Zebra Plains is a small and secluded camp consisitng of just four en-suite Meru-style tents
Zebra Plains: Our full report
Sadly Zebra Plains will not be re-opening in 2013 and will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Zebra Plains opened on 1 June 2011, so none of the team from Expert Africa has yet seen it firsthand. We know its sister camps very well, though, and we will be visiting this new addition to the South Luangwa National Park soon. Until then, we've the following information on it:
Zebra Plains is situated at the confluence of the Luangwa and Chibembe Rivers on a sandbank in the South Luangwa National Park. This is a walking camp where the emphasis is on getting into the wilderness on foot; it's all about not only seeing the large mammals, but also seeing the smaller flora and fauna which is so often missed from the back of a vehicle. A stay at Zebra Plains works on a three-night set departure plan, beginning on either a Monday, or a Thursday, of each week. It is a semi permanent, tented camp which is completely broken down each year at the end of the season, no trace of human activity is left behind.
Accommodation at Zebra Plains consists of just four 'walk in' tents, two of which are doubles and two of which are twins. A limit of only 6 guests at any one time promises to ensure that neither the wilderness experience nor the attention to detail of the guiding are diluted.
Don't expect stretcher beds here – inside the tents, we're promised real mattresses and high quality linen beneath the mosquito nets. A luggage rack and traditional 'campaign furniture' is billed as adding to the authentic feel. You should still know you're in the bush though, with outdoor showers attached to each en-suite bathroom. Each bathroom also has a wash basin complete with running water (hot water on request) and a flush toilet.
The communal main area at Zebra Plains should house a small library, a bar area and the dining room. That said, the camp plans to serve most meals at different points around the camp, many with great vantage points overlooking the river.
Zebra Plains promises to emphasize its guests' experience of the bush, with activities focusing on walking safaris. All walking safaris are hosted and led by Gareth Hovell, who is a very experienced and knowledgeable guide and his presence in 2011 is one reason why we're viewing this camp as particularly attractive for the future.
He leads walks from camp twice a day, and as is usual in the Luangwa, guests are also accompanied by a 'tea bearer' and an armed Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) scout.
This area is very well known to us – one of the team first visited it in 1995, when it was used by a long-closed lodge, Chibembe, and its satellite bushcamps. It's always been one of the very best walking areas in the Luangwa Valley, and we're delighted to see a camp re-opening here. It's particularly well-suited to walking safaris, with open plains dotted with stands of shady trees providing welcome rest points. We'd expect the game here to be very good.
Our viewAlthough nobody from the Expert Africa team has yet visited this new camp, we are very confident that, with the pedigree of the guide and the track record of its sister camps, it will be a very promising camp in a great area with first-rate guiding. Call us for more details – and if you'd like to add a few nights at Zebra Plains onto the end of a longer trip to the Luangwa Valley.
Ideal length of stay: Stays at Zebra Plains are restricted to 3-night durations, starting on either a Monday or a Thursday.
Directions: Access is by air to Mfuwe Airport and then an approximate 5 hour 4WD at game drive pace to Zebra Plains. Although this seems like a long transfer, most travellers would stay somewhere on the way for 2 or 3 nights and add Zebra plains on at the end of their trip.
Owner: Sanctuary Lodges
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Outdoor Dining
Attitude towards children: Children 15 years and older are permitted at this walking safari camp. Families with children 12-14 years are allowed if the camp is booked on an exclusive basis.
Power supply: Solar Power
Communications: The camp has a satellite phone for emergencies and radio communications.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: This is a wilderness area and animals are free to roam throughout camp. There is no fence and so common sense is imperative, especially in the evenings. Guides accompany guests to and from their tents at night.
Disabled access: Not Possible