Zimbabwe is looking good-Need suggestions??

Jan 1st, 2012, 10:04 AM
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Atravelynn- Thanks for the report links. I have looked at them and Zambabwe sounds great but as you seem to have as well, I have a slight trepediation. I called South African Airways today regarding their cancellation policy as I do worry if we have to cancel. We would love to see you in Mana Pools. How many days would think is a good about of time there? The other itinerary I am looking at is Zambia. The South Luangwa sounds great but the Lower Zambezi, less so especially as the camp price per night is very high. My problem is that we come from California and after flying all that way 11 nights in a country feels too short. It seems that most of the itineraries are around that amount of time I am sure for budget reasons as adding night at $750 a night the cost goes up very quickly. Any thoughts on Zambia vs Zimbabwe separate from the political situation. If really looks like Zimbabwe will provide a more unique experience but maybe I am wrong.
lhgreenacres is offline  
Jan 1st, 2012, 11:17 AM
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I know what you mean about trepidation and that's why I won't do anything before elections are established, not that such a date guarantees anything. There may be lots of people waiting for election dates and once those are established, Zim availability could be tight.

Is one of your questions, "Is it worth going to Africa, regardless of country, for 11 nights?" For most Americans that is about all the vacation time there is, so I think 11 days is fine. I've gone to Africa for just 8 nights and probably will again--as you mention it cuts way down on costs. I've noted a couple of times that after a timeframe as short as 4 full days, I've felt I had been on vacation and if something cut my trip short, I would feel satisfied.

Zim vs Zam--You'll have a great time in either spot. But I wouldn't choose any destination that had me worrying up until the time of arrival and then maybe a few worries while in the country. That's not a holiday, that's just unneeded stress. Zimbabwe, at the current prices, is very hard to top. If costs were equal, I'd give just a little edge to Zimbabwe over Zambia for safari activities.

If you've looked at those Zim reports posted above, check out some of the Zambia reports such as 9 days in South Luangwa on the same site. Very impressive as well.

You travel enough that you could hold off on Zim until things settle down. Time will probably increase the costs a little, but that could be a price you'd be willing to pay. A trip that included N and S Luangwa and Kafue in Zambia would be very different from a Mana Pools, Matusadona, Hwange trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 1st, 2012, 11:51 AM
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I've been contemplating this Zam itinerary for a while now:


I am thinking it could combine with S Luangwa and keep costs reasonable.

I am afraid atravelynn is right. When the elections (or death) are done and the expected fallout from that is finished, prices in Zim will go up. One of my fears is fuel shortages in Zim - in 2006 in Vic Falls we had to combine a transfer with other people (no problem for us) because they needed to save fuel. It's one of the first things that would not be available at the camps if there are major election issues. I'm going to wait it out.
christabir is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Somalisa in Hwange, hands down my favorite camp of all time. Enjoyed Vic Falls on the Zim side.
I've been to Zim once, Zambia 3 times. Want to go back to both next year.
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 10:18 PM
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matnikstym-That is one of the camps that has been recommended. Did you have a private guide there or did you go in a group. My main concern now is the issue of private guides. We have always had one and I am concerned especially with this type of safari, with a lot of walking, how it would be in a group. Our itinerary is now looking at 1 night Vic Falls, 3 in Hwange, 3 in Matusadona and 7 in Mana Pools divided between two camps. Thoughts?? We are now also maybe looking at a road transfer instead of the private charter is from Mana Pools to Harare which is very expensive.
lhgreenacres is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 11:26 PM
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You can get a resident private guide+vehicle in Somalisa for USD 250 per day. I was talking to them back in June when I was looking at add ons and I think they have 3 guides in Somalisa. I thought the price was fairly reasonable given what private vehicles are costing these days in Southern Africa!

We are also transfering by road from Harare to Mana ( 3 people ) and the transfer should be not more than 5, tops 6 hours.

Nice you got 7 in Mana.
tanya_1976 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 08:14 AM
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Tanya- actually we are going to transfer to Lusaka which is great because we can fly into Vic Falls on South African Airways and also fly out of Luska on South African Airways on a 4:30 pm flight. I think that the transfer is about five hours which part is by boat so it should not be too bad. It is a lot better that that very expensive charter we would have had to pay for the two of us. The only other option is if we can find some to share the charter on the same day that is leaving Mana Pools. I am going to wait to buy the international and see what happens. If we had to make a choice between have the private guide in Somalisa or Matusadona which would you choose. I am hoping we can do both, Doug will be guiding us in Mana Pools and now that we got rid of the really expensive transfer it might be possible.
lhgreenacres is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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Yeah the deadly charter costs- thats why I had to drop Hwange.

I dont know much not having been there but I would go for a private guiding in Hwange versus Matusdona only because in September especially I would expect Hwange to be a lot busier- within Somalisa as well as the other camps. Infact at Matusdona, Sangeeta and I dont have a private vehicle- we just plan to let those folks know we want to spend as much time with the rhinos as possible!
tanya_1976 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 05:20 PM
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when we went to Somalisa, we were the only ones in camp so we got the private guide without having to pay. They had a Willy's jeep we got to ride around in every day, very cool, low to the ground. Best guide ever, Foster. He's no longer there but his brother is affiliated with Ngoko safaris.
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 07:02 PM
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matnikstym-when and what time of year were you there. Do you think having the private guide in Somalisa made a considerable difference. I really like to take pictures and even when it is just the two of us in a vehicle I seem to have to really maneuver to get pictures. I can't imagine if we there were six people how it would be. I think it a canoe or walking it is not as much of a issue but definitely in a jeep.
lhgreenacres is offline  
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