Places: Lower Zambezi October 2022

27 October 2022

By: Emma Seaman

After not having had the opportunity to do much travel into the Bush this year, I was delighted to accompany our two visiting agents on their trip to Lower Zambezi.  We were fortunate to be able to visit all of the properties in the Park, starting with Amanzi Bush camp and working our way down to The Zambezi Grande. 

On arrival into Jeki airstrip we were met by Mwila from Anabezi Camp who transferred us through the park to Amanzi, a drive of about one hour. We saw lots of game en route including 3 male lions having a late afternoon siesta. I hadn’t had the chance to visit Amanzi since its new ownership and was delighted to see how fresh and new the camp was looking – we were warmly welcomed by Biggie and his team who treated us to a refreshing welcome drink and showed us around the delightful 4 room camp. We then headed onto Anabezi where we were staying the night. We received a very warm welcome from Dennis and team who looked after us superbly. The room tents are very spacious with incredible views and large decks, each featuring their own private plunge pool. Whilst the camp is large with 12 tents, it does feature 2 different main areas with their own swimming pools allowing small groups to be given some privacy away from other guests. We had a fantastic game drive with Presley and were very lucky to come across two leopards. We managed to have good sightings of both before one disappeared under some creeper in a tree to sleep away the rest of the day! What a special surprise to then come across our own private bush breakfast set up on the banks of the river. There is nothing quite like bacon and eggs cooked in the bush by your own private chef!

From Anabezi we headed by boat to Tusk and Mane Kutali and Chula for a site inspection – two very special tented camps ideal for those wanting a smaller, more personal and rustic experience. Both camps have different locations making a combo stay ideal. We also had the chance to visit Old Mondoro – arriving to visiting elephant in camp to give us a particularly warm welcome along with Mark, Maddie and team! The camp is looking fresh and bright after a refurb earlier on this year. Its not hard to realise why this is one of the most popular and busiest camps in the park.

We arrived at the much anticipated Lolebezi in time for lunch – very warmly greeted by the African Bush Camps team singing to us. We had a delicious lunch hosted by Tisie, overlooking the Zambezi River, watching some elephants swimming across to an island. We then went to our rooms for an afternoon siesta but I must admit I spent most of the time checking out all the wonderful features in my room! Air conditioning in both the main bedroom and bathroom was a very welcome break from the heat of the day. A fully stocked minibar, snacks and my own Nespresso machine! Kids activity sheets, crayons and games, suntan lotion provided for those who forget theirs, fabulous plunge pool which I used several times to cool off and both an indoor and outdoor shower. Whilst some may think Lolebezi is over the top, I really liked the camp and believe it will have its own market for those who want all these creature comforts whilst staying in one of the best locations within the park.  We had a fabulous afternoon game drive with James (Bond!) and were lucky enough to find a female leopard feeding on a large male waterbuck. On returning to the same site the next day we found a pride of lions devouring the waterbuck with not much left for the waiting vultures.  We also encountered a very special sighting on our afternoon drive which was two young cubs (about two years old) sleeping up in a tree with their mum sleeping below. We were fortunate to have this sighting to ourselves and watched until the mum decided it was time to move on and called her cubs to come down, quite a comical sighting watching them getting out of the little tree! James also took us on a walking safari the following morning which was a wonderful experience and reminded me of how special walks are in Zambia. The focus is about learning more about the small things you don’t see on a vehicle and not about tracking big game. No matter how many times I go into the bush I am always amazed at all the new things I learn from these wonderful, knowledgeable guides.  During all our meals at Lolebezi we were hosted by one of their warm and hospitable managers all of whom were extremely knowledgeable and informative. The food, created for guests by Executive Chef Mwansa, was excellent.

From Lolebezi we were transferred to Sausage Tree Camp where we were hosted in the very spacious and luxurious Kigelia house, also boasting its own plunge pool which was the perfect temperature for cooling off. We had our own butler, Clever, who took care of our every need, including looking after us at meal times. Once we had settled in our room, we were whisked off to a surprise water lunch, a signature event at Sausage Tree and Potato Bush Camps. And even more special was that we were hosted by owner Jason who had flown in earlier on that day. Hard to describe how special it is to sit with your feet in the Zambezi River, water lapping around your ankles, sand beneath your toes, drinking ice cold pimms, watching elephants frolicking in the water and listening to the resident fish eagles calling. Something that everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime!  During our stay at Sausage Tree Camp we did our activities with Nevers, a wonderful guide who was an endless source of information and stories from his own upbringing in the local Community. We also had the chance to do a walk with Nevers and once again we learnt so many new and interesting facts about the bush in this area. A site inspection of the warm and intimate Potato Bush Camp completed our visit – a very special little camp that is highly recommended for both couples and small families.

We then boated down to Chiawa Camp where Simon, their General manager, gave us a site inspection and hosted us to a delicious lunch. Earlier on this year they finished refurbishing all their rooms at Chiawa so they are now all of the same level (with the exception of the stunning Safari Suite which is a notch above and ideal for couples wanting a more exclusive experience or for families). We then visited Chongwe River Camp, looking great after their refurb earlier this year. Their tents are now larger and more comfortable and one of the tents has been converted into a spa. Chongwe House was occupied by Guests (happily our own People and Places clients šŸ˜Š) so we only managed to boat past to have a quick look! We had sadly just missed the pack of wild dogs who had visited the area behind Chongwe earlier in the day but have since seen some great photos from guests of ours staying in the area. A quick stop in at Royal Zambezi did not disappoint. Whilst busy they were ever accommodating and hospitable and managed to show us a couple of rooms and allow us a bit of retail therapy in their gift shop!

Our Lower Zambezi trip finished up at Zambezi Grande, located about 20 minutes outside of the park.  The lodge offers clients a more sophisticated type of experience with main area and rooms all built from brick and mortar and rooms featuring extra touches like air conditioning and ball and claw baths. One of the things I like about Zambezi Grande are all the extra special touches; monogrammed napkins, wax seal on our welcome letter, and the really beautiful cutlery, crockery and glassware. Mwamba was our host during our stay and went out of his way to make us welcome and comfortable. We had a lovely afternoon cruise on the Zambezi which ended with a surprise island dinner. What a lovely treat – singing and dancing by the staff, a superb meal featuring many Zambian Dishes, and the chance for me to reconnect with their executive chef Chrispin who I worked with many years ago when he was at Kulefu Camp and we both worked for Star of Africa!

All in all a really special People and Places 10 year Anniversary Trip – so many great game encounters, amazing camps that all went out of their way to look after us, whether we stayed with them or not, and far too much delicious food! We look forward to helping you plan your trip to lower Zambezi in the near future!

Leopard at Anabezi Anabezi Bush Breakfast Leopard on Game drive at Lolebezi Lion Drinking Minding my own business Squirrel seen on walking safari Bedroom at Lolebezi Tree Climbing Lion Cubs Nervous Baboons! Bateleur Eagle eating monitor lizard Chef Chrispin and Emma Zambezi Grande High Tea

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