Royal Zambezi Lodge

Africa Zambia
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
Royal Zambezi Lodge
7 February 2021

Royal Zambezi Lodge was designed by a family with in-depth knowledge and love of Africa, its heritage and its wildlife. Our vision is to help people, from anywhere across the globe, enjoy the best that Africa has to offer with no compromises in either comfort or well-being.

Set against the breathtaking mountain backdrop of the Zambezi Valley Escarpment, our two-hundred-hectare domain, located within the Chiawa Game Management Area, has three and a half kilometres of unspoiled river frontage on the northern bank of the Zambezi River.

We are situated directly across the river from Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the Zimbabwe side and just minutes from the Lower Zambezi National Park.

Your 5-star accommodation has been painstakingly constructed to retain and enhance the lodge’s unique bush setting while taking advantage of our prime positioning on the mighty Zambezi River and ensuring we capture every glimmer of sunrise from your room.

The lodge offers the perfect combination of contemporary, simplistic style and extreme comfort while providing a pure wilderness experience.

With lions roaring in the distance and hippos snorting in the river, the luxurious thatched suites, elegant design and gourmet cuisine of Royal Zambezi Lodge furnish a perfect base from which to explore this wild and beautiful area.

There are no fences around the lodge, and our regular guests include elephant, hippo, buffalo, lion, leopard and a myriad of bird species coming to visit. Gap, the elephant, is just one of the residents, like Dave the crocodile and Jonathina the Giant Kingfisher, whom we hope you will meet!

Zambia, a landlocked country that lies between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Equator, measures 752, 610 square kilometres in size (about 467,650 square miles).

Our large and diverse country is a land that not only inspired the birth of the famous African walking safari but also rejoices in an abundance of natural wonders, from a vast array of wildlife to huge lakes, mountain ranges and cascading waterfalls.

The largest and most impressive of these waterfalls is Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Very few places on earth offer the absolute freedom and untouched wilderness to be found in the National Parks of Zambia.

The enormous open spaces provide healing elements of serenity and escape from an increasingly obtrusive and multiplying worldwide population. Zambia has been acknowledged as one of the safest countries on earth to visit.

Our people originate from a multitude of cultural backgrounds, and as a result, there is an extensive range of knowledge to be gained from the blend of spiritual traditions and heritage of the more than 70 different tribes who call these lands home.

Other remarkable wildlife phenomena that unfold each year within our borders include the World’s Biggest Mammal Migration, a bat migration in Kasanka National Park in Northern Zambia, the second biggest Wildebeest Migration in Africa in Liuwa National Park, all taking place in the ambit of the mighty Zambezi River, the fourth longest in Africa.

This river is where our story began, and it is the lifeblood of the Lower Zambezi National Park.

The Lower Zambezi National Park
Formed in 1983 and covering an area of 4,092 square kilometres, the Lower Zambezi National Park is Zambia’s first Verified Carbon Standard REDD+ project and pioneered the protection of 40,126 hectares of forest in the Lower Zambezi ecosystem.

Having achieved ‘gold’ level validation against all three categories of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard for its exceptional climate change impacts and community and biodiversity benefits, the Lower Zambezi REDD+ project is now rated the most significantly effective of its kind in the world.

Before being declared a National Park, this wildlife area was reserved as a private park exclusively for the President of Zambia. Situated in the South Eastern part of Zambia, this area provides a natural wildlife corridor running between the Zambezi Escarpment, the northern border of The Great Rift Valley, and one of the world’s most intriguing rivers.

An unspoiled sanctuary sculpted by Mother Nature which displays a vast diversity of wildlife and natural wonders.

Offering a combination of land and water based encounters, the Lower Zambezi is famous for big game from large herds of Elephant and Buffalo, to Lion, Leopard and the African Wild Dog, to large pods of wallowing Hippos, the Nile Crocodile, the legendary Tiger Fish, the African Fish Eagle and many other creatures, big and small.

The entire area is a true wilderness sanctuary with the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mana Pools National Park, situated directly opposite Royal Zambezi Lodge and stretching eastwards for fifty kilometres along the Zambezi shoreline.

Royal Zambezi Lodge offers the discerning traveller a front row seat at these unique wilderness experiences, all the while welcoming you ‘home’ to our luxury tented and thatched lodges overlooking the Zambezi River.

Your stay with us will give you an enduring love of Africa and leave you yearning for your return to a place that has stolen a piece of your heart. An exciting African adventure awaits in the Lower Zambezi National Park, and we look forward to welcoming you to the “Royal” family.

The 15 airy canopied tents nestle under mature trees, each one carefully positioned to ensure maximum enjoyment of the surrounding views while retaining complete privacy. The tents are impeccably finished with a contemporary, understated elegance.

Natural tones, luxurious textures and comfortable armchairs create a secluded retreat. Extra length sprung mattresses, with pure cotton bedding and fine down pillows, ensure a perfect night’s rest.

Presidential Suites
Our 7 Presidential and honeymoon suites epitomise the luxury safari experience. With outside showers, copper baths, private plunge pools, shaded day-beds, the suites provide the ultimate in opulence while allowing guests to immerse themselves in the surrounding wilderness.

Offering luxury at a higher level, our Presidential suites are ideal for honeymoon couples, special occasion getaways, or for those who merely want to experience Zambia’s finest safari accommodation.

Welcome Area, Dining & Lounge
The classic architectural lines and lofty thatched roofs of our open plan reception area, dining room and lounge offer a welcome refuge and a place to relax among comfortable sofas, enormous fireplaces, well-stocked bookcase and most important of all our cheerful personalised service.

The spacious veranda provides shade from the midday sun and the wide timber decks, which extend over the shallows of the Zambezi, are perfect for fine dining under the endless starry skies, while you revel in the sounds of the African night.

The Infinity Pool
After a long day fishing or tracking wildlife the infinity pool, overlooking the river is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Chill out on the sun loungers with a long, cold drink or take a dip in the pool to cool down.

If you are feeling active and want to burn off some of the delicious culinary treats provided by our chefs, there is a rowing machine for anyone to use.

The Bar
The remarkable Sausage Tree bar is situated downstream from the main building, on a deck suspended above the river, where a large Sausage Tree is the centrepiece of this favourite meeting place.

As the sun sets behind the distant escarpment, guests gather for drinks and aperitifs while enjoying lively exchanges about the day’s adventures, listening to the guides recount their stories of memorable encounters or just taking time to sit quietly and experience the magic of sunset in the Lower Zambezi Valley with the soothing murmur of the water below.

Winners 3 years in a row for the World Luxury Spa Awards, the Royal Bush Spa is classed as one of the top spa destinations in the world!

The Royal Zambezi Bush Spa draws its inspiration from the natural beauty surrounding the lodge and is one of Zambia’s only bush spa’s. Its minimalist design exudes an air of complete balance, peace and tranquillity offering the ultimate refuge to restore the mind, body and spirit.

We pride ourselves on our attentive qualified therapist who is at hand to provide you with a wide variety of massages and a host of other therapeutic, beauty and skin care treatments. Many of these use local indigenous ingredients from the African bush further emphasising its beauty and enchantment.

The spa is also the Zambian flagship of the famous and world-leading Dermalogica brand of skin care products. Our spa, proudly positioned on a high vantage point, offers stunning views over the Zambezi River.

The inviting aroma of burning scented candles fills the air from the open-air massage area or private treatment room. A beautifully appointed lounge area invites you to relax and unwind while taking in the remarkable sights and sounds of the resident flora and fauna.

With snorting hippos in the river and the sharp cries of the African Fish Eagle overhead to lull you into relaxation, what more could you ask for during a soothing massage in our award-winning Bush Spa?

Royal Zambezi Lodge prides itself on serving the highest level of cuisine crafted using locally sourced ingredients and will happily tailor menus to various dietary requirements. To ensure you can enjoy your holiday at your pace, we offer flexibility in meal times, and you will be seated at a private table, so there is no rush.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast overlooking the Lower Zambezi River, with the option of continental or a full cooked breakfast to get you ready for the day ahead. Our team of expert chefs will prepare dishes to order or whizz up a healthy smoothie.

Lunch can either be taken under the veranda at the lodge or arranged so that it will not interrupt a good day’s fishing or game drive. With the option of a gourmet picnic lunch or a full outdoor buffet in the National Park, complete with white linen tableware, the concept of outdoor dining takes on a whole new dimension.

Tea will be served in the afternoon before you head out for an activity, and you will be able to relax on the comfy sofas in the lounge with a cup of tea or ice coffee accompanied by freshly baked confectionery.

Dinner is served at private tables under the stars, or by a roaring fire on a cooler night. Alternatively, you may relax in your suite and have dinner brought to your private deck. To celebrate special occasions, you may enjoy drinks by a campfire or candlelit private dinner or a chance to dine in the wilderness.

Would you like to treat a loved one by organising a surprise before your arrival at Royal? Meet Kelvin, our Surprise Supervisor, whose job is solely to focus on planning surprises for our guest to enjoy. Get in touch and start planning that surprise!


A honeymoon is something that will be etched into your memory forever, and we look forward to working with you to make this special occasion at Royal perfect.

Allow us to transport you over the magnificent Zambezi Valley escarpment and river below in comfort and style from a private charter plane or helicopter. For the more adventurous land dwellers, we would be happy to arrange a boat cruise meandering down the Zambezi River to and from Royal.

Our Presidential Suites provide the perfect haven for your honeymoon and ensure absolute privacy for you both with private plunge pools, outdoor day beds, copper bathtubs, and spacious lounges.

How about we spoil you with chilled champagne on ice to enjoy on your shady veranda overlooking the river after the exciting Zambezi adventure you have just shared?

Dine under the stars in the main building at a table for two, or on the privacy of your suite deck. For this special occasion, we can add in an extra element of romance by organising bush or island sun-downers, lunches in the bush, or meals under the stars to surprise your partner.

We will liaise with you each day to arrange activities to best suit you, from sunset boat cruises to a private game drive, or a tranquil canoe trip just for two.

For the more active and competitive couples, you might like to compete to catch the biggest tiger fish which our experienced fishing guides would be more than happy to plan for you!

For those looking to relax you can just do nothing at all (DNA), watch the wildlife at play around camp whilst the Zambezi flows on by and enjoy the Royal Bush Spa where our expert therapist is on hand to provide massages and other treatments.

Royal Zambezi Lodge provides the perfect setting for a smaller intimate wedding enjoyed at one with surrounding nature and the various sounds of Lower Zambezi wilderness.

To create your perfect big day the lodge can be booked in its entirety for absolute privacy and will allow you to sleep and seat a maximum of 30 guests. We can arrange transport to the lodge, either by private charter planes or by river cruise.

In the run-up to the wedding, the Royal Bush Spa can provide massages and other beauty treatments to help you relax, and the presidential suites offer spacious accommodation for the bridal party’s preparations.

The islands in the middle of the Zambezi provide the perfect location for you to share your wedding vows, where your guests will not only consist of friends and family but resident wildlife such as elephants and hippos too!

After the ceremony, you will be whisked off for a romantic river cruise while your guests are taken, by boat, to the venue to await your arrival.

Arrive back at the lodge to a canapé and champagne reception and your wedding meal presented and served on the veranda. Our team of chefs will provide delicious menu options from which you can select your celebration meal, and finish up with a Royal wedding cake.

After dinner, you can dance under the stars to the Royal choir or acoustic ballads and enjoy the famous Sausage Tree bar. The presidential suites are the perfect location for your first night as a married couple with absolute privacy, plunge pools, spacious lounges and shady verandas overlooking the river.

The following day we can organise activities for you and your guests – from river cruises, fishing on the Zambezi, to game drives and bush lunches or merely arrange your transfers onwards.

Are you tired of having meetings in an enclosed room or a high-rise building with noise and distraction all around? Why not surround yourselves with inspiring African wilderness where you can mix business with pleasure?

At Royal, we are able to offer conference facilities with a difference by turning our dining room into a meeting area. Complete with a projector and screen, a large table to seat 30 participants, a refreshing breeze and the most spectacular room with a view!

Situated on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, the lodge offers a magnificent backdrop for corporate events. Fifteen luxury suites accommodate a party of up to 15 people in single suites or 30 in twins with plenty of communal space in the reception area and veranda for socialising and dining. For larger groups, we can organise further accommodation at a nearby lodge.

We will work with you to prepare a tailored itinerary to suit your group, with room for flexibility depending on what activities you desire. The range of activities on offer includes game drives, canoeing, boat cruises, fishing, bush walks and cultural trips to the village.

More relaxing pastimes may be enjoyed in the tranquil Royal Bush Spa, with our attentive therapist on hand to provide massages and other therapeutic beauty treatments.

Fun team-building activities can be organised, including touch rugby on the sand bars by the river, or perhaps a fishing competition to run throughout the duration of your trip. For the evening, your group might enjoy a movie night with a cinema, complete with popcorn, set up outdoors on the veranda.

Perhaps a game drive ending in a fantastic location where surprise sundowners will be laid on, followed by a night safari on the way back to the lodge.

The trip can be rounded off with drinks around a campfire – an excellent opportunity to bond over stories from the last few days, a prize-giving ceremony and farewell dinner under the stars.

We Love Kids!
We have various accommodation combinations to cater to families – if the children are young and you would like them in with you, we can create a family suite in one of the presidential suites.

If they are slightly older and you would like them in their own suites, we have two Deluxe suites with a shared family area in between them and close to the main area. The small family lounge provides a perfect space for children to play while you relax and put your feet up!

If young children need to go to bed early, we have security guards available to guard the suites while you have a romantic dinner on the main deck and they will alert you if required. However, please note that we are unable to provide nannies and childcare.

We will happily cater for children’s dietary requirements – whether it be an early dinner in your suite, or a packed lunch or dinner while enjoying activities, we will always ensure you have food when it’s needed!

Activities can also be tailored to cater for children – whether it be stopping off on a boat trip to play boule on a sand bar, fishing for bream and chessa rather than enormous tiger fish or tailoring a game drive to keep children entertained.

A Royal Day

Safaris are planned very carefully to coincide with the times when you are most likely to see wildlife. This means early, late afternoon, or even night game drives are essential for better chances of seeing animals at their most active. Here’s how a typical day may unfold:

Early Morning
An early start means an equally early wake-up call. We serve a continental breakfast from about 6 am and at sunrise, you head off on your selected early morning activity.

These early starts are generally the best times to spot the wildlife as the temperature is fresh and the animals are still very active, especially the big cats who will be returning from their night’s hunting.

Late Morning
Around late morning, you will return to the lodge maybe for brunch or relax before lunch. If you opt to stay out all day, we will furnish you with a bush lunch to make the most of your time outdoors.

Lunch & Afternoon
Particularly in the hot season, it is usually much hotter in the middle of the day, and so most of our guests opt to have lunch in the lodge then either relax in their suites, have a dip in the pool or a treatment in the bush spa. Tea and cake are available from 3.30pm before you then head out for an afternoon activity.

As with early morning, the evening game drive is often the best time to see the wildlife. The predatory animals begin to stir from their heat-of-the-day slumber, and similarly, their prey becomes ever more active and alert as darkness falls.

Vehicles and boats usually return just before dark giving time for a shower, pre-dinner drinks and then dinner. The evenings are often rounded off with a few drinks around the bar or campfire swapping safari stories.

At times, you will have the opportunity of going on a night game drive. Vehicles are equipped with powerful spotlights, and our expert trackers will generally spot any wildlife well before you will.

The night is often the best time to spot the elusive leopard, which more often than not will be high up in a tree. A game drive at night gives you a completely different perspective of the bush and is an unforgettable experience.

Game Drivers
Forty or so years ago nobody was permitted to enter a game park in Africa unless they were in a fully enclosed vehicle. Walking safaris were unheard of, and the first instances of both were pioneered in Zambia by the late Norman Carr.

Others were quick to follow, and now the open vehicle concept is commonplace, and for many, it’s the way to go, particularly if time is limited. An open vehicle offers all-around views, and this elevated viewpoint helps considerably when searching far afield for wildlife.

It also means you can move reasonably quickly to new sites, especially if, for example, lions sighted in another location are reported over the onboard radio. A vehicle trip is often considered as a supplement to a boat trip and vice versa.

Our vehicles are maintained as new and offer comfort and security and the ability to take you to places where lesser vehicles would founder. They are purpose built and equipped with both sun shade roofs and warm ponchos for late trips back to the lodge in the evenings.

In addition, they have hand-held spotlights for night viewing. Night drives can be extremely exciting when the nocturnal creatures such as leopards, civets, porcupines, genets and aardvarks, to mention but a few, come out to hunt and forage for food.

Our game viewing trips by vehicle usually involve a break at an appropriate point for drinks and snacks. Here you can disembark, stretch your legs and enjoy the ambience and sounds so often missed while travelling.

This is usually a good time to chat to your guide and ask all the questions about the bush that have accumulated on the drive. It’s also an excellent time to let creatures come to you, which can often happen if you remain relatively quiet, close to the vehicle and non-threatening.

A special night trip to look for leopard is not an unusual request. At Royal, we always ensure you are spoiled for choice in activities. You only have to ask; flexibility is the backbone of our approach.

Bush Walks
People argue that the best way to see the bush is to walk in it. In many ways, we feel they are correct as this intimate form of mixing with nature permits a close study of the various plants, animals, spoor, lairs, burrows, nests and other ground level features.

All the sounds and scents are there, unsullied and there’s time to study everything properly without having to move on. In most instances, our guides have been born and raised in the bush, and you will be astonished at their ability to spot the abnormal.

You will also be amazed at how quickly you adapt to the surroundings and start to notice unusual movements, colours, and so forth. Real bushcraft takes time to develop and whether you’ve “been here before” or it’s your first time in Africa there will be something of interest.

For some, it’s the sounds that are the most interesting and it’s exciting to track down that tiny Pearl Spotted Owlet just from its call. Is that a hippo or a lion calling? Is that hyena far away?

Snakes can sometimes be found, but success requires some fairly specialist experience. There are plenty around, but contrary to popular belief they don’t spend their time attacking people!

They tend to be shy and will often remain completely unmoving making them difficult to see. Look for them sunning themselves on branches or rocks, perhaps dangling motionless from a branch awaiting a careless bird passing by.

A good snake sighting is often one of the highlights of a walking safari, and a live study and understanding of their behaviour will cure even the most acute ophidiophobia.

Your guide will be accompanied by an armed scout and the perceived ‘dangers’ will soon be forgotten as you blend into the wilderness and become part of it.

Clothing in natural colours is best mainly when stalking or avoiding that elusive antelope or even lion, buffalo or elephant and of course comfortable shoes are essential. A few hours walking in the bush soon creates an appetite for that delicious brunch, lunch or a cold beer!

Please note: Due to the hot climate during summer months in the Lower Zambezi, this is a seasonal activity and only on offer from June-August each year.

The backdrop to Lower Zambezi National Park and indeed our Lodge is an impressive mountainous escarpment with many peaks and a variety of walks and climbs, some of which will put you to the test and others which will provide a mild cardiac stimulus. The choice is yours, and those who are interested should discuss their preferences with the guides.

The warm weather makes for a trip which doesn’t involve heavy clothing, and the primary consideration is comfortable shoes and clothing while not forgetting water, cameras and binoculars. Porters can be provided to help carry your kit when necessary.

The trip will first take you through the riverine bush and as you move higher the vegetation changes, then thins out, and the most fantastic panoramic view of the Zambezi valley emerges. You begin to imagine how the first explorers must have felt.

An armed scout accompanies you and of course one of our experienced guides who will point out all sorts of interesting features in addition to the wild animals and birds encountered. That said the prime aim of reaching the top or at least some way up is not forgotten.

As your party is always in radio contact with the Lodge, vehicles can be arranged to speed up your return with some mobile game viewing thrown in. It’s entirely up to you. On returning to camp a swim in the infinity pool, immersion in your private plunge pool or a cold beer will be well-earned.


A Royal canoe trip is something that shouldn’t be missed. You will first enjoy a boat trip down-river to where the canoes await you, each one carrying one or two passengers and a guide. Previous canoeing experience is not a pre-requisite while an ability to sit still helps considerably!

The trip usually involves about two or three hours paddling, being paddled or just drifting downstream on an offshoot from the main Zambezi which has formed a relatively narrow channel around what is effectively a large island.

Most of the channel is reasonably shallow affording a view from water level over the lower banks of pristine bush and grassy flood plains with heavier bush as a close backdrop.

The canoeing experience involves peace and tranquillity punctuated by animal magic in all its forms. Everyone keeps a wary eye open for crocs and hippos while the guides know how to avoid “surprising” them.

Game viewing from water level is entirely different and quite wonderful. The wildlife don’t seem to care about these floating objects and go about their business quite uninterrupted. The higher river banks provide burrow type nesting sites for bee-eaters and kingfishers in abundance.

Our recommendation is for you to partake in this activity in the afternoon when the sun is behind you and the light assists photography. Lions have been seen stalking and killing an impala. Leopard have been spotted on a branch watching the world go by.

Elephant cross the water to and from the island where the vegetation provides plentiful browsing. Cape buffalo graze on the floodplains on both banks.

At the end of the trip refreshments of your choice await you on the river bank at the confluence with the main river, providing an unforgettable blend of action and serenity and an experience for which many return.

Fishing on the Lower Zambezi offers one of the most exceptional freshwater angling experiences in the world, the highlight being the presence of the world’s premier game fish, the Tiger. The variety in the Zambezi, Hydrocynus vittatus, can grow up to 10 -12 Kg and is a superb fighter.

The best time for Tiger Fish is during our hot months of September to November. Expert resident guides take fishing excursions on new, fully-fitted aluminium boats. For guests who are new to fishing or fly-fishing, our guides provide expert instruction and assistance.

There are plenty of bream and chessa to catch or use as bait, as well as many varieties of catfish. You will certainly have a fight on your hands if you hook a Vundu (Bagrus Catfish), which can grow up to almost 100 lbs!

Other species of interest are the Three Spot Bream, Red Breasted Bream, Nile Bream, Chessa, Nkupi, Bottlenose and the Cornish Jack. The waters of the Lower Zambezi are free from netting and therefore are your best bet for lots of big fish. We enforce a strict catch & release policy at Royal.

As we have the privilege of being situated just outside the National Park, we are not restricted in the number of boats we can operate. This means that we can have up to eight on the river at any one time.

Guides, fuel and tackle are provided. However, we recommend that serious sport fishermen/woman bring their own gear – see below for suggestions. Medium-heavy action 20lb spinning or baitcasting rods/reels work best. Wire leader is essential, as are good quality sharp hooks attached to bright, shiny spinners and spoons.

Our experienced guides will take you to all the best fishing spots and guide you through the whole process. Whether you are a complete beginner or a professional angler we can guarantee that catching one of these mighty fish is an experience you will never forget!

The Lower Zambezi National Park is an IBA (Important Bird Area) and therefore of global conservation significance. Over 300 species of birds are found here. The African fish eagle, Zambia’s national bird, is commonly seen and heard.

For birding enthusiasts, you need to be here for those birding sensations – the African Pitta and Narina Trogon. The African Pitta arrives for the summer rains Dec – Jan, and we offer you the advantage of spotting them as a result of the lodge staying open year-round.

These phenomenal birds are extremely rare, but at Royal Zambezi Lodge we have been lucky enough to see them every year since 2016.

The Narina Trogon also spotted during the early rainy season, is a beautiful species seen here waiting, perched on a branch looking for a wide range of insect prey.

A cruise in one of our outboard powered boats will be a rewarding experience any time from early morning to evening. The choice is yours, and our guides will make the appropriate recommendation depending on prevailing conditions. Photographers may not want the sun in their eyes or backlit waters.

There’s always something happening on the river, and the breeze out there is delightfully refreshing, particularly on a bright, cloudless sunny day.

The river is continually changing and varies in width, speed and depth, perpetuating the ill-defined Zambia border which follows the original river course. Wildlife knows no such boundaries, and downstream there are national parks on both sides.

There is a rich variety of birdlife on its banks, reedbeds, backwaters and sandy shores mainly when the Palearctic migrants are around.

You will see the ubiquitous fish eagle or an osprey often taking larger fish from the river, and there are myriad kingfishers of all shapes, colours and sizes who are partial to the smaller ones. With a vast variety of waders, storks and herons it’s a twitcher’s paradise with a host of interesting distractions.

One is always on the lookout for crocodiles, and the boatman or guide will make sure you can get that close-up of the big one before it enters the water.

The hippos, of course, are always around, and your guide will know just how close you can safely go. They will always seek the deepest water, so it’s wise not to be blocking their way!

Recently there have been sightings of a cape clawless otter which we hope is managing the crayfish population that we understand are possibly on the increase. The Malawi Blue Crab has recently been seen in the water. There is often something new to consider, and our guides’ and boatmen’s enthusiasm is infectious.

All the large mammals come to the river to drink and in the case of elephants to frolic in the water. They let you come close enough to get some amusing pictures of their antics.

You will often see lion, buffalo, kudu, bushbuck, waterbuck and many other larger animals on the river bank as, unlike the elephant, they have a healthy respect for crocodiles.

Cruises are well stocked with refreshments of your choice, and it’s pleasant to enjoy a sundowner on a sandy island with elephant nearby. Perhaps have a game of boule before returning to the lodge, using the spotlight to search for those bright eyes in the water and the riverbank.

For additional interest, a trip further upriver will allow you to see the riverside villagers happily fishing, bathing and washing their clothes in the river in the same way as they have for centuries. They seem to know when the crocodiles are around!

Rooms: 15
Price: from 464 EUR per night


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