Luangwa Safari House. South Luangwa. Zambia
Why we like it
Luangwa Safari House is in a private concession bordering South Luangwa National Park and gives access to one of the wildest and most exciting wildlife destinations on earth. This park has one of the highest densities of leopards anywhere and offers wonderful sightings of lion, elephant, giraffe and other big game. The house which was built by master bush architecht Neil Rochet has a classic nostalgic atmosphere with a triple volume thatch roof, suspended staircases and rooms which open to the wonderful world outside. Best of all its run by the wonderful Robin Pope Safari team which has one of the best reputations in Zambia and excellent guides and staff.
What to expect
The 4 bedrooms (two upstairs and two downstairs) are individually furnished and feature big bathrooms (one has a brass bath) and exquisite views. There is a splendid dining table carved from a massive fallen ebony tree and lorded over by a large chandellier. The swimming pool and deck area (where lunches are often served) overlook a waterhole where elephants, giraffe and other game are frequently encountered. Luangwa Safari House has its own team of exceptional staff including a chef, waiters and a guide (often the wonderful Jacob Shawa) and a private game drive vehicle so you can feel thoroughly on your own.
What to do
Throughout the year, morning and afternoon game drives, sundowners and bush dinners are on offer. South Luangwa is also famous for its walking safaris and its a great place to get close to animals on foot. During the rainy season its possible to go boating up the Luangwa River. Its also recommended to visit the local school supported by Robin Pope Safaris and enjoy a wonderful cultural experience.
The house is open to children of 8 years and over and the staff are so accommodating. It is not suitable for toddlers on account of its steep staircases and high balconies and open pool.
The good news
Robin Pope Safaris has equipped classrooms, paid teacher's salaries and provided local school children with bursaries for many years. A portion of all visitors income is put towards Project Luangwa that supports schools throughout the area.
When to go
The summer months from January to March can be very lush with excellent birding and the wonderful option of boating on the river. The best game viewing is during the dry season from June to October when the bush is less dense.
How to get there
It's a 70-minute flight from Lusaka to Mfuwe and from there its a one hour drive to the house. There are also flights direct to Chongwe River House and Tangala (sister villas in Zambia) as well as Malawi.