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False May 2008 Travel Zambia 45 outdoor activities, from horse- riding and fishing to nature walks round the estate. Alternatively, family history enthusiasts can explore Shiwa’s fascinating archives, collated by Jo, and get lost in the story of the house and its surroundings. Flexibility is the watchword with all five houses. Each can play host to a large family, where treats might include nature walks, visits to local schools and villages, elephant dung paper- making, and fishing lessons or face painting. Alternatively the house offers perfect seclusion for a honeymoon couple wanting privacy and moonlit dinners under the stars. Nothing is dictated: whether guests want to have a lie- in then a big fry- up by the pool, or prefer to leave at the crack of dawn for an all- day drive in search of wild dogs, the entire trip can be tailored to their every whim. ‘ Returning at the end of a busy safari day is like coming home,’ reads one comment in the guest book at Robin’s House. And you can see why: the fire is lit, the dinner is in the oven, and cold drinks are served on the deck under the stars. Dinner is a lively family affair, as the day’s adventures are relived. But later on, when just a faint glow from the spirit lanterns remains, the laughing of the hippos and the soft ‘ prrp’ of the Scops owl is all that breaks the silence. Expert Africa can put together a de luxe family safari that takes in three of the houses described here. The ten- night package, dubbed the ‘ Bushbaby Safari’, includes three nights at Shiwa Ngandu, four nights at Luanwga Safari House and three nights at Chongwe River Safari House and costs from £ 4200 per person all- inclusive – including international flights. Find out more at www. expertafrica. com Bushbaby safari Lodge life SAFARI HOUSE LOCATIONS 4 2 3 1 5 1 Robin’s House 2 Luangwa Safari House 3 Chongwe River Safari House 4 Tangala House 5 Shiwa N’gandu Top left: Lamplight and moonlight at Robin’s House ROBIN POPE SAFARIS Top right: Exploring the bush ROBIN POPE SAFARIS Bottom left: A pool with a view at Luangwa Safari House ROBIN POPE SAFARIS Bottom right: Glorious seclusion at Tangala House TONGABEZI

False Zambia’s choice of attractions can seem overwhelming to the prospective visitor. How do you organise them: by big game adventure or bird- watching bonanza, by stunning location or fascinating culture, by adrenalin surge or blissful relaxation? Travel Zambia tried an alphabetical approach. Vakacha Around Zambia · know your National Parks · safari news · travel latest · a helping hand Around Zambia A– Z 46 Travel Zambia May 2008 F I J K M O P U VW OWLS The mechanical chirp of a scops, the whistled crescendo of a pearl- spotted, the low grunting of a giant eagle: these are the voices of Zambia’s owls, the quintessential sounds of a night in the African bush. MOPANE WORM This fat, succulent caterpllar is the larva of the emperor moth Imbrasia belina. In regions where the mopane tree predominates it forms a staple ingredient of traditional dishes. NYIKA PLATEAU This rugged upland on the border with Malawi is a botanist’s paradise, festooned during the rains with over 200 different species of orchid. Look out for roan antelope, and rare birds such as the elusive blue swallow. LUANGWA VALLEY Lush woodlands and fertile grazing support a pageant of game, making this valley one of the world’s greatest wildlife destinations. With some of Africa’s top lodges and guides, a special safari experience is guaranteed. AFRICA HOUSE In the last decades of the British Empire ??????????? the Edwardian Stewart Gore- Brown built this????????????????????????????? ??????????????????? sprawling country estate in the middle of the African bush, naming it Shiwa Ng’andu after a local lake. BANGWEULU WETLANDS Zambia’s answer to the Okavango Delta, where huge herds of lechwe splash through the shallows and the elusive shoebill lurks on hidden islands. COPPER Mined in the Copperbelt and exported all over the world, this malleable metal has been integral to the story of modern Zambia. DUNG BEETLE Watch the astonishing strength of this tank- like insect as it rolls away balls of dung thirty times its own weight. Without it, the African bush would be drowning in the brown stuff. ELEPHANTS Whether swimming across the Zambezi or trooping through the dusty woodlands of the Luangwa Valley, these immense animals define the landscape wherever they wander. Just remember: jumbos have right of way. FISH EAGLE Zambia’s national bird is emblematic of the great rivers of Africa. You needn’t be a twitcher to enjoy its evocative call and spectacular dive. GIRAFFE Zambia has its own unique race of the world’s tallest animal: Thornicroft’s giraffe ??????????? , distinguished by its pattern of leaf- shaped spots, is found only in the Luangwa Valley. HIPPOPOTAMUS Aquatic slumberer or nocturnal nomad? Cheerful grin or toothy menace? The hippo is surely Africa’s biggest, fattest paradox – and Zambia’s rivers are heaving with them. IMPALA ‘ Oh, it’s just another impala,’ comes the disappointed refrain. But look closer at this abundant antelope, whose elegance, athleticism and versatility make it one of Africa’s most impressive animals. JACANA A bird that can walk on water? Not quite, perhaps. But watch its progress across a raft of floating vegetation and you, too, might think it has divine powers. KU- OMBOKA This colourful festival celebrates the annual ‘ moving home’ of the Lozi people from the flooded Zambezi floodplain eastwards onto higher ground. When the fleet reaches its destination, the feasting and celebrations begin. ROBIN POPE SAFARISBUSHCAMPS COMPANYZNTB MIKE UNWIN ZNTBZNTB Liuwa Plain NP Sioma Ngwezi NP West Lunga NP Kafue NP Mwinilunga Solwezi Limulunga Mongu Kaoma Livingstone Kazungula Victoria Falls Zambezi River Kafue River