A Rising Tide: Extraordinary Zambia

As Zambia continues to rise swiftly to prominence in the African safari scene, boasting some stunning beautiful and game-filled safari destinations, one group of lodges keeps emerging as a centre of consistent excellence across their portfolio of camps.

Time & Tide’s conservation heritage dates back to 1950, when Norman Carr set up Zambia’s first game viewing camp in cooperation with Paramount Chief Nsefu of the Kunda Tribes.
Today, the company maintains his legacy, working with local communities to protect and share rare and unique places in all their natural beauty.
Aside from Miavana – a simply mind-blowing destination on Madagascar, which we will be featuring soon – Time & Tide’s lodges are essentially focused in Zambia, and more specifically in three areas; the Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa and Liuwa Plains National Parks.

With a broad spectrum of destinations on offer, there are too many to fit into one short post, so we thought we’d give a brief summary of each area with their T&T options, and go into a bit more detail at a later date.

South Luangwa

Very few places in Africa can offer the unique combination of South Luangwa National Park’s open, grassy plains and mature, mesmerizing woodlands, crowned with the pristine, impressive Luangwa River. This area’s reputation for abundant wildlife and unspoiled vegetation is well earned, so whether driving around or walking through, the intense beauty calls to you from every corner.

South Luangwa National Park is the highlight of eastern Zambia. Known to locals as simply ‘the South Park,’ it was initially founded as the Luangwa Game Park in 1904, and converted to one of three game reserves in 1938. The impressive park covers an area of about 9050 square kilometers of the Luangwa Valley floor, and lies anywhere from 500 meter to 800 meter above sea level. With its western and northwestern edge bounded by the Muchinga Escarpment, and the southern border lined with the meandering Luangwa River, there’s no shortage of dramatic and fascinating topography in this stunning game-rich park.

Time & Tide boast 5 different camps in the South Luangwa National Park: Chinzombo, Mchenja, Kakuli, Nsolo and Luwi.

The latter two are more centrally located in the park, carefully secreted along the ephemeral Luwi River system – a hotbed of elephant activity, particularly in the dry season.
Mchenja, Kakuli and Chinzombo all front onto the Luangwa River itself, and the night air is filled with the sounds of hippo grunts as a result.

South Luangwa boasts one of the densest leopard populations in Africa. Its wild dog population is particularly healthy, and epecially in winter, when animals congregate around the remaining water sources, game viewing is almost unrivalled on the continent.

This is truly a special corner of this ancient land in which to safari

Lower Zambezi:

While this park is developing rapidly and gaining in popularity as the game bounces back, its beauty still lies in its unchanged wilderness state. The diversity of animals may not be quite as wide as the other big parks (there are famously no giraffes as the hilly terrain that protects the Zambezi River doesn’t suit them) but the opportunities to get close to game wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are spectacular. It lies opposite the famous Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, so the whole area on both sides of the Zambezi River is a massive wildlife sanctuary.

The river’s edge is overhung with a thick riverine fringe, including ebony and fig trees. Further inland is a floodplain fringed with mopane forest and interspersed with winterthorn trees and huge acacias. The rolling hills, which form the backdrop to the park, are covered in broadleaf woodland.

Even though the Lower Zambezi National Park covers an area of 4 092km² / 2 542mi², most of the game is concentrated along the valley floor. There is an escarpment along the northern end that acts as a physical barrier to most of the park’s animal species. Enormous herds of elephant, some up to a hundred strong, are often seen at the river’s edge. ‘Island hopping’ buffalo and waterbuck are common. The park also hosts good populations of lion and leopard, and listen too for the ubiquitous cry of the fish eagle.

Despite its size, this section of the Zambezi is considered fairly calm and predictable, unlike the mercurial Luangwa River. For this reason, seasonal fishing, boating and canoeing are popular activities, especially guided kayaking through the channels. Look out for shy elephant along the way and magnificent flourishes of scarlet carmine bee-eaters at work on their nests in the riverbanks.

Tims & Tides lodges consist of Chongwe Camp (the main camp of eight suites), Chongwe House (a two-storey, four-bedroom, four-bathroom private house which operates exclusively), and the Cassia and Albida suites – perfect for honeymooners and couples.
All are located on the Chongwe River which forms the park’s western boundary.
Game Drives and boat cruises make up the mainstay of the wildlife viewing activities, but simply spending time at the lodge is almost guaranteed to give you your fill of wildlife – in particular elephants.

Liuwa Plains:

Liuwa Plain in western Zambia has one of the longest conservation histories in Africa, dating back to the late 19th century when the King of Barotseland appointed his people as the custodians of the reserve.

In 2008, African Parks began a series of lion reintroductions. Over a similar period, eland and buffalo were reintroduced to the park and plains game began to increase, providing a healthy prey base for the predators: lion, cheetah and hyaena.

Today, with over 10,000 people legally living within the park, Liuwa is a prime example of how people and wildlife can coexist and benefit in a shared landscape. Helping protect the land for the benefit of local people to continue accessing its natural resources sustainably is enhanced through ongoing community engagement and integration. In addition, communities are supported through socio-economic initiatives, employment and tourism revenue that is generated as Liuwa becomes a major tourist attraction. Now that the landscape is once again a source of stability and abundance, the people of Liuwa have renewed their commitment and sense of custodianship to their land.

Time + Tide King Lewanika is the only permanent camp in Liuwa Plain National Park, its six open-front luxury safari tents (including a two-bedroom, two-bathroom luxury family tent) are the essence of pure and simple luxury. Built using local techniques and sustainable materials, they run on solar power and are furnished using vintage leather, cotton and canvas—a nod to old-world safari days. Designed to completely immerse you in the vast landscape, each has an indoor and outdoor shower, a comfortable lounge and a verandah, all with stunning views over the plains.

We will be showcasing a bit more of the various camps in more detail over the next few months, but in the meantime, if you would like more information on rates and availability, and which camp would be best suited to your needs, get in touch through info@iconicafrica.com, and let’s start planning your Zambian Safari…

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