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If you yearn for the great outdoors and wildlife of Africa, but worry about the hassle (nowadays) of multiple border crossing protocols, pick just one country. Peaceful and stable Zambia, at the crossroads of central, southern and eastern Africa, has 1) one of the richest and most diverse concentrations of wildlife on the continent; 2) the great (and exciting) Zambezi River; and 3) a wonder of the world — Victoria Falls. All this in the palm of your hand (plus a few tourists). When can you go? Zambian borders are open to travelers, but you need a visa in advance. For more information, see “How to reserve” at the end of this article.
Days 1-3: WALK WITH WILD THINGS – SOUTHERN LUANGWA.
Or South Luangwa National Park. Why The valley of the winding Luangwa River, tail of the Great Rift Valley, is known for its rich wildlife. Its shores and lagoons are teeming with more than 60 species of mammals, including the Big Five, and 400 species of birds. It is also the birthplace of conservation-oriented tourism, where people were first encouraged to film with cameras, not guns, and walking safari. How? ‘Or’ What After arriving in Lusaka, you will board a private charter flight to Mfuwe, near the entrance to the park. Your next three nights will be in the private house of the manager of Mfuwe Lodge (2+ bedrooms, fenced garden, private terrace, swimming pool, etc.). On the menu: twice daily safaris: think elephants, Cape buffaloes, hippos, antelopes, lions and giraffes from Thornicraft, among others; evening safaris – it is exciting to hear the growl of a leopard and its eyes in the beam of a flashlight; and walking safaris – a chance to see elephants, hippos, and even lions up close – under the supervision, of course, of your private armed guide.
DAYS 4-6: SPY ON ELEPHANTS DURING NAP — SOUTH OF LUANGWA.
Or The most remote southern parts of South Luangwa National Park Why Its intimate Chamilandu Bushcamp has just three thatched and reed houses on stilts in an ebony grove on the banks of the Luangwa River, a true African magic of the wilderness. How? ‘Or’ What You will leave Mfuwe in a hunting vehicle after breakfast, arrive in Chamilandu for lunch, and spend the next two days driving, walking, or just watching the abundant wildlife go by from the camp’s many lounge chairs. At nap time, move into the photographic cache overlooking a water point frequented by warthogs, hippos and elephants; they will be so close that you can almost touch them. The camp’s dining room and bar are just a few meters from the shore and offer a view of the distant hills of Chindéni. Take in the sunset barefoot, in chairs set up for you in the warm, shallow water. Life is rarely more peaceful and truly luxurious than this.
DAYS 7-10: GET OUT OF THE NETWORK-– IN THE BAS ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK
Or Lower Zambezi National Park. Why The most recent of Zambia’s outstanding and undeveloped wildlife areas, on the north bank of the Zambezi River, was until 1983 a private reserve of the President of Zambia, and therefore protected from mass tourism. On the opposite shore is Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park and together they form a huge transboundary wildlife sanctuary where you are unlikely to meet other tourists – there are no paved roads and you cannot can get there by boat or light aircraft. This is how you will arrive from South Luangwa, in time for lunch on the Zambezi. How? ‘Or’ What Your home for the next four nights is Sausage Tree Camp and its private Kigelia House tent – two en-suite bedrooms, open plan living area, private terrace, swimming pool and views of the Zambezi Escarpment. In addition to game drives and nature walks, you have the river to play with: there are canoe trips (with experienced guides, as you will pass near herds of elephants on the banks and groups of hippos. in the water), boat safaris and some of the best tiger fishing in the world (all with release and release of course).
DAYS 11-13: OVERLOOK THE FALLS – IN LIVINGSTONE.
Or Living stone. Why Because it is the access point to Victoria Falls, where the Zambezi collapses on a single vertical drop into a chasm; the adrenaline capital of Africa (bungee jumping, rafting, etc.); and a historic Edwardian-era town, established in 1905 as a tribute to missionary Dr. David Livingstone (1813-1862) and with lasting sepia-colored charm – the first traffic light happened here in 2011. How? ‘Or’ What After your morning game drive in the Lower Zambezi, you will be transferred to a bush airstrip for the regular light plane flight to Livingstone and the Tongabezi Lodge, from luxurious multi-room cottages above the banks of the just river. upstream of the falls. Activities include game drives, boat trips, fishing, shopping with a guide at local markets, sunrise and sunset river cruises, a visit to Livingstone Island and, depending on the measurements of distancing in place, a visit to a local community. And, of course, Victoria Falls: it’s not currently recommended to cross the bridge from the Zimbabwean side, a traditional viewpoint. Instead, you’ll board a helicopter in Livingstone for a private flight over the world’s largest falling sheet of water (Victoria Falls is aptly called ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ in the Sotho language. ). On the morning of day 14, you will depart from Livingstone Airport on your way home.
HOW TO BOOK:
This itinerary was developed with Travel Consultant Cherri Briggs from Explore, a specialist in personalized trips to Africa. (I myself went on a family safari through Zambia a few years ago with my 11 and 13 year old kids, organized by Briggs.) You can book this itinerary as is; 14 day trip starts at $ 14,000 per adult, $ 9,000 per child. Or you can work with Briggs to make it fit your interests, time, and budget. Contact Briggs at [email protected]
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