Bush camps are uniquely Zambian having been pioneered in the Luangwa Valley. They go hand-in-hand with walking safaris which will often move from camp to camp. Often seasonal due to their remote location there are a range of options available. Here we give our run down on why a stay in one is a must on any visit to Zambia. Bush camps have become as integral to the Zambian safari experience as walking safaris, and the two combine perfectly for a really adventurous trip. They range in style dramatically from a fly camp erected each night for the most dedicated enthusiasts, to seasonal rustic shelters to luxurious chalets that it is hard to believe can be created in such remote locations. Highlights of a stay in them include:
Top 5 reasons to go on safari in Zambia
As safari specialists we are often asked where the best place to go on safari is. This can be difficult to answer as we all have different perceptions of what the ideal safari destination is. Some favour Kenya as it is, in some ways, the original safari destination; others prefer Tanzania with its famous Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Here, our Zambia specialist Bjorn makes the case for why Zambia is his favourite safari destination…
1. An authentic African experience
As one of the lesser-known of Africa’s safari destinations, Zambia remains a raw experience, away from the crowds you experience elsewhere. This is not a destination where you will find large hotels, minivans and 10 vehicles around a pride of lions. Zambia is more about the 'real Africa', where you can experience the fauna and flora without the crowds – this affords you some truly exceptional game viewing. In fact, I would argue the game viewing in Zambia is amongst the best on the continent, with leopard and wild dog sightings being particularly impressive.
2. Unique bush camps
Unique to Zambia are also the bush camps, which are often made out of grass, reed and the local mopane tree (a very slow growing and incredibly hard wood). Staying in one of these camps will certainly give you the feeling of being in the bush. Falling asleep to the sound of lions roaring, a leopard on the hunt and hippos wallowing and awakening to the sound of birdsong is a truly wonderful experience – you couldn’t feel further away from day-to-day life at home. Whilst these camps certainly give you a back to basics experience, you do not need to compromise on quality – the emphasis is on being in touch with nature, but you aren’t without your creature comforts! All the camps are very comfortable and are as luxurious as you want them to be – right up to private villas and exclusive-use camps.
Here are a few of my favourite bush camps in the South Luangwa:
Chamilandu Bush Camp – set on a prime stretch of the Luangwa River, this is one of South Luangwa's most exclusive bush camps and consists of just three luxury chalets.
Luwi Bush Camp – overlooking the Luwi sand river and next to a permanent lagoon, this is primarily a walking camp and most walks will end at the lagoon where you can watch hippos wallowing.
Island Bush Camp – an authentic, rustic bush camp overlooking the Luangwa River, this camp is particularly great for star gazing.
3. Home of the walking safari
One of the biggest attractions of a safari in Zambia (and my top reason for going) are the walking safaris for which the country has become famous. Norman Carr started these in the South Luangwa Valley and Zambia has since become an icon for their incredibly high level of guiding (across Zambia guiding standards really are second-to-none). Wherever you are in Zambia, I urge you to go on a walking safari and go in search of more than just the Big Five. On a walking safari you will learn about tracks, shrubs, trees, insects and all the small things you would normally miss in a vehicle. You will quickly acquire an even greater appreciation of your surroundings and begin to understand the intricacies and interconnectedness of life in the bush.
Experience a Norman Carr walking safari of the highest calibre...
Check our Luwi River Trail itinerary – this can be tailored to your specific requirements, extending your time on safari in Zambia or adding on a beach stay at Lake Malawi.
4. Special interest safaris
Another reason for choosing Zambia is its unique attractions. Did you know that the largest bat migration in the world takes place here? Imagine eight million fruit bats migrating from all over central Africa to a tiny national park (Kasanka) and then taking off at once to feed? Or how about the black lechwe and the shoebill bird found in the Bangweulu Swamps? What about the annual wildebeest and zebra migration in Zambia’s remote Liuwa Plain National Park? Or perhaps you fancy a hot air balloon ride? No problem – head to the Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park, also home to some of the most impressive big cat and wild dog sightings imaginable.
5. It links perfectly with Lake Malawi
Being a landlocked country, adding on a traditional beach stay after your safari in Zambia is not as straight-forward as with elsewhere in Africa, but it is by no means impossible! However, to keep with the off-the-beaten-track vibe you really can’t beat a relaxing stint in Lake Malawi to add an alternative ‘beach break’ to the end of your safari. What’s more, Lake Malawi has some spectacular properties, with Kaya Mawa and Nkwichi Lodge being my top picks. Or if it’s not relaxation you’re looking for after your safari, why not spend a few days down at Victoria Falls – home to a plethora of activities from adrenaline-fueled experiences such as gorge swings, bungee jumping, walking with lions and a dip in Devil’s Pool, to sedate boat cruises and picnics on Livingstone Island, to name just a few.
Zambia has a world of possibilities open to you, and the beauty of it being off-the-beaten-track is that you still have a chance to beat the crowds.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch on 020 3141 2810.