A few weeks back I traveled from Victoria Falls to a magical, unspoilt national park in Zambia called South Luangwa. I will be spending four or five glorious weeks in the bush, immersed in nature, socially distanced on safari, having some of the best safari experiences which I hope to share with all of you.
It was a long drive from Victoria Falls to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. I chose this route, although there are regular flights on Fast Jet, as I had some stops to make in Binga and Bulawayo. It was an easy drive, and the countryside in Zimbabwe is beautiful!
You can now book your safari with peace of mind
Cut to getting on an international flight… I have never seen such efficiency and courteousness at an airport as in COVID times this includes on the way to Kenya a little while back. Both Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airways have been exemplary in their delivery of safe and comfortable flights. The COVID compliance was simple to navigate, the staff were polite and helpful and clear and the whole experience was hassle-free. A smooth entry onto the plane (clear COVID test in hand, of course!) and a comfy ride with the Zambian National Football team no less (defeated alas)… I was traveling with celebrities!
I landed in Zambia and spent four lovely days in Lusaka. This city is super COVID compliant but cosmopolitan and bustling just the same. Socially distanced restaurants, lovely markets, shopping (only a few people in a shop at the time) our new normal seems, well, quite normal.
South Luangwa – a gem in Zambia’s crown
To get to where I am now, one would typically fly from Lusaka to Mfuwe, but we were up for a road trip and embarked on an 11-hour drive to Mfuwe to visit some of the fantastic Robin Pope Safaris Camps. There were a few guests at Nkwali Camp which is located on the mighty Luangwa River.
This time of the year, we spend our days and nights surrounded by the beautiful rumble of thunder at varying distances. We heard lions roaring every day from a pride that lives across the river. We saw giraffes, impala, puku, lechwe, hippos, crocodiles, and all sorts here. Leopards are around and plentiful, but it’s the green season, so the bush is quite thick at the moment.
We enjoyed a few nights here sipping gin and tonics and unwinding in this place of solace, nature and true wilderness.
Finally, after a 4-hour boat drive, we find ourselves in a very remote and magical part of South Luangwa. The ‘green season’ brings purple bruised dark and foreboding skies with lush green trees in the fore and lagoons surrounding everywhere we look. Impala grazes on the other side of the water from us, these not far from a small herd of elephants. While these gorgeous grey beasts lazily pull up grass and leaves, lions call in the background.
I’m fortunate to be here in Zambia, surrounded by nature, by wildlife, birdlife galore, immersed in the ‘emerald season’ and all its delights!
OUICK FACTS: South Luangwa is the pioneer park for ‘walking safaris’ – has been for over 70 years famous for such • A fiercely conserved and safari season is seasonal in the south • Over 60 animal species, and home to 4 of the Big 5 • Known as the ‘Valley of the leopard’ for its high density • River has the highest population of hippo in the world (averaging 50 per square km) • Over 400 diverse species including 39 birds of prey
More from me soon. Keep following our adventures on: