Few places in the world remain as wild as they were 150 years ago, when explorers like David Livingstone ventured into lands that were terra incognita. And while Africa, like the rest of the globe, has become familiar, portions of it are evocative of that earlier era when the bush teemed with animals and a sense of natureÂ’s immensity was palpable. That sense remains in Zambia. Nearly half the country is preserved in parks and game reserves, offering an unparalleled wilderness safari experience. Zambia, land of untamed rivers, thundering waterfalls and vast herds of game, is still for explorers.
Day 1: Lusaka, Zambia / Luangwa Valley
Arrive in Lusaka and fly to South Luangwa National Park, where you will meet your Expedition Leader, legendary Luangwa guide Phil Berry. Phil has been involved in conservation management in the Luangwa Valley for more than 30 years, and his knowledge and love of the bush and its wildlife is unsurpassed. Stay at his Kuyenda Bush Camp along the Manzi River. Just four huts, made of reeds, roots and thatch, belie the luxury of this intimate camp, where your every comfort is anticipated even in this most remote of settings.
Days 2-3: Kuyenda Bush Camp, Luangwa
Within one of AfricaÂ’s last tracts of primal wilderness, you are immersed in an evocative landscape of undulatÂing hills, seasonal floodplains, ebony forests and rushing rivers. The Edenic vistas are a backdrop for tremenÂdous concentrations of game, from massive elephants and Cape buffalo to agile antelope and the lions and leopards who prey upon them. The Luangwa Valley is the birthplace of the traditional walking safari, and to explore it on foot with an expert guide like Phil Berry, in the reassuring company of an armed guard, raises the sensory experience of the African wild to a level simply not attainable in a vehicle.
Days 4-5: Kapamba Bush Camp, Luangwa
You continue by road to the Kapamba Bush Camp, a superb location for walking and 4x4 safaris. The camp overlooks the Kapamba River, and your open-front chalets offer unimpeded private game viewing. The en-suite bathrooms, each with a sunken stone bath, are open, too, allowing for a soak while watching hippos splash. You will feel you have returned to an Africa of bygone days, especially at night when the flicker of paraffin lanterns illumines your retreat beneath a canopy of stars.
Day 6: Mfuwe Lodge, Luangwa
Mfuwe Lodge offers another angle on the diversity of Luangwa. Set beneath huge ebony and fig trees at the edge of a lagoon that draws thirsty wildlife, you even see the occasional elephant saunter up to the lounge. The lodge is surrounded by an excellent road system that allows for extensive game viewing by vehicle. Here, youÂ’ll take a night drive to hear the entrancing sounds of the African night and search for nocturnal predators.
Days 7-9: Kafue National Park
Fly to Kafue National Park, little visited and twice the size of YellowÂstone. You transfer by helicopter to Busanga Bush Camp on the Busanga Plains. This wide floodplain is a mecca for wildlife during the dry season, drawn to the pools left as the Lufupa River recedes. Kafue has ZambiaÂ’s greatest species diversity, with animals that are rare elsewhere in southern Africa, such as roan, LichtensteinÂ’s hartebeest, and the diminutive oribi. Herds of puku, lechwe, wildebeest and buffalo roam the plains, as well as wild dog and cheetah, and your camp offers some of the best lion viewing in Africa. Birdlife is spectacular, too, with 400 species in residence.
Day 10: Livingstone
After nearly another full day in the park, return by helicopter to Kafue airstrip for a late-afternoon flight to Livingstone. Enjoy a farewell dinner on the banks of the Zambezi with your Kafue guide.
Day 11: Victoria Falls / Home
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and arguably the most stupendous waterfall on the planet. Your remote exploration comes to a fitting end with a guided tour to the falls, followed by a transfer to the airport.