Affordable Adventure: Zambia
Highlights: The river-crossed South Luangwa National Park; game-rich Lower Zambezi National Park on the north bank of the Zambezi River; majestic Victoria Falls, bordering Zimbabwe.
Long in the shadow of neighboring Zimbabwe, Zambia has now established itself as the ultimate adventure destination, famous for its walking safaris and canoe trips—and complemented by a slate of stylish (yet affordable) bush lodges and river camps. South Luangwa, where outfitters Norman Carr and Robin Pope pioneered walking safaris, is the jewel of the country’s parks system and offers increasingly upscale accommodations to go with its unrivaled wildlife. The seven refurbished camps of the Bushcamp Company, in the south of the park, are chic and intimate, and can be visited on an exclusive camp-to-camp walk. In the Lower Zambezi Valley, the eight colonial-style suites of Baines’ River Camp bring a new level of luxury to Zambia. More in keeping with the country’s old-school authenticity are the river-view tents of the family-owned Chiawa Camp and its rustic sister property downriver, Old Mondoro, accessed by boat. Activities include game drives, river safaris, and fishing excursions.
When to Go: May–Sept.
Abercrombie & Kent 7 days from $5,040.
Explore Inc. 8 days from $2,850.
Norman Carr Safaris 7 days from $2,100.
Robin Pope 8 days from $2,631.
Wild Planet Adventures 7 days from $3,998.
Safari Expert Garth Hovell
Company: Abercrombie & Kent
Traveling on Foot: “Imagine standing in South Luangwa in the giant footsteps of an elephant or touching the bark of a tree where only minutes earlier a leopard had scratched it. Or spotting the tracks of a lion in the sand as it stalks its prey. On a walking safari, your senses are heightened by all that surrounds you.”