User Reviews – Zambia
Unlike any place on Earth
We stayed at Sussi and Chuma on the Zambezi River. We didn't care about visiting the falls, but we did go boating on the river each day, late in the afternoon, early evening. We went to see animals in the reserve earlier in the day on land with a guide.
While the animals in the reserve were amazing, the scenes on the river were unimaginable. We saw massive crocodiles and hippos everywhere. We saw animals on the banks of Zimbabwe although we did not visit Zimbabwe. Only after we returned home did we realize how dangerous our adventures had been.
A hippo had been hit on the road that ran through the reserve one night. The locals used it to feed the poor. While on the river one evening, we saw the carcass lowered down to the crocs on the banks. It was something you could never imagine seeing and put life in America into sharp perspective.
Email kachasu | 50-65 years of age
Zambia is fabulous - wonderful scenery, wildlife and, generally the people.
Everything was as good as I expected when I lived there - only better. Saw stacks of wildilfe in the Kafue National Park/Lower Zambezi National Park, with the attendant prolific birdlife. The weather in Zambia is superb in September - warm, sunny, cloudless days and hot - but not the hottest months [October/November] aren't for the faint hearted as it gets VERY hot, particularly in the Zambezi Valley.
We drove around ourselves and found that generally the roads were good and have improved since I left home in 2001.
There has been much investment in the country; the bush camps are 'wild', not like the very 'touristey' operations in Kenya where if something unusual is spotted within 5 minutes suddenly 40 vehicles arrive. The camps are rustic, homely, comfortable and offer good food, ambience and second to none safari guides.
35-50 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
A beautiful, friendly place where simple things are loved and appreciated
We had a wonderful weekend trip from Malawi to South Luangwa. Our camp was set up on the banks of the South Luangwa river, where we could watch the hippos and crocodiles. The hospitality and our guides were excellent, and South Luangwa park is enormous so there was much to see. We were so fortunate to see many lions, including a mother and five adorable and active cubs who just played all around our vehicle! I will never forget waking up in the middle of the night to the sound "chomping" from outside my window, and peering out to see a gigantic hippo eating grass right in front of my window! There were several other hippos walking around the grounds as well, the natural lawn-mowers of South Luangwa! Later, still in the early morning, as they called us for breakfast while it was still dark, we could hear rustling trees and one of the staff trying to chase the elephants off the grounds who were blocking the walking path! All in all an unforgetable experience!
Email bymy141 | 50-65 years of age
The "real" Africa experience
Having visited Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda, Namibia and South Africa, my favorite safari country is Zambia. Specially (North) Kafue and North Luangwa.
The scenery of the Busanga plains is exceptional, and for the rest Kafue will always surprise you with better and more thrilling game sighting while you are alone. So much unlike Tanzania and Kenya where every big cat cannot move without 20 safari vehicles on its tail.
North Luangwa is great for day long bushwalks, encountering the big 5 on foot. A vast space with *no* other man around for many, many miles. If you start to think what might happen if you break a bone on a long walk, far, far away from any help and infrastructure, North Luangwa is not for you.
If you like to encounter lions, stand in between 200 buffalos when you stepped out of the tall grass, this is the place to go.
Email Stephen Eustace | 35-50 years of age
Ye it is the real Africa!
Zambia, Safari Experience 04MAY 2008
I found the Safari park “Track and Trail” from the internet and paid my fees in US dollars in advance. Everything went very smoothly. The safairi park is situated in South-Luangwa, which was recommened to me by relatives.
I was picked up at Mfuwe airport by kirsten, one of the owners, who took me in a jeep to the park, that in itself was quite an experience as we drove into the sunset. Safari parks aside, one of the most spectacular thinbgs about Zambia is her sunsets which alwasy leave me gobsmacked.
By the time we arrived at the campsite it was dark, where I enjoyed a few mosi beers, tot eh sopund of hippos grunting nearby. The rules of the site where “no walking around unsupervised” which meant drinking beer and the usual toilet trips were slightly annoying even if it was for my own safety. Please don’t get me wrong, I was actually terrrified walking around and didnt want to walk around on my own!! I took my beer backc to my beautiful chalet, where I saw a note and a whistle. More house rules, “If you meet an animal please blow this whistle – DO NOT USE FOR SPIDERS”. My first reaction was to go looking for spiders in the bed!! Sleeping for me was very difficult, I was not used to the great African orchestra of baboons, birds, frogs, bats, insects and above all the deep grunts and belches from the many hippos. I have to admit I did not get very much sleep, but I really did not mind the 05:00 call, where I was was met for breakfast. Derek, my guide, was extremely knowledgeable and not only did I see “the usual” elephants, bufalo, zebra, baboons and the like, but also teh very rare african wild dog. The entire safari was completed with stories, anecdotes, legends, science and traditions which I will not go into here.
After a siesta, we had a night safari, includinbg a small pinic in the wilderness. The night safari was astonishing and was “very african” you even got the feeling you were part of a David Attenborough documentary. The evening meal was served with love, wow, I had informed Kirsten I was a vegetarian, and she made the most wonderful meals. She even made her own peanutbutter which was better than any I have had in Holland.
The following day, I had another spectacular safari in the morning, and I was dropped off at Mfuwe airport form y flight.
If I can summarise:
location – excellent
Food – to die for
Wildlife – stunning
Staff – they went beyond the meaning of service
Beer – a little expensive
Would I recommend it? YES!
A stunning introduction to Africa
This was my first trip to southern Africa after years of journeying around South America, North America, Europe and Asia. I was looking for a unique experience that would encompass affordability, adventure, wildlife, scenic beauty and a uniquely African experience . Zambia seemed to fit the bill and fulfilled my expectations. I chose to go during the green season when crowds were lower. Although animals were not as easy to view in parks such as Kafue, the birding made up for it. My itinerary went from Victoria Falls, with a side trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana, to the Lower Zambezi River for 2 days of canoeing and finally to South Luangwa. I was impressed with the professionalism of the guides, especially on the Lower Zambezi River and in South Luangua National Park. I had many highlights on this trip, but I would choose the Microlight flight over Victoria Falls , the canoeing trip on the Zambezi River and my time in South Luangwa National Park. The canoeing offered me close proximity to hippos, elephants and the peaceful tranquility of camping on the Lower Zambezi River. South Luangwa gave me all the cat sightings I was hoping for. The birding was simply incredible, rivaling the animal sightings. As a modest traveler, the lodging was to my liking, mostly in tents. Marula Lodge, outside of South Luangwa National Park, was very welcoming. I loved camping next to the river and the outdoor showers. The restaurant had tasty food and guiding was exceptionally professional. The country is very scenic, especially along the rivers. Big sky unsets were very memorable. I guess that if I were to alter anything on the itinerary during the green season, it would have be increased time on the Zabesi River and at South Luangwa National park at the expense of Kafue National Park. Although I felt like Kafue National Park to myself, the grass was too high for wildlife viewing during green season. Overall the trip was terrific and made for a satisfying 1st experience in Africa. Finally, I would like to thank Denver of Denssafari for organizing a superb itinerary at an affordable price. I look forward to my return to the region in the next year or two.
35-50 years of age
Rugged and Remote!
Travel in Zambia is a quintessential African experience. People are poor, friendly and hard working. Bicycles laden with firewood or produce or water jugs or families or pigs fill the roads. Chaos and confusion reign at border crossings. The scenery is sublime, and the National Parks are remote. It requires an impressive amount of travel endurance just to make the drive into parks such as South Luangwa and Kafue. But go there. Do not miss Zambia!
Email Egil | 20-35 years of age
The real Africa.
I've been living and working in Zambia for 4 years now. Mainly in the Luangwa Valley, but also in Liuwa Plain National Park.
South Luangwa is one of the premier parks in Southern Africa, with abundant and diverse wildlife and a true remote feeling. North Luangwa is even remoter, about as remote as you can get in Africa those days.
In South Luangwa lions are commonly seen, and the nightdrives offer a good chance of seeing the nocturnal animals, including the ever elusive leopard, which is often seen.
Wild dogs are also regularly seen and the Luangwa Valley host (near) endemice subspecies of Thornicroft's Giraffe, Crawshay's Zebra and Cookson's Wildebeest.
With over 400 bird species recorded the Luangwa Valley is a birders dream. Specialties are the southern carmine bee-eater colonies from late August to November. Pel's fishing owl is also regularly seen, as are numerous other raptors.
South Luangwa is the home of walking safaris, originally started by Norman Carr. While you might not see the likes of lions and elephants as well as from a vehicle, walking between those animals is a truly exhilirating experience!
Liuwa Plain National Park (I visited in October-November 2010) is a park for the advanced Africa traveller. Very remote and offering wide views or a vast, flat plain. It hosts the second biggest wildebeest migration (after the Serengeti-Masaai Mara migration) of about 40,000 wildebeest (the number is growing). Wild dogs and cheetah are home on and around the plain, where hyaenas are numerous. The lion population, which was down to 1 female (lady Liuwa) is slowly being restored and 2 males (in 2009) and 2 subadult females (in 2011) have been reintroduced.
The plains are a birders dreams, with tens of thousand migratory birds (like Caspian Plover, Pratincoles). Pelicans, grey crowned cranes, wattled cranes, fuellerborn's longclaws are numerous. Liuwa Plain NP is a truly unique experience.
Lower Zambezi National Park (August 2008, 2009) is an exclusive park. The actual safari area is quite small, but the game is plentiful and the (luxury) camps don't just offer game drives and walks, but also boating and fishing (releasing of the catch).
Zambia is an extraordinary country because of its lovely people and beautiful wildlife and scenery.
The wildlife was amazing. I went on safari in Tanzania after Zambia and I think I saw more interesting animals in Zambia. The scenery -- the bush, the rural areas, Vic Falls -- was all amazing as well. Accommodation was easy to find in general and not too expensive. I liked the food - nshima, fish, beef - a lot. We didn't really use any guides or private transport. For more information, you can read about my experiences in Zambia on my blog at www.aperturezambia.blogspot.com .
Email Gisela Scheinpflug | 35-50 years of age
The Adventure of a Wildlife
In Africa, for driving a car from one place to another, you must travel a lot. The paths are long and roads are poorly maintained, then the journey by car, from Tete, on Mozambique, to the Luangwa National Park, on Zambia, was absurdly tiresome, entitled to an electrical fault in the rental car. So, we had to distribute the contents of the damaged car, including people, for the other remaining cars. Lucky we were in a very large group.
Safaris in the Luangwa National Park were different from those made in the Kruger Park, South Africa. They are wilder and more close of local people's lives. The villages of the region are practically within the park and there are no fences enclosing the area. After the damaged car episode, we arrived too late and we went to the park in searching for our lodge, which was located into the park. The plates looked old and were not in good conditions, especially for us that we were tired and concerned about driving at night, in a national park full of wildlife in Africa.
So we started some feelings about being lost. We had to return to the starting point and then we found another lodge where we asked for guidance. They said we should just to move on and we did it, until we found a road forked and we did not know what to do. We choose one way to found a bridge wich we couldn't see clearly, in the darkness, if we could cross or not. It was almost a letter "V", entering to the center of the crossing stream and seemed that was broken on the half. We couldn't see the whole path far ahead. On guy in the car was opening the car's door to go out there and see better, when we shouted all together "don't go out of the car!!" We hold him by the shirt and closed the car’s door again, almost in panic. The driver put the car in a way that we could see clearly the bridge path, so finally we crossed the bridge to find just after that a herd of elephants crossing the road.
I had seen these scenes at Kruger Park, on South Africa, that was the first wildlife experience for the others. You can imagine the reaction of a person who was never seen an elephant, to find a whole herd in the middle of the night, crossing the road just in front of the vehicle. There were the most oddest reactions, which began smoothly with no one showing their own fear, but in few seconds everybody were lost in their own emotions and some even began to pray quietly while others gave the most absurd guidelines for the driver. "Speed up this car, let's go at once," was all that was heard in a voice full of fear, while the driver, a brazilian guy, stuck by the scene and driving for the first time in the oposite seat of Brazil, remained in shock. I asked him to avoid sudden gestures, high beams and horn, to stop the car and wait the herd leaving. Everyone then got relaxed and finally enjoyed that wonderful scene of wildlife.
We started again our searching for the lost lodge, and then we could saw a plate were it was written "Wild Life". That was the Lodge's name, but in that time we were so excited that we started to think that it was simply stating the place where we were at that time, because we were truly in the "Wildlife".
Luangwa National Park is actually much more wilder and less under control than the Kruger Park, with far fewer animals in it. The safari guide in the next day explained that, because Luangwa is a natural park, not being allowed to acquire animals from other regions. All animals were borned and raised there, spontaneously. He also said to us that, due to the hunters, there are a very low adult males population of rhinos, lions and buffalos. Hunters could buy a lion to hunt for something like five thousand dollars. They could bring home the animal skin and teeth. Should be a nice prize, but I still prefer to take my pictures.
Some animals are almost unique in Luangwa National Park, such as their zebra, whose pattern of two colors only exists in Luangwa and some few regions of Malawi and Zimbabwe. The pattern is really beautiful, more than the other one that I knew at Kruger Park, which had beige tones between the white and black stripes.
During a safari I saw a large group of young lions resting. They were so young that it was just a little furry manes, pending down from their faces, as happens with some human adolescents. It was really a wonderful feeling, to see the animals there so loose, so free and so close to us.
Impalas are the wild animals fast food. They are found in large groups in all safaris I've ever done. In Luangwa, there was also another animal very like him, but with a weird white mark on his ass. The safari guide told us a very old story about that, regarding to the bible. Noah finished painting his ark in a hurry and shipped all the animals when the ink was still fresh. That animal was the first to use the bathroom and because of that it got a stamped with the brand of toilet seat on his ass.
Safari is a lottery, with many different surprises. Sometimes we are fortunate, some less so. A couple who were with us saw a lions hunting, last night safari. They said the feeling were incredible, and you could hear the lions chewing the impala's bones as if they were tiny chicken wings. Hyenas came and fought tough for a piece, dragging it down near the river and eventually loose the game for a crocodile emerged from the water.
These are the feelings of life, the big ones eating small ones, even in nature, which is by itself more than perfect.