wildlife camp zambiaWildlife Camp is outside the park in Lower Lupande Game Management Area. It stretches for about a kilometre along the Luangwa River with chalets, safari tents and camping. It is probably one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the park and has a relaxed atmosphere with lots of activity. The day I arrived I joined some other guests on a tour of the park with Conrad, enjoying the sunset over a floodplain which, of course, was dry, but covered with wildlife nibbling away at the grass. Surely the rain had to come soon as the grazers were looking very thin. The following two days I spent talking to people and finding out as much as I could about South Luangwa National Park. Wildlife Camp has been there since 1992 so they had all the stories at their fingertips. Gavin from Jackalberry Safaris spent time with me telling me about Guide Training and taking me on a trip to Chipembele Education Centre.In between all the research I enjoyed the wildlife which came to visit me and had time to enjoy some of the little things which often go unnoticed or ignored. The monkeys and baboons were the usual terrorists coming to visit the bar and restaurant when no-one was looking. The baboons are yellow baboons, different from our chacmas in Livingstone. The vervet monkey girls were clutching new babies. A group of banded mongoose came to visit then hurried off back into the bush. A monitor lizard waddled along the wall looking for something to eat, or maybe he was just going somewhere. Wildlife Camp has recently put in a waterhole near to the bar which is attracting all the wildlife in the area. Bushbuck, warthog, giraffe, elephant were all constant visitors. In front of the lodge, in the bed of the Luangwa River, an elephant had died. I was told that she was an old lady and was so tired that she just could not make it across the riverbed, giving up life in the sand. Vultures and storks were on her body, cleaning up the environment. I am ashamed to say that I declined the offer of a walking safari. But when I saw a group of walkers return to the camp, I knew I regretted it. They all looked as if they had had a great time. Walking safaris are conducted by guides who have passed strict training so that guest walkers are kept safe. Many guides are qualified to take drives into the park but it is seen as the highest achievement to become a walking guide. A ZAWA scout also accompanies each walking safari – he is the one with the gun.The only walking I did was between the restaurant and my chalet. Even that had to be done with care as wildlife often walks through. No walking between the main areas and chalets is allowed at night and drivers are on hand to ferry guests to and from rooms. The wildlife is ever present. Wildlife Camp is open throughout the year and has accommodation to suit most people. I didn’t get to see the Safari Tents, but was assured that they were top notch. The bar and restaurant are open to all-comers and the food was excellent, the bar well-stocked. The Camp is on land which is owned by the Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia so, by staying there , you know that part of your money is being given to the Society for education of local children. Having seen the Camp in the driest time of the dry season, I know it will need another visit in the rains – it will look so different and yet still be very welcoming …

From : Thelivingstoneweekly.

By : Jill Staden

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