At Sikeleli, we are always telling our fabulous clients about the wonderful places awaiting them, especially in Africa. Naturally, one of the perks of working in world travel, is that it’s imperative to get to see and explore these incredible places – to make sure that they really are the best.
This month I did a trip to Zambia and wow! I can’t wait to curate the perfect trip to this exceptional country, especially for you!
Firstly, on landing in Lusaka the airside pick-up meet and greet was totally fab, the VIP we have for all our guests. We visited the Lusaka Collective, a curated collection of the very best, ethically-sourced Zambian designs, a must-see for beautiful hand-made products to take home with you. Another gem was 37d Gallery a dynamic space showcasing local emerging and established artists, the income generated from sales and commissions fund the StART Foundation, an outreach project that runs children’s workshops and scholarship programmes.
I really liked the Ciêla Resort and Spa for an overnight stay. It boasts the new Botanica restaurant on the property, an innovative gastronomic experience, serving 6- or 12-course tasting menus with the option of wine.
We flew in to Mfuwe Airport where our guide Andrew met us. In no time we had our bags and were on our way in the awaiting jeep, waving at the friendly children. We stopped at the fantastic Mulberry Mongoose, a project Sikeleli supports.
Here local craftswomen use snare wire recovered from poaching traps to create jewellery designs inspired by the African bush. We tried our hand at making jewellery and it was not easy at all! Each item bought supports these skilled artists and raises money for conservation efforts to protect Zambia’s breath-taking wildlife.
A sleep out in Nsolo
On our way to our sleep-out in Nsolo we came across a pride of very satisfied lions having a siesta with clearly full bellies and a huge pack of wild dogs also sleeping in the shade, a real treat! From Nsolo, we were taken to a dry Luwi riverbed where our beds for the night had been set up (a very snug sleeping mat and bag). I really enjoyed the sleep-out experience, it is a winner. I loved sitting around a fire listening to the animals and gazing at a sky full of stars. I was very impressed with the food the chef managed on the fire with minimal utensils, including an egg and bacon breakfast. The meals were simple and utterly delicious. There is a shared bush loo and hot water is provided to freshen up. I will definitely recommend this for our clients with an adventurous spirit.
Shenton Safari’s and Lion Camp
It was also great to visit Shenton Safari’s Kaingo and Mwamba camps in the South Luangwa, both were great and I loved all the hides to watch animals. Then we headed to Lion Camp, with its beautifully decorated rooms, pool and fire pit. The area is excellent for game viewing, and we had Donald as our guide who was such a highlight! He found us a python whose head had been eaten by a predator, what an unusual sighting, and a porcupine being chased by lions. We had a delicious dinner at the camp and saw more lions the next morning, this time eating a hippo! Incredible!
Tafika, a village visit and the Big Lagoon
Then we moved onto Tafika, an ideal option for people looking for a more rustic and intimate camp. I was quite charmed by the rustic vibe, and I really liked the sound of their combo packages. The chalets’ open design allows you to watch the resident elephants strolling through the camp, and I mean right past your chalet!
We visited a Carmine bee-eater hide enroute to a village for a community visit. We visited a school with very sweet kids who had us laughing a lot. Although it is good to see how communities are benefited by tourism, village tours can be tricky but this one is done well and is very enjoyable. One of our guides had kids at the school we visited, which was a nice bridge between the safari experience and the community. Having my colleague Tendai with us, who could communicate with the kids, also added to the experience, making the kids more relaxed and giving them the giggles as she joked with them. The kids performed a traditional dance and got us all to join in, it was a great experience.
We came across a leopard hunting antelope on our drive back to camp, she actually used our vehicle to get closer to her prey, in the end she wasn’t successful though. I think this camp is perfect for keen birders. We took a short walk to the Big Lagoon Camp the next morning, an historical site that Remote Africa uses as one of their Chikoko Trails walking camps. A stunning location with a lagoon that attracts much wildlife.
Sungani and Kulandila
Back to the airport for a 30-minute scenic flight to Sungani’s Kulandila camp on the magnificent banks of the Luangwa River, backing onto a lagoon. This is an amazingly luxurious lodge with delicious food, exceptionally warm staff and impressively knowledgeable guides. The owners of this family-run camp are also so passionate about the area. Being in quite a remote area in South Luangwa, game is not as prolific, making this the perfect first stop where you can relax and regroup after a long journey, with no pressures to rush out and see animals. Brian, our experienced guide, was like a kid at Christmas when we came across zebras as they are very shy in this area – and they had a foal. We also spotted a Roan antelope which one doesn’t often see.
Bushcamp Company’s camps
We toured around all the Bushcamp Company’s camps all done in different styles and in unique locations. I though Chendeni definitely had the best style, classic with the lux element. Kapamba’s stone vibe helped with the heat. I loved the sleep-out deck and the bush pizza lunch hit the spot! Suzio was our excellent guide. We found a leopard, further along a leopard kill in a tree without a leopard but with a very focused hyena trying to get at it. We ended our tour with a magical sundowner on the river.
We were met on the Jeki airstip by Mwila who took us through the park to Amanzi Camp, we saw lions and lots of game on the hour-long transfer. I really loved the vibe of this lodge. It’s small, with only four rooms, intimate and luxurious, but not over the top. We had a refreshing welcome drink and were shown around the camp.
Then we moved onto Anabezi our accommodation for the night. Dennis gave us a very warm welcome. The camp has lovely rooms, very spacious with incredible views and large decks, each with their own private plunge pool. It’s a bigger camp, with 12 rooms, but it has two main areas, with two pools so can easily accommodate guests with a sense of privacy. They have a strict no-children policy.
On our game drive, Presley found us two leopards and a palm nut vulture which is very rare. Presley was as excited as we were, it’s always lovely to have an enthusiatic guide. We were surprised with our own private bush breakfast, set-up in a riverbed. Bacon and eggs prepared by your own chef in the bush = heaven!
Tusk & Mane camps: Kutali, Chula
I really liked Kutali camp. The rooms are simple but stylish and authentic. And look amazing nestled in the forest. Chula, is in a completely different location, also rustic and private, so the combo deal is a good idea.
We were fortunate to visit the Old Mondoro camp. We arrived at the same time as a few welcoming elephants which was an amazing experience. I really liked the beautiful rooms in the trees, open and comfortable. I also liked the outside bath that they’ll happily fill with cold water so you can chill in it and cool off.
We moved onto Lolebezi in time for lunch. The team were incredible, food was excellent, and guide was very good. I loved all the happy smiles and thought the hosting was done so well! It definitely is a grand place. The rooms have all the creature comforts, from snacks, a mini-bar and a Nespresso machine to activity sheets and games for children, with air con in the main bedroom and bathroom. We had a great game drive, spotting a leopard and lions eating a waterbuck with vultures circling.
We went on a walking safari the next morning, such a special experience in Zambia. When you’re on foot you notice all the small animals you can’t see from a vehicle. It’s was a wonderful experience made extra special thanks to our very knowledgeable guide.
Sausage Tree and Potato Bush
On to the Sausage tree, where we found big and spacious rooms, and great food. I particularly liked having breakfast at the bar looking out over the river, very nice! We also had lunch on the river which was fabulous. We were very lucky to go on another walk with another knowledgeable and interesting guide, Nevers. Potato Bush is a charming little camp with a lovely, intimate fire pit on the river’s edge. And as they share kitchen, the food is guaranteed to be great. WE LOVE THIIS CAMP! Always been a favourite since Sikeleli opened its doors late 2013.
Our trip ended at the Zambezi Grande. I really liked the rooms with their modern take on old colonial style. The main area was also very nice, and the food was excellent. We enjoyed a fantastic boat cruise and were treated to a surprise dinner on one of the islands, which I loved! The staff sang and danced as we enjoyed a superb meal.
Zambia is a fantastic country, with wonderful people, beautiful locations and incredible wildlife. It’s what life-long memories are made of. I can’t wait to curate the most perfect trip for you to this spectacular place. It’s certainly still an ‘untouched’ destination compared to some of of the busier countries, and it is sesaonal for the most part… we can’t wait to bring you here!
Contact Sikeleli and we’ll curate the perfect African safari experience for you!
Contact our travel specialists: Danni, Karen or Fungai
Ready for us to plan your trip to Zambia?
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