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Lion Camp

Understated sustainable luxury in the wilds of Africa
South LuangwaZambia· 10 Rooms · £££

On the banks of an oxbow lagoon

A stylish lodge hidden in a remote part of South Luangwa National Park with abundant uncongested game viewing

If you’re looking for a truly wild safari adventure where it feels like you’re the only people around for miles, then come to Lion Camp in South Luangwa National Park. It’s the sort of place where the word ‘authentic’ really means something, and with plentiful game and few other vehicles it will probably change the way you think about wildlife safaris.

Located 40 km away from the main Mfuwe Gate, Lion Camp sits happily on the banks of an oxbow lagoon, or “wafwa”, looking out onto open grassland. Grazing mammals jostle on the plains by day, but by night it’s the turn of the lions. Which is probably what you’ve come to see! Like many wilderness lodges in Africa, Lion Camp isn’t fenced, which means the wildlife often comes to visit. There’s nothing quite like heading to breakfast on the safe raised walkways and seeing a pride of lions off on a hunting mission to find their own breakfast. It doesn’t get much wilder than this.

Yet wild doesn’t have to mean leaving luxury behind. Recently refurbished, Lion Camp is built on elevated wooden decking along the edge of the lagoon. The 8 luxury rooms and 2 suites with canvas walls and thatched roofs have been designed to maximise the incredible views out across the plains. Even the ensuite bathrooms share these panoramas, and the suites have an outdoor bath, perfect for honeymooners. The rooms are spread out to allow guests privacy and are linked by the central boardwalk. Each bedroom has a private viewing deck which is a great vantage point for watching the local wildlife trundling past - you’ll probably clock up a few sightings before you’ve even properly woken up! The main camp area is spacious and open, with a boma for cooler mornings and after dinner tales around the campfire. The pool is another beautiful spot for game viewing and the deck makes an ideal platform for star-gazing. Meals are served under the vast Africa sky, and the delicious local cuisine is fused with a touch of international flair.

Game drives are taken in open Land Rovers, not only during the day but also at night when the little-seen nocturnal creatures come out to play and hunt. You’ll cover more ground on a game drive, and since you can get quite close to game in a vehicle these are the best opportunities for photography. Walking Safaris are a very different option, and something Zambia is famed for. They bring you in touch with the wilderness and tend to focus more on the minutiae of the park as well as the eco-system. It’s a truly unforgettable experience striding out in the bush where you are on the same footing as a lion or elephant. Walking safaris are accompanied by an experienced and armed escort scout so you can just relax and enjoy this unique experience.

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