The untamed wilderness of Zambia is one of Africa’s lesser-known treasures, far from more famous safari destinations, yet home to a stunning array of creatures and habitats. Venture deep into South Luangwa National Park, known as the birthplace of the walking safari, and feel the thrill of tracking wildlife through forests and floodplains on foot. Then journey to Lower Zambezi National Park and float along its namesake river on canoe and riverboat, seeking out large herds of elephants grazing at the water’s edge. Your trip culminates further downstream, amid the crashing cascades of Victoria Falls.
Land in Lusaka and transfer to your hotel, set amid tropical gardens in the heart of the city’s business district. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Fly to Mfuwe and transfer to Mfuwe Lodge, the main lodge of The Bushcamp Company, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World located in South Luangwa National Park. One of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries, South Luangwa harbors more than 60 mammal species—from the large herds of giraffes and elephants that roam its grasslands, to the hippos and crocodiles dwelling in its rivers. Settle into your chalet, and then head out on a game drive through lush riverine vegetation and thick mopane and mahogany forests. Seek out wildlife unique to the Luangwa valley, including the Thornicroft giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest, and enjoy a sundowner in the bush as the sun sets.
Start your day early on a morning safari drive to view bushbucks, zebras, wild dogs, elephants, and more as you explore floodplains, mopane forests, and lagoons with a guide. Transfer to your secluded Bushcamp—one of the lodge’s six intimate satellite camps, located in wildlife-rich areas deep within the park. In the late afternoon, set off on foot in the company of an expert ranger to explore the bush. Enjoy dinner back at the camp and then search for nocturnal creatures with spotlights on a night drive, possibly discovering a lioness or leopard on the hunt.
Join expert guides on safari in the early morning and late afternoon, when animals are most active. On foot or in a vehicle, track footprints and other signs of wildlife, encounter smaller creatures of the bush, learn about the diverse flora of South Luangwa, and observe giraffes and other large animals safely.
Enjoy a final day of game viewing in the heart of South Luangwa, and then return to the main lodge, where you will be treated to a sumptuous dinner.
Fly to Jeki and transfer to Lower Zambezi National Park, a pristine wilderness where herds of up to 100 elephants can be seen gathering by the water’s edge. Your destination is Anabezi Lodge, tucked into one of the park’s most remote corners and intersected by the Zambezi River. Enjoy excellent wildlife viewing from your raised tent overlooking the floodplain. Over the next three days, soak up the river scene on canoe trips, boat cruises, and fishing excursions; and discover lions, buffalos, elephants, and more on game drives and walking safaris. During your downtime, relax on your private deck or by the lodge swimming pool.
Return to Jeki and fly to Livingstone, a former British colonial hub on the shores of the Zambezi River. Transfer to your elegant colonial-style hotel, just steps from Victoria Falls—known locally as the “smoke that thunders.” This evening, cap off your trip with a sunset cruise down the Zambezi on the African Queen riverboat.
Begin your morning with a private walking tour of mighty Victoria Falls. Then transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Pre- or Post-trip, 4 Days
Encounter the epic Zambezi River where it curves through the Matetsi Private Game Reserve. Enjoy intimate encounters with one of Africa’s wildest rivers as you canoe, cruise, or fish the waterway, and head upstream to Victoria Falls to gaze at “the smoke that thunders,” as it is known locally, on a private tour. Then set out on game drives and walking safaris to come face-to-face with the wildlife that depends on the Zambezi, from huge herds of elephants to more than 365 bird species.
After breakfast, transfer by private vehicle to andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge. Upon arrival, settle in to your riverside suite. Then set off on a riverboat cruise down a private stretch of the Zambezi River while sipping a sundowner cocktail. As you go, glimpse some of the stunning wildlife of the Matetsi Private Game Reserve, from vast elephant herds that come down to drink the water to “laughing” hippos, singing birds, and snapping crocodiles. Back at the lodge, sit down to a multi-course meal lit by lanterns along the water’s edge.
Wake up with a hot cup of tea or coffee while listening to the early morning sounds of the forest. Join a trained ranger and expert wildlife guide on a game drive or walking safari in the surrounding reserve. Watch for elephants, buffalos, sable antelopes, lions, and other wild inhabitants of the African bush, big and small. Or paddle a stretch of the Zambezi River in a canoe for a different perspective. After lunch, embark on an afternoon excursion to Victoria Falls National Park, exploring the Zimbabwe side with a private guide and seeing one of the world’s greatest waterfalls from a classic viewpoint. Cap off the experience with high tea at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel. Return to the lodge and enjoy some time to relax in your private plunge pool. After dinner, swap stories around the fire under the star-studded African sky.
Enjoy morning and afternoon safaris, exploring the bush on foot or in a 4×4 vehicle. Or head to the river for a canoe float or to take on the ferocious and acrobatic tiger fish on a guided catch-and-release fishing trip.
After breakfast, take a private transfer to the Victoria Falls airport for your flight home.
This expedition is rated as light; travelers should be in good health and comfortable sitting for extended periods of time. Excursions include safari drives in open vehicles on dusty, bumpy roads, walking safaris on uneven terrain, easy hikes, and outings by canoe and riverboat. A typical safari day begins at dawn and includes 3- to 4-hour wildlife-viewing drives.
Throughout the expedition, you’ll stay in accommodations selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character, including The Bushcamp Company, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.
Top private guides will accompany you throughout the trip, and local experts will meet with you along the way as described in the itinerary.
Other Important Details
This trip is available to children age 12 and older; please contact our reservations specialists for details or to customize this trip if your children are under 12 years.
The Bushcamp Company – South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
With a stunning main lodge as its base, the Bushcamp Company, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, invites guests to experience one of Africa’s lesser-known wildlife preserves from different angles.
National Geographic Private Expeditions are specially crafted itineraries designed for independent travelers that combine guided excursions, fascinating insights into culture and wildlife, and top accommodations. These trips are designed to fit into your schedule. You choose your desired departure date, and we’ll make all the arrangements.
Prices are per person based on double occupancy and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Single traveler prices are available upon request. Internal flights are $1250 per person. Surcharges may apply to certain travel dates based upon international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals.
All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.
This expedition is available from April through October.
A holiday surcharge may apply to certain travel dates based upon international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals.