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The original, the amazing, the mobile walking safari

“Morning” a soft voice calls in the half-light of dawn and the sound of warm water pouring from a beaten copper jug into my hand basin, drifts into my tent.

Walking team_Walking safari

Scout, guide and tea assistant on walking safari

A few minutes later I’m clutching hot tea and warming myself around the glowing campfire whilst the awakening birds start to call out to one another. The red ball of the sun is lifting above the horizon as I put a spoon of delicious porridge and Zambian honey into my eager mouth.

With hat on head, binoculars, camera and water bottle covering my porridge and toast filled tummy, I’m gathered with the armed scout and my safari guide for a brief safety talk after breakfast. “Single file, one behind the other, scout first, me (Daudi the guide) second, you next and the tea carrier behind you. If something goes wrong, you stay in between me and the tea assistant (really a guide in training)”. “Goodie” I think, “at least I won’t be separated from the tea and cake”.

I’ve already spent two days walking. We walk for four hours, stopping frequently to look at poo and prints, drink water or tea and eat a lot of cake whilst discussing the sights and sounds of the bush. By the time we stop for brunch, the 10 man back-up crew directed by hostess Cristabel, has moved the entire camp to the next spot on the trail; baked the bread, put out three salads and the meat dish plus a pudding for brunch and set-up my bedroom tent exactly the way it was when I left in the morning.

After brunch we siesta, read, draw or delete bad photographs until more tea and cake is served at 4. I stretch a wet kikoi over my body to keep cool, its the only way. The afternoon sunset walk is much shorter, just two hours and usually ending in some incredibly romantic spot. Here Cristabel meets us with sun downer drinks and warm popcorn whilst the crimson sun silhouettes a range of wildlife that includes buffalo, puku, one or two elephants, maybe a saddle bill stork and possibly a leopard getting a drink before night falls and hunting begins.

There is no other destination that offers quite the same style of mobile walking safari as the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Getting close to nature is par for the course. This is a back to basics camping experience with several touches of comfort and fully serviced by a competent crew.

Guaranteed no electricity poles, Wi-Fi, cars, people or phones. The shower is under a tree and smells of the wood smoke the water was heated on; the bush loo is a wooden throne with a view and the bed has a mattress, pillows and blankets. You can only read by candlelight but it’s hard to stay awake at bedtime, with the sounds of the African night lulling you to sleep.

Mobile tent

Bedroom tent in mobile walking safari camp

Unadulterated bush bliss for those wild at heart.

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