Tuesday, March 31, 2015

STYLISH DESTINATIONS - ZAMBIA

By Eva Fydrych

A Real African Adventure

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine (Click to enlarge)



Robin Pope Safaris, one of the most established safari operators in Zambia, was founded in 1986. Since then, the company has grown from strength to strength and won several prestigious awards including Best Mobile Safari Operator, Best Safari House (Luangwa Safari House), and Best in Tourism Promotion.

Offering tailor-made safaris throughout Zambia and Malawi, Robin Pope Safaris are the perfect choice for anyone looking for excellent game drives and trendy accommodation in the heart of African bush.

In January 2015, Fashion Studio Magazine spent wonderful three days at Nkwali Camp in South Luangwa National Park. Read about our experience below!



Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine



FIRST IMPRESSIONS

There is something undeniably magical about Nkwali. From the moment you enter until the moment you leave - you are carried away into a new dimension of relaxation and adventure at the same time. 

Located on the banks of the Luangwa River, Nkwali is dominated by an enormous ebony tree that was used by Robin and Jo Pope as a mark for setting up the camp.

Today guests can enjoy an array of various activities here: from daily game drives, sunset boat trips and night safaris to dining by the fire and having drinks while relaxing by the pool. If you are looking for a perfect safari experience, you have just found it!



Entrance to Nkwali Camp (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

Swimming pool and dining area (Photo courtesy of Robin Pope Safaris)



DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN

Nkwali offers six comfortable chalets with great views of the river. Nearby Robin's House is a private house with two ensuite bedrooms (one double and one triple) and a large living area.

The chalets are made of woven bamboo and thatch and feature open-air en-suite bathrooms. They are spacious and comfortable, combining a taste of the African bush with all your usual facilities.

Open front allows you to relax and enjoy the view during the day. Comfortable bed surrounded by a mosquito net guarantees a good night's sleep.



Welcome to Chalet Six

Interior of Chalet 6 at Nkwali (Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)







Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine


DINING IN STYLE

All meals and drinks are included in your rate. Breakfast is served early, before your morning game drive, so be prepared to get up around 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. The porridge heated on the fire and toast cooked by the coals taste delicious. Morning cup of coffee - served on the deck overlooking the river - makes you forget about the inconvenience of leaving your bed too soon...

The main dining area (for lunch and dinner) is situated next to the swimming pool and overlooks the lagoon. You can often watch monkeys playing on the other side.



Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine


WILDLIFE

Nkwali is ideally situated for the start of your safari. The games in the area are excellent and include many family herds of elephants and the endemic species of giraffe, the Thornicroft Giraffe, that can only be found in the Luangwa Valley. This central area of the park is accessible all year and the animals are very relaxed and used to the vehicles. You will be able to approach them from a very close distance and get great photographic opportunities.

The park is known for having the highest concentration of leopard in Africa. Hippos are possible to view from your own chalet, on the other side of the river. Large herds of buffalo move between the river and their grazing grounds and are often followed by lion. Zebra, impala, kudu and waterbuck share the open plains with baboons and warthogs.

An afternoon game drive usually continues early in the evening, allowing you a glimpse in the nocturnal activities of many of the animals. All guides at Robin Pope Safaris are passionate about the game and environment, and love to share the secrets of the park with the guests.



Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine





Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine


WHAT TO BRING

"A hat, high-strength sun screen, strong insect repellent, anti-histamine cream/tablets, three sets of bush-coloured safari outfits, two sets of casual evening clothes and a medium-weight sweater plus a warm jacket if you come in winter (June - early August). Pack soft bags, not hard cases. DO NOT exceed the limit of 15 kg for hold luggage and 5 kg for hand luggage." - Robin Pope Safaris

Don't forget a bathing suit for some lazy afternoons by the pool!



Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine

Sunset cocktails in the park

African sunset (Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)


WHAT WE LIKE

  • The sound of drums waking you up in the morning
  • Crossing the river to get to the park
  • Open Toyota Landcruisers offering excellent view and a "window" seat for everyone
  • Knowledgable and friendly stuff; excellent customer service
  • Swimming pool with a wooden deck where you can relax and soak up the sun
  • Delicious food and drinks available at the camp
  • Breakfast served around the campfire
  • Private dinner in front of the chalet - an opportunity to try Zambian cuisine
  • Sundowners in the park - a truly unique experience
  • Small library available for the guests 
  • Chalet design - simple yet sophisticated at the same time
  • Amazing silence everywhere in the camp
  • River view - it can't get any better! (see below)



Taking a boat to cross the river (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)

View from the chalet (Photo by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)



LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

  • Tribal Textiles - visit unique hand-painted textiles in the heart of the African bush.
  • Mfuwe - see traditional African hats and check out local bars serving Mosi beer and playing cheerful Zambian music.
  • Private Dinner - enjoy an excellent dining experience in front of your chalet. Traditional African food is available on request.
  • Boat Trips - explore the lagoons in the Emerald Season (from the end of December/January to April; depending on water levels).
  • Kawaza Village - get familiar with the local customs and culture.


"The people of Kawaza Village developed a unique opportunity for visitors to experience genuine Kunda culture and ‘ways of living’ by inviting a small numbers of guests to spend time in their village and participate in everyday life."  - The Personal Touch



Tribal Textiles (Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine)






Photos by Eva Fydrych / Fashion Studio Magazine



ABOUT SOUTH LUANGWA

South Luangwa National Park is considered one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. There are over 60 different animal species and 400 different bird species - the concentration of animals around the Luangwa River is among the most intense on the whole continent. Founded as a game reserve in 1938, it became a national park in 1972 and now covers 9,050 km².

Thanks to its inaccessible location, South Luangwa manages to combine immense density of wildlife with limited visitor numbers, and it's also one of the few national parks that allow night safaris.

In most safari camps and lodges within the South Luangwa National Park you will enjoy a game drive or walk in the early morning, and a second in late afternoon, after lunch.

"The peak travel season is May to October. May to August it's still pleasantly cool and dry. September and October are very hot and the humidity is building up, but these are the best months to spot the game as they gather close to the river and watering holes. November to December is hot and humid and January to April is the rainy (or "green") season, some lodges close during this period, other give reduced rates. The rainy season is the best time to go birdwatching. From March to June is the best time to spot the elusive African wild dog." - Wikitravel

Source: expertafrica.com, Wikipedia, Wikitravel, zambiatourism.com

DID YOU KNOW?

Nkwali Camp stays open all year - from January to December. Activities are entirely chosen by the guests and tailored to their requirements.



Photo courtesy of Robin Pope Safaris





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*Special thank you to Robin Pope Safaris and Montgomery Communications for hosting FSM in January 2015.

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UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE

To learn more about Nkwali Camp, please visit Robin Pope Safaris photo gallery and watch the video below!



Video courtesy of Robin Pope Safaris

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