Wham Bam Zim Zam – amazing safari adventures in Zimbabwe and Zambia…
Anderson Expeditions founder and private guide Richard Anderson recently rediscovered the joys and amazing wilderness on offer in Zimbabwe and Zambia, and captured his experience below.
“In a fast developing safari world – being smothered with trade show marketing jargon like “experiential” and “immersive” – the thought of where the industry evolution will take us is a fascinating one. During a recent expedition I led in Zimbabwe and Zambia I had time to reflect on this, particularly giving thought to where Anderson Expeditions fits in and questioning how we continue to add unparalleled value to our guests in the future.
That thinking took me back to the question of what the core ingredients are for an outstanding safari. To my mind they will always remain…
- Remote wilderness locations that lack people and vehicles
- Phenomenal guides and ground teams made up of the best people
- Operations that support habitat and wildlife conservation whilst involving and benefiting local communities
- Camps with character – and comfortable beds, hot showers and delicious, healthy food (and the best gin ʼn tonics, cold beer and South African wine of course!)
So where do we find safari locations that can boast all of the above? Well a good place to start is Zimbabwe and Zambia. These countries still boast that “wilderness feeling” in spades, together with wonderful people and wildlife on par with any safari destination in Africa.
In Gonarezhou National Park, whilst at Gonarezhou Bushcamps, we spent the good part of a morning walk learning how to weave bracelets made from Baobab bark. After catching (and releasing) wild Tiger Fish on fly in the Runde river, we were the support team to Ant Kaschula as he pollinated the last remaining African teak (Milicia excelsa) trees left in the park (and most southerly in their range). A most memorable sundowner session followed from the beach in the middle of the Runde watching a full moon rise behind the Chilojo cliffs.
On the other side of Zimbabwe we spent a night on a platform hide overlooking a waterhole in Hwange National Park. Hundreds of elephants passed their late afternoon here and spent their evening frolicking at the water, oblivious to our presence. Our early morning – with piping hot coffee in hand – was highlighted by the fascinating interactions of a clan of hyena as they converged on the same water. A full morning game drive had us back at our base in Hwange at Little Makalolo Camp.
Crossing over the mighty Zambezi river we travelled to Old Mondoro Camp in the Lower Zambezi National Park. This is a charming camp accommodating only 8 guests at any one time and offering an intimate and private experience matched only by a few other places in Africa. It is, without doubt, one of my favourite camps on the continent. In the 3 days we spent exploring the park and river (the camp overlooks the Zambezi) we didn’t see a single other safari vehicle, avoided altogether the crackle of a radio and shared our camp with resident elephant, waterbuck, baboon and impala. We explored Ana forests including mystical areas bearing names such as “the inner circle” and were treated to quite exquisite wildlife viewing.
South Luangwa may be the best known area in Zambia for walking safaris but the future of experiencing the bush on foot is North Luangwa. This park, arguably the best protected in Zambia, gives one all the feels of an early explorer in untamed, wildlife-rich wilderness. Perfect for a private group, Mwaleshi Camp is set on the eponymous Mwaleshi River traversed by elephant, lion, leopard and wild dog. If walking that environment isn’t wild enough for you, forays further afield can be undertaken with the aid of a fly-camp perfectly erected on an open beach in remote, wild Africa!
Discovering these places, and then sharing them with our guests and friends, is why we do what we do. There’s no doubt the demand for wild, remote places and camps with soul will only build as our world becomes more frenetic and invaded. We look forward to bringing you updates on Africa’s hidden gems and making sure you get to experience them. Zimbabwe and Zambia are pretty good places to start!”
Title image – Leopard in repose © Richard Anderson