Livingstone Zambia Elephant Excursions- PureLuxury/Robin?

PureLuxury wrote:
If your tour ends in Zambia you can certainly try to book an excursion to the Thorntree (sp) Elephant Sanctuary. We learned so much there. We booked our excursion through the Livingstone Hotel. We had great interactions with the Elephants. It was wonderful watching the babies interact with the adult elephants. I think there is also a trail ride (if you can call it that) thru the river. I didn't participate in this activity. I fed the baby elephants. Their ears are like velvet to the touch. I sat on an adult elephant and was wrapped in his trunk..it was a really cool experience.

I know this was back in 2010, but do you remember how long the experience was, door to door? I assume transportation to and from the Royal Livingstone was provided? Who was the provider? According to the current info the Royal Livingstone sent us, their on-site(?) booking agent, Bushtracks, can arrange elephant experiences (both elephant backed safaris or elephant interactions only), with Safari Par Excellence, starting up river at the Thorntree Lodge at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (19 km/23 min.) or with Mukuni Big 5 which is closer (3.5 km) but their experience shorter.

Anyone else with first hand info please join in. Thanks.

Comments

  • Alan...I was wondering this myself. Livingstone sent me their information but I did not see this...only the Elephant safari.
  • edited October 2018
    Alan...I was wondering this myself. Livingstone sent me their information but I did not see this...only the Elephant safari.

    Based on what she said, I'm pretty sure PureLuxury took the Safaris Par Excellence "Interactions" only excursion. I hope she drops back by to confirm and provide additional info.

    Our non-stop flight (ugh) from Atlanta arrives in Jo'burg late afternoon/early evening- after all connecting flights to Livingstone have departed- so we will spend the night there and catch the short flight to Livingstone mid-morning the next day. That should give us a good start at recovering from the flight. Also, though the flight arrives in Livingstone just a little after noon, from what I was told, the Tauck land and river transport doesn't get us to the Royal Livingstone until after 3:00- after checking in and getting settled in our room, there will not be enough time to do a scheduled activity. We could possibly walk the hotel grounds and the path to the falls and have sundowners on the dock. But, after another full night of sleep, we should be ready for a full day of activities the next day.

    I've been trying to work up a schedule for the next day and a half that will include Microlight flights, elephant back safari a lion walk and zipline. Right now it is looking like it will be the flights and elephants on the first day and lions and zipline the next day (the day the tour starts.) I think we can do it, however unless we do the early morning Lion walk, there may not be enough time to fit in the zipline before the tour starts. The Lion walk is in Zimbabwe with the pick-up/drop-off point at the Zimbabwe border across the bridge. It about a 30 min. walk from the hotel, so we will need to walk or take (2) taxi(s) there (one to the bridge, one across the bridge). The zipline isn't far from the drop-off but on the Zambia side near border. We will have the KAZA univisa but I don't know how long it will take to do formalities. I am not sure we can make it. I'm waiting for a little more info from one of the providers.
  • Alan, I'm sure it varies quite a bit, but it took us over a half hour to get through immigration in Livingstone. Also there was a couple that did an activity in Zimbabwe and it took them longer than expected to come back over the border. The microlights did leave within ten minutes of schedule. I know you are very well travelled but wanted to share our experience in May.
  • After a quick search, I found “Lion Encounters” in Zimbabwe. I assume that’s who you have booked. Looking at the pictures, it appears they have a very similar program to the “Bushtraks” lion walk that we did a couple years ago ... right down to the ‘sticks’. Those are not walking sticks. They have a specific purpose and they will not let you go without one. Curious about what they charge now? Also curious about the ‘waiver’ that you will sign. I would love to have a copy if you can bring one back. The one we signed at Bushtraks was hysterical. My lawyer son in law would have loved to have seen it. That lion walk was the top of my bucket list. My wife was not certain she would do it, but she did, and she was the first one the ‘head’ guide ‘threw to the lions’. She’s small ... and she loved it.
  • I thought the lion walks were no longer operating.
    We have done the helicopter flights, me in Zimbabwe and Zambia. My husband did the zip line into the gorge in Zimbabwe.
    The path to the falls closes at dusk. We were warned at the entrance about being careful around the locals on the path to the falls and they were certainly trying to engage us to go on a ‘private tour’ with them. There were no other tourists around at the time.
  • Our flight gets into Livingstone at 12:45 so I am not planning on being able to do much that day...if anything. However..we come in a day early..so we should have much of the day to explore. I want to meet the elephants...and I would love to meet the lions as well...but i have read it is no longer being offered.

    ALan...you go before me...so I will be depending on you to fill me in!!!
  • British wrote:
    I thought the lion walks were no longer operating.

    I had read that here also (here). If that is so, they need to update their website.

    http://www.lionencounter.com/activities/lionwalk

  • edited October 2018
    taxare wrote:
    Alan, I'm sure it varies quite a bit, but it took us over a half hour to get through immigration in Livingstone. Also there was a couple that did an activity in Zimbabwe and it took them longer than expected to come back over the border. The microlights did leave within ten minutes of schedule. I know you are very well travelled but wanted to share our experience in May.

    Thanks. I've been told the time it takes to get through immigration can vary wildly. That, along with the time it takes to travel by car/bus/boat to the Royal Livingstone, are why we are not planning any hard scheduled activities for the afternoon we arrive.
    Sealord wrote:
    After a quick search, I found “Lion Encounters” in Zimbabwe. I assume that’s who you have booked.
    I've been in contact, in fact awaiting a response now, but we haven't booked yet. They appear to be the only ones still doing this activity. At one time they had a Zambia site, too, according to their woefully outdated website. TripAdvisor has recent reviews that appear to be legit, so it looks like they are still a going concern . . . .BBW

    I'll send you an email- a response to the one you just sent with pics of Eloise and the lion : )
    British wrote:
    I thought the lion walks were no longer operating.
    We have done the helicopter flights, me in Zimbabwe and Zambia. My husband did the zip line into the gorge in Zimbabwe.
    The path to the falls closes at dusk. We were warned at the entrance about being careful around the locals on the path to the falls and they were certainly trying to engage us to go on a ‘private tour’ with them. There were no other tourists around at the time.

    See my response to Sealord above. I've read about the touts at the entrance to Falls and at the approaches and on the bridge, also. There will be four of us just killing time before sundowners and dinner. Since the other two will likely be very tired having flown all the way from JFK w/no layover and the fact we see the Falls as part of the tour, we may not go all the way there, especially if there are a lot of animals to see on the grounds. In any case we will be sure to be careful around the four legged and two legged creatures : )

    Others have said the zipline doesn't go all the way across, they pull you back (border issues). There are two outfits in the RL/Bushtracks info that provide all sorts of "adrenaline activities" ziplining is the most tame! There is also basic bungee jumping from the bridge, a Bridge Swing – a mix of freefall bungee jumpiing and giant swing- you freefall (backwards) for close to 70 meters before you fly out over the rapids of the mighty Zambezi in a huge arc. It can be done single or in tandem! Check out the video! I can't understand why no one in our group wants to do this?!?!?

    The zipline ("Bridge Slide") we are considering ends at the bridge. One of the ziplines, the Flying Fox, allows you to fly in the sitting position or face down, and they pull you back. What does Mr B remember? How far was the launch point from the bridge/road? We can do it all but it may require a very early get up- we are not usually morning people, however : )

  • edited October 2018
    Mr B went from the Zimbabwe side, it was near the bridge but not at the bridge. Hw was in a sitting position, they take you about half way —because of the border—-then pull you back

    Alan, I just looked at the website you posted. According to the CBS 60 minutes expose program, no lions have ever been released, which makes sense, of they are habituated with humans, then they are not safe. They likely go to the ‘shooting type of safari’ once they get too big.
  • edited October 2018
    British wrote:
    Mr B went from the Zimbabwe side, it was near the bridge but not at the bridge. Hw was in a sitting position, they take you about half way —because of the border—-then pull you back

    Alan, I just looked at the website you posted. According to the CBS 60 minutes expose program, no lions have ever been released, which makes sense, of they are habituated with humans, then they are not safe. They likely go to the ‘shooting type of safari’ once they get too big.

    Thanks for the info on the zip line.

    I've read most of the arguments, pro and con and find it troubling and thought provoking, but I am not completely convinced either way. A brother of a friend is a hunter and has made numerous trips to private reserves in Africa. While we don't endorse hunting, he has a few valid points. Anyway, I don't want to get into a political discussion.
  • AlanS wrote:
    Based on what she said, I'm pretty sure PureLuxury took the Safaris Par Excellence "Interactions" only excursion. I hope she drops back by to confirm and provide additional info.

    Our non-stop flight (ugh) from Atlanta arrives in Jo'burg late afternoon/early evening- after all connecting flights to Livingstone have departed- so we will spend the night there and catch the short flight to Livingstone mid-morning the next day. That should give us a good start at recovering from the flight. Also, though the flight arrives in Livingstone just a little after noon, from what I was told, the Tauck land and river transport doesn't get us to the Royal Livingstone until after 3:00- after checking in and getting settled in our room, there will not be enough time to do a scheduled activity. We could possibly walk the hotel grounds and the path to the falls and have sundowners on the dock. But, after another full night of sleep, we should be ready for a full day of activities the next day.

    I've been trying to work up a schedule for the next day and a half that will include Microlight flights, elephant back safari a lion walk and zipline. Right now it is looking like it will be the flights and elephants on the first day and lions and zipline the next day (the day the tour starts.) I think we can do it, however unless we do the early morning Lion walk, there may not be enough time to fit in the zipline before the tour starts. The Lion walk is in Zimbabwe with the pick-up/drop-off point at the Zimbabwe border across the bridge. It about a 30 min. walk from the hotel, so we will need to walk or take (2) taxi(s) there (one to the bridge, one across the bridge). The zipline isn't far from the drop-off but on the Zambia side near border. We will have the KAZA univisa but I don't know how long it will take to do formalities. I am not sure we can make it. I'm waiting for a little more info from one of the providers.

    Hola,...sorry I was traveling this weekend and wasn't online much. When I'm home later this afternoon I will pull out my blog from the trip. I'm sure I indicated travel times, etc. I can't remember right now and don't want to provide inaccurate info.
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