OverviewYour 9-day trip combines two of Zambia’s best and most exclusive wildlife areas with two nights at the legendary Victoria Falls, where a host of adrenaline activities are on offer.
Begin the journey at Shumba Camp on the Busanga Plains, where luxury and thrilling wildlife encounters go hand in hand to create a magical experience. Here you can enjoy day and night game drives in search of the legendary lion prides of Busanga, as well as soar over the plains in a hot-air balloon. Your next destination is Chiawa Camp, located on the Zambezi River deep within the Lower Zambezi National Park. In this incredibly scenic and diverse park you are able to enjoy day and night game drives, guided safari walks and take to the river on fishing and canoe expeditions. Finally, to round off your trip, spend two nights at Toka Leya Camp, on the bank of the Zambezi upstream from the famous Victoria Falls. Here a range of activities includes everything from golf, river cruises and game drives to white-water rafting and bungee jumping!
Perfect for adventurous families, wildlife enthusiasts or honeymooners alike, this is a Zambian journey that promises excellent wildlife, thrilling activities and luxurious camps, cuisine and service.
SummaryTour Duration: 9 DaysStart: LusakaEnd: LivingstoneDestinations Visited
Kafue National Park
Victoria Falls, Zambia
Lower Zambezi, Zambia
Kafue National Park, Zambia
InclusionsShared light aircraft flights as per the itinerarySelected park fees and entrance feesRoad transfers as per the itineraryHot air balloon activityExclusionsInternational flightsAirport taxesAll meals and drinks not specifiedTips and gratuitiesItems of a personal natureHighlightsExcellent big-game viewingSearch for the lion prides of BusangaDay & night game drivesGuided safari walks in search of rare roan antelopeHot-air ballooning & riverside massagesCanoeing & tiger fishing in the ZambeziAdrenalin activities at Victoria Falls, including bungee jumpingCombining three completely different environments, this luxury safari also offers a fantastic mixture of activities. In Kafue expect to see tree-climbing lions. Fishing in the Lower Zambezi is a nice change to game drives. If you want adventure and the opportunity to tick off some bucket list experiences, then Victoria Falls is definitely the place for you.Bonita CronjeAfrica Safari Expert
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Landing at the airstrip, your guide will take you on a game drive to Shumba Camp. Located in a grove of enormous fig trees, this intimate and elegant lodge overlooks the endless vista of the Busanga Plains, which is often dotted with various species of game. The stylish central building has a flowing open-plan design that incorporates a dining room, lounge and bar which spills out onto further lounge areas on the elevated decking, with a small plunge pool off to one side.
Your spacious and elegantly appointed suite is reached by an elevated wooden walkway from the main building. Built on a raised platform, you are able to enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding plains from the lounge on your private verandah. The interior boasts a living room area, a huge 4-poster bed romantically draped in mosquito netting and an en suite bathroom featuring both an indoor and an outdoor shower, perfect for hot afternoons or starry nights.
The Busanga are dotted with miombo woodland ‘islands’ and are seasonally inundated when the Lufupa River overflows during the rainy season, creating a huge floodplain delta system, crisscrossed with paths and channels created by hippos. When the plains dry out, they attract antelope in their hundreds that feed on the nutritious grasses left in the water’s wake. Huge herds of puku and red lechwe are found close to the water, while the rare roan antelope, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, zebra and buffalo can be spotted in the drier areas. These herds are closely watched and pursued by the legendary lion prides of the Busanga Plains, known as the ‘swamp cats’. The open grasslands are also the ideal hunting ground for cheetahs and the critically endangered African wild dog, both of which have a vital stronghold in this pristine region.
Driving through the golden light of the late afternoon, you will be enraptured by the sense of space and absolute freedom of this remote and untrammelled wilderness, where nature reigns supreme and you are but a transient observer of processes that have remained unchanged in millennia. Flocks of wattled and crowned cranes, like squadrons of aircraft flying in formation, hoot and call from the air as they pass over you, herds of buffalo on the move kick up dust clouds visible from miles away, elephant herds march across the plains like ships of the desert, and you might steal a glimpse of a leopard, deep in the shady boughs of a tree. The experience is something hard to quantify - coupled with the scents, sounds and scenery - the effect is almost like being a visitor at the dawn of time.Driving through the golden light of the late afternoon, you will be enraptured by the sense of space and absolute freedom of this remote and untrammelled wilderness, where nature reigns supreme and you are but a transient observer of processes that have remained unchanged in millennia. Flocks of wattled and crowned cranes, like squadrons of aircraft flying in formation, hoot and call from the air as they pass over you, herds of buffalo on the move kick up dust clouds visible from miles away, elephant herds march across the plains like ships of the desert, and you might steal a glimpse of a leopard, deep in the shady boughs of a tree. The experience is something hard to quantify - coupled with the scents, sounds and scenery - the effect is almost like being a visitor at the dawn of time.
One of the most incredible ways to take in this vast landscape and its tremendous scenery is to take to the air in a hot-air balloon. Drifting silently over the endless plains like a bird of prey, you have a perfect bird’s-eye view of huge herds grazing in the grasslands, the hippos in the water channels and you can look a soaring eagle in the eye! The experience is nothing short of breathtaking, leaving you with a huge sense of elation that lasts long after your feet have once again touched the ground.
In the early evening, once you have enjoyed your sundowner stop, your guide takes you on a night drive in search of the lesser-seen nocturnal animals as they emerge into the night. Using a spotlight, you are able to pick put the glowing eyes of the animals from a distance away, and the thrill of encountering smaller cats like serval and genets as they ripple like quicksilver through the undergrowth and trees is as exciting as discovering a leopard on the prowl.
Days 4-6: The Lower Zambezi | 3 DaysUp arrowLower Zambezi, ZambiaAfter a final morning’s activity and a delicious brunch, you bid Shumba farewell and return to the airstrip. Your plane to the Lower Zambezi climbs quickly into the cobalt sky, and the plains of Busanga disappear behind you as you fly over Zambia’s vast wilderness. Soon, the enormous Zambezi Valley opens out below you: edged by a towering escarpment, the river glistens in the sunlight, beset on either side by its wide floodplains and dense forests.
Landing at the airstrip, your new guide collects you for the game drive to Chiawa Camp.
Perfectly positioned in a grove of evergreen mahogany trees, the camp blends into its surroundings effortlessly. Built on raised timber decking, the flowing open space of the thatched main building leads out to the broad sweep of the river beyond, framed by tall trees and the cobalt arch of the sky. The building also boasts an upstairs viewing deck, perfect as a sundowner spot, and a secluded pool area with its own deck overlooking the flowing waters of the Zambezi.
Your canvas suite is large and roomy, built on a raised platform and with a double roof to ensure a cool airflow. The decking extends to an expansive outdoor verandah and lounge area, perfect for curling up to admire the splendid view. The interior is stylishly designed without being extravagant, and every convenience is on hand. The en suite bathroom features a huge claw-footed bathtub, as well as an indoor and outdoor shower.
Your activities here at Chiawa are varied and exciting, with a choice of game drives, guided walks, canoeing and boating to allow you total immersion in the Zambezi Valley experience. Located in the centre of prime wildlife habitat, the animals are never far away, and often tend to visit the camp itself! Game drives with extremely knowledgeable and experienced guides offer you an unprecedented insight into this fascinating ecosystem, where the diversity of topography, habitat and vegetation provide a wealth of biodiversity. Elephants and buffalo are usually never far from the water, and the sight of a herd arriving at the river to drink is always a scene to behold - the older generations keeping a close watch on the youngsters, often forming a protective phalanx around them to ward off the ever-present danger of an ambush by crocodiles or lions.
The dense woodlands support a great many herbivores, from kudu and impala to giraffe and zebra, and these are always followed by the large cats and hyenas. With the help of your guide’s eagle vision and years of experience, the flick of an ear or a tail suddenly reveals a supine leopard where once there was only a tangle of vegetation or a lion pride deep in the shade of a thicket.
As darkness falls, your guide switches on a red-filtered spotlight for your return journey to the camp. Flicking it deftly from side to side, he is able to pick up the glittering reflection of animals’ eyes from some distance away. This allows you the chance to find some of the incredible creatures that own the night, from genets and civets to the elusive Pel’s fishing owl, a great ginger bird that hunts fish under cover of darkness.
Safari walks with an armed guide and parks ranger are a speciality of Chiawa Camp and an experience that is not to be missed. Following game trails worn smooth by the endless passage of hooves, feet and paws, you have only the sounds of the wilderness around you, only the aromas and sights of your surroundings. This leads to an engagement of the senses that can be extraordinary in its intensity: vision becomes clearer, smells and sounds sharper, the earth below your feet more grounding.
You will learn the intimate secrets of the wilds - the information latent in a set of spoor, the life inside a termite mound, and the tribal uses of the plants around you, from medicine to fibre, food to poisons. This gives you a holistic insight to the functioning of the entire ecosystem, and the fragile balance that maintains a complex web of relationships.
Canoe trips afford you the opportunity to drift silently downstream with the current of the river as you observe the life that depends on it. From this unique perspective the sight of an elephant bull becomes all the more impressive as he meditatively slurps up water with his enormous trunk. The sheer size of the animal will leave an indelible impression on you. Add to this the welter of hippo, crocodiles sunning themselves on sandbanks and the absolute profusion of bird life, and this is an experience that you will never want to end!
Custom-made aluminium powerboats are a great way to explore the further reaches of this great river, as well as give you the opportunity to try your hand at some of the world’s most exciting sport fishing. The tigerfish is a well-known adversary among angling enthusiasts, and their spectacular aerial fighting display is more than enough to get the adrenaline flowing through your veins.
Days 7-8: Up the Zambezi | 2 DaysUp arrowVictoria Falls, ZambiaYou depart Chiawa after your morning activity and a final brunch on the terrace. Flying upstream to Livingstone, you follow the course of the Zambezi Valley and the vast Lake Kariba below you until the distant plume of spray from the Victoria Falls appears on the horizon.
Touching down at the airport, you are met by a representative for the short drive to Toka Leya Camp. This elegant safari lodge sits on the bank of the Zambezi in a grove of shady trees, offering panoramic views across the water and a network of small islands. Elevated wooden walkways radiate out from the central lounge, dining and bar area to the spacious and beautifully decorated suites that boast commanding views from their verandahs. An ideal place to relax and watch the world go by, you can sit and observe hippos jostling in the water, listening to the gurgling of the river as it slips quickly by, headed for Victoria Falls a few kilometres downstream. A late afternoon boat cruise is the ideal way to explore the river, look for wildlife coming to the water to drink and admire the scenery in the beautiful light of sunset, which paints the sky in a kaleidoscope of colours.
With a full day ahead of you to enjoy all that Victoria Falls and its environs have to offer, you are spoilt for choice. The highlight must be to visit the Falls themselves: where the Zambezi River plunges over a crack in the earth’s crust and boils into the narrow gorge below. Standing close to the edge, you feel a rumbling symphony of sound and spray wash over you in an awesome display of nature’s power. It is little wonder that these falls, one of the Natural Wonders of the world, are known to local tribes as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’- the spray is visible for miles around, and the noise can be heard from a considerable distance away.
Once you have fully experienced this phenomenal spectacle, a host of other activities are available, depending on your interests. Game drives in the national park reveal a myriad of species including white rhino, and the river affords some excellent sport fishing, or you can test your nerve and mettle with a bungee jump over the gorge or take to the water on a white water rafting trip!
After an action-packed day experiencing all the wonders of Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, Toka Leya is a delightful haven to return to: the expansive decks looking out over the water are a perfect place to relax and contemplate the glorious scenery or you may even choose a rejuvenating spa treatment at the waterside therapy rooms.
Day 9: Homeward bound | 1 DayUp arrowVictoria Falls, ZambiaAfter a last morning’s activity, the time finally comes to return to the airport at Livingstone for your journey home. You take with you the memories and photographs of an incredible journey through some of Zambia’s most pristine and protected wilderness areas- memories that will remain forever and compel you to one day return.
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Go2Africa