Just back from 11 days in the wilds of Southern Africa’s Zambia, we put the spotlight on our Adventure Consultant, Naomi Zerner, for her tips and highlights!
When did you go? What time of the year?
I went on the 26 October for 11 days so I’m fresh off the plane! As Zambia is situated in the tropics, the best time to go is in the dry season from May to the end of October; I timed it well being just on the cusp!
What surprised you?
How truly nice, polite, and respectful the Zambian people are – such a pleasure!
What would you not do again?
I would NOT forget my binoculars! Even though you get up close and personal quite a lot, binoculars are essential to really get a good view.
We were less than 20 metres away from this beautiful leopard (which is ridiculously close), but looking at him close up was unreal. And as for the bird population of Zambia (and everywhere for that matter) – I have a new appreciation for them now!
What was your absolute favourite highlight?
Nope, impossible, I am not narrowing it down to one – there were way too many! So here goes:
Watching elephants walk past our camp less than 20 metres from where we were standing!
These truly noble, magnificent and gentle creatures were just a sight to behold. I could have watched them all day.
Seeing my first leopard in the wild – he was beautiful and feasting on a young impala;
Sitting with a pride of lions for 45 minutes while they lazed in a food-coma. None of them were concerned about us in the slightest, and the three-month-old cub was quite interested in us and did laps of the vehicle. She was 2 metres away!
We saw a two-day-old hyena cub! Aaargh, the cuteness!
Herds of wildebeest and zebra;
Hippos! They are really noisy (like pigs) and there are soooooo many of them;
A crocodile feeding frenzy!
There was a dead hippo and there were at least 100 crocs feasting on it.
It was macabre, but it’s nature; I just couldn’t look away!
What tip would you pass on?
Take a camera with a good zoom.
- You don’t need to be a pro photographer, but having a zoom on your camera will make a difference to your photos. I have wonderful shots courtesy of the every trusty iPhone for close-up shots and panoramas, but it just can’t zoom with high enough resolution. Luckily I have wonderful friends who have let me have some of their shots. 😊
Many of the camps and operators work closely with villages and schools. You may like to take items to donate to local schools and villages.
- I travelled with Norman Carr Safaris and they are heavily invested in the local villages near their camps. We asked and they said the good things to bring are socks, clothes and feminine hygiene products. Always check with the operator before taking anything to donate.
Take your Malarone tablets (for malaria) with fatty food to help reduce side effects. That tip is actually courtesy of Dr Deb, the Travel Doctor and is spot on.
Have a stopover in each direction.
- Getting to Zambia is not a simple hop like Brisbane to London. I travelled from Brisbane to Perth to Johannesburg to Lusaka to Mfuwe, in one fell swoop with no overnight stopovers, and it was very tough indeed! Four flights + transit time + driving to the bush camp was about 36 hours in total! However, I did sleep like a log that first night and was up and about with no jetlag the next day. The Intercontinental is 50 metres from the front entrance of Jo’burg airport and the staff will meet you in the arrivals hall and escort you over there. It’s expensive, but well worth it because you are in the shower and then bed to very quickly.
So come clean… how much luggage did you take?
I did the whole trip with 10kgs checked baggage and 5kgs hand luggage. I impressed myself! Here’s what I took and it fit the bill perfectly:
- Hiking boots;
- 1 pair thongs;
- 2 pairs long pants;
- 1 pair shorts;
- 6 shirts (muted colours);
- 1 dress;
- Pyjamas; and,
- The usual toiletries, undies, socks, etc.
Happy to talk about it?
Try and stop me! I’ve got pics, I’ve got tips, come up and see me anytime!