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Luangwa River Camp

Luangwa River Camp

The trials and tribulations of a young couple, Englishman Barry and South African-born Tara, were shown on the BBC TV program “No Going Back." The couple arrived in Zambia in 2001 with clear ideas and set about turning a dream location into a lodge fit for discerning guests. That lodge was built in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. This region marks the southern end of the Great Rift Valley and is one of the world’s last unspoiled wilderness areas, possibly the finest wildlife sanctuary in the whole of Africa.

South Luangwa is Africa at its best, and for many of us who have lived in Africa, have farmed its lands, and who remember less complicated days when men of all races lived in harmony with one another and with the animals, this is the Africa we remember.

Today Luangwa River Lodge is a perfect blend of the local and the international. It is a beautiful contemporary lodge set under shady trees on the banks of the Luangwa River. The lodge is run by a friendly and competent staff and is included in the portfolio of properties managed by Robin Pope Safaris.

The décor is clever, making the best of local materials in terms of texture, materials, and colors, combining them with attention to detail and luxurious finishes. Visitors are charmed by the use of palm stalks, indigenous timber, local thatch, and red earthen plaster. These combine to create a decidedly elegant but warm atmosphere. The lodge is elevated between from three to ten feet on wooden decks. An infinity swimming pool is sunk into the deck on two levels.

Accommodation is in five individually decorated en-suite bush suites, which have either a double bed or two twin beds. The bathrooms have hot and cold running water, twin sinks, shower, and huge sunken baths that are big enough for two. The suites have private decks with covered bomas leading into spectacular river and park views.

Meals at Luangwa River Camp are excellent without being gourmet. Breakfast and lunch are usually served as a buffet in the dining room before the morning activity. While out on activities, snacks and sundowner drinks are served, while a three-course dinner is served at a communal table in the late evening.

The game endemic to the area could fill many pages and include some specials: African civet, Cookson's wildebeest, Crawshay's zebra, eland, honey badger, large-spotted genet, and lesser red musk shrew. Add to that the more than 400 bird species in the park, and photo opportunities abound. Activities include bush walks, with South Luangwa being known as the African epicenter for big game walking safaris. And, of course, daily (and nightly!) game drives in 4x4 vehicles bring the wildlife up close.

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