1 independent reviews for Zambia safari in Luangwa with Victoria Falls

Reviews for Zambia safari in Luangwa with Victoria Falls

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review 8 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

A bit of background: we contacted the vacation provider about a Tanzania vacation and then, as we emailed back and forth, we came up with a cunning plan to go to Zambia (our daughter and son-in-law had recommended it as a less-touristy country in Africa), first to Nkwali in S Luangwa National Park, and then to Tongabezi near Livingstone. Memorable moments: The first was seeing leopards in S Luangwa National Park -- I'd seen one before, lolling in a tree. My OH had seen none. It was our wish to see them and Jacob, our guide, was expert enough to make it happen. Unlike in Kenya (which we had also loved at the time) the animals were dispersed - it being green season - but Jacob spotted leopard spore, tracked the prints, was alert to a herd of impala and their 'body language' and told us where he thought the leopard was. And immediately I saw this brutal sleek shadow in a thicket. 'It's there!' We followed a beautiful two-year-old female leopard and saw her up close. Jacob also interrupted bush breakfast because he was hearing alarm calls and we set off to encounter another on the move. Later in the trip, at Tongabezi, we caught the lunar rainbow at Victoria Falls - a gossamer light display set against thundering power - and the next day went back to see the solar rainbow, walk the falls and took the helicopter flight. I never knew water could make you laugh and cry at the same time but the falls do. Having said all this, the magic of Africa is that even without all this, I would have loved the trip. Who could know in advance that a flight of yellow-billed storks in formation against a blue, blue sky would hold you still? That a giant grasshopper leaping from the long grass into my hair - truly- would shake you with laughter?

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

One: if you go in May, when the water is thundering, you don't - contrary to internet advice - need to buy double entry visas to Zambia. I imagine you need to do this later in the year, during dry season, but not when the Zambezi is at its mightiest and we could have saved some money if we'd known this. The helicopter ride was well worth it. We went with the operator Tongabezi fixed up and there were just two of us to the chopper, so again, all the internet horror stories about one person wedged in the middle being unable to see, did not happen. Apparently, some people book their activities separately before they arrive at Tongabezi. I can't imagine why. Tongabezi's staff know what's a rip-off and what's not and we were very happy we trusted them. If it cost a bit more (I don't know if it did) we did not mind as we'd gone all that way and spent all that money and were not going to penny-pinch and compromise the experience at the end.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. the local safari company, who run Nkwali, started an excellent scheme helping local women and particularly teenaged girls -- we called at the Project and bought loads of stuff from them. You can also sponsor reusable (washable) sanitary towel sets. Sounds crazy but they discovered girls were dropping out of education because they were missing two months of the educational year because culturally and practically their menstrual cycle was a matter of secrecy. At Tongabezi, my OH visited the school they set up/sponsor and is now sending them art supplies. Fabulous place. All the staff we met at both centres took huge pride in their jobs.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

The best we've ever had. We want to repeat it in the dry season, probably in two years' time.

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