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North Luangwa re-opens for self-drivers


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#1 Guest_nyama_*

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 12:46 AM

Some good news for the self-driving people - in the next season there will be several self-catering options in North Luangwa NP .

Delia Camp just opened Delia Explorers near the main camp. Self-catering chalets and tents on platforms are available. Contact Delia Camp for details.

I met Ramon of Delia Camp during my recent trip, and he told me that Nkalamo Camp is no longer for sale. Instead Remote Wildlife/Delia Camp will re-open Nkalamo next season and it's open for self-drivers.

The latest news: in the 2009 season Buffalo Camp will re-open for self-catering people and no booking of 14 days in advance is necessary.

#2 luangwablondes

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:09 AM

Thanks. I was wondering if Buffalo Camp was going to change its policy on self catering next year. Ramon is very eager to get into self catering and will happily take up the slack.

Anything to be said on Ramons camps. Did you get a chance to see any of them?

#3 Guest_nyama_*

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:25 AM

I guess Buffalo is struggling since Kafunta sends all clients to Mwaleshi.

I didn't see any of Ramon's camp this time. I bumped into him while I had a tea break with Rod down at the Luangwa. Big hello and handshakes. I asked Ramon about Nkalamo, and he told me the whole story. Plans for Chimana and Mulondoshi are definitely dead - Rod already told me earlier that ZAWA has revoked the concessions.

#4 luangwablondes

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:37 AM

Kafunta never sent that many people. But it all adds up. I think economic conditions are catching up all over Zambia, and Mark is looking to pickup that business again.

Ramon bit off more than he can handle. The market for beds just isn't there yet. Maybe in the next uptick in the global economy.

#5 Guest_nyama_*

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 01:58 AM

In case of Buffalo it wasn't only because of the financial crisis. First the "ban" of the self-catering people, then the loss of the Kafunta clients... all this before the current crisis got momentum. Looks like bad management and marketing. Rod couldn't even tell me if the camp was open this season.

Ramon's plans were a little bit naive. North Luangwa was and remains a destination for enthusiasts and is not for big 5-seeking mainstream travellers. This won't change with the next economic uptick. Maybe there will be a change if ZAWA opens the rhino sanctuary, but not earlier.

#6 luangwablondes

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 02:48 AM

Nyama

The self drive numbers were not that significant as far back in 2001. The camp was full to the brim and then some when I was there- double digits was not all that unusual. It was the next season NLNP-ZAWA started to enforce the maximum number of clients in the camp at a time to 8. Mark would have no problem filling the camp from August to the end of October normally. Self drive was just gravey. Like I said, at that time, Kafuta business was insignificant compared to the full board clientel Mark booked.

It seems strange Rod could not give you better information. I saw Rod several times in the course of the season and he stopped in at Buffalo a couple times. More then meets the eye here.

#7 Guest_nyama_*

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 03:50 AM

It seems strange Rod could not give you better information.

It's quite simple - I guess the place looked more dead than alive to him... and he really wasn't sure if it's closed or open.

#8 ZaminOz

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 02:35 AM

:) Hmmm... this thread seems to me to be at odds with the thread predicting the carving up of Zambia's NPs into concessions where safari guides will have to throw stones at self drivers until they go away...
As usual it is all as clear as mud to me! ;)
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#9 luangwablondes

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 03:40 AM

Its really quite simple. When the reservations drop off, you look to other sources of income. Buffalo Camp seemed to not need the self drive last year, but now that has changed.

When Remote Wildlife arrived in NLNP a couple years ago, the self drive was not part of their marketing plans. But that has all changed. One thing that is apparent, is that there are increasingly more self drive coming to the park every year, and 2 companies would like a piece of that while the upmarket drys up. Some income is better then none.

The one thing many people do not understand. The fixed costs are pretty much set for the season. You've built the camp, the labor is there everyday, working or not, you have concession fees to pay, and if a couple people pitch up for a few days at $100 pppd periodically, that helps pay the nut. When full board pitches up, thats where they make the real money. These are mostly walking safari camps, so the vehicles are normally not used much, except for runs to the airstrip, supplies, maybe night game drives, and the infrequent drives to the falls or hippo pools.

Throughout Zambia, many of the camps at one time relied on the self drive. As their popularity has risen, they decided they didn't need to putz with them anymore, when there is so much more $$ to be made in the upmarket. But, when the going gets tough, that self drive income looks good again.

#10 ZaminOz

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 06:40 AM

Ken,

Thanks for the clarification. I was labouring under the mistaken impression that the plan was to divide the whole of NLNP up into 3 concessions (and similar for other NPs mentioned in the other thread)... Its a Friday thing...

My bad...

Zaminoz
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