Julian

Zambia 2017 - Advice, suggestions, etc - Please

123 posts in this topic

@@Julian Of the ones that I can answer...

 

US$ is fine for tipping.

 

Tsetse flies could be an issue in Kafue especially in or near the tree line. Out in the middle of Busanga Plains they won't be a problem. Not nearly as bad in SLNP but you might come across a few if you go inland away from the river. Suggest Rachel wear long trousers and long sleeve shirt.

 

July temps are something like a low of 10 degrees, high of 30 degrees. Could feel cooler overnight, especially if there is a breeze, take a fleece for the early morning part of the drive and you will probably find you won't need it after morning tea.

 

What other light aircraft flights are you taking? As Proflight allows 23 Kgs on Lusaka - Mfuwe flights.

 

Thanks for this Geoff. Regarding flights, not booked but ATR have put some options together for us to consider based on our specific requirements.

Flights will be Proflight and Staravia.

 

 

@@Geoff is correct the Proflight checked baggage limit Lusaka - Mfuwe is 23kg. But my bag for Luangwa (in the July period) still usually weighs in at about 15kg (and I have usually over packed). Don't forget that all the camps that you are considering will do daily laundry for free, so you don't actually need that many changes of clothes.

 

For July it could get chilly on an open vehicle in the early mornings and evenings (it may only be 10 degrees c, but the wind chill factor can make it feel colder than that while the vehicle is moving), but a good warm fleece or a good bush jacket will keep you warm enough until the sun warms you up. Also many camps put a couple of blankets in their vehicles which you can use to keep out the chill.

I think that it would be a little bit warmer down in the Luangwa valley than in Kafue (higher altitude) though.

 

Thanks for this info ZaminOz. The 23kg for Proflight is obviously fine - for our last 15 day trip to Tanzania we managed with about 10kg in each of our soft hold bags and one hand luggage of 4kg and a camera bag of 11kg, so a total of 35kg.

 

 

@@Julian I purchased a fly suit because I not only will be visiting Kafue,but also Katavi, Murchison Falls and at some time in future Zakouma, and Tarangire National Parks all of which have a terrible reputation for having a terrible problem with tsetse flies. If you need it I'll be happy to send you the link.

 

Thanks Optig

We wont get a fly suit this time but may be interested for future safaris, so please send the link.

 

 

@@Julian Emirates makes it unlikely you will make the bush that day, with South African you usually can. Personally prefer Emirates and having a quick overnight in Lusaka, then going on to the bush in the morning- seems a little more relaxing, but if you are dying to get out to the bush then it will need to be South Africa.

My own experience with tsetse's in Kafue in July was extremely offputting (6 tsetses inside my trousers was a personal low), but as @@Geoff mentioned it was definitely much better up at Shumba than further south. Entirely anecdotally, I do find that I tend to feel tse tse and mozzie bites less towards the end of a trip than I do at the start. I'm not sure if I've just become more accustomed to the temperature or my body finds the bites less irritating, but were I to do the South Luangwa/Kafue combo again in July I'd probably do Kafue second for that reason.

I'd say from what you've written about your previous safaris I think you would love Zambia. There's more of an emphasis on walking than the places you previously mention visiting, and the night drives tend to be a lot longer too- in some cases going out again after dinner as well. Enjoy though, it looks like a cracker of a trip.

 

Thanks for this info ExtraordinaryAlex

WE want to end the safari with SL, so Kafue first , but I doubt the Tsetses with be that different just a week or so later.

 

 

 

My recent experience with tsetse in Kafue (October 2017) was that they are not as bad as they have been in the past. A pair of long trousers and a long sleeve shirt is probably wise if you are heading for the treeline the first time.

 

Like @@ExtraordinaryAlex I now find my body is much less troubled by them that it was some years ago but I do carry antihistamine to take in case of a fierce reaction. I have not ever felt the need for a bug suit in Kafue.

 

I have also had a few nasty bites one when I was 'enjoying' a pit stop and I was had in a very delicate place!

 

In Kafue they sometimes use the smoking elephant dung on the back of the vehicle to deter the tsetses.

 

They do not have to be a major problem

 

Thanks Wilddog

When we went to Tanzania in 2015 we were not aware that antihistamines could help , but since then we've read somewhere ( probably on here ) to start taking the antihistamines a few days before the trip and then they are more effective - so thats what Rachel will do. ( I didnt have a reaction to the Tsetses)

 

 

Proflight were weighing hand luggage in mwfuwe the last time we were there and despite our hold baggage being underweight, we had to pay excess baggage for our camera equipment. Not from Lusaka though....

 

Tdgraves - thanks for this.

Where were you travelling from when it was weighed?

How much did they charge you?

We will transfer a few more things from our hand luggage to our hold luggage prior to going on the Proflight transfers. Its a rip-off charging people for exceeding the 5kg hand luggage when the hold luggage for most will be only half the 23kg allowance.

 

 

@@Julian...flight recommendation: Emirates! The flights are so much nicer, you can avoid JoBurg and you can connect with the Proflight flight that goes to Mfuwe if that is where you are headed first. It is true that you will have to spend the night somewhere before getting to your camp. We arrived at the Mfuwe Lodge in the dark, had dinner and went to bed. First sighting: little brown frogs. The next morning we were up early and ready to go. And rested.

 

Thanks Marg

We will be going by emirates via Dubai, but will have an overnight in Lusaka at Latitude15.

 

 

@@marg's quite right- I should have mentioned it is possible to get up to Mfuwe in one day if you do the Emirates flight and pick your days right, but the connection is only 80 mins so there's not much margin of error for any delays out of Dubai/time for lost bag hunting etc. So I think the Lusaka night definitely takes the potential for hassle out of the situation, but the trade off is of course the lovely wake up in Mfuwe which @@marg mentions so I think this would mainly come down to your personal travel style.

 

Thanks ExtraordinayAlex.

We will have an overnight in Lusaka and we then be going to Kafue - we have the option of 6 to 7 hour by road or a one hour charter flight.

 

 

 

2016 was my 5th visit to Kafue and I've never found the tsetses too troubling personally.

 

A nuisance at times yes but then the call "Time to light the dung" usually does the trick and the lighting of elephant dung @@wilddog refers to seems to solve the problem.

 

This is useful to know Caracal

FIVE times to Kafue already! - some people are very fortunate.

Have you stayed at Musekese and Shumba?

 

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Thanks to all who have responded so far, for all your useful and really helpful answers.

 

Had a coversation with ATR yesterday morning and by the afternoon they had put together four itineraries (with fully itemised prices) for us, based on our specific requirements.

 

If we go with our choice of camps and specific number of nights, and we probably will, then our budget of £8K each (excluding international flights) is blown, as its going to be around £10K each. Its very clear to see on the price-itemised itineraries where the money goes. The daily camp rates are all the rack-rates and total £8K each. The three transfers by air, other transfers and park fees make up the other £2K each.

Other options keep the cost to £9K and £8K, but at the loss of one or two of the higher priced camps being replaced by a considerably cheaper alternative camp.

 

One of the itineraries offers us the option of a one hour charter flight from Lusaka to Kafue (Lufupa airstrip, which is 20 minutes drive from Muskese) by Staravia ( who operate for Wilderness Air in Zambia). This an alternative to the 5 to 6 hour drive, but would bump up the cost a further £0.6K each.

Have any of you done the road route from Lusaka to Musekese?

 

 

Staravia flights are subject to paying departure tax just prior to boarding. the totalluggage allowance is a strict 20kg per person plus a total body weight and baggage allowance of 100kg per person. Fine with the 20kg total luggage, but many people would not be with the 100kg body and luggage combined.

Anyone have any experience of Staravia and/or know if they actually do any weighing?

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@@Julian, yes we did the drag from Lusaka to Musekese in 2014 & it's straightforward but for the most part, pretty tedious. Depending on your flight timings you may or may not need your first night to be in Lusaka (if you do then Pioneer Camp is a good option). Lusaka traffic is pretty grim so you'll need an early start to avoid it - If I remember correctly, ~1hr gets you through the worst of Lusaka, further ~2hrs to the park boundary, another ~1hr to the Musekese turn-off, all on good tarmacked roads then the final ~1hr to Musekese on dirt track. £1.2K sounds a lot just to avoid the road transfer but if it gets you another night in the bush then it becomes a bit more palatable!

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@@Julian After an overnight at Pioneer you will feel refreshed and the drive to Musekeke will not be overly arduous. Direct off the flight? I think it would be rather wearing.

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@@Julian regarding antihistines please note that Benadryl is not allowed in Zambia

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Posted (edited)

@@AfricIan

@@Julian, yes we did the drag from Lusaka to Musekese in 2014 & it's straightforward but for the most part, pretty tedious. Depending on your flight timings you may or may not need your first night to be in Lusaka (if you do then Pioneer Camp is a good option). Lusaka traffic is pretty grim so you'll need an early start to avoid it - If I remember correctly, ~1hr gets you through the worst of Lusaka, further ~2hrs to the park boundary, another ~1hr to the Musekese turn-off, all on good tarmacked roads then the final ~1hr to Musekese on dirt track. £1.2K sounds a lot just to avoid the road transfer but if it gets you another night in the bush then it becomes a bit more palatable!

Thanks African.

We have decided we will go by air from Lusaka to Musekese. It is expensive because its our charter, but our main reason is that Rachel has only recently begun to be able to sit on hard seats again ( due to her cancer surgery involving a perineal wound), so avoiding a relatively very long road journey at the start is sensible).

We have also been told we can have the flight at whatever time we want- as its 'our ' plane. It will mean that we will be in Musekese camp by midday at the latest, after our overnight stay in Lusaka.

Edited by Julian
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Posted (edited)

@@wilddog

@@Julian After an overnight at Pioneer you will feel refreshed and the drive to Musekeke will not be overly arduous. Direct off the flight? I think it would be rather wearing.

Thanks Wilddog

We are having an overnight stay in Lusaka, but we have decided on staying in Latitude 15. It has very good reviews, and being in the suburbs it is close to the airport , as we have decided to travel to Musekese by air ( see my response to African).

Edited by Julian
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@@marg

@@Julian regarding antihistines please note that Benadryl is not allowed in Zambia

Thanks Marg - useful to know.

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That makes perfect sense @@Julian, the road journey hasn't got much to recommend it although if you went that way I was hoping you'd be able to update me on the Hair Dressing & Car Wash combination that caught my attention on our trip - had the business flourished or was it all washed up ;)

 

I think Lufupa airstrip is north of the Kafue river so you get a nice boat transfer into Musekese.

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Itinerary decided, ATR are holding the rooms for us until we can book in early April (subject to Rachel's consultant appointment outcome).

 

So we hope to book this safari on or just after 4th April, after which I will post up the full itinerary.

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I have to say that when I make my overnight stay in Lusaka,I'll also be staying a Latitude !5. It brings a whole new level of sophistication to hotels in Zambia.

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We bought a couple of books for this safari, one on Kafue and one on Luangwa:

 

A visitors guide to Kafue National Park Zambia , by Peter de Vere Moss

and

Luangwa Valley - Unique Wilderness in Africa - Hupe nature guide

 

The Kafue book, first printed 2013, is surprisingly really good,, and has a large foldout map of Kafue ( opens to about A2 size)

 

The Luangwa one is also good , but has lots of large photos and less detail about the park.

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@@Julian Very cool to hear you've decided....so what is the itinerary?

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Posted (edited)

@@lmonmm

@@Julian Very cool to hear you've decided....so what is the itinerary?

 

I 'll post the precise itinerary after we book next month, but basically this is it:

 

I night Latitude 15

Charter flight to Musekese

3 nights Musekese

3 nights Shumba

Flight to Lusaka

Flight to South Luangwa

3 nights Kaingo

4 nights Tafika

Flight to Lusaka

Edited by Julian
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@@Julian Enjoy. Interesting, It was years ago but I do remember getting a flight from Busanga direct Mfuwe. It mustn't be an option these days.

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@Julian I love this itinerary and secretly, I'm really glad you picked Shumba. It is a really beautiful camp. I have some pretty fond memories of that place :)

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@@Julian similar to a trip that we have booked for next year. So, of course it looks just great!

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I would have picked Shumba myself but when I'll be in Kafue the balloon trip wouldn't be a possibility. So I decided to stay at Mukambi Plains which gets excellent reviews not on Safaritalk,but on TripAdvisor as well.

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Wow!!, looking at the price difference between Shumba & Busanga Bush camp I would have chosen Busanga in a heart beat.

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@@Julian All the guides at Remote Africa Safaris (Tafika) and Shenton Safaris (Kaingo and Mwamba) are excellent,but try to be guided by the chief guide of Shenton Safaris: Patrick Njobuvu. He's not only highly regarded as one of the finest guides in South Luangwa National Park; he's one of funniest men that I've ever met. He can make any game drive,night drive or walk hilariously funny. I consider him a close personal friend whom I have nothing but respect and admiration for.

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Sounds like a great trip. We visited South Luangwa years ago and loved it. We are making the road transfer from Lusaka to Musekese in November after overnighting at Pioneer Camp.

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@@Geoff

Wow!!, looking at the price difference between Shumba & Busanga Bush camp I would have chosen Busanga in a heart beat.

 

Had circumstances been different we would also have chosen Busanga, but due to Rachels surgery ( now has a stoma) reasonable bathroom facilities and a slightly better level of comfort on safari have become a priority.

Its also her 50th birthday while we are in Zambia, and as she has gone through chemo, radiotherapy and very major surgery over the last two years, plus we are for the first time in our lives in the fortunate but totally unexpected situation of having funds in advance to finance this and the next couple of safaris, we both feel that there will be no compromises for this safari - you never know what is round the next corner, life is too short.

Incidentally the only way we were able to go on the first four of our previous five safaris was by borrowing against our house, ie increasing the mortgage ( it seems if you really want to do something enough then one way or another you may achieve it ), therefore normally cost is the the most limiting factor when we choose a safari.

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@@optig

@@Julian All the guides at Remote Africa Safaris (Tafika) and Shenton Safaris (Kaingo and Mwamba) are excellent,but try to be guided by the chief guide of Shenton Safaris: Patrick Njobuvu. He's not only highly regarded as one of the finest guides in South Luangwa National Park; he's one of funniest men that I've ever met. He can make any game drive,night drive or walk hilariously funny. I consider him a close personal friend whom I have nothing but respect and admiration for.

Thanks for this Optig.

Any ideas how iwe can get him to be our guide at Kaingo. Shoud we ask ATR to request Kaingo to arrange for us to have hime him as our guide?

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@@Raelond

Sounds like a great trip. We visited South Luangwa years ago and loved it. We are making the road transfer from Lusaka to Musekese in November after overnighting at Pioneer Camp.

Hopefully before November I will have posted a trip report so you will have an update on Musekese prior to your safari.

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@@marg

@@Julian similar to a trip that we have booked for next year. So, of course it looks just great!

So Marg what camps will you be staying at in your 2018 Zambia safari?

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