Situated in a spectacular setting on the banks of the Zambezi River and within the Lower Zambezi National Park, Lolebezi fuses the best of prime river frontage and outstanding wildlife sightings.
Zambia, a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central, Southern, and East Africa is filled with hidden gems, friendly people, and amazing landscapes. Starting a venture in this far-flung destination was not something that was taken lightly by African Bush Camps, whose co-founder Beks Ndlovu is a safari visionary par extraordinaire, finding the perfect properties to allow guests the luxury of exceptional experiences.
Having had the privilege of staying at not one, but two African Bush Camps properties – Linyanti Ebony in Botswana in 2018 and Thorntree River Lodge in Zambia a few months later, I couldn’t wait to see what their latest offering in Zambia is all about. The most convenient mode of travel to Lolebezi is by aircraft or private charter. In my case, following an international flight from Cape Town International Airport via O.R Tambo International Airport to Lusaka on Airlink, with an overnight stay at Latitude 15. It took only a short flight from Lusaka International Airport with Proflight Zambia to get me to the Jeki airstrip.
Collected at the airstrip by guide Elijah, the magic begins when driving through the towering acacia forests and spotting a few animals along the way during the 10-minute drive to the lodge. My arrival is met with song and dance, making the welcome to Lolebezi especially warm. Host Kufa shows me around the impressively constructed main area, with design and development by Fox Browne Creative in partnership with architect Jack Alexander.
My suite is strikingly beautiful. Positioned on a bend of the mighty Zambezi River, the confluence of interior and exterior is a work of art to put it mildly. The use of canvas and glass in the guest suites ensures that Lolebezi is a design feat, and the utilization of spherical shapes form a focal point in the expansive bedroom. Surrounding the bed is a circular mosquito net, and a pelmet fashioned almost like a ‘halo’, custom made for Fox Browne using wooden discs, imfabinga beads, and copper by South African based firm High Thorn Chandeliers.
The bathroom has unobstructed views of the river, and the rainforest-green accents blend in perfectly with the surrounding bush. A modern marvel is the marble-clad geometrically shaped his & hers vanities and the curved shower pipe, reminiscent of an elephant’s trunk. Opening out onto a shaded deck, the private infinity pool completes this spectacular picture.
Dining at Lolebezi will titillate your tastebuds, and soft-spoken chef Mwansa is a master at crafting the perfect fare to suit your specific palate. Special attention is given to dietary preferences, and meals coming out of this Halaal-friendly kitchen are so delectable, it will make you wish you had brought elasticized pants along. Served by gracious waitrons Janet and Kelvin, they provide impeccable service whether you are dining at the main pavilion or opt to have your meal delivered in-room.
Game drives through the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is Lower Zambezi form part of your stay at Lolebezi. With a qualified guide at the steer of the game drive vehicle, guests are set for some amazing sightings, as Elijah showcases during my three-day stay. Seeing a small herd of zebra with a tiny foal on our first game drive set the target for a variety of wildlife – a hippo exhibiting a show of dominance by showing his incisors, ground hornbills taking flight and an elephant stretching his trunk to reach the delectable pods from the winterthorn trees.
A favorite sighting is that of four male lions on an early morning game drive. Awakened at 05:12 by the sound of them roaring, we skip the pre-game drive delicacies to head out and see if we can pinpoint where they are vocalizing from. They had been spotted around the airstrip a few days earlier but have not been seen since. As Elijah slows the vehicle down, he points towards an inanimate object, which suddenly starts moving. He found them! Driving to get ahead of them, they walk straight towards the vehicle, pausing every so often to see where the rest of the pride is. We find them again in the afternoon, fast asleep in the shade of a tree.
Back at Lolebezi’s main area, I order a deliciously frothy cappuccino, and take respite on one of the bespoke loungers next to the sparkling main pool. Right in front of me, a pied kingfisher is fluttering his wings, trying to catch his breakfast out of the Zambezi. To my left, five large hippos are sunning themselves on one of the opposite banks of the river. High up on the treetops, the unmistakable call of an African Fish Eagle cuts through the silence and I can just make out his silhouette. Welcome to another glorious day at Lolebezi, where the unpredictability of nature creates memories that will last a lifetime.
To book go to https://africanbushcamps.com/camps/lolebezi/
How to Book with The Luxury Safari Company
Heléne’s flights were generously sponsored by The Luxury Safari Company. Founded by Rose Hipwood in 2010, her passion for Africa is clear in the seamless arrangement of bespoke, luxury safaris across Africa that are made special by the people involved, the unique locations of the lodges, and the meticulously executed nature of each trip. Clients of The Luxury Safari Company can expect personal 24-hour service safaris which take them into new territory with the right people at the right time and imaginative itineraries. To book, call +44 1666 880 111 or visit https://www.theluxurysafaricompany.com/