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Advice on Safari in SA v. Zambia

Advice on Safari in SA v. Zambia

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Old Sep 23, 18, 10:38 am
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Advice on Safari in SA v. Zambia

I scored two tickets F in EK next July from JFK to JNB for my African Safari. I have never been to Africa before. I haven't booked the rest of it and I need advice on which of the following options would be better. I can only stay in Africa for about 9 days due to limitations from work. Budget is about $1,500/night.

Option 1: Stay in SA. Four nights in a Safari Lodge in Kruger, most likely Tintswalo or the Virgin property. Spend a couple of days in Jozi. Do Gold Reef City and tour the diamond mine.

Option 2: Spend no time in SA and continue on to Victoria Falls for a couple of days. Do a Safari in Lower Zambezi National Park, most likely Zambezi Grande or Anabezi.

I am concerned about crime in SA. I am concerned about the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe and the possibility it could spill over into Zambia.

Any advice?
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Old Sep 23, 18, 11:24 am
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We've traveled in SA a number of times. On one trip, we stayed at Ulu Saba, the Branson property. I would not go there again. We had excellent game viewing, but there were two things in particular I did not like:

1) You are at the far side of the preserve and see lights from the neighboring village at night. You don't have the sense of solitude that I like.
2) Branson believes in family tables at night. I really disliked this. We came back from our evening game drive and had to wait thru the time allotted for folks to freshen up and have drinks. Then the chef came and told us what the evening choices were. We finally were fed late into the evening. I preferred getting to my room earlier as the morning game drives began very early.

There are many other choices in SA. Should you go there, I suggest choosing a different property.

We were in Zambia in August, stopping first in Victoria Falls for two nights and then spending time in 3 different camps. Two were in South Luangwa and one was in Lower Zambezi. It was a fantastic trip, and made me happy in every way. Be aware that rhinos are poached out in Zambia. We loved Anabezi but your budget is light for it.

Three luxury lodges in Zambia: Chinzombo, Lion, and Anabezi

Zambia is a seasonal safari destination. We went in early August. July should be a good time to go. Vic Falls will have heavy water flow to the point that it is difficult to walk some of the trails due to heavy mist.
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Old Sep 23, 18, 4:15 pm
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I second everything the previous poster said.

As far as Tintswalo goes, there is nothing wrong with the lodge or the Manyeleti where it is located, but on the other hand I cannot think of any reason to pick it in preference to any number of alternatives.

Dinner at game lodges is something I almost always skip. Too much food and limited opportunities for exercise is a pernicious combination. Brunch is plenty enough. In the evenings I either call an early night, or go on a night drive (the proper kind).

Johan

Last edited by johan rebel; Sep 24, 18 at 12:50 pm Reason: Layout looked funny - not anymore.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 12:56 am
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Should you choose Zambia, you can choose an affordable hotel in Livingstone and save money for the game camps. We stayed at Protea Livingstone, part of the Marriott chain, and were well content. Go to Livingstone at the start of the trip and save the camps for last as they are truly special experiences.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marr...ls-zambia.html

Emirates flies to Lusaka. That could be an option for leaving Zambia.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 10:03 am
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Thx for the info everyone. I think we will do the Zambia itinerary as you suggest . While I would like to fly out on EK, I burned through my stash of AS miles for the flight to JNB (F all the way, no mixed cabin) and would only have enough Amex MR for one person out in J. I plan to use UA miles for the trip home on Ethiopian in J.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by Inter_0perative View Post
Thx for the info everyone. I think we will do the Zambia itinerary as you suggest . While I would like to fly out on EK, I burned through my stash of AS miles for the flight to JNB (F all the way, no mixed cabin) and would only have enough Amex MR for one person out in J. I plan to use UA miles for the trip home on Ethiopian in J.
TK just announced LUN as a new destination.starting in December 2018. I don't know what their award availability will be.

https://atcnews.org/2018/09/18/turki...n-destination/
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Old Oct 19, 18, 4:54 pm
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here is what we did on our first trip
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/sear...3&query=ranles

Last edited by ranles; Oct 19, 18 at 4:54 pm Reason: forgot link
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Old Oct 20, 18, 1:54 am
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An alternative might be to reposition using local flights and fly from JNB to ARK (Tanzania) and do the "Northern Circuit" Safaris. I've done both Tanzania and Kruger and found the Tanzania experience to be a bit more of the "Africa" that blows you away.

But for South Africa, I've done it a couple of ways, but had the most-enjoyable experience doing a combination of Victoria Falls and Chobe River. My wife and I did it in November; can't speak for July. We actually ended our trip by taking the train from JNB to Cape Town. We never felt unsafe, despite rather shocking examples of economic segregation (the train station in JNB was eye-opening with the lower level serving the poorer communities while the upper level strictly the domain of the wealthy). But you can transit JNB without ever seeing anything like that, if that's your preference.
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Old Oct 20, 18, 3:51 pm
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SA Railways used to run a luxury train service to Port Elizabeth. This "train" in reality consisted of a sleeper car and a lounge/restaurant car hitched to the back of the regular train to PE.

I once found myself the only passenger on this service. With both cars and all the staff to myself, I was physically segregated from the rest of the train and all the other travelers.

Johan
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Old Oct 20, 18, 11:44 pm
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Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
SA Railways used to run a luxury train service to Port Elizabeth. This "train" in reality consisted of a sleeper car and a lounge/restaurant car hitched to the back of the regular train to PE.

I once found myself the only passenger on this service. With both cars and all the staff to myself, I was physically segregated from the rest of the train and all the other travelers.

Johan
That would seem almost creepy! I can sort of relate on a MUCH smaller scale; flying multi-segment Washington Dulles-SFO, segment to Las Vegas was delayed 3 hours due to an unscheduled maintenance stop in Kansas. I assumed I'd miss my connection to LAX by two hours. Turned out the plane I was on was continuing as the flight to LAX, so instead of having to find a room in Las Vegas for the night, I arrive to find my flight to LAX hasn't yet left???!!! Scheduled for two hours later, delay of 4 hours total. Well everyone found different ways to LAX it seems, so when I got on board, I was the only person on the flight. And it was a bit creepy, but super-short flight. And they did insist I move up into first. :-)
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Old Oct 21, 18, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
I was the only person on the flight.
I was once the only pax on a Air Botswana flight from JNB to TLD.

On another occasion I was the only pax from TLD to JNB. In that instance the flight originated in BBK. It took quite some effort to persuade Air Botswana to land and pick me up, and when they did they didn't even bother to switch off the engines. They threw the back door open and waved me on.

That solitary train ride was by far the best rail trip I've ever taken. Early the next morning they even stopped at a grade crossing to drop me off, as that was the closest point to my destination, Shamwari.

Johan
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Old Oct 26, 18, 6:12 pm
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We also did a safari in South Luangwa in Zambia and loved it. We were with a company that was allowed to do both walking safaris and night trips (but not walking at night!). We did a few days at a lodge in the park and a few days at a bushcamp about 50 kilometers from the lodge. It was quite magical.
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