Today (November 18, 2019): Top 10 best hotels & safari lodges in Zambia.
Zambia is not often the first country travelers think of when they want to go on a safari. However, IMHO, the southern African country — home to Victoria Fall and 20 national parks – is Africa’s most underrated safari destination, despite the fact that it offers the greatest all-round wilderness experience in the continent, alongside Botswana. The seclusion and untouched raw beauty of the country is unrivaled, attracting those looking to experience the “true Africa.” The game viewing here is prolific as well, with huge herds of elephant, large prides of lions, packs of wild dogs, and a healthy leopard population. There are also plenty of appealing places to stay, with the market being dominated by Time + Tide, one of Africa’s most exclusive safari companies. Here’s my countdown of the ten best safari lodges, camps, and hotels in Zambia.
There is more information (with Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed a hotel in Zambia? Leave a comment.
Sausage Tree Camp is hidden amongst mature sausage and mahogany trees on the banks of the Zambezi River. Beautiful accommodation includes seven luxury suites with open air bathrooms, dining and lounge area, personal bar, private pool and veranda. The sole-use Kigelia House is perfect for small groups or families, as it features two spacious bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, a sitting room, private pool and veranda. African-fusion meals are served in the open-air dining tent, on the main viewing deck or in the privacy of guests’ tents. Adventures include twice-daily game drives with your private guide, walking safaris, canoeing, boat cruises and fishing.
- Hotel website: Sausage Tree Camp
Shumba Camp is situated in the massive Kafue National Park near the famed Busanga Plains area — considered one of Zambia’s most important wetlands, as well as a wildlife paradise with a wealth of plains game, predators and birds. The camp’s well-appointed tents boast spectacular views of the surrounding plains and feature a lovely ensuite bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers. Delectable meals are prepared and cooked on the open fire, in front of guests — offering a traditional culinary bush experience. Adventures include morning and evening game drives, walking safaris and birdwatching. Wonderful scenic boat trips offer the opportunity to explore the region’s channels.
- Hotel website: Shumba Camp by Wilderness Safaris
Set in the shade of a towering grove of ebony trees, Tongabezi Lodge is set on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. Warm and exclusive, the lodge consists of five river cottages and six private houses. Boasting high ceilings and expansive wooden and glass doors and windows, the accommodations combine authentic local style with a beautifully clean and modern design. Delectable meals can be savored at one of three open-air dining decks or in the privacy of your own cottage or house. A shimmering swimming pool mimics the colors of the Zambezi and invites guests to cool off. Activities include game drives, bush walks, canoeing, tours of Victoria Falls and much more.
- Hotel website: Tongabezi Lodge
Award-winning Mfuwe Lodge (recently voted the 9th best hotel in the world by Travel + Leisure) is set inside Zambia’s most famous wildlife sanctuary, just a five min drive from the main gate. The lodge’s allure is instantly obvious. Beneath a canopy of ebony and mahogany, its eighteen air-conditioned chalets are arranged around the banks of two lagoons where an endless stream of wildlife keeps guests enthralled as they lounge on the open deck or take a dip in the swimming pool. The airy interior of the lodge is an exquisite complement to its natural surroundings. Mfuwe Lodge also offers its guest a chance to relax at its bush spa or to buy a few mementos at it curio shop.
- Hotel website: Mfuwe Lodge by The Bushcamp Company
Set against the breathtaking mountain backdrop of the Zambezi Valley Escarpment, the Royal Zambezi Lodge has 3,5 km (2 mi) of unspoiled river frontage on the northern bank of the Zambezi River. The lodge is 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. The lodge’s 15 airy canopied tents are nestled under mature trees, each one carefully positioned to ensure maximum enjoyment of the surrounding views while retaining complete privacy. After a long day fishing or tracking wildlife the infinity pool – which overlooks the river – is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
- Hotel website: Royal Zambezi Lodge
The Royal Livingstone Hotel stretches luxuriously along the banks of the Zambezi River. A stone’s throw away from the mighty Victoria Falls, the property overlooks the smooth waters just before it plunges over the legendary waterfall creating a permanent waterspray. The hotel consists of a series of 17 colonial-style buildings, with deep verandas, set amidst indigenous trees and plants. The main hotel is a sequence of thatch-roofed buildings, most African in their influence, and incorporates the lounge, restaurant and bar. A classic swimming pool visually links the waters of the river with the terraces of the hotel, with a sweeping timber deck planted in the swirling water of the Zambezi.
- Hotel website: The Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Hotel by Anantara
- Tip: get compimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and arrival by water taxi along the mighty Zambezi River).
The famous Norman Carr pioneered walking safaris in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park and his legacy lives on at Time + Tide Kakuli bush camp, and its three Time + Tide sister hotels Luwi, Nsolo and Mchenja. Perched high above the Luangwa River, Time + Tide Kakuli offers impressive vistas of the river’s many visitors below. Designed to celebrate the panoramic setting, the suites have a long, low profile and a bright, airy feel. Kakuli can be used as one ‘stop’ on a longer camp-to-camp walking safari. All walking safaris in Zambia are conducted with an armed game scout leading the way, followed by your professional safari guide.
Set on the banks of the Munde stream, King Lewanika Lodge is located in Liuwa Plain National Park, which is home to Africa’s second biggest wildebeest migration, magnificent birdlife, a growing cheetah population, and the famed Lady Liuwa lion pride. Raised on wooden platforms, the lodges mimic the vast expanse of the Liuwa plains with an open and airy design. Modern and sleek, yet perfectly in tune with their setting, the hotel’s 6 villas offer total immersion in the vast landscape, allowing travelers to experience nature’s masterpiece in a meaningful way. Each villa features a comfortable lounge, a spacious bathroom with an outdoor shower and a wide terrace from which to marvel at the views.
- Hotel website: Time + Tide King Lewanika
Time + Tide Chongwe is set at the confluence of the Chongwe and Zambezi Rivers against a beautiful mountainous backdrop, offering the best views in the Lower Zambezi. While the camp’s 9 ensuite tents are beautifully appointed, the real draw are the two ultraluxe Suites and Chongwe House. The Albida Suite sleeps four guests in two elegant ensuite bedrooms situated on either side of a private dining and lounge area complete with a plunge pool and fire pit. The Cassia Suite is an ultra-private suite for two consisting of a luxurious bedroom, canopied lounge, and plunge pool. Zambia’s most spectacular private safari home – Chongwe House – sleeps eight guests in four spacious ensuite bedrooms.
- Hotel website: Time + Tide Chongwe Suites and Time + Tide Chongwe House
- Review: read my review of Time + Tide Chongwe here.
Situated on a sweeping curve of the Luangwa River and designed by award-winning architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, Time + Tide Chinzombo is Zambia’s most exclusive hotel. Six beautiful and wildly luxurious villas combine a modern architectural feel with natural materials such as leather, reeds and canvas. Each villa boasts its own private plunge pool and is situated on an elevated deck that boasts views of the tranquil river and the abundant wildlife that frequents its banks. A winding path connects the villas with a shared lounge and dining area set in the shade of msikizi trees. A boat ride across the river gives guests direct access into the game rich Luangwa National Park.