I have just returned from an incredible and completely unforgettable Zambia and Malawi trip on which we had invited 4 tour operators from various corners of the world to come and experience Livingstone & the Victoria Falls, the Lower Zambezi, the South Luangwa and Kaya Mawa as our grand finale.
The Falls were absolutely thriving with plenty of water flowing over the edge immediately dismissing any of the scary rumours from November last year where people had actually started asking if the Falls had permanently run dry. We paid a visit to Livingstone where the girls were braver than I and stepped into one our famous rock pools on the edge.
Devil’s Pool is best known but only available from August onwards but even at this time of year a suitable (and safe) pool was open for business. We then warmed up (nights and mornings certainly chillier in June) with a lovely cup of tea and a sumptuous eggs benedict which certainly catered for everyone’s appetite built up from the adrenaline filled swim. That evening at Tongabezi we also went out for a quiet sunset cruise but found the river’s edge filled with wildlife coming down to drink.
After one night at Tongabezi and one night at Sindabezi we then continued on to the Lower Zambezi. No sooner had we all made ourselves comfortable on the game drive vehicle headed to Amanzi, when we were on the hunt for a lion which had been sighted in the area. We never found the lion as we were distracted by a pregnant leopard patiently watching some impala cavorting ahead of her with mating Waterbuck in the distance. All seen within 20 minutes off disembarking the plane and perfectly lined up through the lens of my camera. What a start to our safari.
Amanzi was a treasure. It is the eastern most camp in the Lower Zambezi in an area so remote you will rarely if ever come across any other vehicles except maybe those of Anabezi. Only when you have been on safari before will you appreciate the total privilege of being totally alone in this incredible land between the escarpment and the mighty Zambezi River. This morning we set off on a canoe trip which is one of the most peaceful beautiful ways to start your day quietly paddling through the channels and down the river as the bush slowly wakes up for the day. Watching elephants crossing the river is simply magical. One night at Amanzi and one night at Anabezi flew by way too quickly and all too soon we were on our way back to Jeki. Luckily we had had the foresight to set off early giving us good time for a game drive and this paid off as we came across a very happy lion family with 3 cubs of about 2 weeks old and that was it. We watched and we watched and watched as they happily played around Mummy and Daddy both incredibly patient with their cheeky offspring. How’s that for an airport transfer and a half?
Next transfer was on to the South Luangwa and Shenton Safaris. The South Luangwa is the best known area for walking safaris in Africa and only when you have been on a walk with one of our guides will you realise what an experience this is and how your adrenaline gets going at the anticipation of what is around the next corner. Guides in Zambia really are some of the best in Africa. Once again though our airport transfer did not disappoint because within an hour of entering the park woe and behold we came across a pack of Wild Dogs….
The combination between the Lower Zambezi and the South Luangwa is one I would highly recommend. So much of the diversity of wildlife experiences are all built up around the 4 main rivers in Zambia. In the Lower Zambezi you will find high densities of elephant, buffalo, hippo and crocodiles around the river but better still you get to enjoy it all from the water canoeing or enjoying a relaxing river safari where you can also have a go at catching a seriously impressive Tiger Fish whilst holding out for visitors to the river’s edge…
Later this week I will continue this story with further experiences in the Luangwa and our stunning finale at Kaya Mawa.