Mark & Miles Nolting: Zimbabwe & Zambia July 2019
Follow the AAC Blog as Mark & Miles’ trip transpires. They’ll be sure to post spectacular photographs and incredible stories during their time in Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park & Kafue National Park.
August 1st, 2019 – Kafue National Park
Mark & Miles’ next, and final, destination was Kafue National Park in Zambia. Getting there from Mana Pools was an adventure in and of itself: Mark & Miles took a boat transfer to the border town of Chirundu, took a road transfer to Lusaka then flew a scheduled charter to Kafue. The floodplains of Mana Pools would give way to the pristine, uncrowded wilderness of Kafue’s Busanga Plains.
For those who don’t know much about Kafue National Park, here’s some facts to help you understand it better. The park is one of Africa’s largest: it’s equivalent in size to the state of Massachusetts! With 19 antelope species, Kafue has the greatest antelope diversity of any park in Africa. But most strikingly is how few visitors there are: in 2015, Kafue had 12,000 visitors. To put that in perspective, the similarly-sized Kruger National Park in South Africa had well over a million!
Mark & Miles visited Busanga Plains in Kafue’s far north. Think of Busanga Plains as a cross between the Okavango Delta & Serengeti. Small channels criss-cross an endless, Serengeti-like plain. This means two things: wildlife descends upon this area due to the scarcity of fresh water elsewhere, and you will be treated to unobstructed views of plains games and predators (e.g. lion, cheetah & leopard).
Simon Stobbs, Wilderness Safari’s North American Business Manager, joined Mark & Miles for their 4 nights at two Busanga Plains camps: Busanga Bush Camp & Shumba Camp.
And what a treat it was! Mark & Miles had some spectacular lion sightings and saw a great variety of both antelope & birdlife!
July 26th, 2019 – Ruckomechi Camp – Mana Pools
July 22nd, 2019 – Vundu Camp – Mana Pools
We arrived at the magnificent Mana Pools National Park! They days have been action packed with us walking up to the iconic bull elephants Tusker and Boswell. The painted wolves (wild dogs) started denning just a week ago and we saw the adults at the den as they returned from a hunt. Also took an afternoon canoe trip along one of the channels.
The highlight for our group of Dan, Bonnie, Chris and Marsha is that we witnessed and participated with Nick Murray and the national Parks team and vet collar 5 elephants. Other AAC guests staying in camp, Fred and Karen, Michael and Susan, also witnessed the collaring. Bruce and Lisa were on hand to see their donation of the collars being fitted.
The 3 big Bulls to be collared where West Point, Impi & Bruce. Plus 2 Cows – Mrs Tusker & Lisa. And a 6th Dennis was darted to clean up a wound on his foot.
July 19th, 2019 – Somalisa Acacia – Hwange
July 12th, 2019 – Johannesburg & Victoria Falls
Soweto and Apartheid Museum tour in Johannesburg is very worthwhile
La Residence is a luxury boutique hotel in the suburbs. Mandiba suite is dedicated to a Mandela theme!
Rhino drive at Stanley and Livingstone – saw a mother and calf black rhino
Helicopter flip over the Falls
Meeting with Wilderness Safaris Vic Falls office staff
Enjoyed our dinner on the patio at Victoria Falls Hotel
July 8th, 2019 – Pre-Departure
Mark & Miles are doing what many of you have done right before embarking on your trip: making sure they’ve packed everything, confirming their land & air arrangements, and just as importantly, getting excited!
It’s not too often a guest gets this kind of an opportunity for such an immersive walking & canoeing safari experience. Zimbabwe & Zambia were chosen because they are prime destinations for these kinds of safaris. This ultimate reason for this is the quality of the countries’ guides. It will be an immeasurable pleasure for Mark, Miles & company to experience the trip’s two featured guides’ world-class guiding first-hand!
Nic Polenakis is the featured specialist guide while the group is in Hwange National Park. Nic was featured in National Geographic Traveler Magazine as one of the World’s Top 10 Tour Guides; quite the accolade! From the comfort of his own camp, Somalisa Acacia, Mark, Miles & company will surely be transfixed by his expansive knowledge, but also his contagious passion.
When the group proceeds to Mana Pools National Park, the specialist guide Nick Murray will take the reins. Nick Murray owns & operates Vundu & Little Vundu Camps in Mana Pools National Park. These two camps are ideally situated for what Nick does best: walking & canoeing safaris. Mark, Miles & company should expect to see some Elephants, Wild Dogs, and who knows what else!
Here is Mark & Miles’ finalized itinerary:
At the start, Miles and Mark will be split up: Miles will stay a night in Johannesburg before meeting up with Mark in Victoria Falls.
Check back onto the AAC Blog for their report from Johannesburg & Victoria Falls this Friday!