5 Reasons to visit Zambia
Over the years I’ve heard guests confuse Zambia with Zimbabwe and Zaire. A guest actually said to me last year: “I’m so happy to be here in Zaire, I’ve always wanted to come,” and I’ve even been asked: “So whereabouts in South AFRICA is Zambia?”
But Zambia should be taken seriously in its own right, thanks to the unbeatable wildlife viewing and Victoria Falls which are just a few of the many attractions. As someone who’s lived here for seven years and calls the country home, I wanted to put together my top five reasons to visit one of the continent’s lesser known countries.
Most guides in Zambia are born and bred in the Zambian bush, so the wildlife is second nature to them. They genuinely love what they do and have a passion for wildlife. I’ve often seen a guide of 15 or 20 years come back more excited than the guests with what they’ve just witnessed.
Zambia has some of the best guides in the world. Every year more than one of the companies in Zambia have their guiding team nominated for Best Guiding Team Awards around the world. And many of them have won those awards year after year.
Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to guiding and the Zambian guides have to continuously complete stringent exams for walking in the bush, canoeing, and boating, as well maintain advanced driving and first aid skills.
Many people have never heard of Liuwa Plains National Park. Well, it is home to the second largest migration of wildebeest in the world. It is so exclusive and remote that there is only one permanent camp, Matamanene Camp, in over 3,600km² of land.
Liuwa Plain a photographer’s dream with internationally acclaimed photographers like Will Burrard-Lucas visiting frequently. Hyena display amazing apex hunting behaviour and the pups are just so cute; one of my favourite safaris ever was spending 2 hours sitting by a den…I was never sure if we were watching the hyena or they were watching us. Birdlife is also extraordinary – even non birders will be captivated
There are more and more options for family travel in Zambia with Family Units being offered in both the bigger camps (which are still small compared to the lodges and hotels offered in other parts of AFRICA).
Here is some information if you are traveling to Zambia with your family:
Intergenerational travel is hugely popular in Zambia – we have Private villas and Houses as well as interconnecting Family Tents to accommodate this kind of family travel which are still small and intimate and feel like a bush home, not a hotel in the bush.
Although walking and canoeing are for kids 12 and over, there is plenty to keep kids under this age entertained. I’ve found kids in the kitchen, cooking with our chefs, on poo walks in an open area near camp or just learning more from the main area with one of the guides or waiters! Most camps offer pretty good kids rates for kids under 18.
I’ve heard Zambia described as what some of the other Eastern or Southern African countries used to be like 10 years ago. Zambia is a lot less commercialised than other parts of AFRICA, and one still gets the chance to see wildlife without competing with other vehicles or tourists. Although there is 5-star accommodation available, the soul of Zambia is still to be found in the smaller, remote bush camps that use natural materials as part of the construction and give a much more intimate experience with nature.
Over 33% of the country is designated to protected game management areas and national parks, which means that there is a huge variety within Zambia of different habitats, activities, animals and vistas – you don’t need to go anywhere else to get the whole safari experience.
There is a legacy in Zambia of the camps and companies being owner operated, this is still the case for many of the top camps around the country. This means the people managing the company, own the company. This means guests can have a meal with someone who lives and breathes the values of the business; we have a very high repeat guest rate and have created long term friendships with people who’ve travelled to our camps. Personal Pride – as the people who own the camps we feel a personal responsibility; issues are sorted quickly and there is pride in giving you the best safari of your life. Atmosphere – in effect you are being invited into the ‘home’ which provides for a relaxed and very personal safari.
The camps still retain an authentic feel with everyone being different and not having to adhere to a corporate standard.
See here for Luxury Safaris.