Louisa, one of our Africa Consultants, recently returned to Zambia and Malawi to discover the perfect family safari itinerary.
On my recent trip to Zambia I was reminded what a fantastic safari destination this country is – starting in the majestic Victoria Falls, offering adrenaline-filled activities from bungy jumping to gorge swings and white-water rafting, to helicopter rides and even a visit to an island perched on the lip of the falls themselves! Or consider the Lower Zambezi where you have the opportunity to explore the national park by foot and on day and night game drives, or take to the Zambezi river by motor boat or canoe – this is an exhilarating way to see wildlife, paddling around pods of hippo and watching huge crocodiles slither from the banks of the river into the murky water – here you can try your hand at fishing for tiger fish as well.
For a family we think that one of the most perfect places to explore the Lower Zambezi National Park, is from Chongwe River House, set on the Chongwe Channel, a tributary of the main Zambezi. The house is fantastically quirky in design and feels like Fred Flintstone should live there. The staff are very geared up to having families to stay so each day can be fully tailor-made; while some of the party may wish to take a boat cruise, others can take a game drive or a bush walk – or just relax in the house’s beautiful surroundings and game view from the deck!
South Luangwa National Park is the jewel in Zambia’s crown – here the wonderful Luangwa Safari House is the perfect base for families on safari. The house is set back from the Luangwa River and overlooks a flood dambo; here we spent the afternoon relaxing in the pool and watching the incredible wildlife that could be spotted from the deck. Like Chongwe the days are yours to plan – and with the services of a private guide and chef, the whole day can be arranged to fit round you. Perhaps head out early to seek leopard and lion as they start their day, or spend the morning watching a herd of elephant feeding; whatever you decide, your guide will be on hand to bring the African bush alive.
We believe one of the best ways to finish a Zambian safari is to head across the border to Malawi and relax on the beach at Kaya Mawa – situated on the tiny Likoma Island in a remote corner of Lake Malawi. Not only are the connecting flights very easy, but nothing can beat flying over Lake Malawi and then low over the fishing villages to land on the airstrip. I first came to the island nine years ago and fell in love with Likoma and Kaya Mawa so I was a little apprehensive about returning in case it didn’t live up to my expectations…but my fears were groundless. When Kaya Mawa was refurbished about 4 years ago they managed to extend the magic and rustic charm further. All the cottages are unique, light and airy with billowing curtains. There is now a stunning main area on the beach packed with lots of sofas and places to relax; it is only a few steps walk to swim in the lake’s warm waters. I loved being able to explore the coves of the island by canoe, dive round the island and spot the freshwater cichlids (tiny, brightly coloured fish endemic to the lake) – and then soak up the authentic hustle and bustle of the local fishing village as we walked to the vast Cathedral in the main town, seemingly so out of place on this tiny remote island. Likoma island has a very special feel – nothing manufactured, nothing contrived, just a simple little African island with glorious beaches and a very warm heart.
For more information, please call one of our Africa Consultants on 0203 603 3555 or visit scottdunn.com