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May 2009 Travel Zambia 33 the challenge of Liuwa, braving the poor roads to venture into the Park. I was one of the lucky few who accompanied the Zambian guiding legend Robin Pope on his fi rst safari back to Liuwa in 12 years. The great news for prospective visitors is that the return of Robin Pope Safaris to Liuwa means that an experienced and professional operator is once again offering regular safaris during both the peak migration season ( December) and prime bird- watching months ( May/ June). Liuwa is unique: a truly remote and spectacular wilderness that resembles a cross between Tanzania's Serengeti and Botswana's Okavango Delta. And, best of all, it is devoid of crowds: there will be no intrusions upon your once- in- a- lifetime safari experience - except perhaps a lonely lioness in need of a little company. When to visit: The park is at its driest during September and October, when wildebeest begin to mass on the plains. It is scenically most spectacular after the fi rst rains in November. Extensive fl ooding means it is closed to self- drive vehicles from 1 December- 15 July. Getting there: The recommended route leaves the tar road at Mongu to cross the Zambezi fl oodplain on a rutted dirt track to Kalabo ( the last 20km are tarred), where many sandy tracks wind north into the Park. This route closes during the wet season ( December to mid- June) when the Lului Pontoon moves downstream. Where to stay: Matamanene Camp is a tented, self- catering camp at the heart of Liuwa, with four permanent en suite safari tents. It is administered by APN and is the base camp for RPS. Overlanders and self- drive visitors can use four well- maintained community campsites, which have fresh- water wells, showers, toilets and fi replaces. Park fees: US$ 40.00 per person per day. Fuel and supplies: Jerry cans are essential. Most supplies and fuel must be purchased before departing Mongu, although some basic goods can be acquired in Kalabo. Nothing is available within the park. Health and safety: Liuwa Plain is a malaria area, so the usual precautions apply. Consult your doctor. Find out more: www. african- parks. org or www. robinpopesafaris. net ( follow the links for Liuwa Plain National Park). LIUWA LOW- DOWN N TZ Kalabo Zambezi River Luanginga River Luambimba River Matamanene Camp Main Entrance Gate LIUWA PLAIN NATIONAL PARK

Ever since Norman Carr set up his first safari camp in South Luangwa nearly 50 years ago, Zambia's guides have been building their reputation as among the very best in Africa. Highly trained, expert in the ways of the wild and passionate about their work, these guides introduce thousands of visitors every year to a different world. Anna Devereux Baker of Expert Africa investigates. 34 Travel Zambia May 2009 Guide lines