South Luangwa National park

South Luangwa National park

South Luangwa National park, lies at the tip of the Rift valley that runs from the red sea. It centres around the Luangwa river and teems with Cape buffalo, hippo and elephant.

With an area of almost 10,000 square kilometers it is a large place and is fairly respected as one of the great wildlife reserves in Africa.

One of the first bits of land set aside in Africa for photographic safari (rather than hunting)  it has been known for generations as a fantastic place to photograph wildlife in its natural habitat. It is also one of the last large reserves largely unfenced, though natural barriers play this role effectively along much of its borders.

In more recent times, it was also the place that the walking safari was developed.

Chikunto Safari Lodge

Chikunto Lodge lies surrounded by rolling plains, plateaus, river banks and miombo vegetation.

Chikunto Lodge has 5 suites- 4 luxury suites and a family suite. As such, even if it is totally full, it will never feel packed. With the expansive patio areas and different places it is possible to eat, you can choose spend time with the other guests, particularly around the fire in the evening, or to find a space to sit with the group you came with.

The lodge is set on stilts on the edge of an area of grassland and water. This means that you can see  a great deal of wildlife, sitting in comfort eating your meals, or having a cool drink. 

Chikunto Safari lodge lies within the South Luangwa national park of Botswana. with the whole lodge built on stilts, raising it about 1.5m above the plains, you get  a particularly good view of the animals walking past and the Luangwa river.

With a wide range of activities to enjoy, and different ways to see the local wildlife, from game drives and boat rides, to eating outdoors watching the wildlife walk past, or a wonderful picnic when out on an excursion.

Alternatively for a change, you can go for a walk with highly experience guides. Not only will they be able to show you things that you would not usually notice, but they will protect you should you have a particularly close encounter with a wild animal.

Each suite is separate, and gives you a luxurious amount of space. The rooms feel like an expensive hotel room, however because you are actually in a tent, you can hear all the animals from the surrounding area.

Selous game reserve

The Selous is a vast area of savannah wilderness, in central Tanzania. Much of this reserve is set aside for hunting, but the reserve covers 50,000 square miles. As such the 5% set aside for photographic safari (this is the area with the highest density of game), is still large. The Selous has around a quarter of the world’s remaining wild lions,  and indeed lion encounters are almost guaranteed.

Only around 2000 people enter this huge area each year,  which makes it different to most other reserves. All animals you see will be found by you, but you will have them to yourself. The pace of the reserve is far slower than more busy reserves elsewhere.

It is quite an expensive park to visit, but all the private camps are luxurious. There are 2 public camps, and these are also very comfortable (though in these you look after yourself).

A trip to the Selous may be expensive, but will be a time that you remember forever. Only around 2000 people enter this huge area each year,  which makes it different to most other reserves. All animals you see will be found by you, but you will have them to yourself.

My trip was highly rewarding, with some wonderful encounters. While this can be complex to arrange on your own, any of the links below can give you a relaxing luxurious experience.

You can book the following Selous lodges and camps below:

Selous Mapumziko Lodge

This lodge is actually 1.9 miles outside the Selous game reserve boundary,but in the centre of the ecosystem. While this could be a problem in other smaller reserves it is not here. There is no fence around the selous at all. The animals can come and go as they want, and so wildlife sightings in the surrounding area will be similar to within. The rooms are highly comfortable. There is a 24 hour front desk, and a bar. There is views of the river here.

Selous Kinga Lodge

This small lodge has only has 10 luxury air conditioned rooms, with balconies and all overlook the river. Services include a restaurant and laundry services and has a fast wired internet connection and small library

Selous Wilderness Camp

This camp is also situated on the Rufiji river, with stunning views. There are 9 authentic safari tents, and 2 family bandas, so it will never feel crowded. They arrange walks from the camp.

Selous Jimbiza Camp

As with the other camps Jimbiza camp overlooks the Rufiji river, and is spread among trees – usually with bush babies to watch in the evenings (fascinating small primates). It has a small pool, but what makes this special is the views you can see from your huts or tents.

Selous River Camp

Public camps – we stayed at Lake Tagalala camp

The public camps are cheaper, however they consist of a long drop toilet, a shelter and some space for your tent. we loved our time in these camps as many nights we had the place completely to our selves. Being so small and often empty, the animals do not keep away. One night a lioness visited the camp while we ate – a moment we still talk about often.

While these are $25 dollars a head, you also have to pay a further $50 dollars a night for a night guard. The fee is the same regardless of the size of the group, but will be due even if the night guard is there with a different group.PP

See Animals Wild