Mchenja Camp lies peacefully on a bend in the river, and seeing it for the first time will take your breath away. Resting in the shade of an ebony forest, from where the camps gets its name, this little piece of heaven is a perfect balance between subtle luxury and natural beauty. The camp staff are exceptional in their knowledge of the fauna and fauna of the area, and their flair for hospitality immediately make guests feel at home.
The Luangwa River is one of the last remaining unspoilt water systems left on the continent, and supports an intense concentration of wildlife. Aside from morning and evening game drives, Mchenja has a great reputation for walking safaris, allowing guests to experience the reserve from a completely different angle.
Founded in 1938, South Luangwa is the southern-most reserve out of the three national parks along the length of the Luangwa River, and is by far the most well known. The park spans two different woodland ecological regions, and together with large patches of floodplain grassland, is able to support a very wide variety of animals, including the near endemic Cookson’s wildebeest, Crawshay’s zebra, puku and Thornicraft’s giraffe. This reserve is well renowned for some of the greatest game viewing one could hope for. It attracts an astounding 732 bird species, and a very high density of predators such as lion, leopard and wild dog.
Each of the 5 specially designed octagonal tents has its own private en-suite open-air bathroom, including Victorian style baths, with a view of the river and surrounding bush.
The central lounge area is built around one of the old fallen ebony trees, and guests can relax here, or in the camp’s plunge pool. One of the highlights of the camp is the open air dining area right on the banks of the Luangwa.
Mchenja does comfort and luxury extremely well. After a hard day’s walking or game driving, the camp does its utmost to make you feel pampered. It is the ideal setting to get in touch with the natural world, and as you sit on the banks of one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, you can fell the stress and tension of day-to-day life melting away.
Private dinners can be organised by the helpful and charismatic staff if you are in the mood for something a bit more romantic, and dozing in the shade of the ebony forest with a good book and a cool glass of wine acts like a salve for your soul.
South Luangwa has a reputation for great walking safaris, and Mchenja lives up to this reputation. Aside from morning and evening game drives, guests can head out on foot to experience the reserve from a different angle, and perhaps encounter some of Africa’s bigger animals on foot – an experience that will stay with you forever.
The middle of the day is usually left up to the individual to either swim in the pool, lounge in the shade of the ebony trees, bird watch or enjoy the privacy of the superb suites.
The afternoon sees the start of the next activity, and guests either head out on foot once more, or in 4x4 vehicles for an evening drive.
The ancient groves of ebony trees around the camp provide excellent places to find leopard, as well as some of the more elusive nocturnal creatures such as porcupine and bush babies that usually only emerge at dusk.
Returning to camp after an evening drive is a time to relax in front of the campfire, share exhilarating stories from the day, and unwind with a cold Zambian beer before dinner under bright stars, accompanied by the sounds of the river coming to life just beyond the glow of the campfire.