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If you’re looking for authenticity and wild, raw landscape, Zambia is for you. It lacks the tourist hordes of Kenya and South Africa, and – next to its much more luxurious cousin, Botswana – most of its camps have a rustic charm.
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WE STAYED: TOKA LEYA CAMP, LIVINGSTONE
If ever there was a camp that teaches ‘Safari 101’ this would be it. Perfect for irst-timers, it’s remote enough to be suitably exciting (you’ll have to cross the raging Zambezi River to get there, rapids included) yet it’s close enough to civilisation so you don’t feel entirely cut of (you’re only a 20-minute drive from Victoria Falls). Plus, the trad design, not to mention the easy-way-of-safari-life, is just what you pictured in your imagination. hink a maze of raised wooden walkways and tented communal spaces, all slap-bang in the middle of the river – in fact you’ll feel as if you’re on your very own island as the water laps and swells around (and sometimes even beneath) you.
Your tented suite will be open to the landscape, so don’t be surprised if you see impalas, elephants or even crocodiles with your morning cofee on the terrace. Set of on your irst game drive and expect to get an eyeful of warthogs, bufalo, baboons and girafes a go-go.
But activities here are beyond your usual game drives: brave rhino-tracking on foot (these endangered animals are protected 24 hours a day, so their location is always known), take a river cruise, a tour of Livingstone or even cross the border to Zimbabwe to see the other side of Victoria Falls. If you’ve got the dollar to spend, book a helicopter tour of the falls; you’ll duck in and out of the water and rock crevices – even just a 15-minute trip is Oh. So. Worth. It.
Granted, it’s a narrow window, but try to arrange your trip here during a full moon. Why? Because then you’ll be able to do a night-time tour of Victoria Falls, where you are almost guaranteed to see a moon-bow (that’s a rainbow – at night). he dazzling moonlight relects of the immense spray that the falls generate. It’s totally surreal – and utterly magical. Owilderness-safaris.com/ camps/toka-leya-camp.
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