You bid The Royal Livingstone farewell and return to the airport. Soon, the enormous Zambezi Valley opens out below you: edged by a towering escarpment, the river glistens in the sunlight, beset on either side by its wide floodplains and dense forests. Landing at the airstrip, your next guide collects you for the game drive to Chiawa Camp.
Perfectly positioned in a grove of evergreen mahogany trees, Chiawa blends into its surroundings effortlessly. Built on raised timber decking, the flowing open space of the thatched main building leads out to the broad sweep of the river beyond, framed by tall trees and the cobalt arch of the sky.
Activities at Chiawa are varied and exciting, with a choice of game drives, guided walks, canoeing and boating to allow you total immersion in the Zambezi Valley experience. Located in the centre of prime wildlife habitat, the animals are never far away, and often visit the camp itself! Game drives with extremely knowledgeable and experienced guides offer you an unprecedented insight into this fascinating ecosystem, where the diversity of topography, habitat and vegetation provide a wealth of biodiversity. The dense woodlands support a great many herbivores, like kudu, impala, giraffe and zebra, and these are always followed by the large cats and hyenas. With the help of your guide’s eagle vision and years of experience, the flick of an ear or a tail suddenly reveals a supine leopard where once there was only a tangle of vegetation, or a lion pride deep in the shade of a thicket.
You effortlessly settle into the rhythm of the wilderness for the next two days, where rising at dawn you enjoy a light breakfast looking out at the mist rising off the river before setting off on your morning’s activity.
Safari walks are a speciality of Chiawa and an experience that is not to be missed. Following game trails worn smooth by the endless passage of hooves, feet and paws, you have only the sounds of the wilderness around you, only the aromas and sights of your surroundings. This leads to an engagement of the senses that can be extraordinary in its intensity – your vision becomes clearer, smells and sounds sharper, the earth below your feet more grounding.
Canoe trips afford you the opportunity to drift silently downstream with the current of the river as you observe the life that depends on it. From this unique perspective, the sight of an elephant bull becomes all the more impressive as he meditatively slurps up water with his enormous trunk. Never mind the welter of hippo, crocodiles sunning themselves on sandbanks and the absolute profusion of bird life…