Welcome to the kingdom of the hippos and a birdwatcher’s nirvana. A place for seasoned safari aficionados who cherish the few remaining wild locations on Earth. As the world’s most carbon neutral national park, Luambe is a remote and enchantingly untamed gem halfway between North- and South Luangwa National Parks in Zambia.
Luambe Camp is the only safari lodge in the park, which means that you can enjoy the solitude of going on game drives and nature walks through the Luangwa River Valley and the grasslands of the Chipuka Plains far away from any crowds. Essentially, you can have an entire national park all to yourself to enjoy wonderful sightings of buffalo, elephant, Crawshay’s zebra, Thornicroft’s giraffe, hyena, lion and various species of antelope. Be on the lookout for the camp’s resident leopard – often spotted at Luambe’s waterhole (within torchlight distance of the dining area) when she comes to drink at night.
The camp is built on the eastern bank of the Luangwa River and overlooks the biggest pods of hippos in the entire river. A few hundred of these big mammals have made a large pool their perennial home, a short stroll from your tent. Sit back with a refreshing drink during the day and enjoy watching their tomfoolery from the comfort of a shady tree, and be serenaded by their chortles as they leave the river to graze at night.
Every year between September and October – and only for a few weeks – the area is painted in fluttering crimson as Luambe’s favourite visitors return, carmine bee-eaters. Large flocks of these migratory birds dig their burrows and lay their eggs in the vertical Luangwa riverbanks, offering guests the rare opportunity to savour a cup of ‘Carmine Coffee’ during their breeding season. This is a signature moment at Luambe, when you are taken to a sensational nesting spot to enjoy a cup of coffee (or tea) while watching these highly social birds begin to stir and flutter at first light. This is an unforgettable experience for any avid twitcher. Luambe National Park is a haven for over 200 species of birds including Pel’s fishing owl, African skimmer, white-backed night heron, racket-tailed roller, Lilian’s lovebirds and raptors like African fish eagles, and martial and tawny eagles. Guided birding tours from Luambe is a not-to-be-missed activity.