Ila Safari Lodge opened in 2016. It is the first property in the portfolio of Green Safaris, a company with a passion for eco-friendly tourism. In fact, Ila has been certified as eco-friendly by the Heritage Environmental Management Company! The Lodge is named for the Ila people, a tribe that herds cattle in the valley of the River Kafue. Surrounded by the Kafue wilderness, it is really very comfortable, and suitable for solos, couples, groups, and families.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Ila Safari Lodge is accessed via road transfer or charter flight from both Lusaka and Livingstone international airports. The closest airstrip is Chunga, just 45 minutes from the Lodge. The road journey from Livingstone is very long, at 500km, and requires a lot of experience in self-driving, especially through the park. From Lusaka, there is a bus that stops at the turnoff to Ila, where a staff member will be ready to greet you with a cool refreshing drink! However you choose to travel to Ila, at the end of your journey you will find a pleasant place to relax in the property’s communal boma.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
Constructed from locally sourced wood and thatch, the boma is positioned on the banks of the River Kafue and provides amazing views across the water. It includes a lovely lounge with plenty of comfortable seating, an elegant open-air restaurant, a well-stocked bar, a firepit area, and a gorgeous swimming pool!
There are ten guest tents at Ila – eight standard tents and two for families. Each is raised on wooden stilts, to make the most of those beautiful river views! A standard tent contains a double or twin beds, and both types of bed are extra length. There are also bedside tables, bedside lighting, a wardrobe, a storage chest, a dressing table, and a tea-and-coffee station. The en-suite facilities consist of toilet, washbasin, shower, and outside shower or bath! There is also a veranda with comfy seating, ideal for relaxing and marvelling at the wilderness all around you. Each family tent has all the features of a standard tent in addition to an extra bedroom designed to accommodate two children. A cot is available if need be. Sturdy netting is put in place every evening, to protect everyone from mosquitos during the night!
Ila Safari Lodge offers lots of super safari activities. There is loads to see in Kafue National Park! Situated west of the Lower Zambezi, the area boasts immense stretches of floodplains, as well as woodlands, forests, and a few high hills. Game drives are possible during morning and afternoon, with sightings of lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo – four of the famous Big Five! There are also cheetah, hyena, giraffe, zebra, baboons, monkeys, crocodiles, and hippos. If you are lucky, you might spot wild dog! Full game drives are available too, and Ila’s kitchen staff members are happy to pack up a picnic for you.
There are lots of birds in the park and it is well worth taking a walking safari to check out the feathery friends as well as a host of plants and insects. You can even try a bit of tracking, all in the company of one of Ila’s guides. If you are keen to get out on the river, you will love Ila’s boat cruises, launching from the Lodge’s own jetty come sunrise or sunset. Fishing is available and basic equipment may be hired. Such is the beauty of Kafue, that many travellers are inspired to paint – and you can spend a wonderful afternoon sketching on the banks of the river! Come nightfall, you can enjoy some stargazing, staring up at the vast clear Zambian sky. Finally, back-of-house tours present a great opportunity to get to know how the Lodge is run – from the biogas plant to the solar panels to the eLandy, the electronic Land Rover that is used on game drives!