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overview

This 7-night Zambian walking safari incorporates excellent hosting and guiding in one of the most spectacular wilderness areas the country has to offer: the South Luangwa National Park. Offering a truly exceptional game-viewing experience, this package is aimed at the bona fide safari-enthusiast who will relish moving between three camps on foot. The first – Tafika Camp – is the largest and offers not only expertly guided walking safaris but also 4x4 game drives and other activities. Tafika’s sister camps – Crocodile River Camp and Chikoko Tree Camp – are situated across the Luangwa River in a section of the national park set aside for the exclusive use of group walking safaris, ensuring exclusivity and privacy.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Twice-daily walking safaris in pristine wilderness
  • Rangers are very knowledgeable & experienced
  • Mountain biking, microlighting & village visits

Day to Day Itinerary

Days 1-3

Family first

On your arrival at Mfuwe Airport you are fetched by your guide and transferred to Tafika Lodge. During this 90-minute drive you are likely to encounter enough wildlife to make your visit worthwhile before you have even set foot into the camp. Nestled on the banks of the Luangwa River, Tafika Camp’s thatched chalets sit under the shade of giant sausage trees. Built from locally sourced reed and thatch, these elegant suites are equipped with en suite bathrooms and outdoor showers. From the comfort of the camp, watch as elephants and hippos come for a drink and bath in the river while kingfishers perched in tree branches above keep their keen eyes fixed below the surface in search of unsuspecting prey.

The meandering Luangwa River runs through the national park and features ox-bow lagoons, tributaries and riverine woodlands home to large concentrations of animals, including Zambia’s highest leopard concentration and over 450 bird species. Expertly guided 4x4 game drives are combined with exciting activities such as micro lighting, mountain biking, a visit to the nearby Mkasanga Village and, of course, walking safaris.

From the moment you arrive at Tafika – one of the longest-standing owner-run camps in Zambia, you are welcomed as a member of the family rather than a guest. Split your safari time between lengthy morning walks and evening game drives on the reserve; and with each exploration of Luangwa’s eco-habitats more of its ecological wealth is revealed. Walk under the professional leadership of your guide, an armed parks reservist and caterer, who supplies a warm beverage and snack during your mid-morning tea break, and is an extra pair of eyes to spot animals.

The team of guides has remained the same for many years and has outstanding reputations in the fields of game ranging and nature conservation. The indigenous ecological knowledge imparted on you during walks will is the kind of information which is gathered through decades of interaction with the wilderness and being tuned into the rhythm of life in the Luangwa valley.

With a massive traversable area accessible within this undeveloped reserve, during activities you are unlikely to see any other people at all. A unique feature of 4x4 game drives in Tafika’s open-sided, open-topped vehicles are their limitation to no more than four guests per car, with just two rows of comfortable bench seats. Hop on a mountain bike and set out on an animal-filled excursion along the dirt paths to viewpoints around the camp, arriving back in time to join the evening game drive. Excursions to the nearby Mkasanga Village are a humbling experience and provide the opportunity to visit the school and listen to a performance by the local church choir. Exhilarating microlight flights over the national park take off in the soft light of dawn. These magical trips provide a privileged perspective of the game-rich landscape and often allow the identification of animals for later investigation on your morning walk.

The massive vegetable garden supplies the kitchen with fresh organic produce and ensures tasty and wholesome cuisine is the forte of Tafika’s restaurant.

Days 4-5

Assault on the senses

In the first light you set out from Tafika for the 4-hour walk to Crocodile River Camp, your luggage portered to your next Luangwa home for you. This is the first of two camps you visit forming part of the Chikoko Trails, which occupy a remote section of the South Luangwa National Park and are accessible only by foot. Set beneath a tall grove of ebony trees overlooking a large open pan – once the course of the Luangwa River – this rustic camp comprises reed-and-thatch chalets which are rebuilt every year after the rains and accommodate just six people in total.

The standard of guiding is exceptionally high with an exclusive focus on highly engaging walking safaris in the captivating Luangwa valley wilderness.

Dramatic seasonal variations, a dynamic river system and lush vegetation ensure a prolific supply of wildlife to this region of the park. Your morning walk lasts about four hours, departing just before sunrise and returning around 11am. This is followed by a shorter afternoon walk of about two hours, which begins at 4pm and arrives back at the camp before sunset.

With the veil of dawn lifting, set off on foot into the wild accompanied by your guide, armed parks reservist and tea bearer for your morning walk. Discover the minutiae of Mother Nature as her beauty assaults your senses; the sounds, smells and complete sense of timelessness all become apparent on foot. Imagine your excitement walking along the elephant and hippo trails forming part of the original route of explorer David Livingstone. You stand very still while a group of mature male buffalo pass, seemingly unaware of your position crouched in a bush just metres away. Your primal senses are re-awakened as you become acutely aware of wind direction and your guide’s eyes light up as he points to a fresh kill nearby after picking up a scent.

Rub and smell the leaves of plants and learn of their medicinal uses for both humans and animals. Test your skills at identifying tracks, droppings, bones, insects and nests with your guide always at hand to impart a wealth of knowledge gained through years of experience. Feel rewarded when you come into contact with the only two endemic mammals of the valley, Thornicroft's giraffe and Cookson's wildebeest.

However, during walking safaris are not the only times you might encounter wildlife at the camp. Bird watching from the camp is excellent. Find a comfortable spot overlooking the verdant pan and spend hours twitching the lush surroundings with your guide always available to assist in identifying any species you are unsure of.

Grab a book from the library and read up on a particular animal or local habitat which piques your interest, and raise any questions you may have with your guide when you meet up again. Take your time over lunch, relishing the freshly prepared cuisine at a scenic spot overlooking the river, or share a drink with a loved one at the help-yourself bar and reflect on your Zambian experience so far. Crocodile River Camp’s homely atmosphere and dedication to all things wildlife (further enhanced by the friendly and knowledgeable staff) allows this laid-back riverside sanctuary to take on the kind of surreal quality that is arguably unreplicated anywhere else in the world.

Day 6-7

Livingstone’s place

Leaving Crocodile River Camp you take a 4-hour walk with your guide, armed parks reservist and tea bearer and arrive at Chikoko Tree Camp before lunchtime. Once again your luggage has been portered on your behalf. Situated 8km upstream from Tafika on the banks of the Luangwa River, this undeniably charming camp is also just a few hundred metres from the Perekani crossing point where Livingstone proclaimed his love for the Luangwa valley. Even more exclusive than Crocodile River Camp, three romantic mopane wood, reed and thatch chalets are built high in the trees affording spectacular views of the seasonal Chikoko River, acacia grove and surrounding wildlife.

As at Crocodile River Camp, the focus here is on complete immersion in the wilderness with no vehicles to break the silence and just a handful of other visitors around, if any at all. Your daily routine is much the same as at Crocodile River Camp, consisting of a morning and afternoon walking safari in the glorious Luangwa valley. Between walks relax in your open-fronted chalet overlooking the floodplain and watch as animals – sometimes in their hundreds – walk directly across the floodplains and through the camp. Sample culinary delights in the dining area or enjoy a drink in the small bar or lounge area, still captivated by the wilderness.

Day 8

Farewell to Zambia

Leaving Chikoko you take a 4-hour walk with your guide back to Tafika Camp, all your luggage portered for you. You are then transferred back to Mfuwe Airport from where you board your connecting flight homewards. 

Inclusions

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Road transfers
  • National Park Fees
  • Contribution to Luangwa Conservation & Community Fund

Exclusions

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

Tour Rates

  • dates rates from
  • 01 Jul 2014 - 31 Jul 2014 $3955
  • 01 Aug 2014 - 31 Aug 2014 $4480
  • 01 Sep 2014 - 30 Sep 2014 $4480
  • 01 Oct 2014 - 31 Oct 2014 $3955

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

Carlien Parsons

Carlien Parsons

Product Manager

"A great way to experience safari - on foot, with the best walking guides in Africa. This is one of the best walking safaris you'll find."

From

$3955

Per person sharing

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