Category Archives: Zambia

How your dream holiday helps fulfil the dreams of Zambian children and their familes

For over 20 years the charity Project Luangwa has been raising funds through the generosity of the local lodges, and tourists that visit the area to build a brighter future for the children and the communities of the remote Nsefu area of South Luangwa, Zambia.

When you visit Luangwa you get to see the wealth of wildlife and the beauty of the landscape.  Your journey from Mfuwe airport out to the lodges gives you a first-hand picture of the colourful daily life of the people of Luangwa Valley, as they walk or ride bikes along the side of the road, chat and greet friends and neighbours, and the small children as they run by and play games.  The exotic smells and buzz of the open air fruit and vegetable markets, and small shops, selling everything from cotton shirts to car tires gives you a real flavour of life in the area.

Project Luangwa started out as a way to coordinate the community work that was already being done by safari lodges in the Luangwa Valley. The 5 local safari operators teamed up to manage all the projects they’d set up to support the community – using the charity to plough the funds raised through tourism back to the people in the most efficient way possible.  Today Kafunta Safaris, Lion Camp, Flatdogs Camp, Robin Pope Safaris, Croc Valley Camp and Shenton Safaris all work together raising the vital funds to enable Project Luangwa to go into the local communities and help some of its most vulnerable people through the projects and initiatives set up by the lodges.

The charity now helps over 150 secondary students with school fees and provides funding to help train local teachers. The women’s workshop teaches sewing skills and employs local women enabling them to become self-sufficient and care for their families.  In addition, the girls’ and boys’ clubs give local kids a place to develop self-esteem and life skills. None of this would be possible without generous funding from the lodges, and the kindness of the guests who stay there – giving local people a chance to fulfil their potential and thrive.

If you are planning a visit to the Luangwa Valley, please ask your lodge about Project Luangwa or visit www.projectluangwa.org.  Through your support, many Zambians have had their lives transformed.  You can also follow the charity on Facebook www.facebook.com/projectluangwa/ for up to the minute news and stories about what’s happening at Project Luangwa.

Zambia 2020 – FREE INTERNAL FLIGHTS offer!

Zambia 2020 – FREE INTERNAL FLIGHTS offer! Stay 4+ nights at the luxury Sausage Tree Camp or enjoying the seclusion and adventure of the Potato Bush Camp in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park and receive free internal flights to/from Jeki, Livingstone, Kafue, Mfuwe & Lusaka.  T&C’s apply. Minimum of 2 people travelling. Valid on all new bookings for 2020 season  (1 April – 30 November 2020).

For more information contact Vicky on 0131 3152464.

Discover the secrets of the mighty Victoria Falls

One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – Victoria Falls is the world’s largest curtain of falling water.   The 1,700 metre wide cascade of water plummets 110 metres down to the lower Zambezi River.  This awe inspiring sight also forms the spectacular border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Evolution theorists believe that the falls were formed around 100,000 years ago, when the Upper Zambezi River flowed across the plateau, finding and forming cracks in the softer rock, eventually creating a series of gorges.

Victoria Falls’ local name is “Mosi-oa-Tunya” which translates to “The Smoke That Thunders” – which is spot on.  This name was given to the falls by the Kololo tribe that lived in the area in the 1800s.

Dr David Livingstone was the first European to see the falls in 1855. The Scottish missionary and explorer had heard many tales of the thundering, smoke like waters on the Zambezi and he finally arrived before them on November 16, 1855.  Livingston stood on a small outcrop on the edge of the waterfall (which was subsequently christened Livingstone Island) and named the Victoria Falls in honour of Queen Victoria.

The magic of the Victoria Falls puts it firmly on the must see list but what other extraordinary secrets does it hold?

The Zimbabwean side of the falls will offer you the best view of the famous curtain of water.  Here you will also find the Victoria Falls Rainforest, which is home to a breathtaking range of unique plants and animal life.  Listen out for the strange calls of the resident birdlife including the child-like cries of the Trumpeter Hornbills echoing through the rainforest.  There’s also the cute Schalow’s Turaco.

This beautiful bird is mainly green but with a blaze of red feathers which show from under its wing when in flight.  It also has a funny little Mohawk making it easily recognisable with its red eyes and beak. You may also spot the small fast flying sunbirds among the many colourful and varied species found in the region.

It has its very own rainbow!  As the sun shines through the mist created by the falls it forms an almost ever present rainbow.  Even at night, the reflection of moonlight on the water creates what is referred to as a ‘Moonbow’ or ‘Lunar Rainbow’.  When the moon is full, this can last from sunset to sunrise.

If you visit between the months of September to December, you can enjoy a dip in the world’s most exciting infinity pool!  During this time water levels drop and as a result, you can swim to the very edge of Victoria Falls in this naturally formed pool, the Devils Pool, and look down into the gorge below. Other activities around the falls are bungee jumping off the bridge, gorge swings and the world famous white water rafting.

 

Victoria Falls facts:

  • While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is classified as the largest, based on sheer volume of water.
  • During the wet season an estimated 5,000,000m³ of water pours over the falls every minute.
  • The water depth at the base of the falls is 70 meters (229 feet).
  • Fish live in the river above and below the falls. The river is home to 39 species of fish below the falls and 89 species above it.
  • The Victoria Falls Bridge was the vision of Cecil John Rhodes but he died before its completion.

 

 

Our Top 5 Photographic Hides in Africa

Photographic hides are becoming an increasingly popular way to observe wildlife whilst on safari and more and more hides are appearing in reserves across Africa. Man-made hides are structures built with the purpose of concealing and protecting views from the animals and birds giving you the best opportunities for capturing a wildlife moment that you won’t get anywhere else.  They can be built from the simplest den made of logs but some of the best are made from large steel containers buried underground. They are usually positioned alongside a feature which attracts wildlife, such as a waterhole or riverbank.

Here is our pick of the Top 5 hides in Africa

1. Carmine Bee-Eater Hide, Shenton Safaris Mwamba Bushcamp, South Luangwa, Zambia

The movable carmine bee-eater hide is put in place in September once the carmines have established their nesting areas. They build their nests in huge colonies into the river bank so the hide is built in the middle of the river in order to get the best viewing angle and distance. Shoes are shed and knees get wet as you wade through The Luangwa River to access the hide which is anchored onto a boat in front of the colony. The carmines are very used to the hide’s presence and carry on about their business as though it wasn’t there. This hide provides fantastic photo opportunities of this spectacular bird species and is a must for serious birders and novices alike.

2. Jozibanini Look up Hide, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Imvelo Safaris at Jozibanini Camp have created a cool and secure place to watch wildlife coming to drink at the waterhole. The hide was made by modifying a standard steel shipping container, including fitting it with a flush loo, and sinking it deep into the Hwange sands. Guests can also spend the evening in the hide watching the wildlife come down to drink with a backdrop of stars in a crystal sky, and if you’re really enjoying yourself why not stay the night! This is particularly spectacular during a full-moon when the bright light illuminates the nocturnal animals who come to visit.

3. The Bush House, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa.

Situated within the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, the underground hide is positioned on the edge of the lodge waterhole. The roof which is just above ground-level is strong enough to hold the weight of an elephant and the low angles created by the sunken hide provide some of the best photographic opportunities. You access the hide from a path within the gardens of the Bush House, or from the swimming pool, along a safe walkway and through a tunnel, without being seen by the animals. The pathways, tunnel and hide are all lit at night so are available for use by guests 24 hours a day. You can even enjoy your evening meal in there complete with candle light!

4. Mashatu Tented Camp, Botswana.

Mashatu Tented Camp is well known for its photographic opportunities both on game drives and from the custom built Matebole and Elephant Valley photographic hides. Both hides are located in areas where there are many animals and predators are also abundant. They are ground level offering a unique perspective on the wildlife and birdlife that come to visit the waterholes. The best time of year for viewing from the hides around Mashatu Tented Camp is June to November when the elephants generally visit the waterhole every day.

5. Little Makalolo Camp, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Little Makalolo offers privacy for guests who enjoy small camps and a sense of remoteness. The area is ecologically diverse, ensuring great numbers of animals year-round. Photographically, in addition to being able to get out on foot and venture out on night drives, there is a log pile hide which is beautifully placed at the camp’s productive waterhole and provides the most exhilarating opportunity for viewing the animals which come to drink at the waterhole. The Elephants are often the star attraction at the hide but be careful not to get sprayed by water from their nearby trunks!

Get in touch with us for more information on the hides and lodges. All our holidays are tailor-made so we can help plan a trip that is unique and memorable for you.