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38 Travel Zambia May 2007 N kaniNkaniVakachaVakachaNkaniNkaniVakachaVakacha Best of birds and beasts For the first-time visitor or seasoned safari-goer, Zambia’s top three national parks offer an unbeatable wildlife experience. Days 1–4 South Luangwa National Park Spend four nights on the banks of the Luangwa River, two at a safari lodge and two at a bush camp. View wildlife, including elephant, buffalo, hippo, giraffe and lion, on drives, night drives and walks. Highlights include excellent leopard sightings and teeming carmine bee-eater colonies. Days 5–8 Lower Zambezi National Park Transfer to Lower Zambezi to explore the river and its backwaters, by game drives, on foot and by canoe. Highlights include large numbers of hippo, elephant and buffalo, plus all principal predators, including possible wild dogs. Rich birdlife and dramatic scenery. Days 9–12 Kafue National Park Transfer to Kafue for two nights in the southern sector and two in the north. Explore the varied habitats, from riverine forest to open plains, on game drives, guided walks and riverboat trips. Highlights include numerous antelope species and frequent predator sightings, notably cheetah. Birdlife is prolific. Days 13–14 Livingstone/Victoria Falls Transfer to Livingstone to visit Victoria Falls and relax beside the Zambezi after your safari. Zambia off the beaten track Leave the tourists behind at these lesser-known destinations, which cover a wide spectrum of nature and culture. Days 1–3 Kasanka National Park Explore the varied vegetation zones, from evergreen forest to papyrus swamps, in search of unusual wildlife. View shy sitatunga from a unique tree hide and meander the waterways by canoe, spotting a rich variety of birds. Days 4–6 Bangweulu Wetlands Transfer to the comfortable simplicity of Shoebill Island camp. Explore this vast wetland wilderness on foot, by boat and dugout, and – water levels permitting – on game drives. Wildlife highlights include abundant birdlife, notably shoebills, and huge herds of black lechwe. Days 7–9 Shiwa Ng’andu Relax in the colonial elegance of a grand English manor house and explore its fascinating history. Activities include game drives in search of unusual wildlife, superb bird watching, lake cruises, hill walks and nearby hot springs. Days 10–14 North Luangwa National Park North Luangwa offers the ultimate bush experience. There are only two camps in this remote wilderness, and with few roads, most exploring is done on foot. Track lion, elephant and buffalo in the company of expert guides. There are many ways in which to explore Zambia. Experienced tour operators will tailor-make a tour to suit your level of interest and experience. Here we recommend three possible two-week itineraries. Active Zambia For adrenalin thrills and a chance to stretch your legs, Zambia offers some more strenuous safari alternatives. Days 1–4 Zambezi canoe safari Follow the great river downstream on a four-night canoe trail from Chirundu to Lower Zambezi National Park. Pass pods of hippos and herds of game along the waterfront. Explore the islands on foot and camp beside the river. Days 5–9 Mountain biking on Nyika Plateau Transfer to Chelinda, at 2,200m on the Malawian side of Nyika National Park. Explore this rugged high-altitude wilderness on a three-night mountain bike trail, returning afterwards to the log-fire comfort of Chelinda Camp. Cycle past herds of game and stunning scenery, and discover unique flora and birdlife. Hiking trails and horse-riding also available. Days 10–14 Livingstone/Victoria Falls: adventure sports Transfer to Livingstone for five nights at the adventure sports capital of southern Africa. Choose from a wealth of adrenalin-fuelled activities, including white-water rafting, bungee-jumping, microlighting and quad biking. Or relax on river cruises and elephant-back game walks, and simply enjoy the spectacle of the Falls. Itineraries CHIAWA CAMP At Chiawa Camp on the Lower Zambezi, wildlife has right of way. Three reasons to safari in Zambia: 1. National parks allow night drives, walking and open vehicles. 2. Long training and rigorous exams mean top quality guides. 3. Small safari companies ensure a personalised experience.

May 2007 Travel Zambia 39 Nkani Vakacha Safaris for kids Wildlife Camp in South Luangwa now offers tailor-made safaris for children. Game drives, art and craft activities and mini identification courses are led by a qualified resident teacher. Activities are tailored to suit children of all ages. The camp cultivates a family atmosphere, with flexible meal times and special ‘picnic suppers’ for night drives. www.wildlifecamp-zambia.com New camps for Wilderness Safaris Wilderness Safaris is opening two new camps in the Luamfwa area of South Luangwa National Park. Kalamu Tented Camp and Chinengwe Bush Camp will each accommodate six guests and will host a variety of activities, including walking safaris. www.wilderness-safaris.com Sanctuary Lodges come to Zambia Sanctuary Lodges and Camps have taken over ownership of a new collection of camps and lodges in some of Zambia’s most outstanding wildlife areas. These are: Sussi and Chuma Camps, in Mosioa- Tunya NP above Victoria Falls; Lechwe Plains Tented Camp in Lochinvar NP; Kulefu Tented Camp in the Lower Zambezi NP; Puku Ridge Tented Camp and Chichele Presidential Lodge in South Luangwa NP. These camps will be closed for refurbishment for the remainder of 2007, with the exception of Sussi and Chuma, and will re-open in 2008. For further information about reservations email: zambiares@sanctuarylodges.com. Celebrity safari From 17–24 November the Bushcamp Company is hosting a special safari week at Mfuwe Lodge, South Luangwa, with well-known personalities joining guests to lead activities. These include Jonathan and Angela Scott, wildlife photographers and TV presenters; Jonathan Truss, wildlife artist; Phil Berry, world authority on giraffes; Derek Solomon, leading local ornithologist; and Manda Chisanga, safari guide and traditional plants specialist. Activities will include game drives, lectures and practical demonstrations. www.bushcampcompany.com Art Safaris Accomplished artist Mary-Anne Bartlett has tailor-made two of her popular art safaris for 2007. Art Safaris aim to enhance guests’ appreciation of the natural world, while developing their artistic skills and techniques in the field, and sharing ideas with fellow artists. Safaris for 2007 are as follows: 5–19 September, 15 days Malawi/Zambia (featuring Liwonde NP, South Luangwa NP and Dzalanyama Forest Reserve); 21–28 September and 1–8 October, 7 nights South Luangwa NP. Art Safaris follow responsible travel guidelines, supporting host communities and planting indigenous trees to offset carbon emissions. Artists of all standards and non-painting partners are welcome. www.artsafari.co.uk Bush camping Robin Pope is developing bush camping at the little-known Mushilashi Palmgrove in South Luangwa National Park. Dates for Bush Camping and Walking Mobile Safaris for both 2007 and 2008 are on the website. www.robinpopesafaris.net New menu Tongabezi Lodge, upstream from Victoria Falls, is introducing delicious new recipes that make use of local ingredients. These include mango cake, green chilli chicken and sweet potato laksa. www.tongabezi.com Test your new equipment and computer software before going on safari. My suggestion is to spend most of your money on lenses. A camera is really just a box. The better the lens the smaller the f-stop: an f2.8 lens is what you should be aiming for. Don’t forget a bean bag: you can save on weight by filling it with rice when you reach your destination. Bring a spare battery, plus plenty of memory cards and the ability to download and back them up. David Rogers is the author of three books on Zambia and leads digital safaris to South Luangwa. See his work at www.davidrogers.co.za Safari Photographer’s tips Safari guides start young at Wildlife Camp. JOHAN W. EIZENGA MIKE UNWIN MIKE UNWIN