The Zambezi is one of Africa’s largest and most iconic rivers.
Originating in the highlands of Zambia, it sweeps out to the west into Angola, then back south through Zambia before forming the border between Namibia as it turns to the east, then the border with Zimbabwe, and eventually crossing into Mozambique where it continues its path to the Indian Ocean.
Wildlife is to be found all along its almost 3000km length, but one section in particular is a verdant paradise; the 150km downstream from the Chirundu border post between Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is part of the Lower Zambezi Valley, and it is here that you will find some of the most spectacular wildlife viewing in one of the most spectacular areas in Africa.
It is here that you find Lolebezi Camp, in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.
Lolebezi is the latest offering in the African Bush Camps portfolio, and is one of the most special. An exclusive kilometre of Zambezi River frontage has guests waking up to one of the continent’s great waterways within a few metres of the deck of their rooms, more often than not with an elephant or two in attendance, and at the very least the local pod of hippos. The river teems with life here, especially in the dry season (July – October), when the inland pans evaporate and animals have to flock to the riverbank to drink.
Elephant herds congregate under the Ana trees to eat the fallen pods, impalas and baboons feed together, both acting as sentries for each other, and where there is a multitude of herbivores, the predators are never far away.
Leopards and lions abound here, and the openness in of the area towards the end of the dry season in particular makes the sightings of these big cats more common.
Large packs of the endangered African Wild Dog have made their home in the park, one of the few areas that provides the space that these enigmatic animals require to operate effectively in the huge home ranges they need, whilst simultaneously allowing for a large enough population to establish itself that ensures healthy genetic flow.
The camp itself is paradise.
Sunsets like no other as the sky and the river itself are bathed in golden, red and purple hues. Fish eagles calling from the trees above and the chatter of monkeys from the tree tops serves as constant reminders that you are not separated from nature here; you are immersed in it.
The contemporary design of Lolebezi seamlessly blends modest elegance with a simplicity that can only be found in the African bush. Designed for both family and romantic escapes, Lolebezi has four superior suites and two double family units. The lodge is fully airconditioned, with a private plunge pool and thatched Sala on the river.
The eco-conscious traveller should look no further, as the camp is powered by an off-the-grid solar farm, and the water supply and wastewater are managed to ensure that no pollution enters the river. Everything is done to minimise the human footprint on the land.
Lolebezi is a family friendly lodge, welcoming children of all ages (with the restriction of children over the age of 16 being able to join walking safaris and canoeing).
The small number of suites assures an intimate experience, whether you are travelling as a couple or in a slightly larger group.
The main dining area of Lolebezi is designed out of old railway sleepers, harking back to the long-forgotten days of exploration and giving it a distinctly adventurous atmosphere. The all-day café and pizza bar ensure that you won’t be going hungry whilst on safari here. If you’d rather opt for a more secluded dining experience, you can eat in your own dining room or take advantage of the river-pods for picnics.
Lolebezi is truly a special place. The combination of its immersion in one of Africa’s greatest wildlife areas as well as its superb accommodation and attention to detail make it one of the best offerings in the region.
A short flight from Lusaka (Zambia’s capital) will set you down at the airstrip just two kilometres from camp, and only a short game drive down the road you will be on the banks of the Zambezi, sipping a G&T while taking in the river and its accompanying escarpment in all their glory.
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