Our 2012 Africa trip - Zambia part questions





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  1. #1
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    Default Our 2012 Africa trip - Zambia part questions

    Hi all!

    I've been rather changing my plans, so it must be better to create a new thread.

    Thing are getting more and more accurate as our Cruiser will be loaded on a container next Thursday!

    2 roof tents will be added in Walvis Bay.

    I think that driving up to Malawi would be to much for that trip. Will do that next time…

    So we will have 13 nights to spend in Zambia, from Katima Mulilo to Lusaka where we will store the car for several months at Pioneer Camp (Thanks Mike!). We will focus on Kafue and South Luangwa.

    Here is my current plan (and questions!):
    - 23/07 - Livingstone
    - 24 to 27/07 - Kafue - How to manage 4 nights between Nanzhila, Kaingu and McBrides? I envisage to eliminate McBride and spend 2 nights in each other. A crime?
    Is it absolutely needed to book the camps? I'd like a bit of flexibility…
    Larger question in the area: is it worth it to reach Kafue by Sioma Falls rather than Livingstone (we have already seen the Vic Falls from Zim side in 2010). How many time does this take?
    - 28/07 - Lusaka - Pioneer Camp (to check the storage conditions before we come back later).
    - 29/07 - Chipata or straight to SLNP if we are in Chipata early enough. Again, is it need to book Mama Rula's?
    - 30-31/07 - SLNP - Crocs Valley Camp (reservation needed?)
    - 01 to 03/08 - I'm a bit lost for these 3 nights. We don't really like to drive the same route back. Is it envisageable to head North through SLNP and to reach Mutinondo in one day? Worth it? What about Kundalila Falls? Worth it?
    - 04/08 - Lusaka - Pioneer Camp
    - 05/08 - Flight back…

    Many thanks for your opinions!
    Pierre
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre77N View Post
    - 24 to 27/07 - Kafue - How to manage 4 nights between Nanzhila, Kaingu and McBrides? I envisage to eliminate McBride and spend 2 nights in each other. A crime?
    Worse than a crime. This is a sin! You need more time in the area, and 2 or 3 nights at McBride's will be the highlight of your trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre77N View Post
    Is it absolutely needed to book the camps? I'd like a bit of flexibility…
    Larger question in the area: is it worth it to reach Kafue by Sioma Falls rather than Livingstone (we have already seen the Vic Falls from Zim side in 2010). How many time does this take?
    2 day trip from Katima to Mukambi....another half day up to McBrides, and well worth it in my view. The drive up the Zambezi is lovely, and a look at the falls, especially if you ask me about my secret little way of walking to them, is great. I don't think you'll need to book, but drop them an email and see how bookings are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre77N View Post
    - 29/07 - Chipata or straight to SLNP if we are in Chipata early enough. Again, is it need to book Mama Rula's?
    It's a very long day from Lusaka to SLNP. I would never recommend it. Go to Mama Rula's, then head off early the following morning. M.R's is just an overnighter, and not any sort of destination in itself.

    Why don't you do the Kafue properly on the this trip, and then do the SLNP, NLNP and Falls, maybe Benguelu etc on your next one? Zambia is quite big, you know!

    Mike

    PS......I hope you're not going to be storing your Hi-lift like that!
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    Hi Pierre,
    Sound like a fun trip with quite a bit of time at hand.

    I guess you have to wait for MikeAG to come back with details and recommendation, I am quite sure he is typing away right now - right?

    So Zambia is it, me too, will be touring this part of Southern Africa extensively from August till November on 3 separate occasions, unfortunately I won't be able to wait for your trip report to take advantage.
    But, have fun and don't get stressed with too much planning when you have so much time at hand.
    Where are you shipping the vehicle to?
    Cheers /// Walter
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    Hi Mike and Walter!

    I was pretty sure to get answers from you both!

    No, we will not have so much time!

    We will be in Namibia for 10 days end of April for a loop between Walvis Bay and Windhoek via Fish River Canyon. The itinerary is almost ready but maybe I could post something about it in the Namibia section…

    Then we will be back in Windhoek on 14th July, up to Lusaka on 5th August.
    (It seems we will be gone when you arrive in Zambia, Walter. A pity!)

    And hopefully back again for Xmas or February 2013 at the latest for carnet de passage questions…

    Cheers!
    Pierre
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    Pierre, your trip is outside of the South African school holidays, so it is not necessary to make bookings, but it is always useful for the lodges if you let them know roughly when you intend being there. They are all in email contact with each other, so that you can, for instance, email Kaingu, Mukambi or McBrides from Nanzhila to let them know roughly when you are arriving.
    I agree with Mike that you are rushing Kafue a bit - my advice would be to be as flexible as possible, as there is unlikely to be any booking pressure in any of the places. So if you find that you absolutely fall in love with Kafue (which is highly likely) spend more time there and save South Luangwa for the next trip. The one point about SLNP vs Kafue is that you will see higher densities of game, but in Kafue you will see more variety of species, and more interesting landscapes in my opinion. Both are very special places.

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    Hello Pierre!

    Regarding Lusaka - SLNP I have asked a few people and heard it is doable in one day provided you start at the crack of dawn and drive all day. We are going to attempt this but we are keeping it flexible enough that if we arrive too late to Chipata then we stay at Mama Rulas.

    I know it is not nice to backtrack, but after visiting SLNP you could simply backtrack to Lusaka - That would give you some additional days to spend in Kafue and you can visit McBride's and not spend your life as a sinner if you miss it Like you we would have wanted to see an alternative route instead of backtracking but it is all quite time consuming, with the lack of time we decided it is best to concentrate fully on Kafue and South Luangwa during our time in Zambia.

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    It's good news that we will not have to book the camps. Yes I'd like to keep flexibility when possible. And yes, I will inform the lodges of our coming, but with not to much precisions on the dates. So we can stay one more night if we fall in love with one place (but I'm afraid it can happen many times so we can miss the plane at the end!)
    Well, it's more and more likely that we will not visit anything east of Lusaka this time!
    One more question: between Sioma Falls and Mukambi, T4A says 9h48! Is this accurate?
    Is there any good place to brake the trip in Mongu?
    Thanks again!
    Pierre
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheetah80 View Post
    I know it is not nice to backtrack, but after visiting SLNP you could simply backtrack to Lusaka - That would give you some additional days to spend in Kafue and you can visit McBride's and not spend your life as a sinner if you miss it Like you we would have wanted to see an alternative route instead of backtracking but it is all quite time consuming, with the lack of time we decided it is best to concentrate fully on Kafue and South Luangwa during our time in Zambia.
    I fully understand your position! But when we will have our own car in Lusaka, it's pretty sure that we will have other occasions. So I envisage things in a different way than for our previous african trips… More quietly.
    Pierre
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    Quick comments:
    • I have done Ndola - Mfuwe in day (NOT RECOMMENDED!) so Lusaka - Mfuwe can be done in 1 day.
    • No need to pre-book but keep in mind 1st August is Farmers day (public holiday)
    • Consider this:
      • 2/3 nights at Kabula on the Zambezi
      • 2/3 nights at Mukambi
      • 2/3 nights at McBrides
      • via Lusaka (shopping) to Forrest Inn for 1 night
      • Escarpment route 1 night wild camping on your way to SLNP - Mfuwe
      • 3 nights at SLNP
      • 1 Pioneer camp
    Pity, you need maybe 2 days xtra, 13 days is just toooooo short!
    Last edited by mfuwefarmer; 2012/02/14 at 04:25 PM.

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    It certainly is possible to do Lusaka to Mfuwe in a day. But the worst part of the trip is the last 2 or even 3 hours up from Chipata, zig-zagging across a road under construction, with some really rutted tracks, stopping at flags, following trucks full of stones, lots of locals on bikes, dogs, pedestrians etc. If you get it wrong, get held up at a police stop or something, you could find yourself attempting this after dark....and that is an utter nightmare. Don't ask me how I know that, but I know it well!

    In my view, the only way to attempt that trip confidently in a day would be to set off at 4.30/ 5.00 am from Pioneer Camp...........and I always feel that is a little selfish for other occupants of any camp.

    Anyway, you know my real view: this trip the Kafue, the next trip SLNP, NLNP, Benguelu, Kapysha, a tour of the waterfalls. As I said....Zambia is big.

    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre77N View Post
    ........One more question: between Sioma Falls and Mukambi, T4A says 9h48! Is this accurate?
    Is there any good place to brake the trip in Mongu?
    They are working on the road and it should be in much better condition, but yes it a long push. We did it in the wet and camped wild outside Mongu, still remeber that trip vividly!

    Maybe also not a bad idea to keep to the west ie Zambezi & Kafue and maby spoil yourself with a trip to the Mukambi Plain Camp in the Busanga.

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    Mongu side, Bertie? I'll bet you had to look quite hard to find a spot to bush-camp there!! I've camped near Sitoti a couple of times, the other side of the ferry........much easier to find a quiet spot.

    Mike
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    Hi Pierre 77N,
    Suggest you camp in Mongu at Mutoya campsite.(On the outskirts of Mongu on the Senanga road)
    Not a good idea to bush camp close to Mongu.
    Enjoy
    Pieter.

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    I see your revised itinerary Pierre. Pity you aren't doing Malawi, but I think you have made the right call here, especially since fuel issues there are getting quite rough these days.

    We did Mfuwe to Lusaka (Eureka) in 1 day comfortably, including 90 mins in rush hour Lusaka traffic since Eureka is on the south side of Lusaka. We left Flatdogs soon after sun-up and got into Eureka shortly after nightfall. The dvd player for the kids came in handy for the kids that day.
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    Default Slow down

    Why do everyplace an injustice. Slow down. You are returning another day.
    Do something like this:

    23/07 - Livingstone
    - 24 to 29/07 - Kafue- Nanzhila, Kaingu and McBrides
    - 30/07 - Lusaka - Pioneer Camp
    - 31/07 –3/8 Mana Pools
    - 04/08 - Lusaka - Pioneer Camp
    - 05/08 - Flight back…

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by luangwablondes View Post
    Why do everyplace an injustice. Slow down. You are returning another day.
    Do something like this:
    23/07 - Livingstone
    - 24 to 29/07 - Kafue- Nanzhila, Kaingu and McBrides
    - 30/07 - Lusaka - Pioneer Camp
    - 31/07 –3/8 Mana Pools
    - 04/08 - Lusaka - Pioneer Camp
    - 05/08 - Flight back…
    Or 24/07 to 03/08, Nanzhila - Kaingu - Mukambi - McBrides - Lusaka and set aside the rest for your next trip. Incidentally, I have done Lusaka (Eureka) to Mfuwe (Flatdogs) in what felt like a fairly relaxed day, arriving at Flatdogs in time for an early supper. I wasn't driving, I was a passenger in a V8 Disco 2, but it never felt like we were speeding or being reckless (and we stopped for several photo ops along the way). I had a chopper flight to North Luangwa to catch at sunrise the next morning, and never felt like I was going to miss it.

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    Tony, the thing that has changed since you did it a couple or three years ago is the Chipata to Mfuwe section, where the construction of a new tar road has caused the route to be just a series of zig zags between roadworks, and mainly on run-offs alongside the new road. That section took me 3 hours a year or so ago. Once the new road is finished then I would agree with you that it should be comfortable in a day once again.

    I haven't heard any recent reports of progress.

    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeAG View Post
    Tony, the thing that has changed since you did it a couple or three years ago is the Chipata to Mfuwe section, where the construction of a new tar road
    Tar! The horror! The horror!

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    Yebbut, there are at least a couple of other ways in which will still be really quiet. Slow........but so what.

    Mike
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    Many thanks for your feedback and suggestions.
    Yes, we'll keep SLNP (and NLNP) for a next time.
    I'm still working on our itinerary…
    Pierre
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