Time + Tide has launched Time + Tide Safaris Zambia, a fabulous range of camps that combine unparalleled wildlife experiences in raw and remote areas with refined creature comforts.
Ranging from architect-design safari villas to eco-friendly bushcamps, the collection of nine properties in Zambia that have been created over 70 years by three generations of passionate conservationists: Norman Carr, pioneer of the walking safari, in the 1950s, Chris Liebenberg and his father in the 1990s, and finally Thierry Dalais, who in 2013 brought the camps together under the Time + Tide banner.
In the past eight years, Dalais has created a world-class collection, having invested heavily in the original camps while also building the award-winning Chinzombo and King Lewanika camps, which today are considered the most luxurious in Zambia.
Situated in three of the country’s prime national parks – the South Luangwa, the Lower Zambezi, and Liuwa Plain – the nine properties create a perfect circuit for the wildlife enthusiast, the adventurer, and the keen photographer. The three parks are remote and unspoiled, making the camps a perfect destination for the traveler who wants to escape into the wild, have adventures, and connect with nature and new cultures without compromising on comfort.
Each is connected by regular domestic and chartered flights, offering rare access to three extraordinary African landscapes and more than a dozen activities, from kayaking safaris, tracking lessons, and fireside cook-outs to remote sleep-outs under the stars.
Time + Tide has more camps than any other safari company in Zambia, making it the country’s premier operator. The variety of styles appeals to wildlife lovers of various tastes and budgets, ranging from open-sided, pole-and-thatch bushcamps to a family-friendly safari house and two award-winning luxury camps designed by Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the architects behind the barefoot luxury style of North Island and Mombo in Botswana.
As a result, on a circuit, experiences can be extremely diverse: one night guests might be luxuriating in a candle-lit bath overlooking vast grassy plains at Liuwa Plains, the next watching shooting stars beneath a net on a sleep-out in a dry river-bed or listening to hippos harrumphing through wood-and-thatch walls.
The properties are all in prime locations: in the South Luangwa, the sites of the camps were personally chosen by Norman Carr, beneath thickets of giant trees or on the prettiest banks of the Luangwa River; on the Zambezi, the Liebenberg family created Chongwe on a magnificent wide stretch of the river, at the confluence with the game-rich banks of the Chongwe River, and at Liuwa Plain, Dalais’ latest architectural camp is on the original site of the African Parks headquarters, at the heart of the migration.
In each of the camps, which range from sustainable, pole-and-thatch eco-bushcamps to architect-designed luxury safari villas, the accommodation is impeccable, with good beds, fine linens, hot showers, and spacious living areas decorated with furniture and crafts made by local artisans. All have been designed to connect guests to the outdoors.
Each camp has a firepit at its heart, beside which guests can coffee in the morning, have cold sundowners in the evening, and relax at night, enjoying fresh, Zambian-sourced food – home-made bread, inventive herb-filled salads, fire-grilled fish and meats, and decadent desserts, accompanied by fine wines, cocktails, and locally-brewed beers – while listening to the sounds of the bush and the sparkle of unpolluted skies above. With a maximum of six rooms, each of the properties is intimate and the service personal: ideal for couples wanting a romantic getaway, a family holiday, or a group of friends.
Chinzombo – South Luangwa National Park
Zambia’s premier, ultra-luxurious camp, Chinzombo is a sensational contemporary creation by the South African design stars Les Carstens and Silvio Rech on a wide and beautiful stretch of the Luangwa River, overlooking big hippo pools and grasslands frequented by game. It is a design lover’s dream: each of the six stylish, contemporary villas (one two-bedroomed) feature enormous pared-back, open-sided living spaces, a private indoor egg-shaped bathtub, an outdoor pool, and elegant artisan pieces hand-crafted from pale woods, buttery leathers, raw linens and delicately woven strands of reed. The communal living area features a spacious library, cool lap pool, convivial bar, and sunken fire-pit beside the river; spa treatments, using local oils, are available in guest’s rooms.
Chongwe – The Lower Zambezi National Park
Set on the confluence of the Chongwe and the Zambezi Rivers, with the Great Escarpment in the background, and the Lower Zambezi National Park as a neighbor, Chongwe is sited on one of the most beautiful spots in Zambia. The wildlife here is prolific, from herds of giant-tusked elephants and black-maned lions to packs of wild dogs and big pods of hippo. Activities range from walking and sleep-outs to kayaking and sunset boat tours.
Chongwe Camp is a simple traditional tented bush camp, with nine thatch-shaded canvas tents set amid lawned gardens above the Zambezi River, renowned for its prolific game and spectacular sunsets. Days revolve around the campfire, communal dining table, and tented bar, past which elephants often pass. Like the South Luangwa bushcamps, the tented rooms are simple, with open-roofed, reed-walled bathrooms.
In addition, Chongwe House is one of Africa’s most glamorous and unusual safari houses, with a private raised deck and pool and four open-sided, en-suite double bedrooms. With its sinuous, Gaudi-esque architecture, steep thatched roof, and idiosyncratic stick-fringed terraces, the uniquely designed double-story is a dreamy spot for a romantic retreat or digital detox or a bush safari with family (and children over seven) or a group of friends. The house has its own chef, guides, and vehicles, so activities can be arranged when and where guests like.
Chongwe Suites are a luxurious pair of one and two-bedroomed terraced, canvas-walled safari suites, each with a private dip pool, open lamplit dining area, and romantic, open-walled outdoor bathroom in which to soak and shower under the stars. Set just above the river’s edge, and overlooking a hippo pool, the suites – with mesh bedroom walls that can be rolled up in the day and zipped up at night – are a dreamy destination for a romantic couple, or a small family or a group of four who want their own staff and vehicles, and bespoke activities.
King Lewanika Camp – Liuwa Plain National Park
Located in Zambia’s answer to the Masaai Mara, 3,660sqkm of flat, often flower-strewn plains on which tens of thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and oribi come to graze, King Lewanika Camp is the collection’s newest and is named after the Barotse king who petitioned Queen Victoria to set the plains aside as a royal hunting ground in the 1880s. It is also Time + Tide’s most luxurious, modern, and minimalist.
Designed by the award-winning Carstens and Rech, its six contemporary one and two-bedroomed rooms, with masculine, clean-lined, industrial-style fittings and clean cotton, leather, and canvas finishes, are open fronted and open-sided so guests can enjoy the key attraction here: the views of the vast plains and skies. Activities include bush picnics, jeep, and walking safaris, kayaking during the flood season, and visiting the Lozi people, one of only two local tribes in Zambia still permitted to live – and spear-fish – in a national park.
Time + Tide’s Four Bushcamps
Still sited in the same places in which Norman Carr built them in the South Luangwa National Park, Nsolo, Luwi, Mchenja, and Kakuli bushcamps are set either in ancient thickets of trees alongside the Luangwa River or overlooking pretty open areas through which game regularly passes.
Made from natural materials such as wood, straw, and reed, each of the beautifully designed bushcamps is seasonal and rebuilt every year, to reduce its footprint on the environment. With rooms partially open to the elements, and sun- and star-lit bathrooms, these are camps that blend into the wilderness around: places in which lions might prowl in the moonlight or elephants might crunch seedpods outside as you shower.
All four camps offer game drives, walking safaris, and sleep-outs – beneath nets or in bush hammocks. A walking safari between the properties allows guests to walk with a guide and armed ranger between two, three, or all four camps, taking in the wildlife and landscapes en route, while their luggage is transferred by vehicle.
Each camp has its own specialty: Nsolo is known for dogs and bull elephants; Kakuli for boating and big cats; Luwi for its photographic hide overlooking a natural pool of water; and Mechenja for its swimming pool with views over an area elephants regularly come to drink.
In addition, 5 percent of every guest’s bed night is donated to the Time + Tide Foundation. With more than 40 full-time employees, the foundation helps to empower women in their businesses, educate girls, send promising high-school children to boarding schools, college, and university, and promote wildlife conservation in the areas around its camps. In 2020, more than $450,000 was raised by Time + Tide’s guests, as well as grants and private donors
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