The intoxicating scent of untamed jasmine fills the air, there’s a slight chill and mist rises from the river, because the solar peeps over the horizon the sky turns from pale gray, to shades of lilac and pink. We are heading downstream, in direction of the boundary of Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.
A whirring noise signifies my husband has simply made his first solid of the day. Fishing for Tiger fish is a seasonal specialty of the Zambezi River and, a minimum of so far as my husband is worried, is among the finest safari actions of all! Tiger fish are someplace between a trout and a piranha on the evolutionary scale, and are outfitted with giant bony jaws and a mouthful of razor-sharp enamel.
Tiger fish are famend for his or her pace, agility and robust will to battle – fishing for these recent water recreation fish is at all times a problem. Prized species such because the coveted Tiger fish and vundu (catfish) make the Lower Zambezi any sport angler’s dream vacation spot. Twenty minutes after his first solid, my husband is reeling in his first catch of the day, a 15.5lbs Tiger, which is adopted, a number of casts later, by one other barely smaller Tiger, although this one one way or the other manages to slide over the facet on its approach from the web to the size.
Not a eager fisherman myself, I’ve been preoccupied with the surroundings. Clouds of queleas fly again to the mainland, from the islands the place they’ve been roosting in a single day. Black Crakes, Yellow-bill storks and Woolly-Necked storks flit and preen within the shallows. A pair of African Skimmers fly simply above the water, their vivid orange beaks dipping into the river, as a pair of Pied kingfishers dive repeatedly, fishing for breakfast. Pods of hippos, with nostrils, eyes and ears simply above the water verify us out as we drift previous, and the banks are lined with crocodiles, warming themselves within the early morning solar.
The Zambezi River, the fourth longest in Africa, passes by a number of nations and numerous fantastic locations on its journey from supply to sea. Emerging from the bottom as a tiny effervescent spring in north-western Zambia, the river passes by japanese Angola, alongside Namibia’s north-eastern border and the northern border of Botswana, then kinds the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe, earlier than flowing throughout Mozambique and in the end emptying into the Indian Ocean. There are many particular locations alongside this extraordinary river, however certainly one of my very favorites needs to be Zambia’s magnificent and wild, Lower Zambezi National Park.
Found on the northern banks of the Zambezi, within the south east of Zambia, the Lower Zambezi National Park is 4,092km² of pristine wilderness. From herds of elephants, to hovering fish eagles, and all the things in between, it is a particular place. A timeless valley of large towering Winterthorn timber, and the wildlife that discover sanctuary of their dappled shade.
Delighted with the morning’s fishing, we slowly head again to the lodge, recreation viewing as we go. Zambezi Grande Private Game Experience, poised excessive on the banks of the Zambezi River, is an expensive, privately owned recreation lodge, simply minutes upstream by boat, from the Lower Zambezi National Park. In 2021 Zambezi Grande launched into a complete lodge redesign by the hands of Michele Throssell Interiors, and the result’s one thing actually particular, and filled with outdated world allure. What had been, for all intents and functions, a Cape Dutch model vacation house on the banks of the Zambezi, underwent a metamorphosis. The 5 free standing Superior Suites are gorgeous, with their riverfront settings, expansive verandas, out of doors showers and delightful finishes. The 5 smaller, however no much less beautiful, Luxury Rooms, with their up to date finishes, present all of the consolation you can need for on safari. The major space of the lodge itself, with its cleverly chosen furnishings and materials and thoroughly curated equipment, has an open plan format, guaranteeing river views from wherever you stand, sit or recline. Every element of the lodge has been fastidiously thought-about, and results of a superbly designed area in a shocking location. (And a photo voltaic farm was put in, enabling the complete lodge to run off grid).
At evening, when the solar has set and the darkish descends, the magic of Zambezi Grande comes into its personal and turns into a fascinating escape. With a blanket of stars overhead and a mild night breeze, we sat by the firepit, drink in hand and listened to the sound of the wild that surrounded us. An elephant trumpeted in alarm, a hippo splashed within the water close by whereas a hyena referred to as within the distance, an owl hooted and its mate returned its name, and the crickets and cicadas buzzed and chirped within the timber overhead.
Morning, and we have been up early once more, however to not fish. This time heading into the park itself for a recreation drive. The dramatic, brown and inexperienced, folds and wrinkles of the magnificent Zambezi escarpment flatten out as they arrive down in direction of the river. Against this spectacular mountain backdrop, we head by the Winterthorn forest. The forest was filled with waterbuck, males with spectacular horns and females with younger in tow.
Our morning was crammed with sightings. Several male kudu, with their trademark corkscrew horns, herds of impala, monkeys jumped type tree to tree and baboons foraged and groomed each other on the forest flooring. 6 lions lay within the shade, some crunching on the left-over bones of a waterbuck and the others resting after what had been a busy evening. We rounded one other nook and located an enormous fallen Winterthorn tree, that had attracted a herd of elephants, 25 or 30 robust. We waited and watched as they tore aside the fallen tree, feasting on leaves, bark and twigs, and crunching their approach by branches that broke with a convincing crack of their jaws. Several children, who have been clearly nonetheless suckling, tried to imitate their elders by waved bunches of leaves within the air, and making comical makes an attempt to get them of their mouths. It was fantastic to see so many elephants collectively – large and small, grownup and child, feminine and male; introduced collectively by the feast of greenery. Once they have been executed with the tree, they might go their separate methods; matriarchs, moms and infants heading a method, bulls and younger males one other.
Afternoon got here, and we have been again on the river. Cruising previous islands and sandbanks. Migratory Carmine Bee-eaters, with their vibrant colors and loud chirping calls, swooped overhead and a herd of elephants crossed the huge deep river in entrance of us, pausing to eat the lengthy grass on one of many islands, earlier than persevering with to the financial institution on the opposite facet.
We handed an island the place two outdated male buffaloes, trapped for months by the excessive waters and the ever-present crocodiles, grazed on the luxurious grass. On one other island, three feminine waterbucks, additionally stranded, appeared pensively in direction of the mainland. A child hippo stood on the river financial institution, reluctant to enterprise into the water, regardless of the reassuring grunts from the remainder of the pod, who waited within the shallows like a mom and aunties, giving encouragement wish to a toddler at a swimming lesson.
If you might be studying this text wherever aside from on A Luxury Travel Blog, then the probabilities are that this content material has been stolen with out permission.
Please make an observation of the net handle above and call A Luxury Travel Blog to advise them of this problem.
Thank you in your assist in combatting content material theft.
When David Livingstone reached the Lower Zambezi Valley in December 1855, he recorded in his journal the wild great thing about the place… “Hundreds of buffaloes and zebra grazed in the open space, and beneath the trees stood lordly elephants feeding majestically. The number of animals was quite astonishing. I wished I could have photographed a scene so seldom beheld…” Surrounded by the park’s magnificence we knew precisely how he had felt. As the day drew to a detailed, the solar sank low within the sky, turning the river to liquid gold. Elephants referred to as from throughout the river, a pair of hippos fought noisily for territory, herons squawked as they roosted for the evening. Gradually the world round us grew quiet. It was the proper finish, to an ideal day, in an ideal place.