During my recent visit to Zambia, in southern Africa, I also had the opportunity to see a number of other camps in the South Luangwa area.
The headquarters for Norman Carr Safaris is Kapani Lodge, located close to the main Mfuwe area of the South Luangwa. The lodge is located on the banks of a lagoon which is great for game viewing. It consists of one large chalet for families and eight standard rooms that are brick with thatched roofs, good size bathrooms, bar fridge and a sitting area. They recently refurbished the soft goods in the rooms and they look fabulous. The dining & bar area is located right on the lagoon and they have a gorgeous pool area with facilities at the pool.
Norman Carr’s new camp, Chinzombo, just opened, and I had the pleasure of seeing it the first day. The camp is located on the Luangwa River and consists of six huge canvas villas each with its own plunge pool. The large bathrooms have a large tub with separate shower, and most of the materials used in the building of the camp are recycled. The generous public areas are airy and tastefully decorated. Each villa has WiFi for those that must have it, and they have private access via boat to the South Luangwa National Park. The camp is one of the most stunning I have seen in a long time, and I believe it represents the future of eco-friendly camps and lodges in Africa.
Flatdogs Camp is not your typical safari camp. Made up of Safari tents, chalets and one treehouse, it is for the younger, more adventurous traveler. The tents are your standard canvas with en-suite bathrooms with a view of the river or lagoon. The six regular chalets are in three separate buildings made of stone, and each has two bedrooms with two en-suite bathrooms and kitchenettes. Plus, there is a larger family chalet with three bedrooms and two baths.
If you have a love of nature the Treehouse at Flatdogs Camp is unique, because it has no roof and is only available during the dry season, April through November. Two bedrooms with three walls and the living area with a fridge and bar are eight feet off the ground. Wooden stairs lead down to both bathrooms with a shower and basin. The stairs are steep and it isn’t for the disabled or elderly traveler.
The camp offers an a la carte restaurant and bar with an extensive menu. Accommodations at Flatdogs are rated 3-stars, with rates for those who don’t have the budget for a four or five-star property.
There are two very different properties under the Sanctuary Safari Lodges & Camps umbrella. Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge was built in the 1970’s for Kenneth Kaunda, the former Zambian president. It has recently been restored while maintaining its original colonial style. A gorgeous lobby leads to the dining, lounge and veranda, with gorgeous views of the Luangwa River. Rooms are comfortable and some have wheelchair access. The lodge is great for families because rooms are secure.
The second property is a tented camp called Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp, built on a hillside providing fantastic view of the floodplain below. The seven safari tents are huge, with indoor and outdoor showers and separate bathtub. Each has its own viewing deck from which to observe the wildlife. The large public dining area, with bar, sitting area, plunge pool and wooden veranda, is built on pillars and overlooks the floodplain, offering stunning views.
The Bushcamp Company – Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to see their bush camps but I was able to visit their main lodge, Mfuwe Lodge, located inside the park and just five minutes from the gate. The lodge consists of eighteen thatched chalets arranged along the banks of two lagoons where there is an endless stream of wildlife living in and around the water. The chalets are roomy, with a sitting area, en-suite bathrooms, large showers and private verandas. The public area of the lodge is spacious with a nice wooden veranda and swimming pool.
When I return to Zambia I have decided to visit in November. Mfuwe Lodge was built along a “wildlife highway,” and there is a herd of elephant that returns each November to eat the fruit from a wild Mango tree here. The entire herd will walk up the stairs through the lobby and down the stairs on the other side to get to the tree. I have seen pictures and can’t wait to see it in person.