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December 14, 2011

Zambia’s Lower Zambezi

On arrival in Lusaka from Johannesburg, I immediately notice a huge temperature difference between the two African cities – a salutary reminder that I am headed to the even warmer Lower Zambezi Valley. Lusaka is only a short overnight flight from London and you can be sipping an ice cold glass of wine, overlooking the glorious Zambezi River within twelve hours of taking off from Heathrow.

I am travelling in early November, often referred to as suicide month due to the heat and humidity. But if you can tolerate this, you will be rewarded with fewer tourists, lush green scenery as a result of the first rains, incredible bird life, fantastic photo opportunities – and you will pay less. This is green season, a time of year that is often forgotten by most except seasoned Africa hands who well know the benefits of travelling at this time of year.

The purpose of my trip is to revisit some of our favourite camps, to find out if they are still as wonderful as ever. I am pleasantly surprised; not only are they still up to scratch but little extras have been introduced since my last visit, ensuring each camp has something unique to offer. Mine’s a tough job but someone has to do it…

Chongwe River House

One of my favourites is Chongwe River House, on the Chongwe River and ideal for families and small groups. The architect’s brief was to create something out of the ordinary and taking that to heart, he designed a most spectacular house which is in such a perfect setting, that many guests choose to forsake the daily choice of activities (and there are many), preferring to relax on the veranda by the pool watching the wildlife pass by.

Sausage Tree Camp

We take a boat ride downstream to Sausage Tree Camp, which overlooks possibly one of the most game-dense floodplains in the area. We pass so many elephant, hippo and crocodile en route, that one could be forgiven for thinking this is the only resident game in the area. Sausage Tree is a wonderful combination of truly, wild Africa; the rooms being spread so far apart that you will invariably have to radio for help to get past an elephant on your way to dinner; at the same time the camp is totally and unashamedly luxurious, offering every possible amenity even the emost demanding of us could want.
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Old Mondoro Bush Camp

My other favourite is Old Mondoro Bush Camp. Whilst ensuring guests are completely comfortable in every sense (the food here is absolutely heavenly), the owner has retained the ethos of a true bush camp. With only four rooms and a constantly smiling and professionl staff, most guests leave here with a piece of Africa in their hearts, having seen at least one of the big cats, encountered several new bird species, learnt how to fish and experienced some of the best guiding in the country.

Click on the following links for further information on additional recommended properties that I visited during my trip to Zambia:

Chongwe River House, Chiawa Camp, Tena Tena, Robins House, Chichele, Kaingo Camp, Nsefu, Nkwali Camp, Mchenja Bush Camp, Lion Camp, Mwamba Bush Camp, Nsolo Bushcamp and Lwui Bushcamp.

Next time you are thinking of an African safari, consider Zambia. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Kind regards Sandy Wood and the Pulse Africa team visit

Category: Blog

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