© Elephant at your private deck. Kasaka River Lodge
Zambia has become the chosen destination for a visit to the Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River, and the Lower Zambezi National Park epitomizes the country's 'new frontier' label.
Zimbabwe to Zambia - the New FrontierA pod of Hippo in the Zambezi
We were on the river a little after first light, just before the sun rose to burn the mist off the water, and the smoke from numerous hearth fires hung in the air on the Zambian side of the river. On the Zimbabwean side the day was revealing the activities of the night. Hippo tracks indicated the nocturnal feeding habits of these giant herbivores and pug marks showed where a pride of lions had come down to the water's edge to drink.
'The Zambian side still has many issues with poaching' our guide informed us. 'It will take a long time for it to come right again.' I was happy at the time to be on the Zimbabwe side of the river. We were on a three day canoe safari down the Zambezi towards Mana Pools
, three days of the most thrilling safari adventure I had been on.
Roll on ten years and the canoe has shifted to the other side of the river. The Zambian side has now become the place to be. Zimbabwe's political and economic woes, coupled with Zambia's newfound enthusiasm, have ensured that tourists' eyes are turning to the northern bank of the Zambezi.
Healing the ScarsElephant arriving for breakfast at Chongwe River Camp
The Lower Zambezi National Park still carries scars of the years of neglect and poaching but it is slowly coming into its own as a wildlife destination and with Mana Pools, one of Africa's most beautiful and wildlife rich parks, on the opposite bank it is bound to become a sought after safari destination.
The Zambezi Valley below Lake Kariba
is cradled by mountains on either side, forming a unique wildlife haven where the multitudes of animals concentrate on the river during the dry season, lured by the promise of water from the great river.
When the rains come towards the end of October the game disperses throughout the valley where food is plentiful and water is everywhere. Tourist activities normally come to an end during this time due to the flooded land.
An Africa of YesteryearYour private pool in the Presidential Suite. Royal Zambezi Lodge
Lodges are springing up on the Zambian side of the river to cater for the ever-growing interest in the Lower Zambezi National Park and although the game is not yet at its peak there is enough to excite even the most jaded safari traveller.The Zambezi Valley
in particular, is home to the largest concentrations of hippo and crocodile on the African continent and during the day both species can be found in their thousands lolling on the sandbanks of the Zambezi River. Add elephant, buffalo and lions to the mix and an Africa of yesteryear comes to mind.by Leigh Kemp