Written by Lindsay Krause
At Ker & Downey® Africa we believe in ensuring that all the properties we represent are in line with our vision — to bring you adventurous days, luxurious nights and to leave a lasting legacy in Africa.
One of our knowledgeable Adventurists, Emma Perrin, was lucky enough to spend 10 nights on a Southern Africa Safari, traveling through Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and visiting the lodges owned and run by African Bush Camps. Below, she has listed some of her highlights, intel on the 5-star lodges and then, of course, the wildlife you can expect to see in each region.
Founded by Beks Ndlovu, African Bush Camps (ABC) started out as a guide in Zimbabwe and this is really where their strengths lie. Each year the ABC guides meet in a central lodge to hone their skills in a variety of areas, such as stargazing, wildlife photography and more. The ABC foundation makes a big difference to the lives of the local communities and the conservation in the areas which they inhabit. Each camp offers something completely different and unique. Read more about what I learned and loved about each lodge, below.
On the Zambian side of the mighty Victoria Falls, Thorntree River Lodge is set on the Zambezi River and great for anyone with a taste for a contemporary spin on safari lodges. An added bonus is that the lodge is family friendly giving you the chance to enjoy time together, either by the pool or on safari.
Thorntree is an all-inclusive lodge with activities including game drives in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, rhino tracking, sunset cruises, canoeing and a village visit.
Personal Highlight: Experiencing the sunset cruise with our personal guide (and historian), Quinten who was able to tell us the history of David Livingstone and his fellow explorers with such passion.
Somalisa Camp + the family-friendly Somalisa Acacia are located in the Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe). Set on elevated wooden decks, the camps boast views over active pans frequented by herds of elephant that come to drink from the nearby water holes.
Home to large herds of elephants, cats and antelope — game viewing reaches a peak around waterholes in Hwange National Park.
Personal Highlight: Watching elephants make their way to the lodge’s swimming pool for a drink.
Linyanti Bush Camp and Linyanti Ebony are located within the Linyanti Private Concession, bordering the Chobe National Park. Linyanti Bush Camp is great for couples – ideal for an anniversary or honeymoon. Due to the drive into the lodge – approximately 1 hour on sandy road – I would recommend that older travelers choose to helicopter in. Linyanti Ebony Camp is a family-friendly lodge, placing families at the center of their attention – ensuring a great time together and giving parents the opportunity to relax on their Southern Africa safari while the kids discover the African bush alongside one of the expert guides.
The Linyanti region is renowned for elephant, buffalo and birding. Insider tip: If you stay here for 3 nights in 2019 the lodge will include a scenic helicopter flight over the reserve.
Personal Highlight: Catching a bird’s eye view of the herds of Elephant as they made their way through the marshy landscape.
Overlooking Lake Kariba – the largest man-made dam in the world, Bumi Hills has a resort feel with a large pool in the centre. The rooms are spacious and have a great view of the Lake, a popular spot for elephants to cool off on a hot summer day.
With Bumi Hills laid-back approach to activities, you can catch up on much-needed downtime after your Southern Africa safari or choose to traverse the reserve teeming with elephant, antelope and on occasion lion. Other activities include fishing, sunset cruises and a visit one of ABC’s community projects in the area.
Personal highlight: Visiting the local school which ABC is building and the homestead of our guide Max who introduced us to his family.
Based in a private concession of the Mana Pools National Park, Nyamatusi Camp + the family orientated Nyamatusi Mahogany overlook the Zambezi River. Nyamatusi is also home to a pride of 20 lions and leopards can also be spotted in the Mana Pools area.