We’re highlighting some of our favourite Southern African safari destinations and making sure we share the camps and lodges we think are the best in each country. Having published our safari experts’ choices in Kruger, Botswana, and Namibia, we’re now featuring a water and walking safari wonderland. Our expert, Natasha, has spoken, and we continue with our series of safari guides, so stay tuned as we reveal our top 10 safari accommodations for the next country under the spotlight: Zambia.
Such supreme tranquillity in this most magnificent corner of Africa: Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, seen from the cradle of a canoe, gazing up at elephants, and from the luxuriously beachy accommodation at Chongwe River Camp. On the banks of the Zambezi where it meets the Chongwe River, only nine tents are positioned overlooking the river. Safari activities include adventurous canoeing, walking, game drives, fishing, birding, boat cruises, and cultural village visits.
Before you, an elephant wades across the languid river, dwarfed by the mountainous escarpment beyond. The resident hippos bellow their displeasure at this intrusion, breaking the tranquility. A warm breeze drifts past, carrying the earthy aroma of the river. Lean back and breathe deeply, letting the energy of this extraordinary, wild land revitalise your mind and soul.
Keeping it real on the banks of the Zambezi is the low-key, ultra-immersive Old Mondoro Camp, which is small and intimate with only four thatch and reed chalets that perch at the water’s edge. Total comfort in supremely natural surroundings bound so seamlessly with the environment, Old Mondoro encourages whole-hearted exploration of this beautiful place. Whether on land by 4×4 or by good old fashioned walking, or on the river by canoe or motorised boat; Lower Zambezi National Park is revealed in all its glory. The camp lies in the shade of the forest and the simple chalets are open and airy, blending in effortlessly with their wild location. Old Mondoro is for those who seek to truly submerge themselves in the Zambian wilderness while enjoying the simple comforts of a bubble bath and a good meal before a peaceful sleep listening to the sounds of the wild.
Staying with the good stuff in Lower Zambezi National Park, we’re sharing another of our all-time favourite Zambian safari accommodations: Chiawa Camp. Until a year ago, this luxury tented camp on the banks of the river only had eight canvas and thatched rooms, and now the addition of a “safari suite” has added another element of exclusivity and romance to honeymooners, or a sense of space and privacy for families. Sister lodge to yesterday’s feature, Old Mondoro, Chiawa offers the more luxurious version of the personalised experience guests get at both camps, with its sleek style, WiFi access, and supreme cuisine. Both camps are committed to delivering exceptional experiences in nature, with wildlife. The Zambezi is the focal point of this river safari spot, so relax and enjoy the ride!
A Zambian safari has the potential to go from outstanding to unforgettable at Mfuwe Lodge which enjoys the added excitement of a herd of elephants that is not shy to make use of the lodge reception area to get to a wild mango tree on the other side! This iconic event has been happening for a number of years, and it remains one of the most anticipated annual experiences for all at the lodge. Mfuwe is located inside South Luangwa National Park and overlooks a lagoon which is full of hippos and plenty of birds. The thatched guest rooms are very comfortable and the bush spa is one idyllic place to relax! Definitely one of our Top 10.
Sausage Tree Camp is exactly what we needed this Monday morning. This luxury tented riverside safari camp itself is so beautifully designed and decorated that we would be forgiven for being absorbed in lodge life entirely, but its location in Lower Zambezi National Park just begs to be explored! Natasha has supplied her list of the 10 best safari camps in Zambia and it’s no surprise Sausage Tree is on that list. Find the big cats on game drive and canoe past pods of hippos and herds of elephants, and feel reinvigorated by the wild.
Chindeni Bushcamp is just the place for a quiet and uncrowded South Luangwa safari experience. It only has four tented suites, elevated on wooden stilts and looking over a busy lagoon, shaded beneath beautiful ebony trees that are filled with busy birds. Such a small and intimate space keeps the experiences exclusive and makes one feel like they are cocooned by the wilderness. The bushcamp experience in Zambia is idyllic offering all the comfort in nature you need with a full emphasis on the wilderness experience! That’s why Chindeni is on Natasha’s list of top 10 Zambian safari accommodations.
Allll about the fresh air, shady trees full of birds, wide open views of the Luangwa, and not missing a moment of the meandering wildlife: Chamilandu Bushcamp is the perfect small group safari spot. Only open between June and November with only 3 gorgeous reed and thatch stilted chalets, this experience in South Luangwa is exclusive and fully immersive. Each room has an en suite bathroom with a serious view and a shower that opens up to the trees and stars overhead. The river frontage and full shade of the ebony trees make Chamilandu perfectly positioned for comfort while being totally submerged in the wilderness. This is our Zambian choice for a private 6-person South Luangwa getaway. No contest.
Kafue is a very special part of Zambia, and Busanga Plains is a very special part of Kafue. This territory in the northern part of the national park is underwater for most of the year, inaccessible to guests, and then between June and October, only a handful of camps open their doors to guests who arrive to experience an exceptional treat. Lions famously parade the floodplains and chase down the new abundance of game that gathers to feast on the grasses. Busanga Bush Camp is one of our top 10 safari accommodations in the country for just this reason. It is a spectacle and it is so secluded, you’re promised an exclusive experience in exceptionally beautiful surroundings.
Venture into one of the most game rich areas of South Luangwa National Park with the award-winning guiding team from Chinzombo, rated as one of Zambia’s premier safari accommodations. Explore the region’s diverse habitats on game drives, safari walks and seasonal boat cruises, or pamper yourself with spa treatment in the comfort of your own villa during the leisurely midday siesta between safari activities. Or maybe you’ll spend these hours cooling down in a private plunge pool with panoramic views of the floodplain. It really is up to you. The camp retains its bush authenticity with grass and canvas walls and spacious living areas that melt into the exquisitely tranquil riverside setting.
Shumba Camp is built on raised decks on a verdant tree island, allowing for breath-taking views of the surrounding Busanga floodplains in this captivating part of Kafue National Park. Its six luxury tented units offer spacious living with a cushion-strewn veranda for outdoor contemplations.
Wilderness Safaris says: “We took a leap of faith into remote Zambia, far off the beaten track for most travellers and with a shortened tourism season, to help expand the area’s ecotourism presence, support anti-poaching activities, and provide local employment and other opportunities.”
As with Busanga Bush Camp, Shumba is open between June and October each year, coinciding with the only operational season in this area of Kafue. Undoubtedly, a treat!