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Michele revisits Zambia

Zambia is such a hidden gem in our safari industry. The country is not as well-known as neighbouring Botswana or the great plains of East Africa, but the wildlife easily rivals these destinations. Zambia’s parks offer fantastic wilderness, superb game viewing as well as a variety of activities. Combine that with awesome, down to earth camps, quality guiding and warm hospitality – it’s without a doubt a favourite of our destinations and should be on everyone’s safari list!

My trip focused on the Kafue (central Kafue with Jeffrey & McKeith Safaris) and Lower Zambezi National Parks. It was so good to be back in the Kafue, I love how wild this park feels and the fact that in two days I didn’t see another vehicle. The game viewing had undoubtedly improved since my last visit which is a testament to the great conservation work done by Jeffrey & McKeith. I had great sightings of leopard, lions on a night drive and on the morning I departed, the wild dogs returned to the area which caused much excitement! A boat cruise on the Kafue River has always totally captivated me. You feel like you are an explorer, gently cruising along the shoreline mesmerised by the fascinating roots of the water pear trees and towering branches of the ebony trees (and what might be lurking between them – I wasn’t lucky enough to spot a leopard!). It is great for birdlife – the rare African finfoot is a big highlight and this I did spot!

I spent two nights at Phil Jeffrey & Tyrone McKeith’s Musekese Camp. I was so impressed at how the camp had evolved and grown since my last visit. It has a stunning setting on the edge of Eden Lagoon with picturesque views from the central area and tents. I feel that Phil and Tyrone have got the camp just right – a perfect balance of quality guiding, hosting, food, and accommodation. They are incredibly passionate about the park and conservation which shines through during your stay. In terms of game viewing, the park still does not rival the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, but if you want escapism, raw wilderness, great guiding and hospitality, this camp is superb!

On to the Lower Zambezi, one of the most picturesque parks in Africa. The Zambezi River is a dominant attraction with its many channels, lagoons, sandbanks, and islands. Exploring inland takes you through floodplains with towering winter thorn and acacia to riverine ebony and fig trees along the water’s edge.

The range of activities from game drives, boat cruises, walking, canoeing, and fishing gives you the opportunity to view the animals from different perspectives. My game viewing was superb: nonchalant elephants scooping up the acacia pods or having a ball swimming across the river to one of the islands; a ‘quintessential’ leopard lazing in a fig tree; lions hanging from trees as they try to keep cool in the summer heat; wild dogs hunting at dusk; crocodiles basking in the sun on the banks of the river; huge pods of hippo bobbing their heads up and down as you cruise past on your motorboat; and that’s without catching a Tigerfish (which I did)!

In summary, a safari in Zambia is unforgettable. It’s a beautiful country filled with vast unspoiled landscapes, teeming with wildlife which can be viewed through a variety of ways, adding a wonderful diversity to your safari experience; and not forgetting its warm and friendly people.

Michele stayed at Latitude 15, Musekese Camp, Tusk and Mane’s Chula and Kutali Camps, Lolebezi, Chiawa Camp, Time + Tide’s Chongwe Camp. Michele also visited Anabezi, Old Mondoro and Sausage Tree Camp.