Once the private home of Zambia's ex-president, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Chichele Presidential Lodge has undergone a full refurbishment and is considered to be one of the most luxurious options in the South Luangwa.
Perched on top of a hill with commanding views across to the Luangwa River, Chichele Presidential Lodge has a beautifully designed and open main area, with a refreshing pool to while away those hot Luangwa afternoons - from the pool the view stretches across to the Nchindeni Hills in the background, taking in some of the most beautiful plains of South Luangwa.
The lodge has just ten very spacious and air-conditioned suites which are dotted about the hill, with their characteristic green roofs; each enjoys splendid views across the park. This southern area of South Luangwa is known to be prolific with game; so expect great views of predators including leopard and lion, and some lovely elephant interaction - even from your own veranda!
The guiding here is superb, as it is across Zambia, and your activities include either bush walks accompanied by an armed scout, or day and night game drives deep into the Valley. In the evenings after a superb dinner under the stars, relax around the camp fire and exchange stories from the day.
The lodge features 10 Victorian style suites. They are elegantly decorated and have large French windows giving you fabulous views of the Luangwe valley and allowing lots of air and light into the room. The rooms have four poster beds, air-conditioning, lavish furnishings and a modern en-suite bathroom. On of the suites is interconnecting - a perfect solution if travelling with children.
Game viewing in the South Luangwa is considered to be some of the best in the world. From Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge, you can go on night game drives when it is possible to see all sorts of animals that are seldom seen by day - like leopard, hyena and bush baby. The early evening is the best possible time to see diurnal animals and a little later is the best time for nocturnal wildlife, so a game drive combined with sundowners gives you the best of both worlds.
During guided walking safaris you can become acquainted with some of the most intriguing signs of the bush, many of which are hard to come across when in a vehicle.
When to travel
Zambia has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the Emerald, or the rainy season, April to July is Zambia's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game-viewing, the dryer months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb bird-watching at the end of the rains.
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Location and directions
Luangwa Valley, Zambia
This historic hilltop lodge is found in Zambia's vast South Luangwa National Park. Home to probably the highest concentration of hippos in the world, as well as lions, leopards and elephants, South Luangwa is famous for its walking safaris.
How to get there
The nearest airport to Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge is at Mfuwe. You can fly into Mfuwe from Lusaka (1-hour), Livingstone (2-hour, via Lusaka), Zambezi Kulefu airstrip (1-hour 40-minute) and Jeki/Royal (1-hour 30-minute). The transfer time from Mfuwe airport to the lodge is approximately 2 hours in 4X4 vehicle (45-minute road transfer through village followed by 1-hour 15-minute gravel road transfer through the national park with game viewing possibilities).