Places: South Luangwa Mobile Walking Safaris

8 November 2023

By: Moses Chimedza

Did you know the birthplace of Walking Safaris is South Luangwa National Park? Imagine my excitement when Emma gave me the opportunity to go on a Mobile Walking Safari with Robin Pope Safaris in the heart of the park. I have a few Mobile Walking Safari bookings for 2024 and I am very excited for these guests to experience what I did and more. It is amazing to have first-hand knowledge of this great experience and I am very happy to share it with you.

We flew into Mfuwe Airport and on arrival were met by Kanga a mobile safaris manager and walking guide at Robin Pope Safaris. He picked us up in a Robin Pope Safaris classic vehicle for the mobiles – a modified land cruiser with 6 “window” seats and a pop-up roof for taking photos. From Mfuwe Airport we drove for about one hour to Luangwa River Camp where we had a site visit and lunch. The Camp was fully booked which is always a great sign in our industry! Luangwa River Camp has a total of 5 bush suites each with an ensuite bathrooms and sunken bathtubs.

After a site inspection, we started our itinerary with a night at Nkwali Camp. It was great to see some familiar faces there and I was greeted with smiles and warm greetings from everyone. We had a couple of hours to freshen up and relax before afternoon tea. After this we set off on an afternoon game drive and were welcomed by a pride of lions with one cub, relaxing on a high bank of the Luangwa. We parked for our sundowners as the light was fading and watched the sun setting. We saw a lioness on the move in search of supper however she gave up her chase as the rest of the pride were still lazing around. We returned to the camp for dinner and had an early night ready for our safari the next day.

The following day we departed Nkwali early and had breakfast and a cup of coffee on the go. On the drive we saw lots of wildlife, however nothing compared to what we would see on our mobile walking trip. We stopped at the 1st camp site for a quick lunch and explored the site. We wrapped up and started our journey to the 2nd camp site where we spent a night.

At the Mupamadzi River the Mobile Camp is set up 10 metres away from the bank of the river. The camp is set up ready for your arrival and has well-equipped walk-in tents. The toilet is a long drop with a wooden chair to sit on and bucket of sand and a shovel. The shower is under a tree with a bucket hanging which they fill warm water every day for a shower. The staff were amazing and all dedicated to giving us the best experience. That afternoon we went on a walking safari and were treated to some fantastic sightings. We saw multiple herds of buffalo, a breeding herd of elephants crossing the Mupamadzi River, impala, puku, zebra and we also saw a small implausibility of wildebeest on the other side of the river. Our guide Kanga mentioned that they are one of the most renowned that South Luangwa has as they are endemic.

Mornings, afternoons and nights on the mobile were all magical. I loved how the meals were served in the open air. I loved the experience of sleeping in listening to the lions roaring. I loved being at one with nature. We had so many special sightings but one I will never forget is during one of our sundowners Kanga spotted a large herd of buffalo with his binoculars. A closer look revealed that they were fighting with a pride of lions! It was also special to see how the lions protected their cubs. This was a magical moment that most people would only ever see on wildlife TV channels and I was lucky enough to see it live in action. This safari experience is also a must for passionate photographers!

The next morning, we wrapped up the mobiles and headed to Nsefu Camp for our final night. On our way we saw leopard, a crocodile feasting on a poor puku, and on the other side more puku and zebras were grazing and watching. The crocodile was in a lagoon which was almost all dried up.

Nsefu Camp, the first of the historic safari camps in Zambia, is situated in the exclusive far north Nsefu sector of the South Luangwa National Park. You can soak in the superb views from its sweeping bend of the Luangwa River. It is an outstanding game viewing area and has everything you could want on safari. They offer walking safaris and game drives and this is another unspoilt piece of heaven. Here we were guided by William, a guide whose passion and knowledge make it that much more exciting. We saw a lot more wildlife including leopards, lions and a pack of 19 wild dogs with nine pups.

If you have been dreaming of a trip to Africa and you would like camping – the mobile walking safari is a fantastic option. This trip was not just to focus on walking and try get close to big game. This was more holistic and we were very fortunate to be given one of the best and most enthusiastic guides who made everything exciting for us. He did it all for us - talking us through walks in the wilderness, animal tracking, naming of birds. He would even point out the number of the page in the book where we could find more information on each bird. It was a mix of game viewing and education. The area where the camps are set up is a remote paradise in the northern most point of South Luangwa National Park. There is no mobile service so it is a perfect place to disconnect from the busy world and reconnect with nature. We learnt about the smallest things that can sometimes be missed on game drives as well as the big things we crave on safari! We saw and experienced sightings of diverse wildlife which was incredible.


Guide Kanga Walking Safaris

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