Set in a wooded grove on the Luangwa River deep in South Luangwa National Park, this relaxed camp offers fantastic wildlife in lovely area, with hides used by the world's top photographers.
Built and run by Derek Shenton, son of a former Luangwa ranger and warden of Kafue National Park, the stylish camp nestles on the riverbank with a large, open-sided sitting-dining area, library, and a thousand-year-old leadwood bar. Six chalets have large insect-screened windows with stunning views, an indoor bathroom, an outdoor tub with river views, and a deck built out over the river from where you can watch wildlife. The use of solar power ensures you miss none of the sounds of the bush.
The varied terrain includes picturesque Fish Eagle Lagoon, one of the park’s largest ebony forests, and the spectacular Lion Plain (a hugely productive grassland that teems with wildlife) bordered by the meandering Luangwa and Mwamba Rivers. This area is ideal for walking under the watchful eye of an armed scout and guide, but there is also a good network of low-impact roads. Drives and walks offer exciting photographic opportunities – the action often starts just outside camp. There are two prides of lion, and the presence of more than 10 leopards mean that 95% of visitors see leopard. Dedicated hides for watching elephant, hippo and carmine bee-eaters afford remarkable close-ups, while birding highlights include fishing parties of storks, a resident Pels fishing owl, and red-billed quelea by the thousand.
Three activities per day include walking safaris, drives or time spent at a hide or blind (normally over midday) – but all are optional. If you wish to opt out, however, you can simply relax and watch wildlife from camp. Mwamba Camp, a smaller satellite camp that sleeps only six people, is only a three hour walking safari – or a morning game drive – away on the Mwamba River. Open late May to October.
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South Luangwa is undoubtedly the jewel of Zambia’s national parks. It lies in the north-eastern part of Zambia and comprises some 9,050 square kilometres of unspoilt African wilderness. Its eastern boundary is the meandering Luangwa River whose regular changes in course leave scenic ox-bow lagoons.