Opened in 2014, Anabezi is the newest lodge in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp: Our full report
Opened in April 2014, the brand-new Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp is built on an old site at the remote eastern end of the Lower Zambezi National Park. The camp aims to offer high levels of comfort and luxury in a game-rich area of the park. Unlike other camps in the park, Anabezi is set a small distance back from the river, overlooking an open floodplain and an area of riverine forest.
Anabezi is effectively run as two separate camps, referred to as Anabezi and Little Anabezi. Even though they have the same style and cost and are connected to each other by a wooden walkway, they operate independently from each other with their own reception, swimming pool and dining rooms. The camp is split like this to ensure that guests can get efficient and intimate service without the feeling of crowding you might expect from a camp that can take up to 24 guests.
While the tented suites associated with each half of the camp are the same, the communal areas are slightly different:
- Anabezi’s lounge and dining area is perched on top of a bank with views over an area of winterthorn forest and the Zambezi visible behind. A large canvas roof covers the dining area and bar, whose focal point is a refreshing-looking water feature. Slightly separate is a sandy ‘boma’ area, with canvas directors’ chairs surrounding a campfire, where dinner and breakfast are sometimes served.
- Little Anabezi’s main area has a thatched building for the bar and dining area, surrounded on three sides by knee-high walls and opening out onto a deck. The lounge lies beneath a large, open-sided pavilion tent overlooking the floodplain of the Mushika River, which is often teeming with wildlife heading to the Zambezi to drink. Just behind this, sheltered from the wind, is a lovely green lawn where a firepit is surrounded by quite contemporary-looking block seats. Close to the main area is a small curio shop stocked with safari clothing and souvenirs.
Both main areas are linked to Anabezi’s 12 tented suites (six in each half) by timber walkways with railings, elevated above lush green grass. The suites, built on raised platforms on a high ridge, are made from canvas stretched over metal frames, but definitely felt much more substantial than ‘tents’. They are entered from the back into a large sitting area, with a free-standing fan next to a teak cabinet and writing desk, as well as a comfortable sofa and coffee table. This made a very comfortable spot to sit in the afternoon with a drink from the minibar, and a very tasty chocolate cookie from the jar placed on the desk.
The bedrooms are entered from the sitting room and have two very comfortable double or king-size beds with built-in reading lights, all beneath a large mosquito net and a ceiling fan. To one side are a luggage rack, dressing table, and open wardrobe where you’ll find some very soft bathrobes and slippers.
Large glass doors in front of the bedroom and sitting areas provide pleasant views of the surrounding landscape from the comfort of your suite, while keeping out unwanted visitors. The doors slide open onto a large private deck with its own plunge pool and sunloungers – a fantastic spot to watch the plentiful wildlife around camp. During one afternoon on our last visit in October 2014 we watched buffalo, elephant, fighting male impala, and even a leopard killing a baboon just in front of our suite!
Anabezi’s location is arguably the best of any camp in the Lower Zambezi National Park. In an isolated spot at the eastern end of the park, it lies in a very quiet area that is incredibly rich in game. A glance at the satellite map shows that the Zambezi escarpment is further away from the river here than anywhere further west in the park, meaning there is more space on the valley floor for productive game viewing. We were impressed by the variety and amount of wildlife that we saw during our activities.
Anabezi offers a range of flexible activities, including walking safaris, and day and night drives in open 4WDs. On our last visit we were able to experience all of these activities. No matter what we pointed out to our guide – animals, plants, dung, rocks – he was able to tell us about it, and explain what role it played in the Zambezi ecosystem. We also asked some of the other guides about the birdlife around camp and the history of the area, and were very impressed with their knowledge. It is clear that the quality of guiding at Anabezi is very high.
There are also several river-based activities on offer. You can paddle yourself on short canoe trips, or you can relax and watch the wildlife while the current and your guide take you downriver. You can also try your hand at tigerfishing; trying to catch these large predatory fish can be a thrill even for a novice. Do note, though, that fishing is on a strict catch-and-release basis, as it takes place within the national park.
Our viewAnabezi Luxury Tented Camp is a very comfortable and well-run camp in a fantastic area of the Lower Zambezi. The large suites are well appointed and manage to be stylish without being too flash. The elevated walkways and glass doors of the suites can make the camp feel slightly separate from the bush, but if you are looking for high levels of luxury, excellent guiding and superb game viewing, then Anabezi makes a very good option.
Ideal length of stay: At least three nights, although many visitors to the area prefer a little longer to take advantage of the variety of activities on offer.
Directions: After a flight of approximately 35 minutes from Lusaka to Jeki Airstrip, the transfer to camp takes around one hour.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Independently owned, not part of a chain.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we visited Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp in October 2014, the food was of an excellent standard, and are well able to cater for vegetarians and other dietary requirements.
Your morning wake-up call at around 5.30am will be accompanied by hot water so that you can make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. This is followed by a substantial breakfast of toast, cereal, fresh fruit, yoghurt, ham, cheese and pancakes, along with tea, coffee and juice.
A buffet lunch is served at around midday. We enjoyed roast beef with freshly baked garlic bread and four different salads. For dessert we had a delicious slice of passion-fruit cheesecake, which rounded off the meal very nicely.
Afternoon tea, served at 3.30pm before the afternoon activity, is a chance to have a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of freshly baked cake. We enjoyed a very tasty mint cheesecake.
Dinner is a three-course meal with a choice of two dishes per course, served at around 8.00pm after everyone has returned from their evening activity. We opted for the wonderfully crispy vegetable spring rolls, followed by a main of lightly fried hake with a lemon sauce, served with new potatoes and assorted vegetables. Dessert was a choice of chocolate brownie, or a fresh fruit salad.
Dining style: Mixture of group dining and individual tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Soft drinks, house wine and local spirits are included, but fine wines, champagne and imported spirits and liqueurs are charged as extras.
Further dining info: Not available.
Solo Travel: Communal activities and a friendly team at the high-quality Anabezi Camp give it a social atmosphere. It is never cheap, but there is no single supplement, making it a more affordable option for solo travellers in Zambia than some other camps.See more ideas for Solo Travel in Zambia
Birdwatching: Anabezi’s wildlife-rich location and knowledgeable guides make it a great camp for birdwatching in Zambia. Birds can be seen from drives, walks and canoes. Our best sightings include goliath herons, paradise flycatcher, African green pigeon and numerous fish eagles.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia
Walking safaris: Forested areas along the riverbank, isolation from other camps in the Lower Zambezi, and excellent guides make Anabezi a fantastic camp for walking safaris in Zambia. High densities of wildlife make for great game viewing on foot.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Zambia
Wildlife safaris: Anabezi is in an area with one of the highest densities of game and birdlife in the Lower Zambezi, making it a great spot for wildlife safaris in Zambia. Wildlife viewing during activities and from camp are both excellent.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Anabezi. The age limit is considered to be 12 years or older, but younger children may be accepted if they are mature, and at the camp’s discretion. In accordance with park rules children under 12 are not allowed on walks or canoe trips.
Property’s age restrictions: Generally 12 and older; minimum six.
Special activities & services: None.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend Anabezi for sensible, mature children who are interested in wildlife and will understand the full safety implications of being in an area with dangerous big game.
Notes: Although there are raised walkways, animals do roam freely through the camp at any time of day. Anabezi also has two unfenced swimming pools. Children must be supervised by parents at all times.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: There are plug points in each of the suites. An inverter system means that there is power for lights 24-hours a day, but the plugs will usually only work when the generator is running.
Communications: There are no telephones and cellphone reception is very intermittent. The lodge has a satellite phone in case of emergencies. WiFi is available in the main areas of the camp.
TV & radio: None
Water supply: Other
Water supply notes: Water is pumped from the river and filtered. Showers are plumbed in with hot and cold running water, and there are flushing toilets.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: All the guides are first-aid trained and can take care of minor injuries and health issues. For serious emergencies Anabezi has links with a flying doctor service.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Several nightwatchmen patrol the camp, and there are radios and foghorns in the suites to raise the alarm in case of emergency.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each suite, sand buckets around the camp, and multiple water sources and hoses.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A complimentary laundry service is included, but this does not include ladies’ underwear; soap is provided in the suites for this. Clothes are taken in the morning, machine-washed, air dried, and returned by nightfall.
Money: There is an electronic safe in each suite. No exchange facilities are provided.
Accepted payment on location: Payments for any extras may be made in US dollars or Zambian Kwacha. Credit cards are not currently accepted, but the necessary equipment is being installed so that they can be used in the future.