Sarah Kingdom Experiences Lolebezi Lodge in Lower Zambezi the Newest Safari Lodge In Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.
I’ve long loved Lower Zambezi National Park and visit as often as I can. A luxurious lodge has recently opened in the park, Lolebezi Lodge in Lower Zambezi, and we set out for a visit. Feeling like a bit of an adventure was in order, we had decided to drive… five hours drive from Lusaka, and on some pretty terrible road, we arrived at our destination, wishing very much that we had flown, especially once we realised that the bush airstrip was less than ten minutes from camp!
Lolebezi Lodge in Lower Zambezi the latest member of the African Bush Camps family, and the Lower Zambezi’s newest camp is wild and remote – without doubt one of the most luxurious and spectacular lodges I’ve ever visited. Deep inside the national park and only a short drive from the Jeki airstrip (we wished we’d flown!) and spread out under a canopy of trees, with a kilometre of private river frontage on the Zambezi, Lolebezi takes going on safari to a whole new level.
Set within five hectares of protected wilderness, with four elegant suites and two double family units, each with its own private plunge pool and outdoor lounge area, the attention to detail is incredible. The lodge was designed by renowned Fox Browne Creative who, working closely with local artisans, created custom pieces including Kaonde tribal stools, Zambian basket weave-inspired features, and incorporating various copper elements, for which Zambia is known.
Debra Fox, founder and co-owner of Fox Browne Creative said of the lodge design and décor, “it was important for us to create a real sense of place, which reflects the destination and the experience of Lolebezi. The lodge’s owners were adamant about authenticity, and we connected with local artisans to meet their demands. In a hospitality world overrun with bland, Pinterest interiors, the design touches of the Lodge are sure to open guests’ eyes to the beauty and cultures of Zambia.”
Gym, spa, yoga deck, juice and smoothie bar, games room; beautiful and inspired furnishings throughout, a creative kitchen with delicious dining, and a fabulously, friendly team of staff and knowledgeable guides.
Lolebezi marries the carefully designed luxury of a world-class safari camp, with the level of excitement that can only be found in the African bush. Along the path to our room monkeys and baboons leapt from tree to tree or foraged for fallen fruits on the ground. Standing in our bathroom we watched a huge bull elephant, mere metres away, break branches from an overhanging tree and consume them contemplatively. Lying in bed that night we heard hyenas growl and giggle as they prowled the darkness, and hippos stomped and splashed as they left the river to graze on dry land.
Driving through the park, a leopard sauntered down the sandy road in front of us, a family of elephants slipped almost silently through the undergrowth, and a herd of buffalo watched us mutely. Seven lions lay in the shade, their mouths smeared with blood from an earlier meal. Nearer to camp, waterbuck, warthog impala and kudu filled the Winterthorn forest.
Our attention is drawn to a troop of baboons, shrieking and shouting. Some climb to the top of anthills, others stand on their hind legs, all are trying to get a better vantage point. A large male baboon climbs a tree and, jumping up and down, shakes the branches vigorously. Driving closer we can see the distinctive mottled markings of an African wild dog’s coat.
Slightly hidden by the long grass, he’s killed a young impala. It’s unusual for wild dogs to hunt alone and after only gulping down a few mouthfuls of meat he stands up and, sniffing the breeze, heads off at a trot in the direction of some distant hills, presumably to find the rest of his pack. We wait in vain to see if they will return. Either the rest of the pack elude him, or they’ve already had a successful hunt of their own; either way, they never return.
For a change of scene, we head out on the river. Some to fish, for tiger, bream and catfish, and some just to enjoy the scenery and sip a Gin & Tonic, as the sun sinks lower in the sky. Passing small islands and sand banks, fish eagles call overhead and kingfishers hover and dive, doing some fishing of their own. A group of elephants waded across a river channel, all but one stepping confidently into the water.
The last elephant, reticent to cross, tests the water, first with her toes and then with her trunk, before changing her mind and turning to clamber back up the way she’d come. Tiger fish are caught and released again, sundowners are drunk and snacks are consumed, the sky turns scarlet and we turn to head back to camp.
The next day was to be our last, and our final lunch was certainly done in style. A ’picnic lunch’ on the riverbank was given the Lolebezi trademark style and touch of glamour. Proper tables and chairs, crisp white table clothes and napkins, glistening glasses of chilled wine, knives and forks wrapped in monogrammed leather cutlery rolls; all this as hippos serenaded us from the water, and a shy bushbuck looked on from a distance. For a touch of safari chic in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, luxurious Lolebezi is definitely the spot to be.
Tell Me More About Lolebezi Lodge in Lower Zambezi National Park
Rates from $525 per person per night.
What’s included: Accommodation, All meals, Tea, coffee, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages, except premium imported spirits and champagne, laundry, and all activities.
You can find out more about Lolebezi Lodge in Lower Zambezi by visiting my own review of Lower Zambezi National Park, the Lower Zambezi website, or the Lower Zambezi page of the Zambian tourism website. If you don’t fancy the drive to Lolebezi Lodge in Lower Zambezi, Proflight offers flights to Lower Zambezi National Park and you can find their schedule here.