Fish Eagle

Malawi & Zambia Luangwa Park Camping Safari

Tour Length13 days
Priced from pps $2808 R37937 £2135 2370 A$3564 C$3506 NZ$3996 Full pricing info
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Summary of this Exclusive Small Group Camping Safari

  • Max. Group Size 12 Travellers
  • Starts & ends in Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Accommodation Lodge
  • Transport Microbus / Game Viewing - Open 4x4
  • Wildlife Elephant, Exceptional Birding, Leopards, Lions & More
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Quick Itinerary Overview

This exciting Wild Camping Safari takes us to the isolated bushland region of untamed Zambia. Our adventure begins at South Luangwa where we embark on game drives in open safari vehicles. From there we escape to the privately owned Mutinondo Wilderness, to swim in crystal clear waters and explore.  

Moving on to Kasanka National Park, hosting a myriad of birdlife, diverse wildlife and beautiful flora, we experience some excellent game viewing on foot and by game vehicle. Then we uncover the secret of Bangweulu Wetlands, home to huge herds of black lechwe and a twitcher's paradise. 

Next, we head for North Luangwa National Park, one of Zambia's natural treasures. Get ready to experience authentic Africa in this remote and wildlife-rich wilderness, where few others go. Our last night is spent in the historic Lundazi Castle, a strange sight in the bushveld. On our final day we head back to Lilongwe where this Zambia Camping Safari ends.

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Itinerary for this Tour

DAY 1: Lilongwe, Malawi

We gather in Lilongwe, where you will be collected and transported to our comfortable lodge, for an overnight sojourn before departing on our exciting Wild Camping Safari.

The lodge offers modern amenities including digital satellite TV, air-conditioning, email facilities and international direct dialing facilities. We will meet in the early evening for a tour briefing, after which you are free to enjoy the rest of the evening at the lodge or out and about in the city. The rooms are en suite and the lodge features a well stocked bar and an a la carte menu with both African and International cuisine.

  • Our night in the lodge is on a Bed and Breakfast basis.

DAY 2 & 3: Luangwa Valley, Zambia

After breakfast and a quick stop at the local supermarket for last minute supplies, we embark on a five-hour drive into Zambia and Luangwa Valley. We make our way to a tented camp, Thornicroft Camp, which serves as our base for the next two days. We camp in twin-share domed, canvas tents set on platforms, with the use of shared ablutions. The campsite is located near a lagoon visited by birds and animals. Once we arrive there is time to take a dip in the camp swimming pool or to lounge on the riverbank in front of the main lodge building.

On day three it's up early to embark on our first game drive in a comfortable safari vehicle. This is a good time for sighting many animals as they are most active in the cool, early morning hours. South Luangwa National Park is a haven for wildlife and our knowledgeable guides willingly impart their knowledge to enhance your game viewing experience. The Luangwa River is the lifeblood of this Park and supports a huge variety of wildlife and birds.

After our first game drive we return to camp for a hearty brunch. Then there is time to relax and have a swim before leaving on our late afternoon game drive. By sunset the day has become much cooler and the nocturnal animals begin to stir. With the aid of a powerful spotlight we search for hyenas, owls, leopards and lions, before returning to camp for a tasty dinner.

  • All meals are provided.
  • Note: own towels required.

DAY 4: Mutinondo Wilderness, Zambia

Today we leave Thornicroft behind and head out through South Luangwa National Park. This journey takes us through Miombo Woodland, endemic to central and southern Africa, which supports many animals such as large herds of elephant, antelope, giraffe and lions, as well as providing work and shelter for many people.

This area is quite remote and it's unlikely that we will see any other vehicles on this route, which is an adventure in itself. We are quite flexible on this part of the tour and although our goal is to reach Mutinondo, the state of the road may make this impossible, in which case we dry camp and are completely self-sufficient. Mutinondo Wilderness is 10 000 hectares of privately owned land which includes unspoiled Miombo Woodland, granite hills, scenic waterfalls, glades and crystal clear rivers for swimming - rivers so pure that the water is suitable to drink.

The campsite at Mutinondo offers spectacular views as well as welcome hot showers and pit latrines. We can now relax and reflect on our memorable day, whilst the camp cook prepares a delicious dinner.

  • All meals are provided.

DAY 5 & 6: Kasanka, Zambia

We spend a few hours this morning exploring Mutinondo Wilderness on foot, before we break camp and set out for Zambia's first privately managed National Park, Kasanka.

This conservation area is entirely dependent on its tourism revenues and donations. The flora and fauna is extremely diverse and the park is home to many endangered species and magnificent birdlife. There are 9 lakes in the park and a network of rivers and streams. All the rivers feed the Luapula River, the only drainage outlet for the Bangweulu basin, and a major tributary of the Congo River. Kasanka has a variety of habitats which includes Miombo Woodland, Evergreen Forests, Dambos which support grasses that are important grazing areas for many mammals and papyrus swamps which attract the shy Sitatunga.

Kasanka is famous for the straw coloured fruit bats that start arriving in October, peaking in November. This is believed to be one of the greatest mammal migrations known to man. The migration coincides with the start of the rainy season and there are numerous fruits for the bats to feed on. This invasion of bats brings other predators to the area such as Martial eagles, fish eagles, lesser-spotted and African hawk-eagles, kites, vultures and hobby falcons and if any bats are unfortunate enough to fall to the ground, there are always crocodiles and leopards waiting for these easy pickings.

On day six we get to explore this fascinating park in our game viewing vehicle with large windows and a pop-up roof. Our afternoon game drive takes us to a hide overlooking the lake, where we enjoy sundowners.

Our camp here is quite basic with simple toilets, showers and shelter, but there is help with water and our camp cook is on hand to keep us well fed.

  • All meals are provided.

DAY 7 & 8: Bangweulu, Zambia

We need to make an early start today on our journey to Bangweulu, meaning 'where the water meets the sky'.

Interestingly we pass the tree where David Livingstone was reputed to have died and where is heart is buried, his body being buried in England. Our journey north is both interesting and varied and our destination is an unspoilt, remote well kept secret, a paradise for enthusiastic bird watchers, but there is no shortage of other wildlife, if birds are not your thing. There are large herds of black lechwe which are only found in the Bangweulu Swamps, as well as elephant, buffalo, tsessebe, reedbuck, Burchell's zebra, oribi and sitatunga. For the serious bird watchers there is a feast of water fowl including the elusive shoebill stork.

Day eight is spent exploring this amazing wetland area. We take a walk to find nesting shoebill storks, possibly driving or canoeing to reach the nesting sites, depending on where the storks are to be found. In the afternoon you can take an optional game drive, walk or canoe trip (at extra cost).

  • We make camp here for two nights and all meals are provided.

DAY 9: Mpika, Zambia

Today we make our way to Mpika, driving east towards the Great North Road. We arrive at our lodge in the mid-afternoon, settle in and head into town to stock up on supplies. In the evening we have a meal together at one of the local restaurants and then you can enjoy the nightlife if you like.

  • We stay in chalets overnight and all meals are provided.

DAY 10 & 11: North Luangwa National Park, Zambia

First we top up on fresh produce and then our journey takes us to Zambia's most remote and enchanting park - North Luangwa National Park.

We are privileged to witness Africa at its best - wild and unspoilt. As this park only recently opened to the public it is unlikely that you will see anyone else during your visit. There are few roads and no permanent lodges in this untamed environment.

Massive herds of buffalo reside in this park and to see a herd on the run, kicking up clouds of dust, is an unforgettable sight. Three more of the Big Five are also found here - lion, leopard and elephant. Large lion prides roam the park, so keep a look-out for dramatic kills and wildlife action. The elephant population is being re-established and the elusive leopard is occasionally spotted. Numerous antelope species are commonly sighted, with resident species including eland, hartebeest, bushbuck, reedbuck and the rare puku. Wildebeest, zebras, hyenas, baboons and vervet monkeys are also part of the wildlife spectacle in North Luangwa, along with comical looking warthogs.

On the morning of day 11 we embark on a thrilling game walk with our professional guide and experienced scouts. Their knowledge will give you an insight into Africa at its wildest and make for an unforgettable experience. Back at camp there is time to rest before we set off on an afternoon game walk. Exploring on foot, we get a close look at the bush and its fascinating inhabitants - big and small. Our walk ends with sundowners in the wilderness and then we take a night game drive back to camp, keeping our eyes open for nocturnal animals.

On our return we gather round the campfire under a canopy of stars and the silence of the bush, to relive our adventure-filled day. Buffalo Camp opens in June for a short season, closing at the end of October. This seasonal camp is rebuilt each year, complete with comfortable, en suite chalets.

  • All meals are provided.

DAY 12: Lundazi Castle, Zambia

Today we drive through North Luangwa, looking out for game as we make our way out of the eastern side of the park. Leaving the wildlife haven behind we cross the Luangwa River on a pontoon or by car (if water levels are low enough).

Then we continue through rural villages until we reach Lundazi, near the Malawi border. Here we come across the incongruous sight of a Norman-style castle, complete with turrets and battlements. Lundazi Castle was built in 1948 by district commissioner Errol Button, who is reputed to have sketched the design of the castle himself and built his dream project for a mere £500.

We have dinner and spend the night at Stones Hotel.

  • Breakfast and dinner are provided.

Day 13: Lilongwe, Malawi

After a leisurely breakfast we leave Zambia behind, heading back to Lilongwe, where our exciting adventure comes to an end.

Reaching Lilongwe, we have lunch at our safari headquarters, where you can collect any stored luggage. A free airport drop-off is included, bringing this unique Zambian safari to a close.

Note: If you have time available an add-on trip to Lake Malawi comes highly recommended and can be arranged.

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+Where does the tour go to?
+Included in the Tour Price
  • Accommodation
  • Services of guide and cook
  • Transport and taxes
  • Meals as per itinerary
  • Activities as indicated
  • Camping equipment
+Not Included in the Tour Price
  • Visas and flights
  • Drinks and bottled water
  • Optional activities
  • Gratuities and personal items
  • Sleeping bag (can be hired)
+Departure Dates

Scheduled Tour Departures
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