Kafue info





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Thread: Kafue info

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    Default Kafue info

    Hi everyone

    We are busy putting together a trip to Kafue in Jun/Jul 2010. I have enjoyed reading everyone's trip reports and am battling to decide on which camps to try and stay at!

    Is all the camping inside the private lodge areas, or can one camp within the park in the bush, and how does one book for this? All the references I've found seem to direct me to the private camps?

    Which of the private camps are "not to be missed" and which ones should we avoid?

    We will have about 2 weeks in the park and would love any advice anyone has to offer. We are travelling from CT, and are 3 families towing off-road trailers.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by janeb View Post
    Is all the camping inside the private lodge areas, or can one camp within the park in the bush, and how does one book for this? All the references I've found seem to direct me to the private camps?

    Which of the private camps are "not to be missed" and which ones should we avoid?
    Hi JaneB,

    One cannot camp in the Park, except at the lodges. In the northern Kafue, McBride's is the only "unmissable" camping place within the park from my experience. I didn't like Lufupa much.

    If you are camping, then Mukambi may not be on your list, but you must drop in on Jacques and Linda anyway. It'd be rude not to! You really ought to consider a trip up to Busanga Plain, which isn't a camping trip, but is wonderful. indeed, unmissable......and Jacques and Linda can organise this for you from Mukambi.

    All of the lodges down the river road on the southern boundary of the park benefit from not being in the park, and so are cheaper. Kaingu is lovely, but charge a ridiculous $25 pppd (USD) just for camping. We really enjoyed Puku Pan just up the river...........$10pppd. Don't miss the river road........it's great fun driving.

    My biggest 2 tips for you are to carefully plan so as not to stay overnight in the park more often than you need, as it costs a small fortune in fees (there is even a bed levy when you are camping, believe it or not), and to try out one of those 12V insect killers that attract flies in with a purple light before zapping them. It is no fun driving with your windows up in a game park, and that is the alternative when there are tsetses about.

    We're back in July next year.........you never know, we may bump into each other.

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeAG; 2009/10/13 at 03:01 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Hi Jane,

    As Mike says, all the campsites are at the lodges, and bush camping is not allowed.

    There's only one operating camp in the south, at Nanzhila Plains, and although the game densities in the south are not as high as in the north, the isolation and the birding make it worthwhile - I noted 28 species just sitting in camp with my morning coffee. We had the entire south of the park to ourselves for three days last June/July - the only other vehicle we saw, besides the lodge vehicle, was the park tractor! The big open grasslands and extensive wetlands make this a very special area. The Chilenje Pools road is especially good for game and birds. The camp sites are right at the edge of a big dambo which floods the area in the rainy season (the lodge is essentially on an island).

    If you need to overnight near southern park HQ at Ngoma, just outside the park there's a lovely camp site on Lake Itezhi Tezhi at New Kalala, although the main resort area is not particularly attractive. The camp site is right on the water's edge with stunning vistas, and they provide firewood. The ablutions are basic but clean. There's also a basic restaurant with cold beers, Savannas etc.

    Kaingu is an absolute must stay, even if it is a bit pricey - I would check with them: I'm pretty sure they have a SADC/SA rate which is a lot lower then $25 pppn - most of the camps have a lower SADC rate, although they don't necessarily advertise the fact. You also don't have to pay park fees as it is in a Game Management Area. If you stay there, try and get the two Rapids camp sites, as the bush camp site is not on the water. If you can swing it, it is well worth hiring the lodge owner, Tom Heineken (who is from Fish Hoek) to take you out on the river for a half day boat drive and picnic on one of the islands. A morning bush walk with Besa Kaoma is also great.

    McBrides is unmissable - we stayed in the chalets (well, grass huts) there so I can't comment on the campsite.

    Mayukuyuku, just before the Hook Bridge entrance to the northern sector of the park, is a convenient stop over, with some lovely campsites right on the river with excellent birding, and great river vistas.

    As Mike says, you must drop in at Mukambi if you can. Lufupa is, AFAIK, the only operating lodge with campsite in the northern sector. It is big (although small by Kruger standards) and feels very civilized after the wildness of the south and of McBrides. The campsite had just been rebuilt when we were there and was a dust bowl. But it may be your only option, and the game sightings in the area, particularly of leopard, are excellent.

    If you camp in Livingstone, have a look at staying at Faan and Anmarie Fourie's wonderful Peregrine bush camp near their Taita Falcon Lodge - it perches on the edge of the Batoka Gorge downstream of Vic Falls. If you want to be in town, Maramba River Lodge has reopened its camp site - lovely spot on the Maramba River.

    Tony
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2009/10/13 at 02:40 PM.
    Tony Weaver

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  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. Awesome advice, have sent out a bunch of emails and am looking forward to getting replies back.

    Regards
    Beth

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    Beth, (that is a little confusing......Janeb= Beth!!)

    Just to add to Tony's....

    Our biggest regret on the trip was getting our dates wrong, and heading away from Itezhi Tezhi a day early. We would have loved to have stayed at Nanzhila Plain.

    If you are up for a bit of bush camping, turn off the river road towards the Lake anywhere about 10 to 30 km north of Itezhi Tezhi town......and just see what occurs. You'll find something, and you might strike gold as we did, with a wonderful location on the lake shore.

    Finally.....do you really need trailers? If you do, do you really need one per car? Some of these roads are a bit of a test. You won't all fit on the Sitoti ferry together. You'll fall into the trap of taking too much stuff with you......and worst of all, you'll look like tourists!!

    Mike
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    Hi Mike,

    Hope we won't look too much like tourists! The reason we take trailers with us on our trips is that we have adult kids - including a 6ft5 son - who refuse to stay at home!! So there is no way we can manage just with the car. We have an Echo trailer with a large family tent on top of it - so that takes care of all the camping gear. Yes, and we do probably take too much stuff with us too! I like camping in a bit of comfort

    How long would you camp at Nanzhila for? We have allocated 4 nights.

    Did you find the camps responded to email? I sent out quite a few mails yesterday, but have only receive a reply from Kaingu so far?

    Thanks
    Beth

    (PS Sorry for the confusing user name - jane is my middle name)

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    Beth,

    we didn't book anything. We never do, except inside National Parks.....and even then, we just turned up at Lufupa and asked if they had room. I didn't pre-book a single thing on my last trip.

    Kaingu had one car in their campsite when we visited them, and Puku Pans had no-one except us. We emailed Chris & Charlotte McBride the day before to say we were on the way, and were the only people in their campsite. I would never bother booking, because you are then tied down to a schedule. Zambia isn't like Kruger, you know!

    Again, I would urge you to contact Mukambi about Busanga Plains. This is one thing that will need booking in advance, and they only have 4 accomodation tents. The availability of those would be what would determine the rest of the schedule if I were you.

    Nanzhila? Don't know. I don't plan itineraries to that sort of detail. Maybe book one night, ask about availability for the next few nights, and make your mind up when you get there.

    Are you planning to go up the Zambezi to Mongu & Liuwa Plains?

    Mike
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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    We are concerned about not booking as everyone seems to be leaving SA during the world cup cos of the long school hols.
    I have sent Mukambi an email, will see what they come back with.
    At the moment we are still in the planning phase, and not sure if we'll get anywhere else besides Kafue.

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    Hi Beth ....

    We spent three nights at Nanzhila. It's the kind of place you could stay forever, but only if you like walking - there are only a limited number of tracks in the area, and in June/July, much of the Nanzhila River area will be impassable, unless they have a very dry rainy season. You will probably have to access the camp via the Cordon road from Dumdumwenze as the river road is very tricky when wet - impassable until either Steve Smith or the rangers have reopened it. You can phone Steve (the co-owner of Nanzhila) for the latest info. His cell number is +267 7 212 3002. He lives in Francistown.

    The camp is only open from May to November, although it usually opens only in June because of the rains. I would love to go there in the wet season, as the entire area becomes a delta, and the lodge becomes an island only accessible by boat.

    Be aware that the first weekend in July is an extra-long weekend (Hero's Day and Unity Day on the 7th and 8th, I think) and it is absolutely essential to make bookings for that period for the camps that are in easy striking distance of Lusaka (McBride's, Mukambi, Kaingu, Lufupa, Mayukuyuku, Puku Pans et al). Nanzhila's not an issue then.

    I would book as a precaution because of 2010 - all the camps are in bushmail or satellite email contact with each other, so it is easy to adjust your bookings as you go.

    If you like, contact me on my direct email [email protected] closer to the time and I can give your party a slide show on Kafue.

    Tony
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2009/10/14 at 11:50 AM.
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    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

  10. #10
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    Beth a quick one, just remember that some of the lodges are in remote areas and that coms are rather difficult.

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    Thanks

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    Thanks for all the excellent advice, and Tony, we may well take you up on yr offer of a slide show, very kind of you to offer to do that for us!

    I have heard back from more of the camps, some very generous folks out there!

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    Hi Beth,

    I really enjoyed the Southern part of Kafue simply because it is so remote and wild - animal densities are low but there is still enough to make it worth while - I would not miss the southern part. If it is dry then there are many tracks that Andre at Nanzhilla will detail for you and which are worth doing. The campsite at Nanzhila is very basic but great if you enjoy camping.I would stay a minimum of three nights.

    Kaingu is excellent and not to be missed. Mukambi is also in an excellent spot and Linda and Jacques are incredibly helpful people. We stayed at Lufupa because it was the closest camp from which we could do a day drive into the Busanga plains. The wildlife around Lufupa is excellent. Unfortunately we did not visit Macbrides.

    I would book the camps ahead simply because they are very small and take few campers -June/July are the SA school holidays - booking may well be unnecessary outside of school holidays. I am reasonably sure that anyone without a reservation would not be turned away at any camp (the people are just too friendly to do that!) but if you book you will at least get a proper camp site. Avoid Lufupa for the first week of July - we were there the weekend after and they told us they were fully packed on the long weekend with lots of fishermen - apparently this happens every year so plan to be somewhere else!

    I traveled with an Echo Roadster trailer and had no problems even on the river road - which you MUST do.

    Good luck - Paolo

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    Beth my recommendation for a 14 day stunning Kafue NP trip:


    • Nanzila 2 days
    • Puku Pan 2 days
    • McBrides 4 or 5 days
    • Leopard Lodge 2 days
    • Northgate 2 days (Camping at ZAWA post??) You get to see the Busanga Plains.
    • Mukabi 2 days

    Then heading west via Mongu and I will stay at least 2 to 3 nights at Kabula Lodge on the Zambezi before crossing back into Namibia at Shesheki/Katimo

    The road to McBrides is good and will not take you longer than 90 minutes from Mumbwa. I know the new T4A indicates about 3-4 hrs but that was before they fixed the road which should still be ok when you visit next year. From McBrides to Leopard to Northgate is also good in fact at the moment excellent by African standards.

    You are not allowed to wild camp in the NP, but wild camping is often done outside the NP's, and when approached by a messenger from the local chief be polite and comply with their requests. Sometimes a blanket or 2 or a bag of maize does the necessary and paves the way for a memorable night of wild camping and yes it is safe.

    Enjoy your planning, Zambia is a stunning country!

    BTW, I am also a trailer camper and advice from me would be to have the utmost respect for bad roads as far as speed is concerned. Rather wild camp than having to drive too fast on the roads. Your average speed would be slower than a vehicle without a trailer (I would say by at least 20km/h) You are doing KNP in the dry so BCS (black cotton soil) should not be a problem unless you drive straight into a dambo, which off course you would not do.
    Last edited by mfuwefarmer; 2009/10/17 at 08:52 AM.

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    Thanks so much for that great info. I am so impressed by how helpful and friendly all the camps seem to be!
    Our trip is starting to take shape, the info on this forum is great, it really helps to get personal refs to places.

    Thanks again
    Beth

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    Hi Beth,

    Just been through an incredibly busy season so have not had much time for the forum! On Monday we head off to Malawi (via Busanga, can you believe it) and Tanzania/Kenya!

    I know we have chatted on Skype already but obviously my main concern is about the road conditions June/July and all this will depend on how heavy the rains are etc. Pretty much what Mfuwefarmer is suggesting is a fantastic trip but you will find the road down the west really hard going with the trailers in July. We had guys here last night towing trailers who did that route and it was a huge schlepp! But if you have time on your hands, the Zambezi is gem, not to be missed!

    We will be back late December so give me a shout then if I can help further.

    Bye
    Linda

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    Thanks Linda.
    Hope you have a awesome trip! Looking forward to hearing about it!

    I'm sure we'll chat in December.

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    Default Camping at Mukambi

    Hi Beth/Forum Members, Just to let you know we are going to make a campsite available for 2010. Contact me for details. Will do a formal post as well. Bye! Linda

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thirstie View Post
    Hi Beth/Forum Members, Just to let you know we are going to make a campsite available for 2010. Contact me for details. Will do a formal post as well. Bye! Linda
    Hi Linda, welcome back! That's great news about the camp site.

    Hope you had a great trip - now for the trip report...

    Tony
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    Mmm, the trip report! Yes, I will get on to it this weekend. We were way busier than expected over Christmas and New Year so I just never found the time. Things are quieter now so will get on to it!

    Unfortunately we didn't get as far north as we wanted (details to follow) and have already started our planning for the next trip Nov 2010 so I will posting for help on the likes of Barundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania

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