Words by Kim Sparrow Photos by Karen Lowe
For Wild Travel Media, finding stories is like finding treasure, each experience a jewel in our adventure chest. Discovering Zambia and collecting stories of its rich, colourful cultural and environmental landscapes has certainly been a gem on our travels. From the vast Busanga Plains in Kafue National Park to the intimate winding waterways of the Lower Zambezi, fringed in riverine forests, Zambia holds a biodiverse wild charm. It offers tranquillity as well as the untamed, wild Africa laced in luxury.
Last year, Karen Lowe - photographer, safari aficionado and founder of Wild Travel Media - had an incredible few days experiencing the Kafue National Park with Mukambi Safari Lodge. Kafue National Park overflows with stories. Ancient relics from the Baobab and the Sycamore Fig, to the wildlife corridors deep-set in travel tales. This is what a photographer seeks - to capture the narrative of the animal kingdom, to witness and collect pure moments of nature. Seek and ye shall find - and so Wild Travel Media did - the landscapes and wildlife showcasing Zambia beyond expectation.
Kafue National Park was a rainy season expedition. Many travellers express concern about this time of year in Africa - however, it holds its own unique charm, flourishing in both flora and fauna, abundant with life. Thunderstorms are a favourite for those who live in Africa; the sight, sound and smell of impending rain welcomed by all. Backdrops of dramatic skies contrasting with earthly tones gave Karen bold lighting for photographs, with a foreground of lion, leopard, puku and even an elusive porcupine - each game-drive a diverse and visual feast.
An adventure extension took Karen to Busanga Camp, located in a remote area of the park. Arrival on the Busanga plains was greeted by sunset and herds of elephants, as well as a pack of wild dog yawning lazily, all silhouetted against the darkening sky. With encompassing views and wildlife, a wetland wilderness covered in palm groves, lily covered pools and papyrus reed beds - Busanga holds a biodiverse and thriving ecosystem like none-other - a gem in the treasure chest.
Next destination; Lower Zambezi. Wild Travel Media was gifted with a trip to Royal Zambezi Lodge, stealing our hearts, dipping them in golden sunset and diamond filled night skies. Situated on the banks of the river, at the foot of the Zambezi Valley escarpment, the lodge is a pearl within. Having been flown in by Royal Air Charters from Lusaka, the adventure and five-star treatment began before we even arrived. Onboard with the Discover Zambia team - Dee and Emmanuel, the plane filled with enthusiasm and creative ideas were shared over an aerial view of the mighty Zambezi. Landing on the Royal airstrip, we disembarked feeling like royalty ourselves, welcomed by warm Zambian hospitality and transferred to the lodge.
The first day was met with a rainy sunrise from our private decks. What could one do but run a bubble bath and drink coffee while enveloped in luxury, observing the untamed unfold just beyond. With the wild within reach, one feels connected to nature, on your own terms.
Lunch was served on the deck, accompanied by excited chatter forming our itinerary for the days ahead, elephants eavesdropping on our plans as they swam in the waters just below. The afternoon was spent by the pool, sharing equally delectable cocktails and conversation, hours passing in relaxation. Mojitos and laughter flowed, feeling as infinite as the blue skies, sunshine and glamour of the Discover Zambia team.
Dee and Emmanuel are certainly jewels in the Zambian treasure trove, their passion and love for their country an inspiration. They moved through the grounds of Royal with an unhurried elegance, embracing the character of the day with simultaneous celebration and quiet appreciation of their surroundings. The next few days with them were no doubt going to be priceless memories in our Zambian collection, a glamorous addition to our adventures.