Hosted Zambia safari with Lucinda Rome
As part of a series of hosted trips led by some of the most experienced travellers in the Aardvark Safaris’ sales team, Lucinda will be heading back to Zambia in June 2022 (see full details here). If you are interested in joining this wonderful safari, we thought you might like to know a bit more about her African travels.
Over to Lucinda ……
I have explored all over Southern and East Africa during my 10 years with Aardvark Safaris. Among many incredible experiences, I’ve tracked chimpanzees in Tanzania and Uganda, flown along the Skeleton Coast with the Schoeman brothers, notched rhino at Kwandwe in South Africa, slept under the stars, walked, ridden, and boated in numerous national parks, and driven from Uganda to Zimbabwe, and Botswana to Mozambique. It’s impossible to summarise fully everything I have seen and done, but among absolute highlights are riding through the floodwaters of the Okavango Delta and being shown a baby chimp by its mother in the Mahale Mountains. I’d dreamt about the former for years and it more than lived up to expectations, the latter was just a wonderfully unexpected and very intimate moment.
I am often asked my favourite African country. For me, there’s only one answer and that’s Zambia. It’s where I spent four years managing camps in the South Luangwa National Park and feels like home. I travelled all over, spent time in beautiful wilderness areas, marvelled at the extraordinary wildlife, met some of Africa’s finest guides, enjoyed an incredible range of safari activities, and stayed in superb camps staffed and hosted by wonderful people. Mix all of that together and you have a superb safari destination.
Managing remote camps certainly came with their unique challenges, and elephants could be particularly problematic. I woke one morning to find they’d knocked down the bush fridge ruining all our fresh fruit and veg. That situation was saved by tinned fruit for breakfast and then me spending the morning like a vulture scavenging food from neighbouring camps so normal service was resumed by lunchtime. On another occasion I woke to hear rushing water and discovered elephant had dug up our water pipes – keeping them away while the team fixed the holes in the middle of the night was quite a trial. Getting stuck, or unfinished roads, were often an issue and many a time there was a bit of last minute scramble to set up a fly camp or surprise bush breakfast. I’m proud to say the guests never knew our behind the scenes issues, the only occasional give away was the chef’s whites not quite so white after our brush with the mud.
If I had to pick a perfect time to visit, it would be June. Everything still looks fresh from the rains (which finish in March), but the vegetation has died back a bit making wildlife easier to spot. It’s a particularly wonderful time for wildlife photography. The temperature is perfect; warm – but not yet the fiery heat experienced later in the year. Normally your safari day is divided into morning and evening wildlife drives, but June is also a lovely time of year to spend a full day out in the bush. It’s a real treat to set off with a picnic lunch and let the day unfold with no pressure to return at any set time.
My hosted trip combines the country’s two premier parks and a couple of my favourite camps. It will showcase Zambia’s highlights and some of her hidden gems. We will, in the company of some superb guides, have the chance to spot wildlife and fabulous birdlife on foot, from canoes, boats and vehicles. During the day we can expect sightings of elephant, wild dog, giraffe, lion, zebra, hippo, kingfishers, eagles, hyena and so much more. And at night we can look for leopard, porcupine and a range of other nocturnal species.
Acting as your host I can smooth out any wrinkles, can navigate you through African airports which don’t always flow as one would hope and whisk you through immigration after a long flight. I’ll make sure your favourite sundowner is on tap and can even dig a field oven and cook in the ground should there be a kitchen failure (it has happened to me before and I know a ground oven can bake delicious cakes and bread as well as cook a whole ham!)
I look forward to sharing both my experience of Zambia and years of meticulous safari planning to ensure we have the safari of a lifetime.
If you would like to join Lucinda on this wonderful Zambian safari, or would like to chat about any aspect of the itinerary or Zambia in general please do get in touch. Just send us an email or give us a call and we would be delighted to help.