South Luangwa Safari at Lion Camp

Lion Camp is situated in the northern part of Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park and I believe it’s this location that gives this remote camp the edge.  Many safari guests along our travels mentioned how busy the southern part of the park is.  We never felt this up at Lion Camp.  It was a rare occurrence to pass another game viewing vehicle on a drive and we savoured special sightings almost always alone.

We enjoyed a variety of memorable wildlife experiences during our three night / two day stay.  A leopard cub stole our hearts as she chased her tail playfully in a tree … whilst a camouflaged guineafowl-kill provided the clue to lead our astute ranger to a mighty Verreaux’s eagle-owl!

Leopard cub in South Luangwa, Zambia
Leopard cub chasing her tail up a sausage tree!
(L)The Verreaux’s eagle-owl keeping an eye on its prey from above … (R) The Puku antelope is indigenous to this area

The bushveld in and around Lion Camp is alive with movement and sound.  We saw so many creatures ranging from the small and cute chameleon near camp, to flocks of the pretty Lilian’s Lovebirds, to the very large and omnipresent elephant marching the picturesque landscape.  We were thrilled to see Puku for the first time – a woolly, threatened antelope found in a handful of African countries, including Zambia.

The riverside views are spectacular – both at camp and on drives.  Being surrounded by water (in varying degrees at different times of the year) makes for stunning reflections, fantastic water birdlife, huge pods of noisy hippos and lurking floats of crocodiles!

This 10-suite, luxurious 5*lodge is managed by Mantis and is a self-sufficient property with efficient water purifying; vehicle maintenance; waste disposal, sewing and solar power departments (to mention just a few) … all of which run on site with locally trained staff.

Lion Camp Deluxe Suite
One of 2 Deluxe Suites (each with an outside bath)
Lion Camp is the only lodge in the South Luangwa that is carbon neutral
(L) The main lodge area in the dry season (R) The camp’s solar panels – making the most of Zambia’s incredible sunshine

Lion Camp is built on the site where the original scouts stayed while they ran anti-poaching patrols back in 1967. The scouts stayed in small round houses which were then the first permanent structures built within the Luangwa National Park.  These three original structures have now been converted into a little gym, library and photographic studio for guests to use – a lovely ode to the roots of this area.

Despite supplies being hard to source in such a remote area, every meal that came out of the kitchen was delicious, healthy and beautifully plated. We thoroughly enjoyed the food.

Sunset safari at Lion Camp in Zambia
Murray and Bridget on a sunset drive

Our last night was savoured with a stunning sundowner in the majestic mahogany forest, followed by dinner in a bush boma with a honey badger and a giant elephant shrew keeping close tabs on us.

Lion Camp is a unique, well run, comfortable experience – one we’d return to at the drop of our safari hat!

By Bridget Gardiner
Safari photos by Bridget Gardiner and Wayne Nel

Last-Minute Travel Deal:

Stay 4 nights at Lion Camp and 4 nights at Anabezi Camp in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park – and only pay for 6!
Travel dates: Valid until 31 October 2019

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