Luxury Safari Company safari expert Sophie has just returned from Sausage Tree.
A Fifteen minute boat ride down stream I arrived at Sausage Tree Camp. Carly and Ryan were there to greet me off the boat. Leading myself up off the jetty onto a vast deck above the river I was introduced to Jason, the owner of Sausage Tree. We settled round the brae and the three of them talked me through the goings on in camp. At Sausage tree they assign you one guide to take you on every sort of safari; canoeing, walking or driving. Whereas at Chiawa they have different guides to give you a bit of variety.
So Ryan was my guide, all to myself – very spoiling. He definitely knew his stuff as well. Game wise we didn’t see much, but the landscape was absolutely stunning. It looked like a movie set and almost fake it was just so beautiful. We went from winter thorn trees to mini Savannahs to the most stunning ‘dambows’. A dambow is basically a pond or a lake (depending on size) that have been created by the run off of rain from land during the rainy season. They’re more common now since the Kariba dam had been built meaning what used to be flood plains which have long since gone and small pop up watering holes have formed. This year Zambia have had double the amount of rain they’ve had in the past which has meant many of the dambows haven’t dried up.
Before we stopped for sundowners at one of the dambows we saw an Impala Buck defending his harem from a group of young ones. The Impala rutting season is long and lasts from March to November, so this scene we came across really painted a picture. Sundowners were bliss, it was basically a date to be honest – well in my head anyway! Beautiful dambow with the colours synonymous with the lower Zambezi: orange and lilac light setting behind a silhouette of trees and hills in the distance. A pod of hippo were becoming ever mod curious and one was slowly inching headway toward us. The colours changed to purples and blues and the stars began to emerge. The planet Jupiter being one of the brightest and first lights to appear in the sky, followed by Orion and his belt, chased by Scorpio on the west, the southern cross, North Star and last but by no means least the the milkyway becomes brighter.
Turning into camp there were hippo everywhere, emerging up and out of the water on to dry land. The story with hippos goes they were the last African animal to be made and ended up with all the offshoots the other animals didn’t want: pink skin that burns so they have to stay in water during the day and can only come out at night.
Three hours sleep later (we ended up enjoying a few more bottles of wine round the fire, listening to hippo laughing) Ryan and I went on a walking safari, even though it was quiet game wise, it was interesting none the less and definitely a must do to clear a foggy head. Stunning scenery, Impala, baboon, we heard elephant rumbling close by but didn’t see any. Ryan, again, was fascinating about every small detail of the bush, huge depth of knowledge.
After the walk we came back and had a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit and home made granola with Zambian honey. We sat comfortably on sumptuous sofas on the deck facing out towards the river. You can never get bored with the lower Zambezi view.
After breakfast Carly took me for a tour around camp and we met Jason over at their sister camp, Potato Bush. This is a slightly smaller camp and has a very different feel to Sausage tree. Potato Bush has a strong family sense about it, with the rooms and layout catering to either families or groups of friends needs. Don’t get me wrong Potato Bush and Sausage tree both offer the same thing and are both stunningly well presented camps, Sausage Tree is just that little bit more glamorous.
For lunch we took a short boat trip up river to the most amazing setting for lunch. We turned a corner and there on a sandbank in the middle of the Zambezi was a beautifully set table beneath a canopy, a banquet of the most delicious food on a white table cloth. We hopped off the boat down a small set of portable steps into ankle deep water. Super cooling in the midday heat, we had ‘McDonalds’ bush style. This was the most up market McDonald’s I’d ever had to say the least. Enjoying a glass of pimms, feet dangling ankle deep in the running water, this was pure heaven and definitely something seriously special. Sausage Tree have it down to a big fat capital ‘T’. They have, essentially, hospitality mice/elves who work quietly and extremely efficiently behind the scenes enabling lunches like this very one to happen. There’s no song and dance about it, it just flows, seamlessly, which makes the experience one can only dream of become reality.
In the distance there was a rumbling of a boat engine approaching and it was my time to leave the wonderful Sausage Tree people. I was (literally) scooped up and taken onwards. An hours boat ride down the river to Old Mondoro, Chiawa’s bush camp sister. I was very sad to leave Sausage tree, from canoe trips, drives, fishing and walking safaris, this is one slick place, a proper one in a million.