The Lower Zambezi is one of my favourite spots in Africa – this is not only due to the vast area it covers with very few camps within it, but due to the dramatic landscape which borders the Zambezi on the Zambian and Zimbabwean side – it truly is mesmerizing in every way and is a fantastic contrast to the flatter South Luangwa (head south to the Bushcamp Company Camps in the South Luangwa to witness stunning views of the Chindeni mountains, other than that the South Luangwa is flat, but beautiful of course).
No matter what your own expectations are of the Zambezi River any time spent here will surpass them for sure. You can never underestimate the awe felt when you nip down the river on a small boat, or canoe it’s mighty shores and channels. As is the case with many of Mother Nature’s creations it is humbling to be around it in all its fierce might. As with all water sources in Africa it of course attracts vast numbers of wildlife, who throughout the year but particularly the dry season (May-Oct) thrive in this lush riverine habitat. Elephants are a huge highlight here with many scenes seeming ethereal as they trundle slowly through the doum palms and acacias, dappled light falling over their small family herds.
The camps here are spread far enough apart that it is possible to go days without seeing other vehicles or guests – something which is both rare and highly prized in modern day Africa. The camps that are there have operated for many years and have carefully kept the park this way, ensuring that it doesn’t lose its remote and wild feel anytime soon. The camps here also all offer day and night game drives, walking safaris (of any length for any ability), canoeing (again for serious or non serious canoe enthusiasts), boat safaris and many of them manage to organise wonderful bush dinners, island lunches, barge lunches and so much more. The combination of this variety of activities is unrivalled in Africa, and this is why we also believe this is one of the top spots for a safari.
The game here is sensational – hardly a game drive goes by without seeing leopard and lion, and of course the elephant are around every corner. On the river hippo pod dynamics often play out in front of your room – as do the territorial displays of huge crocodiles, not to mention the bird life which is magical in it’s colour and variety. Here you also see the more unusual things – we had highly endangered wild dog hunting before our eyes, an Ayre’s Hawk Eagle caught a dove right in front of our vehicle, and two honey badgers rootled around beside our vehicle in broad daylight.
The dusty open plains also make for some of the best sunrises and sunsets you will ever see, with burning red sun changing colour rapidly before your eyes as you sip your gin and tonic or relax with a coffee whilst listening for alarm calls, signifying a cat is on the move. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty or true wildness of this place, and we cannot recommend it highly enough.