Chinzombo’s villas have private plunge pools | Zambia Safari

Zambia | Luangwa Lagoons & The ‘Other’ Wildebeest Migration | 7 Nights South Luangwa National Park & Liuwa Plains National Park

A luxury Zambia safari to South Luangwa and Liuwa Plains offers dramatic scenery: wide grasslands, thick woodlands and oxbow lakes. Enjoy the comfort of two luxurious lodges on this itinerary as well as unique wildlife and a host of thrilling experiences, from fly camping and walking safaris to night drives.

Three nights at Chinzombo

After we arrived at Lusaka, we climbed into the 10-seater plane that was to take us to Mfuwe, the gateway to the Luangwa Valley. Passing the Muchinga Escarpment and the grasslands and floodplains of South Luangwa National Park, we landed on a dusty airstrip where a gleaming safari vehicle awaited our transfer to the Chinzombo.Many sightings later, we jumped aboard a smart motorboat, which took us across the Luangwa River, teeming with hippo and crocodile, and delivered us safely to the lodge on the other side. Set under the shade of ancient msizki trees, Chinzombo has six generous villas made of recyclable steel, thatch, canvas and grass overlooking the river. Lunch was delivered to us on our deck and we savoured each bite, completely content to relax and enjoy our armchair safari, while we watched carmine bee-eaters swoop across the water.After a morning game drive the next day, we set off for an adventurous night of fly camping. Crossing sandy riverbeds marked with animal prints, skirting mahogany trees and dense thicket, we saw elephant, zebra, Cookson’s wildebeest and even two buffalo bulls. The slow pace of our walking safari really allowed us to get in tune with the sights, sounds and smells of the bush, but our adrenaline hit an all-time high when we nearly walked into three male lion! We set up camp at sunset, enjoyed a barbeque under a star-studded sky and fell asleep with only a mosquito net between us and the wilderness.We packed up and headed back to the lodge after a hearty breakfast, pleased to leave no trace. It was time to enjoy all that Chinzombo had to offer: in-room spa treatments, lunch served at our private pool and an afternoon game drive – where the highlight was witnessing lion and hyena fighting over a buffalo carcass. After a sumptuous dinner, we enjoyed a bubble bath in our en-suite, open to river views and the sight of a hippo having a face-off with a much larger specimen – only to quickly lumber off, perhaps realising his mistake!

After we arrived at Lusaka, we climbed into the 10-seater plane that was to take us to Mfuwe, the gateway to the Luangwa Valley. Passing the Muchinga Escarpment and the grasslands and floodplains of South Luangwa National Park, we landed on a dusty airstrip where a gleaming safari vehicle awaited our transfer to the Chinzombo.

Many sightings later, we jumped aboard a smart motorboat, which took us across the Luangwa River, teeming with hippo and crocodile, and delivered us safely to the lodge on the other side. Set under the shade of ancient msizki trees, Chinzombo has six generous villas made of recyclable steel, thatch, canvas and grass overlooking the river. Lunch was delivered to us on our deck and we savoured each bite, completely content to relax and enjoy our armchair safari, while we watched carmine bee-eaters swoop across the water.

After a morning game drive the next day, we set off for an adventurous night of fly camping. Crossing sandy riverbeds marked with animal prints, skirting mahogany trees and dense thicket, we saw elephant, zebra, Cookson’s wildebeest and even two buffalo bulls. The slow pace of our walking safari really allowed us to get in tune with the sights, sounds and smells of the bush, but our adrenaline hit an all-time high when we nearly walked into three male lion! We set up camp at sunset, enjoyed a barbeque under a star-studded sky and fell asleep with only a mosquito net between us and the wilderness.

We packed up and headed back to the lodge after a hearty breakfast, pleased to leave no trace. It was time to enjoy all that Chinzombo had to offer: in-room spa treatments, lunch served at our private pool and an afternoon game drive – where the highlight was witnessing lion and hyena fighting over a buffalo carcass. After a sumptuous dinner, we enjoyed a bubble bath in our en-suite, open to river views and the sight of a hippo having a face-off with a much larger specimen – only to quickly lumber off, perhaps realising his mistake!

Three nights at King Lewanika Lodge

Warmed by the sun’s rays over our last breakfast at our private pool, we took to the skies again, back to Lusaka. We were excited to spend a night in the bustling capital of Zambia – and it didn’t disappoint.Another quick flight the next day and we were on safari through one of Africa’s oldest reserves – Liuwa Plains National Park. As we travelled, we passed swathes of grasslands and pristine woodlands, along with several types of grazing antelope the park is famous for, including roan, tssessebe and red lechwe. King Lewanika Lodge is set on the upper Munde stream with sweeping views over the grassy plains, modern, yet perfectly in tune with its surroundings. We whiled away the rest of the day in this beautiful oasis, and enjoyed a private romantic dinner (somehow staff found out it was our anniversary!).Of course, the main draw of the vast Liuwa Plains is that the second largest migration of wildebeest in the world happens here – and we’d planned our journey to coincide with its start. Though spotting a cheetah and several African wild dog was thrilling enough, driving among several thousands of wildebeest was an incomparable experience – surrounded by dust, the sound of hooves on earth and insistent gnu-ing as these splendid beasts moved incessantly in their search for fresh grazing. Without another vehicle in sight, we watched this endlessly shifting tableau in the soft dusk, feeling privileged to experience this, one of Africa’s best-kept secrets.The next day our guide suggested something different – a walking safari on the plains. This involved an early start, but watching countless birds flit across as the rising sun cast the plains in molten gold made every minute of missed sleep worthwhile. Passing a mutata tree, our guide told us the local legend of how it grew: when one Litunga planted his walking stick on the plains! Although Lady Liuwa – the old lioness that was believed to embody the spirit of a local grandmother – has passed on, we did come across two younger lion, who were less interested in us than in mating with each other!

Warmed by the sun’s rays over our last breakfast at our private pool, we took to the skies again, back to Lusaka. We were excited to spend a night in the bustling capital of Zambia – and it didn’t disappoint.

Another quick flight the next day and we were on safari through one of Africa’s oldest reserves – Liuwa Plains National Park. As we travelled, we passed swathes of grasslands and pristine woodlands, along with several types of grazing antelope the park is famous for, including roan, tssessebe and red lechwe. King Lewanika Lodge is set on the upper Munde stream with sweeping views over the grassy plains, modern, yet perfectly in tune with its surroundings. We whiled away the rest of the day in this beautiful oasis, and enjoyed a private romantic dinner (somehow staff found out it was our anniversary!).

Of course, the main draw of the vast Liuwa Plains is that the second largest migration of wildebeest in the world happens here – and we’d planned our journey to coincide with its start. Though spotting a cheetah and several African wild dog was thrilling enough, driving among several thousands of wildebeest was an incomparable experience – surrounded by dust, the sound of hooves on earth and insistent gnu-ing as these splendid beasts moved incessantly in their search for fresh grazing. Without another vehicle in sight, we watched this endlessly shifting tableau in the soft dusk, feeling privileged to experience this, one of Africa’s best-kept secrets.

The next day our guide suggested something different – a walking safari on the plains. This involved an early start, but watching countless birds flit across as the rising sun cast the plains in molten gold made every minute of missed sleep worthwhile. Passing a mutata tree, our guide told us the local legend of how it grew: when one Litunga planted his walking stick on the plains! Although Lady Liuwa – the old lioness that was believed to embody the spirit of a local grandmother – has passed on, we did come across two younger lion, who were less interested in us than in mating with each other!

What sets it apart

Zambia might offer the last truly unadulterated wilderness we have left – it’s the birthplace of the walking safari, home to the second biggest migration of wildebeest on earth and it offers the chance to have intimate wildlife encounters without competing with other vehicles or tourists.Our luxury Zambia safari allowed us to discover this diverse country from every angle – whether at a waterhole identifying birds with our field guide, enjoying cosmopolitan city nightlife or sleeping under the stars with just a mosquito net separating us from the wild. The landscapes of South Luangwa and the remote Liuwa Plains were vast, open stretches of unbelievable beauty, starkly different yet somehow similar in their expansive sense of space, their bright skies and nights lit up by a glittering cascade of stars.Our safari deepened our love for this country, of which nearly a third is reserved for conservation. Its warm and ever-welcoming people, as well as excellent guides, have a genuine passion for wildlife and their sense of pride in their country was humbling. We were drawn into the beauty of the landscapes they see daily, and were humbled again.Zambia’s safaris are one of the country’s best-kept secrets; here, you can mingle with the wildebeest and apart from your guide, be the only person in sight. It’s here that you can see elephant drink at the water’s edge, hippo lumber through your camp at night, and vervet monkey swing across the trees, or watch hyena hunt in 50-strong packs. It’s the type of safari that makes your soul sing; the type of safari that keeps you dreaming – even as you plan your next trip.

Zambia might offer the last truly unadulterated wilderness we have left – it’s the birthplace of the walking safari, home to the second biggest migration of wildebeest on earth and it offers the chance to have intimate wildlife encounters without competing with other vehicles or tourists.

Our luxury Zambia safari allowed us to discover this diverse country from every angle – whether at a waterhole identifying birds with our field guide, enjoying cosmopolitan city nightlife or sleeping under the stars with just a mosquito net separating us from the wild. The landscapes of South Luangwa and the remote Liuwa Plains were vast, open stretches of unbelievable beauty, starkly different yet somehow similar in their expansive sense of space, their bright skies and nights lit up by a glittering cascade of stars.

Our safari deepened our love for this country, of which nearly a third is reserved for conservation. Its warm and ever-welcoming people, as well as excellent guides, have a genuine passion for wildlife and their sense of pride in their country was humbling. We were drawn into the beauty of the landscapes they see daily, and were humbled again.

Zambia’s safaris are one of the country’s best-kept secrets; here, you can mingle with the wildebeest and apart from your guide, be the only person in sight. It’s here that you can see elephant drink at the water’s edge, hippo lumber through your camp at night, and vervet monkey swing across the trees, or watch hyena hunt in 50-strong packs. It’s the type of safari that makes your soul sing; the type of safari that keeps you dreaming – even as you plan your next trip.

  • Wonderfully diverse scenery from the wide-open grasslands of Liuwa Plains National Park to the thick woodlands watered by the meandering Luangwa River and its many oxbow lakes.
  • The opportunity for fly camping in South Luangwa, to witness the world’s second biggest wildebeest migration at Liuwa Plains and to do walking safaris at both.
  • Chic and ultra-luxurious villas utilising thatch, canvas, grass and recyclable materials. Chinzombo offers river-facing villas with private plunge pools and King Lewanika’s villas overlook the endless plains of Liuwa.
  • All safari costs include local flights, transfers and accommodation, while meals, activities and extras vary by lodge/hotel. For an outline of costs please click here, and for more information on these specific lodges/hotels and what they offer, please see Chinzombo and King Lewanika Lodge respectively.

Day 1–3

Giraffe come close to camp at Chinzombo. © Time + Tide

You’ll be met as you disembark from your international flight at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, and assisted through customs and immigration. After a scheduled light-aircraft flight to South Luangwa, you’ll take a transfer to Chinzombo, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 4

Your Zambia safari will take you to a land of wild beauty.

After a transfer from Chinzombo to the airport, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Lusaka. A private transfer will take you to Latitude 15°, where you’ll spend one night.

Day 5–7

Dine under the African moon at King Lewanika Lodge. © Time + Tide

After a private transfer from Latitude 15° to the airport, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Liuwa Plains. A transfer will then take you to King Lewanika Lodge, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 8

Your Zambia safari will take you to a land of wild beauty.

After a transfer from King Lewanika Lodge to the airport, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, to connect with your international flight.

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