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Found 119 results

  1. South Luangwa National Park!! YAAAYYYYY!!!!! Our time in Africa this May/June actually began in Botswana, but we loved SLNP so much I thought I would do my trip reports out of order so that I could get the Zambia component out ASAP before I forgot everything. I got lazy and didn't continue with my daily journal/notes. Here we are 3 months later and so much of the information and detail, like people's names have escaped me already. Thank goodness for photos! Just note that the order of events may be totally wrong. As a bit of background this was our second time to Africa, having been to Tanzania and South Africa in 2015. That was supposed to be our once in a lifetime Africa trip, but like many before us, we fell in love with the continent and being on safari and had to return. Although as much as we loved those countries we wanted to try others, and settled on Botswana and Zambia. Zimbabwe and Namibia will have to wait till next time! Our Zambia itinerary: 2 days Vic Falls 6 days SLNP As you can probably tell from the thread title, we stayed at Flatdogs, which is a camp just outside of the Mfuwe gate. We loved our stay here so much. The staff were great, and we met some guests who were on their third return to Flatdogs. We could tell from the beginning we had made a very good choice. I would happily recommend them to anyone. Going through the pictures for this trip report is bringing back such lovely memories, and a few surprises as well. Before I go on I have to show you this! Here is a picture of a hyena I took about 30 metres away..... Now check out THIS easter egg!!! I caught this after zooming in on my computer and my jaw just about hit the floor. Now if I could just get into my time machine to go chase that leopard... I'm still shaking my head in disbelief Haha, anyway to kick off.. Our first game drive was an evening one. We had no expectations at all going in which I think is the best approach when it comes to nature, because everything is then a pleasant surprise. Our first sighting! We were delighted to find a group of hippos in a pond/lake covered in crisp green vegetation. The hippos were happily munching away, it was a gorgeous sight in the lovely afternoon glow. Rude hippo letting one rip right next to his neighbour Hamerkop hitching a ride Bird (sorry I don't know what it is!!) Owl (sorry again from the worst birder ever) Baby puku - so cute! Baboon sunset In the evening our driver Kennedy had gotten word of a leopard sighting, which of course got the excitement going. All of the jeeps were rushing in that direction and we did see it but the number of jeeps put Kennedy off from hanging around. He assured us, "Don't worry. We will find our own leopard". And find our own, he did! We had this one all to ourselves We stayed with this guy for quite some time watching him sleep and just had our sundowners in the car in silence, which was perfect for us. We are the sort of people who would skip sundowners every time if it meant more time just sitting with the animals. After a while, he decided it was time to wake up for the day I think I'm hungry Time for breakfast Here's half a baboon I prepared earlier The other party of 4 in the jeep were not keen to follow this leopard or watch it consume its meal so we had to leave, which is a big shame. We saw another leopard as well and were first to the sighting before a bunch of other jeeps showed up. We couldn't believe we had just seen 3 leopards in one night. Our jaws were agape at how great this drive was and how incredible SLNP was shaping up to be in just 3 hours! We also saw a bunch of other cool night critters. Here's a bush baby!! And a genet. This was our first good look at one. It was amazing. This one wasn't shy and we watched it for a good 10 minutes stalk and chase prey. Gosh they are cute. There ends a great first drive. No more wildlife tonight. Unless you count this little friend waiting for us back in our room
  2. With so many new trip reports coming up, and some excellent ones to be glued to (SD and GW, Soukous, Pault and the ongoing Zim ones), I’m just wondering if I should do my TR now. Especially since I’m entering the busiest time of my work calendar which means I won’t have time to update the report promptly. But if I don't, given my propensity for procrastinating and for forgetting details, my report may not even get a kickstart! So just a brief introduction to SLNP. Safaridude had an excellent intro to Zambia (which is at http://safaritalk.net/topic/11635-a-safari-all-over-zambia-september-2013/). I can’t hope to follow his brilliant account, so in my usual style, I shall just ramble on and share my thoughts as I go along. The first time I had heard of SLNP was SD’s trip report. Later, I read about the North Luangwa park when I researched the Owenses’ adventures, or should I say misadventures, in the park, and once more in Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the dogs tonight, and finally reading and crying about it in Fransje van Riel’s My Life with Leopards. The last book was most appropriate; it is a leopard show in SLNP; in fact it was a Big Cat show through the trip. We were drawn by the remoteness of the place which sounded historical and romantic at the same time, and by the desire to see leopards. Dry expansive Luangwa river
  3. I know that everyone always says "bring a fleece" and on past safaris I have done so, and often was glad that I did, when we'd hit a rain front or chilly morning. But that seems highly unlikely for South Luangwa/Lower Zambezi the first two weeks in September. It looks to me that the lowest temperatures might be in the mid 60's (that's 15-20C I think) which seems way too warm for a fleece. This is the current forecast for Mfuwe and I don't think it will change much in the next couple of weeks (except maybe get hotter!) Is Lower Zambezi even hotter than South Luangwa, or about the same? Is Victoria Falls much cooler than the Luangwa valley? We've got very light fleeces but while light, they take up space and I just have a feeling they won't get used. Would a long-sleeve t-shirt be sufficient in place of a fleece?
  4. Having had a fantastic safari last year in Tanzania( Selous, Ruaha, Katavi, Serengeti - report posted in Trip reports , Tanzania ), we have now decided our next safari will be ( provisionally ) to Zambia in 2017. We are thinking of two weeks -most likely to include South Luangwa and Kafue. We have never been to Zambia before ( other than Victoria Falls), so would welcome comments, advice , suggestions, tips, etc , regarding locations, camps,time of year , etc. Early days yet but two things are decided for definite, we will be booking it with ATR and the maximum budget, excluding international flights, will be £6000 ($9000) per person. Obviously I can get a lot of info from ATR's website but would also prefer to have, as well, the advice of those of you who have been there. All suggestions welcome, please.....
  5. Preamble ~ Although this was my umpteenth visit to Africa and 4th safari in the South Luangwa I hadn’t been to Africa since 2008. Whilst life had gotten in the way I had kept my enthusiasm for safaris reading the numerous TRs here on ST. In 2008 the safari finished in the South Luangwa and this is where this trip began. The duration of this safari was 28 days including travel which allowed for 11 nights in South Luangwa, then 15 days in the Mara (the Mara will be in a separate TR). Peter my travelling companion, is a TA with over 30 years experience travelling to Africa, (often 4 times a year!) Nepal, Antarctica and beyond so I let him handle all the arrangements. The itinerary was based on the cancelled trip when I broke my leg in 2015. It consisted of; 3 nights Kafunta River Lodge 5 nights Mwamba Bush Camp 3 nights Kaingo Camp Initially we had tried for Flatdogs camp but it was booked out during our travel timeframe so with a plethora of options in the Mfuwe area we replaced it with Kafunta River lodge mainly because of the cheaper rates. A decision I did not regret. I have stayed at Mwamba & Kaingo before and they are my favourite camps in SLNP. I won’t elaborate further on the camps chosen unless I’m asked and rather than give a day by day ~ blow by blow description I’ll just post some images and provide relevant comment. In this first post a few images of what you're likely to see. The sun rising over Lion Plain not far from Mwamba camp. What will the day bring? South Luangwa is renowned for leopard and this trip did not disappoint. A leopardess patiently waiting for her beau to finish his impala dinner that he did not share with her. Even so it did not affect their romance and we heard (rather than saw them) mating in the thickets the next morning. Replete with buffalo meat the Mwamba pride retires to the shade, whilst the adults snoozed some of the cubs watched the vultures game enough to try for scraps. The area around Lion Plain hosts a few lion prides. The two prides mainly seen are the Hollywood Pride (so named as they are so often filmed by the BBC etc) and the Mwamba Pride. Carmine Bee-eater in flight. I captured this image from Kaingo's Bee-eater hide. Basically a tin boat with a canvas blind (works a treat). If you are in SLNP from about August onwards thousands of these birds nest in the river banks. Spectacular fliers they are a beautiful sight. An elephant road block. The only sort of traffic jam I enjoy.
  6. I just received this from my travel agent: " Regarding ZIM/ZAM visa- We have just received an update over the weekend that Zambia has run out of KAZA visa stickers and thus not issuing right now and until further notice. With this, one who is staying in Zambia and visits Zim and then back to Zam would need to obtain a multi-entry visa for Zambia $80 per person and a single entry visa for Zimbabwe $30 per person. Sorry to bear this news. " Can anyone on the ground confirm whether this is accurate? If so, its a major pain in the you-know-what for our trip--we arrive in Lusaka next week. It really makes our one day trip into Zim at Victoria Falls prohibitively expensive, but there's not much I can do about it except bite the bullet, as we have a birding excursion set up there and we really did want to see the falls from the Zim side, especially in September when the Zambia side may not be very impressive. There's nothing about this on the KAZA visa web page, it still is promoting it.
  7. A returm to Zambia. The Luangwa and Zambezi rivers Victoria Falls as, hopefully, the climax to my visit. Meaning a first, all be it quick, visit to Zimbabwe I later realised that 2017 was also the 10th anniversary of my first ever safari. All in all not a bad way to celebrate it! My schedule was as follows: 1 night Pioneer Camp Lusaka 4 nights Tafika Camp, South Luangwa National Park 4 nights Amanzi Camp, Lower Zambezi National Park 1 night Pioneer Camp Lusaka 2 nights Ilala Lodge Victoria Falls The trip was again booked through Africa Travel Resource and my contact there Anneli. Once again everything was arranged perfectly. I think the most difficult bit was trying to get the various bits of the trip to fit together particularly in the right order. Lots of puzzing of heads and trying to find 4 nights in each camp. Eventually I had to put a night in Pioneer camp in the middle of my trip. Not ideal but it meant I didn't have to change my itinerary around and start at the Falls or have private charters for flights. Ths trip was already blowing my budget, private charters were just not possible (unless I robbed a bank, and I didn't really want to do that) I added a night at Pioneer at the beginning just in case my international flights were delayed. I didn't want a re-run of last year's trip to Meru and the delayed Nairobi flight. I wanted to return to South Luangwa as I had really enjoyed my trip there a couple of years ago and also I wanted to see it in another season. Last visit was at the beginning of November, this time my visit would be at the end of June, There would be a difference, not only in temperature! Advice from ATR was to combine it with the Lower Zambezi, to give a contrast in lansdscape, flora etc. I readily agreed as I hadn't been to that park before. There would also be a contrast in camps: Tafika, rustic, a long running camp, far far out in the Northern sector of South Luangwa, very much an old style camp for the safari purist; Amanzi a new camp, not too short on extras, it even had a pool, no roughing it here! At the end of the trip I defined the contrasting camps as hardcore safari and safari light. Only the camps themselves.......the parks and the wildlife where just as good at both locations. So that was the planning and the hopes and ideas for the trip. Now you are asking what happened when I got there? Short answer...... a stupendous trip! It really was special. Fantastic wildlife. There is still something I love about the Luangwa river which I cannot explain, which is going to keep drawing me back. Lower Zambezi was a great park; completely agree with ATR that it gave a good contrast to South Luangwa. And finally the falls which basically blew my mind! Wildlife wise there were 2 BIG highlights. Still undecided if I should give you all a clue, maybe add a photo here or make you all wait till I get there in this report. I will have a think about it, but I am still erring on making you all wait But as mentioned in the title there was lots of water involved in this trip therefore end of post 1 will be a few photos of the rivers and falls. Luangwa River The Zambezi Victoria Falls
  8. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Amanzi Tented Camp Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia This is the smaller sister camp to Anabezi camp. Amanzi has been open for approx 1 year. 2) Website address if known: Anabezi.com 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). 29th June - 3rd July 2017. Last 2 nights were in High Season Long stay discount avaialble at time of booking - 4 nights for price of 3. 4) Length of stay: 4 nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Small camp, not overly big build, good reputation for level of guiding. Away from main busy area of park therefore vehicle density would hopefully be less. 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Through agent (ATR) 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 8 or 9. I've lost count! 8) To which countries? Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No. There is a boardwalk around camp from which you access your tent and the dining area etc. This does mean you are slightly higher off ground but wildlife still comes close and onto boardwalk. Another bonus of boardwalk - no clambouring in and out of your vehicle. You just stepped out onto boardwalk or into car! 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 4 tents. 2 are linked together with a small bridge to be used as family unit or for larger group who want to be closer together. 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Tent 2. Tents run in one row from the dining/mess area with number 1 being closest to dining/mess area. Therefore number 2 is in the middle. Tents number 1 and 2 are widely spaced from each other. There is also sufficient space between tent number 2 and the connected family unit (tent numbers 3 and 4.) Tents have trees/bushes in between so you are not overlooked. All tents overlook channel of the Zambezi River and an island which can have wildlife on it. Each tent has a private sitting area to one side of the tent overlooking the water which has walls around the other 2 sides to give privacy from boardwalk. Tent itself has large mesh windows overlooking the water. The occassional boat does go past so there is a small chance you could have people looking up into your tent. The tents are raised higher up from the water therefore boats can not see directly into tent/sitting area. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortably and well furnished. It was huge! You walk though main door and face outside sitting area. This has two hammock chairs and 2 comfortable chairs and small table. Then turn right into your tent which runs length ways along river bank. Two upholstered comfortable armchairs nearest the door, then 2 big queen beds with mosquito nets. Small divider to inside bathroom and dressing area. Shower and toilet are further separated by three quarter walls. Sufficient space for hanging/storing clothes. For those who want it, there is a safe for valuables. Wooden floor throughout. Marketed as a luxary tented camp and for me this was correct. A mini bar, tea/coffee facilities, fluffy bathrobes and even a hairdryer are for me very luxurious on safari. I had just come from Tafika (South Luangwa) which is definitely more rustic so the contrast between camps was probably more marked. Electric sockets in dressing area (charging point for batteries etc) were not so good quality, you needed a lot of strength to plug things in. Hot water available all day. No bucket showers here! 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Food was excellent, freshly prepared and varied. Excellent chef during my stay. Very flexible in choices. Breakfast was a choice of continental or full english. We took it before morning game drive. Not sure of that would change in summer months. Lunch was buffet style. Dinner was served at table. Tea, coffee (Nespresso type machine) and other drinks available in dining/mess tent at all times. And yes there is cake before the afternoon activity! Also fruit if you want a healthy option. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance? Dinner had 3 courses for which you had a menu, changed daily. of 3 choices per course. Dietary requirements (allergies) were really well catered for. Chef was willing to make/change all 3 dinner courses to meet requirements. This had been specified on booking so was known in advance. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Single tables. Although separate groups were able to dine together during my stay. No hosting during meals. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Packed lunch was taken on full day drive. This consisted of various salads, chicken and bread. This was good and sufficient for me as lunch. 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. 2 rows of 2 seats with box in between for blankets. I ended up removing blankets and using box for water bottles and camera gear. I did see one vehicle with 3 seats in back row. Covered vehicles, with canopy. On couple of days I was in car by myself I requested open car and they took off canopy. Drive from airstrip to camp was done in completely open vehicle. Unless I missed them, no charging points. Apart from boxes between seats limited storage for your stuff. Not too many pockets in back of seat or 'tray' in front of first row of seats. 19) How many guests per row? 2. In vehicles I used this was only possible combination. 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Standard is approx 3 hours. Although my guide was willing to stay out a bit longer if sightings merited it. Varied routes. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Morning drive 07:00 start. It was winter therefore they started morning drive later. Afternoon drive started at 16:00 They were willing to go out at different times if requested. I had a full day drive, with picnic lunch to enable us to go to area around Jeki airstrip and further west First afternoon my drive was combined with picking up other guests from a boat trip. After which we game drived back to camp. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? N/A see number 23 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? Amanzi is last camp at eastern end of the Lower Zambezi National Park. At this end of the park the camp and vehicle density is a lot less then in the central area of the park. 24) Are you able to off-road? No. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Guest numbers were low plus most time was in quieter eastern side of park therefore rotation policy wasn't necessary nor did we face waits for sightings. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Not particularly well known for any wildlife. Potentially wildlife could be a bit more limited and/or scarce at this end of the park. I would definitely recommend a (full day longer) drive to further west - in or past Jeli airstrip. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Excellent. Lawrence Mazele was my guide throughout. Excellent knowledge, very experienced guide and also very personable. He was happy to have a guest who didn't just want to tick off the big five and was willing to spend time at a sighting to watch animal behaviur or wait to see how a sighting developed. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: See number 27. Plus I had one of my best ever elepehant sightings with Lawrence which was down to his experience and willingness to wait and take time with the animals. There was also a major sighting for me. For more details you are just going to have to wait for the full trip report :-) 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? All the staff were great. They looked after their guests very very well. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. No. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: At the moment Amanzi and Anabezi are having to share a ranger. Therefore opportnities for walking are limited. I was only able to do one walk during my stay. And this was only possible because Solomon the camp manager had had the foresight to arrange that I could join other guests on their walk. The camps are already in discussions with the park authorities to try and increase number of rangers. Walks are short bush walks (approx 2 hours long) to look at smaller stuff and the flora. There is no tracking or approaching of large animals. Other guests had a walk curtailed when lions were heard nearby and the guide radio'd for car to pick them up. Camp does have a boat which can be used for trips around islands and channels of the Zambezei. I felt this activity was heavily pushed and I did eventually do a short boat trip one afternoon. This activity may be more rewarding during drier summer months when more wildlife can be found on the islands in the river. The camp does have a small pool on lower deck from the dining.mess area. I didn't use it, water too cold to venture in. The camp does offer fishing. I didn't do this so can't comment. 34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings. Coming up shortly. Se my separate post.
  9. Mid september we returned from our second honeymoon (we had two weddings so I felt owed two honeymoons - any excuse to go on safari ) to Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. This was only our second introduction to Africa and to safari and may I just say: "wow! " We absolutely loved Zambia! I know people often say this, but I really really mean it, the people are just so friendly in Zambia! Everyone appears to be genuinly very happy that you are visiting their country and their beautiful park. Aside from the wildlife and the gorgeous scenery, and the delicious food and the beautiful sundowners, the people of Zambia were my favorite part of the trip! I was sold on safari after our previous trip to SA, now after visiting Zambia's South Luangwa national park I am completely in love. And we didn't even get to visit Lower Zambezi yet on this trip - I can only imagine how gorgeous that must be! Pictures to follow
  10. Now that our very first safari is booked for 2018, my dad and I want to start improving our ID skills for birds (especially) and mammals. We'll be in Zambia (South Luangwa and Kafue National Parks) in late August and September. My searches thus far for field guides have not turned up a lot for Zambia. Do you have any recommendations of books that would help us for this area? Or should I just order guides that cover bordering countries and cross-reference lists from our chosen camps? So far, I've purchased used copies of Birds of Southern Africa (Princeton; it does cover Zambia along with many other countries) and Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa (does not technically cover Zambia, although maybe it doesn't matter). We won't likely take these books along with us, so if you have any apps or pocket guides that you'd also recommend, please let me know.
  11. Hi everyone, This is my first post...I hope it's in the right place. We are looking for help in planning a safari for 2018. We really want to see ***wild dogs*** and predators/elephants/rare animals...as well as all other wildlife. We are avid photographers and have narrowed the trip down to two options...for the most part. The question is which is the better option for what we are looking for, I.e. Wild dogs. Both options are in the same price range. We know nothing is guaranteed but are looking for reliable sightings during the times we are going. Option A - Botswana in late June 2018 1 night Vic Falls 2 nights Lebala Camp 2 nights Lagoon Camp 3 nights Little Kwara Option B - Zimbabwe and Zambia in June or August or September 4 nights Nkwali Camp in S. Luangwa 4 nights John's Camp in Mana Pools *****Which is the best month for option B taking into account what we want to see? We welcome all advice/information/opinion. Thanks in advance for the help. Cheers, Eric
  12. Hi All, Take advantage of our Last Minute Special for available dates in July, August and September 2017. For any last minute NEW bookings pay 2 stay 3 nights for both Sausage Tree and Potato Bush Camp so please contact us for availability. **Not to be combined with any other special and only applies to available dates in July/August/September 2017. PS: These fantastic pictures was captured by head Guide Ryan Wilmot We wish you a pleasant day. Regards, James.
  13. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Kaingo Camp, SLNP, Zambia 2) Website address if known: here 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). September 2016, High Season 4) Length of stay: 3 Nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? A previous visit in 2008 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? A friend who is a travel agent 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 15 times 8) To which countries? Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? Comparable to Kafunta River lodge in accommodation comfort 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 6 chalets 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Unsure of chalet number, all chalets have view of Luangwa River and private. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortable, well furnished, ensuite bathroom 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Yes, excellent food 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Yes. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Communal dining for brunch & dinner, pre-morning activity coffee around campfire. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Adequate snacks & drinks for morning tea & sundowners 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Modified modern landcruisers 19) How many guests per row? 2 per row 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? 3 - 4 hours on varied routes 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Morning drives begin after sunrise, afternoon drives around 16:00. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? No. The camp is one of the few permanent camps inside SLNP. At least 3 vehicles 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? With the sister camp (Mwamba) and Lion camp nearby at times there can be a few vehicles at a sighting. 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Possibly but rotation did not occur at any sightings whilst I stayed there. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Excellent leopard and lion viewing. Good elephant numbers and general plains game with diverse variety of antelope 27) How was the standard of guiding? Excellent. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Tried his utmost to position the vehicle for a good photography perspectives. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes. Both community & conservation projects. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: here 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Very comfortable and informal camp (more like a lodge) with nice outlook over the Luangwa river with each chalet having a private viewing deck. Other activities such as walks and game viewing from the Hippo & Carmine Bee-eater hides are available. A good place to finish off with a bit more comfort after some time at Mwamba camp.
  14. Please note there is an earlier review of Mwamba Bush camp by Optig which can be found here 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Mwamba Bush camp, SLNP, Zambia 2) Website address if known: here 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). September 2016, High Season 4) Length of stay: 5 Nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? A previous stay at this camp in 2008 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Via a friend who is a travel agent 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 15 Times 8) To which countries? Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? None. 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 4 thatched grass Chalets 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? I think chalet #1 closest to the communal dining area and bar though still private. The view from this tent looks across the small ephemeral Mwamba river. 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Very comfortable bed and adequately furnished. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Yes, excellent food. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Varied menu for brunch and dinner. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Communal brunch and dinner, pre morning game drive coffee & muffin around the campfire. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Adequate drinks & snacks for both morning tea and sundowners 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. modified Land Cruisers 19) How many guests per row? 2 guests per row 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Varied game routes taken. Most drives were longer than 4 hours. 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Morning drives 6:00 - 11:00, Afternoon drives 16:00 - 20:00 but times are flexible. If something is happening you stay out longer. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? No. The camp is inside the National Park. At least two vehicles, though I remember 3 in use on a few days to cater for smaller groups. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? Vehicle density can be high at times due to the sister camp Kaingo and Lion camp in the vicinity but usually this is well managed and you can find an isolated area to yourself. 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes, though the extensive road network is excellent and well graded / maintained and this allows for very smooth driving. 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. This might be an issue but was not a problem whilst I was in camp. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? Excellent leopard sightings and big lion prides. Elephant often in camp along with a few antelope species that frequent the waterhole behind camp. 27) How was the standard of guiding? Exceptionally high standard. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: Excellent rapport, knowledge and enthusiasm made for stellar company and great sightings. 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Very attentive, especially the waiters. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes, A few community and conservation based programs. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: here 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: The authentic Zambian bush camp, rough and ready though with a level of comfort. Situated in a superb game viewing area known for its predator concentrations. Enjoyable hot showers in open air bathrooms after a long dusty day. The camp waterhole allows for exceptional game viewing between game drives and access to Kaingo camps Hippo and Carmine bee-eater hides can be organised. A top notch safari experience.
  15. 1) Name of property and country: (Please also include name of property and country as topic title and include as tags as well) Kafunta River Lodge, South Luangwa N.P., Zambia 2) Website address if known: here 3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). September, 2016 , High Season 4) Length of stay: 3 Nights 5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? Chosen as a quick stop over after lengthy travel before proceeding to more remote areas of the park 6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? Via a friend who is an agent 7) How many times have you been on Safari? 15 times 8) To which countries? Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe. 9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? None 10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No 11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 8 chalets on raised platforms 12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? All chalets are reasonably private with views over floodplain 13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Well appointed and very comfortable. 14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Excellent food. 15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Yes a varied menu was on offer. 16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Communal dining, Guides and Managers join the meals, one lunch for occupants of my vehicle was on a secluded raised platform with wait staff and guide. 17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Snacks & drinks offered (which is ample) for morning tea and sundowners 18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Modified Landcrusiers 19) How many guests per row? Two to a row 20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? 4 hours + with varied routes 21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? Supposedly 6:15 - 10:30 morning and 16:00- 19:30 afternoon but I suspect it is flexible if there is a lot of game viewing action. 22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like? No. The Lodge is situated just out side the park. Unsure of vehicle numbers. 23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? The lodge is opposite the southern area of the central game viewing section which is accessed via a pontoon. Hence vehicle density is low until vehicles using the main access route into the park drive down to that area. 24) Are you able to off-road? Yes, to some degree 25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. Unsure, perhaps 3 vehicles to a sighting but this was never a problem during my game drives. 26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? 27) How was the standard of guiding? Very good. 28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue? N/A 29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: N/A 30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Yes. 31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes. A few community & conservation programs. 32) Safaritalk trip report link: here 33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add: Extremely good value for money & a bit more than a basic safari experience. A superb lodge overlooking an amazing floodplain. Bird life is prolific and mammals are often in view. For some one who is used to basic camps it is extremely comfortable with swimming pool and hot tub spa. Massages are also offered. Unfortunately for bird photographers the floodplain is under-utilised. There is a hide underneath the main deck but it faces the wrong direction for light and is next to useless unless an elephant is nearby. A better solution would be for a mobile hide on the flood plain where you can be escorted by an armed game scout. Dislike ~ A full sit down breakfast is served rather than a coffee or tea with muffin etc. This slows the process of starting the morning game drive and during the high season the nice light is quickly lost. If you are not the 1st vehicle in line at the pontoon more game viewing time is lost. Advantages/Disadvantages ~ The lodges's location is a 30 minute drive to the main access gate. If the park is inaccessible via the pontoon then a lot of game viewing time is lost. Conversely there can be some advantage to getting quieter game viewing before other vehicles get to the area. Of course if other vehicles do not arrive you are probably missing something closer to the main gate.
  16. http://www.daily-mail.co.zm/wildlife-conservation-paying-dividends-in-luangwa-valley/ ~ This June, 2017 editorial published in Zambia Daily Mail explains the vital support given by non-governmental organizations to Zambia's Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Conservation South Luangwa, a Zambian registered NGO, offers ant-poaching and wildlife veterinary support. They've protected wild dogs through extensive anti-snare work.
  17. Well here I am again. The safari itch has gotten to me. This is an improvement: usually I'm ready to book the next one about a month after I get home. I made it four months this time. Safari #5 is in the conception phase! For the "next one" I'm considering Zambia in June 2018. I am however, somewhat confused by where I should look in terms of regions. Too many trip reports are too enticing. I'll have 10 weekdays at my disposal, max and I'm trying to work the late May Monday holiday in to squeeze out a bit more time. It may be just me, but likely will include my most recent safari, intrepid gorilla trekking friend Kim, depending on itinerary and pricing. My only priority is big cats with elephants a close second. From what I gather lions and leopards are common in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi (?) Given my ridiculously good success with cat sightings in the Mara, am I going to have comparable experiences here, or have I seen "it" in terms of cats? One stunning trip report here (apologies I forget whose it was) had wonderful leopard sightings in Zambia. I know nothing is assured...but generally speaking? If I see dogs and elephants, fine too, but not #1 priority. And what part of South Luangwa (or Zambia generally) would you recommend, if you were planning this? And not to sound like too much of a newbie but is it even worth considering splitting time between, say, South Luangwa in Zambia and Chobe in Botswana linked by a day or two at Victoria Falls, or would you keep them separate trips? So I guess my questions are, good time of year? I'm looking for the equivalent crowd experience to the Mara in February where it's excellent game with lower crowds, is June that time?. Also want the cats. Any recommendations for camps in the mid-range...no basic camping but not high end Richard Branson style. (I tentatively have my eye on Kuyenda Camp, Chindeni Camp and Mfuwe Bush Lodge, feedback welcome and alternatives desired!) I just want to have my thoughts in order from you all before I turn this over to my safari planner. Thank you in advance.
  18. In two months and a couple of days, we will be winging our way to Kenya! I cannot wait and have nothing left to plan!! I am thrilled that a friend from work and her high-school aged daughter decided to join us at the last minute, which should make the experience that much better (unless I drive her bonkers with my many exclamations.) My boss is retiring at the end of the school year and she considered going with us too; the timing wasn't right as we leave two days after school gets out and she has to stay through the end of June. So now I am wondering about a "next safari," when I haven't gone on the first one yet! What say you, collective Safari Gurus? This might be a teacher's trip, so probably shorter than the 2 weeks that I'm going this year. Daughter will be doing an internship next summer so I won't have to work around her schedule, although we will be pretty much restricted to mid-June to early-August again. PS That we I in the title is going to drive me bonkers. Can someone fix it to we?
  19. Hi there, has anybody recommendation for hotel in the vicinity of Lusaka airport? How about transfer from and to airport? I´ve heard that this should be expensive. Thanks all Thomas
  20. Kasanka, Bangweulu, and Liuwa are phenomenal multi-dimensional nature destinations and definitely off the beaten path. As a solo traveler, the small group trips (6 max) provided by Robin Pope Safaris (RPS) were an ideal way to share fixed costs. The two trips I combined delivered superior quality in every respect. You can also drive to all these locations on your own or with a guide. Originally, I contacted esteemed guide, Rod Tether, of the famous and former Kutandala and now of Zambian Expeditions (rod@zambianexpeditions.com) about a private or group trip to a few Zambia locations in November. The RPS excursions were the logical results of our discussions. ........... Kasanka..................................................................................................................................Shoebill Island, Bangweulu......................................................................................................................................Liuwa
  21. I'm curious, has anyone been to Kasanka NP in Zambia? and if so, what did you think of it?
  22. Working on planning 1st safari. Looking for some feedback from all of you who have visited southern Africa, especially if you have been there in December. If you were going in the first half of December and you want at least one camp/lodge (they could be at the same place or different places for each of the items listed) where you could do or have: a walking safari get on the water in a boat or canoe to view wildlife go on a night drive get up close and personal with the animals watching from a hide sit on a deck at camp/lodge and watch elephants or giraffe (or other wildlife but those would be our favs) walk through great game drives with experienced, knowledgeable guides feel like you are really experiencing what you envision "wild Africa" to be great African décor or quirky, fun accommodations Which of the following places would be your favorites --- both reserves/parks and feel free to share if you have favorite a camp/lodge that you have stayed at there? Botswana - Chobe National Park Botswana - Mashatu Game Reserve Botswana - Moremi Wildlife Reserve Botswana - Okavango Delta South Africa - Kruger National Park South Africa - private reserve near Kruger (if so, please say which one) Victoria Falls (stay on the Zambia or Zimbabwe side? And stay in town or on a property that also has wildlife?) Zambia - Lower Zambezi Zambia - Mosi Oa Tunya Park Zimbabwe - Hwange Zimbabwe - Matusadona Feel free to add a park/reserve if there is one we should consider but not on the list, especially if you have a camp/lodge you recommend there. I ruled out Mana Pools in Zimbabwe because of the time of year we are going but am open to considering it if others have gone in December with good wildlife experiences. We are looking for different experiences at each location and probably 4 different reserves/parks staying 3-4 nights at each. The focus is wildlife but also would like different accommodation experiences such as one with a tent, a tent on a raised platform, a hut/cabin, and/or a lodge but all with en suite toilets and at least sinks for washing up. Outdoor shower would be fine. We are not interested in mobile camping, really want the place to be more permanent. Hoping as it's the green season we can also find some good deals with cheaper prices or free night special. We do have a budget but I am interested to hear what places you would rank among your top choices, where you think you can get great value and where it may be worth splurging a little for a few nights. Thanks in advance.
  23. For anyone interested in a safari to the Kafue National Park in Zambia check out our new video which should hopefully give those of you who have always wondered what it might actually look or feel like a glimpse in to what is on offer in this truly wild, truly world class wildlife destination... We still have space have space for the 2016 season (although September/October is all but full) and as such if you need a little nudge to get away on safari this year and are looking for something a little different to the 'norm' then feel free to contact me for more information and for special offers... With warm regards from the Kafue! Tyrone McKeith info@jefferymckeith.com www.jefferymckeith.com +26 0974173403 tyrone.mckeith (skype)
  24. Who has attended/participated in a formal photographic safari? Did you like it? What did you get out of it? How was it similar to or different from other wildlife-focused trips you've taken? Would you do it again, under the same circumstances? Having done one, would you do a second? My questions are based, in part, on my looking into a possible trip to Zambia next year. If my wife decides she's unable to go, either because of the timing or because she doesn't want to blow another 10-12 grand on a trip to Africa, one option is for me to go alone. If I go alone, I'd seriously consider a green-season photographic safari. I'm not really a photographer, but I'm a guy who has had cameras for many years. I like the idea of a solo trip having a more defined focus (so to speak), and it's quite likely I wouldn't do a true wet-season trip to Africa if my primary interest were in seeing tons of wildlife. I'm not good at "resting" during the middle of the day, so I think I'd sort pf like being able to stay out for full days at a time. I'm not mentioning specific names or locations, as I don't want this to be a "How was your experience with Photographer X?" thread. That said, if you had a really good experience, I think it's fair for you to mention any specifics you think are pertinent. Thanks in advance for any thoughts. -tom a.
  25. Now that I'm back from the Mara, its time to start planning the next trip. We are looking at South Luangwa/Lower Zambezi in 2017 and have the option to go either the first weeks in August, or the first weeks in September (we can't go late August due to a family event.) My agent has sent me an itinerary as follows: 3 nights Amanzi camp (Lower Zambezi) 3 nights Bilimungwe Bushcamp 4 nights Tena Tena First of all, how does that sound insofar as combination of camps? We'd love more nights but this is already at the top of our budget. (And our tour operator has already gotten us some free nights with special offers, like 3 for 2 at Amanzi, and 4 for 3 Tena Tena.) I guess we could substitute Tena Tena for a less expensive camp, like Lion Camp, to eek out more days, but I'm concerned with the possibility of six in a vehicle at Lion Camp; Tena Tena promises no more than 4. I don't see much about Amanzi camp, I know its new as of 2015. Anyone have any experience with it? Our interests are birds, leopards, wild dogs (unlikely, although I have read there was a pack near Tena Tena this season!), any more unusual critters, and of course, photography. (Would have loved to use Kaingo, for the hides, but beyond our budget. We are also keen to do some walking, finally...after many Africa safaris confined to vehicles! But not TOO much walking as its not really best for photography. As for timing...would early Sept be substantially hotter than early August? What might be the differences in wildlife sightings? I know we'd have a better chance at the Carmine Bee-eater colonies in September, but if the cost is going to be excessive heat, we might be better off in early August. Thanks for any insights.

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