|Zambia Travel Report – South Luangwa National Park
Andrew Muswala of Travel and Leisure Zambia shares with us his most recent travel report, covering some of Zambia’s most incredible spots & lodges in South Luangwa National Park
Tafika Camp Sunset
I have been privileged to begin my nine-day solo safari adventure in South Luangwa National Park. The park is Zambia’s premier national park and one of the best parks in Africa with a dense population of leopards and lions hence called ‘the valley of leopards’. My purpose of this adventure was to check on how prepared lodges and camps are to welcome international and local tourists, and it’s good to see that all are ready to welcome guests with all health and safety measures put in place.
I stayed at three different lodges which all cater to different price ranges and offer varying setups.
After arriving in Mfuwe around mid-morning I went straight to Chikunto Lodge which is located inside South Luangwa National Park, about two hours’ drive from Mfuwe International airport. Once we entered the national park there were a lot of interesting animals we saw on the way to the lodge such as baboons playing at the bridge, hippos resting on the banks of lagoons, and waterbuck just to mention but a few.
Chikunto Safaris Lookout
The lodge hosts a maximum of twelve guests in four luxury tents and one luxury family tent – all with Luangwa River frontage. One thing I have always loved here is the food, which I would say is some of the best in the valley and every guest who has stayed at Chikunto Lodge always gives them great compliments.
Chikunto Safaris Luxury Tent
Some animals that I saw on game drives whilst staying here include leopard, hyena, lots of hippos, buffalo, crowned cranes, zebra. We had one of the best sunrise experiences here which was absolutely magical.
Chikunto Safaris Cuisine
Croc Valley Lodge
Croc Valley Lodge was my next stop for five nights. The lodge is situated a few meters from the main gate of South Luangwa National Park in the game management area, it is one of the best budget travel lodges in Mfuwe.
Croc Valley Lodge Giraffe Sighting
Croc Valley Lodge
The lodge offers accommodation for all price brackets, with different types of options to suit your budget, ranging from air-conditioned safari tents right close to the edge of the Luangwa river, to chalets, eco tents, backpacker rooms and camping along the river bank.
Croc Valley Lodge Swimming Pool
A very well stocked and famous Croc Valley Bar is one of the things to look out for as it is not only open to lodge guests but also walk-in customers.
Croc Valley Lodge Bar
An armchair safari is one of the very usual things you will experience at the lodge, as elephants do wander around the lodge during the day, with nighttime bringing baboons, hippos and, recently, a pride of lions. The bar and swimming pool area have a stunning view of the Luangwa River.
Croc Valley Lodge Tent
From Croc Valley Lodge I then moved to Tafika Camp for my last two nights. The camp is situated on the banks of the Luangwa River, so it has a beautiful outlook of the water. I was privileged to have the whole camp to myself during my two-night stay, opened in 1995 by Remote Africa Safaris and remains their flagship bush camp. Remote Africa safaris has five bush camps, with Tafika being the main camp.
Tafika Camp Double Twin Chalet
The camp is situated in the northern part of South Luangwa National Park, which is a fairly remote area – a very important aspect when it comes to game drives, as you rarely come across other safari vehicles. It’s like having a section of the park all to yourself.
At Tafika camp there are six chalets; four of which are standard with twin doubles, one honeymoon chalet and one family chalet. Each chalet has an outdoor seating area and view of the river, there are hot and cold-water showers throughout the day and night, with water sourced from a borehole, safe for drinking.
Afternoon Tea at Tafika Camp
Game drives are very productive at Tafika Camp; on my first game drive, my guide Lloyd Mwale and I left camp at about 06:20hrs, it was a game drive full of different types of birds. I recommend every avid birder to consider staying at Tafika Camp for a fantastic birdwatching game drive. The area has also got different prides of lion, and leopards are prominent in the area.
After two nights stay at Tafika camp, it was time for me to return home.
Photography: Safari Magazine, Remote Africa Safaris