ZAMBIA TOURISM NEWS
(Posted 31st May 2018)
After the re-opening of Kafunta on April 1st we went straight into bush camp mode. Ron & Anke took a scouting trip down, prompting the start of camp building in time for the May 25th opening date.
With one lodge and two camps, we keep ourselves busy!
Three Rivers Camp & Island Bush Camp now open!
Due to its ingenious design and a dedicated team of Malama Chiefdom staff, it didn’t take long for Three Rivers to acquire an excellent reputation.
For its second season, it will also see improved surroundings after the reviving rains erased the stigma of ground works.
Enjoy these videos of Three Rivers & Island
This year’s novelty at Island Bush Camp will be its waterhole, located behind the camp, where the local wildlife is expected to gather especially as the bush is already getting drier.
We’re looking forward to an exciting season at both camps.
Meanwhile at Kafunta River Lodge…
… it’s business as usual. We’ve been seeing lots of wildlife in and around camp already, with among others this sighting of wild dogs on a kill just on the way to the pontoon.
We’ve also seen multiple lions, including cubs, and the resident leopard.
But this particular sighting of a huge breeding herd of elephants was definitely the highlight of the past weeks. Anke and I were there to witness it first hand! It is really breathtaking to see so many ellies around camp.
The herd had many babies. It then scattered and split with half of the elephants proceeding to cross the little water channel in front of Kafunta.
Have a look at the video and see the cute babiestrying to get through the water and mud.
With more rainy spells and thunderstorms throughout April and May, magnificent skies gave us more splendid opportunities for stunning landscape photography. But secretly we are hoping that Sunday’s rains were the last of the season.
Incredible Victoria Falls – a Must-See!
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Victoria Falls, but have you actually been? If not , they have to be on your bucket list for your next safari in Zambia! Last April, I was lucky to visit the Falls at high level. Even though I’d seen the falls multiple times, the sight was just as jaw-dropping as ever. And … wet!
Of course who says April says full flood. If it’s not the best time to photograph the falls (unless you want to ruin your equipment), it is the best time to understand why they were named "Mosi-Oa-Tunya" or "The Smoke That Thunders".
If flying there, try to sit on the right hand-side of the plane, so when approaching the airstrip, you can really see the "smoke" formed by the incredible spray of the falling waters (as shown on photo above).
Now of course, the eternal debate is about "which is the best side" to see the falls from (Zimbabwean or Zambian), and to that I will answer – do both if you can! But what I love about the Zambian side is the nifty (and thrilling) narrow bridge we get to walk across and the fact that whether you are upstream or across the falls, this is the closest you can get to them (hence how wet it can become).
There are plenty of excellent accommodations in Livingstone, from budget backpackers to the most luxurious hotels. Your African specialist travel agent will know what to recommend you , but I’ve taken this opportunity to experience three options myself.
Waterberry Zambezi Lodge
This is definitely one of my favourite places, not too big and extremely quiet with absolutely stunning gardens. It is slightly further from the falls (a 30-minute drive at the most) but this means you will not hear any of the helicopters flying constantly over Livingstone. And you can enjoy exclusive sunset cruise without bumping into the "booze boats" found downstream.
Sindabezi Island (at Tongabezi)
Tongabezi is probably one of the most luxurious lodges in Livingstone, with a selection of chalets, suites and cottages exquisitely and individually decorated. But its hidden island, Sindabezi Island, offers unexpected quietness and privacy right in the middle of the Mighty Zambezi! It is a 15-min boat ride from the lodge, and it hides 5 beautiful open sided chalets. If you enjoy the remoteness and authenticity of a bush camp, this is where you want to be at the Falls!
Avani Victoria Falls Resort
Now if you have very limited time to spare for the Falls, and if you don’t mind the crowds, and the noise, then you have the option of staying at the Avani resort which is located right at the falls. Yes, RIGHT THERE! And the best perk is that the nightly rate includes unlimited access to the falls! Be warned though, it’s a busy place.
Oops … Sorry I realise I got carried away with this topic, but believe me, an escape to the falls is worth the add-on to your safari. Feel free to contact me for further information.
Meet our guest…
It never ceases to amaze me how many times some of our guests come back to visit. And when Gisela’s agent contacted me for a last minute booking, I knew I had found our first "interviewee" of the season!
Gisela stayed with us for 13 nights in April. She answered Wilson’s questions.
When did you take your first trip to Africa? And when was your first trip to South Luangwa? My first trip to Africa was in 1972, I visited East Africa(Kenya and Tanzania) when I was working for a tour operating company called International Travel Services as a purchase secretary, I had the privilege to travel to Africa with the journalists.
My first trip to South Luangwa was in 2010. Back home in Stuttgart, there is an organisation called Duma which collects money from club members for Zoo maintenance and I am a member of that club and it was in 2010 when they offered their members a trip to Zambia, particularly South Luangwa to watch game/wildlife and the destination was Kafunta, that was a chance for me to come and watch wildlife, I took the offer.
How many times have you been to Kafunta? I have been to Kafunta 9 times, including this 2018 April trip.
Why do you come back so often (every year) to South Luangwa in general and to Kafunta in particular? For me the atmosphere, kindness, politeness of staff, the comfort and set up of the rooms, perfect service and the beauty of the scenery of the lodge front is just unbeatable by any other
wildlife sanctuaries I have been, I have travelled to various African destinations with my husband but Kafunta has become my second, my African home.
The guide at Kafunta (Abel) has been outstanding, knowledgeable, well trained and polite and has now become a friend.
What do you enjoy the most on a safari vacation? Simply everything is amazing for me when I take a safari vacation, I relax, enjoy the peace and tranquillity, the bushy & natural environment and sounds. I call it wildlife music.
Nature has been my interest since childhood.
What is your favorite animal in South Luangwa, and why? All of them, I just love wildlife, every animal is my favourite according to its size, behaviour and habitat; the elephant’s size and reluctance, its way of living with well organised family set up.The giraffe’s elegance, beautiful eyes and spectacular movement.
Are there still African animals or birds you haven’t seen and hope to witness one day?Absolutely! I would like to see a honey badger, an aardvark and a bushpig. And a secretary bird.
What would be your advise to a guest coming on safari for the first time? Wow ! I would tell them a long story about my experience on safari in Africa and my enjoyable stay at Kafunta and that they should have an interest in wildlife to come on safari for the first time. First time visitors to Africa feel uncomfortable and unsafe to come to Africa
but I would assure them that the friendliness of staff in Africa and specifically Zambia is so amazing and every one of them has a heart to help the visitor and this is one thing that is unique with most Zambians. The qualified guides are so knowledgeable and take extra caution to guide every client in the bush for safety’s sake.
Anything else you would like to share? My trips to Africa and my stay at Kafunta have become part of my healthy life and I couldn’t do without them each year passing. If I had not discovered Kafunta I would have had a different and
regrettable life at home. Kafunta is always in my mind and keeps me healthy.
Lastly thanks to the Kafunta family for creating this friendly environment in the middle of the wilderness.
We certainly thank Gisela for being such a wonderful guest, we miss you already and hope to see you again soon!
I hope you also noticed Petra Kurth‘s beautiful photos. I will talk about Petra and feature her work at length in our next newsletter (running out of space here!)
Yep… here it is… but I’ll keep it short!
On this final note, I hope to find you all here next month for another exciting newsletter!