Nestled in a grove of evergreen mahogany trees on the bank of Zambia’s majestic Zambezi River, Chiawa Camp seemed more remote to us than other safari camps we had visited. To get there we had to fly to the Royal Airstrip, drive 20 minutes to the Zambezi River and take a 20-minute ride in a small motorboat while watching a gorgeous sunset against the backdrop of mountains and green trees along the riverbed. Situated in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Chiawa Camp offered luxurious tent accommodations in an iconic riverside setting with impeccable service and good game viewing. We saw three of the Big Five.
One of few lodges in the Livingstone Zambia area with striking views of Victoria Falls, the Stanley Safari Lodge was a tranquil haven of beautifully landscaped gardens and uniquely inspired architecture that blended naturally with its African bush surroundings. Located on a hillside away from the hustle and bustle of Livingstone it was a few minutes drive from Victoria Falls.
When I think of my stay at Tongabezi Lodge in Zambia, I can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia. Tucked away in a lush green setting along the Zambezi River 40 minutes upstream from Victoria Falls, this luxury lodge with eleven rooms included meals, drinks, and an impressive array of activities. With a ratio of three staff members per guest, the personalized care was top notch.
When we visited Chinzombo it had just reopened in June 2013, after many years of closure, as a luxury bush camp with six riverfront tents. Meals, beverages and safari activities were included in the daily fees. Geared toward those just dipping their toes into the world of safari and not quite ready to commit to a more remote bush camp experience, the luxury camp offered many of the perks of exclusive accommodations alongside optimal game viewing next to the Luangwa River in Zambia.
My husband and I were delighted with our stay at the Luangwa Safari House, a private four-bedroom bush-style home with dedicated staff near one of Zambia’s best known national parks. Situated in the bush on private land the property had an estimated value of nearly one million dollars. The house was a 15-minute drive to the main entrance of the South Luangwa National Park and a five-minute drive to an alternative entrance via a pontoon crossing. The close proximity to the South Luangwa National Park facilitated safari activities within it. Staying at the House provided us plenty of opportunities to see hundreds of animals, in the national park and from the comfort of the House. Our head safari guide Jacob Shawa shared his wealth of knowledge, clear explanations of the animals we encountered, and a genuine enthusiasm for the bush. He went above and beyond the call of duty to heighten our chances of seeing animals during our bush excursions, making him our favorite guide during our 12-day stay in Zambia.
Located on the bank of the Chongwe River, at the point where it meets the Zambezi, the Chongwe River Camp offered a panoramic view of the western boundary of the Lower Zambezi National Park. Nestled in a lush grove of winterthorn acacias, this luxurious camp was designed to blend unobtrusively into its splendid surroundings: the steep Zambezi escarpment to the north and Zimbabwe’s famed Mana Pools immediately across the Zambezi to the south. Pods of hippos filled the Chongwe like so many moving islands. Meanwhile, on the opposite bank, the park was home to a dense population of elephants and buffalos that constantly filed to the water for a drink or a bath, or came across to visit. More than once, my short walk from the common areas to my tent was delayed while an elephant ambled down the path, claiming its incontestable right of way.