Zambia Safari, 2013 - Part 1

Zambia sundowners at Tena Tena

This was my first visit to Zambia, in Southern Africa, and I was excited to finally be able to experience the country.  Zambia surprised me, and by the end of the trip I found I preferred it over Botswana.  It is hard to explain, but traveling through Zambia gave me the feeling  of seeing one of the last true unspoiled wilderness areas of Africa

The Zambia people are proud of their country, are hard working, and have a sense of ownership in their country.  The wildlife viewing is excellent with lots of elephants and other wildlife.  The Zambians have gone to great length to maintain eco-friendly camps and lodges, and I look forward to returning and visiting other parts of the country I missed.

Zambia is known for its walking safaris, and I had the pleasure of experiencing this.  Typically you depart after an early breakfast and take a “leisurely” walk for three and half to four hours to your next camp, arriving in time for lunch.  The terrain can be uneven, so it isn’t for everyone.  I enjoyed it because it provides a different perspective of seeing wildlife, and noticing the small things  you miss when you are on a game drive.

BUSH CAMP – Think of the tents you have in the U.S. -- but bigger.  The tents here are large with plenty of room for two persons.  The facilities consist of a drop toilet and bucket shower that is shared by everyone in camp.  The staff is attentive and they serve amazing food cooked over an open fire.  Typically, camp is set-up for two to six tents depending on demand.  Many families like the experience because you won’t find WiFi or electric gadgets while in camp.  What better way to bring families or friends together. 

NSEFU – The first camp built on the Luangwa River in 1951. The original chalets have been upgraded, such as with full bathrooms.  This charming camp has quite a history and it consists of six chalets with an amazing view of the South Luangwa.  Elephant frequently enter camp, and while I was there they were building a hide for game viewing at camp.  You won’t have to leave camp to go wildlife viewing.

NKWALI –  Located on the banks of the Luangwa on  private land just outside the park.  It consists of six large chalets with thatch roofs that open at the sides, allowing local wildlife to peek in.  The bathrooms are huge, and there is a wonderful terrace from which to enjoy the views.  Upon arriving at my chalet I had several monkeys in the rafters who were curious, but as long as you keep everything zipped up they won’t bother you or anything else in your chalet.  The dining room and swimming pool are set apart from the chalets, and the pool is often enjoyed by elephant and other wildlife during the day.

The food and staff are excellent and this picture is of our “bush brunch.”  It doesn’t get any better than this! Enjoying a fabulous meal and taking in the wildlife in the bush. 

LUANGWA RIVER CAMP – I love the way you arrive at this river camp!  You can see the camp across the river from where you are arrive.  A member of the staff arrives to help you into their boat and you are ferried across to the camp.  How romantic!  The camp consists of five individual large bush suites with amazing bathrooms that have a huge sunken tub and have large sliding glass doors to take in the views.  The main area of camp consists of a dining area, bar and plunge pool. It is all about romance at this camp.    

LUANGWA SAFARI HOUSE – They saved the best for last for us with a stay at the safari house.  It definitely has the WOW factor!  With just four bedrooms it is perfect for a small group of friends or family.  Each bedroom has a different name based on how it was decorated, with private verandahs, a large living/dining area and pool with amazing views.  The house is staffed by a dedicated team and they are there for your exclusive use.  It is the ultimate luxury while being on safari, and I had a magical stay. 

For more information on travel in Africa, you can contact Nancy Decker Davidson.