By:Christopher A. Pape
Deep in the heart of the southern African country of Zambia, in the South Luangwa National Park, quietly exists two very special safari camps: Camp Chinzombo and Luwi Camp of Norman Carr Safaris. What makes these camps so special is the area in which they’re located. South Luangwa is a one of Zambia’s premier wildlife reserves, if not one of the finest in all of Africa. We’re not talking about a wildlife reserve stocked with game, but a natural, unspoiled lush park with one of Africa’s major river systems, the Luangwa River, sustaining life to the abundant amount of vegetation and game that thrives in this region. The park is also home to the largest concentration of hippos in the world, over 5,000 of them. In fact, the park itself is the playground for over 60 different animals species, including lion, leopard and elephant as well as 450 different types of birds; needless to say, the wildlife here is plentiful.
Part of the Norman Carr Safari portfolio, Camp Chinzombo and Luwi offer their guests a high level of service and luxury in, quite literally, the middle of nowhere. Norman Carr is the leader in walking safaris, having been the first to introduce them in the region. Both camps have walking safaris that you should take full advantage of while visiting. Walking gives an entirely new perspective from the more traditional jeep safari. You become one with the earth; footing is difficult as the elephants leave gapping holes in the ground making for uneven terrain. But whether encountering a herd of elephant or a group of zebras, your ground level view will give you a new perspective on the animal’s habitat.
Camp Chinzombo was newly opened to the public in 2013 and is set on the banks of the Luangwa River with 60 acres of private land. Designed by the award-winning architect team of Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, it’s a departure from the more traditional safari camps normally found in Zambia and offers a heightened level of luxury and is a standard-bearer for properties in the whole of the country. The Chinzombo Camp is environmentally conscious and designed with minimal impact to nature. The camp utilizes the surrounding Msikzi trees to shade the accommodations and the buildings use recycled or recyclable materials with interiors of locally produced leather and floors of recycled composite timber. There are six villas here, five private villas and a larger family villa with luxurious bathrooms and private plunge pools overlooking the Luangwa. The decor is simple and minimal, utilizing raw linen, timber, copper and handmade crockery. Each villa is equipped with wireless Internet, a yoga and exercise area, as well as a spa facility. The villas are connected via a footpath that eventually leads to a lounge and dining area.