Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP





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  1. #1
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    Default Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Hi Forumites,
    Below are some comments on our recent trip to Zambia via Botswana.

    Botswana Zambia trip 1 to 25 September 2019 (6250km)
    This trip was planned with a lot of input from this forum and hence some feedback.
    The itinerary was planned to arrive at each destination early so as to relax and enjoy whatever the camp has to offer, as well as a sundowner, with minimal driving pressure.
    Itinerary as follows :
    Left Jhb 1pm to Stockpoort Lodge, 4 hrs
    Stockpoort Lodge to Woodlands, Francistown, 1 night
    Woodlands to Kasane, Thebe River Safaris, 1 night
    Kasane to Maramba River Lodge for 2 nights (To recover from the long drive)
    Maramba to Pioneer Camp, Lusaka, 1 night
    Pioneer Camp to Chipata, Mama Rulas, 1 night
    Chipata to Wildlife Camp SLNP 3 nights
    Wildlife camp to Zikomo camp, Nsefu sector SLNP 4 nights,
    Zikomo to Chimwemwe Lodge Petauke, 1 night
    Petauke to Eureka Camp Lusaka, 1 night
    Eureka To Mvuu Camp Lower Zambezi, 4 nights
    Mvuu to Maramba River Lodge Livingston
    Livingston to Kasane 2 nights (Thebe River safaris and Chobe Safari lodge)
    Kasane to Woodlands
    Serviced vehicle at Francistown Toyota.
    Serowe
    Jhb After 25 days.


    Feed back


    The main aim of this trip was to see some of Zambia and its national parks.
    General Impressions
    There have been some excellent Zambia trip reports on this forum recently so this will just be some comments and our general impressions of the places we visited.
    Solo trip, my wife and I. Camping but with chalets/tents for one and two night stops.
    Woodlands stopover: Excellent well managed camp and rooms. Very clean and tastefully furnished. Nice to arrive at about 4pm and do some bird watching at the deck on the Tati river. Recommended.
    Kasane: Stayed at Thebe River Safaris in a room. Decided not to visit Chobe due to some negative reports. Last visit to Chobe was about 20 yrs ago. (Later decided to visit Chobe on the return trip)
    Kazungula border: Absolute deliberate chaos which is what many African border posts thrive on. Got across in about 1hr 45 mins with no runner. Started at immigration and then just asked at each window what the next step was. As advised by someone on this forum.
    Zambia, first impression: not what I expected. It was like going back 50 years in time. Few visible signs of any development, especially in rural areas. Why?
    Game Parks are very good but as another trip report stated no or very little money is ploughed back into these parks. No facilities.
    The main attraction for us was the fantastic scenery along the riverfront drives, both at SLNP and LZNP. Game was plentiful everywhere.
    South Luangwa National Park
    The riverine forest drives in SLNP are absolutely amazing. Lots of game and the most spectacular trees I have ever seen.
    Although they were both good we enjoyed the Nsefu sector a bit more than Mfuwe. Much quieter and a lot of animals. Same spectacular riverine forest.
    Nsefu: Riverside and hot springs nice. Strange to suddenly come across an almost continuous string of bicycles going through the park laden with shopping!
    Lower Zambezi National Park
    Very wild and remote which was it’s main attraction for us. Amazing trees and riverfront drives along the Zambezi. Plenty of game.
    Chobe, Botswana
    On the way back to RSA we decided to go into Chobe after about 20 years. Apart from the bumper to bumper game drive vehicles we were warned about, the area has been destroyed by elephants and drought.
    Saw a lot of game on the floodplains and plenty of cattle on the Caprivi side. Stopped to look at Ihaha. It is far too close and accessible from the Caprivi side!
    Zambia general
    The people are extremely friendly and even walking in crowded villages in remote areas we did not ever feel uncomfortable or threatened as we would have in RSA.
    Zambia has been independent for over 50 years yet from Kazungula to Chipata and Chirundu there seems to be very little sign of any development. In most villages people still live in mud and thatch huts as they did 50 years ago. We took the back gravel road (D501) from Chirundu to Chisekesi to by-pass the bad T1 section with its monster potholes. Beautiful countryside but totally undeveloped. Where does all the government money go?
    Zambia is the world’s 8th biggest copper producer and produces about 800000 tons of copper per year. It is a major producer of cobalt, zinc and lead.
    The country has tremendous mineral wealth, fantastic agricultural and tourism potential yet most of the people we saw in the rural areas and villages live in absolute poverty. (saw some comments on trip reports that overseas tourists find it “Interesting” to see how rural Zambians live!)
    Outside major towns like Lusaka and Livingston most buildings seem to be at least 50 yrs old with very few brick buildings having been erected in the past 50 years.
    Women and children still carry 20 liter drums of water and piles of wood miles to their homes.
    Bicycles are a major form of transport carrying massive loads of charcoal, water, building materials, bags of mielie meal, etc. There is also a constant stream of pedestrians along the roads between rural villages walking many kilometres to their destinations. We don’t remember seeing any obese people. Also not many taxi’s in the rural areas.
    Many schools seem to be run by missionaries rather than by the government.
    And then, as has been mentioned on a number of occasions, the locals are converting their country into charcoal. Why? It must be out of shear desperation due to their extreme poverty. Where does all the government money go?
    Elephants
    Like in Botswana elephant human conflict seems to be increasing. While we were in the country we heard of three people killed by elephants in the same week. One was a guide at Maramba killed about mid Sept while taking a client bird watching in the elephant corridor. One in a village near Mvuu.
    Spoke to a lady living in one of the villages near Livingston. This is what she had to say:
    “If one elephant gets poached it is all over the Zambian newspapers and the police and Game Dept come and harass the villagers to find the poachers. But, if an elephant kills a villager there is no sign of the police or game dept and nothing gets done. Elephants are more important to the government than the people.”
    Roads in Zambia: There is no bad dirt road anywhere that can compete with a badly potholed Zambian tar road! Incredible potholes near Mazabuka.
    Progress is slow even on new roads due to frequent villages.
    Zambia accommodation: Maybe my expectations were too high after reading about iconic Zambia destinations.
    Chalets: A bit rundown even in the higher unaffordable cost brackets. We did not stay in these but had a look at them in each camp.
    Camping: Depends on what experience you want. Monkeys and baboons make it impossible to “set-up” your camp or to relax. Everything must remain in your vehicle. They don’t only take food but take anything and then discard it somewhere if not edible. This does tend to spoil the camping experience unless you love monkeys. Seems to be a problem everywhere.
    Maramba River lodge: 2 nights. Good lodge and nice location.
    Had sundowners on the deck at Royal Livingston with elephants all around (fantastic location) and a great curry at Golden Leaf restaurant in town.
    Camp near Lusaka. After paying by credit card on their computer where all card details had to be entered about 15 transactions came through from USA and my card was blocked. Could do nothing about it till we returned. Not saying it was their computer …………… Maybe an ATM or fuel payment in Livingston?
    Mama Rulas Chipata: Neglected and rundown, maybe it was good at some stage. Needs some TLC.
    Wildlife Camp SLNP: Campsite- amazing location on the river. Great camp and near the main gate to SLNP. Monkeys and baboons make life a bit unpleasant, you cannot relax.
    Good security at night.
    Zikomo: Fantastic location but my biggest disappointment of the trip. Campsite rundown and badly managed. Poor ablutions which could so easily be fixed. What a pity as it could be such a wonderful camp. Not many camping options near the Nsefu sector?
    Fairly wild with hippos and elephant in the camp.
    Eureka camp: Old and new chalets. Man at reception tried to rip us off but quickly changed his tune when we asked to see the owner. Eventually got a decent chalet at the price we were originally quoted. Drunk rowdy crowd of locals in the bar, pool and restaurant area. Saw some unhappy campers. Won’t be back there.
    Mvuu Lodge Lower Zambezi: This with Wildlife Camp was the best of all our camps. Enjoyed the wildness and remoteness of the area. Elephant browse around the camp and you hear lions and hippos at night. Bret and Lynne were great hosts.
    Fairly convenient for trips to Lower Zambezi national Park. 45 mins drive to the gate.
    Monkeys and baboons put a bit of damper on the camping experience. You cannot “set-up” your camp and need to keep everything in your vehicle.
    They also have beautiful chalets on the Zambezi. Boat trip on the Zambezi a must.
    Tracks4Africa
    I bought it just before going on this trip and only found it useful for the parks, SLNP and LZNP. Maybe I just don’t know how to use it.


    Conclusions
    SLNP and LZNP two wonderful parks in Zambia.
    Was it worth travelling 6250km just to see SLNP and LZNP? Not so sure!
    Was it worth travelling 6250km to experience Zambia and two of it’s national parks? Yes as a once off.
    If Zambia (SLNP) is your destination it is a very long way to drive from RSA. It should rather be part of a circular route through Malawi, Mozambique, Zim and Botswana. Or the other popular route through NLNP, Mpika, Kasanka, Kafue, etc.
    We found it really nice to get to your destination/overnight stop by about 3 to 4 pm. (Say after about a 5 to max 8 hr drive). By 5pm you are settled in and can relax.
    Camping with monkeys and baboons is not fun.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Thanks for your honest detailed feedback, it is much appreciated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Quote Originally Posted by RonS View Post
    Hi Forumites,
    Below are some comments on our recent trip to Zambia via Botswana.

    Botswana Zambia trip 1 to 25 September 2019 (6250km)
    This trip was planned with a lot of input from this forum and hence some feedback.
    The itinerary was planned to arrive at each destination early so as to relax and enjoy whatever the camp has to offer, as well as a sundowner, with minimal driving pressure.
    Itinerary as follows :
    Left Jhb 1pm to Stockpoort Lodge, 4 hrs
    Stockpoort Lodge to Woodlands, Francistown, 1 night
    Woodlands to Kasane, Thebe River Safaris, 1 night
    Kasane to Maramba River Lodge for 2 nights (To recover from the long drive)
    Maramba to Pioneer Camp, Lusaka, 1 night
    Pioneer Camp to Chipata, Mama Rulas, 1 night
    Chipata to Wildlife Camp SLNP 3 nights
    Wildlife camp to Zikomo camp, Nsefu sector SLNP 4 nights,
    Zikomo to Chimwemwe Lodge Petauke, 1 night
    Petauke to Eureka Camp Lusaka, 1 night
    Eureka To Mvuu Camp Lower Zambezi, 4 nights
    Mvuu to Maramba River Lodge Livingston
    Livingston to Kasane 2 nights (Thebe River safaris and Chobe Safari lodge)
    Kasane to Woodlands
    Serviced vehicle at Francistown Toyota.
    Serowe
    Jhb After 25 days.


    Feed back


    The main aim of this trip was to see some of Zambia and its national parks.
    General Impressions
    There have been some excellent Zambia trip reports on this forum recently so this will just be some comments and our general impressions of the places we visited.
    Solo trip, my wife and I. Camping but with chalets/tents for one and two night stops.
    Woodlands stopover: Excellent well managed camp and rooms. Very clean and tastefully furnished. Nice to arrive at about 4pm and do some bird watching at the deck on the Tati river. Recommended.
    Kasane: Stayed at Thebe River Safaris in a room. Decided not to visit Chobe due to some negative reports. Last visit to Chobe was about 20 yrs ago. (Later decided to visit Chobe on the return trip)
    Kazungula border: Absolute deliberate chaos which is what many African border posts thrive on. Got across in about 1hr 45 mins with no runner. Started at immigration and then just asked at each window what the next step was. As advised by someone on this forum.
    Zambia, first impression: not what I expected. It was like going back 50 years in time. Few visible signs of any development, especially in rural areas. Why?
    Game Parks are very good but as another trip report stated no or very little money is ploughed back into these parks. No facilities.
    The main attraction for us was the fantastic scenery along the riverfront drives, both at SLNP and LZNP. Game was plentiful everywhere.
    South Luangwa National Park
    The riverine forest drives in SLNP are absolutely amazing. Lots of game and the most spectacular trees I have ever seen.
    Although they were both good we enjoyed the Nsefu sector a bit more than Mfuwe. Much quieter and a lot of animals. Same spectacular riverine forest.
    Nsefu: Riverside and hot springs nice. Strange to suddenly come across an almost continuous string of bicycles going through the park laden with shopping!
    Lower Zambezi National Park
    Very wild and remote which was it’s main attraction for us. Amazing trees and riverfront drives along the Zambezi. Plenty of game.
    Chobe, Botswana
    On the way back to RSA we decided to go into Chobe after about 20 years. Apart from the bumper to bumper game drive vehicles we were warned about, the area has been destroyed by elephants and drought.
    Saw a lot of game on the floodplains and plenty of cattle on the Caprivi side. Stopped to look at Ihaha. It is far too close and accessible from the Caprivi side!
    Zambia general
    The people are extremely friendly and even walking in crowded villages in remote areas we did not ever feel uncomfortable or threatened as we would have in RSA.
    Zambia has been independent for over 50 years yet from Kazungula to Chipata and Chirundu there seems to be very little sign of any development. In most villages people still live in mud and thatch huts as they did 50 years ago. We took the back gravel road (D501) from Chirundu to Chisekesi to by-pass the bad T1 section with its monster potholes. Beautiful countryside but totally undeveloped. Where does all the government money go?
    Zambia is the world’s 8th biggest copper producer and produces about 800000 tons of copper per year. It is a major producer of cobalt, zinc and lead.
    The country has tremendous mineral wealth, fantastic agricultural and tourism potential yet most of the people we saw in the rural areas and villages live in absolute poverty. (saw some comments on trip reports that overseas tourists find it “Interesting” to see how rural Zambians live!)
    Outside major towns like Lusaka and Livingston most buildings seem to be at least 50 yrs old with very few brick buildings having been erected in the past 50 years.
    Women and children still carry 20 liter drums of water and piles of wood miles to their homes.
    Bicycles are a major form of transport carrying massive loads of charcoal, water, building materials, bags of mielie meal, etc. There is also a constant stream of pedestrians along the roads between rural villages walking many kilometres to their destinations. We don’t remember seeing any obese people. Also not many taxi’s in the rural areas.
    Many schools seem to be run by missionaries rather than by the government.
    And then, as has been mentioned on a number of occasions, the locals are converting their country into charcoal. Why? It must be out of shear desperation due to their extreme poverty. Where does all the government money go?
    Elephants
    Like in Botswana elephant human conflict seems to be increasing. While we were in the country we heard of three people killed by elephants in the same week. One was a guide at Maramba killed about mid Sept while taking a client bird watching in the elephant corridor. One in a village near Mvuu.
    Spoke to a lady living in one of the villages near Livingston. This is what she had to say:
    “If one elephant gets poached it is all over the Zambian newspapers and the police and Game Dept come and harass the villagers to find the poachers. But, if an elephant kills a villager there is no sign of the police or game dept and nothing gets done. Elephants are more important to the government than the people.”
    Roads in Zambia: There is no bad dirt road anywhere that can compete with a badly potholed Zambian tar road! Incredible potholes near Mazabuka.
    Progress is slow even on new roads due to frequent villages.
    Zambia accommodation: Maybe my expectations were too high after reading about iconic Zambia destinations.
    Chalets: A bit rundown even in the higher unaffordable cost brackets. We did not stay in these but had a look at them in each camp.
    Camping: Depends on what experience you want. Monkeys and baboons make it impossible to “set-up” your camp or to relax. Everything must remain in your vehicle. They don’t only take food but take anything and then discard it somewhere if not edible. This does tend to spoil the camping experience unless you love monkeys. Seems to be a problem everywhere.
    Maramba River lodge: 2 nights. Good lodge and nice location.
    Had sundowners on the deck at Royal Livingston with elephants all around (fantastic location) and a great curry at Golden Leaf restaurant in town.
    Camp near Lusaka. After paying by credit card on their computer where all card details had to be entered about 15 transactions came through from USA and my card was blocked. Could do nothing about it till we returned. Not saying it was their computer …………… Maybe an ATM or fuel payment in Livingston?
    Mama Rulas Chipata: Neglected and rundown, maybe it was good at some stage. Needs some TLC.
    Wildlife Camp SLNP: Campsite- amazing location on the river. Great camp and near the main gate to SLNP. Monkeys and baboons make life a bit unpleasant, you cannot relax.
    Good security at night.
    Zikomo: Fantastic location but my biggest disappointment of the trip. Campsite rundown and badly managed. Poor ablutions which could so easily be fixed. What a pity as it could be such a wonderful camp. Not many camping options near the Nsefu sector?
    Fairly wild with hippos and elephant in the camp.
    Eureka camp: Old and new chalets. Man at reception tried to rip us off but quickly changed his tune when we asked to see the owner. Eventually got a decent chalet at the price we were originally quoted. Drunk rowdy crowd of locals in the bar, pool and restaurant area. Saw some unhappy campers. Won’t be back there.
    Mvuu Lodge Lower Zambezi: This with Wildlife Camp was the best of all our camps. Enjoyed the wildness and remoteness of the area. Elephant browse around the camp and you hear lions and hippos at night. Bret and Lynne were great hosts.
    Fairly convenient for trips to Lower Zambezi national Park. 45 mins drive to the gate.
    Monkeys and baboons put a bit of damper on the camping experience. You cannot “set-up” your camp and need to keep everything in your vehicle.
    They also have beautiful chalets on the Zambezi. Boat trip on the Zambezi a must.
    Tracks4Africa
    I bought it just before going on this trip and only found it useful for the parks, SLNP and LZNP. Maybe I just don’t know how to use it.


    Conclusions
    SLNP and LZNP two wonderful parks in Zambia.
    Was it worth travelling 6250km just to see SLNP and LZNP? Not so sure!
    Was it worth travelling 6250km to experience Zambia and two of it’s national parks? Yes as a once off.
    If Zambia (SLNP) is your destination it is a very long way to drive from RSA. It should rather be part of a circular route through Malawi, Mozambique, Zim and Botswana. Or the other popular route through NLNP, Mpika, Kasanka, Kafue, etc.
    We found it really nice to get to your destination/overnight stop by about 3 to 4 pm. (Say after about a 5 to max 8 hr drive). By 5pm you are settled in and can relax.
    Camping with monkeys and baboons is not fun.
    Having done just over 7000 km in mozambique over mid july to mid august 2019 your report has put me up a lot more updated with zambia travelling , specially where we were planning to visit in 2020 ..... maybe the fly and car hire or be collected will become a better choice ... Thanks and regards.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Jhb
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    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Hi Jayefe,
    Yes East London is far from Zambia.
    But it all depends what you want to do along the way and how much time you have. If you have the time and Limpopo Province, Botswana, Livingston, Lower Zambezi, SLNP, NLNP, Kasanka, Kafue, Caprivi,etc is all on your program then driving is a better option.
    If you have limited time and only want to visit one or two places in Zambia the fly-in and car hire is the answer.
    Next year some of the roads (especially around Mazabuka) will also be better as they are being upgraded at present.
    The bridge at Kazungula is also due for completion about July 2020 which may improve this border crossing but who knows?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Okahandja, Windhoek
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    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Quote Originally Posted by RonS View Post
    Zambia general
    The people are extremely friendly and even walking in crowded villages in remote areas we did not ever feel uncomfortable or threatened as we would have in RSA.

    Women and children still carry 20 liter drums of water and piles of wood miles to their homes.
    Bicycles are a major form of transport carrying massive loads of charcoal, water, building materials, bags of mielie meal, etc. There is also a constant stream of pedestrians along the roads between rural villages walking many kilometres to their destinations. We don’t remember seeing any obese people. Also not many taxi’s in the rural areas.
    Many schools seem to be run by missionaries rather than by the government.
    And then, as has been mentioned on a number of occasions, the locals are converting their country into charcoal. Why? It must be out of shear desperation due to their extreme poverty. Where does all the government money go?
    Yes, and some ox wagons. Those oxen were all in good shape. No donkey carts.

    No fat policemen either, and all very friendly.

    Very little road signs also, including on their main roads.

    And some locals even plant cotton towards the east, beside the cassava.
    Last edited by JLK; 2019/10/21 at 07:48 PM.
    Johan Kriel

    LC's and Echo Chobe

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Chirundu. Lower Zambezi National Park
    Age
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    Posts
    364

    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Hi I live very close to the LZNP on a GMA property near the confluence of the Zambesi and Kafue rivers. If any forumites have any questions I'll try and answer them.
    One thing I can say it's a bit warm, got to 45°C today.
    The locals are very friendly I often walk through the villages ie Chiawa or Moragamenu and it's absolutely no issue whatsoever.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Yes no donkey carts, only ox carts, maybe an improvement.
    In some fields we also saw plows (ploughs?) being pulled by oxen. Interesting to see but not an easy life.
    Maybe this is still done in parts of SA?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Ljubljana, Slovenia
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    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Quote Originally Posted by RonS View Post
    In some fields we also saw plows (ploughs?) being pulled by oxen.
    This one was taken this August in Zambezi valley, near Kabula Lodge.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    24 hours in a day.... 24 beer in a case.... Coincidence?
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    My blog: Our African Ramblings (https://safaribug.wordpress.com/)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Okahandja, Windhoek
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    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Ploughing with oxen seem to be quit standard all over, but I have also seen oxen running with a cart, not walking.
    Johan Kriel

    LC's and Echo Chobe

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Oslo
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    Default Re: Feedback Zambia SLNP and LZNP

    Thank you for the feedback Ron,
    Next time you can visit Kafue ant the North Luangwa park to see more of this amaizing country.
    Your remark about monkey make me think about an experience I had with vervet monkey in a special campsite in Tarangire np in Tanzania. I stayed one night at Kware sp.ca. and in the morning I could see some monkeys lurking from the neighbouring baobabs but they never went on to the ground close to our camp despite us eating mangos in full wiew. They where obviously to worried about us to do that..just to say we, humans have been teach these animals to prey on our food...

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