Zambian plains

Zambian plains
There are 2 main reserves in Zambia, both with vast plains and few visitors, so they have a wild and unexplored feel. South Luangwa with lakes and rivers is famed for walking safaris, hIgh density of leopard, and endemic Thornicroft's giraffe and Crawshay's zebra. Kafue has even fewer camps and is closer to Vic Falls. This is serious safari country - don't expect pools, a/c etc; camps are intimate, low impact and close to nature. Zambia.
Best time: May to October when it's dry - but October can be very hot - most camps close during the wet season.
Access: Charter from Victoria Falls or Livingstone (1-2 hrs) to Kafue; the closest city to South Luangwa is Lilongwe (1hr flight or 5 hr drive)

I recommend these camps

Chamilandu (3 suites) Wood & thatch raised on stilts, with a traditional bushcamp feeling, furnished simply but comfortably. Just 3 suites! Emphasis on walking as you’d expect in South Luangwa. Fabulous location looking out over the Luangwa River towards the escarpment. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of The Bushcamp Company. $$$$.
Chindeni (4 tents-en-suite) Bushcamp Co have upped their game with this gorgeous camp, stylish & contemporary with elaborately designed tents. But it’s still close to nature & solar powered. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of The Bushcamp Company. $$$$.
Chinzombo (6 suites) The most lux in the area, with private plunge pools and elegant designs. On private land on the Luangwa River, overlooking the park. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Norman Carr Safaris. Child friendly. $$$$$.
King Lewanika (7 tents-en-suite) Fresh camp is the first in this remote reserve, opening up a region which few have seen – with Africa’s 2nd biggest wildebeest migration & hyenas hunting in packs of up to 50. Dramatic tented villas by top safari architects. Very exciting new destination. Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia. Member of Time + Tide. $$$$$.
Mchenja (5 suites) On the Luangwa River, good predators, pool in camp (unusual for this area). Walks and game drives. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Norman Carr Safaris. $$$$$.
Shumba
Shumba (6 tents-en-suite) Kafue’s most lux camp, named for the lions which climb trees here, and can be seen hunting on the vast plains. Hot air ballooning available. Next to Busanga. Kafue National Park, Zambia. Member of Wilderness Safaris. $$$$.
Tena Tena
Tena Tena (6 tents-en-suite) Robin Pope’s premier camp; elegant layout, best game viewing location between the river and lagoon, solar powered. Close to Nsefu Camp. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Robin Pope Safaris. $$$$$.
Bilimungwe (4 suites) Built from wood and thatch in the shade of giant mahogany trees overlooking waterholes, this camp blends into the bush. Good game viewing in the area. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of The Bushcamp Company. $$$$.
Busanga (4 tents-en-suite) Even smaller than neighboring Shumba, and simpler, also with hot air balloons for a Serengeti-style view over the plains. Kafue National Park, Zambia. Member of Wilderness Safaris. $$$$.
Chikoko Trails (3+3 suites) A little upstream from sister camp Mwaleshi, also on the Luangwa River and a purely walking camp. It comprises 2 small camps (Chikoko Tree & Crocodile Rver) with simple accommodation for the adventurous, with highly skilled trackers to lead you. North Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Classic Portfolio. Child friendly. $$$$.
KaingU (7 tents-en-suite) Special setting in this remote area, the camp is right on the Kafue River which makes it great for fishing, birding, canoeing and boat cruises. Access the national park across the water by boat. Simple but well laid out camp combines tents with thatch roofs, and has a family suite. Kafue National Park, Zambia. Child friendly. $$$$.
Kakuli (4 suites) At the meeting point of 2 rivers, boating safaris, walking and driving – best at night to see the active resident predators. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Norman Carr Safaris. $$$$$.
Kapamba (4 suites) Remote, romantic and right on the river, with good game viewing in this corner of the reserve, which has few other visitors. Cosy stone chalets. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of The Bushcamp Company. $$$$.
Kuyenda (4 suites) A simple camp of reed & thatch rondawels out on the plain, run by experienced naturalists. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of The Bushcamp Company. $$$$.
Luangwa River (5 suites) Intimate and rustic,plenty of wildlife around camp. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Robin Pope Safaris. Child friendly. $$$$.
Luwi (4 suites) Low impact camp perfect for walking in this remote, game-rich heart of the park, great for lion and wild dog. Same area as Nsolo Bush Camp. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Norman Carr Safaris. $$$$$.
Mwaleshi (4 suites) One of Africa’s remotest camps, walking only (there are hardly any roads). Big herds of elephant and buffalo, and lots of lion too. Simple and rustic chalets are dramatically open to the elements – a real adventure for the hardy safari-goer. North Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Classic Portfolio. $$$.
Nkwali (6 suites) Stunning location on river with private access into the park, private game viewing area behind camp as well, rustic under thatch. Neighbouring Robin’s House. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Robin Pope Safaris. $$$$.
Nsolo (4 tents-en-suite) Similar to nearby Luwi Bush Camp. Wonderful for walking, and game drives too. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Norman Carr Safaris. $$$$$.
Puku Ridge (7 tents-en-suite) Watch elephants from your balcony – it’s elevated with views over the game-rich grasslands; a well located camp. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Sanctuary. Child friendly. $$$$.
Robin’s House (2 suites) Cosy and unfussy home under big trees right on the river, ideal for families as it’s exclusive use. Neighbouring Nkwali. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Robin Pope Safaris. Private villa. Child friendly. $$$$.
Tafika (6 tents-en-suite) Rustic, remote camp run by the dedicated Coppinger family with satellite bush camps (see Chikoko Trails). Active people will love it – great walking and mountain bike safaris. Rebuilt every year for safari season, using thatch and reeds. Day trips to the eccentric manor of “The Africa House” fame. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of Classic Portfolio. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Zungulila (4 tents-en-suite) Isolated camp overlooking water which attracts lots of game. Thatch tents with plunge pools and lux touches which are a treat in this remote area. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Member of The Bushcamp Company. $$$$.
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