Zambia is sometimes described as “Safari 2.0”—a next-level destination for experienced Africa hands who’ve grown jaded on other, more developed places. That may be true, but it’s also an excellent choice for first-timers. Why? Few other safari destinations have such reliably great game viewing and combine so many different ways to take it all in. Besides the standard-issue game drives, Zambia’s parks also offer night drives (increasingly rare in other countries), boat and canoe rides (a thrilling way to see wildlife), and, most renowned of all, walking safaris.
The walking safari was actually pioneered in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley back in the 1950s by the late great naturalist Norman Carr, who’s nothing short of a legend around these parts.
“I arrived in Zambia in 1992 to work with Norman Carr, at that stage I knew next to nothing about Africa, wildlife or tourism, I guess things have changed somewhat since then,” said Nick Aslin of Zambian Ground Safaris. “After a couple of years under Norman’s wing he asked me to run his company for him. Months turned into years, my wife and I moved out of the bush to Lusaka and by 2009 I realized that I was eager for a change of perspective.
Having been involved in all aspects of Zambian tourism for so long, Nick was keenly aware of the lack of any independent ground handling company that specialized in Zambia. Several companies offered ground handling services, but each of these companies had a natural bias towards their own camps.
“Zambia to me has always been a country of innumerable opportunities and I was thrilled to find a niche in my particular market and my particular field of expertise that needed filling,” said Aslin. “I like to think that Zambian Ground Handlers is starting to fill that niche and I am excited about where we are heading.”
The company is offering a selection of itineraries that feature great deals. For example, a 12 night safari starting in Lusaka and ending in Livingstone would cost $6,614 per person net fully inclusive in peak season, this is $1,405 less than the standard price, which is a saving of over 20 percent that can be passed along to your clients.
Sanctuary Retreats – 3 / pay 2 deal at Chichele and Puku Ridge. They are offering free return flights from Lusaka for stays of 3 nights or more at Puku Ridge. (the free night tends to be the better deal).
Anabezi Lodge – This is the new camp in the Lower Zambezi. As an introductory offer they are charging just $85 for the 3rd night of any stay which covers Park Fees.
Islands of Siankaba – For stays of 3 nights or more at Siankaba they offer an additional 10% commission. The rates at this camp are already reasonable and this is an excellent option for longer stays in Livingstone.
There are, of course, plenty more itineraries to choose from. For more information, visit the Zambian Ground Handlers website.
Zambian Ground Handlers, www.zambiangroundhandlers.com