Zambia has a few little gems – this is the country for small, passionate, high-quality safari camps that can offer a diverse range of activities for a great price.
John Coppinger’s Remote Africa is one of the most experienced Zambia specialists – and, in my opinion, the finest walking safari operation in Africa. Located in the Luangwa Valley, Remote Africa has four camps, including the wonderful walking-focused Chikoko Trails in the South Luangwa and Mwaleshi in the North Luangwa. The camps are simple but stylish and exactly what I want from an adventurous safari that’s centred on big game walking. If the walking camps seem too simple, then spending a couple of nights in John’s flagship camp Tafika offers a higher level of comfort yet still retains that air of authenticity. Home to an unbelievably experienced team of guides as well as John himself and his wife Carol, Tafika and the Remote Africa operation as a whole is one of the very best safari outfitters in the business!
Tafika is $870pppn in peak season (August and September), but the price drops to $705pppn in the shoulder seasons around this peak period. There is a 10% saving for stays of over 7 nights, while the walking camps are $590pppn (less when included in the 7-night rate with Tafika). That really is great value for this much knowledge and experience in one camp!
Moving on to one of Zambia’s lesser known parks, we have Musekese in the Kafue. This cracking little camp offers great value and gets it spot on in all the right places, but it is certainly not over the top! Kafue is off the beaten track and often overlooked due to the more commercial options in the Luangwa Valley or the Lower Zambezi. However, Musekese guarantees a great diversity of activities and authentic safari at a great price. The owners guide the safaris here – that’s a serious rarity in itself! They’ve guided in the Kafue for years and they’re people I regard as two of the best guides in the park. Musekese itself is located on the Kafue River, while the team also offer mobile trips to the stunning Busanga Plains – a wonderful place that’s packed with game!
Musekese is $520pppn, while their mobile camp is around $600pppn. There is an unbelievably good-value safari here – it’s 7 nights long and splits time between the camps for $3,800pppn.
The final Zambian camp I’ll mention is Old Mondoro, another of my favourite camps in Africa. This camp, located on the banks of the Zambezi itself, is probably where I would go on safari tomorrow if I could choose one camp – though Explorers in Botswana comes close too! Set up by Grant Cummings – who is a major reason why the Lower Zambezi today is such an amazing destination –, Old Mondoro offers walking, boating, fishing, canoeing and game driving by day and by night. I love that diversity of safari activities – it’s one of the things that makes the best camps.
Old Mondoro is not the most affordable property, but 5-nights-for-4 and 7-for-5 offers are available at various times of the year, making an expensive property a great place to stay for a week or so! I’ve always believed this camp is a destination in itself - a place I would happily keep clients here for their whole safari. The camp is $1,120pppn in peak season, but the offers – or combinations with its sister property, the more luxurious Chiawa – see a 7-night stay between the camps at around $5,800 plus park fees of $630… so it’s around £4,434 for a 7-night stay. That might sound expensive, but I cannot rave about Old Mondoro enough – it’s a classy operation I will always love. And low season is certainly worth considering, especially from 1st November, when that same safari drops to £3,064 per person plus flights...you just have to be prepared for fairly high temperatures as Zambia in November is one of the hottest places we know.