We have been fortunate enough to visit a number of extremely beautiful, wild safari places and as such, we tend to have high expectations for any piece of wilderness we visit. In addition, any visit to the Luangwa always has high expectations for a quality safari experience. This being said, our visit to Luambe in September completely exceeded these expectations on every level!

This little hidden gem of a park in the Luangwa Valley has quietly existed whilst it’s bigger cousins to the South and North have gradually got busier and more commercial. The net result is that all of a sudden, Luambe has become this little pocket of the Luangwa reminiscent of what the early arrivals in the valley found.

In the future, much will be said about the extraordinary hippo pod that lives in front of camp – and rightly so – they are entirely enchanting. But what really struck us is the quality and the pristine nature of the vegetation. The miombo is stunning and alive with birdlife whilst the cathedral mopane glades provide the keen photographer a canvas for stunning shots. Once you get onto the Chipuka Plains, the views are wide and limitless.

Elephant were seen regularly but always accorded the appropriate level of respect due to animals that are learning to trust people again after years of neglect and persecution. Other large herbivores like zebra, eland, giraffe, buffalo and Cookson’s wildebeest can all be found as well as smaller antelope including puku, kudu, bushbuck and even oribi to name a few. Wild dog have been sighted on a few occasions through the year across the magnificent Chipuka Plains and leopard and lion are regular visitors to the camp’s waterhole although are seen less frequently.

However, more than the setting and the wildlife, the magic of Luambe lies in the atmosphere of the camp and the park. Unlike so many hidden gems in Zambia, Luambe is already very advanced in the ‘healing’ process and therefore it allows the visitor the chance to discover a new park awakening. As Adrian Carr described, it really is like experiencing the Luangwa Valley as it used to be!