Three of our favourite places to stay in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park
Lower Zambezi National Park, founded in 1983, is one of the most remarkable wilderness areas in Southern Africa, and arguably, one of the continent’s most picturesque places. Home to an abundance of wildlife and more than 400 bird species, it is best known for its enormous elephant herds, hippo, leopard, buffalo and even wild dogs. As well as excellent game-viewing, it offers you a chance to explore the majestic Zambezi River by boat or canoe, and try your luck at hooking one of those famous tigerfish.
The Lower Zambezi’s excellent bush camps are some of the best in Zambia. Knowing their intricacies like we do means only we know which would suit you best. Here is a handful of our favourite places to stay in this extraordinary destination:
1 Anabezi Camp
This camp is a relatively new addition to the Lower Zambezi, opening in 2013. We love Anabezi because of its location. Of all the park’s lodges, Anabezi is the furthest east, with no neighbours on one side, meaning that you rarely see other people on game drives and have an even more exclusive experience.
It is a stunning area, surrounded by winter-thorn trees, and has magnificent views of the Zambezi River and the Mushika River floodplain, which both attract a huge variety of animals. In fact, the wildlife in this area was the best I encountered on my recent trip to Zambia. On one evening game drive, we enjoyed incredible sightings of a pride of lions, four porcupines and two leopards, one of which we saw hunt and kill and an Egyptian goose.
Anabezi has 12 tents that are decorated simply but with all you need, including a small plunge pool. Each one has spectacular vistas either over the Zambezi River or over a wide-open plain usually scattered with antelope, buffalo and zebra. The team is extremely welcoming and experienced; my guide on my visit, John, had been at Anabezi since it opened, which is always a good sign. Overall, we believe this camp is a very good option for our clients who would like to spot as many animals as possible but escape the crowds.
2 Sausage Tree Camp
After a complete rebuild in 2018, Sausage Tree has become our top choice for those who are looking for real comfort. The tents are huge, with a very fresh and light feel to them. They are full of character, with most of the objects being handpicked or designed especially for the camp – from old-school radios to towel stands made of upcycled pipes.
In your bush home, you will be able to pull back your glass sliding door and step out onto a deck with a private plunge pool – the perfect spot for watching elephants pass by and hippos wallowing in the Zambezi River below. In the main area, you will also find a 25m lap pool. You can rest assured that your muchinda, a private butler, will be on hand during your stay to make sure you have everything you need. Another great plus of this camp is that, on game drives, you will be given your own private vehicle.
The food here is also glorious. On my first day, I was presented with a two-page menu packed with all sorts of dishes – from pulled lamb and tzatziki wraps to fish and chips. Then, on the following day, I was treated to a surprise lunch set-up for us on a boat on the Zambezi River, which is something we love to arrange for our clients. What an experience! Although the price is high here, you get what you pay for at this amazing retreat.
3 The Chula Island Camp + The Kutali Camp
Staying at one of these fly camps, you feel as if you are sleeping under the stars, as the tent walls are made of mosquito-proof gauze. This incredible venture was created by two passionate and determined individuals, Luke Evans and Kyle Branch, who wished to share their passion for Zambia with others – at an affordable price.
The camps are not concerned with fancy gin bars and plunge pools, which is precisely why we love them. Instead, this is authentic safari at its purest, with bucket showers, no electricity and certainly no Wi-Fi – ideal for our clients who are looking to get back to the real essence of the African bush.
We recommend splitting your time between the two camps, so you can go on game drives, walks and water activities. Kyle is one of the best guides I have ever met, and he likes to get his guests away from the vehicle, so they can really discover the area. This is the most fantastic choice for those who want a truly raw wilderness experience in the Lower Zambezi.