AfricIan

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Everything posted by AfricIan

  1. Thanks fine @ronhalv, happy planning. If it helps, back in 2014 for our trip to the Kafue, Zambia I enquired about adding on a few days on Lake Malawi & quickly discounted it when I got the prices! It might be less from South Luangwa but certainly from the Kafue it was a very expensive add-on. I think you could do a nice 7 day combo to the lake & either Liwonde or Majete - Mvuu camp was very good and on their "international guest" package you get 3 activities a day so out first thing in the morning, back for breakfast, out again until lunch then out again mid-afternoon getting back in the dark. Thawale only offer 2 activities in their package but they do have the waterhole in front of camp and whilst the Lodge itself was fine, the impression we got was that it was running on minimal stock levels for everything - they didn’t have any tonic for the sundowner Gin & Tonic and only had red wine on one night (no white at all any time we were there) but that really is nit-picking as we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. I can't recommend Mumbo highly enough - although the water strikes a bit chilly when you first get in, it's fine after that and we were snorkelling until we "got wrinkly" rather than cold. The water was beautifully clear and there were always lots of very colourful cichlids swimming round us. Both Mumbo & Mvuu are listed with CAWS so you might get a good combo deal
  2. Hi @ronhalv, We were in Malawi at the start of June and although ours was a 2 week trip you could easily do a safari/beach trip in your 7-8 days (does this include your international flights?). Our itinerary was: Day 1: Arrive Lilongwe airport & light-aircraft transfer to Nkhotakota (Bua River Lodge - 2 nights). Day 3: Transfer to Salima Bay (Livingstonia Hotel 1 night). Day 4: Transfer to Mumbo Island (3 nights). Day 7: Transfer to Liwonde NP (Mvuu camp for 3 nights). Day 10: Transfer to Zomba Plateau (Zomba Forest Lodge for 2 nights). Day 12: Transfer to Majete Wildlife Reserve (Thawale Lodge for 3 nights). Day 15: Transfer to Blantyre airport for international flight home The trip was "not without incident" and we're currently "in discussion" with our TO so I'm going to have to confine my thoughts a little: Bua River Lodge – Beautiful setting on the banks of the river, right in the elephant translocation area. Many elephant but not much more wildlife, very nice walks both up & downstream of the lodge. Livingstonia Hotel - On a nice beach, rather faded colonial era hotel that seems to be the R&R centre for the US Embassy. Very windy when we were there so "red flag" was up ie no swimming. Mumbo Island - ~7km offshore in Lake Malawi. Idyllic, ideal for relaxation, swimming (certificated Bilharzia free), snorkelling, kayaking, and easy walking over trails round the island. Beautiful sunset boat trips round the island. Excellent food. Mvuu camp – very nice camp & a great guide. Game drives, boat trips and bush walk. Lots of Elephant and other wildlife but no "apex predators" although cheetah have just been re-introduced. Zomba Forest Lodge – really nice owners, very comfortable & good food. Thawale Lodge – nice camp & a very good guide. Lots of wildlife coming to drink at the waterhole just in front of the lodge & tents and out on the game drives. Boat trips not as good as Liwonde, mainly due to the speed of the river. If I was to pick two places then there is little between Liwonde & Majete whilst Mumbo is stunning. Photo's from the trip are up on my Flickr page so you can get an idea on what you could expect. ps Ethiopian Airlines fly a loop from Addis to Lilongwe to Blantyre to Addis so you don't necessarily have to route through Lilongwe (though if you fly into Blantyre & out of Lilongwe you will be sitting on the plane whilst passengers disembark/embark on both legs).
  3. I've not got a booking with Doug either
  4. Yes, we were there in early June & can confirm there are many happy elephants wandering around Nkhotakota. Our visit was before this years movement but those that were relocated last year have settled in very well - this youngster, photographed from the deck of our tent, made the trip "inside it's mothers tummy"! My TR has been delayed but hopefully I'll get it to you before too long
  5. Takes me straight back almost 20 years - walking through the spray, child in each hand, absolutely soaked, like the family entry in the wet T-shirt competition - one indelible memory! I can see you're already on part 4 so I've a bit of catching up to do
  6. @inyathi, @Soukous I've just created a Flickr site to hold my images now that google have dumped Picasaweb - I didn't have to create a Yahoo account and can use my gmail address to access it
  7. Yes, @xyz99, Diamox is a diuretic but I don't think it's a particularly powerful one. If you don't like the idea of taking a diuretic then you could always try Viagra instead, it's also meant to be quite an effective anti altitude sickness medication
  8. 1st try from Flickr Well that was easy And clicking on the image takes you straight to the image in Flickr - even more impressive!
  9. Really enjoying this @Grasshopper_Club, I wonder where all those buffalo were hiding when we were there?
  10. @xyz99 I'd say Cusco can just about be seen in a day, Sacsayhuaman isn't to be missed but there are many others and you're probably best having 2 nights there to make best use of time. 2 days in the Sacred Valley is the minimum as there is so much to see there. Weather in September was great, we had no rain the whole 2 weeks and most of the time it was T-shirt with a light sweater/jacket for when it got cloudy & in the evenings, ideal for wandering round. As others have said, the potential for an adverse reaction to the altitude shouldn't be underestimated though, we flew into Cusco from Lima (OK, the worst way to do it) and our first afternoon was pretty much a write-off due to altitude sickness. Both my wife & I had really thick/woosy heads that first afternoon & were just wandering aimlessly, unable to concentrate on doing much more than putting one foot in from of the other!! After a nights sleep I was fine but my wife continued to suffer until she started taking Diamox tablets and was generally OK after that, including up at Lake Titicaca (3,800m, 12,500ft), the highest point on our trip was 4,100m but that was towards the end of the trip as we were heading towards Arequipa so were well acclimatised by then.
  11. Hi @xyz99, although we didn't take in the wildlife section you are looking to do, we had a great trip to Peru in September last year so however you schedule things I'm sure you will enjoy it. Our trip was 14 night (in Peru + i night on the flight back to the UK) split into: Lima - 2 nights Cusco - 2 nights Sacred Valley - 2 nights Aguas Caliente - 1 night (so we had an afternoon & 3/4 of the following day in Machu Picchu) Cusco - 1 night (so we could get to the station for the train to Puno) Puno - 2 nights (Lake Titikaka) Colca Canyon - 1 night (Condors) Arequipa - 2 nights Lima - 1 night That scheduling worked out quite nicely, the only change I'd make (in hindsight) would be to have 2 nights at Colca Canyon to relax a little, possibly skipping the last night in Lima although that would mean flying from Arequipa to Lima and on to the UK on the same day so spending a few hours in Lima airport waiting for the connection. The tour we took was modular and the folk we met who did take the "jungle" option (based near Puerto Maldonado) thoroughly enjoyed it.
  12. I've posted an update to this on @Tom Kellie's post
  13. After 20 years, Cheetah have been reintroduced to Malawi. https://www.african-parks.org/newsroom/press-releases/cheetahs-return-to-malawi-after-20-year-absence Just in time for our visit, 7 days & 8hrs until we leave for Malawi
  14. Yes @Tom Kellie, they did bring in 5 but unfortunately one died before release, I'm not sure of the reason. One had been released from the boma into the greater park when we were at Liwonde and we did take a drive to that area of the park to look for it but we weren't successful - 1 animal in ~50 sq.km of park was always going to be a long shot but we had to at least try!. I believe the others were released from the bomas last Friday (16th). Although the animals are all have radio collars, African Parks are not releasing details of their movements to the camps to give them the best chance of settling in undisturbed. ps A TR from our Malawi travels will stagger out in due course - once I've sorted all the photo's out
  15. Hi @AmyT, just a quick report back on Ethiopian Airlines flights to/from Malawi. LHR to ADD was indeed on the sparkly new A350 which was on-time, smooth, quiet & as comfortable as cattle class gets. Food was perfectly edible but because they insisted on feeding us both dinner and full breakfast there wasn't much "sleep time" on the 7 1/2hr flight. From ADD to Lilongwe was on a reasonably up-to-date 737 & was again on-time but noticeably noisier & less comfortable than the A350. The hot meal wasn't particularly nice but the other bits on the tray were fine. For the return legs, although the plane arrived in Blantyre on-time we took off over 1hr late (no explanation) and once again the A350 ADD to LHR leg was fine. Addis airport is indeed cramped & chaotic but on the way back my (adult) daughter needed some minor medical attention (she's fine) & I was very impressed how well wasn't well this was handled by the ground staff. All in I was quite happy with our first experience of Ethiopian & would certainly use them again.
  16. Weldricks Pharmacy have a great price of £1.25 per tablet on atovaquone/proguanil (Generic Malarone). Seemed almost too good as the best price I'd seen previously was ~£1.90 per tablet but I've got them in front of me now, they are Mylan branded and well inside their expiry date so look fine. https://www.weldricks.co.uk/products/atovaquoneproguanil-hydrochloride-250mg100mg-1-tablet
  17. Whilst I'm also wary of pure online sellers @@COSMIC RHINO, in this case Weldricks are a chain of physical pharmacies so you can go and "bang on the counter" if things are not as they should be.
  18. We're flying with them for our trip to Malawi (LHR -> ADD -> LLW on the way out & BLZ -> ADD -> LHR on the way back). LHR -> ADD & back is on a new A350 XWB which is getting as positive reviews as the 787. As others have said, Addis Ababa isn't the best airport in the world to transit through but the difference in cost between Ethiopian & other carriers was huge. I'll let you know how we get on - 84.5 hrs to go
  19. I'm not banking on being able to see them @@wilddog but it would be great if we could, African Parks base is near Mvuu camp where we'll be so I'm guessing the boma might be nearby, we'll see what happens when we get there. Although we leave UK a week today, we're not in Liwonde until the 9th June so there is a bit of time for AP to gauge how well they are settling in
  20. For our 2013 trip (http://safaritalk.net/topic/13087-madagascar-coast-to-coast/), we used Close Encounters Travel a small UK TO however during discussions with them & another TO it became clear that both were using IC Tours as their Madagascar operator. Whilst we were very happy with our driver/guide, as we got into the tour it was pretty clear that the timings in our itinerary were ludicrously optimistic & we had to carry out some pretty significant modifications to the remainder of the trip to get something both we and our driver/guide thought was reasonable. So, whilst IC Tours were responsive to our requests for change (at a price!!), I'm still of the opinion that they were happy to set down unrealistic daily schedules if they thought we might go elsewhere if they didn't - something to keep in mind.
  21. Interesting you say that you noticed the wind causing waves on the river in the morning but no wind in the afternoon. Our experience was that there was quite a strong breeze in the afternoons, to such an extent that the boat was dragging its anchor. Different day, slightly different time of year (we were there in October), who says Africa is predictable
  22. Stunning @@Grasshopper_Club what a great day
  23. As @Soukous says, it is the wrong side of Lusaka for Kafue but you can ask for a packed breakfast to speed you on your way - worked for us.
  24. Pioneer Lodge comes highly recommended, they will pick you up/drop you off - I think its ~$30 per trip (not per person)
  25. I've steered clear of posting before now as the title said favorite mosquite repellent with deet but more recent posts have broadened the scope so, for what its worth, here are my thoughts: 1) The "problem" with DEET affecting many plastics has led many people to avoid using it although in reality it's no worse than say acetone (nail varnish remover) 2) Although DEET is classed as a harmful chemical, all the reviews of it's effects on human health has found it safe to use on the skin. The skin is a wonderful barrier to many harmful products, just don't swallow it or spray it in your eyes and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after applying! 3) DEET is probably the most effective insect repellent there is and the one your doctor will almost certainly recommend but be aware that it doesn't kill insects (like eg permethrins), only "wards them off". If you want to read further, the EPA's DEET review is worth a look. Having said all the above, as I don't fancy trashing my camera and/or lenses, I'm not a fan and try to avoid using it so my go-to products are: a - Avon Skin-so-Soft dry oil body spray which really does seem to work although there is a big caveat that because it's a "beauty product", Avon can change the formulation if & whenever they like so there's no guarantee of it continuing to work as a Mozzi repellent. b - Mossiguard - in my experience, rubbish against mosquitos but does deter Tetse-fly if applied liberally & regularly

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