By: Moses Chimedza
I recently travelled to the Lower Zambezi National Park for a 6-day visit, hopping from camp to camp with one of our agents. Travelling has become so difficult due to the pandemic so like many of you I have been at home for the majority of the last 2 years and I was very excited to be on the move!
On arrival into Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, I went through to the domestic terminal to check in to my Proflight flight to Jeki. We were all masked up and sanitized ready for takeoff. We were flown by Captain Abraham Gozwa, who is a longtime friend of mine. It was nice to see him at the cockpit living out his dream. The flight was smooth, and the best part was the view from the top. If you ever fly to Lower Zambezi, please look out the window! I marveled at the magnificent sight of the valley below me. We landed and were greeted by the warm weather and enthusiastic waves from the guides- what a welcome to Lower Zambezi!
We started our Lower Zam adventure with lunch and a site inspection at Anabezi, it is a beautiful lodge and I wish I had been able to stay the night! We were then transferred by boat to Amanzi which was Anabezi’s sister camp but has now been sold. It is also a beautiful little lodge, perfect for exclusive use trips.
We spent our first two nights at Tusk and Mane – a basic, remote safari camp in a great location with lots of winter thorn trees. I felt very far away when I was at Tusk and Mane. Very fitting for the name of the camp site we were at - Kutali which means “faraway place”. I love the bucket showers that were hanging from the trees, it was a unique experience which I enjoyed. The game drive in the area was different to the other parts of the Lower Zambezi and even more different to what I had experienced in South Luangwa. We sampled all that the area has to give with great sightings of elephants, buffalos and a tremendous variety of birdlife. We also had some predator action- we spotted lion feeding on a warthog. The first night was awesome, we sat around the fire and got to know some of the other guests in camp. We shared great stories and bonded over our love for animals, nature and the wilderness, making memories to last a lifetime. We were guided by Shane and Presley, both top tier guides. Shane particularly left a mark on me; he had a good spirit and was in tune with nature.
Next up we visited 2 Chiawa Safaris properties starting with Old Mondoro and then on to Chiawa Camp. Both are crowd favorites and I can see why. Old Mondoro which means Old Lion, is a dream come true. You feel removed from the world- in a true wilderness area. We had so many great sightings here - lions, leopards and from my room, which was right on the edge of a lagoon, I could see elephants drinking and bathing. From the main area you can watch elephants crossing, it is something incredibly amazing to witness. While elephants were crossing there was this enormous crocodile trying to attack the baby elephant. However, the crocodile didn’t have a successful lunch because the baby elephant was not harmed as it was protected by the mothers around. Elephants are amazing creatures with great strength and intelligence. Watching that interaction was like a movie, I couldn’t believe it was happening in real time!
At Chiawa Camp, we were received with a beautiful song. This camp is full of surprises! We had a boat cruise lunch on the Zambezi and a bush dinner- both very special ways to enjoy the delicious food and surrounding scenery. Activity wise, I decided to go canoeing and it was breathtaking. I highly recommend this wonderful experience. There was so much life on the river and it was thrilling to watch lots of hippos and crocodiles close up. I also saw lots of waterbuck, impala and kudu drinking at the edge of the channel and lots of birds and baboons as well. We also saw crocodiles feasting on a dead hippo - it got a little intense at times, but I always felt safe.
The next day, we were off to Sausage Tree and Potato Bush Camps for site inspections. Both camps are so beautiful. I thought about my mom while I was at Sausage Tree - it’s her favorite Camp! After a tour of the camps, we were transferred to Chongwe for an overnight stay. It is a lovely camp with a great balance between luxury and classic. The bush gave us wild dogs, many impala, waterbuck, hyena’s and a leopard drinking along the Chongwe River. We spent some time in the Chongwe hide and I must say I have never seen anything like it. I have been in hides before but this is one a kind and I could also have opted to sleep in it for a night. The guide, Sam, was really good at explaining small details of animals and the environment. You could feel his appreciation of the wild in his approach to the animals.
Next, we hopped on a boat for a 10-minute ride to Royal Zambezi Lodge. This lodge has a beautiful view of the Zambezi River which borders Lower Zambezi and Mana Pools. It is a bigger property than the others but it is still personal and I loved that. It is also a great lodge for families, so perfect to bring along the little kids. It is ideally situated for water activities and we had some lovely boat trips, with plenty of hippos and birds, and atmospheric sundowners on the river.
Finally, we ended our trip at Baines River Camp. We arrived by boat, and were welcomed by a cool breeze and a very different style of camp to what we had experienced so far. Baines is a beautiful colonial style lodge with air conditioned Suites and every comfort you could possibly imagine. Baines is a great place to relax, and we did just that! We took a day off from activities and decided to just enjoy the lodge. I love to swim so of course I was in the pool in between meals- very delicious meals!
After this trip I can proudly say I have a true understanding of what we do as an agent- it is more than just planning trips. We have to understand the different products, know the different places and then we can match our clients accordingly. That is how I would define People and Places and what we stand for.
Sorry, we can’t seem to find any matches.