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  1. #1
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    Default Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    Hi Guys

    We are sort of newbies to the overlanding world wanting to explore beyond South African borders. As a family of 3 (daughter is currently 9) we are building towards a 6 month trip through Africa in 2021.

    Part of that learning curve has seen us want to do a trip to Zambia, through Botswana, briefly into to Zimbabwe, Zambia and home through Namibia.

    As a family we enjoy simply enjoy the traveling aspect of overland and whatever surprises it brings with it. While we enjoy wildlife, birding, ecology, etc we also enjoy just sitting next to our car having tea and biscuits taking in our surroundings. And of course, let us not forget meeting new people and see how other people get on with their day to day lives.

    As part of our planning we are now wanting to explore the western part of Zambia in June/July 2020 for 6 weeks. Having read most of the threads relating to Zambia we still needing some guidance from the experienced travelers. Especially in terms of timing and budget for staying at the various places.

    Our general route sees us wanting to go from Somerset West into Botswana, then into Hwange for a day or 3 via the Pandamatenga border post. From there onto Vic falls as we have not seen the falls. Cross into Zambia and head over to Kafue. From Kafue cross over to Liuwa before heading home via Katima Mulilo into Nambia onto Etosha before heading home. (This is all in June/July 2020, as we do not like the idea of water.)

    Where in Hwange would be the best place to stay that would allow you to travel around the park for a day or 3 and take the place in ? Does it make sense to cross to cross into Zambia at the falls, or would it be better to cross into Zambia at Kasane (on the pont) or the direct border post?

    Some threads have mentioned the Busanga Plains in Kafue. Not much is mentioned of being able to camp ? Would we need to pay A LOT more to stay in a lodge of sorts (and also some lodges have age restrictions)? Price dependent it would be either 3 or 4 days.

    How many days would it take to get from the Botswana border to Busanga? We would need to pass through a town for supplies and fuel. The thinking being to head north and then drive back down south. We would then travel down from Busanga through Kafue (dependent on road conditions and fuel) and stay in the hook bridge area. Some folk have also suggested staying at Mayukuyuku or Roys. Are these our only options on the middle road? This would allow us some access to the southern part of the park.

    From here we would take a day or 2 to get to Luiwa. This is of course dependent on where we get fuel and supplies. The African parks website has several camps. We would like to divide them into 3 nights and 2 nights, or would you rather suggest 5 in one place? Which would you choose if you could stay in two camps?

    Last, any recommendation on where to stay on the way back down to the border at Katima? It would be good to see Sioma falls. In reality what would be reasonable distances to be covered in a day ? It would be such a waste to go all that way and rush things.

    In terms of budget, how much should we look at for a day ? Your usual overland kind of expenses but not extravagant?

    While this trip is in July/June, it does mean we miss the migrations and the King moving upstream and a few other items Ė but it will hopefully build confidence in traveling. It is one thing going to a country on our borders, but totally different to travel through one country into another. We are hoping you guys can provide some wisdom and guidance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    Tony Weaver is an expert on Zambia overland having travelled it extensively. Either contact him through the forum or he will see this and respond shortly.
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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    Slowones

    This looks a good trial run for your planned further adventures.

    There are many ways to skin a cat, but this is what I would do:

    • I haven’t been to Hwange, but it is near Victoria Falls. I would cross at the falls: the Kazangula ferry is a bit of a scrum although the new bridge might be finished by then.
    • I also haven’t been to the southern sector of Kafue NP, but there are many reports on the forum. If I were you, I would enter Kafue NP from the south as per post 5 on this thread (but the opposite direction ie south to north). https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...NP-in-our-trip. It sounds wonderful.
    • Then to the northern sector of Kafue NP and McBrides sounds wonderful. The Busanga plains are undoubtedly incredibly beautiful, but June/July is a little too early for these waterlogged plains. There is no independent camping allowed in the Busanga Plains and there are only a handful of exclusive seasonal bush camps. We stayed at Ntemwa Busanga Bush Camp in July 2018. It was expensive, but so worth it. Contact Tyrone McKeith at http://jmsafaris-zambia.com/. Please see this trip report from 2018 https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-Namibia)-2018.
    • Then to Liuwa Plain NP. It was a nine hour drive from Hook Bridge to Liuwa Plain in 2018. Fuel and supermarkets at Mongu.
    • From Liuwa Plain to Kabula Lodge on the Zambezi about 50 kms north of Shesheke/Katima Mulilo.


    As for a daily budget, we reckon USD100 per day, but always have a reserve for the unforeseen. With two children on board, perhaps USD150 per day?

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2019/07/31 at 04:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    Glad to see your trip is coming together, it's been a while since we got together. Five days in one camp in Liuwa is too long, plus June/July may still be too wet, check with African Parks as it changes year on year. I would budget five days for the whole park, max, split between two camps. Doesn't really matter which ones, they are all lovely, set on the tree islands on the plains.
    Re Busanga, July is only just on the cusp of the camps opening, and there will still be a helluva lot of water about. And it is very expensive, a thumb suck figure would probably be around R3000 per head per night, if not more.
    As WW says, contact Ty McKeith or Phil Jeffery re Ntemwa-Busanga, both are superb guides, graduate conservation biologists. Tyrone used to run Mukambi's Busanga Plains lodge. Their email is [email protected] - while the other camps probably won't allow children, Ty and Phil would go out of their way to help if they are able to.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2019/07/31 at 02:57 PM.
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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    WW. Thank you, as always. Were is the link to your blog? I loved reading about Angola travels.
    From the sounds of things we might need to miss the north of Kafue due to the cost and possible presence of to much water. I will however make use of the contact that Tony has provided.

    Tony, that four letter word, where we exchange our time and knowledge for 1's and 0's and funny coloured paper so we can travel has gotten in the way this last while.

    But thank you.

    We might have to miss Busanga and wait for an "invite" or go back when we have more money.

    Thank you for the advice on the plains. We will plan 5 days in different camps.

    Taking into consideration our Botswana trip and eastern Cape (Wild Coast) trip we averaged about R2000 a day including fuel, accommodation, food and one or two luxury items along the way (you cannot go to the delta for the first time and NOT do a plane flight, or go to Kasane and NOT try a hand at fishing for a day).

    In reading what WW mentioned, in $ terms, R2000 seems about right.

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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    Slowones

    It isnít a link to a blog, but here is the trip report for Zambia and Namibia on our way south, and then on our way back to Kenya (including Liuwa Plain and Kafue).

    https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-Namibia)-2018

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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    With regards to staying in Hwange - a few threads have made mention of just pack go and see if they have a booking.

    With us traveling in RSA school holidays, would it be better to book? If we do book, which of the camps should we consider ?

    And of course, how long would it take from Hwange to Vic Falls ? Google has this as about 2 hrs. Is this realistic ?

    Or should we budget on half a day travel ?
    Last edited by Slowones; 2019/08/03 at 08:02 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    Quote Originally Posted by Slowones View Post
    With regards to staying in Hwange - a few threads have made mention of just pack go and see if they have a booking.

    With us traveling in RSA school holidays, would it be better to book? If we do book, which of the camps should we consider ?

    And of course, how long would it take from Hwange to Vic Falls ? Google has this as about 2 hrs. Is this realistic ?

    Or should we budget on half a day travel ?
    Depending on where you are exiting Hwange, 2-4 hours should be fine .... We did it in 3 hours from Robins Camp - but then we took it slowly through the park .... The Tarmac road is good

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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    Contact Gill Staden on A Window on Zambia. Hugely knowledgeable and helpful lady. She regularly updates her info by visiting the areas and establishments. If she doesn't know she'll tell you. She has contacts in Zimbabwe who would equally be able to help you.

    https://awindowonzambia.com/
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    Default Re: Newbies to Zambia: travel times for Kafue and Luiwa

    With regard to traveling times between Kafue and Liuwa, things are still much the same as WW has described. We did it 2 weeks ago. Started at Roy's camp near Hook bridge in Kafue at around 7:00 and were in Kwale camp in Liuwa at around 16:00, with one longer stop in Mongu, for shopping, refueling and that sort of stuff. Roads are good to very good, allowing fast traveling, except for about 70 km near Kaoma, where the road is terrible. But with an early start, you can easily make it from Kafue to Liuwa in a day, provided that you don't have any unexpected mishaps or delays.
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