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Question for R. regarding Zambia itin.

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Hello Rocco, hope your trip was beautiful, looking forward to read more but for now i m just giving you my itinerary again and would like you to honestly tell me if i should still make any changes. I could change the first bit, started havin doubts after you wrote you kinda prefered Chongwe to Kasaka.

11th October 2005
Ex KLM arrive 1140am at Lusaka flight LUN-JEK dep 1400hrs arrive 1440hrs. Sausage tree camp for one night.

12th October 2005
Depart Sausage tree camp at 1500hrs by boat to Kasaka River Lodge in time to conduct the evening drive at Kasaka beginning at 1630hrs
Stay at Kasaka River Lodge Honeymoon suite.

13th October 2005
Stay at Kasaka River Lodge

14th depart Kasaka River Lodge at 0730 LA103B LUN – LVI 1030hrs depart 1130hrs arrive Livingstone.
Royal Livingstone Hotel.

15th October 2005
Royal Livingstone Hotel

16th October 2005
Puku Ridge.

17th October 2005
Puku Ridge

18th October 2005
transfer from Puku Ridge to Luangwa River Lodge

19th October 2005
Luangwa River Lodge

20th October 2005
Luangwa River Lodge

21st October 2005
KLM 1245 flight to Amsterdam

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    I read Rocco's report and also said -- maybe I should spend 2 days at Chongwe instead of 4 days at Kasaka -- but I think it is unfair of us to change camps at this late date -- these are small camps that have been holding the space for us and may have turned down other business. If it were 3 months out then they would have a chance to rerent the rooms but with it less than a month to go, it is a big blow to them to not have it rented. So I am staying at Kasaka for the whole 4 days and will enjoy it.

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    I would rate the camps as follows:

    Location - Chongwe 9.0, Kasaka 8.0, Chiawa 10.0 (toured Chiawa while at Chongwe)

    Guiding - Kasaka 9.0 (Morat will more than likely be your guide and he is superior to George at Chongwe who would stand a good chance of being your guide), Chongwe 8.0, Chiawa N/A (I don't know, as I didn't stay there, but I would expect only the best). Also, Kasaka gets high marks for Louis who runs their boat cruises and tiger fishing. With his help I was able to land my first tiger fish (catch and release) and then I went on to catch two more, unassisted, at Chongwe thanks to his fishing lesson.

    Food - Kasaka 8.5, Chongwe 8.5

    Accomodations - Kasaka 8.75, Chongwe 8.75, Chiawa 9.5 (again, I only briefly visited the camp but electricity in the tents is a major plus for someone with electronics). For anyone visiting Chongwe, Tents #7 and #8 are slightly larger and are a nice distance from the bar. The dining area, firepit and bar are directly located between tents #1 and #2.

    Camp - Chongwe 9.0 (such a nice wide open feel to it, with elephants in camp at various times throughout the day), Kasaka 8.0 (although it would be better for someone who would not be comfortable with very close encounters with elephants as it is on a high embankment), Chiawa 9.75 (two story tall elevation deck and various animals in camp during my brief visit, as well as being the only one of the three in the national park)

    Management: Kasaka 9.0, Chongwe 8.75 (because at Kasaka you are only dealing with one management couple instead of various managers, there are never any mix-ups), Chiawa n/a (I would really need to stay there)

    Alejandra, I would not worry too much about staying at Kasaka. It is a very good camp...definitely not worth incurring any cancellation fees, and I do think Esther & Hugo at Kasaka are excellent at managing the camp. Just one is about a 25 - 30 minute drive from Kasaka into the national park. What I would do is request a combination river boat cruise into the park for your afternoon/evening game drive, while then enjoying your game drive while already in the park.

    You will really see a lot on the boat cruises. For example, I saw a herd of about five elephants about 5 meters overhead and I was able to get some nice photos from below, including of a baby elephant nursing from its mother. So, while some are paying $850 pp per night sharing to enjoy the elephant hide at Kings Pool in Linyanti, I was able to get an even better vantage point and there was nothing artificial about it! :)

    One last word of advice...don't burn yourself out on game drives while in the Lower Zambezi, as you will have plenty of opportunity for game drives in South Luangwa. More likely than not, you will find it too hot to want to go on bush walks in South Luangwa so you will probably be doing entirely game drives. I do think the river activities would be the same at either Kasaka or Chongwe. Do as many river activities as possible in Lower Zambezi because the interior is really, really dry and is not nearly as beautiful as being on the Zambezi river.

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