Luwi Bush Camp - Experience
Regarded as one of the best bush camps in Zambia, Luwi is extremely remote, authentic and magical; complemented by prolific wildlife in the surrounding area and an excellent guiding team to create memories of tracking big game on foot to last a lifetime. Nestled in a shady grove of huge mahogany trees, and close to a permanent hippo and crocodile filled lagoon, Luwi is situated deep in the heart of the South Luangwa National Park, overlooking the seasonal Luwi River after which it is named. It is reached by a two and a half hour game drive transfer through some of the park's remotest areas. Luwi was one of the park’s first remote safari camps. Norman and Adrian Carr sited the camp back in the 1980’s and the camp epitomizes the legacy of Norman Carr. Norman was an avid believer that the best way to experience the bush and wildlife is to do so on its own terms; on foot with the minimum of paraphernalia. The camp barely has an impact on the environment being built with natural materials and dismantled at the end of each season, and is focused solely on walking safaris.
Typically a day at Luwi starts early, with guests gathering around the camp fire, discussing the animals heard during the night and planning the day ahead. The morning walking safari usually takes three to four hours returning to camp in time for a hearty brunch. Guests have time to relax in the afternoon, viewing the wildlife attracted by the lagoon, before a further walking safari later in the day. While the camp has a vehicle for spot-lit night drives, there are few roads in the area so it lends itself perfectly to walking and exploration. Walking with a guide and an armed scout, guests explore a variety of habitats that include open floodplains, dry riverbeds, mopane woodland and two lagoons. The area around Luwi is ideal to search for the elusive roan antelope, eland and hartebeest which are almost never seen in other parts of the South Luangwa. The Luwi area is famous for its lions and the thrill of tracking them on foot is an experience not to be missed. It is also home to a family of wild dogs which make excellent game viewing.
For photographers and avid safari-goers there is a 'hippo hide' to watch the animals unnoticed high above the lagoon. This permanent water source attracts wildlife from far and wide making the camp area constantly busy with animals. This is a perfect spot for keen photographers to get some superb shots, not only of the hippos and crocodiles, but of the prolific birdlife around the lagoon. Often families of elephant will come down to drink and bathe in the water. Walking safaris usually finish here at the hide with sundowners, watching the sunset over a landscape that has remained unchanged for thousands of years.
For a really unique wilderness experience (and for an additional supplement) guests can sleep out in the dry Luwi riverbed during the later months of the year. Guests sleep on a surprisingly comfortable bedroll under a small portable mosquito net within a ring of bonfires and armed guards keep larger animals away. The bush is peaceful but never silent and the sound of crickets, hyena, lion and leopard may well accompany a meal here. Sometimes hyena venture close to check out the leftovers but will seldom be a nuisance. This is truly a magical, unforgettable experience.
Luwi is an intimate bushcamp with just four en-suite grass and thatch chalets, nestled under the shade of towering mahogany, sausage and wild oleander trees, forming an oasis in the middle of the Luwi plains. The trees often run straight through some of the chalets as the camp is purposely built around nature with no intention of changing the habitat. The chalets, which are re-built each season using natural materials, are all slightly different and rustic yet functional and comfortable, with twin or double beds under a large walk-in mosquito net and reed mats on the solid earth floors. With the emphasis on the use of natural materials in its construction, this camp is one of the most traditional of all of the Luangwa safari camps but still offers high levels of comfort and service. There's no electricity at Luwi, but solar lanterns provide light in the bedroom and bathroom. Two of the chalets have enclosed bathrooms and the third and fourth, the honeymoon suite, have bathrooms open to the air. The honeymoon suite has a unique feature - the whole front wall can be fully swung open to create a secluded deck area where private dinners can be served.
Luwi has a small open-sided main area - 'chitenge', with a thatched roof and a sand floor. This houses the bar and a small reference library, with a few directors' chairs, with the other communal areas spread amongst the trees. A seating area surrounds the campfire and overlooks the floodplain, and another, with comfortable chairs around a dining table, is set up under shady trees. During the day, meals are usually taken in a shady spot near the bar, but come nightfall, a candlelit dinner may be set up overlooking the floodplain or perhaps even in the riverbed.