Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp

Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp: Our full report

Rooms
12 tented suites
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 7 reviews
Children
Best for aged 12+
Open
01 Apr - 15 Nov

The new Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp, which opened in 2014, is built on the foundations of the old Ana Tree Camp. Located in the remote, eastern end of the Lower Zambezi National Park, Anabezi is set a small distance back from the confluence of the Zambezi and Mushia rivers, overlooking an open floodplain and an area of riverine forest that attracts a lot of game in the dry season.

We stayed at Anabezi most recently in June 2017, and it was only by staying there that we realized just how much it had changed. Our first visit had been in October 2014, shortly after it had opened. Then the camp was new – just as its owners were new to running a camp like this – and the idea was for the camp to be ‘split’ into two separate, but adjacent, sections: Anabezi and Little Anabezi. Now everything has bedded in, it’s all more established and now these two sections have been sensibly and naturally united into one: Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp – and it’s looking fabulous!

The entire camp is built on raised timber decks and walkways, perched on top of a bank with superb views and the Zambezi escarpment as a backdrop.

From the moment you arrive at Anabezi, there is a feeling of luxury and comfort. As you climb out of the 4WD vehicle onto a wooden walkway, you’re welcomed by friendly faces and handed a refreshing cloth – then step into the lodge and you’re greeted by lovely open views across the floodplains to the river in the distance.

Anabezi's main area is under a large canvas roof propped up by felled tree trunks, with a stick wall at the back and completely open to the front. There are a few separate lounge areas with plenty of comfortable couches and chairs, a bar and a couple of dining room tables all arranged around the central water feature. The large wooden Zambezi Deck wraps around the front with more individual dining tables and canvas directors' chairs, all shaded by canvas sails suspended from the trees. There is also a small campfire where guests can gather for post-dinner drinks and coffee. Step off to the side onto a rolling green lawn with a crystal-clear swimming pool and sunloungers.

For guests wanting a slightly more intimate feel and a change of scenery during the day, there is the completely separate Mushika Deck on the opposite side of camp. Under a canvas roof with open sides all around, you’ll find a small lounge, a well-stocked bar, a tea and coffee station with a cappuccino machine, and a dining area, all with uninterrupted views across the floodplain. In winter it’s a dry riverbed but there is a waterhole which is pumped and that attracts game in the dry season. There is also a second swimming pool here, with a few sunloungers and a lovely green lawn that is great for children wanting to run around.

Close to the main area is a curio shop stocked with safari clothing, locally hand-made jewellery and a variety of African souvenirs.

Anabezi has 12 tented suites, one of which is a family suite, all linked to the main area by very long timber walkways with railings, elevated above irrigated grass – which the warthogs love grazing during the day, and the hippos at night. The huge suites are made from canvas stretched over metal frames, which can creek a little during a windy night, but are much more substantial than 'tents'.

Semi-circular in design, each suite is entered from the back, revealing a spacious, open-plan room with polished wooden floors, dark wooden furniture and a neutral décor of creams, white and beige and floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Broadly divided into three, it has the bathroom in the middle, flanked by a sitting area and the bedroom – with a second bathroom outside.

The sitting area, with a comfortable sofa and coffee table, has a free-standing fan next to a teak cabinet and writing desk: a very relaxing spot to sit in the afternoon with a drink from the minibar, or for an early-morning cup of tea before our game drive.

The bedroom has a very comfortable king-size bed, or two doubles, with built-in reading lights, all beneath a large mosquito net and a ceiling fan. To one side are a luggage rack, a dressing table with hairdryer and international plug points, and an open wardrobe where you'll find some very soft bathrobes and slippers.

The bathroom is enclosed by a canvas wall which is just above head-height, with a curtain for a door. Along with a basin and toilet, there’s a modern clawfoot bath here. The indoor bathroom doesn’t offer much privacy for friends who are travelling together, but a second, open-air bathroom has a separate toilet and shower and offers a bit more privacy.

In front of the bedroom and sitting area, large sliding doors with aluminum frames and very fine gauze (to keep out unwanted visitors!) lead out onto a private balcony with a very pleasant view of the surrounding landscape. Each suite has its own plunge pool and sunloungers – a fantastic spot to watch the wildlife around camp. During one afternoon on our first visit we watched buffalo, elephant, fighting male impala, and even a leopard killing a baboon just in front of our suite!

The family suite is ideal for families travelling with two children, with a second, smaller bedroom on the opposite side of the outside deck. This has two smaller single beds beneath mosquito nets, and its own outdoor bathroom with a shower, basin and toilet. As you have to walk outside across the deck to get to your children, some parents may prefer younger children to share a room with them.

Anabezi's location is one of the best in the Lower Zambezi National Park. It stands in an isolated spot at the eastern end of the park, which has good game, and shares its game viewing area with only two other much smaller camps. A glance at the satellite map will show you that the Zambezi escarpment at this point is further away from the river 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 of wildlife that we saw during our activities on two separate trips.

Anabezi offers a range of flexible land and river-based activities, with a very high standard of guiding. On our first visit, we were able to experience all the land-based options, including walking safaris, and day and night drives in open 4WDs. 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. On our most recent visit we enjoyed both day and night drives with some lovely lion sightings and the most waterbuck we’ve ever witnessed.

On the river, you can paddle yourself on short canoe trips, or relax and watch the wildlife while the current and your guide take you downstream. 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 view

Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp offers high levels of comfort and understated luxury. The atmosphere is relaxed and unpretentious – the owners and managers like to refer to it as ‘casual’ – and that’s certainly the feeling we had. The large suites are well-appointed and manage to be stylish without being too flash. If you are looking for high levels of luxury, excellent guiding and good game viewing, then Anabezi makes an excellent option.

Geographics

Location: Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

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 scheduled flight of approximately 35 minutes from Lusaka to Jeki Airstrip, the transfer to camp takes around one hour. Alternatively you can charter a private plane into Anabezi’s private airstrip, which is much closer to camp, not far from Anabezi’s smaller sister camp, Amanzi.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

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 both October 2014 and June 2017, the food was of an excellent standard. They are able to cater for vegetarians and other dietary requirements with some advance notice.

Your morning wake-up call at around 5.30am or 6.00am, depending on the time of year, is followed by a substantial breakfast on the Zambezi Deck with a selection of cereal, fresh fruit and yoghurt laid out neatly in the dining area. A breakfast menu offers a range of dishes to order, from oatmeal porridge, to pancakes, waffles, French toast, breakfast burritos, smoked salmon and a full fry-up.

A neatly laid-out buffet lunch is served at around midday. We enjoyed roast chicken and beef, freshly baked garlic bread, a green salad and broccoli salad.

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 banana loaf.

Dinner is a three-course meal served at around 8.00pm, with a set menu that includes a choice of two starters, three mains and two desserts; they’ll take your order before you head out on your afternoon activity. In June 2017, we had a choice of Caprese stack or cream of mushroom soup to start, then either a creamy salmon or vegetable filo parcel, or the Anabezi pizza chicken specialty with creamed spinach and butternut squash, or a chilli and potato stack with roasted squash and peppered mushrooms. Dessert was a choice of coconut and lime panna cotta with berry jus, or a seasonal fruit platter.

Dining style: Mixture of group dining and individual tables

Dining locations: Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

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 – they don’t want to encourage monkeys and baboons in the rooms.

Special interests

Solo Travel: Anabezi Luxury Tented Camp doesn’t charge a single-room supplement, making it a more affordable option for solo travellers in Zambia than some other camps. Dining is at individual tables, but the friendly team make you feel most welcome and you can choose to dine with a member of staff.

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Honeymoons: Anabezi’s team are very good at making their guests feel special. The tented suites have a soft, romantic feel and an indoor bath with views towards the river, a private outdoor shower and a plunge pool. Enjoy excellent guiding, delicious food and private dining on your honeymoon in Zambia.

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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 have included goliath herons, paradise flycatcher, black-headed and African golden oriole, Pels-fishing owl, African green pigeon and numerous African fish eagles.

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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.

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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.

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Luxury: Anabezi offers high levels of luxury in a game-rich area of the Lower Zambezi National Park. Tented chalets give the feel of being immersed in the wilderness, whilst the added luxuries of comfortable lounge areas and private plunge pools create a perfect opportunity to relax.

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Children

Attitude towards children: Anabezi’s age limit for children is 12 years, but younger children from eight years of age 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 eight.

Special activities & services: The camp gives children a junior guide book to help identify animals tracks, insects, dung etc.

Equipment: Anabezi has a dedicated two-bedroom family suite. Alternatively, an extra bed can be added to a standard suite, so one child can share with two adults.

Notes: Although there are raised walkways, animals do roam freely through the camp at any time of day. They often have leopards on the walkway and elephants grazing in between the suites. Anabezi also has two unfenced swimming pools and all the rooms have their own private plunge pool. Children must be supervised by parents at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: The camp is 90% solar powered, but a generator is used for the pool filter and hot water, and there is an inverter for back up. There are UK and European plug points in each of the suites and power for lights 24 hours a day. Camera batteries can be charged in all the suites, and there are hairdryers too.

Communications: There are no telephones and cellphone reception is very intermittent. WiFi is available in the main areas of the camp. The lodge has a satellite phone in case of emergencies.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Other

Water supply notes: Water is pumped from the Zambezi River and then filtered. Showers and bathtubs 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: Nightwatchmen patrol the camp, and there are foghorns in the suites to raise the alarm in case of emergency.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each suite and around the camp, and multiple water sources and hoses.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A complimentary laundry service is included, but for cultural reasons 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 usually 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 by credit card, or in cash using US dollars, GB pounds, euros, South African rand or Zambian kwacha.

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