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Worse trip ever!


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Nappa, I'm very sorry that this trip didn't live up to what you had hoped for and envisioned. That must have been such a let down. Regardless of the planning - there is no excuse for a company to represent that you will have a knowledgeable guide and then not deliver. I hope that you are able to get at least a partial refund (to be used on your next trip!).

 

Good to hear that you had a few good sightings though - I look forward to seeing some pictures.

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Sorry it didn't work out Nappa. I cant imagine what it must be like coming home from a holiday with a bad taste in your mouth.

 

I trust that your previous and future experiences will make up for this failure.

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Nappa, did you talk to the operator while there or afterwards? And did you tell them about your experiences and how you felt?

 

I am very curious what their answer was...

 

Thx,

 

J.

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Nappa,

 

Like you mentioned a better research would have helped. A combination of advice here by some of the pro's and the Bradt travel guides are hard to beat.

 

A good guide is essential for a great safari. As previously mentioned, I like(d) to work with local guides instead of specialist guides.

 

From my experience, Kafue is quite seasonal. I visited it at the end of the dry season and had excellent lion, roan and sable sightings at the Busanga plains. It was quite dusty and windy there and the black cotton soil changed me beyond recognition. Birdlife was excellent on the Lufupa boat cruises and in the woodlands, leopards were seen on a frequent basis. Tse tse flies were a bit of a bummer there. A great safari and one of my cheapest ever.

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So sorry to hear about your disappointing trip :( This has shocked me a little since I will be visiting Kafue in a month's time as a self-drive and I was already a bit apprehensive considering that my last safari was Botswana (how can you compare to that?!)

 

But hey you saw lion and leopard! I know some people who flew all the way from Europe as well and didn't see a single cat on safari! So it can be worse I guess ;)

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kittykat23uk

Sometimes it is just the luck of the draw. On my first safari trip to Kenya we did not see a leopard. On my last trip to Kruger I also did not see a leopard. In my four african safaris, I have never seen lions hunting. I only caught a glimpse of a leopard hunting for literally 4 secs from quite a distance.

 

When we went to India we were at Bandhavgarh, as soon as we arrived, we dropped our bags and were straight into the park for our first game drive (straight off the train so we were really late getting in). Within probably an hour we were watching Bandhavgarh's legend, B2 patrolling his domain. The perfect introduction for Ian on his first long haul and first wildlife adventure. When we got back to the lodge we met another group, they had been there several days and had barely caught a glimpse of a tiger- in Bandhavgarh!! :blink:

 

Of course, none of this detracts from the poor guiding and the poor planning you were subjected to. But I would encourage you to provide some constructive criticism to the company concerned. I have also been on trips where I felt things could have gone better and I allways try to provide my views on how tings could be made better or clearer to clients. Looking forward to reading your report.

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I am very sorry Nappa. I hope you have a few good memories and photos. Lots of people don't do extensive research into the safari company and still have an outstanding time. Seems as though you were let down by incorrect info and an incompetent guide. We can all have poor luck with sightings, but your situations seems to go beyond it.

 

Looking forward to more of your report.

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Guest nappa

Booking with an operator from outside the destination country I believe is quite usual. I know when I have used an operator rather than book everything myself, we have had a great trip even though the operator was based in a different country. I'm sure over 50% of trips are booked with non local operators.

 

On reflection it was not so much Kafue that was the problem but the out & out lies by Imfuduko with our itinerary which was listed as luxury camping & a guide who had no enthusiasm or bushcraft.

 

Besides repeatedly getting lost, waffling on about nothing, leaving my wife & I to do the spotting I forgot to mention we also ran out of fuel in the middle of a game drive!!

 

I'll try to post the itinerary alongside the trip report.

My initial post was straight from the flight to warn people who had shown an interest in booking with Imfuduko

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I forgot to mention we also ran out of fuel in the middle of a game drive!!

 

What?? :o

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Yeah, the guide seems to have been the crux of the problem. Has Imfuduko made any attempt to make things right with you?

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KafueTyrone

I havn’t been very active as of late here on ST, but what better time to pick up from than with this thread!

 

Firstly! It honestly saddens me knowing that someone came to the Kafue and left disappointed. Heartbreaking,

 

From what I can see from what you have said Nappa, it is a shame the Kafue was not what you expected and far from met your expectations. It seems the operator you went with was the main problem. Stokeygirl and others talk about other operators who are based in Zambia, such as ZDS, who are indeed ‘new’ (I know Dave Bowden personally, he is a great guy, trained by Robin Pope, plenty of pedigree) and they are fantastic, arguably some of the best in Southern Africa. Of course cost is a factor and if you are only interested in camping then at this time in the history of the Kafue then it is not particularly well endowed with camping facilities. In fact there are no camping facilities in the entirety of the northern part of the park, west of the Kafue (the most prolific game area, as Egilio has pointed out in his post). There used to be camping at Lufupa some years ago, but alas no longer. As such if you want to see the ‘real’ Kafue and believe me the place is a ‘real’ wildlife destination then unfortunately you will have to stay in a camp/lodge, etc. You do not have to spend shed loads to safari in the Kafue either, operators such as Mukambi Lodge and Wilderness Safaris offer very reasonable rates and are situated in prolific wildlife areas, the Busanga Plains’, etc.

 

With regards Nappas lack of pictures and video this can simply only be put down to poor guiding. I took 250+ photos yesterday afternoon alone, this is typical. The Kafue has a reputation for a place where wildlife is not as prolific as the South Luangwa for example, to compare the two parks is absolutely futile, they are different. If you want to see many Elephants, then go to the Luangwa, Bots, etc, but if you want diversity, Roan antelope at 10 metres from your vehicle (or Serval for that matter, see attached) then the Kafue is for you. If you want the migration go to the Mara, etc, etc…

 

Of course I am biased, as the name suggests, but I am not blinkered, I have travelled extensively in Southern and Eastern Africa. The Kafue is a serious national park. 2 days ago a road contractor building a fantastic road through the spine of the Kafue through the ‘empty’ game areas in the south of the park saw a pack of 42 wild dogs with pictures to prove it!

 

It is a shame this thread has the title it does, as it is a complete injustice and actually potentially quite damagaing to a park which needs all the help it can get.

 

I dare you all to come see the Kafue once in your lives, just not with Imfuduko Safaris (who I have never ever heard of!)

552420_10150992161048863_345522329_n.jpg

 

p.s. I promise to pop photos up throughout the season, just to remind us all that the Kafue exists and functions very well.

Edited by KafueTyrone
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KafueTyrone

547894_10150992157988863_792918262_n.jpg

Busanga Plains' - Kafue National Park - July 2012

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Guest nappa

Yes you are right & perhaps game warden would like to remove the "Phooey Kafue"

 

As I've said the post was made hot off the aeroplane when we just wanted to get home & as a warning to others who had shown an interest in Imfuduko.

I've received a lot of criticism for selecting this company out of the 10 or 12 companies I had contacted but every other company either came out with a standard off the shelf itinerary that was nothing like my brief.

 

The itinerary from imfuduko was far more tailored to our safari needs... or so we thought!!

I hope that when I get time to write & post a trip report that compares with the itinerary you will see how false the itinerary was!

 

It is coming time to end my love affair with Africa for age & financial reasons, My wife feels she is getting to old to dig a latrine & for sleeping on a mat, we do not want lodge safari trips,

We have had a guided luxury tented safari before & mistakenly thought this would be similar.

The itinerary even mentions our crew & guide!!!!

 

Just to add, if I can arrange it I hope to do one last self drive into Botswana on my own when my wife visits our family in Perth Australia.

Edited by nappa
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I'm surprised you found 10 or 12 companies that offer trips to Kafue- I'd be interested to know which companies you contacted and what else was offered.

 

Sounds like the company were so keen to meet your brief they perhaps offered something that they (and their guide) were out of their depth with.

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Guest nappa

I'm surprised you found 10 or 12 companies that offer trips to Kafue- I'd be interested to know which companies you contacted and what else was offered.

 

Sounds like the company were so keen to meet your brief they perhaps offered something that they (and their guide) were out of their depth with.

 

Do you not have Google or Yahoo??

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If that is the way you found Imfuduko, then I suspect that is the root of your problem.

 

It's easy for a company to claim on their website that they offer trips to a certain place. As you found out, they can't all deliver.

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Although I have no personal experience with this at all, places like Mukambi, Nanzhila, KaingU, McBride's etc all seem to offer camping facilities to self drivers. That may be an option for people who don't like lodge safaris but would still like to enjoy the park. Hire a ZAWA ranger, if possible, as your personal guide for a few days, and camp at the campsites offered by some of these lodges. This option involves no digging, Nappa, so who knows, maybe your wife will agree to join you again :)

 

I would also like GW to edit out the Phooey Kafue bit from the header with your permission. As KTy says, Kafue already suffers from its reputation of being a poached out park. This will not help.

 

 

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Game Warden

Looking forward to the beer. Particularly partial to Harveys from Lewes :D

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Thank you Nappa for being honest about this trip and for why it failed. Serves as a lesson to us all when looking at a safari to an unfamiliar location but I hope it won't be the last safari for your wife, not a good way to end.

 

I think we are fortunate here that most of us seem to relish the planning and sharing of safaris which is why an experience such as yours seems to be a rare occurrence.

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.......then at this time in the history of the Kafue then it is not particularly well endowed with camping facilities. In fact there are no camping facilities in the entirety of the northern part of the park, west of the Kafue (the most prolific game area, as Egilio has pointed out in his post). There used to be camping at Lufupa some years ago, but alas no longer. As such if you want to see the ‘real’ Kafue and believe me the place is a ‘real’ wildlife destination then unfortunately you will have to stay in a camp/lodge, etc. You do not have to spend shed loads to safari in the Kafue either, operators such as Mukambi Lodge and Wilderness Safaris offer very reasonable rates and are situated in prolific wildlife areas, the Busanga Plains’, etc.

 

I'll no doubt be there soon enough - it's very much on my list of places to visit, but while Mukambi Lodge rates can be called "reasonable" I think it is stretching it to call the Wilderness rates the same. I have picked up the picture with Kafue over the years, and currently visiting the park properly, as it doubtless deserves to be visited, including the very best areas seems to have changed from something doable with good planning and a bit of adventure to simply a very expensive undertaking (I've done the math a few times over the years, but of course only roughly) however it is done. Maybe you qualify for special rates and don't realise how much it has drifted into the "luxury" price bracket over the past few years. As you said it is "unfortunate", but it is also somebody's decision that it will be like this. I am not complaining, though. I wish the "management plan" every success, even if for the time being I am unable to help with that success.

 

And please do post lots more shots like that from Kafue! That would be fantastic and almost certainly cause me and others here to save harder. :)

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KafueTyrone

Good point! Wilderness are not 'cheap' but Safari is not really a cheap exercise nowadays anyway unfortunately. However, there are alternatives in the Kafue in great game areas, McBrides' (White Lions of Timbavati), Nanzhilla, Kafue River Camp, Leopard Lodge, Konkamoya, Mayukuyuku, etc. All of these are reasonable, especially if you are comparing to prices in Bots or Luangwa for example. For the Busanga Plains' at a reasonable rate then Mukambi's Plains' Camp is the only option realistically, however Busanga Bush Camp of Wilderness is not far off price wise I understand?

 

I suppose unfortunately (or fortunately? as you have the place to yourself!) we do not have the array of tourist facilities that other wildlife areas have, Mfuwe area of South Luangwa is a good example and as such competition and choice are not there. Another problem for the general tourist is arguably 2 of the best wildlife areas, Lufupa and Musanza are operated by Wilderness Safaris but the generic tourist is unable to book there as they have an agreement guaranteeing them full occupancies for 12 months of the year for the next 2 years...

 

I hope that a little more development comes into the Kafue in the next few years and then we will have a park to suit everybody!

 

No problem pault, when my camera is fixed (I dropped it!) I will be sure to pop some more pics up.

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Guest nappa

McBrides is where the trip started to go horribly wrong!

Not only for ourselves but for others as well who were not satisfied with the camp walking safari they had paid for.

From what I could see they never ventured more than 500 metres from the main camp!

Trying to make the best of a bad thing we joined a sundowners boat safari the highlights of which were two Bushbucks, Glossy Ibis & one Crocodile!!!

 

We took over our vehicle at McBrides & left the "guide" in camp to read his novel after he got lost so many times on previous drives.

Without him we managed to find some game & lions without having to keep telling him where to look!

 

"Stop a minute! What are those Puku looking at?"

"Probably us"

"STOP! They're interested in something, could be predator"

"I don't think so"

"Well it's not us they're looking at!"

"Oh look there's a Lion.... only one ..... think she's been mating"

 

The next drive we left him in camp & went on to find another 3 Lions hunting in the same area.

Edited by nappa
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kittykat23uk

Did you have the same guides at each camp or was it the McBride's guide that you were not happy with?

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Guest nappa

The trip was to be a guided luxury tenting camping trip.

(A sort of self drive with a bit of luxury & a guide for the duration of the trip.

 

As a regular self driver I know my limitations & as this was our first ever Zambian trip we decided to go with a company rather than set it all up ourselves as we usually do plus my wife liked the idea of a bit of luxury.

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I also came across that same information about Mushingashi. Apparently Bongwe (a member here) Safaris runs a very economically priced camp inside Mushingashi for its photo safaris (Delai Camp). From all I have read, the GMA is well protected from poaching and hence all wildlife numbers look good.

 

However, this option may not work for people (like me) who take issue with the ethics of running both photo and hunting safaris on the same piece of land because of the habituation issue. Perhaps Bongwe could comment, because from a previous posting here on ST, Bongwe does not appear to be a big fan of hunting.

 

Sorry for the diversion, but I did want to share what I had learned.

Edited by Tdgraves
p
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