Renowned safari journalist and expert Lisa Grainger recommends her favourite African camps, from savannahs teeming with Big Five, to star-lit desert wildernesses.
Recommended place to stay:
Sausage Tree Camp
Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia|www.sausagetreecamp.com|
Official star rating:
A white-tented, romantic camp right on the Zambezi River, the Sausage Tree is ideal for guests who like their Western luxuries such as private pools (in suites) and gourmet food, as well as varied safari experiences.
It sits right on the river, shaded by trees, with pretty, reed-lined channels to canoe along and watch birds – or crocs. The crystal-clear swimming pool overlooks the river, surrounded by decking: a great spot to cool down and watch the Zambezi flow by. Few camps have pools – Sausage Tree has four (three private, one communal). The setting is stunning – overlooking a reed bank with extraordinary sunset views – and is right in the park, hence the range of game that ambles between the tents.
Tents are as comfy as any hotel room, and romance comes in the form of four-poster beds, private pools and glowing-red sunsets. Meals, however, are communal. The camp’s Australian and Italian owners clearly care about food: while many camps are content to provide good home-cooked food, Sausage Tree goes a step further, creating delicious, inventive meals.
Game & game viewing
All the big creatures are here, except for rhino which have been sadly poached out. Occasionally, guests can spot leopards and charismatic wild dogs, and the local bird life is varied – from tiny amethyst sunbirds to lurid saddle-billed storks. The Zambezi is full of big crocodiles and pods of hippo, and animals wander freely around the camp.
The camp is known for excellent guiding, as well as water- and land-based safari activities. Sunsets here are stunning, and guides can arrange game-spotting sundowner cruises, which combine cocktails, game-viewing and photography.
There’s excellent fishing here – tiger fishing is best from September to December along this stretch, with fish ranging up to 15kg.
Guides & guiding
Guides are strong on both water and land activities; the senior guides have been teaching and leading guests for 15 years. Many are local, and trained by the Sausage Tree in-house guide programme.
Taking the kids
They welcome children over the age of 8, unless the camp is booked exclusively, then any age may stay. There are no specific child-based activities. The Zambezi is full of big crocodiles and pods of hippo, and animals wander freely around the camp – so children have to be strictly supervised.
Getting there involves 40-minute flight to Jeki from Lusaka, then an hour’s drive to the camp.
Food & drink
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