Zebra come right on to The Royal Livingstone’s lawns on your honeymoon safari

Zambia Honeymoon Safari | Romantic Spoils, Isolation & Bathtubs For Two | 9 Nights Victoria Falls, Liuwa Plains National Park & South Luangwa National Park

This Zambia honeymoon safari takes in Victoria Falls and the remote, untouched wilderness areas of Liuwa Plains and South Luangwa. Dramatic modern design elements combined with old-world charm and a real sense of being immersed in the wild provide the perfect recipe for a romantic escape – complete immersion in the moment.

  • Water is a constant theme, from the wooded banks of the mighty Zambezi to the open savannah of Liuwa Plains and the river vistas of South Luangwa.
  • The opportunity to experience the many exciting activities at Victoria Falls (like microlighting, sunset cruises, canoe safaris and game drives along the Zambezi) plus the chance to be alone in faraway bush locations, among migrating wildebeest and herds of elephant.
  • Two luxury lodges and an elegant hotel, all with superb amenities and offering delightful extra touches to add to the romantic ambience. An indulgent riverside suite, and villas combining cutting-edge architecture, organic materials and local artisanship. For more information see The Royal Livingstone, King Lewanika Lodge and Chinzombo.

Three nights at The Royal Livingstone

From cake toppers to experiences that will take some topping! We spent the first afternoon of our Zambia honeymoon safari soaking up the ambience of The Royal Livingstone. With the Zambezi River visible through the trees as it flowed serenely towards its date with gravity, and the distant roar and towering column of spray a constant presence, it wasn’t hard to believe we were in Africa at last. Any lingering disbelief was dispelled by a small dazzle of zebra grazing on the lawns. To get a closer look at the river, we enjoyed our sundowners on a Zambezi sunset cruise.I’d talked my partner out of a bungee jump – I joked that I wanted our lifelong happiness to endure beyond the honeymoon, but really I wanted to go microlighting instead. Soon I found myself in the passenger seat of the smallest of the many aircraft we would fly in, cleared for take-off for a trip over the falls. The pilot’s easy confidence helped me relax as we spiralled ever upwards to gain a new perspective on the cascading torrents of water. The only audible sounds were the roar of the tumbling water and my own sharp intakes of breath at the sheer beauty of the scene unfolding not so very far below us.Given the choice of a safari beside the mighty Zambezi, or a canoe safari on it, we opted for the latter. We knew we’d have extra opportunities to see terrestrial wildlife later on our Zambia honeymoon safari, so for now we accentuated the aquatic. We followed our guide as he paddled off in search of crocodile and hippo. The hippo were my favourite – their exhalations mirrored the spray above the falls. The river glowed with sunset colours, and returning to the hotel we went from the sublime to the ridiculously romantic with a surprise private Champagne dinner on our verandah, beneath the Southern Cross.

From cake toppers to experiences that will take some topping! We spent the first afternoon of our Zambia honeymoon safari soaking up the ambience of The Royal Livingstone. With the Zambezi River visible through the trees as it flowed serenely towards its date with gravity, and the distant roar and towering column of spray a constant presence, it wasn’t hard to believe we were in Africa at last. Any lingering disbelief was dispelled by a small dazzle of zebra grazing on the lawns. To get a closer look at the river, we enjoyed our sundowners on a Zambezi sunset cruise.

I’d talked my partner out of a bungee jump – I joked that I wanted our lifelong happiness to endure beyond the honeymoon, but really I wanted to go microlighting instead. Soon I found myself in the passenger seat of the smallest of the many aircraft we would fly in, cleared for take-off for a trip over the falls. The pilot’s easy confidence helped me relax as we spiralled ever upwards to gain a new perspective on the cascading torrents of water. The only audible sounds were the roar of the tumbling water and my own sharp intakes of breath at the sheer beauty of the scene unfolding not so very far below us.

Given the choice of a safari beside the mighty Zambezi, or a canoe safari on it, we opted for the latter. We knew we’d have extra opportunities to see terrestrial wildlife later on our Zambia honeymoon safari, so for now we accentuated the aquatic. We followed our guide as he paddled off in search of crocodile and hippo. The hippo were my favourite – their exhalations mirrored the spray above the falls. The river glowed with sunset colours, and returning to the hotel we went from the sublime to the ridiculously romantic with a surprise private Champagne dinner on our verandah, beneath the Southern Cross.

Three nights at King Lewanika Lodge

A seamlessly integrated succession of road and light-aircraft transfers enabled us to segue from the gorges of Victoria Falls to the gorgeous open country of Liuwa Plains.The only permanent accommodation in Liuwa Plains, King Lewanika Lodge could have been designed with us in mind. A tiny, intimate safari camp with just six villas, it felt as though it was at the ends of the Earth. Which of course is where we’d always promised to go for each other, and now here we were, together. We loved the look and feel of the lodge and its clever use of organic materials to create a striking and modern, yet fitting, design. By a happy coincidence, we weren’t the only arrivals – the ‘other’ great wildebeest migration was also in town.The sophisticated styling and old-world charms of the lodge were tempting indeed, but knowing that thousands of antelope were streaming across the plains not far away was more than enough motivation to head out on a game drive. Not having experienced the Masai Mara or Serengeti, we weren’t sure what to expect. Being the only people there that morning meant that we were heavily outnumbered by wildebeest, and our migration experience easily outgunned any animal experience we’d had before. There was something mesmerising about the steady rhythm of the marching gnus, and we were impressed by their commitment to completing their trek.The passing wildebeest had cut a swathe through the golden grass, and marched into our imaginations. We’d been struck by the vigilance of the herd: while some grazed, others watched for predators. After our morning game drive, we shared an outdoor shower and applied almost the same approach: you wash my back, and I’ll wash yours. The views from our alfresco ablutions may have meant that I missed a spot, due to trying to spot birds and animals passing by. In what was fast becoming a tradition, we enjoyed a private starlit meal to mark our last evening in Liuwa Plains.

A seamlessly integrated succession of road and light-aircraft transfers enabled us to segue from the gorges of Victoria Falls to the gorgeous open country of Liuwa Plains.

The only permanent accommodation in Liuwa Plains, King Lewanika Lodge could have been designed with us in mind. A tiny, intimate safari camp with just six villas, it felt as though it was at the ends of the Earth. Which of course is where we’d always promised to go for each other, and now here we were, together. We loved the look and feel of the lodge and its clever use of organic materials to create a striking and modern, yet fitting, design. By a happy coincidence, we weren’t the only arrivals – the ‘other’ great wildebeest migration was also in town.

The sophisticated styling and old-world charms of the lodge were tempting indeed, but knowing that thousands of antelope were streaming across the plains not far away was more than enough motivation to head out on a game drive. Not having experienced the Masai Mara or Serengeti, we weren’t sure what to expect. Being the only people there that morning meant that we were heavily outnumbered by wildebeest, and our migration experience easily outgunned any animal experience we’d had before. There was something mesmerising about the steady rhythm of the marching gnus, and we were impressed by their commitment to completing their trek.

The passing wildebeest had cut a swathe through the golden grass, and marched into our imaginations. We’d been struck by the vigilance of the herd: while some grazed, others watched for predators. After our morning game drive, we shared an outdoor shower and applied almost the same approach: you wash my back, and I’ll wash yours. The views from our alfresco ablutions may have meant that I missed a spot, due to trying to spot birds and animals passing by. In what was fast becoming a tradition, we enjoyed a private starlit meal to mark our last evening in Liuwa Plains.

Three nights at Chinzombo

By now we were seasoned light-aircraft travellers, but still hadn’t got used to the Zambian landscapes sliding by beneath us, and I hoped we never would – I wanted to retain for ever the sense of wonder we’d felt our first few times. South Luangwa, where we alighted for our stay at Chinzombo, is known as the spiritual home of the walking safari. Since our wedding, I’d felt as though I was walking on air, and almost before we reached the lodge, I was planning a return. I knew my partner was also keen to experience fly-camping in South Luangwa and arriving at a different luxury campsite each evening. Clearly, a second honeymoon would be required! A siesta was also necessary, and with our villa shaded by a spreading tree and looking out over the sluggish Luangwa River, we’d found our perfect spot.They say that work expands to fill the time available, but in South Luangwa we discovered that love expands to fill the landscape. At least ours did, which meant it had plenty of room to grow as we embarked on short walking safaris, at one point even approaching to within a few hundred metres of a pride of lions snoozing in the shade. Our veteran guide filled us with complete confidence, and his commentary on the sleeping big cats was so interesting that our trepidation evaporated. Walking back, we skirted a herd of elephant more intent on feeding than noticing us.The staff at Chinzombo could not have been more delighted to discover that we were on honeymoon, and kept coming up with new ways to surprise and delight us. Far and away (and were we ever – the romance of remoteness runs through South Luangwa like a second river) my favourite was the bubble bath they ran for us on our last evening. The tub had plenty of room for two, and as we slid beneath the foam I experienced another moment of complete happiness – a feeling underlined by the contented chortling of hippo from the river. I knew exactly how they felt.

By now we were seasoned light-aircraft travellers, but still hadn’t got used to the Zambian landscapes sliding by beneath us, and I hoped we never would – I wanted to retain for ever the sense of wonder we’d felt our first few times.
South Luangwa, where we alighted for our stay at Chinzombo, is known as the spiritual home of the walking safari. Since our wedding, I’d felt as though I was walking on air, and almost before we reached the lodge, I was planning a return. I knew my partner was also keen to experience fly-camping in South Luangwa and arriving at a different luxury campsite each evening. Clearly, a second honeymoon would be required! A siesta was also necessary, and with our villa shaded by a spreading tree and looking out over the sluggish Luangwa River, we’d found our perfect spot.

They say that work expands to fill the time available, but in South Luangwa we discovered that love expands to fill the landscape. At least ours did, which meant it had plenty of room to grow as we embarked on short walking safaris, at one point even approaching to within a few hundred metres of a pride of lions snoozing in the shade. Our veteran guide filled us with complete confidence, and his commentary on the sleeping big cats was so interesting that our trepidation evaporated. Walking back, we skirted a herd of elephant more intent on feeding than noticing us.

The staff at Chinzombo could not have been more delighted to discover that we were on honeymoon, and kept coming up with new ways to surprise and delight us. Far and away (and were we ever – the romance of remoteness runs through South Luangwa like a second river) my favourite was the bubble bath they ran for us on our last evening. The tub had plenty of room for two, and as we slid beneath the foam I experienced another moment of complete happiness – a feeling underlined by the contented chortling of hippo from the river. I knew exactly how they felt.

What sets it apart

Sometimes an experience is defined as much by what was absent, as what was involved. That was certainly the case with our Zambia honeymoon safari, although we didn’t at all miss the things that were missing.Being able to spend delicious slices of time together is something that no-one will ever be able to take away from us – and yet we found that we took so much away from our experiences.We learned that luxury comes in many forms, from the caring, attentive service we experienced throughout (if smiling was an Olympic event, Zambia would win gold) to the striking design of bush lodges that somehow managed to blend in and make a statement at the same time.Despite the modern touches, such as eco-friendly air-con, electric-buggy shuttles around landscaped gardens and even Wi-Fi (which we successfully resisted), our time in Victoria Falls, Liuwa Plains and South Luangwa could not have been wilder (in the original sense of the word) or more authentic.Perhaps it was the close presence of wildlife, whether the zebra grazing on the lawns of The Royal Livingstone or the migrating wildebeest passing close to King Lewanika Lodge. Or the scenery, which was busy with birds, wildlife and trees, but mercifully free of the works of humans.Either way, we made use of every opportunity (and there were many) to spend time alone together, and to share unforgettable moments of indulgence, romance and skipped heartbeats. It was almost like our first date, all over again.

Sometimes an experience is defined as much by what was absent, as what was involved. That was certainly the case with our Zambia honeymoon safari, although we didn’t at all miss the things that were missing.

Being able to spend delicious slices of time together is something that no-one will ever be able to take away from us – and yet we found that we took so much away from our experiences.

We learned that luxury comes in many forms, from the caring, attentive service we experienced throughout (if smiling was an Olympic event, Zambia would win gold) to the striking design of bush lodges that somehow managed to blend in and make a statement at the same time.

Despite the modern touches, such as eco-friendly air-con, electric-buggy shuttles around landscaped gardens and even Wi-Fi (which we successfully resisted), our time in Victoria Falls, Liuwa Plains and South Luangwa could not have been wilder (in the original sense of the word) or more authentic.

Perhaps it was the close presence of wildlife, whether the zebra grazing on the lawns of The Royal Livingstone or the migrating wildebeest passing close to King Lewanika Lodge. Or the scenery, which was busy with birds, wildlife and trees, but mercifully free of the works of humans.

Either way, we made use of every opportunity (and there were many) to spend time alone together, and to share unforgettable moments of indulgence, romance and skipped heartbeats. It was almost like our first date, all over again.

Day 1–3

The Royal Livingstone has easy access to the Victoria Falls. © Anantara

You’ll be met as you disembark from your flight at Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone, and assisted through customs and immigration. A transfer will take you to The Royal Livingstone, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 4–6

After the rains, there’s plenty of water near King Lewanika Lodge. © Time + Tide

After a transfer from The Royal Livingstone to the airport, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Lusaka, and another to Liuwa Plains. A transfer will then take you to King Lewanika Lodge, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 7–9

You can watch elephant right from camp at Chinzombo. © Time + Tide

After a transfer from King Lewanika Lodge to the airport, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Lusaka, and another to South Luangwa. You’ll then take a transfer to Chinzombo, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 10

Where to go on safari in Zambia | zambia safari destinations

After a transfer from Chinzombo to the airport, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Lusaka, to connect with your international flight.

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