Stretching across a vast area of over 9,050 km2, the North-Eastern section of the park is overlooked by the dramatic Muchinga Escarpment where sable, roan and hartebeest antelope like to roam, while the lifeblood of the park, the spectacular Luangwa River with its picturesque oxbow lakes, courses through its southern section.
In between, you’ll find a variety of different habitats, from open grassy plains favoured by huge herds of buffalo, and the Eden-like riverine habitat along the river’s edge frequented by almost all of the park’s 60 odd species of animals, to breathtaking woodlands of majestic tamarind, leadwood, mopane, ebony and marula trees.
Centuries-old baobabs have played witness to it all, including the dazzles of Crawshay zebras and journeys of Thorneycroft giraffe, both of whom sport markings unique from others of their species. They have watched lion and wild dog hunt, played host to more than their fair share of leopard kills, and felt most of the park’s 400 plus species of birds alight on their branches.
They have witnessed game guide Norman Carr pioneer Africa’s first walking safaris in the 1960s, and still watch to this day as excited visitors pick their way on foot through the bush in search of their next great sighting. They have also offered shelter to generations of local Zambians who call this beautiful part of the world home – and who are eager to share it with those who will appreciate its wonder as much as they do.
And you are unlikely to find a warmer welcome than at Chikunto Safari Lodge, an exclusive and intimate lodge nestled against the shores of the Luangwa River. Accommodating just 12 guests, Chikunto Lodge offers a true escape from it all, where afternoon naps are serenaded by the harrumphing of hippos, and a dip in the saltwater pool may be accompanied by a visit from a curious elephant or two.
A luxury tented family suite caters to families of four, while couples or friends have a choice of four luxury tented suites, all boasting en suite bathrooms, covered outdoor seating areas and spectacular river views. From May 2022, one of these luxury suites will also have a 6 m-high stargazing sleep-out platform making it a truly memorable choice for a romantic honeymoon getaway – or for anyone wanting to experience the magic of spending a night out under the stars.
When not enjoying the comforts of the lodge, guests can explore the magnificent park – led by experienced local guides – on foot or daily game drives, the evening excursions promising fascinating nocturnal encounters. From February to April, during the aptly named “Emerald Season”, there is also the option to explore the reserve by boat – preferably with a sundowner in hand, or en route to a surprise brunch set out in the wilderness.
Whatever your type of exploration, you’re guaranteed to arrive back at Chikunto Safari Lodge with a host of exciting sightings to share around the fire pit and to toast over yet another delicious meal while the baobabs have more happy faces to add to their long list of memories.