|Mchenja’s rooms all look out over the Luangwa river.|
Now that KLM is offering direct flights from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Lusaka, Zambia, the country’s exclusive and private safari camps are easier than ever to reach. Here are two distinct camps and lodges that we think your clients will love.
|Tonga bezi’s Tree House is a top pick for couples who want privacy.|
Mchenja Bush Camp is part of Norman Carr Safaris and offers a top-of-the-line wilderness experience for those who really want to get up-close-and-personal with nature. Guests at the camp can choose to go on game drives whenever they like or on game-viewing walks (with guides, of course).
And for pure exclusivity, the camp has only five thatched-roof tents with a deck in front overlooking the Luangwa river. (This isn’t roughing it, of course: All the tents have indoor baths and outdoor showers.)
Meals at the camp can be (and should be, we say) enjoyed alfresco, either in the bush or alongside the riverbed. And of course, a game drive (or walk) isn’t complete without a proper “sundowner” (cocktail)—be sure to mention any preferences when booking.
The camp does not have its own spa, but in-suite treatments by a visiting therapist can be booked in advance. (Note: While it’s best to book treatments when making the initial reservations, the camp is small enough and can take requests hours in advance.) Reach out to Personal Touch for advance bookings, and ask for Nathalie.
Note: Mchenja is exclusive and private, so getting there takes some time. Visitors should fly to Lusaka and then transfer to a one-hour domestic flight to Mfuwe. From there, the guests can be driven to the camp in a game drive vehicle. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours. Private helicopters can also land at Mfuwe, as long as they’ve been cleared in advance.
Reach out to Marketing Director Christina Carr ([email protected]; 011-260-216-246-025) with any special requests, including permission to land helicopters. Note: For the months from July to October, the camp fills up quickly and should be booked at least a year in advance.
Tongabezi Lodge, which was renovated last year, gives plenty of wildlife experience, but is not a dedicated safari camp. The lodge consists of several private houses on the banks of the Zambezi river, just upstream of Victoria Falls. Visitors who want to explore the falls and its surrounding areas will love this lodge, which is a bit larger than Mchenja and easier to reach. (Visitors can fly into Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone, about 15 miles away from the lodge. They can also land private helicopters at the River Club next door.)
Many activities at Tongabezi involve the river and the falls—think canoeing, fishing, kayaking, white water rafting and helicopter rides over the falls—although visitors can also go on nature walks and game drives.
Tongabezi has private houses as opposed to tents—we hear the most popular picks are the Dog House, Bird House, Tree House, Nut House and Honeymoon House. Each house and cottage has its own valet, who takes care of guests throughout their stay and who acts as a private concierge.
Groups will love Sindabezi Island, which has six cabins set apart from the rest, guaranteeing an exclusive experience. Couples, on the other hand, will want the Sindabezi Honeymoon Chalet, hidden away at the end of Sindabezi Island. (It has a super-romantic, old-fashioned claw-foot bathtub that’s perfect for two.)
Families with younger children will want to stay in the Garden House, a new private cottage a bit farther away from the river (making it safer for kids). It has a full dining room, living room, two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a private garden and private plunge pool.
Foodies will also have plenty to love: Tongabezi grows its own produce in its kitchen garden, and guests can choose to dine alongside the Zambezi river, in their rooms or on a private terrace. For something extra special, request the Sanpan dinner experience: A floating deck on the river is attended by waiters in canoes. Meals are seasonal and generally focus on local cuisine for an authentic experience.
Luxury travel advisors can reach out to Sanja Cloete-Jones ([email protected]) with questions or special requests.
|Tongabezi’s Sindabezi Island is a private camp on the Zambezi river.|
|Mchenja tents feature indoor baths and outdoor showers.|