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Norman Carr Safaris love having families on safari! They know what it is like to travel with children and the normal safari routine sometimes does not suit younger travelers so, this safari tour can allocate families the proper attention in order for them to set their own routine, enjoy shorter safaris with an emphasis on child friendly activities, and suitable mealtimes and menus.
Known as the Luangwa river lodge, Kakuli is a tented bush camp with spectacular views on the banks of the Luangwa River which makes for perfect Zambian safari accommodation. It is the only true bush camp open for the green season.
Kakuli means old buffalo bull and it was the nickname affectionately given to Norman Carr by the local people of the Valley. This beautiful camp has four traditional walk-in safari tents each with en-suite bathrooms made with natural materials. The bar and dining chitenje (lounge) is constructed of reed and thatch forming the center point of the camp. The entire camp is on an elevated stretch of river bank overlooking a wide grazing lawn which follows the Luangwa River until it meets the confluence of the Luwi River.
A lovely thatched chitenje acts as the centre of the camp. It is on a wooden deck overlooking the grazing lawn that leads down to the two rivers and is a perfect spot in which to relax and watch the wildlife meander by.
This area of the South Luangwa Park is renowned for offering guests some of the best game viewing opportunities in Zambia. African safari activities from Kakuli can be a mixture of game drives and walking safaris. Guests are able to decide each day if they want to venture out on foot or with the vehicle.
Most evenings however, you will want to explore the area after dark. This stretch of the Luangwa is bustling with predators and the best time to see them in action is during those first few hours of darkness.
Aubrey Njobvu has been the guide and manager at Kakuli for many years and no one knows the resident pride of lion, local leopards, wildlife habits, and hidden wonders around Kakuli like he does.
Kasaka river lodge is a 20-bed tented camp offering an authentic and memorable safari experience. Nestled on the banks of the Zambezi River in the Chiawa Game Management area it is set in a natural bush environment with each chalet secluded amongst the native flora, only four kilometers by road from the Lower Zambezi National Park.
This is the only stretch on the 2,700 kilometer course of the Zambezi River where one finds national parks on both banks of the river - the Lower Zambezi National Park in
Zambia and the famed Mana Pools World Heritage Site in Zimbabwe. The river extends the length of the property and there are breathtaking views over the water with sightings of buffaloes, elephants, hippos, and crocodiles. The philosophy of combining a tranquil, off the beaten track, destination for guests with support of the local environment, culture, and natural resources is their dream at Kasaka.
The rooms are generally spacious, each containing two three-quarter or one king-sized bed. Chinzombo, Mchenja, and Kakuli have family villas or tents with up to three additional beds for children. There is wardrobe and shelving storage in the rooms at all camps, and an indoor or outdoor comfortable seating area and table. Rooms in all camps have en-suite bathroom facilities (in the bush camps these are private open-air bathrooms), with plenty of hot water, towels, and toiletries. After dark, a member of staff will accompany you to and from your room, lighting the way, and watching out for local wildlife.
On arrival in Zambia you will be met at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) also known as Lusaka Airport and will connect to your flight to Mfuwe. You will be met at Mfuwe by one representative of the staff and driven to Chinzombo, where you will have time to settle in before brunch. In the evening your guide will introduce you to one of Africa’s finest national parks, renowned for its variety of wildlife the Luangwa never fails to impress. After dark you will search for predators on the prowl and the myriad of smaller nocturnal animals that make these night drives so interesting.
Your flight from Mfuwe is via Lusaka and will drop you at Royal Airstrip. A short drive from there brings you to Kasaka River Lodge, idyllically set on the Zambezi River. With the steep escarpment behind you and the Zambezi in front few can fail to be moved by what surrounds you at this camp. Activities are varied. You may choose a walk or drive, a sunset boating jaunt, drifting downstream watching buffaloes and elephants playing in the waters as the sun turns them pink, or, for the more adventurous, a paddle in canoes along one of the many channels frequented by hippos, elephants, and bucks.
Norman Carr Safaris love having families on safari. They know what it’s like to travel with children and understand that the normal safari routine sometimes doesn’t suit younger travelers so, they try to allocate families their own guide and vehicle (extra charges may apply) in order for them to set their own routine, enjoy shorter safaris with an emphasis on child-friendly activities, and mealtimes and menus to suit.
There are plenty of safari activities ideally suited to children and many wildlife species can be seen even by these less patient visitors, and great fun can be had tracking and identifying footprints and droppings.
The African bush holds so many treasures and there are few things more rewarding than seeing the awe in a child's face as he is brought close to a herd of elephants or crouches to watch a dung beetle rolling its carefully prepared bundle across the ground.
Whilst most families will want to stay together for their game viewing, there will also be times when the older generations want some time alone, either on a more extensive walking safari than is suited to children, or perhaps just in the bar or at dinner in the evening.
At the start of any family safari Norman Carr Safaris will discuss how you want things to work. They are used to organizing children’s meals at special times, they offer junior game viewing checklists and activities both in the vehicles and on foot (you would be surprised how many different types of dung can be found in the bush just around camp), and they can offer childminding services, posting a member of staff on guard outside your room, whilst you relax over dinner. A dedicated specialist private guide and vehicle can help ensure that the length and content of each safari drive ideally suits you and your family.
Other activities that you may wish to include in your safari holiday are: visiting the local school or village, making traditional clay pots, and learning to play traditional African rhythms on the drums. There are also ‘art safaris’ at the local workshop of tribal textiles, where kids and parents alike can paint and create their very own textile piece to take home.
Based at Chinzombo, Shaddy is a bush camp operations manager, who managed Nsolo for 15 years. He is currently concentrating on private guiding. He worked with Norman at Chinzombo, and participated in a Guides Exchange to the Lower Zambezi. Shaddy is also on the board of examiners for the SLNP guide’s exams.
Abraham is also based at Chinzombo, and a bush camp operations manager. Trained under Norman, he is an award winning guide, and has particular knowledge on the Thornicroft giraffe. Abraham also manages the Kapani School Project and is chair of the South Luangwa Guide’s Association.
Aubrey manages Kakuli, and he participated in a guides exchange to Canada in 2010. He has an extreme love of snakes, and manages to find scorpions everywhere.
Lawrence manages Luwi, he is extremely good with kids, and an excellent mimic of birds. He participated in a guides exchange to the Lower Zambezi.
Charles is a tour guide based at Kapani, a brand new addition to the safari guiding team, and very enthusiastic too. He has guided a few international film crews in the past 12 months.
Based at Kapani, Julius has a very patient nature, he enjoys guiding photographers, and he reads people very well and takes time to understand his guests.
John manages Mchenja and has a keen eye for small details in the bush. He also enjoys mammals and participated in a guides exchange to the Lower Zambezi in 2011.
Innocent is based at Liuwa Plain, enjoys photography and guiding photographers, and always has a huge smile on his face. He participated in a guides exchange to the Lower Zambezi.
Based at Liuwa Plain, Brain is always up for a joke and has a jolly laugh. He is a specialist walking guide around the Luwi River area and he is an expert on hippos as well.He can very well imitate their sound.
Philemon manages Nsolo, and he is very gentle and softly spoken with a keen sensitivity to the bush. One of his favourite phrases is ‘this is the google of the bush’. His wife, Dorica, is a fabulous chef and makes the best chicken schnitzel in Mfuwe.
Dave is the company's managing director and also a walking guide, but doesn’t guide often, much to his disappointment! He completed the Zimbabwean Wildlife darting course in 2008, and is an honorary ranger under the Zambian Wildlife Authority. he took a degree in wildlife science and agribusiness. Dave is fascinated by animal behavior and interactions.
Zambia is regarded by many as one of the last true wildernesses and this continent's greatest secret. From the mighty Victoria Falls to the world renowned National Parks of the Luangwa and Zambezi Valleys, there are incredible opportunities to explore and a vast range of habitats, species, terrain, and natural wonders.
Visitor numbers are small as Zambia is not on the main tourist trail. Its vast areas of pristine wilderness have remained unchanged for millennia and the opportunity to explore these areas and to see the wildlife that inhabits them without having to share the experience with too many others is a privilege hard to find these days.
Norman Carr, the pioneer of the walking safaris, said that from a vehicle you can see Africa, but when on foot you experience and feel Africa. You become part of the landscape, no longer just a spectator.
Conservation and creating opportunities in the local community remain priorities, and guiding is still based on the principles that Norman Carr developed. Norman Carr Safaris are all proud to continue in his footsteps and carry on his legacy.
The Luangwa Valley has one of the highest concentrations of game in Africa, making it a fantastic destination for a safari. The lush riverine vegetation is interspersed with fertile grazing lawns and numerous ox-bow lagoons close to the river itself.
Large pods of hippos occupy many stretches of the river particularly within the park itself, there are estimated to be at least 50 to 100 hippos per kilomter in the most heavily populated stretches. South Luangwa National Park is one of the best places in Africa to see leopard, they are usually a secretive animal but in the Luangwa their habits have changed somewhat as a result of the density of their population, and whilst there’s no guarantee, guests staying longer than two or three days would be extremely unlucky not to see leopards.
Prides of up to 30 lions are common throughout the Valley and the areas around the various bush camps are particularly good for lion. Hyenas are fairly common and their eerie cry, so characteristic of the African bush, can be heard on most nights and often late at night when you’re lying in bed ready for sleep.
Other carnivores that may be seen on your wildlife safari in Zambia's Luangwa Valley are caracal, serval, and side-striped jackal. The wild dog population in the Luangwa is worthy of note as this has been steadily increasing over recent years and sightings of this endangered creature are now quite common.
Baboons and vervet monkeys are the most prolific primates, but the nocturnal bush-baby and night apes are also seen.
The Luangwa River also has an extraordinarily high number of crocodiles. It is not uncommon to see several basking on the riverbanks and sandbanks.
Night drives are a fascinating treat on any safari but particularly so in the Luangwa Valley. Not only is this the time that you are most likely to see the predators hunting, but there are a whole host of animals to be seen which are normally not active during daylight hours. Genets, civets, and mongoose are all common whilst the porcupines and honey-badgers are always very entertaining.
Birdwatching is superb in the Luangwa Valley, with over 400 of Zambia's 732 species of birds living here. There are 39 species of raptor and 47 migrant species, so there is plenty for any birdwatcher to spot throughout the year. Whatever the main emphasis of your safari, you can’t fail to be impressed by the birds with their ridiculously bright colours and intricate songs.
Near the end of the dry season, when the river and oxbow lagoons begin to recede, hundreds of waterbirds can be seen wading through the shallows. The red faced yellow billed storks move with their beaks open underwater, disturbing the muddy water with their feet until the fish stray into their mouths. The pelicans tend to operate in lines abreast, driving the fish before them into shallows before scooping them up into their beak pouches. The striking one meter and sixty centimeters saddle bill stork makes quick darting movements into the water. Then there's the marabou stork, great white egrets, black headed herons, open billed storks, and the stately goliath heron. Amongst the most beautiful are the elegant crowned cranes, with their golden tufts congregating in large flocks at the salt pans and haunting “owani” calls.
You have all meals included in the price of this safari, as well as the standard bar drinks at any accommodation. If you have specific dietary requirements please let Norman Carr Safaris know before you arrive as they can then accommodate most reasonable requests for alternate dietary needs.
During your free time, you may choose a walk or drive, a sunset boating jaunt, drifting downstream watching buffaloes and elephants playing in the waters as the sun turns them pink, or, for the more adventurous, a paddle in canoes along one of the many channels frequented by hippos, elephants, and bucks is also an option.
Please book your flights to Lusaka Airport also known as Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN). From there you can pick a domestic flight to reach Mfuwe Airport (MFU). Norman Carr Safaris will pick you up from Mfuwe Airport (MFU) and drive you to the safari location.