Client Review: Deborah's Family Safari in Zambia

03 September 2018

Deborah travelled with Yellow Zebra to Zambia for a family safari. Among the favourite properties she and her family visited were Nsolo Camp, Mchenja Bush Camp and Chongwe River Camp.

Kirsten and Yellow Zebra helped us plan a fabulous trip to Zambia for our family of four (my husband, our two young adult daughters, and myself). We spent two nights each at Nsolo and Mchenja in South Luangwa National Park, and four nights at Chongwe River Camp in Lower Zambezi National Park. Each camp had something different to offer us. We appreciated the smaller, more intimate environments of Nsolo and Mchenja, and we enjoyed the water activities at Chongwe River Camp that provided a change of pace from walks and game drives.

The guides and staff at each camp were friendly and welcoming and made us feel at home. We began at Nsolo, where we were the only guests, and the camp host, Gloria, and our guide, John, made us feel like family. My younger daughter, Rebecca, has disabilities, and Kirsten let each camp know before we arrived. The guides and staff at all three camps were very happy to take time to get to know her and to make accommodations for her. A special shout-out to the Chongwe chefs, who baked delicious shortbread cookies especially for Rebecca’s desserts and snacks.

We truly found something for each of us throughout our trip. My older daughter, Laura, especially wanted to see elephants, hippos, and warthogs, and there was certainly no shortage of any of those! She also liked learning to recognize different animal tracks and figuring out which animals had passed by. Rebecca enjoyed seeing animals, but the real highlight of her trip was driving around in the safari vehicles. She was thrilled to join George, our guide at Chongwe, in the front seat as the ‘scout’ for our game drives with him.

My husband and I wanted to experience the diversity of each area – the animals, plants, landscapes, geology – and we wanted to learn some natural history. (I’ll admit it – we are ‘science nerds’ by inclination and profession.) The guides encouraged us to ask questions and were a wealth of information. Of course we saw a number of the same things at each camp, but each guide shared different insights and information about what we were seeing. Overall, we saw about 40 species of mammals and 60 species of birds. We had several excellent opportunities to observe lions and leopards, something we had hoped for but hadn’t counted on.

When we travel, we like to learn about people and their history and culture in addition to exploring new environments. One concern I had before our trip to Zambia was that we were going mainly as ‘animal tourists’ and therefore we might not learn much about the people and country. I needn’t have worried. We had lots of opportunities at meals and at other times to talk with guides, camp hosts, and staff. They shared quite a bit about Zambian languages and customs and how traditional ways of life are changing in the 21st century. During our stay at Mchenja, the staff organized a traditional Zambian meal. We sat on mats around communal food pots while camp host Emmanuel and guide Chalumba explained the dishes being served and shared traditions related to meals (like how men and women would typically sit, and how to use nshima as one’s eating utensil).

Our trip to Zambia was wonderful, and we would love to go again! Maybe in a few years when the 30 hours of traveling time from California fade from memory….

If you'd like help in planning a safari to Africa, feel free to give us a call on +44 (0)20 8547 2305 or send us an email at [email protected] Alternatively, check out the lodges that Deborah stayed in below: