Luxury safaris | Paradise on the banks of the Zambezi

by MMC
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Welcome to one of Zambia’s most popular destinations…

On the northern banks of the mighty Zambezi River, at a point where the river is wide and lazy, moving at a constant speed of three miles per hour on its way from Kariba Dam in the west to Cahora Dam Bassa in Mozambique to the east is both a critically important ecological region and an exceptional safari destination, all rolled into one. The Zambezi is the continent’s largest east-flowing river and the fourth longest. On the opposite bank is Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Lower Zambezi National Park is the star of the show on the Zambian side of the river, flanked to the west by the Chiawa Game Management Area (GMA).

Game viewing is exceptional, with plenty of plains game and predators. Lions, leopards, hyenas and painted wolves (African wild dogs) are common here and visitors are lucky to be sighted regularly both in the GMA and in the park itself. Plains game includes kudu, impala, waterbuck, wildebeest and zebra. There are no giraffes here because they have never managed to cross the high northern mountains which form a formidable barrier and excellent viewpoints for aperitifs!

This vast region is home to some of Zambia’s most sought after safari camps and lodges which attract travelers from all over the world who fall in love with the diverse wildlife, breathtaking beauty of the river and exciting range of activities that this region offers. famous, most of which have the river as their focal point. You can indulge in river safaris, pass through vibrant islands and observe the enormous herds of elephants and buffalo that make this destination such a tourist draw. Stop for coffee on a sandbar or island, and if you like, grab a fishing rod and some bait and try your hand at tiger fishing. This is where the African tiger fish – also called the river dog – lives, with its fearsome teeth and legendary fighting ability that give fishermen a hard time!

You also have the chance to catch a huge Vundu – a local catfish that lives mainly on the river bottom in quiet landing areas and can grow to monstrous proportions. The river is also full of bream. All fishing is done on a catch and release basis, so what you hook is returned to the river.

Here are our recommendations for where to stay in the Lower Zambezi:

Zambezi Royal Lodge:

With its unique blend of understated elegance and warm hospitality, this magnificent lodge is a short flight by small plane from the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, and lands on the parallel tarmac airstrip to the Zambezi River. You can also transfer from other lodges or from the border town of Chirundu or by boat, mooring at a jetty that seems to go on forever, lapped by the waters of the Zambezi (it is the fourth longest river of Africa, after the Nile, the Congo and the Niger). ).

The Royal Zambezi Lodge is located in the Chiawa GMA. There are no fences, so local wildlife roams freely and game activities take place both in the neighboring Lower Zambezi National Park and in the GMA itself. While the usual safari season lasts from April to November each year (due to the rainy season which makes most of the national park inaccessible), the Royal Zambezi Lodge remains open all year round and mainly offers activities boat safari during the summer months (December to November). March).

The lodge has a total of 15 rooms: eight luxury suites, two of which are conveniently joined together to create a lovely family suite, and seven combined presidential and honeymoon suites, some large enough for families who don’t mind ‘be under the same roof. . All offer river views and private plunge pools, with private enclosed courtyards and magnificent terraces that provide the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing drink and panoramic views.

The lodge has its own spa, a lovely gift shop and a riverside swimming pool, with a well-stocked bar and lounge area next door. It’s the perfect place to have a refreshing afternoon cocktail, watching the river go by and the birds coming and going in the canopy above.

Camp Chiawa

Family-owned and operated, Chiawa Camp was the first commercial lodge to launch in the Lower Zambezi National Park and has since become one of Zambia’s most loved luxury safari camps. Founded on the principle of simple, authentic bush experiences without skimping on life’s little luxuries, Chiawa offers a gentle, unhurried immersion in the surrounding splendor of the national park with stunning views of the Zambezi River.

The camp is located inside the national park on the banks of the Zambezi River and is accessible by small plane from Lusaka via the Jeki airstrip, with regular daily flights during the safari season. It is open from April to November each year. With eight safari tents and the Family Safari Suite, all taking advantage of their riverside position, each room blends seamlessly into its surroundings whilst providing all the space you need to relax and commune with Mother Nature.

Each huge tent has a super king-size bed that splits into two oversized single beds under a huge mosquito net with fan, a lounge area with another fan and the option of a third bed or bunk beds for young families.

The tents open onto a shaded veranda offering numerous relaxation areas including a “wallowed bench” which in cool weather serves as a lounge area below and in hot weather, a plunge pool on request. The Safari Suite is twice the size of standard safari tents and has its own plunge pool and enough space for three children sharing with their parents.

Sausage Tree Camp

Embodying the ethos of bush chic, Sausage Tree Camp boasts a beautiful riverside location with stunning views of the Zambezi. With a maximum of just 18 people, the camp offers a truly exclusive safari experience with plenty of luxury and wellness to boot.

Overlooking magnificent reed islands filled with game and regularly visited by elephants, the emphasis is on providing an idyllic base from which to explore the Lower Zambezi National Park, either on traditional safaris, on foot with guided bush or river walks – the star of the show. As the name suggests, the camp is shaded by a grove of sausage trees, dotted with a few mahogany trees or two. Elephants regularly wander through the camp to drink from the river and the ambiance blends effortlessly with wild Africa.

Each of the seven suites is furnished in a beautiful minimalist style and benefits from the services of a private butler. Open-air showers, large spacious terraces overlooking the river and private plunge pools add to the overall feeling of space and tranquility.

A private family suite named Kigelia House offers privacy for small groups or families, consisting of two en-suite bedrooms separated by an open living room opening onto a private terrace with its own swimming pool.

Please get in touch with us if you would like to book a Lower Zambezi safari and perhaps combine it with a South Luangwa walking safari or a visit to Victoria Falls and Livingstone.

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