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Recommended place to stay:

Last updated: 03 December, 2023
Expert travel writer: Lisa Grainger

This architecturally innovative, two-storey bush house was built by safari experts Robin and Jo Pope using stone, thatch and the trunks of 25 leadwood trees. A castle-like retreat that’s completely open to the bush, it has large, mosquito-net-draped beds and huge baths, and overlooks a waterhole in an area that is often dry – so animals love this spot.

Game is excellent – it’s one of the best safari spots in Zambia – and there’s Big Five except rhino. Thorneycroft’s giraffe and Crawshay’s zebra – not found anywhere else – are found here, as well as the biggest concentrations of elephant and hippo in southern Africa.

You’re really connected with the elements here, with animals all around, so the night noises are often glorious, from elephants smashing trees to hyenas cackling under the moonlight. Views through the open-plan, double-height living room, overlooking the watering hole, are very pretty, and from the plunge pool, you can watch elephants drink while wallowing.

It’s brilliant value for four couples or a family who want to see fantastic Zambian wildlife, while staying in style and privacy. As this is a private rental, your group gets all the expertise of a Robin Pope Safari – but none of the other guests.

Guides & guiding

Robin’s guides are top-notch, local and well-trained experts in birds, plants and creatures. They’ll explain even the tiniest bits of interest: termites building their mud-castles, sunbirds sucking nectar, beetles rolling balls of dung.

Robin Pope has always trained his guides from local villages, and been heavily involved in anti-poaching and conservation activities in the area. Having supported – and built –much of Kawaza Village School, the Popes’ Project Luangwa charity funds several other schools.

Special activities

On request, guests at the Safari House can spend one night in a hut in nearby Kawaza village with staff from the camp, and visit the school, the witchdoctor, fields and local houses.

Taking the kids

They welcome children over 7. They have one of the biggest range of activities for kids anywhere, from village visits to beach cricket, game-tracking and plant-medicine, baking, games and fishing. Child-minding is available during the day and evening.

Getting there

It’s a 35-minute flight from Lusaka airport (or one hour from Livingstone) to nearby Mfuwe airstrip; then an hour’s drive to the house.


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General amenities

Key facilities

Airport transfers: Included
Beach: None
Fitness centre
Fitness classes
Golf course
Hot tub
Kids club
Parking: Not available
Pool (adults only)
Pool (indoor)
Pool (outdoor)
Pool (kids)
Tennis courts
WiFi: Not available

Food & drink

All inclusive
Kids menu
Restaurant on-site
Self catering
Additional charge

Room amenities

Room types


Room facilities

Air conditioning
Flat screen TV
Hot tub (private)
Pool (private)
Tea & coffee making facilities

Bedding options

2+ bedrooms
3+ beds
Connecting rooms
Rollaway/sofa bed



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