South Luangwa Trail – Up Close & Personal

What an experience, my return to Zambia, definitely one of my favourite safari countries, after a three year break. The beautiful South Luangwa National Park, was always going to be a big adventure.

My mission was to sample an exciting exploration safari involving day and night game drives, walking safari and overnight sleep-outs in a mixture of luxury bush camps and lodges. The experience was to provide the basis for Safari Clubs “Luangwa Trail Safari” which is run in partnership with our experienced local partners Messrs Norman Carr safaris who have been operating in Luangwa Valley for over 50 years.

This safari is tremendous fun for those with a spirit of adventure!

South Luangwa teams with game of every kind with lions particularly in evidence, we could hear them roaring not too far away on some of our walks but despite the best efforts of our guide we were unable to locate them on foot although we did find them feasting on a zebra kill the next morning on a game drive.

Most mornings we walked between two small, remote camps with our luggage travelling separately by vehicle. Later in the day we would take an afternoon and evening game drive. Most of the walks are about 12 kilometres and take around three hours at a leisurely pace with our experienced and highly knowledgeable guide. We walked between Luwi, Nsolo and Mchenja camps although shorter walks are possible for those who prefer less walking. June was perfect for walking with clear sunny skies, whilst the morning weather was quite cool, the grass by this time of year was dying back so the elephant trails we used between camps were fairly easy going, at times we walked along the banks of the Luangwa River where hippos snorted and large crocodiles slid into the water at our approach where to buy aciclovir over the counter sometimes elephants could be seen slaking their thirst.

A huge highlight of this trip is the Overnight “Sleep-Out” in the bush, involving a short, late afternoon walk to camp in a dry riverbed. A team of four looked after us superbly, set up our temporary campsite and soon had a roaring campfire on the go. A delicious bush dinner cooked over the open fire and a wonderful evening ensued discussing our adventures whilst listening to the sounds of the African bush and enjoying endless gin and tonics. We slept on bedrolls in the soft sand with just a mosquito net between us and wild Africa but even the whooping of hyena, trumpeting elephants and roaring lions could not prevent a peaceful sleep.

As for the wildlife highlights, well a pride of lions on a hippo kill was interesting and following a pack of wild dogs hunting in our vehicle was also exciting but perhaps seeing a large male leopard walk past the front of our tent at Mchenja Camp in the middle of the day not ten feet from where I was relaxing capped it all. South Luangwa really is a great place for these spotted cats and we were lucky to see seven different leopards during our stay.

We finished our “Luangwa Trail” at Norman Carrs wildly luxurious Chinzombo Camp, a perfect place to chill out at the end of the adventure.

It’s worth noting that there were a couple of mature ladies in their 70’s doing a similar thing whilst I was here and they loved it. Not suitable for those with walking difficulties or a nervous disposition and the cost means although younger guests would love it, most guests are likely to be of a certain age.

My opinion: Superb

Paul Downhill

Travelled June 2016

POSTED BY: on 23/02/2016

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