Our friend and guide in Nairobi, Dave Richard’s wrote a detailed report of the Wilson Safari in 2014:
“At the end of July Priscilla Wilson and her family arrived for another safari and on the following afternoon we visited the Nairobi National Park. Although we were only in the park for a short time we did find a pride of Lions, 2 males and several females and we also found a Black Rhino. Next morning we drove out of Nairobi to the Kiambethu Tea Estate. The Estate’s garden was very colourful and with lots of birds. Priscilla and I spent the time photographing birds while the rest of the family did a tour of the Tea Estate.
The following morning, 29th July, we had an early start as we were due to fly from Nairobi to Lusaka, Zambia. Early on in the flight we had wonderful views of Kilimanjaro from the left side of the aircraft and the Masai’s sacred mountain Lengai and Ngorongoro Crater on the other.
After Immigration at Lusaka we were soon air-borne again heading to the South Luangwa National Park. It was just short of 40 years since my last visit and what a change. Mufue Airstrip is now Mufue International Airport and the road to the National Park is now lined with villages. Forty years ago, we crossed the Luangwa River by a pontoon, now there is a modern bridge.
After a short drive we were soon in Norman Carr’s Mchenja Bush Camp, which is situated on the banks of the Luangwa River. We spent 3 nights at Mchenja which gave us 2 full days exploring this area seeing lots of Elephants, Thorneycroft’s Giraffe, Puku, Greater Kudu and 2 Lion prides, one eating an African Buffalo. Night drives here were exciting with Civets, Genets, Honey Badgers, Porcupines, tiny Elephant Shrews, a pride of Lions and a brief view of a Leopard. Birdlife was good here too.
From here, we moved to a more remote area of the Luangwa and Norman Carr’s Luwe Camp for 2 nights. Luwe was one of Norman Carr’s favourite camps and is on the banks of the Luwe River, which was dry at this time of the year.
The wildlife was not so prolific in this area but one day, while Priscilla and I spent time at a hide by a waterhole, the rest of the family went on a walking safari.
From Luwi Camp we drove to Norman Carr’s new camp, Chinzombo Camp, for 2 nights. Chinzombo Camp is on the banks of the Luangwa but on the opposite side of the river to the National Park, which meant that we had to cross the river by boat before and after every game drive. Chinzombo is one of the modern, new-type of upmarket Camp/Lodges that all safari companies are building now. The rooms are huge and each one had a large plunge pool outside. The wildlife viewing in the area was good with wonderful Thorneycroft’s Giraffes and Crawshay’s Zebra. Crawshay’s Zebras are very similar to East African Zebras, having no shadow strips. Night drives were interesting and we managed to add a family of Bush Pigs to our mammal list.
Early next morning we left Chinzombo and drove to Mufue for our flight to Lusaka and on to Livingstone. Unfortunately, our bags were loaded onto the wrong aircraft, which delayed our arrival at Livingstone and to find no one there to meet us. Eventually, transport was found and we were soon enjoying a late lunch at the Zambezi Sun Hotel.
The Zambezi Sun Hotel is adjacent to the famous Victoria Falls which are a short stroll away. Later in the afternoon we paid our first visit to the Falls but the direction of the light was not good for photography. Next morning after an early breakfast, we again visited the Falls, this time the light was perfect. Unfortunately, we could not stay too long as we were due to drive to our next destination.
Leaving Livingstone we now drove for 45 min to Kazangula, here 4 countries, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet at the Zambezi. After clearing Zambian Immigration we crossed the Zambezi by boat into Botswana and, after clearing Botswana immigration we now drove to Kasane which is on the banks of the Chobe River. At Kasane we had to pass through Botswana Immigration again, before taking a boat over the Chobe River to Namibia. Arriving on the Namibia side of the river we were told to take a rough path up a small hill, turn left at the first Baobab tree and we should find the Namibian Immigration office’!
After Immigration we again boarded our boat, for a short ride to Ichingo Lodge for 2 nights. All activities here are by boat, we had the use of a special Photographic Boat, which had seats fitted with camera mounts and able to swivel 360°.
The trips along the river were great, not only were we able to get close to birds but Crocs and Hippos allowed us to approach very closely.
After spending 2 nights at the Lodge we transferred into the Ichobezi Houseboat. This was the highlight of the Safari, mostly the Houseboat was tied up on the river bank, while we travelled along the river in our Photographic Boat. At lunch time while we were enjoying lunch, it would slowly move along the river to its next destination.
After two wonderful nights on the Houseboat it was, unfortunately, time to leave. Retracing our steps from a few days earlier, we eventually arrived at Livingstone Airport for our flights home.”