and Mana pools Chikwenga to Hwange about 400. (one way) that would be for 2 people only - less if more people onboard.
Are either of you thinking of going?

I'm waiting for a quote for Somalisa - it sounds wonderful.
cybor is offline  

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