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Zambia: Africa’s Next Great Safari Destination

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This month's Travel + Leisure includes my feature story about a 10-day safari in Zambia that I experienced last fall. I’ll be posting additional material on my trip all week here on the blog—and you can visit T+L’s Facebook page to see a slideshow of my safari photos.

I’m grateful to have a pretty great job here at T+L, traveling the world and writing about it and whatnot, but I have to say: I can’t recall a journey I full-out loved as much as this one. Zambia was my first safari—my first visit to Africa as well—and I’m now kicking myself for not having done it sooner. Since returning home I’ve driven my wife and friends crazy by raving 24/7 about Zambia and how amazing it is. Forgive me. It’s hard to come down from a trip like that.

Zambia is sometimes described as “Safari 2.0”—a next-level destination for experienced Africa hands who’ve grown jaded on other, more developed places. That may be true, but it’s also an excellent choice for first-timers. Why? Few other safari destinations have such reliably great game viewing and combine so many different ways to take it all in. Besides the standard-issue game drives, Zambia’s parks also offer night drives (increasingly rare in other countries), boat and canoe rides (a thrilling way to see wildlife), and, most renowned of all, walking safaris.

The walking safari was actually pioneered in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley back in the 1950s by the late great naturalist Norman Carr, who’s nothing short of a legend around these parts. (Carr’s namesake safari company, now run by his daughter-in-law, is reopening their fabulous Chinzombo lodge in South Luangwa next month.) Half a century on, bush walks remain Zambia’s signature experience, and are one big reason why veteran safarigoers are coming here for something fresh and new. As one guide told me, if you’ve never seen the bush on foot, then you haven’t seen the bush.

I’ll be back in a few days to share some safari packing tips (it’s not as hard as you think, I promise). We’ll have a Q&A with one of Zambia’s safari pioneers, Grant Cumings, owner of Chiawa and Old Mondoro, two magnificent camps featured in my article. And, on a very serious note, we’ll be discussing the tragic—and increasingly rampant—proliferation of elephant poaching in Africa.

Stay tuned for more posts here on the blog. Meanwhile, check out the story, have a look at the slideshow, and consider booking a Zambian safari yourself.

Photo by Peter Jon Lindberg

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