Best Safari Lodges & Camps in Zambia
Top recommendations for Luangwa Valley, Lower Zambezi, Liuwa Plain, and Victoria Falls
Zambia contains vast wilderness areas, offering some of Africa's most diverse and dramatic wildlife encounters and is a superb safari destination. With three main national parks and many smaller national parks, visitors have plenty of options to choose from. Zambia is bisected with great valleys including the Zambezi and the beautiful Luangwa which, lying at the end of the Great Rift Valley, contains some of Africa’s best and most diverse wildlife.
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South Luangwa National Park lies at the end of the Great Rift Valley, close to the eastern border of Zambia with Malawi. The Luangwa river runs through the park, forming many oxbow lagoons and alluvial floodplains, which attract enormous concentrations of game. This vast wilderness area is renowned for its excellent wildlife, walking safaris and nocturnal game viewing. Elephant, lion, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, kudu, wild dog and many other large mammal species are commonly seen by day; and leopard, hyena, aardvark, porcupine, honey badger and mongooses can be spotted at night. Over 450 species of bird have been recorded in the park, as well as raptors, cranes and bee-eaters. Our top 2 recommendations in the park are:
Set on the banks of the Luangwa River and thronging with wildlife, it’s no wonder this luxurious, secluded camp has won so many awards and numerous fans. The only way to reach the lodge in Zambia’s game-rich South Luangwa National Park is to cross a river by boat. Originally established in the 1950s by pioneering Norman Carr, Chinzombo is a small, intimate sanctuary with unrivalled levels of service and guiding. Each of the six villas are vast and airy, and cleverly designed to blend in with the surroundings while pushing the boundaries of accommodation in Zambia. Each villa has its own separate living area, a private plunge pool and a cooled sleeping area, along with an enormous bathroom and a sweeping deck. Lavish luxury!
Tena Tena is a remote camp situated in the famed Nsefu area of the South Luangwa National Park, owned by Robin Pope Safaris. Tena Tena's six elegant tents ensure a unique wilderness safari experience, set in the shade of a mahogany grove, overlooking the Luangwa River. With its rich game-viewing opportunities, the camp is particularly well known for its walking safaris, led by very knowledgeable guides and escorted by armed National Park scouts. Each of the camp's 6 tents are large and very comfortable, all with commanding views over the river. Each has a private veranda and a dressing room with open air bathroom.
Located in Zambia's south east corner, The Lower Zambezi has become one of southern Africa’s premier destinations for peaceful game - both on and off the river. The park’s 4,000 square kilometres of pristine wilderness contains some of the continent’s most picturesque areas for witnessing nature in all its glory, and a non-intrusive policy and low environmental impact has preserved the area beautifully.
Our top 3 recommendations along the Lower Zambezi are:
Luxurious riverside Sausage Tree Camp is set deep in the Lower Zambezi National Park, offering the best of game viewing in glorious surroundings. This wonderful safari camp has just 8 tented rooms and a family house, all overlooking the mighty Zambezi River and its game-rich flood-plains. Each of the camp's luxurious Bedouin style tents are generously spaced along the Zambezi River bank, allowing the elephants to amble in between. Local materials create a minimalist style in which the teak and leather furniture, sumptuous four-poster beds, pure white fabrics and flowing mosquito nets, beautifully combine to create a fabulous riverside environment. Each of the tents has a unique open-air en-suite bathroom and sliding teak doors opening onto private decks with Zambezi River views, and all tents have their own personal butler, 24 hour power and plentiful hot and cold treated water.
Chiawa Camp is an outstanding family owned and managed safari camp, which offers superb accommodation, personal service, fantastic game viewing (with excellent guides) and a large variety of activities in a truly magnificent setting under a grove of towering mahogany trees. Accommodation is in 8 luxurious tented rooms, plus the fabulous Safari Suite perched high up on a ridge. The tents all have timber floors and verandas with glorious river views and are accessed by paths running behind for maximum privacy. All share hot and cold running water, king size beds, Egyptian cotton linens, his and hers washbasins, indoor and outdoor showers and ball and claw baths. The Safari Suite has a thatched roof with a king bedroom and separate lounge area (convertible to a second bedroom, ideal for children). Screen doors open onto a private deck with its own swimming pool, outdoor lounge, dinning area and fireplace.
A secluded little camp on the banks of the Zambezi River offering a wonderful, authentic, rustic (but very comfortable) "back to the bush" experience in an area renowned for its natural beauty as well as its high concentrations of game. One of the best places in Africa to spot the elusive leopard. Old Mondoro has just four tented and thatched chalets (3 of which overlook the Zambezi), each with an en-suite bathroom with flush loo, powerful shower and a lovely bath. Reached by a sandy path, each room has either twin beds or a double bed, and a veranda with a day bed and comfortable chairs.There's also a new riverside family chalet comprised of two interconnecting rooms, each with an en-suite bathroom.
One of the great natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls lie in Zambia's south west corner on the border with Zimbabwe. Their crashing water is a breathtaking sight from either country, named by locals "Mosi O Tunya" - the smoke that thunders - because the cloud of spray and dramatic noise they create can be seen and heard from many miles away. There’s much to do and see at Victoria Falls apart from the Falls themselves - white water rafting, canoeing, scenic flights, river trips and wildlife safaris. Our top recommendations close to the Falls are:
Tongabezi is a stunningly stylish and luxurious lodge, with wonderful individually designed Houses and Cottages situated on a sweeping bend of the mighty Zambezi River, just 11 miles upstream of the Falls themselves. At Tongabezi Lodge, spend your days relaxing in the natural surroundings enjoying the fabulous views or enjoying the numerous activities on offer, including white water rafting, canoeing, boating, fishing and game drives. Tongabezi was recently voted in the World's Top 20 Hotels by Conde Nast Traveller magazine and is a truly exceptional place to unwind at the start or end of a safari.
Sindabezi is a private island paradise nestled in the waters of the Zambezi River, upstream from the Victoria Falls. It is a luxurious bush camp on its own little island, with superb views over the surrounding river and plenty of activities on offer. Sindabezi provides superb views over the flood plain and an opportunity to see wildlife in the surrounding national park. The unique design of the five tented and thatched cottages allows close-up encounters with all the sights and sounds of the river and the creatures who live in and around it. Sindabezi Island is owned, operated and serviced by Tongabezi Lodge, a 10 minute boat ride away upstream.
Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma is set on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, a short drive from the magnificent Victoria Falls. The lodge has just 12 tree house suites and two spacious two bedroom private houses, and is a wonderful base from which to explore the river, the Victoria Falls and surrounding parks, and bustling Livingstone. Each of the 12 suites has a private river view deck and comes with en suite facilities, air-conditioning, overhead fans, mosquito nets and all the little luxuries you would expect from a lodge of this calibre. The two 2-bedroom Chuma houses are perfect for private use, ideal for families or small groups, they are privately staffed and each has a private swimming pool. This luxurious lodge is named after David Livingstone's faithful friends, Sussi and Chuma, who carried his body all way back to England from where he died in Zambia.
The remote west of Zambia is rarely visited making Liuwa Plain National Park a hidden gem and true wilderness, perfect for those seeking exclusive game viewing in a fascinating park. The park itself is characterised by a flat expanse of grass plain with large areas totally flooded between December to April, driving the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa. Aside from wildebeest Luiwa Plain is also home to tsessebe, zebra, buffalo, red lechwe, hartebeest, as well as some predators like lion, cheetah, leopard and around 300 species of bird. Our recommendation here is the only permanent camp in the park:
The Liuwa Plain is a truly untouched wilderness area, located in the far reaches of western Zambia. To connoisseur safari-goers, it is one of Africa's ultimate safari destinations. It feels like you have the vast game-rich plains entirely to yourself. King Lewanika Lodge has just six luxury villas, constructed of steel, canvas and thatch, designed by world-renowned designers Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens. The design is modern and sleek, and the rooms are open fronted to make the most of the incredible views, and all furniture was chosen as a nod to safaris of old, utilizing leather, cotton, and canvas. Each spacious villa has a lounge area, open plan bathroom and outdoor shower, as well as a terrace with a canvas canopy providing shade.
The above recommendations are by no means the only wonderful places to stay in Zambia, but are definitely our favourites - in each of the 4 particular areas of interest for a tailor-made safari in Zambia. Our experts will gladly create the perfect Zambia adventure for you. Please call us on 0203 019 3722 to discuss ideas and options with an expert or send us an email outlining your dates and requirements. Below we list a few of our suggested tailor-made safaris in Africa should you be considering more than just Zambia...
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