Getting close to nature in Zambia
“I have been on many safaris, but my experience in Zambia was where I felt closest to nature.”
Our Africa Travel Specialist, Shelley Phillips, recently returned from a bush camp safari trip to Zambia where she visited the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi regions.
A nearby elephant on the walking safari
About my safari
“My safari trip was run by Time & Tide, who have recently taken over what were the Norman Carr bush camps. I started in Lower Zambezi and then finished in South Luangwa but it is possible to do the reverse if desired.
The bush camp safari is a very wild and rustic experience – which I loved! Everything feels very authentic. Most of the accommodation is relatively basic, but very intimate, with the exception of the final night in Chinzombo Lodge. The lodge has a beautiful open-plan lounge area with exceptional views of the Luangwa river and six lavish villas. It’s a lovely and relaxing end to quite an adventurous 10 days."
Shelley with one of the safari guides in Zambia
What I loved...
"The great thing about a Zambian bush camp safari is the walking circuits between the four camps. You feel so close to nature and it’s a fantastic way to see the Zambian landscape, which is dry, grassy and flat. The guides help you to track big game on foot and teach you a lot about the signs they look out for and different tracking methods. You are accompanied at all times by an armed scout so there are never any worries about safety.
One thing I was completely blown away by was the warm and welcoming attitude of every single guide, chef or member of staff at each camp. It truly felt like you had a friend at every location. The guides were all incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about the area and the wildlife, and the chefs all cooked simple but hearty and delicious meals. One of my trip highlights was a bush lunch where the chef dug a hole in the ground, heated coals in the hole and began to cook fresh Zambian bread."
A beautiful sunset over the river
My favourite experiences
"I have two stand-out memorable experiences, that just happened to occur on the same evening! While you are on the safari, you have the option to sleep out one night in a dry riverbed. As our group arrived at the sleep-out camp, we could hear some wild dogs and hyena fighting nearby and the guides told us all to run back to the 4x4s immediately! We frantically went in search of the animals and upon finding them, were able to sit for an hour and watch them interact with each other. Eventually the hyenas backed off, but the wild dogs stayed, just watching us for a while. It was a really unique experience and a reflection of the guide’s commitment to giving us as many wildlife encounters as possible!
Once we returned to the camp and settled in, we could hear the rumblings of a thunderstorm in the distance. Unfortunately, it came our way… Reluctant to abandon the sleep-out, we piled back into the 4x4s to try and wait out the storm. Sitting in the jeep listening to the chef tell us old stories and Zambian fables was a beautifully intimate and touching experience. Sadly, the rain did not pass, and we had to head back to main camp."
Who I would recommend it for
"I would thoroughly recommend this safari for anyone looking for a really wild experience and for those wanting an active safari as the walking definitely adds a different dimension to your stay. I’d also say it was suitable for families who have children old enough to do the bush walks – as you do not want to miss out on this experience – however 4x4 options are available.”
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