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overview

This exceptional 11-day journey combines an unrivalled big game experience in Zambia’s famed South Luangwa National Park with the ultimate romance at Kaya Mawa, on the pristine shores of Lake Malawi.

The South Luangwa is renowned for its variety of game and, by staying at three different locations in the park – Luwi, Nsolo and Kakuli Bush Camps - you will be able to experience different terrains and walking safari circuits, increasing your chances of finding animals endemic to the region, like Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra.

You then jet off to the shimmering shores of Lake Malawi, where you find the utterly unique Kaya Mawa Lodge, arguably one of the most romantic places on earth. Set on the island of Likoma, Kaya Mawa has secluded chalets and a wide sandy beach that is lapped by the lake’s waters. Spend your days water skiing, swimming or soaking up the African sun on your balcony. Newlyweds will delight in ‘honeymoon island’, a tiny outcrop reached only by a swing rope bridge from Kaya Mawa – the ultimate in having your own private tropical island!

Itinerary Highlights

  • Unrivalled big game viewing in South Luangwa
  • Day & night game drives
  • Search for wild dog, leopard & lion
  • Exceptional walking safaris between camps
  • Enjoy barefoot luxury on Lake Malawi
  • Snorkelling, scuba diving & kite surfing
  • Private ‘honeymoon island’

Day to Day Itinerary

Days 1-2

A warm Zambian welcome

On arrival at Lusaka International Airport, you are met by a representative and transferred to your charter flight to the South Luangwa National Park. Your guide will meet you at the airstrip, and take you on a game drive to Luwi Bush Camp. The drive through this untrammelled wilderness will whet your appetite for the experiences of the coming days and prepare you for the adventures that await you.

Luwi Bush Camp is one of the most remote lodges in the park, where there are no other lodges for kilometres around, just a profusion of wildlife for you to enjoy. Arriving at the lodge, you find an intimate and elegant camp nestled in a grove of mahogany trees overlooking a lagoon filled with hippos and crocodiles.

After discovering your suite and gazing out at the view from your private verandah, you wander over to the lounge for high tea. Your guide awaits you and is eager to take you out to experience the magic of this corner of the park.

Due to its remote location, Luwi Bush Camp is in a perfect area for walking safaris, which must rank as one of the most thrilling experiences to be had in the wilderness. Combined with game drives to cover more ground and seek out the elusive roan antelope at the source of the Luwi River, the wildlife encounters of this region are exceptional. The area is known for its lion population, and an afternoon spent watching these regal cats as they rouse themselves from slumber and become alert, preparing themselves for an evening’s hunting is a highlight of any safari drive.

Evenings at the lodge are given over to easy conversation, convivial banter at the fireside, and delicious meals served by candlelight. With an electric canopy of stars above, you gaze out from the terrace before slipping off to your suite, serenaded to sleep by the sounds of the African night outside.

Days 3-4

Nsolo magic

Your next destination is Nsolo Bush Camp, downriver from Luwi. An adventurous way to get there is to make the journey on foot: leave your bags packed at Luwi Bush Camp, spend a fascinating morning walking along the riverbank, then arrive at Nsolo in time for a refreshing cold drink and a delicious brunch. Your luggage will be in your suite and, as you settle in, you take a moment to enjoy the tremendous view out over the river from your private verandah. After spending the midday hours curled up with a book or enjoying an indulgent siesta, you once again feel the urge to venture out and see what the wilderness has in store for you.

After another decadent high tea, you depart on a game drive with your guide. This region of the Luwi River system is where the territories of several lion prides overlap and they often use the dry riverbed as a thoroughfare to patrol their turf and keep rivals at bay. This is also a good area to encounter African wild dogs - these amazing predators have denned in the region for several years. With their long legs and effortless stride, these animals are tireless and extremely efficient hunters, as well as being the most social of all the carnivores. The sight of a pack of dogs hunting ranks as one of the most thrilling events to witness: the speed and accuracy with which they despatch their prey is astonishing, as well as the strict hierarchy with which they feed. Puppies are the lifeblood of the pack and, as such, are fed first and guarded fiercely by their elders. Within minutes they silently devour a carcass, ever watchful for marauding lions or hyenas, then depart the scene as quickly as they came, leaving you breathless with excitement.

Selecting a scenic spot along the river, your guide produces a hamper packed with goodies from the camp kitchen while you stretch your legs. As the sunset lights up the sky in a kaleidoscope of colour, you nibble on a snack and sip from a chilled glass, toasting the magnificence of this beautiful wilderness.

Days 5-6

Magnificent Kakuli

After your morning activity, enjoy a delicious brunch before departing for Kakuli Bush Camp. Located on the confluence of the Luwi and Luangwa Rivers, Kakuli offers splendid views across the water that often attracts a variety of game.

This area of the park is renowned for its tremendous game viewing and the predator sightings here are considered some of the best in Zambia. Leopards are plentiful here along this stretch of river, and the twilight hours are the ideal time to seek them out. With game drives that extend into the night, your guide will use a spotlight to look for telltale eyes glowing in the dark. These beautiful cats are thrilling to encounter as they silently stalk the thickets, blending into their environment with perfect camouflage, melting into the night like spotted ghosts.

After another magnificent day in the wilds, you return to Kakuli, full of the adventure and excitement you have experienced. The fireplace glows warmly and beckons you to sit a while and relax with a refreshing drink, listening to the anecdotes of Africa as they easily flow around you. A magnificent dinner is served on the terrace, and as you enjoy each delicious course, you take a moment to soak in this unforgettable atmosphere. Later, slipping between the sheets, you drift off to the sound of hippos grazing outside.

Days 7-10

Magical Malawi

Enjoy a final morning in the wilds before bidding Kakuli Bush Camp a fond farewell. A charter plane waits at the airstrip to whisk you away to Malawi. After a brief stop in Lilongwe, you take to the air again, flying over Lake Malawi, which is so large it resembles an inland sea. Landing at the airstrip on Likoma Island, it is a short ride to Kaya Mawa. Set on a white sandy beach, lapped by the turquoise waters of the lake, it is easy to see why it has been voted one of the most romantic places in Africa.

Settle in and allow the blissful serenity of your surroundings to envelop you. Book yourself an indulgent spa treatment to revitalise body and soul, and soak up the utterly sublime atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

At Kaya Mawa you can be as active or as relaxed as you wish: the lake offers wonderful snorkelling opportunities to see a myriad of brightly coloured cichlid fish, not unlike those usually found in coral reefs. You can also explore the bays and inlets by kayak or sail off into the sunset on the yacht. Kite surfing and scuba diving lessons are also on offer or you can simply choose to relax on the beach and do absolutely nothing at all, letting Africa time seep into your subconscious…

With a beautiful sunset lighting up the sky, you sip on a cocktail to toast the splendid scene, before indulging in a decadent candlelit meal with your toes in the sand, and the lake reflecting a million stars on its glassy surface.

Day 11

Go well

It will be hard to leave Kaya Mawa but after four days of beach bliss, it is finally time to depart. As you fly over the magical lake, you imagine that you can almost see Zambia on the distant horizon. Images of your journey flood your mind, the absolute perfection of your African holiday, and you promise yourself to one day return. 

Inclusions

  • 10 nights accommodation on full board basis

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
Carlien Parsons

Carlien Parsons

Product Manager

"This is the perfect trip for a 2nd visit to Africa. Combine walking safaris & action-packed game-viewing with a laid-back beach on Lake Malawi."

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