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lhgreenacres Dec 27th, 2011 06:25 PM

Zimbabwe is looking good-Need suggestions??
I am now trying to figure out the best itinerary for Zimbabwe. One big question is Victoria Falls. I am inclined to not go and to send the time on safari but it seems that many people go to Victoria Falls and really enjoy it. The next question is the itinerary. We would like to include Mana Pools, Hwange and one other location. Any recommendations for camps would be great, also how long at each camp? We would like a total in country of 13 nights. Also we contacted Doug MacDonald which would be great if the price is not too expensive. Are there othe companies that people have dealt with that they would recommend? Thanks in advance for suggestions.

Femi Dec 27th, 2011 07:02 PM

I enjoyed VF for the wealth of activities surrounding the falls, as well as the falls themselves. I think it is worth spending at least a night there. I'm considering a return trip to Zim for 2013, so I'll be looking forward to reading the responses of others.

On my short list for camps:

inquest Dec 28th, 2011 05:49 AM

I'm looking to go Hwangwe in May 2012.have contacted The Hide.Has anyone have info on the place or have stayed there.

atravelynn Dec 28th, 2011 05:55 AM

Here's something to complicate your planning. Let's say you go to Vic Falls. Depending on your timing, one night can be enough to enjoy and linger at the falls, but not do all the other activities. From Vic falls, it is just a couple of hours by road to Chobe, Botswana, for an outstanding wildlife river cruise. Vic Falls-Chobe transfers are easy and common and I've done it, no sweat. You might even consider a Chobe house boat for a few nights. Let me find that link and stick it in the next post. I'd do the house boat if I can get back to Chobe. If you want adventure*, a house boat might be in that category.

Also if you want adventure*, a couple more days in Vic Falls can offer all sorts of adrenaline activities like white water rafting and bungee jumping, stuff I'd never do.

How long at each camp? Minimum 3 nts. Since Mana Pools offers, walking, driving, canoeing, you might want 4 nts there. At Matobo Hills, there are several options such caves and walks that can take a day, you might want 4 nts. I spent 4 at Mana, Matoba, and 3 in Hwange and thought that was a good apportionment.

*You mentioned "adventure" in a previous post.

atravelynn Dec 28th, 2011 06:00 AM

safariboats above

lhgreenacres Dec 28th, 2011 06:06 AM

Atravelynn-I like your suggestion and am going to check into it. I only wish that I could win the lottery between now and then. I do not think my $1 scratchers are going to yield the big return. My New Year's Resolution is to be able to travel as much as you do, Lynn. I am dying to know how you do it??

raelond Dec 28th, 2011 10:21 AM

I think Lynn's secret is peanut butter!

Femi Dec 29th, 2011 05:25 AM

Ha ha, raelond beat me to it!

John_Berry Dec 29th, 2011 06:37 AM

There was a recent article by Travel Africa in the UK about Zimbabwe being really good value for money.

Here's the source material:

We're all hoping for some big change on the horizon in Zimbabwe but in the meantime prepare to be greeted by some big personalities, warm smiles and simply tremendous service if you travel next year...

Include Hwange from Vic Falls and the effort it takes to get into Mana and ideally Matusadona will be rewarded.

raelond Dec 29th, 2011 09:23 AM

Ihgreenacres I used Chris Worden (Victoria Falls office) of Zambezi Travel and Safari Company for my trip.

lhgreenacres Dec 29th, 2011 09:59 AM

Raelond-As I have been exploring Zimbabwe further I am becoming increasingly concerned about the costs of the transfers. I do not want a huge portion of the budget on transfers and it looks like it might be a problem as there seems to not be in way to get from Mana Pools to Hwange without a private charter. If anyone else has a different experience, please let me know. I did contact Chris and if seems that they recommend the Wilderness Safari Camps, probably so that their planes are used for the transport. What is your itinerary and what camps are you using? The cost also seemed to be somewhat high as the trip was only 9 nights in the camps and 2 in Victoria Falls.

ShayTay Dec 29th, 2011 02:06 PM

Using one company with camps at various locations can cut those transfer costs. The African Bush Camps company that I mentioned earlier (Somalisa, et al) has an 11-night deal including Vic Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools for $5176. That includes transfers.

atravelynn Dec 30th, 2011 08:18 AM

The value for the money comment in Zim is backed up by Shaytay's figures.

"Lynn, I am dying to know how you do it??"

"It" being traveling a few times a year. Because I write about all the trips I've taken it might seem like I am always on the go.

My travel budget equals or exceeds all other annual expenses combined.

I am fortunate to live in a picturesque and fairly safe area that is impoverished, so rent has always been very low. The city is so far behind, it is on the cutting edge of the new community development trends of building little old fashioned villages where you can walk to everything. Shopping, doctors, work, parks are all accessible on foot or by bike. No need for 2 cars.

I am fortunate to have no other material desires besides travel and my husband has no other material desires at all. He is funny and entertaining enough that we don't even need cable but we do get books and DVDs from the library.

For outside entertainment I belong to a community center I can walk to and an environmental group that I can usually walk or ride my bike to. In fact my Fodors profile states my other hobbies are something like, "walking around picking up garbage and walking around without picking up garbage."

No spas, no ski trips, no shopping sprees, no B&B weekends, no redecorating, no big screens, no fancy coffees, no expensive photo equipment.

Our palates prefer cheap food such as beans and rice, PB&J, pasta, soup, etc. and we hardly ever go out to eat.

For many people this would be a boring life when not "on safari."

Other than one $80/yr basic cell phone, one computer, and one laptop I need to use sometimes for work, we have no other technology devices.

Our extended families live within 20 miles, so it is not an expense to visit them.

There is no social pressure where I live to have facial work, a fancy hairdo, expensive makeup, or fashionable clothes. People are too busy surviving to worry about that. Most of my wardrobe is Value Village, a 2nd hand store a step below Goodwill.

We have access to several recycle bins and remove the metal to recycle for cash. I think it's legal.

Other than 2 years of student loans and a property my husband owned the first year of our marriage, we have never had a debt.

For years my husband and I each worked more than one job. We invested during one of the biggest bull markets in the history of the universe, 1982-2000.

Luck has been on our side--no severe illnesses that exceeded insurance limits, no major costly accidents, no divorces or alimony, no family members that needed more than a few thousand dollars, no wild investment schemes that went bust, steady employment while it lasted with health coverage that continues currently, excellent part-time jobs after steady employment ended, no huge unexpected financial setbacks.

Back to Zimbabwe.

Femi Dec 30th, 2011 03:54 PM

A lot to think about in your post Lynn.

lhgreenacres Dec 30th, 2011 08:44 PM

Atravelynn-thank you for that post. You truly have been fortunate but are obviously a person who has made sacrifices and compromises to do what you love. What a great thing to think about for the New Year.

Devey1 Dec 31st, 2011 09:47 AM

You could try Ngoko Safaris, I can highly recommend them.

3 nights minimum in each camp and I would recommend Vundu Camp or Ruckomechi in Mana Pools, Rhino Island Camp in Matusadona (nothing beats Kariba sunsets), and Somalisa is outstanding in Hwange (tried the competitors but this camp beats them all).
Vic Falls Hotel also has a 4 night for the price of 3 offer, and you can't beat the views - ask for Room 55 or 56.

raelond Dec 31st, 2011 10:02 AM

Ihgreenacres let me knowi if you got my itinerary that you requested on safartalk.

lhgreenacres Dec 31st, 2011 03:54 PM

Devey1- We actually just got a quote from Doug MacDonald which includes all the places you suggested. It would start in Victoria Falls then on to Hwange at Somalisa then back to Victoria Falls and fly to Kariba and stay at Rhino Camp and then on to Vundu Camp in Mana Pools. The only thing that I am concerned about is the amount of nights at each place. It is three nights at Hwange, 3 at Rhino Camp and 4 at Mana Pools and the first night is at Victoria Falls. I am concerned that we do not have enough time at Mana Pools. When did you go to Zimbabwe, how long were you in each place?

lhgreenacres Dec 31st, 2011 05:35 PM

Raelond- I did and thank you. I asked you another few questions as well.

atravelynn Jan 1st, 2012 09:01 AM

Here are some detailed Mana Pools reports that might help.

Working several jobs was a sacrifice, the rest mentioned above is my preferred lifestyle, so no compromises, all with the added bonus of travel money.

Maybe I'll see ya in Mana Pools, Greenacres!

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