The time has come to spoil yourself! An expedition into deepest darkest Africa can actually be really enlightening, especially when your focus is on Zambia and you choose a holiday package to a deluxe lodge for your journey in style. Take a good long look at charming accommodation in the following four deluxe resorts and regions in Zambia you can experience this winter, selected by Journey in Style for their world class value for money, wildlife sightings, elegant accommodation and first class service in stunning settings.
1. Kafue National Park
Start with the second largest park in Africa, one that is easily accessible from Livingstone, and one which has plenty of water from its three rivers which are the source of all life in this untouched wilderness. It takes a mere two hours to get to Kafue National Park from Livingstone and when you arrive, you feel like a tiny blob within the huge 22 000 plus square kilometres of wild lands where enormous biodiversity exists. The overwhelming feeling of openness and space nurtures your soul as you settle into a luxury camp and two game drives daily.
Spending time in the accommodation at Busanga Bush Camp is all about getting back to nature in only four en-suite tents with private decks and hammocks. If you love seeing lions, you will love this Zambian safari camp where some of the best lion viewing has ever been done. The magnificent floodplains and dambos (open grassy areas) are brimming with bird and wildlife including the elusive African Wild Dog, Red Lechwe, Wildebeest and Cheetah.
Guests spend relaxing hours under the sycamore fig trees and wild date palms listening to birds, watching animals saunter by and dining on delicious meals by lantern light under a huge shady tree. Make sure you take a guided walk into the wilderness with professional game rangers who will show you some of the 491 bird species and other wild creatures up close and personal.
Kafue National Park is fed by the Lufupa river in the north-west, the Lunga and Kafue in the northeast. When the Lufupa floods in summer, it creates a vast floodplain delta system where thousands of water birds gather.
Add to this the varied habitat of floodplains, miombo woodlands and dambos that create shelter for a wide range of species – including animals that are rare or non-existent in other Southern African countries: Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, roan antelope, Defassa waterbuck and oribi. Some say that the jewel in the Kafue crown is the Busanga Plains, a vital wetland resource still untouched by human development and stretching an incredible 750 square kilometres. You should see cheetah here, one of their favorite hangouts.
2. Liuwa Plain National Park
For a thrilling Zambia safari in the middle of nowhere, look no further than the vast wildness of the Liuwa Plain National Park. You will have to head to the western province of Zambia, to the west of the Barotse Floodplain of the Zambezi River near the border with Angola. Then you will find this park, stretching nearly 4 000 square kilometres across one of the most out-of-way and least populated areas of the country – with neither road access nor facilities.
The good news is that you can book a few nights at the only remote camp in the Liuwa National Park, Matamanene Camp. Here you will find rustic accommodation that works well when the camp is open during season time. The nearest settlement is the small town of Kalabo, about 40km south which can only be reached from the provincial capital Mongu by dirt tracks and a pontoon ferry over the Zambezi River.
Did you know that Liuwa hosts the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa? And it is in this enormous wilderness area that you can view thousands of different wild animals. This Zambia safari destination is also home to more than 330 bird species on record and many predator species including the spotted hyena, lion and African wild dog.
The emphasis at Liuwa Plains is on the bush experience, not fancy facilities or luxury. If you an adventurous traveller who wants to get closer to nature then this National Park is for you. During the rainy season it is almost impossible to get around the park as all the plains are saturated in water but during the dry there is a network of good sand roads.
Nestling on a forested island, Matamanene Camp is part of this vast wilderness area packed with animals and birdlife. With its untouched open plains and clear blue skies, Liuwa Plain makes for a perfect Zambia holiday in the African bush. Enjoy the basic facilities and the exceptional standards of guiding, food and service – choose affordable Zambia safari packages for small groups and you will blend into the wilds, see plenty of wildlife and find yourself again…
3. Lower Zambezi National Park
Deep down in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park lies the luxury family-run Chiawa Camp. The Cumings family are well-known in these parts and their safari setup has been acknowledged by many to be one of Africa’s very finest safari operations. They are very much a part of their two sensational camps, Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro, in this beautiful park, opposite Mana Pools of Zimbabwe. If you are seeking an experiential holiday in nature, you will love that both camps are all about the wildlife, the bush, the river… and you. Enter unique havens of warmth and hospitality where all concerned are dedicated to making your safari dreams come true.
At the award-winning Chiawa Camp, you will be part of a strong conservation ethos and commitment to community, and you will see for yourself the renowned personalized service that is evident throughout every aspect of both camps. Chiawa is the recipient of the Best Safari Property in Africa Award, the Best Safari Guiding Team in Africa award and the Best Ecological Camp in Africa, amongst many more!
Lower Zambezi National Park occupies more than 4 000 square kilometres of prime wilderness area with a rawness and beauty unmatched by any other parks in Southern Africa.
For a fulfilling Zambia holiday, the Lower Zambezi National Park is the current “go-to” destination as it is surrounded by three Game Management Areas (GMAs). These are Luano in the North, Rufunsa to the East and the Chiawa to the West. These GMAs together add more than 14 000 square kilometers of protected wildlife area to the National Park which means tourists can be part of amazing safaris in a vast total of 1.85 million hectares of pure wilderness!
Lower Zambezi is wonderfully untamed, with no tarred roads, and is the rugged playground for healthy populations of lion and leopard. Most of the game is concentrated on the valley floor as the escarpment along the northern end acts as a physical barrier to most of the Park’s animal species. Large herds of elephant, some up to 100 strong, are often seen at the river’s edge and buffalo and water-buck are known to island hop.
Tourists arrive by boat on the Zambezi River or by light aircraft, flying from either Livingstone or Lusaka. When you book a comfy tented chalet at Chiawa Camp, you will sink into your luxury facilities including a private game viewing deck, roll-top bath and outdoor shower with glee. Enjoy fresh culinary delights and meet wonderful Zambian staff at this home away from home safari experience.
4. South Luangwa National Park
Think of an African destination which boasts the highest density of leopards in the world? Dubbed ‘One of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world’, South Luangwa National Park is a pristine wilderness with the highest concentration of wildlife in Africa.
Situated in the eastern part of Zambia, it is the most accessible of the three parks in the valley of the Luangwa River with some of the best accommodation camps in the country. Nature lovers come here to see the remarkable prides of lion that roam the area and bird watchers to glimpse some of the 400 bird species recorded here.
It is true that the Luangwa Valley, which marks the end of the Great Rift Valley, is one of the remaining unspoilt wilderness areas in Zambia, offering unique safari holiday destinations. The Luangwa River is the life-blood of this wonderful and vital 9 059km² Luangwa National Park, where dry woodland and huge concentrations of game around its oxbow lagoons rate amongst the most intense in Africa!
South Luangwa is the only place where you will see the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe, with their trademark white legs and white faces and the Crawshay’s zebra, without the brownish ‘shadow-stripe’ of the common (Burchell’s) zebra. All sorts of antelope, including the puku, which is rarely seen outside Zambia, do very well in this breath-taking region.
The best and most popular time to travel into South Luangwa for out of this world safari excursions is May to August when it’s still pleasantly cool and dry. September and October start getting very hot and the humidity is building up, but these are the best months to spot game as they gather close to the river and watering holes.
Kakuli Bush Camp is found at the confluence of the Luwi and Luangwa rivers and is a seasonal South Luangwa safari camp – one of a few that remain open for safari holidays during February and March. This is when the rivers are high and while access is by boa, guests also do a lot of walking in the drier, sandy areas that surround camp.
This little taste of Zambia should by now have whet your appetite for an authentic safari adventure into Africa. These national parks are part of an increasingly important wilderness region, conserved for the sake of the wildlife, and the human spirit. Contact one of our consultants to tailor make your journey in style.